With the pandemic forcing us into a long-distance relationship with our local gym, people have sought home workout alternatives. This had led to the recent boom of smart gym equipment, technology-packed exercise machines offering interactive sweat sessions all from the comfort of your house. NordicTrack Fitness is one of the leading brands of this movement, providing premium personal training devices including treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals and rowers. We were fortunate enough to be given one of their most popular products for testing – the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle – and let us tell you, the ol’ stationary bike has seen some serious innovation over the past few years.
Hardware and Design
Once considered rudimentary warm-up equipment, NordicTrack has built a stationary bike for the 21st century. Upon arrival, you can’t help but admire its sleek and slender design. Measuring 1.4 by 0.56 metres, the bike is surprisingly compact, making it an ideal fit for any room size. And if you don’t have a separate space, the cycles gorgeous aesthetic will complement your interior design rather than stick out like a sore thumb like other products on the market.
Fitted on the front is a 360-degree, 22-inch, rotating and tilting display screen, which has been built to promote ease of use during cross-training workouts. Unlike the limitations of traditional exercise bikes, the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle offers full-body training during particular sessions and even includes dumbbell racks to store your weights. In our eyes, this was a game-changer, particularly for us upper-body obsessed blokes, who would usually question purchasing a traditional bike due to its sole focus on cardio and legs.
Jumping in the saddle, the ergonomic, padded seats adjust both horizontally and vertically, with the handlebars able to be adjusted vertically as well. Equipped with adjustable pedals to fit regular footwear, more advanced riders can easily swap in their own clip-in pedals. As we began to push and pull, one thing we noticed straight away was how quiet and smooth the bike is. NordicTrack claims that this results from the inertia-enhanced flywheel with built-in SMR (Silent Magnetic Resistance) technology. While that may seem like some scientific mumbo jumbo, we know for sure that you don’t have to worry about waking up the household if you’re an early riser.
This is where the fun really begins! The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is powered by iFIT software technology that delivers live and on-demand studio classes as well as immersive guided workouts across 51 global destinations. Whether you’re in the mood for a fast-paced indoor session or an outdoor ride through the mountains of Europe, iFIT’s highly motivational personal trainers have you covered. And while the beautiful scenery of lakes and hills is a great way to distract you from the burning sensation in your quads, it’s the simplicity and real-world cycling technology that had us hooked.
Taking the guesswork out of fitness, iFIT’s automatic terrain matching technology is what truly separates this bike from its competitors. The S22i offers a 20% incline and 10% decline, allowing for a more true-to-life outdoor riding experience. This allows users to target different muscle groups that aren’t usually engaged in a standard stationary bike. Furthermore, your personal trainer remotely changes the incline settings throughout the workout, so you only have to focus on churning those legs. Now for all you beasts out there, don’t stress – participants can still manually customise resistance and incline.
Workout lengths range from 15 – 75 minutes, with 73 live Studio Sessions taking place each week. During each workout, you’ll be able to measure your performance on the digital leaderboard. An underrated feature, we found this tool great for accountability and a bit of competitive spirit. If you’re not in the mood for a class, there’s a manual option that gives you the ability to write the rules for your own workout.
A month in, and we still love our S22i. NordicTrack has produced a versatile exercise bike that will keep you motivated and engaged, from its library of workouts to the extensive list of well-renowned personal trainers. Packed with high-tech innovation, the S22i creates an authentic biking experience enjoyed at your own convenience. And the best part is: it’s so simple to use. Whether you’re a first-timer or a two-wheel veteran, NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is a must-have for those wanting to elevate their home exercise routine.