NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Review | Why it’s a great bike
I have received many emails asking if I could review and compare the NordicTrack S15i indoor studio cycle. So, I decided to try the Nordictrack S15i bike to see how much value you get from your money. Considering that S15i with its live-streaming and on-demand classes, costs roughly $1500 for the first year and $144 (Individual) or $395 (Family) each year thereafter, you probably want to read this review before buying.
Aside from writing this detailed NordicTrack S15i review, I also compared the bike with other similarly priced indoor cycling bikes that are on the market in 2022. So far I found the S15i by Nordictrack to be excellent equipment overall. Especially if you are an indoor cycling enthusiast who likes the energizing atmosphere of a spinning studio, but prefers to stay home, the S15i NordicTrack is what you should be looking at.
However, if you decide to stop paying the iFit $14 monthly membership fee (Individual) or $39 monthly membership fee (Family), the NordicTrack S15i spin bike becomes a shadow of its former self, with seriously limited functionality.
So, before going forward, you should consider the fact that you need iFit to enjoy this indoor bike. I used it with and without iFit and trust me it’s not the same. iFit has high-quality live-streaming and on-demand spinning, yoga, CrossFit, and many indoor exercise classes with top-of-the-line instructors. I really think you get lots of value for your money with iFit.
I will talk later about the iFit packages and which is best for who. As for the Nordictrack S15i, it’s a serious investment that I believe is worth the money especially if you’re already paying lots of money to spinning studios. Trust me, it’s way more convenient to have a quality spin bike in your own house and follow online spinning classes.
For $1500, you receive an indoor cycling bike that has a unique “smart electromagnetic” system and “smart incline/decline” adjustment. Additionally, right off the bat, you receive $39 back with a 1-month iFit subscription (it used to be 1-year).
Most people, however, will be spun out by its high up-front cost and ongoing expense. Because like it or not, without paying the monthly subscription, you’re left with just a free-ride mode that displays only real-time data on the screen, with no competition or any record of your daily efforts.
In addition to many features that later I will be talking about in this NordicTrack S15i review, you also get a 15″ HD monitor, Watt and RPM reading, 3-lb dumbbells, speaker, cooling fan, top-of-the-line q-factor (150 mm), and a generous warranty. Before going further, let’s take a look at all Nordictrack Studio cycles and learn their differences and similarities and which is really the best.
Nordictrack Cycles Comparison: Model S15i, S22i, and S27i
Nordictrack is a trusted name when it comes to fitness equipment, and their line of Nordictrack Studio Cycles is no exception. There are three models in this series, the S27i is the one with premium features while the S22i is the mid-level and the S15i is the most basic model.
As you might expect, at $2499, the S27i has a higher price tag than the other two models, but it also comes with a longer screen, better pedals, and a gas-assisted vertical handlebar adjustment which has been missing on older Nordictrack models.
The Nordictrack S15i is the lightest and most compact of the three models, making it a good choice for smaller homes or apartments. It also has a lower price tag, making it a great option for budget-minded shoppers. But as you already know, it has a smaller and lower quality screen compared to S22i and S27i. It also doesn’t have gas-assisted technology so handlebar adjustment is not as easy as S27i.
Now, the Nordictrack S22i studio cycle sits in the middle of the pack, offering a good mix of features and value. It’s a few pounds lighter and a little more compact than S27i because it has a smaller screen. But in terms of flywheel weight and resistance levels, it’s just like the Nordictrack S27i. Considering it has a larger screen than S15i, it also has a higher price tag.
If you’re looking for the best possible Nordictrack cycle experience and money or floor space is not an issue, you should probably consider the S27i. However, if you’re on a budget, either the S15i or S22i will be a great choice. I used the S22i and S15i and I loved them both.
Keep in mind there are both older models of Nordictrack studio cycles and newer models. As you would expect, the newer models have received plenty of improvements including better HD screens, Bluetooth for headphone connectivity, and also a quieter incline and decline system. Here is a detailed comparison of Nordictrack S15i S22i, and S27i.
|Name||NordicTrack S27i Studio Cycle||NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle||NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle|
|Model||New Model||New Model||New Model|
|Screen||27 Inches||22 Inches||14 Inches HD|
|Pedals||SPD and Cage||Cage Only||Cage Only|
|Vertical Adjustment||Gas-assisted handlebar adjustment||Full-manual handlebar adjustment||Full-manual handlebar adjustment|
|Dumbbell holder||Behind the seat (less convenient)||On the handlebars (more convenient)||On the handlebars (more convenient)|
|Graphics||Improved HD with processor cooling||Improved HD with processor cooling||HD|
|Ports||USB Charging and HDMI Ports||USB Charging and HDMI Ports||None|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity||Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity||None|
|Resistance||24 Electronic Magnetic Resistance Levels||24 Electronic Magnetic Resistance Levels||22 Electronic Magnetic Resistance Levels|
|Rotating||360° Rotating||360° Rotating||360° Rotating|
|Bit Fit||5’0” - 6’10” / 152.4 cm - 208.3 cm||5’0” - 6’10” / 152.4 cm - 208.3 cm||5’0” - 6’10” / 152.4 cm - 208.3 cm|
|Footprint||57” L x 28” W x 65” H||61” L x 22” W x 58”||55.75” L x 22” W x 61” H|
|iFit||30-Day iFIT Trial Included||30-Day iFIT Trial Included||30-Day iFIT Trial Included|
|Old Models||No Bluetooth, Lower quality speaker, no SPD pedals, lower resolution screens, no processor cooling, noisy incline/decline system, no titling or rotating screen||No Bluetooth, Lower quality speaker, no SPD pedals, lower resolution screens, no processor cooling, noisy incline/decline system, no titling or rotating screen||Lower resolution screens, noisy incline/decline system, no titling or rotating screen|
|My Verdict||Better and less expensive than Peloton Plus and Bowflex Velocore. It has smart electronic magnetic resistance (competitors come with simple manual magnetic resistance) and smart electronic incline/decline system (competitors don't have incline/decline system). iFit Coach Individual costs $150 per year while Echelon and Peloton cost $400. Its screen is also 6-inch bigger than competitors||Better and less expensive than Peloton and Echelon. It has smart electronic magnetic resistance (competitors come with simple manual magnetic resistance) and smart electronic incline/decline system (competitors don't have incline/decline system). iFit Coach Individual costs $150 per year while "Full Access Echelon and Peloton" cost $400||Better and less expensive than Peloton and Echelon. It has smart electronic magnetic resistance (competitors come with simple manual magnetic resistance) and smart electronic incline/decline system (competitors don't have incline/decline system). iFit Coach Individual costs $150 per year while "Full Access Echelon and Peloton" cost $400|
|Cheaper Alternative||Studio Bike Pro 22"||Studio Bike Pro 22"||Studio Bike Pro 10"|
Nordictrack S15i Cycle Alternatives
This is where I compared the NordicTrack S15i commercial studio bike with other models within the same price range. Currently, in 2022, the S15i spin bike is a great value and considerably cheaper compared to similar spin bikes. In fact, many indoor bikes, in this price range don’t even have a monitor, not to mention the smart electronic-magnetic and smart incline/decline system.
However, the Nordictrack S15i Cycle is not the only option out there for this price range. If you’re looking for an alternative to Nordictrack, there are several other options worth considering. The Proform Studio Bike Pro, the Bowflex Velocore 16 Bike, and the Echelon Ex-5S Indoor Bike are all great Nordictrack alternatives.
The Proform Studio Bike Pro is a high-end spin bike that offers a similar riding experience to the Nordictrack. It features a heavy flywheel, automatic magnetic resistance, and a wireless heart rate monitor. The Studio Bike Pro also has a 22-inch HD touchscreen monitor that lets you track your progress and connect the bike to iFit application. There is no incline/decline system like the one on Nordictrack S15i but it does have a bigger screen and it is often $300 less expensive. So, I think it would make a great Nordictrack S15i alternative without compromising on quality.
The Bowflex Velocore 16 Bike is another great Nordictrack alternative. It features a heavy 33-lb flywheel, 100 levels of manual magnetic resistance, and a built-in heart rate monitor. like the Nordictrack, the Velocore 16 also has a 16-inch touchscreen monitor that lets you keep track of your progress. Although it doesn’t have any incline or decline system, it does have a unique leaning Technology that allows the bike to lean to the right and left sides.
Then there is Echelon Ex-5S Indoor Bike which is a more budget-friendly option that still offers a great riding experience. It features a 28-pound flywheel and 32 levels of resistance. Although the Echelon EX-5S doesn’t have an incline and decline or a cooling fan, it does have a smart electronic resistance system like Nordictrack S15i.
What I love the most about the Echelon EX5 and the EX5-s is the open-source Bluetooth technology that allows third-party application connectivity through the QZ application. Unlike Nordictrack S15i, you can connect those bikes easily to Zwift, Peloton, Strava, or Echelon applications and sync all your daily data using your own tablet without jailbreaking anything. So, I guess if you like non-iFit applications, you would be better off with the Echelon fitness bikes. The EX5 and the EX3 modes are the best choices for Zwift and Peloton cycling and they are way cheaper than the Nordictrack S15i bike.
|Proform Studio Bike Pro||Good Value at $1100||22-inches – It rotates to right and left||Automatic magnetic||No||No|
|Bowflex Velocore 16 Bike||A little overpriced at $1999||16-inches – It is fixed||Manual magnetic||No||No|
|Echelon Ex-5S Indoor Bike||A bit overpriced at $1500||22-inches – Flips up and down||Automatic magnetic||No||No|
To help you easily navigate through our ultimate NordicTrack S15i review, I have created the table content below.
- NordicTrack S15i bike specification
- S15i indoor bike computer
- iFit Membership subscriptions
- Pedals and Q-factor
- Studio S15i cycle flywheel
- S15i resistance, incline, and decline
- Commercial S15i cycle drivetrain
- Handlebars and seat
- Shipping and assembly
- Value for money and warranty
- NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Pros
- NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Cons
- Last Word on Commercial S15i Studio Bike
S15i Technical Information:
NordicTrack S15i Bike Specification:
- Height: 61″
- Width: 22″
- Length: 55.75″
- Bike Weight: 165 Pound
- Max User Weight: 350 Pound
- Inseam Capacity: 27″ to 40″
- Shipping Weight: 205 Pounds
- Transport Wheels: Yes
- Base Adjustment Levelers: Yes
- Water Bottle Holder: Yes
- Power Requirement: Power Plugs (no batteries needed)
- There is an On/Off button for this bike so you don’t need to unplug it to power it off. It can be found near where the power cord enters the base of the bike.
The weight capacity for the NordicTrack S15i exercise bike is set to 350 pounds which indicates the quality and it is going to be just fine for most users. But to give you 100% assurance of the durability, the company offers a 10-year warranty on the frame.
The NordicTrack S15i indoor cycling bike is engineered and produced with commercial-gauge welded steel and enhanced corrosion resistance construction to last.
Thanks to its adjustable feet levelers, the S15i studio bike remains stable and lets you work out as intense as you want. You can adjust the levelers to prevent the bike from rocking on the uneven or rigged floor surface.
With two generously huge transport wheels, the Studio S15i is designed to move easily. Unlike most spin bikes with little cheap transport wheels that often break or scratch the floor during transportation, the S15i cycle by NordicTrack has top-of-the-line wheels for easy and safe transportation.
NordicTrack S15i spin bike weighs more than most spin bikes which means it is not really convenient to move it around the house. Therefore, I suggest you assemble the bike where you actually want to use it.
S15i Indoor Bike Computer:
- NordicTrack Studio S15i exercise bike monitor runs on AC power (plugs into the outlet, no batteries needed).
- It has an HD 15″ touch-screen monitor.
- The computer features Swivel design (it pivots 360º to either direction, as well as tilts up and down)
- The monitor does NOT include a USB to charge devices or HDMI port to connect the bike to a bigger screen (TV).
- It has an Auxiliary port so you can listen to the virtual instructors via your headphones.
- Below the monitor, there is a cooling fan with adjustable speed for summer rides.
- The monitor on the S15i by NordicTrack also has two small speakers.
- This NordicTrack exercise bike has Bluetooth connectivity only for heart rate and headphone connections (not for cycling stat transmitting).
- There are no built-in workouts on board but you can manually set up workout goals to exercise without iFit subscription.
- NordicTrack S15i is compatible with Bluetooth heart rate straps (straps is not included).
- S15i Commercial Studio bike tracks your RPM, Watt, Calories, Heart Rate, Distance, Speed and time.
- You can also track the maximum and average for the above stats.
- Resistance can be changed via touchscreen or controls on the handlebars.
- S15i’s monitor works exclusively with the iFit app. (You can not use it with Zwift app, to surf the web, or watch Netflix unless bike console is jailbroken).
- Note: The monitor does not have internal memory, built-in preset programs, or ANT/+ connectivity.
The S15i bike runs on AC power which means you don’t have to spend extra on batteries or worry about charging them. The disadvantage is that you can not ride the bike unless there is an electrical outlet socket available.
Featuring a 15″ large HD touchscreen display makes it easy to go about your workouts and see exactly what’s going on no matter your workout intensity or speed. Thanks to the full-color screen, you don’t have to bother your partner keeping the light on always to see the stats during early morning or late evening workouts.
On top of that, the monitor pivots 360-degree and can be tilt up or down. It means if you are shorter or taller than average, you can still adjust the angle of the monitor for a perfect view.
Additionally, the NordicTrack S15i indoor cycling bike has a swivel design pivoting screen. It allows you to turn the screen to the right and left directions. This means when you are off the bike to use the dumbbells, you will be able to turn the monitor and keep watching iFit dumbbell upper body workouts.
There are two small speakers built-into the monitor but there is also an auxiliary port so you can connect a better sound system to listen to the iFit spin class workouts.
Unfortunately, the S15i NordicTrack does not have an HDMI port so you can’t connect your TV or computer to follow the spin classes on a larger screen. As you read earlier in this NordicTrack S15i review, this bike is Bluetooth and WiFi-enabled so you can connect the bike to iFit app or heart rate straps.
But it does not connect to the Zwift and other cycling apps. You also can not use the monitor to interact on social media platforms. There are also no built-in workouts on the board. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ride the bike without using the iFit. The monitor allows you to manually create a fitness goal which is great for when your free subscription ends and you don’t want to renew.
The S15i indoor bike by NordicTrack features smart electromagnetic resistance which means the iFit workouts will automatically change the resistance.
It is an awesome feature that simulates the terrain that you pick to ride on iFit. Going downhill and uphill the resistance will vary to make it more real and enjoyable for you.
Last but not least, Commercial S15i is iFit enabled (not iFit compatible). It means, unlike compatible equipment, you don’t need to connect a device (tablet, phone, etc) to follow iFit workout. All the iFit workouts are right there on the monitor without the need for any device. All you need is a WiFi connection.
One of the downsides to this top-notch NordicTrack spin bike is that it doesn’t have preset-programs or internal memory. So, when your free subscription ends, you can no longer have access to cool spinning videos/programs and can’t save your daily progress unless you renew the subscription.
iFit Membership Subscriptions:
- 1-Month Free iFit Coach Family membership is included with the Nordic-Track Studio cycle.
- With iFit you can do live interactive training (the coach can adjust your bike’s resistance, incline, and decline).
- You can create your own workouts (specific miles, time, RPM, etc)
- iFit membership allows you to access thousands of spinning class and road cycling workouts.
- With iFit you get the added benefit of personalized coaching that would normally cost much more in the classes.
- Some of the class and personalized workouts include on and off the bike dumbbell workout (full body cross-training).
- iFit allows you to save and share your daily workouts.
- iFit also allows you to pick the terrain that you normally ride with your outdoor bike (via Google Map).
- And it automatically changes the resistance to simulate the terrain that you ride.
- From the Google Map, you can choose the Satellite view or the Terrain view.
- You will be able to use the bike without the iFit membership but you won’t have access to iFit classes and can’t save daily workouts.
- Important Note: After 1 month subscription auto renews with fee ($399) unless you unsubscribe or end the benefits.
- Or you can change your membership from “iFit Coach Family” ($399) to “iFit Coach Individual” ($144).
After your free subscription ends, there are two iFit Coach memberships you can purchase:
iFit Coach Individual Membership (Individual Equipment user): An iFit Coach Individual membership is the best way to go if you own large fitness equipment, like a treadmill, elliptical, or bike, as it allows you to enjoy the full iFit experience for $144 per year.
iFit Coach Family Membership (multiple equipment users): An iFit Coach Family membership lets you share all of the benefits of a Premium membership with up to three additional users. For $39 per month ($468 per year) or $395 per year upfront ($33 per month), each user will have access to all the same features you do. Their login info, workouts, stats, and goals will be separate from your account and any other secondary accounts.
I personally suggest you end your benefits or unsubscribe from the iFit app because the subscription automatically renews with a $399 fee after a year.
“To avoid auto-renewal on your account, you can end your benefits through your settings on the iFit website or unsubscribe from the iFit app through your device settings. Once you end your benefits, you will be able to use your membership until the date that your next payment is due.”
This way, it is up to you whether to renew the membership after the free month ends or to stay with them. There are tons of great workouts and features with iFit. If there is only one person using the bike, it is cheaper to go with the “iFit Coach Individual” package.
Being iFit enabled, the NordicTrack S15i indoor cycle allows you to access thousands of streamed global and studio class workouts. With iFit, you can benefit from cycling with great personal trainers in your home.
Thankfully, you don’t even have to pay for the first month when you buy the NordicTrack S15i indoor cycle which is a great value. Because the 1-month iFit® Coach Family Membership is included.
iFit combined with NordicTrack Commercial Studio bike’s smart electromagnetic resistance, allows your coach to take control of the resistance on your bike to realistically match the terrain of your workout. When your trainer goes up a hill, you’ll feel more intensity.
Additionally, it allows you to check your monthly/weekly progress as every cycling session is automatically recorded and even used to influence future exercises and nutrition plans.
Overall the S15i Studio Cycle represents a new generation of iFit Coach training because it has smart auto-adjustment technology and includes on-demand access to spin class videos with the motivating guidance of expert coaches.
Note: iFit is an application that you access via WiFi connectivity. So, if you don’t have a WiFi connection and iFit membership, you will not access any to iFit content. With a free iFit account, you also won’t be able to save the workouts on the bike (or on the app) because the monitor doesn’t have internal memory.
How to Connect a NordicTrack S15i to Zwift?
Out of the box, the NordicTrack S15i is not compatible with the Zwift. It’s because Nordictrack wants you to use the S15i and its built-in console with its own iFit application.
However, recently an app developer has managed to create the QZ application to give the NordicTrack S15i Console the possibility to connect to Zwift. You can either choose to install the Zwift on the bike console or install the Zwift on a separate device (iPad, tablet, PC, or Mac).
I don’t recommend installing the Zwift application on the NordicTrack S15i screen because it has a low processor and graphic, plus a small storage capacity. So, the Zwift picture has lower quality and keeps freezing.
If you like connecting your Nordictrack S15i to Zwift, I highly suggest installing the Zwift on an iPad or an Apple TV instead of using the bike’s console for the Zwift app. Here is an in-depth guide on how to install the needed apps and connect your Nordictrack S15i to Zwift and Peloton.
Once again, as I mentioned earlier, if you like Zwift cycling, I would suggest you buy one of the indoor bikes that work best with the Zwift without having to jailbreak things. Even an Echelon EX5 or an Echelon EX3 bike would be a better option for the Zwfit cycling compared to the Nordictrack S15i. The last two indoor bikes are half the price and easier to connect to Zwift.
Pedals and Q-factor:
- NordicTrack S15i pedals are toe clips with straps (16/9″ pedal thread).
- They are not SPD (clipless shoes) compatible.
- The NordicTrack S15i q-factor is 150 mm.
- S15i has a three-piece crank arm system.
Featuring wide platform with adjustable straps, these pedals are designed to last, increase stability and keep your feet in place. They are okay if you want to do a full-body workout (cross-training).
Because in order to do cross-training and use the dumbbells, often you have to get off the bike. In this case, you want to wear a pair of regular comfortable gym shoes and avoid the bulky SPD shoe cleats.
However, if you think someday you will be doing only spinning workout on the bike (which is highly possible), I recommend you replace the pedals of the NordicTrack S15i spin cycle with dual-sided SPD compatible pedals.
They cost around $40-$50 and offer a great deal of comfort, safety, and efficiency. On one side, they have toe cages for regular gym shoes and the other side, there are the SPD elements for clipless cycling shoes.
Cycling with the SPD shoes and SPD pedals, there is very little chance that your feet slide off the pedals causing injury during the rides. Other benefits of SPD shoes are extra stability/comfort and better power transfer and pedal stroke.
As far as the q-factor goes, the S15i NordicTrack Commercial spin bike is pretty unique. It has an ergonomic 150 mm q-factor which is an excellent size for all riders.
And in case you are new to indoor cycling, the q-factor is the lateral distance between the two pedals. The narrower it is, the better it is. Wide q-factors tend to keep the rider’s feet too much apart not allowing the ankle, knees, and hips to stay aligned, which can cause stress on the knees during long intense rides.
Studio S15i Cycle Flywheel:
- NordicTrack S15i exercise bike flywheel weighs 32 pounds.
- This bike has a medium gear-ratio Inertia-enhanced flywheel.
- The flywheel is fixed (it is fixed-gear and bidirectional).
- S15i exercise bike lacks in water resistance flywheel protection guard.
You have probably heard of the flywheel needs to be more than 40 pounds to provide a smooth stead pedal stroke. Well, it is not always the case, especially if the bike has a combination of magnetic resistance and good gear-ratio.
For example, the $2000 Life Fitness IC6, its flywheel is 8 pounds. Yet, some of the world’s top-notch coaches use it to workout.
As for the NordicTrack S15i indoor cycle, it has a combination of medium gear-ratio and magnetic resistance. And that is why this bike’s 32 pounds inertia enhanced flywheel can provide momentum and smooth steady pedal stroke.
On top of that, the faster gear ratio and the effective weight placement on the flywheel deliver a more natural cycling experience while keeping the bike light for easy transportation inside the house.
The NordicTrack S15i bike is fixed-gear which is good and bad. The good thing is that it is bidirectional so you can pedal reverse and workout different leg muscles.
The bad is that if you need to get off the bike in case of an emergency or take a few second breaks, you will have to wait until the flywheel stops turning.
Unfortunately, most spin bikes are fixed-gear which means their flywheel and the pedals move and stop moving together. For now, there are only a few spin bikes such as the Life Fitness IC8 (nearly $3300) that have a free-wheel smart release system.
On free-wheel exercise bikes, you can stop pedaling while the flywheel is turning independently, which is similar to road bikes. Note: Don’t look for free-wheel spin bikes unless your budget is $2000+, at least not in 2022.
S15i Resistance, Incline And Decline:
- NordicTrack S15i is a magnetic spin bike.
- This bike has a smart electromagnetic system.
- There are 24 levels of resistance adjustable via touch on the screen and controls on the handlebars.
- There is also a manual emergency stop knob on the frame. (It is solely to stop the flywheel, not to change resistance).
- You can see the current resistance level on the monitor (no guess workout).
- Magnetic resistance is a silent and virtually maintenance-free system.
- S15i indoor bike comes with -10 to 20% “smart” electronically adjustable incline and decline.
The NordicTrack S15i bike has a magnetic resistance system. It allows you to experience a smooth, frictionless, and silent ride. Unlike friction resistance bikes, the magnetic doesn’t come in contact with the flywheel.
Therefore, they make zero noise, and because they don’t touch the flywheel, they don’t wear out. So, you don’t have to change the brake pads or lube them to make them less noisy.
The magnetic system is also smoother (not jerky) during the gear change and high-intensity workouts. Overall it is great because there is no loud annoying noise so both you and your family can have peace during your spinning workout.
Being a magnetic indoor cycling bike is only part of the beauty of commercial studio cycle S15i. Because not only this indoor cycle is magnetic but it is also is electromagnetic. And not only it is electromagnetic but it is Smart electromagnetic.
Here is the difference between the “magnetic”, “electromagnetic” and “smart electromagnetic”. “Magnetic spin bikes” have a knob which requires you to manually adjust the resistance. Manually turning a knob is not as precise as an electromagnetic system.
“Electromagnetic spin bikes” change resistance level via buttons/touch. They are more precise than spin bikes with knob adjustment resistance. But many electromagnetic systems are not smart, meaning the resistance doesn’t automatically change based on the type of workout or the terrain.
“Smart Electromagnetic resistance spin bikes” (like this Nordic Track cycle which is very rare to find) change resistance via built-in controls or touch on the screen. Additionally, they allow the workout programs to automatically change the resistance based on the type of workouts and the terrain.
Featuring smart Electromagnetic resistance, the NordicTrack allows the iFit coaches and the programs (workouts) to automatically change the resistance to simulate the type of terrain you ride.
For example, if the workout you picked has an uphill, the resistance will automatically increase when you start going uphill. On top of that, you can always see your current resistance level.
So, you don’t need to guess the resistance level as you would with the 99% of the spin bikes on the market. Additionally, this NordicTrack spin bike comes with a “smart incline and decline” adjustment.
Just like the resistance, when the coach in a spin video on the iFit app changes their incline/decline, your bike will automatically change these settings to match the coach’s intensity and incline. And to be honest I can’t think of any exercise bike in this price class that would offer such a smart interacting system other than this NordicTrack Studio Commercial S15i exercise bike.
Note: The watt/power created by resistance is not disclosed. But I believe the 24 levels of resistance and those huge magnets will provide any rider including elite cyclists with plenty of resistance for a challenging high-intensity workout.
Commercial S15i Cycle Transmission:
- NordicTrack S15i features a belt drivetrain system.
- It is smoother, quieter and requires less maintenance compared to chain spin bikes.
- Again, the S15i Commercial Studio indoor bike by NordicTrack has a fix-gear drivetrain.
This Smart exercise bike by NordicTrack features a belt drivetrain system that has certain advantages over chain drivetrain bikes. Firs advantage, it does not require lubing so you don’t have to make your hands or gym floor dirty every few weeks.
On top of that, the belt is smoother than the chain system. And even more importantly, the belt system is quieter which makes it more home-friendly. Last but not least, the belt has way less breakdown and maintenance than the chain.
The overall belt-driven system combined with the magnetic resistance provides a smooth, frictionless, and silent ride allowing you to exercise indoor without interrupting anyone around you.
Handlebars and Seat:
- S15i seat is 4-way adjustable (horizontally and vertically).
- The seat adjusts for most user heights.
- It is an ergonomically made padded performance seat.
- The handlebar adjusts vertically (multiple positions).
- S15i spin bike handlebars are 2-way adjustable (up and down).
- Two dumbbells and a dumbbell holder are included.
- Each dumbbell weighs 3 pounds, they are for upper body cross-training workout.
- Considering the upright frame design and the adjustments, the NordicTrack Studio S15i spin bike can accommodate users from 4’9″ to 6’6″ tall.
- NordicTrack Studio Cycle comes with double bottle holders.
The NordicTrack S15i Studio exercise bike features two 3-pound dumbbells for upper body workout. They are conveniently built-in on the handlebars which are easy to reach when you are on the bike, unlike Peloton which has the weights behind the seat and difficult to reach.
With the S15i bike by NordicTrack not only you can tone your legs, but using these dumbbells, you can also do cross-training workouts that will pump your upper body as well as your legs. There are also many cross-training workouts (mix dumbbell and cycling classes) on iFit that you can pick to follow.
The NordicTrack Studio Cycle has a hard but ergonomic seat. Unlike cheap seats found on the majority of indoor cycling bikes, the NordicTrack Smart Studio bike has a performance hard seat which some might find uncomfortable. The seat is narrow (not wide) which minimizes the saddle sore, friction and chafing on the sensitive areas. After using the bike if you don’t feel comfortable, I suggest you buy one of the Nordictrack S15i replacement seats that we have recently reviewed.
As for the handlebars, they are only up/down adjustable (not fore/aft) which is usually not a good sign for spin bikes because not all riders can fit the bike properly.
But that is not the case with the NordicTrack Commercial Studio S15i indoor cycle because of its upright frame. It is ergonomically designed for perfect bike fit and comfort, while the multi-position non-slip adjustable handlebars cut down on fatigue so you can ride longer.
With that being said, it would have been great, if NordicTrack built the S15i with 4-way adjustable handlebars. Some riders, especially shorter users would have really appreciated the extra adjustment possibility on the handlebars.
S15i Shipping and Assembly:
- NordicTrack S15i assembly tools and clear assembly instructions are included.
- NordicTrack Studio S15i bike shipping is free in the U.S.
- This cycle comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee (you can return it for replacement or refund).
- Main parts that need assembly are the;
- Seat, handlebars, pedals, stabilizer rear and front feet, and the monitor.
- Watch thiq assembly video to see if it is something you can do.
You have the following three options for S15i assembly: #1 do it yourself and save $. #2 Buy an exercise bike assembly from Amazon for $89. #3 Buy an exercise bike assembly from NordicTrack for $250.
I would personally go with the first option because I am handy, most consumers mentioned its easy to assemble the NordicTrack S15i and more importantly, there is a nice and clear assembly video to show me how to do it (check the link above).
There is also a little chance that I might go with option 2 if I am busy but there is no chance that I would go with option 3 ($250 for NordicTrack assembly).
Following the NordicTrack indoor cycling bike manual/instruction, the assembly shouldn’t take more than 60-90 minutes. All the needed tools are also included except for a screwdriver.
As you can see in the video it is a straightforward process but if you are not sure you can do it, it is better to buy an exercise bike assembly and have the machine assembled properly. Because if you fail to assemble it correctly, the warranty won’t cover the damage.
Tips: S15i Nordic Track is pretty heavy so I suggest you assemble the bike where you want to use it. Also, it is recommended to assemble the S15i bike in two.
S15i Price and Warranty:
- NordicTrack S15i indoor cycling bike retails for less than $2000.
- The S15i Studio cycle by NordicTrack is covered by;
- 10 Years on frame
- 3-Year on parts
- 1-Year labor warranty
- Customer Service Department Contact: “1-877-993-7999”
- Parts and Service Sales: “1-877-660-1174”
- To extend your manufacturer’s warranty by 90 days, register your S15i cycle within 30 days of purchase here: “https://my.iconfitness.com/”.
- Visit the following URL address to order parts online if you are out of your manufacturer or extended warranty period: “https://www.iconservice.com/”.
- Visit the following URL address and fill the form to order parts under warranty: “https://www.iconservice.com/contactus”.
- For troubleshooting or asking questions regarding your bike send emails to “email@example.com”.
- For live chat support visit one of the following URLs and click on the “Live Chat” icon: “https://myfitnesshelp.com/s/?language=en_US” “https://www.nordictrack.com/”
Considering, the commercial-quality structure, smart technology, and free iFit membership, the NordicTrack S15i indoor cycle is one of the best value spin bikes on the market for this price.
Practically, you pay only $1600 for a smart high-tech bike with a 15″ touch-screen because right after purchasing the S15i the company gives back $40 with a month iFit subscription (it used to be 1 year though).
Even without the iFit, is there any spin bike on the market with the commercial-quality, smart electromagnetic system, smart incline/decline, dumbbell integration, belt-driven, 15″ touch-screen monitor with RPM and Watt for under $2000? The answer is NO.
For someone who has been riding and reviewing spin bikes for years, I can say with full confidence that there is no indoor cycling bike that can beat the NordicTrack S15i spin bike in its price class, at least not for now (April 2022).
As for the warranty, not only does this NordicTrack cycle offers a steel commercial frame construction, it is also covered with a 10-year warranty to prove the commercial quality.
Additionally, the 3-Years warranty on all parts, including the monitor provides peace of mind. In fact, there are a few companies that would stand behind their equipment with such a generous warranty.
As far as the labor warranty goes, I believe one year is not bad at all for this price class. Many bikes around the same price don’t even come with a labor warranty or if they do, it is only limited to 90-day.
For example, a few of these magnetic spin bikes, especially Sunny Health and Fitness bikes. Some of their cycles retail for around the same price, yet they don’t even have a labor warranty and their part warranties don’t exceed 9 months.
If you have any questions regarding the warranty, you will need to visit the links that I provided above. Depending on your inquiry, you might have to fill in the form with your name, phone number, time zone, and the best time to call you.
NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Pros:
HD Touchscreen Display:
Studio cycle S15i is one of the few spin bikes with such a high-tech 15″ Bluetooth and iFit-enabled HD screen on the market. This touchscreen display allows you to save your workouts and follow along with your iFit programming.
Integrated Weight Lifting:
Just like Peloton, except the fact that it is included for free, the NordicTrack S15i exercise bike comes with two 3-pound dumbbells and a dumbbell holder. Built into the bike, it is perfect for those who want to mix upper-body strength training with lower-body cardio workouts. Luckily there are tons of mixed spinning and dumbbell (cross-training) workout videos available on the iFit to choose from.
- Watt (Estimated) and RPM readings.
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.
- 24 Levels of precise “Smart” electromagnetic resistance for a smooth, challenging and silent workout.
- -10 to 20% “Smart” electronic incline and decline adjustments.
- Durable transport wheels make the NordicTrack S15i commercial bike’s mobility a breeze.
- Racing saddle for a comfortable chafe-free indoor cycling workout.
- 4-Way adjustable monitor. (Tilt-adjustable and 360-degree pivoting screen for a perfect screen view on and off the bike).
- Generous warranty on parts and 10 years warranty on commercial frame construction.
- Low maintenance quiet belt drivetrain to provide an enjoyable indoor cycling exercise.
- Built-in speakers.
- Audio auxiliary port to listen to the videos with higher quality speakers.
- Money-back guarantee.
- Easy-to-reach resistance and incline adjustment controls on the handlebars.
NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle Cons:
This indoor cycling bike does not feature a tablet or phone holder. So, if you need to keep your devices close, you will have to purchase separate device holders.
Toe cage pedal:
These pedals don’t allow you to clip-in SPD cycling shoes for a safer, more efficient, and more comfortable spinning workout because they don’t have the SPD elements. But it can be fixed for less than $50. Thankfully, the NordicTrack spin bike features the standard 16/9″ pedal thread. So, SPD replacements are widely available.
It is not necessarily a con as you don’t have to renew the iFit subscription for the NordicTrack S15i indoor bike. But if you want to record your workouts and watch spinning classes or ride on the road from inside your home, you will need to pay $180 (for Individuals) or $399 (for Family) to subscribe after your free month subscription ends.
- 2-Way adjustable handlebars, no drop/racing handgrips, and no armrests.
- There is no flywheel and resistance sweat protection guard.
- It is not iPod-compatible.
- This indoor bike doesn’t have a USB port to allow you to charge your devices
- There is no HDMI port to connect the bike to a bigger screen.
- S15i exercise bike by NordicTrack does not have ANT/+ connectivity.
- S15i monitor only works with iFit (Can’t watch Netflix, or Youtube or connect to Zwift and other cycling apps unless jailbroken).
Last Word on NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Bike:
The S15i Studio Cycle with 15” HD screen and iFit Coach membership is NordicTrack’s budget response to the popular Peloton bike. And to beat the competition, the NordicTrack lower their price (considerably) and added some awesome features.
NordicTrack S15i indoor spin bike is designed to bring home the experience of real road cycling while providing the rider with the energizing atmosphere of a spin bike studio to make the spinning more than just a workout.
S15i spin bike is built to clear your mind and give you a chance to detox any negative energy without having to attend a spinning class. You can benefit from pre-recorded and live indoor cycling classes by top-notch iFit Coach trainers and get motivated seeing other riders work toward fitness their goals.
But what really stands out is the smart adjustment technology on this indoor bike which is rare to find on any indoor cycle in this price tag. Currently, (2022) we believe the S15i spin bike is great value but it might change in the future.
So, to make sure it is still a good buy by the time you are reading our NordicTrack S15i review, leave us a comment down below or send us an email and we will search the market for you (with no additional cost). We are happy to help our readers from around the world to find the “best value” spin bikes on their markets.
The NordicTrack S15i studio cycle is a great piece of cardio equipment for your home gym. It’s smooth, quiet, and has many program options to keep you challenged. If you are looking for a quality indoor cycle for your home workouts, the NordicTrack S15i is definitely worth considering.
The s15i does NOT have HDMI or USB. Please update your review accordingly.
Would you recommend purchasing the extended warranty on this bike? Thanks
Hi Brian, thanks for stopping by
Yes, I suggest a 3-year protection plan ($60) but nothing else as the bike already includes a pretty long warranty.
I‘ve checked this bike out at our fitness depot store and it is a beautiful bike, my concern about purchasing it is do the hydraulics on the incline/decline have a life span and/or would they need regular maintenance
Are there any bikes that allow you to stream content, like netflix?
Can you disable the feature where the instructor changes your workout level and gradient settings? Suppose you don’t want them to alter your ride?
do not purchase this bike. in less than 2 years the main pedal assembly and shaft is broke and they cant even get a service tech out to fix it. the ifit connectivity is very hit or miss too. dont spend your money on this bike
Hello Jeff, thanks a lot for stopping by and letting us know about the issue. As always, we appreciate and encourage our readers to leave their opinions, suggestions, answers, and questions in the comment section below.
We will ask the brand about the issue and we hope they investigate and see if it’s an isolated case or a common problem.
I purchased this bike on 3/12/21 directly from Nordictrack, it was delivered on 3/17/21, the cadence stopped syncing on 3/19/21, and the resistance and incline stopped working on 3/20/21. Customer service said it’s the console and I’ll receive a replacement in 1 to 3 weeks. The complaints people are posting on IG, FB and Reddit are legit; I’m learning the hard way. Hopefully the new console will solve the problem. I haven’t had this bike for a full week and only used it moderately. 11 miles and broken. For what it’s worth, the Peloton complaints on Reddit are just as bad.
Hello S.Thompson, thanks for stopping by and letting us know your experience with S15i!
We talked to them last year and we are hoping the new bikes won’t be having these problems.
They don’t honor their warranty, mine barely lasted a year before mechanical failure. Won’t repair it under the warranty, even had an extended one!