Stationary exercise bikes have come a long way. You aren’t going to find many other examples of this outside of the NordicTrack S15i.
For a bike that doesn’t go anywhere, NordicTrack did a good job of making a bike that can really take you places.
It goes beyond the standard wireless music and video features. We’ll break everything down piece by piece so you can see what we mean.
In a hurry?
If you don’t have much time, you can check out the NordicTrack Commercial S15i here
This bike is going to give you a truckload of features at a lower-than-average price, and it’s because of the size of the touchscreen. It’s only 14″, which is mid-range for indoor bikes with screens.
But when you tally up all the other features of the bike, and when you consider that you’re going to have your face in the screen while you work out, the size of the screen is inconsequential. So the impact of the screen size on the price makes this bike a steal.
The bike aims to recreate, as best as possible, the experience of an actual bike ride with friends. The interactive features are phenomenal. Videos available for the touchscreen will adjust the incline of the bike and the resistance, but more on that later.
This is an overall very solid, very well-designed bike that doesn’t get in the way. Plus it’s very, very quiet. Read on to find out why.
14″ Smart HD Touchscreen
Video screens on exercise bikes aren’t all that uncommon these days. But it’s a real plus when it’s a touchscreen.
This one is very reactive and it has quick-touch buttons on the side that can control the resistance and the incline/decline of the bike. No pulling up buried menus when you just want to adjust the experience of your ride a little bit.
One of the ways to keep your rides natural and interesting is to simulate the changing terrain in the outdoor world, and that calls for changing the angle you sit at so that you can feel like you’re going up and down a hill.
This is an incredible and top-of-the-range feature to have on an indoor bike. You see when you’re simulating your ride through one of the videos on iFit, your incline can change to +20%, and your decline changing to -10%.
Like I said, this feature works very closely with the OnDemand videos, but that’s to be discussed down below.
OnDemand Studio Workouts
It’s the middle of winter, it’s thirty-two degrees below zero, and you’re just itching for a bike ride. This is one of those moments when this bike really shines.
You’ll get the first-year-free subscription to a library of videos that work with the different features of your bike. If you’re not able to go out and actually ride a bicycle, you can load up a video of a POV bike ride on different terrain, and here’s the best part:
The bike will simulate the experience by matching the incline/decline and pedal resistance to what’s taking place in the video.
If the video shows you going uphill, the bike will angle up and the pedals will become harder to operate. If you’re flying downhill in the video, the bike will angle down and resistance will be easy.
The library of videos includes TED talks. Maybe you just want to take your mind off the ride or feed your brain during that time. With the TED talks, you can.
There are also cross-training videos for spending part of your time on the bike and part of your time off. This explains the dumbbells.
There are different trainers that you can choose from. If one trainer vibes with you more than another, you can watch their videos and benefit from their instruction and company.
Another degree of interaction is found in the feature of live training sessions and live rides. That’s right. Some things are simulated, and some things are directly connected.
It’s can’t be all pedals all the time. The rest of your body needs love too. Plus shaking up your workout routine will keep things fresh and interesting.
The dumbbells go along with some of the videos in the iFit library that offer either crosstraining or totally off-bike workouts.
They also add some weight to the front end of the bike so that it adds to the overall stability of the bike. This is important when you’re standing up on the pedals in moments that simulate high resistance.
SMR Technology (Silent Magnetic Resistance)
One of the downsides of home exercise equipment has been noise. If you have a treadmill, you know what we mean. You can hear it in the room. You can also hear it downstairs. You can hear it upstairs.
So if you live in a shared space, you may feel that the windows of time in which you can exercise are limited.
The resistance of the bike is done through magnets (22 digital levels to be exact), which means that the ride is completely silent.
You’ll be able to go for a ride in the middle of the night without bothering anyone, assuming you don’t blare the sound through the touchscreen too loud.
Who Is This Bike For?
This bike is very affordable comparing it to other indoor bikes on the market with touchscreens. If you’re fine with the fact that the touchscreen is only 14″, then you’re going to save a lot of money when you go shopping.
We touched on the fact that when you’re riding this bike, the screen is very much in your face. A bigger screen is rather unnecessary.
This bike is also for someone that is looking for a diverse piece of equipment that offers low-impact exercise. Everything about the bike feels smooth.
Now, when it comes to indoor bikes, I do generally like to see a flywheel weight anywhere above 39lbs (18kgs) as this means that you’ll get a more smooth and ‘road-like’ feel to your cycling. However, having all that weight on the front end promises stability, and the 32-lb flywheel on this bike is a guarantee that you’re not going to tip the bike over while you’re in the middle of a simulation of an uphill climb.
Apartment dwellers or folks without much living space will especially appreciate this bike.
It doesn’t take much space to store this exercise bike. The footprint is very compact. It doesn’t spread out and eat up a lot of room. There are wheels on the bottom that make it easy to navigate in tight spaces, but these are wheels that engage the floor only when the bike is tilted a certain way.
So the stability of your workout won’t be compromised by you rolling all over the place during a session.
As we touched upon earlier, you’re not going to go waking up your roommates or your family due to the fact that the resistance is set using magnets. There’s no grinding or rubbing, so you can exercise at all hours of the day or the night.
This isn’t your bog-standard indoor bike.
This bike is on the list of anyone looking for some built-in automation. If you want the incline and the decline of the bike to take care of itself, it will. But you have options to fine-tune those things yourself if you like.
Taller or heavier riders might be looking for this bike since it has a 350 lb weight limit. That number is significant when you consider that most other bikes similar to this one have a weight limit that is 50 lbs lighter.
Much of this is due to how much extra weight the bike has on the front end, between the thickness of the monitor, the weight of the flywheel, and the weighted dumbbells themselves.
This is obviously the pick for someone looking for some creature comforts. There’s a fan just beneath the monitor that has four speeds. Low, Medium, High, and — get this — an auto setting that simulates the force of the wind based on how fast you’re pedaling. You can go on lots of adventures without leaving the house.
- Affordable for a bike in its class
- Lots of automated features
- Huge variety of videos available OnDemand
- Interactive rides with others
- The screen swivels side to side for workouts that are off of the bike
- The screen pivots up and down to avoid glare from lights
- The built-in speakers of the touchscreen face away from the rider, projecting sound away, not toward you
- The screen isn’t wobble-proof. If you shift your weight from side to side, the screen may wobble just a little
- The bike requires electricity to work
- The video library requires an internet connection to access
- The video library requires a subscription after a year
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us isolated in our homes, this bike just might be the answer to a prayer. It doesn’t just simulate getting on the bike trail, it connects you with others, whether it’s the trainers that you appreciate following or it’s other riders that have a high score for you to beat.
The only deal breaker we could spot for some people would be the size of the touchscreen. It really is a negligible feature, but there are always those people that think bigger is better.
Some folks also might be turned off by how the speakers of the touchscreen project sound away from you, almost mandating that this bike be set up in a corner. But with Bluetooth connectivity, a set of headphones will take care of that problem easily.
So if you’re stuck at home, this bike could set you free on a number of levels, and not break the bank in the process.
If you have any questions, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you