NordicTrack Commercial Studio Bike S22i Review
Advanced technology has taken workouts to another level. With the ‘connected fitness’ movement, health buffs can now take part in live and interactive exercise classes with knowledgeable trainers and some help from the internet.
Brands like NordicTrack are playing significant roles in its popularity thanks to the brand’s high-tech fitness equipment. Just recently, NordicTrack Australia was kind enough to loan me a Studio Bike SS2i.
In this review, I am going to describe my experience with the Studio Bike SS2i. Finally, I was able to enjoy the greatness of this unit!
Keep reading and discover why this sophisticated exercise bike has found its way to the top of most fitness enthusiasts’ lists.
NordicTrack Studio Bike S22i: The Specs
The NordicTrack Studio Bike S22i model deserves its raves because this equipment is a thing of beauty – wonderfully crafted, stylish, and ultra-modern. The monitor is quite huge! This is a good thing because there’s no need to squint when you’re on board. The bigger screen also maximises the benefits of ‘connected fitness’ through iFit. You will really feel involved once you get going with the online exercise classes and cycling routes.
As a fan of spin bikes, NordicTrack pretty much took the exercise bike build and design to the next level. Apart from the high-tech features, it also made riding a spin bike a very smooth, straightforward experience thanks to the addition of iFit. Furthermore, there’s no need to wear cleats while using this exercise bike. You can also change its pedals to SPD ones.
Let us go back to the 22-inch screen. It’s very responsive and its resolution crisp and clear. Together with surround sound, you will feel yourself become one with your workout. That’s the motivation I’m after. I have to be totally immersed in the experience to get better results. The screen can be rotated and tilted as well according to your preference.
The use of SMR or silent magnetic resistance is another plus. Whether you work out early in the morning or late at night, it won’t pose as a disturbance to mates or fams sleeping in or working from home. As for its power incline, the incline has a nice range from -10% to 20%. This is great if you want your training to be hardcore. You will feel the burn in your body.
Sweat is a given during exercises but the fan is a welcome bonus for it makes workouts more pleasant. Anything that cools me down is a nice plus!
NordicTrack Studio Bike SS2i: The Features
The Studio Bike SS2i is the result of serious, well-thought engineering. It’s solidly built, has a noiseless drive train, and offers stability during a workout.
Strong steel material makes up the base, posts, and stabilisers. Plastic moulding covers crisscrossing joints and post shafts while all wires and cables are positioned within the bike.
The exercise bike features 3 adjustment points so you can modify it to a bike fit that suit your preferences. The Forward and Aft adjustment is there to move the saddle forward and back and it’s located on the seat carriage. The Up and Down adjustment raises the handlebars to a preferable height, and it’s found in the handlebar post. There is another Up and Down adjustment in the stem post too, and it’s used to lower the seat carriage.
If you want to tilt the seat for a bit, whether up or down, you can loosen the bolt found on the carriage seat. Once you find a proper angle, re-tighten the thing using a wrench.
The exercise bike has the looks of a road bike – the handlebars are positioned in line with the saddle. The handlebars jut out forward parallel to the floor thus riders lean forward during the exercise. This might take some getting used to but what you will get is a better engagement of the glutes and hamstrings.
To accommodate most riders, the bike also features a 63.5 cm span from the seat tube to the head tube whenever the ‘bars are adjusted at their lowermost height, which is parallel to the saddle. The span will increase once you lift the seat and it will decrease when the seat is pulled forward.
The saddle feels alright to me but my partner finds it a bit narrow to his liking. If you prefer something more comfortable, the saddle can be replaced with a compatible exercise bike seat. The pedals meanwhile are flat and come with cages so your feet won’t slip during workouts. You can also replace the pedals with SPD ones if you prefer.
The flywheel for the S22i weighs a good 13 kg which is substantial for an indoor studio bike. Paired with the model’s use of magnetic resistance, workouts in this studio bike feel more efficient. This is due to the combined magnetic resistance and a heavier flywheel.
The use of magnetic resistance in this model adds up to the overall cost of the exercise bike because it is one of the most expensive resistance types. However, let me tell you, if you are not too keen on spending on replacements in the future, the initial investment pays off very well.
The S22i does not have friction points and brake pads on its flywheel and belt – thus, you won’t have to spend on replacement parts due to wear and tear.
We love magnetic resistance because it makes for noise-free workouts. No friction nor contact happens when studio bikes make use of this mechanism. It can be measured and calibrated as well thus it’s capable of delivering accurate and consistent 24 resistance levels.
As I have mentioned earlier, what struck me about the NordicTrack Studio Bike S22i is its sizable touchscreen. This for me is the highlight of the studio bike – very impressive, you have to see it for yourself! The screen is settled several inches behind the bike’s handlebars.
It is quite accessible – at arm’s reach but it did not get in the way of my headspace while using the exercise bike. However, if you feel like it’s sitting too close to your face, do check the position of your saddle and see if your knees aren’t placed excessively forward while riding the bike.
The display is crisp, clear, and shows excellent graphics. The resolution is very adjustable – just go to the main menu icon and select equipment settings to increase or reduce screen brightness. It has settings that are the standard for internet connections with moderate speeds.
The screen has rotating capabilities and it can be tilted up and down as well so you can choose the best angle and height. This is very helpful since this means it can accommodate different user heights and also allows users to avoid screen glare from overhead lighting.
The rotating screen also makes exercises off the bike more convenient especially when doing yoga training from one of the iFit programs.
The touchscreen is responsive, accessible, and easy to work with. It has all of the iFit features and onboard programs accessible thus there’s no need to fiddle with buttons on the screen bevel or the exercise bike. I appreciate this feature very much!
Modifying incline and resistance levels, stat readouts, screen settings, and volume are easy to do through the intuitive touchscreen.
The handlebars of the Nordictrack Studio Bike S22i feature a grip bar extension that angles up slightly on either side, a horizontal grip bar, and a tri-position resting loop.
It is covered with grip material that has a soft, spongy feel. The design and the comfort level that the handlebars bring out to allow for a better riding position during exercises.
There is a 47 cm space between the handlebar grips, thus you have sufficient span between the handlebars for appropriate resting form.
For wide-shouldered users, opt for the bar grip while the horizontal grip bar is ideal for smaller users. The depth of the handlebars is also enough for fast access to the QuickTouch controls.
A pair of 1.4 kg weights rest between the screen and the handlebars. This is really convenient when you need to use the weights while spinning. I prefer my weights in front of me as opposed to having them behind the seat. Maybe it’s just me but my hands move awkwardly when reaching for weights from the back.
The Incline and Decline
Exercise bikes from NordicTrack are singled out for including a nice incline and decline range apart from resistance levels. Its rear stabiliser comes with a motor that raises and lowers the frame of the bike to mimic real slopes and declines. Your workout will feel like you are sweating it out with a bike outdoors.
If you want more challenges to your workouts, the variety of the incline and decline is crucial. Along with resistance, incline and decline adjustments stimulate and strengthen your lower body’s major muscle groups.
Including incline and decline settings will also further facilitate the burning of calories once paired with resistance since it intensifies your workouts. There is more metabolic stimulus if you work with this pair – it’s like a shortcut, but with triple the intensity.
The Studio Bike S22i features 24 resistance levels, which is sufficient for me. You can adjust resistance levels using the QuickTouch control on the touchscreen or bar grip. My favourite though is picking any of the iFit workout programs and letting the trainer-led program auto-adjust the inclination and resistance. I never had to worry about adjusting any of those, just immersing myself in the ride as if I were truly riding a bike in the Bahamas.
The iFit App Plus Workouts
If you want to do your workouts, you can perform so with the manual workout. There is a track and stat bar that shows stats and distance. The incline and resistance can be modified manually as well.
Incorporating Google Maps images in full colour is another highlight that I appreciate in this hardworking studio bike. You can try various terrain from a nice selection of locales – from the coasts of Cambodia to lakes in Italy. Display options include Map View, Street View, Rotate, and Satellite.
Whenever you ride the bike, the images update themselves every few seconds. The bike will also modify the incline and resistance automatically to go with the terrain you chose.
In-System Music Station
You can choose the in-system music station or ride your way to health and fitness using your selected tunes or podcasts. The system music station comes from Feed.Fm and you can choose to play either Global Hits, Rock, Dance/EDM or Downtempo Yoga.
Preset workouts will show a graph of the exercise including strength, interval, calorie burn, and speed. The studio bike will modify the incline and resistance to correspond with your chosen routine. These preset workouts differ in terms of intensity and length.
Other top workout features that you will enjoy are the Featured Workout of the Day and the Tour de France stage maps and images.
Free 30-Day Trial Membership
There is a free trial of 30-day iFit Family membership that can save up to 5 profiles. The indoor bike itself was designed to accommodate iFit functionality. The iFit database spans a wide variety of workout options – you will never get bored with this one. There is a new challenge for you to tackle practically every day.
Personal Trainer-Led Classes
Workouts for iFit include Personal Trainer-Led Cycling Classes, Outdoor Routes All Over the World, Studio-Based Combo Classes, and Studio-Based Classes for Off the Bike. The Personal Trainer-Led Cycling Classes are shot in a studio and it features a trainer, the S22i user, and other program participants.
Classes are varied – users can opt to perform HIIT routines, interval training, calorie-burning workouts, sprint sessions, hill climbing workouts, and the like. The participants for this workout are real and you will really feel like you are going to an actual studio session. The app will keep track of your stats and you can also choose to compete with other iFit members through the Leaderboard.
The Studio-Based Combo Classes feature is perfect for users who love a bit of variety in their workout routines. Options include exercises wherein users ride for some part of the exercise, do weights or plyometrics off the bike, then cycle once more.
The workout is filmed in a studio like the trainer-led program. The Studio-Based Classes for Off the Bike feature a nice range of classes as well from strength training, workouts for expectant mothers, and even yoga.
Trainers for this specific iFit workout are very motivating and they will inspire you to MOVE. The bike will also modify itself accordingly to whatever the trainer is currently performing. For instance, if you are doing hill climbs, the exercise bike will adjust the incline automatically.
iFit also automates the resistance – users, on the other hand, manage the speed. The resistance and incline change automatically to correspond with the grade and terrain.
Should you feel like adjusting it yourself, you can always reach for the manual controls on the handlebars or touchscreen to forgo automation. Classes can be on-demand or done live. The music for the workouts, though, is pre-programmed and it’s not built into the classes.
Outdoor Routes Of The World meanwhile is the high point of the app. Users get to experience loads of extensive rides throughout the globe. You can go to a cycling route in Patagonia or head south to Chile if you want a different thrill.
One thing I can say about these rides is the videography – it’s first-rate and very remarkable. NordicTrack indeed put plenty of hard work into their iFit-powered equipment. It’s top class – at times iFit will also provide a drone shot of the area while users ride. This is an experience that fitness buffs need to get into themselves – believe me, the iFit global rides will take your fitness game to another level.
Users follow a trainer who cycles ahead of the trail while another cyclist rides behind, toting a camera. You have to keep track of the route from this perspective so you get to check out and hear what the trainer does.
The Studio Bike S22i includes an AutoBreeze workout fan for comfier workouts. Any breeze is welcome during tough exercises so fatigue will not get the best of us. The fans are fastened beneath the screen and it generates decent airflow. You can also modify the fan direction by simply tilting the screen.
As I have mentioned earlier, the indoor bike also comes with two 1.4 kg weights which are placed on a tray situated between the screen and the handlebars. You can easily reach for those items when needed for specific exercises.
Hydration is also a priority for the brand – for storage, the bike includes two storage cups which are found beneath the handlebars for easy access. The size of the storage is enough to accommodate medium-size water bottles and other essentials.
Low Noise Level
One of the best things about the NordicTrack Studio S22i is its noiseless operations due to its magnetic resistance. It will not generate a lot of noise during use. The bike does release a sound during incline adjustment, however, the noise is minimal at best. The sound level is pretty similar to the sound of a treadmill whenever it declines or inclines.
The speakers are high-quality and give me excellent pick-me-up whenever I play my favourite workout tunes. But it might be a bit loud for other people inside the room since the speakers are positioned at the rear of the screen.
Nevertheless, you can always adjust the volume by tapping on the screen – settings for music, trainer volume and system sounds will pop up. Just click the [X] button on the top left corner to exit after you are done with the settings.
Compact Design & Transportable
The Studio Bike S22i is not the foldable type. Since it’s quite heavy, it has quality wheels located on the front stabiliser. You can move it easily by tipping the bike and wheel it across the floor surface. Despite its heaviness, it has a compact design so it will not require plenty of room in your home.
Delivery and Installation
Winning Services is the assembly and delivery partner for NordicTrack’s fitness equipment. I am unsure if they are the courier partner for delivery all over Australia but I live in Melbourne and the exercise bike was installed by them.
The installer got in touch just before delivering the spin bike to my apartment so they can create a plan to guarantee a smooth delivery of the fitness equipment. A few pieces of the exercise bike were on the heavy side so the whole job will require the help of two people. The exercise bike has its user manual for the step-by-step instructions but you can also ask for additional help if you want to guarantee a correct installation of the S22i.
If you want to do the job yourself, you can also get the BILT app for additional reference. It features full details complete with 3D images for assembling and installing the pieces. The BILT app also provides instructions for maintenance and repairs of the S22i. You can download the app at Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Winning Services does not disappoint. They did a flawless job and made sure my place was free of all the Styrofoam and plastics that come with the equipment. They also laid out a mat on the floor so the bike will not scratch its surface. They did a clean, thorough job and I was impressed with their meticulous, swift operations.
I would say it is definitely worth it to add on the assembly fee of $165 (accurate at the time of writing) at checkout to avoid unnecessary headaches by assembling the equipment yourself. It is better to leave it to the experts.
What I Like About the NordicTrack Studio Bike S22i & Things to Consider
- There’s no need to wear cleats but if you prefer, you can choose to replace the pedals with SPD pedals.
- Height can be adjusted easily so it accommodates plenty of user types.
- Includes a short program/video in iFit on how to establish rider ergonomics for a comfortable, more successful workout.
- Virtually noise-free operations during workouts.
- Has a compact size so it will not require too much room.
- Includes a rotating screen so you can still perform routines properly off-bike.
- Screen has solid, crisp, and clear graphics.
- Sporty and sleek modern design.
- Can hold 2 water bottle holders.
- Delivers smooth power incline.
- Includes a convenient small shelf for your phone and other small workout essentials.
- Comes with 2x 1.4kg dumbbells placed in a convenient spot for easy access.
- No external wiring except for power cord.
- Does not have an On and Off button, unlike the brand’s elliptical and treadmill. May take some getting used to.
- Live classes are run from the U.S. thus if you’re from Australia like me, the earliest live classes that we can participate in is 8 in the evening Melbourne time. If your schedule does not allow it, you may have to consider the preset iFit programs instead
- You have to pay for a monthly subscription once your 30-day trial period expires. If you want to experience the full benefits of the studio bike, it is better if you get a subscription.
- The saddle seat can feel a tad uncomfortable for beginners. I suggest wearing bike shorts particularly if you are new to exercise bikes.
The bottom line is, the NordicTrack Studio Bike S22i deserves its raves. The engineering is impressive and it’s built to satisfy fitness enthusiasts who want to maintain their workout momentum. There is never a dull moment with the s22i. Once you experience the might of the iFit programs, you will be inspired to get a monthly subscription.
The combination of preloaded workouts, motivational iFit classes and cycling routes provide extensive training indoors. You will never run out of ideas and you will be further pumped by the live classes and helpful assistance from expert trainers.
What’s more, this is the spin bike for you if you live with other folks. Even during incline and decline adjustments, it makes virtually zero noise. If it emits a bit of sound, it is minimal at best, nothing to be concerned about. Its magnetic resistance takes full credit.
I should also mention that you do not need to work out with wires getting in your way – the S22i has internal wiring and it’s built with a streamlined design as well so even though it has a larger screen, the bike will not get in your (or somebody else’s) way during workouts.
Other highlights from this top pick include its expansive rotating 22-inch touchscreen, the comprehensive iFit workout library, efficient flywheel, and automated incline and decline. This is the best splurge that every fitness buff should make!