NordicTrack s22i Bike vs Peloton Bike Comparison

Last Updated: March 21, 2020

These are two of the hottest indoor exercise bikes on the market! With lots of cool options both on the bikes and in the apps, you can get a great workout on either one. But let’s take a detailed look at their overall comfort, design and functionality.

Our Video Review


NordicTrack s22i:

Pros
  • Incline and Decline built into the bike
  • Automated incline/resistance in iFit
  • Innovative frame design
  • Hundreds of outdoor routes
  • Google maps integrated so you can ride anywhere in the world
  • Studio classes on and off the bike
  • Screen swivels and pivots
  • Handlebar control buttons
  • 24 Digital resistance levels
  • Pedals work with any athletic shoe
  • Weights included
  • Fan included
Cons
  • Handlebars feel shallow
  • Only 3 Handlebar positions
  • Screen is heavy
  • Bike frame is heavy due to extra motor
  • Bluetooth will not sync with personal headphones
  • No closed captioning in iFit app
Specifications

Construction: (5 Stars)

  • Frame: Corrosion resistant steel
  • Stabilizers: Front and rear stabilizers
  • 4 Levelers: Two adjustable (2 in back)
  • Pedals: Flat with cages
  • Shoes: Any athletic shoe
  • Flywheel: 32lb weighted 19” diameter
  • Bike weight: 200lb
  • Footprint: 55.0″ L x 21.9″ W x 56.9″ H
  • Rider Size: Not specified
  • Max Weight: 350lbs

Comfort: (4 Stars)

  • Saddle: Moderate comfort
  • Geometry: Moderate comfort
  • Adjustments: 2 seat/1 handlebars
  • Cockpit: 14” handlebars to screen
  • Handlebars: 3 Grip Options, feels narrow
  • Stability: Screen rocks a little

Console: (5 Stars)

  • Screen: 22” High Definition
  • Speakers: Stereo Speakers on back
  • Camera: Built in camera at top of screen
  • Buttons: Incline/Decline and Resistance buttons on handlebars
  • Fan: Yes, under screen
  • Casting: HDMI output on side of screen

Functionality: (5 Stars)

  • Resistance: Magnetic Resistance
  • Adjustment: Button controls on handlebar
  • Levels: Digital levels 1-24
  • Incline: Yes, incline to 20% grade
  • Decline: Yes, decline to -10% grade
  • Automation: Yes in all programs

iFit Subscription: (4 Stars)

  • iFit: $19/mo (includes 1 year free)
  • Captioning: No
  • Classes: Cycling + off bike
  • Outdoor Ride: Yes, hundreds
  • Bluetooth: Yes, phone to speakers
  • Headphones: No, requires an adapter
  • Weights: Yes, 3lb included
  • WiFi: Required to operate app

Warranty: (4 Stars)

  • Frame: 10 Year Warranty
  • Screen: 2 Year Warranty
  • Parts: 2 Year Warranty
  • Labor: 1 Year Warranty



Peloton:

Peloton Pros
  • Comfortable saddle
  • Ergonomic handlebars with four hand positions
  • Light, airy design that looks chic
  • Frame stability; bike doesn’t rock even when riding out of the saddle
  • App is engaging with live classes and leaderboard
  • Screen is bright and clear
  • Bluetooth will sync with headphones
Peloton Cons
  • Resistance knob is not precise as buttons
  • No incline or decline
  • No automated resistance in app; all adjustments must be made manually
  • More expensive with required add-ons such as shoes, cleats and weights
  • No trial period for the app; $39/month starts the first mont
Specifications

Construction: (5 Stars)

  • Frame: Corrosion resistant steel
  • Stabilizers: Front and rear stabilizers
  • 6 Levelers: All adjustable (3 front/back)
  • Pedals: Delta LOOK clip in pedals
  • Shoes: Cycling shoes required
  • Flywheel: 30lb weighted 19” diameter
  • Bike weight: 135lb
  • Footprint: 59” L x 23” W x 53” H
  • Rider Size: 4’11” to 6’5” tall
  • Max Weight: 305lbs

Comfort: (5 Stars)

  • Saddle: Comfortable
  • Geometry: Plenty of space
  • Adjustments: 2 for seat/1 for bars
  • Cockpit: 12” handlebars to screen
  • Handlebars: 4 Grip Options, comfortable
  • Stability: Bike is sturdy, no rocking

Console: (4 Stars)

  • Screen: 22” High Definition
  • Speakers: Stereo Speakers on back
  • Camera: 5.0 Megapixel camera
  • Buttons: None
  • Fan: None
  • Casting: Yes to Smart TV or with Fire Stick

Functionality: (2 Stars)

  • Resistance: Magnetic Resistance
  • Adjustment: Resistance Knob
  • Levels: Digital levels 1-100
  • Incline: None
  • Decline: None
  • Automation: None

Peloton Subscription: (4 Stars)

  • Peloton: $39/month (no free trial)
  • Captioning: Yes; in some classes
  • Classes: Cycling + off bike
  • Outdoor Ride: None, only scenic rides
  • Bluetooth: Yes, phone to speakers
  • Headphones: Yes, syncs with headphones
  • Weights: Yes, but not included
  • WiFi: Required to operate app
  • Chest Strap: Will sync, not included

Warranty: (2 Stars)

  • Frame: 5 Year Warranty
  • Screen: 1 Year Warranty
  • Components: 1 Year Warranty
  • Labor: 1 Year Warranty


Recommendation:

Based on construction, comfort, functionality and cost, we prefer the NordicTrack s22i over the Peloton bike. While both have great features, when compared side-by-side, the s22i is less expensive and gives you more options, such as outdoor routes, Google maps compatibility, automated control in iFit, control buttons on the handlebars, and even a fan in the console. For more detailed information, check out our in-depth review below.

In-depth Comparison of Peloton Bike and NordicTrack s22i

Bike Construction

Peloton Frame Material and Design

The Peloton Bike is a standard, studio exercise bike with a sturdy, steel frame set on front and rear stabilizers. Two wheels on the front stabilizer make it so you can tilt the bike forward and roll it out of the way when needed. There are six adjustable leveling feet (3 under each stabilizer) that can be shortened or lengthened to make sure the bike doesn’t move. We love these adjustable feet. If you’ve ever assembled furniture, you know that your floor and/or the furniture is not always level. There are high and low spots, which can cause things to rock a little even if they look level. The adjustable feet make it so you can place your Peloton bike where you want it and then adjust the feet underneath to make sure each one connects with the floor. The Peloton bike does not move. We are impressed with it’s frame stability.

Peloton Bike Specs

  • Footprint: 59” L x 23” W x 53” H
  • Bike Weight: 135 pounds
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds
  • Incline/Decline: No
  • Construction: Feels solid, looks chic

S22i Frame Material and Design

The NordicTrack s22i also has a steel frame with front and rear stabilizers. It has an extra support beam centered under the frame that connects to each stabilizer. The s22i has two adjustable leveling feet under the rear stabilizer. The front feet are not adjustable. However, the s22i is unique because it will incline and decline to simulate outdoor terrain. A motor attached to the rear stabilizer and an expandable front fork allow the bike to lift and tilt. For this reason, it requires more support under the frame. Whereas the Peloton bike looks light and airy, the s22i is a bit heavier due to the added functionality.
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s22i Specs

  • Footprint: 55.0″ Long x 21.9″ Wide x 56.9″ High
  • Bike Weight: ~200 pounds
  • Max User Weight: 350 pounds
  • Incline/Decline: -10% to + 20% Incline
  • Construction: Sturdy, more support under the frame to provide incline/decline

Peloton Handlebars and cockpit

Peloton has four position handlebars with a soft, spongy grip that isn’t too thick but still offers good cushion. The handlebars angle up slightly so the vertical grips extend in front of the screen.The grips are comfortable and I love the stacked horizontal bars! I find this cockpit space perfect, but it could be a bit compact for taller riders. The angled aero bar offers another forward riding position. We love the design and comfort of the Peloton cockpit and handlebars.

Peloton Handlebars:
Multi-position: 4 positions: 2 stacked horizontal, angled vertical, angled aero arc
Span: 18” between vertical grips
Length: 12” from front of handlebars to end
Distance to screen: 12” from front horizontal grip and screen


S22i Handlebars and cockpit

S22i handlebars offer three positions with one horizontal, vertical grip and angled aero arc. They are also gently padded with a sweat-resistant coating. There are control buttons on the extension grips — resistance on the right and incline on the left. NordicTrack places the weights on the front of the bike between the handlebars and screen. It’s a toss-up whether this is prefered positioning. I personally don’t like the weights in the front, but several other reviewers prefer it, so having them here is a matter of preference. Only one horizontal bar limits your grip options a little. When seated the bar is fine, but when standing, we’d like to see an additional horizontal bar like Peloton has. The angled aero bar is also a little narrow; especially for riders with wider shoulders. The handlebars and cockpit on the s22i are functional, but a tweak here or there could enhance comfort and headspace.

S22i Handlebars:
Multi-position: 3 positions: angled vertical, flat horizontal, angled aero arc
Span: 18” between vertical grips
Length: 12” from front of handlebars to end
Distance to screen: 14” from front horizontal grip to screen


Flywheel

Flywheel weight: Generally, an indoor exercise bike functions best with a heavy, weighted flywheel. You’ll find up to 50 pound flywheels on commercial gym bikes, but these can also be tricky to slow down when they start to spin really fast. 30 pounds is just right for at-home use. Flywheels function by gaining speed as they spin. A properly weighted flywheel then maintains inertia as it rotates so the motion is fluid. If the flywheel is not heavy enough, it has a hard time maintaining momentum, creating a jerky feeling in the pedal stroke with heaviness on the back end. The flywheel on both the Peloton bike and s22i are weighted roughly the same and they both spin smoothly and evenly. There is no detectable difference in performance between the two bikes.

The Peloton bike has a black flywheel that weighs 30 pounds and is 19” in diameter. It uses a drive belt and is virtually silent when pedalling.

The s22i has a chrome 32 pound flywheel that is also 19” in diameter. It also has a drive belt and rides quietly.

Resistance

Both bikes use magnetic resistance, which is created when magnets inside the drive system oppose the rotation of the flywheel. Magnetic resistance is virtually silent since there are no friction points. It is also less abrasive on the flywheel and doesn’t usually require maintenance or repair. I would expect magnetic resistance on bikes of this quality. Both bikes have equally quiet magnetic resistance systems. The resistance is responsive and silent on both bikes.

Resistance Calibration

Both bikes use digital resistance levels, which means resistance levels are electronically preset to be specific and measurable. Since both NordicTrack and Peloton use subscription programming that instructs the rider to set a certain resistance, digitally measured levels are the most accurate way to do this. However, the way the levels are measured on each bike is different.

Peloton Resistance Levels & Automation

Peloton has 100 resistance levels and uses a resistance knob. 100 levels is a lot; personally, I prefer between 25-30 levels. With 100 levels, you have to turn it roughly 8-10 levels to feel a significant difference. While breaking the levels up gives you smaller increments, and may be preferable for beginning riders, it can be a bit tricky to find the right level quickly and easily.

The Peloton resistance knob is not my favorite because you have to kind of play it a little to get to the right level. There’s no jump button like there is on the Tread, so you can’t quickly move from 10 to 20 to 30 with just a button. You can lock three resistance levels on the screen to quickly select via the touchscreen, but these may change depending on what kind of a ride you are doing. There are no buttons on the handlebars or the console to control resistance.

Peloton resistance is not automated. There is no synchronicity between the app and the bike. When the trainer says to increase your resistance to a certain level, you have to listen and manually find the right level.


S22i Resistance Levels & Automation

The s22i has 24 digital levels of resistance and several ways to adjust it. While 24 levels may be too few for some riders, I prefer having more significant increments. Rather than have to scroll through 100 options, you only need to add one or two levels to really feel a difference. The levels are much more significant and noticeable.

S22i resistance is controlled both with touch controls and on the touchscreen. The touch controls on the handlebars are very convenient. They literally sit right at thumb height, so you just quickly adjust up or down at any time. Readouts for incline and resistance are also on the screen, with incline on the left and resistance on the right. A quick tap on the screen will quickly adjust any setting.

NordicTrack s22i has automated resistance control. Whether you are taking an iFit class, doing an outdoor route, using a preloaded program, or even if you create your own route in Google Maps, the bike will automatically match the incline/decline of whatever is happening in the program. This makes it so riders can focus on form and cadence rather than have to listen for cues and manually adjust resistance. You can also override the automation at any time by simply adjusting your resistance where you want it. The resistance will stay where you set it unless you hit the “follow trainer” icon on the touchscreen. This way, automation is convenient, but you still have control.

Peloton Pedals

The Peloton pedals have Delta Look clips so they will only work with a specific cycling shoe and cleat. There is no flat side for regular athletic shoes. I have a pair of road biking shoes with Look cleats and while they will clip in, they don’t lock precisely and my shoe moves back and forth in the pedal, so you may have to buy the Peloton shoes to get a perfect fit. Peloton sells shoes and cleats separately in their “Essentials” package for around $150.


S22i Pedals

The s22i pedals are black aluminum alloy, with a metal cleats along the perimeter and an adjustable resin cage to hold your shoe in tight. These do not require a cycling shoe, so you can ride with any athletic shoe. The flat surface is wide enough to offer good support for most riders and you can cinch the cage tight via an adjustable strap. However, they are not hybrid, where one side has a cleat and the other is flat, so you don’t have the option to clip in on the s22i. But the bike is compatible with road bike pedals, so you can swap them out if desired.

There are definite advantages to riding “clipped in.” Having your shoe connected to the pedal makes it easier to pull up in the rotation which engages glutes and hamstrings (rather than just mash with your quads). Even a caged pedal isn’t quite as good as being clipped in. Peloton is ahead in the game for using cleated pedals, but they are not the same type of cleats used by most indoor exercise bikes. Delta Look pedals are most often used by road cyclists. Most “spin” bikes have hybrid pedals with an SPD cleat on one side and a flat, caged surface on the opposite side. So even spin enthusiasts who regularly take classes at the gym are going to need to buy new shoes and cleats to ride a Peloton bike. The added expense is a downer.

I would love to see both Peloton and NordicTrack use a hybrid caged/SPD pedal that is a bit more accessible for regular riders.

Incline / Decline

Peloton does not have any incline or decline on the bike. The frame is fixed and does not move. Your training variables are position, speed and resistance.

The NordicTrack s22i has automated incline to 20% grade and decline to a 10% grade.

This is another reason why 24 resistance levels is plenty. When you add incline, the resistance becomes significantly more challenging. When you decline, the resistance is easier. The combination of variables makes it so you can ride a level 14 resistance and it will feel very different depending on if the bike is inclined or declined.

Incline/decline on the s22i is automated. Once again, when you are taking a class or riding an outdoor route, the incline and decline will automatically adjust to match the terrain. Since both resistance and incline are automated, you really feel like you are riding outside (or in a class).

There are several advantages to offering incline and decline.

  • You increase training variables. Rather than just adjust resistance and speed, you now can add incline/decline to the mix which enhances your training variables significantly.
  • You engage different muscles. Incline will work more of your posterior chain. You have to engage glutes and hamstrings to really get up that hill. Downhill riding strengthens your anterior muscles and requires you to utilize your upper body a bit more to maintain balance. This offers more well-rounded conditioning by activating more muscle groups simultaneously.
  • You can train more accurately for specific events. If you are a mountain biker, riding inside during the off-season, you can train on hills just like you would outside. iFit also includes hundreds of outdoor routes so you really feel (and see) yourself climbing that hill.
  • The automated feature makes riding feel real and natural. You don’t have to worry about adjusting things all the time, you can train on rolling hills like you would outdoors. Automation stops when you make any manual adjustments, so you always have control.

When it comes to overall functionality, the s22i offers significantly more features and benefits with automated incline and decline options.

Console / Controls

Peloton Screen

  • Size: Peloton screen is a 22” high-definition touchscreen. This impressive screen is thin and streamlined with minimal bevel for maximum screen space.
  • Screen Movement: The screen pivots up and down but does not swivel side to side

  • Resolution: The resolution and graphics on the Peloton screen are crisp and easy to see; we’ve noticed no eye-fatigue even on long rides.
  • Touchscreen: nice touchscreen sensitivity is responsive even with sweaty hands. We love how so much of the functionality is embedded in the touchscreen. A few more external controls on handlebar or bevel wouldn’t hurt though.
  • Casting: You can cast Peloton content to a Smart TV or via an Amazon Fire Stick. This is a nice feature when doing off the bike classes since the screen doesn’t swivel, but you have to be in a room with a compatible Smart TV.
  • Functionality: Overall, the functionality of the Peloton screen is slick and navigable. You can easily toggle through options and classes. Leaderboard is easy to manipulate and the picture is clear.

S22i Screen

  • Size: The s22i screen is also a 22” high-def touchscreen. It is thicker and heavier than the Peloton screen, but it has a built-in fan which is a huge benefit. The black bevel is wide and screen size could probably be enhanced if the bevel were slimmer.
  • Screen movement: This screen pivots up and down and also swivels side to side so you can see it when doing a class off the bike. Having the screen swivel is another huge benefit on the s22i console.

  • Resolution: The resolution is crisp and I absolutely love riding the outdoor rides; you really feel like you are on the road. Screen resolution and graphics showcase the gorgeous landscapes in the iFit outdoor rides.
  • Casting: You can’t cast wirelessly, but there is an HDMI output port on the side of the screen which allows you to transmit iFit to your TV via a cable connection.
  • Touchscreen: Again, most bike functionality has been incorporated into the touchscreen, so navigation is simple. You can adjust speed or incline right on the touchscreen. The s22i also includes buttons on the handlebars for added control when needed. I love having both options.

  • Functionality:In all, we prefer the screen on the s22i because it swivels side to side, includes a fan and has nice graphics. While the Peloton screen is crisp, it doesn’t do as much as the s22i.

Peloton Accessories

  • Fans: There is no built-in fan on the Peloton bike.
  • Weights: Cages for weights are attached to the back of the bike, but weights must be purchased separately.
  • Tablet/Phone holder: There is no phone or tablet holder included.

  • Water bottles/Storage: There is no real storage on the Peloton bike. There are two water bottle cups attached to the handlebar post, which perfectly fit the Peloton bottle, but might be too flimsy for a heavy water bottle.

S22i Accessories

  • Fans: There is a built-in fan under the screen with four power settings. We love this fan! Because you have to face forward while riding, the fan right under the console is the perfect place to cool off your chest and face. Since the Peloton bike doesn’t have a fan, you would have to set one to the side, which isn’t ideal.

  • Weights: Weights come standard and sit on a tray between the handlebars and screen. Personally, I don’t love the weights here, but other reviewers do, so it’s a personal preference. I just set them to the side when I’m doing a long ride and want to lean forward. The weights are easy to see and grab, which is definitely a plus.
  • Tablet/Phone holder: There is no specific tablet holder, but a tray in between the weights provides the perfect place to set your phone. It’s easy to see and reach and stable while riding.

  • Water bottles/Storage:There are two water bottle cups attached to the handlebar post, both of which will hold a standard (but not oversized) water bottle.

Subscription Content: Peloton vs. iFit

Peloton App Functionality

Peloton Pros
  • Live rides updated daily throughout the week
  • On demand rides can be taken anytime
  • Leaderboard connects riders and makes it competitive and fun
  • Online community connects via the app but also in sites such as Reddit, Facebook, etc.
  • You can create your own group or community
  • App navigation is organized by class type, instructor, music, length, etc. It is easy to use and understand.
  • Additional elements such as challenges and specific conditioning (strength, yoga, etc.) keep it interesting.
  • Shout outs and High Fives in live classes
  • Engaging trainers and content
  • Screen will cast to Smart TV or via Fire Stick
Peloton Cons
  • No trainer-led outdoor routes
  • No Google maps integration
  • No automated control for incline/decline or resistance
  • Limited external bike functionality; all control is in app and touchscreen
  • Screen does not swivel to easily see classes off the bike

S22i App Functionality

iFit Pros
  • Hundreds of trainer-led outdoor routes all over the world
  • Outdoor walking and running routes
  • Google-maps integration allows riders to ride any route in the world
  • Automated incline/decline and resistance naturally adjusts to match outdoor terrain or trainer instruction
  • Classes organized by categories
  • Now includes a Leaderboard
  • Studio classes include cycling and hybrid classes
  • Bike screen swivels so you can see screen when off the bike
  • Constantly updated content includes real rides, like Tour of Utah with real riders so you feel like you are part of the race
  • Screen will connect via HDMI output to project iFit to TV
iFit Cons
  • No live classes
  • Leaderboard is new, so it’s just beginning to collect groups and forums
  • App navigation is slightly clunky
  • No closed captioning option
  • Bluetooth does not sync with personal headphones; you need an adapter to listen to iFit on your headphones

Peloton Pre-programmed workouts

There are no pre-programmed workouts on the Peloton bike. If you do not pay for content, the bike stays on the menu screen and displays no stats or rider metrics.

S22i Pre-programmed workouts

The s22i features 35 onboard workouts that are not a part of iFit

  • Interval, Strength, Speed, Calorie Burn: Pre-programmed workouts display a graph of the overall routine. The bike will adjust incline and resistance to match your selected workout. These are of varying length and intensity.

  • Manual Workout: A white track and stat bar display stats and distance. You can manually adjust the incline and resistance to create your own workout.

  • Create your own Google map route: Select from any location in the world. You can then map a route using the touchscreen. You can then save it as a workout and ride at your leisure. The images update every few seconds as you ride. The bike will automatically adjust resistance and incline to match the geography of each location. There is no audio included, so these are a great option when you want to listen to your own playlist or podcast.

Final Word: We prefer the NordicTrack s22i

In our comparative analysis, the NordicTrack s22i comes out on top. While both the Peloton bike and the s22i have impressive features that will enhance your overall conditioning, the s22i is less expensive with more outdoor routes, features automated controls for incline/decline and resistance, and has a built-in fan, and rotating screen. The Peloton bike is popular and will certainly look chic in the corner of your room, but for overall functionality, innovative design and upgraded features, we recommend riders take a look at the NordicTrack s22i.