This is our review of the NordicTrack Studio Cycle and the 2022 version NordicTrack Studio Cycle. Lots of upgrades have been made to both of these iFIT-enabled bicycles, there are many differences than you might imagine.
NordicTrack S27i, S22i video review
Is bigger better?
The NordicTrack S27i Studio Bike’s name is derived from its 27-inch high-definition touch screen. It is the largest connected bike tablet ever sold. Classes become immersive when you are only a few feet away from the screen.
The part of NordicTrack that I love the most about riding a bike is the instructor-led scenic rides they offer on their iFIT platform. The larger screen makes each class more enjoyable, as you can see different environments and routes from around the globe.
The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is a great choice with its 22″ screen, but the S27i is the best home bike experience.
Auto incline and decrease improved
The best feature of the NordicTrack bikes is the ability to automatically adjust the slope (up to 20%) or decline (down to 10%) based on your current ride terrain. This feature is a wonderful way to make scenic rides more enjoyable and immersive.
You will feel the hill when you see it coming up. You will feel the same effect when you go downhill. Your sense of gravity shifts and resistance drops, allowing you speed up.
It works great. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the NordicTrack website had an improved incline/decline feature when I bought the new S27i/S22i. The website no longer states this.
They should. At least, for the S27i.
I compared the bikes and measured how long it took them to climb from a -10% drop to a 20 percent incline. These were the results.
NordicTrack S22i (2021 Version): 18 Seconds
NordicTrack S22i (2022 Version): 18 Seconds
NordicTrack S27i (2022 Version): 13 Seconds
The auto incline/decline has remained the same for the S22i, but it has been increased by nearly 30% for S27i.
This could be because the dumbbells were moved to the back of the S27i. The new screen at 27 inches feels heavier than the 22 inch screen at S22i.
Sound system improvements and other modifications
A new front-facing 30 watt sound system has been added to both the NordicTrack S27i&S22i bikes. These speakers are louder and more clear than the rear-facing 18-watt speakers last year.
A new version of the auto breeze fan is located between the speakers. This fan is much smaller than the one that was on the S22i and has a lower fan power. While it is still a good bonus, it’s not as good.
- A more comfortable seat
- Hybrid pedals allow for both SPD clips and a toe box.
- An on/off switch is located (inconveniently), at the bottom of your bike
S27i vs. S22i
There are some other differences between the new bikes, aside from the screen size difference and the faster auto incline/decline speeds of the S27i.
The handlebars are the most difficult part of connected fitness bikes because they have an attached screen. The NordicTrack S27i screen is much heavier than the NordicTrack S27i, so this would have been even more of a problem.
The handlebars have a new type of leveraged adjustment system. It works great and it makes it easy to raise the handlebars.
The S27i’s handlebar adjustment is much easier than the S22i, which doesn’t have the same system.
The S27i and S22i both come with a set of three-pound, metal dumbbells that can be used in arms toning classes. The new S22i holds the dumbbells in front, near the handlebars, just like previous models. The dumbbells on the S27i have been moved to the rear of the bike.
The 2022 model of the S22i has the same two large bottles holders as the previous models. These are not present on the S27i bike. They have been replaced with a single, smaller bottle holder at the center frame.
Personally, I prefer the S22i’s bottle holder because it can hold a greater variety of containers (like shaker or glass bottles), and it is great for longer rides when I have to take two bottles.
These features are still available
These features have not been changed by the NordicTrack S27i or S22i, but they should be noted by anyone who is looking at the bike for the first-time:
360-degree rotating screen: This is great for bike workouts like strength training and yoga classes.
Handlebar controls Buttons directly on the handlebars let you adjust the resistance or incline/decline.
I personally prefer the resistance knob to the buttons on most bikes, but that isn’t a problem since I don’t have to adjust the resistance or incline manually with Smart Adjust.
The S27i and S22i both use the “Smart Adjust” feature, which was recently added to nearly all iFIT-enabled bikes. This allows you to modify the difficulty of any workout while allowing the bike’s to adjust the resistance level and incline/decline in accordance with your goals.
This feature is a great addition to iFIT-enabled bikes. It allows you to take any class, beginner or advanced, and still get a workout tailored to your fitness level. Smart Adjust is a great feature that makes a big difference to my enjoyment of NordicTrack bikes as well as the whole iFIT program.
There’s a lot more to iFIT. I review the program in detail in the video review. I will only say one thing about the iFIT platform. I have seen dozens improvements over the last year, including better streaming, better class structure and filtering, added dark mode, increased program cadence, the additions of great coaches, and many more.
Based on the things I’ve seen so far, I’m excited about the future iFIT. I plan to attend more iFIT classes this year due to it.
Are the NordicTrack S27i and S22i Studio Cycles recommended? Absolutely! Both are fantastic bikes.
The S22i is the most affordable bike under $2,000, and the S27i looks to be a contender in 2022 for best connected bike.
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