NordicTrack Studio Cycle s22i Review

NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle s22i
Check out our video review of the NordicTrack Studio Cycle s22i - or just scroll down to read instead

Can you afford NOT to get this bike?

Do you have a shiny new credit card that's just dying to get maxed out?

Are you having second thoughts about getting that Peloton after that creepy ad blew up social media?   

Would you like to work out with some of the best trainers in the world who will have no idea if you’re actually pedaling or eating a whole meat lovers pizza instead?

Me too. Me. too.


If you answered yes to any of these questions, or just hungry for gobs of meat and cheese, I have the perfect machine for you!
Say hello to the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle s22i!


Okay, all kidding aside, this Peloton competitor is the real deal.   Though at $1,999 it may require you to raid your kid’s college fund, the ass-kicking workouts it delivers is totally worth it.     And the best part is, when you buy a NordicTrack, nobody on social media cares! 


Now, if the media firestorm hasn't deterred you from considering a Peloton, let me share some of the key features of the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle s22i that I believe make it a better choice.

Spin Baby Spin


Both machines offer studio spin classes.  While the Peloton is all about the live classes, the s22i, through iFit, only offers pre-recorded ones.  Personally I like this better as I really don’t want some ripped jerkoff yelling at me to pick up the pace if slow down because I’m posting important selfies on Instagram.

riding on my NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle s22i
It's really hard to take selfies with one hand and still look professional.


Thankfully studio classes are only a small part of the vast iFit library that is available on the NordicTrack.  There are tons of trail and road rides filmed all over the world to choose from.   These are my favorite by far as the high definition 22 inch screen lets you get to see some really cool places and feel like you’re right there.  (At least until my kid comes barging in demanding breakfast.)

Join The Resistance (and the incline)

Another key difference between the Peloton and the NordicTrack, is that on the Peloton the resistance is controlled manually.  When the instructor tells you to increase the resistance, you have to turn a dial.  On the NordicTrack, the resistance is controlled automatically as you go through the ride, though if it gets too tough you can manually override it.    I like this, because when I work out, I don’t like to think.  Actually, I don’t like to think even when I’m not working out, but that’s another story.


On top of that, the NordicTrack also has an electronic incline system that is also automatically controlled (and can also be overriden).  This combined with the automatic magnetic resistance, really makes you feel like you are following the terrain.   The Bay Area Incline series with rides around San Francisco really takes this to the extreme.   My knees hurt so bad (but so good) I had to crawl around on the floor until the pain went away.  And I do triathlons!

triathon NordicTrack s22i bike
Had to throw in some clickbait.


Overall the iFit workouts and trainers are pretty top notch.  Before each workout you can see what the resistance and incline changes look like so you can decide if you want to tough it out or just go back to bed.  
There is also a feature where you can draw your own map using built in Google maps.  While this is cool in theory, the execution is a little wonky, as a) it’s static Google Street View images so it’s not “live” like the other pre-recorded workouts, and b) if you have a slow internet connection the images often get stuck and get out of sync.   But hey, what do you expect for a measly $1,999.

The pedals are easy to swap out, and trust me, you'll want to do that as it ships with those annoying toe cages.

Shimano A530 SPD pedals
I replaced the standard toe cage pedals with these clipless Shimano A530 SPDs.


The machine also comes with two 3 pound free weights which are sometimes incorporated into some of the studio total body workout classes. And there’s also a built-in fan that, believe me as someone who sweats like a dirty pig, comes in real handy on a lot of these rides.  

Bottom Line


I’ve owned a lot of exercise equipment over the years and I can honestly say this is the first one that hasn’t turned into a clothes rack.  (Yet.)  I get a great heart pumping, face dripping, think I’m gonna die workout every time.  And while it is pricey, Amazon has a nice deal right now where you can get a free year of iFit membership with your purchase.  (Full disclosure: I do make an itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny commission on any sales that come from this site) So if you want a top quality machine that doesn’t come with a bunch of hashtags, the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle s22i is hard to beat.

Ain't she purdy?


PROS

  • Wide variety of workouts to choose from (studio, road, trail, custom map)
  • Buttery smooth magnetic resistance
  • Automatic resistance and incline changes that match the video
  • Beautiful high definition 22 inch screen
  • Easy to swap out pedals and saddle

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Calling NordicTrack customer support often results in ridiculously high wait times
  • Incline motor can be a bit loud
  • Wifi connection can be spotty if bike is too far from the router
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