NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Indoor Cycle Review

Without a doubt one of the world leaders in home fitness, NordicTrack has been there, seen it, done it, bought the T-Shirt, burned the T-Shirt, and then created a new T-Shirt to replace the old one. If it’s been done before, NordicTrack will have done it at some point. If it’s never been done before, then it’s a good bet that NordicTrack will be the first to do it. Their products have become increasingly reflective of the connected world we live in and its Commercial S22i Studio indoor cycle is no exception. The specs on paper look great so we got one in to take a closer look.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that the product name is likely to cause a bit of confusion for two reasons: Firstly, it shares the name with a couple of other older versions of the S22i which are also available at the moment. And, with most retailers not differentiating the models version due to the name being the same, it’s worth being aware that there’s more than one version of the S22i. We’ve tested them all but this review is focussed on the current model, number NTEX02121. The second slightly confusing thing is the word “Commercial” in the product’s name. This machine is squarely aimed at the domestic market, comes with a domestic warranty and is not intended for gyms, schools, or indeed any commercial application at all. But, it does have a very high spec and is not unlike a commercial machine in many ways, hence the name. With that cleared up, onto what we found…..

While it would be nice to be able to take delivery of a pre-assembled indoor cycle, unless you’re lucky enough to both find a retailer that’s willing to undertake to build and deliver, without any protective packing, a high-value piece of equipment and to be in a position to part with a not insignificant amount of cash for the convenience, then the first thing you’ll be doing will be assembling your shiny new bit of kit. Thankfully like previous versions, and to no surprise at all, the manual that comes with the S22i is both easy to understand and well illustrated.Once unpacked this S22i took about 45 minutes to assemble and it’s pleasing to be able to report that there were no unexpected obstacles to completing the build. While we shouldn’t be surprised that this is the case when discussing a NordicTrack product, it’s impossible not to notice that typical of a NordicTrack machine the box containing our unit also contained all the other parts, nuts, bolts and screws that it’s supposed to. On this point it’s worth highlighting that (without wishing to jinx anything) that it’s been a very, very long time since we reviewed a NordicTrack product and found that something was missing from the box or that a part didn’t fit quite right, or that something didn’t work, which tells its own story. 

Once assembled this is a good looking piece of equipment, with its sleek black and silver finish with a splash of orange, and thick gauge metal making it look (and feel once you try to pick it up)  like it’s built to last. It’s heavy-set (reassuringly so) but it also looks modern with a huge 22″ full-colour touch-screen display taking centre stage and giving this model the definite air of a state-of-the-art machine.

Being able to get a proper and ergonomically sound riding position is the single most important thing when thinking about an indoor cycle. It is the essential element. A bad riding position will at best be so uncomfortable as to make you simply not want to get on and exercise, and at worst will increase the chance of pulls and strains or even cause them. Thankfully, for the vast majority of riders, this iteration of the S22i, like it’s predecessors, has plenty of adjustments to ensure a comfortable riding position. The saddle adjusts both vertically and horizontally, as well as tilting back and forth, while the handlebars adjust vertically and have several different grip positions providing the rider plenty of places to grab onto. Even though there isn’t a horizontal adjustment for the handlebars this really isn’t an issue here as the handlebars have been set up to mimic a road bike and because of this, they’re already in a great position. Even tall riders of up to around 6′ 3″ will not find this cycle too small. The saddle itself is long and narrow, very much like a road bike, which is bound to appeal to a good many riders but if that’s not your thing and you prefer something more comfortable it’s possible to easily change it to a larger and more padded type thanks to the fact that it uses a standard modern bike fitting. The pedals too also use a standard fitting so if toe-clip pedals aren’t your thing it’s easy enough to switch them to the  SPD type. All this makes getting comfortable on the S22i easy enough for just about everyone.

As with previous versions, the console on the S22i is outstanding ands it’s not only huge, it’s also probably one of the most user-friendly consoles we’ve seen on a machine like this and that includes other models with advanced touch-screen consoles. Perhaps it’s the size of the characters on the screen and the fact that they’re so large and easy to read, or perhaps it’s because it’s a touch-screen, or perhaps it’s the layout of the menus. Perhaps, in truth, it’s all of these elements combined but what’s for sure is that there’s something special about the way that you interact with the monitor on this model compared with other models we’ve tested. It really does connect you with the experience and that’s not just because it’s right up close (which it most certainly is) it’s because NordicTrack has done away with traditional preset workouts that you’d normally find on equipment like this. Gone are the heart based, calorie based, time-based et al workouts. There are no on-screen bars showing you which section or what level of difficulty setting you’re currently on. All onboard programs are gone and have been replaced with a manual mode, a daily map based workout and a selection of high-definition streamed videos featuring personal trainers to guide you through your workout.  The screen also turns so if you have to dismount as part of your training session it’s easy to spin the screen around so you can keep watching the class and the spin it back again to face you as you re-mount the bike. The daily map based workout is automatically downloaded by the console each day which helps to keep things mixed up and interesting. There’s another reason that the experience of exercising on this bike is so immersive and that’s the incline/decline function. The resistance levels are in sync with the level of incline/decline so if you’re cycling up a hill on the screen, the whole bike will tilt backwards to a max of 20 degrees and the resistance will increase or if you’re cycling downhill it’ll tilt forward to a maximum of 10 degrees and the resistance will automatically decrease. While the motor that controls the incline is a little bit on the noisy side it doesn’t detract from the experience as the videos themselves grab your full attention so that what noise there is just falls into the background. It’s hard to overstate what a completely different exercise experience these personal-trainer-led videos deliver compared with the old school way of selecting a program from a list and watching a set of bars on the screen flash to indicate your progress. In your reviewer’s opinion (one shared by everyone that participated in our test) it brings your workouts to life in a way that makes a huge difference to the whole experience and, importantly, your motivation. This looks very much like not just the present, but also the future of working out at home. NordicTrack has done an outstanding job here. 

And, if you’re thinking at this point that it’s all just a novelty that’ll wear off quickly enough, we can confirm that is most definitely not the case. The workouts are genuinely engaging, challenging, fun and feel immersive due to the incline/decline function and we can’t see the novelty wearing off as it’s really not a novelty at all. It’s a genuine new way of doing things, and one that gets results.

This sea-change in approach does mean that unless you’re using the manual workout mode, you’ll need an internet connection at all times in order to stream the videos direct to the console as they’re streamed rather than stored in internal memory.  This requirement shouldn’t pose a problem for most owners but it’s something worth keeping in mind if you’re planning to locate the bike in a garden studio where there isn’t already an operational wireless internet connection.

In addition to the included workout videos, which are completely free of charge and don’t require a subscription, the Commercial S22i comes with a 30-day family membership subscription to iFit giving you access to more than ten thousand videos! iFit also gives you access to tailored personalised training programmes, allows you to race courses against other iFit members, lets you map out your cycling route using Google maps, provides advice on sleep and nutrition and a good deal more. For full details on everything iFit click here to visit their website.

To complete the package the S22i comes with a built-in heart rate receiver, compatible music port for your mp3 player, stereo speakers, dual water bottle holders, cooling workout fan, and two 1.4kg (3lbs) dumbbells

All in all this latest version of the NordicTrack Commercial S22i indoor cycle is every bit as impressive as it’s predecessors. Impressive. It’s not cheap, but what you get for your money is more than your average indoor cycle.

Best Price

Currently available for £1614.05 from Sweatband.com

To get the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle for only £1614.05, enter voucher code NT5 on the Sweatband.com basket page!

Review Summary - In Brief

Just because something is expensive that doesn't mean it's not great value for money. That's certainly the case with the NordicTrack Commerical S22i which we think offers outstanding value. True, it's not cheap, but right now it's a good deal cheaper than it usually is and it does give you many things that other models don't. It's a joy to use, is very comfortable and above all, it's immensely engaging thanks to that sumptuous 22-inch full-colour touch-screen. The whole package is put together in such a way as to draw you into an exercise session in a way that's as close to being in a gym with a personal trainer as it's possible to get without actually being in a gym with a personal trainer. This is a genuinely outstanding indoor cycle that we highly recommend.

NordicTrack Commercial S22i Specifications

    • 13kg (29lbs) Inertia-enhanced flywheel
    • 24 levels of digital Silent Magnetic Resistance
    • -10° to +20° PowerGrade with QuickIncline® controls on the handlebars
    • 22” full colour touchscreen
    • Feedback: Incline, time, speed, distance, calories, resistance, RPM, pulse, Watts
    • Included workouts: Manual mode, daily updated map workout. Selection of streamed video-based workouts.
    • Heart rate measurement via wireless receiver (Bluetooth Smart chest strap optional)
    • Audio: Compatible music port for iPod®/mp3 player, dual 2″ speakers
    • Interactivity: iFit® Coach Enabled (30-day family subscription included)
    • iFit workouts: Thousands of on-demand video workouts streamed via iFit (subscription required).
    • Cooling: AutoBreeze™  workout fan
    • Ergonomic padded saddle, vertical and horizontal seat adjustment, non-slip, multi-position handlebar
    • Extras: water bottle holder; transportation wheels, two 1.4kg (3lbs) dumbbells, oversized levellers
    • Dimensions (L x W x H): 135cm (53”) x 56cm (22 ‘’) x 156cm (61‘’)
    • Max. User Weight: 150kg (331lbs)
    • Product Weight: 80kg (176lbs)
    • Warranty: 5 years frame, 2 years parts and labour (if registered within 28 days of purchase)

NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Indoor Cycle - Console / Display Unit

NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Indoor Cycle - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Personal trainer led high definition videos
  • Huge choice of workout types including interval sessions
  • Rock solid construction
  • Absolutely huge 22" touch-screen display
  • Swivel display for off-bike exercises

The Cons

  • Incline/decline motor not the quietest we've heard
NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Indoor Cycle Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 9
Smoothness - 9
Comfort - 9
Programmes - 10
Ease Of Use - 9
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 9.5
Best Price

Currently available for £1614.05 from Sweatband.com

To get the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle for only £1614.05, enter voucher code NT5 on the Sweatband.com basket page!

Also see our Exercise Bike Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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