When it comes to a home fitness bike, there are two major players — Peloton and NordicTrack. Both companies are well-known in the home gym market and offer great hardware paired with robust virtual training programs. Which fitness bike is better — the NordicTrack S22i or the Peloton Bike+? We break it down so you can choose the home exercise bike that best fits your needs.
Peloton is a relative newcomer to the home gym market, launching its first bike in 2013. It may be the new kid on the block, but the company acts like a veteran. Peloton’s Bike+ and the NordicTrack 22i include rotating HD touchscreens, integrated speakers, and magnetic resistance instead of mechanical flywheels. Both bikes have a similar build quality and are heavy with solid construction. You feel like you could ride these bikes as hard as you can without breaking them.
This category is a toss-up because both the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ are ready to take a licking and keep on ticking.
One significant difference between the two bikes is how they control resistance. The Peloton uses a manual knob to gradually change the resistance, while the NordicTrack uses a digital +/- keypad. NordicTrack’s keypad is a bit easier to adjust resistance in set increments, but you have finer control with Peloton’s knob. Both bikes offer auto-resistance that changes automatically in sync with the workout.
Peloton gets the nod in this category for its manual controls. Sometimes NordicTrack’s resistance settings are off just enough that one setting is too hard and the next one down is too low. With Peloton, that is never an issue because you can dial in just the right amount of resistance.
Incline and decline
The S22i also has a power incline and decline feature that makes it feel like you are riding up or down a hill. The bike physically moves up and down, forcing you to change your body position as you ride. This provides a more natural feeling than simply increasing the resistance to simulate a hill climb. The NordicTrack S22i automatically adjusts upwards to a 20-degree incline and down to a 10-degree decline. Peloton, in comparison, uses only resistance to simulate hill climbs. Resistance does increase your effort but it doesn’t force you to adjust your stance, a critical factor in optimizing how efficiently you climb or descend hilly terrain.
The NordicTrack S22i is the clear winner when it comes to simulating hill climbs and descents.
The NordicTrack S22i ships with standard bike pedals with age clips that’ll accommodate any shoe. The Peloton Bike+, however, is equipped with Delta Clips, so you must have compatible biking shoes to ride it.
We give the edge to the NordicTrack S22i here, as not everyone wants to purchase a pair of special bike shoes for an at-home bike workout.
iFit and NordicTrack focus on bringing the outdoors to your inside activity. iFit films workouts from a rider’s perspective in a variety of locations. You can follow a trainer as they weave through the city or climb the mountain trails of Moab. Peloton has a limited number of outdoor riding sessions, and they are not as immersive as the iFit options. Peloton, though, provides a more robust studio experience with many trainers and live online classes. You can easily follow a trainer you like and enjoy new content regularly.
There is no clear winner in the workout category, as it comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer first-person rides through different terrains? Then choose the iFit-powered NordicTrack S22i. iFit has spent a lot of time and effort recording videos in exotic locations. You’ll love it if you want to virtually experience diverse landscapes while working out. If you want gym-based workouts that let you exercise remotely with other people, then go with Peloton, which has top-notch live online classes.
Apple Watch integration
When it comes to the Apple Watch, Peloton has a clear advantage. The Bike+ supports Apple’s Gymkit API, which allows you to pair your Apple Watch to the Bike+ and share information between the two devices. You can use the Watch’s heart rate sensor instead of a chest strap when working out. Just fire up the workout, and the Apple Watch will connect automatically. Gymkit also allows you to view workout stats like speed and calories on your Watch and then save this data into the Watch’s Activity app. The NordicTrack S22i does not offer any integration with the Apple Watch or other fitness wearables.
The weight limit of each bike is essential for knowing which to buy, especially for those with a taller and larger frame. The NordicTrack S22i has a slight edge over the Peloton Bike+. Peloton maxes out at 297 pounds, while the S22i supports up to 350 pounds. This higher weight limit expands the number of people who can use the bike. Do you have a football-playing brother who is built like a tank? You can let him hop on your NordicTrack S22i bike without worrying about it breaking.
Both the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ require a monthly subscription that adds to the bike’s overall cost. Overall, NordicTrack offers a better deal. The fitness company ships the S22i with a one-year free trial to iFit, a savings of $180. Peloton doesn’t offer a similar discount when you purchase a piece of exercise equipment. The company begins charging customers the $39 monthly fee right away.
Once the iFit trial expires, NordicTrack owners can choose between a less expensive individual plan ($15 per month) or a $39 monthly family plan. iFit also offers a yearly option that costs $180 for an individual or $396 for a family. Peloton offers a single monthly subscription that lets you add multiple profiles to your account. There is no cheaper individual-only option for those who may not need multiple profiles. Both iFit and NordicTrack work across multiple devices, so one account can be used on a bike, treadmill, and elliptical.
Cost and warranty
NordicTrack’s S22i is slightly less expensive, with a final cost of $1,999 or $52 per month on a payment plan. Peloton’s Bike+ is priced higher at $2,495 or $59 per month. The S22i also includes two 3-pound dumbbells for use with select off-bike exercises. Peloton has similar all-body workouts, but you need to supply your own dumbbells.
If you are concerned about longevity, then you should look closely at the NordicTrack S22i. The NordicTrack S22i comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, a two-year parts warranty, and a one-year labor warranty. The Peloton Bike+, on the other hand, comes only with a 12-month limited warranty.
Both the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ are great fitness bikes. They lead the way in features, build quality, and the breadth of their fitness library. The NordicTrack S22i targets the casual bike rider with standard pedals and outdoor rides that appeal to a broader audience. The Peloton Bike+ is for hardcore enthusiasts who already have biking shoes and enjoy competitive indoor workouts. You can’t go wrong with either bike. Whichever one you choose, you’ll enjoy many miles of inside training.
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