For anyone seeking comfortable biking with a low upfront cost, the NordicTrack Commercial VR21 is here. Pedal through an effective workout without hurting your sensitive joints or back. Recumbent exercise bikes like the NordicTrack Commercial VR21 let you burn calories, tone your lower body, and build cardiovascular endurance. Somehow, they do all with low impact and high comfort compared with upright stationary bikes.
The VR21 is one of the cheapest recumbent bikes of 2017, just $699 on sale, but it provides a useful mix of power and workout programming. It’s also entertainment-friendly with a tablet shelf and iPod-compatible sound system. At just $699 on sale ($999 full price) the VR21 is the lowest-priced recumbent bike in NordicTrack’s three-member series. Key features are a high-backed mesh seat, a 23-pound resistance system, 32 workout apps and an iFit Coach Ready console. Read on to see if this is the best recumbent exercise bike for your budget.
|Resistance Type||Balanced Flywheel|
|Drive System||23 lb. Flywheel|
|Seat||Adjustable w/ Lumbar Support|
|Pedals||Extra Wide Ergonomic|
|Heart Rate||Pulse Grips & Wireless Chest Strap|
|Display||5" Backlit iFit Display|
|Max. Weight||350 lbs|
|Dimensions||59" x 22.25" x 52"|
Parts: 2 Years
Labor: 1 Year
Pros & Cons
- Commercial steel frame.
- Step Thru recumbent frame design (Easy on, easy off).
- Low impact exercise.
- Padded seat with airflow and back support.
- 23-pound resistance system.
- 25 resistance settings (Digitally controlled).
- 32 workout apps.
- Ready for iFit Coach (Shown on your mobile device).
- iPod-compatible (Port and 2” speakers).
- Wireless heart rate receiver (Chest strap sold separately).
- Grip pulse sensors on handlebars.
- Workout fan (AutoBreeze).
- High weight capacity (350 pounds).
- Low sale price ($599).
- Two-year parts warranty.
- Not the best match for advanced cyclists.
- Not built for long-term durability.
- NordicTrack’s customer service frequently gets negative reviews.
The easy-to-ride Commercial VR21 debuted as the most affordable NordicTrack recumbent bike. It’s also one of NordicTrack’s cheapest solutions for cross-training that puts minimal pressure on your joints. With the VR21, you can expect to get a year or two of comfortable workouts for calorie burn, cardio strengthening, and toning the lower body. The bike is also useful for physical therapy after an injury. It has an effectively 23-pound flywheel and lets you alternate between 25 resistance settings.
With the Commercial VR21, NordicTrack provides a drive that’s heavy enough to be respectable, yet not so heavy that it dramatically affects the price. The same goes for the electronics: You won’t pay for a flashy console, but 32 workout apps are included (plus you can add your own tablet computer to run iFit Coach and other apps).
Bike with the wisdom of a pro trainer’s knowledge. The VR21 has 32 workout apps designed by a certified personal trainer. Each app controls the bike’s pedal speed and resistance. For each session you can focus on a calorie goal, cardio endurance, or performance training.
The Commercial VR21 is also ready for iFit Coach. With an iFit Coach membership you can get ever-evolving coaching not only about biking, but for your fitness-related activities around the clock. iFit Coach also lets you download new customized programs every day, access a library of HD video workouts featuring celebrity personal trainers, and virtually ride outdoors along any Google Maps route. If Google Street View is available for your route, it will stream to your tablet computer as you ride.
Special features on NordicTrack bikes can bring extra motivation and enjoyment to your fitness regime. On the VR21 you’ll get an eye-level shelf for your tablet computer, allowing your computer to serve as an iFit Coach monitor and/or run your favorite mobile apps. For the extra push that only music provides, connect your MP3 player to the bike console. A set of 2” speakers with digital amplification lets you leave headphones or earbuds behind during your workout.
To help you train in your target heart rate zone, the VR21 has grip pulse sensors on the handlebars. For better accuracy you can wear a wireless chest strap. (Chest straps are sold separately from the VR21, but are included with the VR23.)
Other console features to note are a 5” data window with crisp display, an auto-adjusting fan, and a water bottle holder.
Warranty & Guarantee
The NordicTrack Commercial VR21 recumbent bike warranty includes:
– Frame: Lifetime
– Parts: 2 Years
– Labor: 1 Year
A 30-day money back guarantee is provided for factory-direct purchases.
At this low end of the price spectrum, shoppers shouldn’t expect very long-lasting exercise bikes. The price makes the NordicTrack Commercial VR21 mighty tempting though. This model provides comfortable seating and joint-friendly pedaling, features useful workout apps, and can integrate iFit Coach. Owing to its so-so resistance system, the VR21 is most suitable for light and moderate intensity cardio training. To get a more powerful and durable bike, you’ll need to spend at least $999.