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Since 1974, NordicTrack has created innovative exercise equipment for the home gym crowd. The NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is one of the most technologically-advanced bikes that the company has put out (and also took our top pick in our best Peloton alternatives roundup). In the past year, the S22i has received a facelift to include faster Wi-Fi connectivity, improved HD graphics, and enhanced automatic trainer control. The S22i impresses with expansive interactive programing, adjustability, and an inertia-enhanced flywheel to create a smooth riding, quality exercise bike.
The NordicTrack S15i, the brand’s other indoor cycle bike in this line, has similar features to the S22i but has a smaller screen and fewer resistance levels. When I test exercise bikes, I consider the footprint, assembly, durability, and overall workout experience. In this NordicTrack S22i review, I’ll give you all the information on what I liked and what you should know if you’re considering buying it.
My Favorite Things
- 22” rotating HD touchscreen
- Free year membership to iFit24 digital resistance levels
- Offers incline and decline training
- Not easy to move solo (203 pounds and bulky)
- Pricey at around $2,000Time-consuming assembly with many parts
- Paid subscription required to use iFit
NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
Join high energy studio classes, mountain bike rides in Moab, or ride a Tour de France stage all from the comfort of your home. Access on-demand classes with the world's best personal trainers for beginners or the hard-core cyclist. Interactive Personal Training comes to life as your personal trainer controls the incline, decline and resistance of your ride, a truly Interactive Experience.
Who Should Buy the NordicTrack S22i?
At around $2,000, this could be either the ideal exercise bike, or a very expensive place to hang your laundry.
- People who enjoy interactive exercise programing
- Those who are technology savvy
- Cyclists who want to experience incline and decline training
Not recommended for:
- People who want an air bike
- A budget option
- Those who need portability and compactness
See more on the best budget home gym equipment.
Simple Order, Difficult Assembly
The S22i exercise bike is around $2,000 with various opportunities to finance. On Amazon, you can pay $111.11 each month over the course of 18 months interest-free. On the NordicTrack website, threshold delivery is $200 as opposed to Amazon’s free scheduled delivery if you have Prime. Check out my guide to building a budget home gym on Amazon here.
The assembly process is slightly complicated, due in part to the variety of pieces to attach. Unlike some bikes where handlebars and footers may already be attached, the S22i demands that you put every single part in its place. The unboxing alone took me a good 10 minutes, because everything is individually wrapped. On the upside, each piece was in excellent condition.
Since the bike is 203 pounds and fairly bulky when assembled, I recommend deciding where your S22i will live before putting it together.
It’s possible to assemble the bike alone, because I did it. However, the console is large and a little awkward, and NordicTrack recommends that two people tackle the job. You’ll need to use your own Phillips-head screwdriver, but NordicTrack provides two Allen wrenches and a regular wrench.
Although the instructions are clearly written, there are many parts to keep track of. It’s easiest to keep all the screws, nuts and bolts in their individual packaging until you need them. A rookie mistake is to open all the tools at once – that could end in disaster.
One key and potentially tricky part of the assembly is that you are responsible for installing the wiring connected to the 22-inch screen.This involves threading the wiring through a part of the bike from the base up to the console. As long as you follow instructions, it isn’t too difficult.
Footprint, Portability and Durability
With a footprint of 63in x 22in x 60in, the S22i is slightly larger than a typical stationary bike, mostly due to the 22-inch screen. Space-wise, the S22i would fit fine in most home or garage gyms. It isn’t exceptionally bulky like some of the best squat racks or best treadmills. This durable bike has a weight capacity of 350 pounds. That’s much heavier than the typical 250- to 300-pound weight capacities, I see on other bikes.
This 203-pound piece of equipment has transport wheels on the front, which makes it easier to move. However, the large screen does make maneuvering it difficult in tight spaces. I had to take my time wheeling it around the room to make sure I didn’t knock the console. Also, there isn’t a transportation handle like some other exercise bikes have, so you have to hold onto either the bottom rail or the seat.
The pedals of the S22i are caged to allow riders to wear regular sneakers. If you’d prefer to use clip-in cycling shoes, you’re able to easily replace the pedals with compatible road bike pedals.
The S22i can accommodate riders between 4’10” and 6′ 10.” The seat is adjustable and allows you to find your perfect height for riding.
(If you don’t know how to size a bike, for most people, finding the ideal seat height would entail standing next to the bike and lining up the hips with the seat. Move the seat up or down within the numbered settings until it matches your hip height. You should be able to comfortably pedal without reaching or bending your knee too much.)
If you regularly attend spin classes, you’ll probably adjust well to the seat on this bike. The S22i has the standard spin bike seat that doesn’t provide a lot of padding. If you want to purchase a separate comfort seat, make sure it has a post and clamp attachment to fit the bike.
Depending on personal preference, you can adjust the handlebars up or down for your preferred height. Those who are newer to cycling may choose to have the handlebars above the saddle to avoid any strain on the lower back. Others with more experience generally like the handlebars at seat height or lower to get the full effect of riding.
The S22i comes with a free year of the fitness subscription service known as iFit, which ICON Fitness created. Besides cycling classes, iFit has many workout options that use a variety of equipment. If you own an indoor rowing machine, you can take advantage of a variety of rowing classes. Want to use your dumbbells? Enjoy iFit strength classes for both upper and lower body.
Hundreds of new classes are added each month. You are also able to view the schedule for upcoming live classes as well as view pre-recorded content. Also, if you own other equipment from the ICON Fitness family (which includes NordicTrack and Proform), you’ll be able to sync your iFit account. So, for example, you can use it on the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 for a running workout and then on the S22i for a cycle workout.
A unique feature of iFit is the variety of class settings. Not only can you take studio classes, but you’re also able to take scenic rides that are set on trails or at interesting locations like the Golden Gate Bridge.
For me, the different locations with the iFit trainers make the time pass quicker while doing cardio because I find it more engaging. The bike is also equipped with Google Maps to let you build your own route while biking. You can enjoy a street view while pedaling from the comfort of your own home gym.
When setting up the bike, you are required to put in your credit card information in order to redeem the free year included with the S22i, which I don’t love. If you decide you don’t want to continue with iFit when the trial is over, make sure to cancel your subscription so your credit card is not charged.
If you do decide to continue with iFit, the price for a yearly family membership is $396 or $39 monthly. You can also purchase an individual membership for $180 per year. This is only slightly more expensive than the JRNY programming that works in tandem with the Bowflex VeloCore.
You are able to use the S22i without iFit, but you’ll have to adjust your own incline/decline as well as resistance. iFit has a few free workouts for non-subscribers but they are not as exciting as the paid rides.
With the trainer-controlled incline, decline, and resistance, all you have to worry about is giving your best effort while biking. The maximum decline is -10% and maximum incline is 20%. These changes simulate an actual ride going up and down hill while giving you a great calorie burn. I enjoyed not having to worry about switching my settings while focusing on what the instructor is saying. However, you can turn this off if you prefer to control it manually.
If you want to take a strength training class, you’re able to easily move the 22-inch swivel monitor attached to the bike to face you. This is convenient for days you want to stack a strength or yoga workout on top of your cycling class.
Lots of Extras
Directly below the monitor, there is an adjustable fan to keep you cool while riding. It was a nice touch to have cold air blowing on my sweaty face during the workouts.
Included with the bike are two 3-pound dumbbells with respective holders. These are useful for incorporating upper body workouts into your ride. Similar to the Schwinn IC4 bike, there are two water bottle holders on the bike. I found them to be on the smaller side and only able to hold the typical 16-ounce plastic bottles. They may not be big enough to fit larger, reusable water bottles.
Although a device holder is included, it is only big enough to hold your phone. This is unfortunate if you wanted to watch a show on your tablet or larger device.
The Bluetooth and headphone connection is one of the recent updates to the S22i. This is helpful for listening to separate music or to tune into a workout without disturbing anyone nearby.
Taking the S22i for a Ride
Once you have adjusted the seat and handlebars to your preference, you’ll be ready to start riding. With iFit, it’s easy to get set up on a ride right away. Just turn on the bike, pick your workout and go. You can choose to let the trainer controlled incline, resistance, and decline feature take over or manually input your own levels. There are 24 digital resistance levels on the S22i compared to the 22 on the S15i.
Incline and Decline
The -10% decline and 20% incline are unique features most exercise bikes don’t have. I enjoyed feeling like I was going up or downhill to match the resistance. If you want to feel like you’re actually outside riding, the incline and decline does simulate real rides. Because Google Maps is included, riders can even practice routes ahead of races.
The ride is quiet due to the inertia-enhanced 32-pound flywheel. The S22i is constructed out of commercial-grade steel, and the core feels generally solid. I did notice the handlebars and monitor shake slightly when I was standing out of the saddle. It didn’t bother me much, but this is something to note if you tend to rely heavily on the handlebars while cycling.
The screen is a 22-inch HD touchscreen with recently improved graphics and processor cooling. To find a ride, you simply tap on the screen and choose a workout. The screen shows five different metrics while cycling – incline, watts, time elapsed, cadence, and resistance. I enjoyed being able to see all the data during my workout. I found no issues with the display, and it made it easier to stay engaged during my ride.
The actual operation of the bike is fairly simple. However, I do not like that you have to unplug the entire bike after you’re finished using it as recommended by NordicTrack. The reboot (when you want to use it next) requires a few minutes to get restarted. It is supposed to preserve the life of the bike but it is inconvenient.
NordicTrack S22i Numbers
63” L x 22” W x 60” H
24 Digital Resistance Levels
Caged but compatible with standard road bike pedals
22” Smart HD Touchscreen
Dual 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz Wi-Fi Connectivity
The warranty for the S22i is average – 10 years for the frame, 2 years for the parts, and 1 year for labor.
You’re able to return the NordicTrack S22i within 30 days upon receipt. However, you’ll be charged a 10% restocking fee and $250 in shipping costs.
Customer Reviews of the NordicTrack S22i
Customers love the NordicTrack S22i for the automatic adjustment of resistance, incline, and decline to match the ride. iFit is another favorite amongst owners for its fun and engaging programming. I also noticed other owners enjoyed the silent magnetic resistance system.
On the other hand, people disliked assembly being complicated and requiring another person to assist. There were also a few complaints about the handlebars wobbling when pressure was put on them.
Final Verdict of Our NordicTrack S22i Review
The bottom line: I enjoyed testing the NordicTrack S22i. It is technologically advanced and the programming with iFit is solid. The automatic trainer that adjusts incline, decline, and resistance is a huge plus for people trying to mimic real trail rides or hills. I’m not the biggest fan of the mediocre warranty and expensive return policy.
Overall, if you’re looking for a bike similar to a Peloton with engaging workouts and you don’t mind the price tag, I would definitely recommend the S22i.
NordicTrack S22i FAQs
Some of the most commonly asked questions about this bike are:
Do you need cycling shoes for the NordicTrack S22i?
Cycling shoes are not required for the NordicTrack S22i. The pedals that come with the bike are caged and appropriate for any sneaker. However, you are able to easily purchase separate road bike pedals that will allow you to clip in if you desire.
Does the NordicTrack S22i have live classes?
Yes! The NordicTrack offers both live and pre-filmed classes on the iFit app. To find real-time workouts on the app, click the “Live” button and choose a class that is currently happening. iFit also shows the schedule for the upcoming days so you’re able to join a live workout later in the week.
What other workouts are available on iFit?
Besides cycling, iFit offers a wide variety of fitness classes that are included in the annual subscription fee of $396. You can enjoy yoga, strength training, running, HIIT, and so much more. The iFit app makes cross-training a breeze with so many options.
Does the NordicTrack S22i have a swivel screen for off the bike workouts?
The NordicTrack S22i does have a 360 degree swivel screen for off bike workouts. You can utilize the 22-inch HD touch screen during rides and to stream additional iFit workouts. The screen also is capable of tilting up and down.
See more about bikes in our review of thebest home gym equipment.
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