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Last Updated: July 20, 2022
The NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike makes for a highly interactive indoor cycling experience. It’s loaded with impressive features that make you feel like you’re riding outside. In this NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike Review, I’ll highlight everything you need to know before you take this bike home. The S22i uses quiet magnetic resistance, as well as an innovative incline and decline function. The bike frame inclines up to 20% and declines to -10%, making you feel like you’re riding up and downhills.
iFit has countless indoor and outdoor cycling classes led by world-class instructors. iFit also offers training off the bike too which you can stream on the large 22” 360-degree pivoting touchscreen. We also love that it comes with hybrid pedals that are compatible with any athletic shoe and SPD cleats. This paired with a hearty 350 lb weight capacity, makes for a solid bike for all kinds of users.
Awards: Best Exercise Bike Overall 2022
The NordicTrack S22i is our #1 Best Exercise Bike for 2022! We’ve rated it 4.8 out of 5 stars. This is an amazing bike with innovative technology. NordicTrack cycles are the only bikes on the market that incline and decline. As you follow an iFit class or route, the bike will automatically lift and tilt to match the terrain! In addition, the S22i also features handlebar controls for resistance and incline, a built-in fan, and included 3lb hand weights for upper bodywork. It really is a well-rounded bike and a functional piece of training equipment.
Why Trust Our Review Of The NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike
In order to give you these complete reviews, we spend a lot of time in the saddle. We’re sure to log miles and test every feature on the bike to be sure that you know what you’re paying for. During our testing, we also hop back and forth between the exercise bike we’re reviewing and other comparable models. This way we can get a really good idea of how this bike compares and performs next to other bikes on the market.
Our NordicTrack S22i Video Review
- +20% Incline to -10% Decline that is automated in iFit
- The +20% incline to -10% decline is a revolutionary feature on a spin bike. A motor on the rear stabilizer and motorized arm under the pedal crank lift and tilt the bike to simulate outdoor grades.
- On standard indoor cycling bikes, the bike frame is secured in one position while variable tension on the flywheel creates more or less resistance. Typically, an increase in resistance simulates a hill climb while less resistance simulates a flat road or descent.
- NordicTrack added actual incline and decline on the s22i. The bike literally tilts up and down to match the grade of your ride. The combination of this incline feature in addition to 24
- levels of magnetic resistance makes the s22i as close as you can get to outdoor riding.
- This feature also significantly increases training variables as you can now combine resistance, speed and incline to create greater climbing challenges.
- The +20% incline to -10% decline is a revolutionary feature on a spin bike. A motor on the rear stabilizer and motorized arm under the pedal crank lift and tilt the bike to simulate outdoor grades.
- Silent Magnetic Resistance with 24 Digital Levels and Convenient Handlebar Controls
- Magnets situated adjacent to the flywheel oppose the motion of the flywheel to create frictionless resistance.
- Magnetic resistance is silent and easily regulated electronically through preset resistance levels. It does not cause wear on the flywheel.
- The s22i has 24 levels of resistance. Specific resistance adjustments are nice on an indoor cycling bike. Many spin bikes have a tension knob, but no specific resistance settings, so you can’t regulate or measure the resistance. It is hugely beneficial to be able to select a specific resistance level on this bike. It translates into more accurate wattage stats and allows the rider to always find the same resistance at the same setting.
- Resistance can be adjusted manually on the handlebar controls or on the touchscreen. I love the handlebar controls on the s22i! Just a quick flick of your thumb and you can regulate resistance and incline instantly.
- When using an iFit or onboard program, the resistance will automatically adjust for you. Manual controls override automated controls when needed.
- 32 Pound Inertia-Enhanced flywheel for fluid wheel motion
- This feature regulates flywheel motion so the pedal stroke is smooth and uniform throughout the rotation. This helps avoid any jerky, downward momentum in the flywheel that can pull your feet forward and make it feel like the bike is pedaling you. This also creates continuous motion regardless of speed or resistance.
- A brake knob at the base of the handlebar stem will slow the flywheel manually. Press down to stop the flywheel at any time.
- 3 adjustment points to fit most size riders
- The seat can be adjusted forward or aft via the carriage knob. The span between the tip of the saddle and the horizontal handlebar grip should be about a forearm’s length. You can increase this span if you have a long torso, but don’t decrease it less than that. Pulling the seat too close to the handlebars will bring your knees out of alignment and too close to the front of the bike. Knees should be in line with the midline of your forward foot when pedaling.
- The saddle stem can also move up and down. For proper bike fit, the saddle should be about hip height when you are standing next to the bike. The stem post is angled back on the s22i so when you raise the stem, it will move the saddle back slightly. This increases the span between the saddle and handlebars and keeps body position aligned so taller riders’ knees are directly over the pedals. If your knees jut forward during riding, extending past the midline of the foot, it can produce unwanted knee tension.
- Handlebars can also be adjusted up or down on the handlebar post knob. Handlebars should be roughly the same height as your saddle. Set an appropriate saddle height first and then adjust the handlebars to match. More experienced riders can set the handlebars lower, decreasing torso angle, but this is per rider comfort. Do not set handlebars so low that your diaphragm is restricted.
- All adjustment areas (seat post, carriage, and handlebar post) are clearly marked with orange inch measurements so you can find the right position each time.
- Front-Facing Speakers
- The speakers are located below the touch screen and are a new upgrade for 2022. The sound projects at you and they are loud and clear. There are volume buttons next to the speakers and you can adjust the volume on the screen in iFit, too.
- Comes with iFit, free for the first month:
- NordicTrack includes a family plan package of iFit free for the first 30 days. After that, iFit costs $39/month for up to five users (family plan). iFit enhances the overall experience on the S22i. It includes a database of over 16,000 different workouts including both classes and outdoor rides that are constantly updated. You need a WiFi connection to run iFit.
- Compact footprint doesn’t take up much space
- Indoor exercise equipment can be heavy and large. The NordicTrack s22i Studio Cycle is a fantastic machine with a remarkably small footprint. Standing just 58” high and 61” long, it provides great training options in a compact piece of equipment.
- A fan is attached at the bottom of the screen
- It might seem silly, but the fan built into the screen on the s22i is a must-have for me! The fan produces good airflow and is situated at just the right height. I didn’t find the fan to be overly noisy.
- Wheels under Front Stabilizer make it easy to move
- 4 Leveling Feet — Front 2 are Adjustable
- Frame is Welded Steel and Corrosion Resistant
- Ergonomic Padded Saddle
- Footprint: 61″ Long x 22″ Wide x 58″ High
- Bike Weight: 205 lbs (in box)
- 22” 360 Degree Rotating Smart HD Touch Screen
- Power Readout with Wattage
- Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity
- 30W Premium Audio Speakers
- Dual Water Bottle Holders
- AutoBreeze™ Fan with four power settings
- -10% to + 20% Incline
- SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
- OneTouch™ Controls on grip extensions
- 24 Resistance Levels
- Hybrid SPD Clips and Toe Cages
- Inertia-enhanced 32lb Flywheel
- Automated Incline & Decline Drive System
- Spongy-coated multi-position handlebars
- 2 Points of Seat Adjustment (up/down & forward/aft)
- Two 3 Lb. Dumbbells are included
- Max User Weight: 350 Lb
- Frame: 10-Year Warranty
- Parts: 2-Year Warranty
- Labor: 1-Year Warranty
In-depth Review of the NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike
iFit is an interactive fitness app that features over 16,000 classes. On the S22i, iFit is included free for the first month with up to five profiles. With a subscription to iFit, you’ll have full access to the library. We think that iFit’s programming is very valuable on the NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike.
If you’ve ever taken an in-person spin class, then you’ll be familiar with the format of iFit’s studio classes. The camera shows multiple angles of the instructor and often other class attendees surround them in person. These classes often include various types of rides such as sprints, hill climbs, HIIT, and even boot camp, where you train on and off the bike usually with weights. The S22i is perfect for all of these types of classes.
iFit also features an extensive variety of outdoor rides. These are filmed in real locations all around the world across a multitude of landscapes. You follow the instructor as they lead you up mountains, through cities, across dirt and gravel roads, and through real-life races. The videography constantly impresses me in these classes because they’re of such highly professional quality.
If you don’t want to always follow an instructor, you can create your own routes using the Google Map feature. This lets you draw a route in any area of the world, so you can explore on your own.
In addition to cycling classes, iFit also has classes for enabled equipment like treadmills, rowing machines, and ellipticals. There are also plenty of classes that are taken off equipment too. These include strength training with free weights, Pilates, yoga, body weight, and meditation classes. There are also TED Talks and other mindful classes. So, with a membership to iFit, you’re not just getting cycling classes led by an instructor, but an entire training program to ensure your workouts are balanced to work your whole body and mind.
iFit has on-demand classes to take whenever. There’s even a calendar for you to schedule classes ahead of time. The live classes are available typically in the morning hours, so you can plan to take those at specific times, too. These are taken in real-time and feature a leaderboard where you can compete with other members. The leaderboard is also shown in on-demand classes so you can see where you rank among other people who have taken the class.
I find it really helpful to use the search bar and filters. You can filter by duration, trainer, workout type, intensity, target area, continent, environment, other equipment, completed classes, and language. This way if you’re looking for a certain class or a specific type of class you can easily find it. There are also challenges and series if you want a bit of extra motivation. Both of these include groups of classes that are goal-focused and revolve around a certain theme. There are series that feature the same instructor and/or are in the same location and are meant to be taken over a period of time.
iFit’s music consists of a list of different genres of music that you can pick between. Each genre has a pre-selected list of songs that can play in the background of any class. This leaves you in control of the music selection, to an extent. You can’t skip ahead with the song list, but you can switch music stations at any time. Although the songs are updated periodically, they can feel a bit generic at times. We do wish iFit offered some studio cycling classes where the playlist is generated by the instructor to hear it with them during class.
Another great thing about iFit is that you can download the app on your phone and television. This way, if you’re away from your S22i, you can still train.
If an iFit membership isn’t for you, you can still use the S22i. When you bypass the login page, you’ll see a few trainer-led iFit classes and pre-programmed workouts. The pre-programmed workouts feature a map of a location that you can see through a series of Google images. It’s similar to iFit’s Google Maps feature, but the routes are preselected. Each program has preselected resistance and incline/decline levels to give you guidance during your ride. Of course, there’s also the manual mode accessible for you to just ride and do your own thing. Manual mode is accessible among the pre-programmed workouts and in iFit’s full library.
The console on the NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike primarily consists of the 22” touch screen. This is where a lot of the functionality of the bike is built. The adjustability on the 22” touch screen is very handy to get the right position of the screen for you when you’re on and off the bike. It tilts upward and pivots 360 degrees from side to side.
In comparison, the Peloton Bike+ has a slightly larger 24” touchscreen. We didn’t notice much between these screen sizes though. However, the NordicTrack S27i has a gigantic 27” touch screen that is noticeably bigger and is said to be currently the largest screen attached to an exercise bike. The 22” touch screen is plenty large for us and doesn’t wobble as much as the S27i because it is lighter in weight. We do notice a tiny bit of screen shake when we are on light resistance levels out of the saddle or if we shift our upper bodies from side to side. The screen’s movement has been significantly improved from the previous model though.
Compared to the previous 2021 model, the screen on the 2022 model has all the same functionality, but it is a little slimmer and sleeker because it doesn’t have any cords poking out on the back. Another improvement that we love to see is the front-facing speakers on this new model. The speakers are just below the screen and they point right at you. There are volume buttons next to the speakers below the screen on the new model. They were previously on the side of the screen, so having them on the front makes them more accessible. You can adjust the volume on the screen within iFit, too. This is where you can choose to balance the volume levels between the trainer’s voice and the music provided by iFit.
I’m glad there’s still a fan built into the console. It is smaller than the 2021 S22i because of the new front-facing speakers. It generates the same amount of sound but the air output is less due to the more compact size. It’s still effective and hits my neck and face while riding.
Although there isn’t a device holder on the S22i, there is a tray to place your phone and/or keys. Because of this, you’re pretty tied into using the touch screen, but you can have your phone or any personal item within reach. The NordicTrack S22i still comes with 3 lb weights that are stored in between the handlebars. These allow you to do some upper body training while you ride. The two cupholders below are sturdy and hold my 22oz water bottle in place and within reach. They are larger and more stable than all of the other cupholders on bikes we compared the S22i to.
Construction Quality & Durability
The S22i is very quiet and stable to use. It also has a hefty 350 lb weight capacity that is among some of the highest that we see on exercise bikes. This is a bit heavier than the BowFlex Velocore and the Peloton Bike+, making it more suitable for larger riders.
The base, stabilizers, and posts on the S22i are all steel. Some serious engineering went into designing this bike. As opposed to other indoor cycling bikes that look like someone bought a spin bike and attached a TV to the top, the s22i has been designed from the ground up. Wires and cables are internal, the drive train is quiet, and the frame is surprisingly solid for a bike that pivots up and down. I feel very stable as I ride both in and out of the saddle.
The S22i has 3 adjustment points, the saddle moves up/down and forward/back, while the handlebars can move up and down. These adjustment points have a wide range too, to accommodate riders of all sizes. The reach (nose of the saddle to base of the handlebars) ranges from about 15”-18” from when the saddle is all the way forward and all the way back. The leg span (top of the saddle to top of the lowest pedal) measures about 28”-41” from when the saddle is all the way down and all the way up. The leg span is your inseam length. These measurements indicate that this bike can handle a wide range of users.
The flywheel on the S22i is 32 pounds, which is a good weight for a home-use indoor studio cycle. Commercial bikes used in gyms have flywheels that weigh closer to 50 pounds. In general, a large, heavy flywheel creates smoother movement and better resistance on a stationary bike. However, because the S22i has both an inertia-enhanced flywheel and magnetic resistance, it can produce fluid motion with minimal noise and ample resistance — all while weighing less. This makes it easier to move while maintaining functionality.
The S22i uses magnetic resistance. This is a more expensive type of resistance because of the materials and mechanics involved. It is usually found on higher-end models. The magnetic resistance on the NordicTrack S22i makes it very quiet to use and suitable for most home spaces. This type of resistance can be calibrated, so you’ll see your resistance level and watt output displayed on the screen.
There are 24 levels of resistance compared to the 100 levels of resistance that the BowFlex Velocore and Peloton Bike+ have. This makes the range of resistance to choose from smaller than these bikes. The bike remains quiet no matter which resistance level you’re at.
The S22i uses a DC motor that inclines and declines the frame of the bike. This simulates the experience of riding up and down a hill. It is located on the back of the bike above the rear stabilizer. The maximum incline is 20% and the maximum decline is -10%. When comparing the S22i to the previous model, both motors generated the same amount of sound. They also have the same level of responsiveness and speed. While the motor does make a little bit of noise when you’re inclining and declining, it is not a significant amount of sound. It is certainly quieter than a motor on a treadmill which still makes the bike suitable for shared spaces.
On top of shifting your positioning on the bike as though you’re going up and down a hill, this feature makes it feel like you’re riding through various grades. When the bike is inclined, no matter what resistance level you’re at, you’ll get additional resistance. Alternatively, when the bike is declined, the resistance will feel lighter than when you’re inclined or even just at a 0% grade. The motor on the S22i really adds value to create not only a more realistic and fun riding experience, but it makes the 24 levels of resistance feel harder and more variable. For reference, I can sit and pedal while on level 24 at a flat grade. However, when I have the bike completely inclined to 20% while on level 24, I can’t sit in the saddle and pedal.
One of the upgrades to the 2022 model is the addition of hybrid pedals. One side of the pedals has toe cages that are compatible with any kind of athletic shoe. They have an adjustable strap and they’re deep enough to hold a wide range of shoe sizes. We found them to be more comfortable than the toe cages on the Peloton Bike+ which feel too shallow.
SPDs are the most common type of clips, so most road cyclists who clip in on their road bike will be able to use their shoes to clip in on the S22i. We like that these pedals have been included on the S22i because it makes it more accommodating to users with different riding preferences.
The S22i uses a belt drive system to connect the pedals to the flywheel. This keeps the motion of the bike very quiet and smooth.
The handlebars feel very secure and hearty to use. They’re thick enough in diameter to wrap your hands around and wide enough for users of all sizes to feel comfortable. They offer 3 different grip options so you can mix up your hand positioning while riding. They have a spongy coating that doesn’t get slick, too.
These buttons make adjusting the bike convenient, so you don’t have to always reach for the touch screen to adjust it. These buttons also make it easy to land on specific increments because the speed buttons adjust by 1 and the incline buttons adjust by 0.5%. This makes it easier than using a resistance knob like the Peloton Bike+ and Velocore Bike from BowFlex have. Turning the knob to get to a specific resistance level can be a bit more challenging on these bikes. The knob below the handlebars on the S22i is a brake that can be pressed to immediately stop the flywheel when you’re pedaling.
Performance & Functionality
Overall, the S22i provides a pleasant riding experience that feels similar to riding outdoors. This is because of the hearty construction and innovative incline and decline function. This added feature not only makes your rides more challenging, but I find it to make them more fun too.
All of our reviewers range in height from 5’1” up to 6’5” and we all were able to adjust the bike to fit each of us well. As the shortest reviewer, I am able to move the seat all the way forward so I can reach the handles as well as the screen. Most exercise bikes with attached touch screens don’t have the adjustability to move the handles forward and backward, so this can make it harder for me to reach the screen. On the BowFlex Velocore, the screen is further away from the handles, so I have a hard time reaching the screen. On the S22i however, the screen is closer so I can reach everything while riding in the saddle.
Speaking of the saddle, the saddle is a new upgrade from the 2021 model. The saddle on the 2022 version has more contouring and padding. It still feels pretty stiff though. We didn’t find it to be the most comfortable, but keep in mind that narrow exercise bike saddles aren’t known for being very comfortable. Wider seats can be more comfortable but are less suitable for long-distance riding because they can create saddle sores.
This saddle can also be swapped out for a different saddle, too.
Even though the NordicTrack S22i weighs 205 lbs, it can be tilted and wheeled around if necessary. There are 2 wheels at the front of the front stabilizer that makes moving easy.
Another really nice addition to the 2022 model is an on/off switch where the power cable is inserted near the rear of the bike. This way, instead of just unplugging the bike to turn it off, you can actually power it down.
We highly recommend having two people set up the NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike. This way, you’re able to have a smoother setup process than with just one person. The warranty that comes with the S22i is pretty standard. NordicTrack offers a 10-year warranty for the frame, a 2-year warranty for parts, and a 1-year warranty for labor.