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NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is the stuff exercise bike dreams are made of. Here's why your home gym needs one, pronto...

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review
(Image: © NordicTrack)

Our Verdict

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is the pinnacle of at-home exercise bikes. With a giant HD screen, personal trainer guidance and the ability to free-ride using real world mapping, this exercise machine does it all. Of course the price reflects that, so prepare to pay handsomely.

For

  • 22-inch HD touchscreen
  • iFit subscription
  • Clip-in pedals
  • HR monitoring
  • Upper body exercises too

Against

  • Expensive
  • Installation costs extra

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is, as the name suggests, everything you could ever want from a pro-grade indoor bike, but one that you can have in your home to workout whenever you want. It's made by one of the best exercise bike brands in the world, and has plenty of training options to ensure that you actually use it... and don't leave it to gather dust in a corner of your bedroom.

NordicTrack is a big name in the world of exercise equipment, and also dominates our list of the best treadmills for running and walking indoors. The S22i Studio Cycle is also a beautiful looking machine, especially with its lavish 22-inch HD touchscreen. There's plenty more features to enjoy too, including quite yet powerful magnetic resistance, a sturdy yet compact steel frame, and a variety of workout challenges to get your upper body involved in your workout. That alone means it's very effective for cardio workouts that target your whole body.

So, is the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle worth the outlay? Time to find out...

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review: overview

Of course we'd be remiss to go on about this bike without mentioning that it's very expensive. It has an RRP of $2,999, but we regularly see it on sale for $1,999. So yes it costs a lot but, for reasons we'll go into below shortly, it's worth it for exercising at home to the level you're used to in the gym.

Actually, the ability to use clip-in cycle shoes should give you a clue as to what level this stunning exercise bike is aimed at, but that's not to say a dedicated beginner won't be able to get a lot out of the S22i Studio Cycle. 

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle: Specs

Design: Spin

Workout modes: 22

Supported weight: 350 lbs

Warranty: Up to 10 years

Thanks to heart rate monitoring, the bike can even adapt the various levels on offer to suit your riding abilities, all to help you set new fitness goals, then smash them. Of course, if you're keen to set new activity goals, we'd recommend drafting in one of the best fitness trackers to motivate you daily.

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review: design

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle has a pretty clear stand-out feature, and that's the 22-inch HD touchscreen. Yup, the same size as a Peloton bike. This can display personal trainers or videos of real-world rides (more on that below).

The bike is 55-inches long and 22-inches wide, making it a bit more compact than some of the competition, so ideal for smaller homes. It features magnetic resistance thanks to an inertia-enhanced flywheel with 22 levels to pick from. 

If you get too carried away you'll be able to reach for the big bright emergency stop button. This feels like a feature to make it feel more like a real gym bike, rather than something you'd actually need, but it's still fun.

Another reassuring feature is the warranty, which lasts up to 10 years on the frame, two years for parts, and one year for labor. But at 200lbs heavy, this beast is built to last. That said, the S22i Studio Cycle does come with transport wheels to make it easy enough to shift around your home as needed. 

You also get two water bottle holders, iPod-compatible speakers, multi-grip handlebars, and a built-in auto adjusting fan to keep you cool while you exercise.

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review: features

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle uses iFit as its main workout platform. That means there are no built-in training options for use on the bike as it is. Thankfully, the S22i comes with one year of iFit included, so you can access over 1,500 workouts straight out of the box. These include guided workouts with a trainer who will turn up your bike's resistance and add incline climbs, so all you have to do is keeping pedaling.

Or more than pedal, actually, as this bike comes with a set of 3lb dumbbells to work your arms. The S22i Studio Cycle's screen flips 180-degrees too, enabling you to follow along with more complete body workouts that target your upper body as well as your legs. That includes yoga through the iFit trainers you'll have access to with this membership.

You can also create your own ride routes using Google Maps. This enables you to cycle along as if you were following real routes out in the world, anywhere on the planet that Google covers, which is most places.

The exercise bike's handlebars have built in pulse sensors too, though you could use a Bluetooth chest strap if you prefer. There are caged pedals that can be swapped out for road bike pedals so that you can use clip-in shoes. The saddle is fully adjustable for height and angles to increase your in-ride comfort.

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review: performance

That NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is a superb way to train indoors, with that iFit app working on the bike and on your smartphone for activity tracking. The classes can be intense or gentle, depending on the level you select. The fact that everything is adjusted for you makes it super-easy for beginners to get going with, in that you just have to show up and stay on the bike.

The video rides are a great addition too, enabling you to head off on a virtual ride with a guide. This could be a former Olympian athlete or a fellow cyclist, for example, who chats to you (not in real time) throughout the ride. It feels like you're getting to know them while also gaining great tips and guidance to elevate your workout.

The magnetic resistance is super-smooth and steady on the S22i Studio Cycle, and creates a great virtual incline or decline with resistance and spin. Combine that with clip-in pedals and this can really feel like you're out riding your favorite bike. Short of the wind in your face. Well, we say that, but this bike does have a fan, which automatically adjusts power to suit your workout level, pushing out more of a breeze the faster you go. 

Of course you can just go for a ride by yourself and adjust things such as the resistance and power by using the bike's simple twist and pull system. Slope settings range from -10 to 22 percent, while there are 22 resistance levels to select from. 

NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review: verdict

If you want a gym-level, spin-class capable exercise bike, the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is for you. It isn't cheap, and yes you have to commit to an iFit membership to get the most out of it, but when you consider how well this takes you through a ride, and other exercises, at home, it earns its price tag. Just turn up and let the bike guide you through how to reach your health and fitness goals.

The backing of a decent warranty, upper body workouts and very quiet running all add to the appeal of this capable bike. There have been reports of poor customer service by some people though, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, this is a very tough exercise bike to beat, even if your company's name is Peloton.