If you’re in the market for a well-built exercise bike, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle.
This bike comes with all the bells and whistles one needs to both be fully challenged by their workout program and feel as comfortable as possible. One of the new upgrades for the 2021 model is the addition of Bluetooth headphone connectivity, meaning one has more options when it comes to listening to live trainers, music, or other forms of entertainment. From the large 14-inch HD Touchscreen to the inertia-enhanced flywheel, this bike stacks up well with the competition. Like most machines within the NordicTrack family of equipment, the NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle comes with a year of iFit programming and trainer-controlled features.
The NordicTrack S15i is unique in that it does have incline and decline capabilities, so this will give you a ‘real road’ type of feel. For anyone who is training for an actual road race, that will make this bike enjoyable. Read our full review below to get a feel for whether this bike warrants a spot in the home.
|Model||NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle|
|Resistance Type||SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance|
|Drive System||Inertia-enhanced Flywheel|
|Frame||Commercial Grade Steel Construction|
|Seat||Padded and adjustable|
|Display||14” Smart HD Touchscreen|
|Dimensions||55.75” x 22” x 61”|
Parts: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle: The Value Proposition
This bike really shines. At $1,599, one needs to remember that the purchase includes a one-year family membership in the iFit Coach program, valued at $396. When considering that into the equation, the consumer is looking at a very reasonably priced bike. It also comes with a pair of three-pound dumbbells, which might not be a deal-breaker, but given the variety of exercise programming afforded by the iFit community, they’ll come in handy for sure.
The bike matches up well with the MYX Fitness Bike priced at $1,299, which comes with many comparable features, although that bike brings a 21.5-inch screen to the match versus the S15i’s 14-inch. Meanwhile, the S15i does offer the NordicTrack warranty of 10 years on the frame, two for parts, and one for labor. The MYX Fitness Bike only offers a one-year warranty, and when considering value, that’s certainly a point worth mentioning.
Probably the next big question is cost of programming. The S15i is iFit-enabled and comes with one year of that app free, but after that is over the program costs about $396 per year. The bike can be used without the iFit program of course, but one of the big selling points with that program is the connectivity with live trainers who can control the bike’s resistance and speed.
Bike Build Quality
NordicTrack makes good machines and has a well-earned reputation for quality. Measuring 60 inches x 22 inches x 58 inches, the welded steel frame can support up to 350 pounds in user weight. Maximum user weight is typically a good indicator of overall bike durability, and with this model the commercial steel frame is demonstrably strong.
The bike utilizes Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) supported by an inertia-enhanced flywheel. Comparatively speaking, the MYX Fitness Bike also supports up to 350 pounds in user weight, but instead of SMR it has a whopping 41-pound flywheel. The S15i comes built with front-end transport wheels, an ergonomic padded saddle, and AutoBreeze Workout fan. A non-slip, multi-position handlebar augments the vertical and horizontal seat adjustment so riders of all heights can use it with ease.
Warranties offered are also a good indicator of overall machine quality, and while some manufacturers offer lifetime guarantees, 10 years for the frame is respectable. Other points in the bike’s favor are its enhanced corrosion resistance and large diameter adjustable leveling feet.
The Experience: Resistance and Ride
The NordicTrack Commercial S15i brings Silent Magnetic Resistance to the home. With 22 levels of digital resistance, the ride is bound to be smooth. With this type of bike, resistance is generated by way of a magnet adjusted in relation to the flywheel. The closer the magnet is moved by the digital controls, the greater the resistance. Magnetic resistance is one of the smoothest forms in that there’s little friction involved.
The 22 levels of resistance offered is key, but one of the biggest points in this model’s favor is its offering of a -10% decline as well as 20% incline. New, quiet drive incline technology makes this easier than ever. Riders looking for a real smooth burn can certainly find it climbing up and down those degrees as if on a mountain trail. This will come into play with the iFit Coach program’s compatibility with Google Maps and its ability to take one anywhere in the world virtually. The fact that the 2021 model brings Bluetooth headphone connectivity bolsters the iFit program as one can interact directly with the trainers with much more clarity.
In terms of comfort, the S15i features an ergonomic padded saddle, vertical and horizontal seat adjustment, an AutoBreeze Workout Fan, and a non-slip multi-position handlebar. These features allow riders to focus on the ride itself and not have to worry about fussing about with the bike itself. When using the iFit app, this bike brings enhanced trainer controls which allow the professional trainers leading classes to adjust resistance and incline along with the class.
NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle Vs. The Competition
The world of indoor cycles with streaming capabilities is a crowded one indeed, but when looking at price points, it’s a littler easier to comparison shop. The MYX Fitness Bike, the Stryde Bike, and the ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22, come in as close rivals here. The biggest drawback to the S15i in this crowd frankly is the screen size. At 14 inches, it seems a little small relative to the 21.5- and 22-inch versions on these rivals. Aside from the MYX Fitness Bike and it’s 41-pound flywheel and friction resistance, the others all feature magnetic resistance. The S15i comes with a one year free membership to iFit, as does the ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22, while the Stryde Bike and MYX Fitness Bike offer their own unique paid programming packages. Where the S15i really stands out is the -10% decline and 20% incline offered, added to the fact that this works in conjunct with the iFit programming. This is pretty rare amongst bikes and for hard-core riders it could be a decision point.
The ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22’s only big drawback is the 250-pound maximum user weight capacity which, when compared to the S15i seems a bit weak. That said, it does offer 24 levels of magnetic resistance compared to the S15i’s 22. Both of these bikes offer the exact same warranty, and at $1,499 the Pro 22 does seem to offer a few more bells and whistles when compared to the S15i, hence it’s higher ratings. We still respect the higher user weight capacity of the S15i for a number of reasons aside from the rider’s own bodyweight as this is an indicator of stability.
The Stryde Bike and MYX Fitness Bike really straddle the S15i price-wise considering they don’t offer a year of free iFit valued at $396. That said, their more diverse programming options might be a big plus for someone not interested in the trainer-led workouts of iFit. Meanwhile, we have to note that the Stryde Bike offers a 5-year warranty on the frame, while the MYX Fitness Bike only offers a 1-year warranty. In terms of overall value, warranties certainly matter. When making this decision, we feel the S15i offers a good comparison/contract to the competition as it has a better warranty for the price than Stryde and MYX, a better user maximum weight than the Pro 22, but a smaller screen than any of the above. In the end, decline and incline option might be the biggest plug in its favor.
- Comes with a large 14-inch Smart HD Touchscreen
- Bluetooth headphone connectivity
- Gives you one year of free iFit membership when you purchase. This allows you to stream real life workouts from trainers all around the world as well as pre-programmed classes
- Comes with free weights, which you can use when you are off your bike to perform strength training exercises with.
- The screen will swivel around so you can easily follow along with your other cross training workouts used from the iFit membership.
- Use the Google Maps feature on this bike to ride anywhere around the world that you please. The large touchscreen makes this process extra enjoyable
- Has 20% incline and -10% decline capabilities – which is a rare feature that you don’t often see
- Provides 22 digital resistance levels to choose from, ensuring that no matter how fit you are, you can still be fully challenged by this exercise cycle
- A tilting display so that you can adjust the screen to your own comfort level. This will help prevent any unwanted neck strain that could potentially leave you with a neck ache
- Has one touch controls so you can control your workout session with the quick click of a button. There will never be any unwanted interruptions in your workout routine.
- Comes with frame mounted transport wheels
- Has a silent magnetic resistance feature, so you can ride in complete silence as you go about your sessions
- The inertia enhanced flywheel provides a smooth and steady ride, giving you maximum user comfort
- While the bike does come with three-pound dumbbells to perform your strength training sessions with, this is not going to be nearly enough to challenge most individuals.
- After your iFit membership is over, you will have to pay a fee to continue on which is $39 per month. This is an ongoing cost that will have to be paid for as long as you continue to use the feature
- The bike comes with no pre-programmed options so if you don’t continue on with iFit, you will have to design your own programming
- The one-year labor warranty is a bit short, but quite standard for the industry
The NordicTrack Commerical S15i does not come with any pre-built workout programs and is designed to work with the iFit Coach program. That said, the bike will work without that app if users opt against renewing after the one-year free trial membership is complete. Like other machines within the NordicTrack family, a manual mode is available and will display key metrics. Users can always incorporate a different app of their choice and perhaps use a tablet, phone, or park the bike in front of a smart television.
Keep in mind though there’s a reason for the iFit program’s continued success. Live trainers can control the machine’s resistance as users keep up with classes that fit any interest. This is particularly key with the S15i because it offers an incline/decline function which can work with the iFit program. In addition to a growing library with thousands of routines and routes, new programs and live classes are created daily. Users can speak directly to their trainers and classmates as a live leaderboard displays results. In addition to global biking adventures by way of Google Maps, users can also engage in yoga or mindfulness sessions. This means the iFit app can also travel on another device to commercial gym, or a hotel while on vacation, and the programs aren’t limited to biking. For $396 per year after the free trial is up, users may simply choose to continue. For more information about the program, check out our review “Everything You Need to Know About iFit” here.
NordicTrack Commerical S15i Studio Cycle Features
The S15i comes equipped with a 14-inch HD touchscreen which does swivel. This is key for those exercise fans who like to throw in some floor work with the included three-pound dumbbells, practice yoga, or stretch. Wi-Fi connectivity is powered by dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and the bike is Bluetooth-enabled. One Touch Controls make switching among the 22 digital resistance levels easier, and there’s no question users enjoy the smooth feel of Silent Magnetic Resistance. The bike also includes a fan, dual water bottle holders, and comes with two three-pound dumbbells.
Made from commercial-grade steel, the bike sports front-mounted wheels and is easy to transport for storage. One of the more unique elements is the fact it offers both -10% decline and 20% incline, and this works in conjunct with the iFit Coach program. The bike comes with one year of the iFit program free, and while there are no built-in programs, the bike can be operated without the app if one chooses to go without.
The bike itself measures 60 inches x 22 inches x 58 inches and fits easily in most home gym spaces.
Warranty & Guarantee
This bike comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, a two-year parts warranty, and a one-year labor warranty.
Is It Worth It?
Overall, there’s not a lot more you could ask for in a bike, making the NordicTrack Commercial S15i an excellent choice for just about everyone. It’ll be well suited to a beginner and advanced exerciser alike, so no matter where you are, you’ll love what you’re getting.
The bike offers unique features such as the incline and decline capability that you just don’t see on bike’s elsewhere that often, so that really sets it apart and will certainly attract many buyers who want this feature.
While it does have that ongoing iFit membership cost like any NordicTrack machine does after the first year, considering what you’d pay in personal training sessions for one year, we feel like this is more than affordable. When you invest in the Commercial S15i Studio Cycle, you can feel like you are making a wise purchase.
What’s Changed For This Year
Each year, manufacturers upgrade their line with new goodies. Larger screens and upgrades to the tech are most common additions. It can be a bit confusing to the consumer if shopping about the websites. Below are the new upgrades to the NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle.
New for 2021
- Faster Wi-Fi Connectivity: This year’s upgrades include dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity: Another new upgrade is the ability to list to the iFit trainer, or any other form of entertainment, by way of Bluetooth headphones.
- New mobile app: An upgraded iFit mobile app has been developed and now comes with the package.
- Enhanced tech: The 2021 model comes with an enhanced series of automatic trainer controls when used with iFit.
- Improved graphics: The 14-inch HD screen has been augmented with an improved graphics package and processor cooling.