If you are looking for a quality bike that would help you to get into better physical fitness, you can not go wrong if you choose the NordicTrack S15i Studio cycle. There are too many options in the market, and you would want to ensure you make the right choice for your needs. This review of the S15i studio cycle will help you make an informed decision.
The S15i Studio Cycle is a new entrant for this year. It was introduced by NordicTrack and received almost immediate praise. Cycling enthusiasts looked at the S15i as an alternative for more cult-like popularity of Peloton bikes. And they have good reasons to give recognition to S15i Studio Cycle. However, note that this bike is not for everyone, especially considering its price tag.
The NordicTrack S15i indoor studio Cycle costs roughly around $1500 (at the time of this writing) for the first year of iFit app subscription included. This subscription gives you the on-demand, live-streaming classes. After the first year, though, this subscription would cost you $144 per year for an individual and $395 per year for a family subscription.
Our team spent days gathering information about NordicTrack S15i and putting all similarly priced indoor bikes with almost similar features for comparison. We found that S15i is an excellent at-home gym cycle. For those that are looking for the full experience of live-streaming, energy oozing atmosphere of the spinning studio at their home, NordicTrack S15i is going to provide value and exceed expectations.
Just do not take our words for it, read on further to learn more about this bike and see for yourself. Of course, S15i maybe not perfect in all aspects, and the customer service experience may be lacking at times, but rest assured you will be satisfied once you make an informed decision after going through this article. Remember, there is a 30 days return policy as well.
If you are in a hurry, and instead would directly go to Amazon to read further about this new at-home studio cycle: NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle
NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Review
NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle is best suited for those that love to train indoors yet still want to have the energetic feel, the experience of working out at the commercial gym studio. The bike is built with a sturdy, lasting frame material with inertia-enhanced flywheel.
Design and Main Features
It is an ideal stationary bike both for beginners and veterans alike. It is designed to provide a lasting exercising experience. It offers high-quality aerobic exercise workouts and expert-guided (via iFit app) fitness adventures.
Technical Specifications of NordicTrack S15i Commercial Studio Cycle
- Dimensions: Height: 61′, Width: 22′ Length: 55.75′
- Max User Weight: 350 lbs
- Inseam Capacity: 27′ to 40′
- Transport Wheels: Yes
- Adjustable Base Levelers: Yes
- Water Bottle Holder: Yes
- Power Requirement: Power Plugs (no batteries needed)
The weight capacity of the NordicTrack S15i Studio cycle is 350 Lbs, which is sufficient to accommodate all users from those that would want to maintain their fitness or those with a bit of weight to lose.
This bike is engineered with commercial-gauged welded steel along with enhanced corrosion resistance construction. It is designed to last many years of use. Base levellers will help you set it up stable even on uneven floors.
The S15i bike has top of the line transportation wheels that would help you to move the bike from one place to the other if required. You should not be planning to move this bike daily as the bike is considerably heavy at 165 Lbs. However, these wheels are built to last, unlike on lower-end bikes. The common problem with the transportation wheels on lower-end bikes is that it is clearly an afterthought and often result scratching of the floor or wheels breaking after some use.
Full Rotating Display and related Features
NordicTrack S15i features a large 14′ HD touchscreen display. This screen display is one of the selling points of this bike because of its versatility of usage. Of course, you can get all your progress details on this screen. It is a full-color screen, and you will not have any issues checking the screen during an intense workout.
You can adjust the monitor by pivoting 360-degree or tilt it up or down. This feature enables all users to set the monitor for a perfect view based on their preference and how tall they are.
Another fantastic feature of this monitor is that it has a swivel design. This means you can turn the screen to the right or left directions. This ability allows you to create space next to the bike to carry out upper body workouts or any other cross-training activities and still follow the live streaming.
It comes with two small built-in speakers, as well as an auxiliary port to connect to bigger, better sound systems. Unfortunately, the S15i bike does not come with an HDMI port, so you can not connect your TV for a larger screen. However, you still can connect the bike to a separate iFit app on your phone or other heart rate monitoring watch or straps using the Bluetooth and WiFi options. There are conflicting reviews on the web that state this bike has an HDMI port, it does not. If you consider this to be essential, you should know that this bike does not have an HDMI port.
Here, I would be amiss if I do not mention that NordicTrack S15i bike does not connect to any other cycling apps, none. This means that you have only the option of using iFit (and its fantastic for sure) or create your own fitness goal and follow it. Granted, you will get the 1st year free membership with iFit; however, if you choose not to renew the subscription, this bike becomes basic. Rest assured, you can use this bike along with another app on your smartphone; however, resistance or incline levels will not be automatically adjusted in a live class as in iFit.
The S15i indoor bike by NordicTrack comes with smart electromagnetic resistance, which means the iFit workouts will automatically change the resistance.
Please note that users of this S15i bike have expressed great satisfaction with this bike and iFit use, so you do not have to be concerned much. However, after the first year, the iFit subscription will cost you about #39.99 per month. The first year free subscription is a family subscription meaning four users can use the membership at any time.
This bike is ideal for those that get motivated to sweat during a live class than doing alone. NordicTrack provides thousands of workouts that you can watch on-demand at any time. The incline and resistance will be automatically adjusted based on the program, and this allows you to concentrate on your workout. This bike does not come with any pre-set programs. You can not store your progress without iFit membership, either. You can not watch Netflix or any other programs either, although there are workarounds explained on Youtube on how to make Netflix work on NordicTrack machines.
Pedals and Q factor
NordicTrack S15i comes with pedals that are large and with adjustable straps. Designed to last for a long time, they come with toe clips. These pedals are not suitable for clipless shoes. However, any casual biking shoes will do the job.
For indoor cycling, the q-factor is defined as the lateral distance between the two pedals. It is preferred to have a narrower q-factor, but not too tight. At the same time, wide q-factors create alignment issues for the ankles, knees, and hips.
The S15 spin bike has an ergonomic 15 cm q-factor, which should be suitable for many riders. Keep your upper body straight, and all your joints (knees, hips) are aligned while you exercise. This would help to reduce the stress on your joints.
S15i Studio Cycle Flywheel
- NordicTrack S15i Studio bike flywheel weighs 32 lbs.
- This bike features a medium gear-ratio Inertia-enhanced flywheel.
- The flywheel is fixed (it is fixed-gear and bi-directional).
Although this bike does sport a heavier flywheel, it is not always required. A combination of magnetic resistance and good gear-ratio would give you a smooth, steady pedal stroke.
NordicTrack S15i indoor cycle has a combination of medium gear-ratio and magnetic resistance. This combination, coupled with inertia-enhanced (keeps the momentum) flywheel provides the jerk-free, smooth ride you would want to have.
As with other similarly priced bikes, S15i is a fixed-gear bike. This bike is bi-directional, so it can be peddled forward and reverse as you wish. This will allow you to exercise different leg muscles. It also means that both pedals and flywheel move and stop together. Do not peddle in the opposite direction of the turning flywheel. Otherwise, it can lead to injury.
Similarly, you better wait for both pedals and flywheel to stop before getting off of the bike.
If you are looking for spin bikes that free-gear type, you will find them in a more expensive range.
The NordicTrack S15i bike sports a Smart electromagnetic resistance. There are 22 levels of resistance available. Unlike friction resistance bikes wherein brake pads are used, S15i resistance is contactless and frictionless. See the positives below:
- Magnetic resistance provides a smooth, silent ride. Also, no need to change brake pads or lubricant
- Magnetic also means a smooth transition between gears when you choose to go to high intensity during your workouts
- A smart electromagnetic resistance means not only you can change the resistance by touch screen, but your workout program also can automatically change the resistance based on the settings in the workout program
The above means there is nothing to worry about changing settings while you are sweating away doing and following the coach on the live streaming. Of course, you can still change the settings by touching the options on the screen.
This is one of the selling points for the S15i Studio Cycle and needs more clarification. Thanks to the smart electromagnetic resistance, the S15i from NordicTrack allows the coaches (via iFit) and live workout programs to automatically change the resistance settings to simulate the type of terrain or difficulty levels as you ride.
Incline and Decline Capability
This is not a feature that you would see in everyday indoor exercise bikes. You can incline or decline on this bike. Like the resistance, a live coach on the iFit app can change the smart incline/decline to suit the workout. This is almost a unique feature of this NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio bike.
On the S15i studio bike, there is an incline range of -10% (downhill) to 20% (uphill) With this incline range; you can re-create the experience of riding outside the bike combined with the desired level of resistance.
S15i smart exercise bike features a belt drive system. A belt drive is better than a chain drive system in that a belt drive does not require frequent lubing. Also, the belt gives a smoother and quieter ride. This is an excellent feature in a home environment or if you tend to exercise at late hours with your family members sleeping. However, a chain drive system would probably give you a feeling of riding an outdoor bike.
Handlebars and Seat
S15i studio cycle features a seat that can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically. It is ergonomically designed and made with padding, and with performance in mind.
On the other hand, the handlebars are 2-way adjustable (up and down). This combination of seat and handlebars, considering the upright frame design, the studio S15i spin bike should be able to accommodate users from 4’9″ to 6’6″ tall.
You may see the handlebars not being horizontally adjustable as a drawback; however, considering the excellent upright design of this bike, all sorts of users found it to help the cycling in a good posture and sweat away.
Integrated Weight Lifting
Two 3 lbs dumbbells are provided on a shelf under the console. You can use these to give you the slight upper body workout to push the boundaries. However, this may be a good option for beginners; however, for experienced users, this adds no value.
Who will benefit the most from the S15i Spin Bike:
NordicTrack S15i studio cycle is an ideal bike for all types of users, be it beginners, advanced, young or seniors. This bike has been found to motivate people to push themselves. The 14 inch HD touchscreen display would mesmerize you, and before you know it, you would have already completed your workout and looking for your next session.
However, it should be mentioned that if you are not the type that would watch and follow live-streaming to do the workouts, this bike is not for you. The on-demand classes and live-streaming from coaches is a big plus for this bike. You may want to do your exercises based on your pre-set workouts and not need live streaming, and if that is the case, you may want to check some of the other best exercise bikes here.
It is an ideal bike for easy exercise workouts. Those who are looking for personal training conducted by fitness coaches and still want to do the workouts at home, this bike would be the best choice.
User Experience Features
Smart Fan: One of the user experience features on the S15i studio cycle is the Autobreeze fan which keeps cyclists cool even in the sweatiest pedal sessions. The built-in workout fan adjusts itself to match the workout intensity. There is no need to change the fan manually. This feature is a blessing in disguise for many, including myself.
Water Bottle Holder: The bike features two water bottle holders under the handlebars on a shelf. This could become handy if you want to have a second bottle, perhaps a protein shake, maybe.
Pros and Cons
- Free 1-year iFit membership
- 14′ HD Touchscreen Display
- Integrated Weight Lifting
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
- 22 Levels of precise “Smart” electromagnetic resistance
- -10 to 20% “Smart” electronic incline and decline adjustments
- Durable transport wheels
- 4-Way adjustable monitor
- Low maintenance quiet belt drivetrain
- Built-in speakers Audio auxiliary port
- 30-Day money-back guarantee
- Only 1 yr iFit membership. Needs renewal for the second year on
- No tablet/smartphone holder
- No HDMI port to connect to an external monitor or TV
Things That Might Concern You
As we strive to do comprehensive reviews at Fitness Masterly, we must point out things that might concern you about NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle.
The first and foremost important thing that you should consider is that the free iFit membership, although it is a family subscription, is only for the first year. After the first year, if you want to use the bike to its maximum potential, you will have to renew the membership; otherwise, the bike becomes more like a basic exercise bike.
Of course, you can still use another smart app on your smart device and follow the workouts; however, you will lose settings being automatically changed by on the live-streaming exercise. This is only possible with an iFit class.
You would also need to provide a credit card when you first register your first-year free iFit membership. Otherwise, you can not register. This poses a problem in that after the first year, the renewal is automatic, and the charge will hit your credit card. If you do not want that to happen or if you prefer to downgrade from a family subscription (about $399 per year) to an individual subscription (about $180 per year), you have to remember to do it before the renewal date.
However, if you set up your bike without activating the iFit membership or choose not to renew (remember to cancel) it; there a few options to use the bike. Some screenshots with google maps, a few pre-recorded course videos without a trainer are provided. Some scenery is also offered, although nothing is as impressive as with an iFit membership. Users have reported excellent video quality with iFit.
- 10 Years on frame
- 3-Year on parts
- 1-Year labor warranty
You need to make sure you register your purchase with NordicTrack to ensure your warranty kicks in.
In our rating of this bike, we found the NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle to be an excellent choice, and we happily recommend this product.
The S15i Studio Cycle is the right choice for indoor bike enthusiasts of all fitness levels, including those that are just beginning. This is a bike with smart features that would make your workout more fun and fulfilling experience. If you go for this, you get a bike with a massive LCD with advanced technology options.
Compared to other spin bikes in the same price range, the S15i studio cycle packs more features for a reasonable price point. Another great advantage of this bike is the first-year free iFit membership. NordicTrack continually brings out new routines in the form of live-streaming and with industry’s top coaches.