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NordicTrack is no newbie in the home gym department, making everything from bikes and treadmills to ellipticals, rowers, and strength training systems. The company’s Peloton bike alternative, the NordicTrack S22i, is a power-packed sweat machine. It’s the total package, complete with a 22-inch (in.) rotating touch screen and access to fun-AF live classes.
But what sets this bike apart? We did all the research to see what it’s all about, whether it lives up to its promises, and who should saddle up and ride this cycling pony.
Take a deep breath, because the S22i costs $1,999 plus shipping or $57 per month with a 39-month loan, pending approval. While the price might make your heart skip a beat or two, this stationary bike includes a lot.
The initial cost includes a free 1-year iFit membership. After the first year, you can use the bike without the membership (but with limited preprogrammed courses and manual adjustments) or pay to keep the membership, which costs $180 per year for an individual membership or $396 per year for a family membership.
At that price and with everything included in the package, it’s comparable to the Peloton+, which costs $500 more. The Peloton’s only advantage is the Apple GymKit integration, which allows it to sync with smartwatches — that’s not a thing with the S22i.
The S22i is also comparable to the Bowflex VeloCore, which is available with a 16- or 22-in. console. The S22i falls in the middle of these two, costing less than the 22-in. and more than the 16-in. But the S22i doesn’t have the VeloCore’s impressive leaning mode, which shifts the frame to the right or left while you’re riding. It replicates the feeling of going around corners at speed and makes for a pretty legit core workout.
But that doesn’t mean the S22i isn’t worth the price. Keep reading to learn more about its unique features.
Specs, performance, and accessories
Setup and design
Back in pre-pandemic days, NordicTrack offered white glove delivery and assembly options. But now you can choose from threshold or curbside delivery only. Threshold delivery brings the package just outside your front door, and curbside is, well, at the curb. That may change as pandemic-related restrictions are adjusted.
As is, there’s some assembly involved. NordicTrack has a clear, easy-to-follow assembly video in addition to the written assembly instructions. It takes some time, but it isn’t more than a 2- or 3-hour job.
Once the bike is assembled, you have to set up an iFit account. That can take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi. The bike runs on Google’s Android operating system. For Android users, it’ll def feel familiar. Even if you’re an Apple fan, the interface’s intuitive design isn’t hard to figure out.
The iFit app also functions on a tablet or phone, so you can access non-bike workouts away from the bike if you want. The tilting/rotating screen lets you do floor workouts near the bike as long as there’s room for you to werk it out.
The S22i lets you get pretty comfortable for a bike. You can raise and lower the handlebars and move the seat up and down or forward and back using well-labeled knobs.
Plus, the seat and pedals are compatible with standard bike seats and pedals, which means you can customize the bike by trading them out for a seat (or “saddle,” if you’re a fancy cycler) tailored specifically to your backside or clips matched with your favorite cycling shoes.
The S22i performs beautifully (and quietly), but it offers so much more than a regular stationary bike. It’s really like an all-in-one home gym with a 350-lb. maximum weight capacity.
The intuitive interface makes it easy to get cycling right off the bat. You can easily adjust among 24 digital resistance levels, 20 degrees of incline, and 10 percent decline — all of which are controlled by buttons built into the handlebars.
Wait, back up — did you say decline? YUP. The motor on the S22i actually raises or lowers the frame to create the feel of riding on an incline or decline. It’s amazing for activating your core and making the cycling courses feel all that much more real.
If you’re doing an iFit program, the bike automatically adjusts the resistance and incline throughout the workout. But if you ever find yourself falling behind, you can easily make resistance or incline changes without ever letting go of the handlebars.
Classes appear on a 22-in. tilting, 360-degree rotating touch screen. An info bar at the top of the screen displays important stats like distance, speed, and calories burned.
A 32-lb. inertia-enhanced flywheel keeps the ride fluid and smooth. The bike even stays jerk-free while adjusting the resistance or incline. It’s easy on your joints and feels more like a road bike than a traditional stationary bike.
While the S22i isn’t huge, it’s not compact. To take advantage of all the features, you need at least 24 in. of clearance all the way around — even more if you plan to swivel the touch screen to do an iFit floor workout.
Extra features and accessories
Yup, there are a few extras with this one, including:
- two 3-lb. dumbbells and built-in dumbbell holders
- dual water bottle holders
- front and rear stabilizers
- Bluetooth connectivity (for headphones or a heart rate monitor)
- front-mounted transport wheels
- aux port
- multi-position handlebars
NordicTrack classes and entertainment options
The S22i connects via Wi-Fi to the iFit app, which you can use on other devices too. An iFit membership provides access to more than 16,000 classes and outdoor courses, including rides around the world. You can cycle past famous landmarks and on trails you may never get to experience IRL.
It also includes access to live classes with leaderboards. With the Bluetooth connectivity, incline/decline feature, and bright screen, you can really immerse yourself in a ride.
On top of that, you also get access to iFit’s non-cycling workouts. Cross-training, yoga, strength training — they’re available anywhere, whether that’s the beach, a hotel room, or your backyard. Of course, you can also rotate the S22i’s screen and do a workout in your designated home gym.
One pretty cool feature is iFit’s ability to integrate with Google Maps. You can create custom courses using the integration, and the bike automatically adjusts the incline or decline according to the map. TBH, it’s a little scary to think the system’s that smart — but it’s also super cool and guarantees practically unlimited access to new courses.
BUT (and this one’s a big ol’ booty kind of but), the system has to refresh the Google Maps images every few seconds. Consequently, custom courses aren’t nearly as visually smooth as the regular iFit classes or courses.
The other issue is that the system can be glitchy, which is mostly an Android issue rather than an iFit issue. For some users, every once in a while, the system resets mid-ride. It starts where it left off, but it’s def annoying when it happens.
What reviewers say
Reviewers are overwhelmingly positive when it comes to this bike. The incline/decline feature gets the most praise, but people also love the class options through iFit. For many of the outdoor courses, it’s like taking a tour while you’re exercising.
The inertia-enhanced flywheel is incredibly quiet. The motor that makes the frame incline or decline, however, is not. But once the frame is in place, the noise stops.
While many love being able to create and add a custom course through Google Maps, in practice, it’s not quite as motivational as one of the prerecorded courses. The Google Maps refresh every few seconds causes most people to go back to the standard streaming classes or prerecorded courses.
The speakers aren’t great, which reviewers tend to mention, but the Bluetooth connectivity makes up for it. Users like pairing their headphones and escaping into each ride.
NordicTrack has the right company policies and reputation to back up this bike and make you feel good AF about your purchase:
- Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
- Shipping: bike shipped within 1 to 3 days of order, taking 10 to 14 business days to arrive
- Return period: 30-day return window, may have to pay shipping fees
NordicTrack has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. That means, in general, they aren’t doing anything shady.
Problems with the S22i are rare. However, if you do have a problem, the company’s customer service reportedly isn’t the easiest to work with. Chances are you’ll get passed around customer service to tech and the service center and back again while trying to fix the problem. Parts ship slowly (which could be a pandemic thing), and the company won’t schedule a technician until the part has arrived at your house.
Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to decide if the S22i is the right ride for you:
- Casual vs. committed. What’s your riding style? If you’re a casual rider (or exerciser), a purchase this expensive doesn’t add up. But if you’re committed to a workout routine that includes a heavy dose of cycling, the investment will probably be well worth it. Plus, you’ll have plenty of cross-training options, thanks to iFit.
- Multiple users. An iFit membership includes the option to set up several profiles, so more than one person can track their fitness progress. The S22i then becomes a home gym a whole family can enjoy.
- Customized ride. The S22i riding experience is completely customizable, from the bike seat to the courses.
- Private gym or outdoor workout experience. Some of us don’t necessarily like to sweat it out in front of a crowd (🙋♀️). The S22i lets you work your guts out without a soul in sight. You also get to explore international locations from the safety of your home.
You might want to think twice if:
- You’re short on space. The bike’s footprint isn’t that big, but to fully use all the features (like the floor workouts) you need a fairly sizable space.
- You track everything with a smartwatch. How NordicTrack made such a fun bike and didn’t include integrations for smartwatches is a little baffling. If you track your life with your smartwatch, this might not be the bike for you.
Here’s how the NordicTrack S22i stacks up against its two most comparable competitors:
|NordicTrack S22i||Peloton+||Bowflex VeloCore|
|Dimensions||63 L x 22 W x 60 H in.||59 L x 22 W x 59 H in.||59.8 L x 24.1 W x 55.3 H in.|
|Weight limit||350 lbs.||297 lbs.||325 lbs.|
|Screen||22-in. rotating touch screen||23.8-in. rotating touch screen||16- or 22-in. adjustable touch screen|
|Flywheel type||32-lb. inertia-enhanced flywheel||38-lb. inertia-enhanced flywheel||33-lb. magnetic flywheel|
|Resistance type||magnetic resistance with separate incline function||magnetic resistance and mechanical adjustment||magnetic resistance with separate leaning mode|
|Other equipment||two 3-lb. weights||other equipment sold separately||two 3-lb. weights and an HR armband|
|Membership||1-year free iFit membership (must purchase after the first year)||monthly Peloton subscription required||monthly JRNY subscription (2-month free trial with purchase)|
Our verdict? The NordicTrack S22i is totally worth the price if you’re looking for a home gym that’s heavy on cycling. The S22i offers an immersive, motivating workout experience.
It’s packed with some impressive features and doesn’t lack in performance. The decline/incline function creates a unique experience that makes each workout feel legit. And there are a whole lot of other perks, like customization of the bike itself, customized workouts, access to 16,000 iFit workouts, and a big, bright touch screen.
But if you don’t consider yourself a cycling aficionado or aren’t willing to drop some cash on a fancy bike, there’s def another bike out there that’ll give you the ride of your life.