NordicTrack leads the world in exercise equipment sales. Launched in the 1970s, the brand took off with its innovative cross-country ski machines. In the 1990s they added stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers and other fitness machines. A lot of the components of their products are made in China, but the company is headquartered in Utah. Customer service is based in the US.
Is this brand right for you? Our brand review considers all three types of NordicTrack exercise bikes: upright bikes, recumbent bikes and indoor cycle trainers. Details can be found below but here’s a quick takeaway:
- NordicTrack upright and recumbent bikes are loaded with programming for workouts and entertainment, but they have relatively light flywheels. They’re best for people looking to lose weight or keep fit. They aren’t meant for super-strong people or avid bikers seeking a realistic road bike sensation. A top choice is the recumbent Commercial VR25 Elite with 25-pound flywheel and web-enabled touchscreen.
- NordicTrack indoor cycle trainers are the opposite of the above. Programming and high-tech features are absent from some of their bikes, but these bikes have heavy flywheels with chains. They can provide more resistance and replicate the feel of outdoor training.
Shipping is included with the purchase price from NordicTrack when purchasing direct. When online sales are running, the prices for these products range from $399 to $1299. The regular MSRPs range from $799 to $1599. Here are pros and cons about these purchases.
- Recumbent Bike Comfort: NordicTrack recumbent bikes are comfortable to ride. The saddles on the NordicTrack Commercial VR23 and VR25 Elite are more like chairs than traditional bike seats. They are cushioned and ventilated.
- Resistance Levels: The recumbent and upright stationary bikes provide a good range of resistance levels for beginners and mid-level exercisers. Changes on these models are made digitally. On the cycle trainers, the upper resistance levels are much more powerful. Changes are made with a knob.
- Built-In Workouts: NordicTrack stationary and recumbent bikes include a minimum of 28 workouts designed by certified personal trainers. Each can be used at the bikes’ different resistance levels. The workouts support three objectives: calorie burn, endurance and performance.
- iFit Workouts: iFit is available on all NordicTrack exercise bikes this year, with the exception of the cycle trainers. An iFit subscription takes your fitness regime online, letting you virtually ride your bike anywhere mapped by Google Maps! You’ll also get to download a customized workout every day.
- Browse the Web: NordicTrack makes it easy to surf the web during workouts. The Commercial VR25 Elite and GX 4.6 Pro have web-enabled touch-screens, and their simpler counterparts — the Commercial VR23 and GX 4.4 Pro — work with your tablet computer.
- Extra-Wide Pedals: Extra-wide pedals are included on the upright and recumbent NordicTracks. Foot straps and toe cages are included on all models.
- Wireless Heart Rate Monitors: The top NordicTrack bike models have complete Bluetooth heart rate monitoring systems. On lower-priced models you need to provide your own chest strap. Grip heart rate readers are built into the bikes’ handlebars too.
- Self-Adjusting Fans: Catch the perfect breeze! Most NordicTrack exercise bikes have AutoBreeze fans that respond to your speed.
- Water Bottle Holders: Most NordicTrack exercise bikes have a water bottle holder conveniently built into the console.
- Transport Wheels: Thanks to front-mounted wheels, all NordicTrack bikes are easy to move from room to room.
- High Capacity: User weight capacities range from 250 to 350 pounds.
- Compact Size: NordicTrack exercise bikes demand relatively little space. A typical footprint measures about 5’ x 2’.
- Warranty: NordicTrack warranties can be pretty good deals. For example, if you buy the Commercial VR23 at the discount price of $799, and it breaks down just after the three-year parts warranty expires, you’ll have paid about 72 cents/day.
- Flywheels: Some NordicTrack bikes have 19-pound to 25-pound flywheels. They provide enough resistance for lots of riders, but not for everyone. These bikes might give you the sensation of riding in a too-low gear.
- Two Extremes: We’d love to see a NordicTrack bike that combines a weighty flywheel with tons of programming and an Internet connection. This year though, we need to choose between a serious drive and fancy electronics. The best compromise is the NordicTrack Commercial VR25 Elite.
Who Should Buy a NordicTrack Exercise Bike?
The Bottom Line
NordicTrack offers heavy bicycle drives and high-tech programming, but not all in one place. The average person could get enough challenge from a bike such as the Commercial VR25 Elite and be entertained at the same time. However, they won’t feel as if they’re riding a road bike. We hope the company offers a hybrid of these products in 2016.