Both are excellent additions to a home gym. But which one is a better machine? Choosing the right fitness equipment depends on your needs and preferences. So, let’s highlight the pros and cons of these units to see how well they meet your standards.
For easier comparison, I’ve listed various exercise bike features that these two models share. Hopefully, this article will help you decide which bike is worth the investment.
NordicTrack S22i vs Proform 8.0
In my opinion, the Proform 8.0 Exercise Bike suits me better. Its straightforward operation is ideal for my beginner-intermediate fitness capacity. Also, the quiet magnetic resistance system and compact design fit my apartment space. Its more reasonable price point is a big plus, too.
However, as I’ve mentioned, our fitness needs vary, and these should be the basis of your final choice.
For a quick overview, here’s a comparison table summarising the distinct qualities of the two exercise bikes. Scroll down further for a more in-depth description.
|EXERCISE BIKE FEATURES
|Construction and weight limit
|Heavier machine; 150-kg limit
|Lighter machine; 135-kg limit
|Resistance type and level
|Magnetic; 24 resistance levels
|Magnetic; 25 resistance levels
|iFit-ready with pre-set workouts, incline/decline and manual mode
|iFit-ready with 30 onboard workouts and manual mode
|13-kg inertia-enhanced flywheel
|Adjustable narrow bike seat
|Adjustable wide bike seat
|Handlebars and foot pedals
|Adjustable handlebars with hybrid pedals
|Fixed handlebars with extra-wide pedals
|Display and program selection
|22-in touchscreen with handlebar buttons
|5-in backlit display with quick buttons and tablet holder
|Comes with several add-ons
|Comes with basic add-ons
|Dimension (L X W X H)
|141 x 56 x 155 cm
|110 x 57 x 156 cm
A. General Features and Engineering
Construction and weight limit
NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 have very different construction materials and build. The S22i has posts and stabilisers made out of corrosion-resistant, commercial-grade steel. On the other hand, Proform 8.0 has considerably more plastic components.
This construction quality explains why the S22i can support a user weight of up to 150 kg, whereas the Proform 8.0 only has a 135 kg limit. The significant machine weight difference between these two bikes is also related to their construction and parts.
Specifically, the S22i has a boxed weight of 94 kg, while Proform 8.0 is only 54 kg. Naturally, an indoor bike with more metal components will be heavier than one with more plastic parts and shroud.
Winner: NordicTrack S22i. I always associate construction materials or machine parts with lifespan and frequency of use. So, a more durable and long-lasting bike is ideal, especially for seasoned cyclists. Also, if you plan to share the machine with others, a model with a higher weight limit is a better and safer option.
Resistance type and level
NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 use magnets to create tension against the flywheel. Both also work with the same technology called SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance. It allows you to ride either exercise bike at high intensities without noise.
Also, the S22i has 24 resistance levels, while the Proform 8.0 has 25. Both stationary bikes are then ideal for interval training or progressive training. As for switching from low to high resistance, the bikes have different methods to do it digitally.
You can use the touchscreen or the one-touch buttons on the handlebar of the S22i. For the Proform 8.0, its quick-touch buttons on the console make resistance adjustment a breeze.
Winner: Both. The quiet magnetic resistance of these exercise bikes makes them ideal for any home gym, especially in smaller spaces or apartments. They also offer a wide range of resistance to suit beginner to seasoned riders. However, I do find the quick-touch controls of Proform 8.0 more convenient.
Both NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 are iFit-compatible exercise bikes. They also come with a 30-day iFit membership, allowing you to explore the fitness app for free.
Syncing either machine to iFit gives you access to an extensive library of studio and global workouts. Its best feature would have to be its outdoor trails that feature beautiful sceneries in various countries.
Personal trainers facilitate these programs and automatically adjust the bike settings for you. You can also pair both bikes with Google Maps and draw your route for the day. The exercise bikes can work without an app subscription, though.
With the S22i, you can access its pre-loaded iFit workouts or go on manual mode. Also, its +20% incline and -10% decline feature gives users additional workout options.
On the other hand, Proform 8.0 has 30 onboard workouts you can use even without an internet connection. When you select an onboard workout, the Proform console will show its profile, divided into 1-minute segments. Each segment has a pre-set speed and resistance.
The console display then prompts you to pedal faster or slower, depending on the workout design.
Winner: Proform 8.0. Both bike models are iFit-ready, giving you lots of workouts to try. But once the free membership expires, I think Proform 8.0 provides users with more exercise options without the extra costs.
B. Look and Feel
The flywheel weight indicates how smooth and comfortable your cycling sessions will be. In most cases, it also influences the bike price.
NordicTrack S22i has a 13-kg inertia-enhanced flywheel, while Proform 8.0 Ex has an 8-kg one. This weight gap emphasises how differently these bikes perform.
Specifically, a heavier flywheel, like the S22i, takes more pedalling effort. Once you build up momentum and rhythm, the ride becomes smoother. This transition simulates outdoor cycling.
On the other hand, it is easier to get going with a lighter flywheel. However, the ride won’t be as smooth, especially at higher speeds.
Winner: Both. Think about your fitness capacity and goals when choosing an exercise bike based on flywheel weight. If you’re a beginner and after good cardio workouts, go for the Proform 8.0. However, choose the NordicTrack S22i if you prefer a road bike-like experience. You can always get a lighter model before committing to a more premium bike. But I think it’s more economical to buy a better machine once.
When selecting an indoor bike (or any exercise machine), features that let you adjust it for proper ergonomics are crucial. These ensure that your ride is comfortable and safe throughout.
Adjustable bike components are also essential in preventing the dreaded sore butt during cycling. Good thing NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 have adjustable bike seats.
Both have knobs under the saddle and on the seat post that you can adjust according to your height.
Winner: Proform 8.0. While both models have adjustable bike seats, I find the cushioned and wider Proform one more comfortable. Spin bikes like the S22i typically have narrow seats, which can be uncomfortable. If you’re a spin-bike beginner, I suggest wearing appropriate bike shorts to avoid discomfort.
Handlebar and foot pedals
Proform 8.0 has fixed handlebars as it is an upright bike. On the other hand, you can move the handles of the S22i up or down to achieve the outdoor cycling or hovering form.
What I like about the Proform handles are the dual EKG pulse grips. When I was trying this bike for a review, I was impressed by how responsive these built-in heart rate monitors were. Its screen immediately displayed my heart rate when I wrapped my hands around the handles.
The foot pedals of both indoor bikes are very different, too. With the NordicTrack S22i, you get a pair of dual-sided or hybrid pedals that suit cycling shoes and regular trainers.
Riding this bike while wearing clip-in shoes increases your pedalling efficiency by 30%, which is great for hardcore riders. This type of pedal also ensures even pressure on your sole, especially when riding uphill.
The Proform 8.0 does not have this feature, though. But its extra-wide pedals are very comfortable. Each has an adjustable strap that you can pull up or down for a secure grip when riding at higher speeds.
Winner: Proform 8.0. I’m a regular bike rider who prefers to cycle with my sneakers. I also find the Proform 8.0 pedals more comfortable. Plus, having a built-in heart rate monitor is better than getting a separate chest strap.
C. Performance and Technology
Display and program selection
One of the most impressive features of the NordicTrack S22i is its large 22-in (or 56cm) touchscreen. It’s the perfect complement for those immersive iFit workouts.
This screen also has a 360° pivot function, so you can move it from side to side or up and down for that perfect viewing angle. It also helps avoid glare from overhead lights and makes it easier to perform off-the-bike iFit workouts. Most of the program selection of the S22i happens on its touchscreen. But you can also control the incline and resistance level using the handlebar buttons.
The Proform 8.0 Ex does not have a touchscreen. However, it does have a 5-inch backlit display with several buttons below for easy program selection. You can also adjust the console to get your ideal viewing angle. On top of the console is an adjustable tablet holder, so you can stream iFit workouts, check your social media feeds or watch movies while cycling.
Also, syncing your tablet with the machine lets you select programs or set bike settings.
Winner: Proform 8.0. This bike may lack the large touchscreen that high-end models have. But I find this a good thing as it gives users more flexibility on how they want to use or optimise the bike. Without this, you can opt for an iFit subscription or use the preset workouts instead. Either choice gives you a functional yet affordable exercise bike.
Both NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 work quietly. When I was testing these bikes, the whole session was noise-free. It stayed that way even when I picked up the pace or adjusted the incline/decline level.
The bikes produce some whirring sounds but nothing that will disrupt the people inside the house or your neighbours. This low-noise generation is something you’d expect from bikes with magnetic resistance.
Winner: Both. Either bike model is perfect for apartment dwellers like me who prefer to work out peacefully. These quiet bikes are also ideal for shared spaces and night-time cycling routines.
Here’s a list of the different add-ons you’ll see in the NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0:
- Cooling fan. Both exercise bikes have workout fans below the screen or console. Proform 8.0 has a two-speed cooling fan. The S22i has three fan speeds plus a mode that automatically adjusts the airflow based on how fast you cycle.
- Water bottle holder. Proform 8.0 has one bottle holder right below the console. Tall water bottles tend to lean to the side a bit, though. NordicTrack S22i has two tray-like bottle holders.
- Storage tray. Proform 8.0 does not have one. NordicTrack S22i has one near the handlebar that’s big enough for holding valuables like a mobile phone, cards, keys or a small snack.
- Audio speakers. Both bikes have front-facing speakers, which produce better sound projection. The bikes are also Bluetooth-ready, but the Proform 8.0 has an auxiliary port for connecting other gadgets like headphones.
- Dumbbells. The S22i comes with 1.4kg (3lb) dumbbells, which you can use for iFit weight exercises or combo classes.
- Transport wheels. Both bikes have two front-mounted wheels, but the lighter Proform 8.0 is easier to wheel around.
Winner: NordicTrack S22i. The high-end S22i has the bells and whistles for convenient and entertaining cycling workouts.
D. Buying Considerations
Neither of the bikes is foldable. However, both compact machines take up almost the same floor space. NordicTrack S22i is slightly longer than the Proform 8.0.
Winner: Proform 8.0. Both bikes are space efficient, but I find the Proform 8.0 easier to manoeuvre, especially if I need to clean up my workout area. I also like that this bike has a handle at the back, so I can lift and wheel the machine around.
NordicTrack S22i costs almost $2000 more than a Proform 8.0. It is quite a considerable price gap. The reason for this would have to be the large touchscreen, incline/decline function, heavier flywheel, hybrid pedals and extra accessories.
I’ve enumerated them to help you assess whether you need all these in your workout. Ultimately, getting a high-end or entry-level exercise bike depends on your budget.
Alternatively, if you want to purchase a more expensive bike, you can do so during a sales event to save more.
Despite being two different types of exercise bikes, the NordicTrack S22i and Proform 8.0 share some similarities.
Both have a wide range of resistance levels that users can control digitally. They also operate quietly and do not take up much space. These bikes are iFit compatible, too.
While both are excellent machines, they have distinct features that make them more suitable for specific users. For instance, the incline/decline function, large touchscreen, hybrid pedals and heavier flywheel of the S22i would appeal to experienced riders.
On the other hand, casual riders would likely prefer the basic functionality, onboard workouts and average weight limit of the more affordable Proform 8.0.
As for me, the Proform 8.0 bike is a better option as it matches my fitness needs and capacity more.
What about you? Which one will you consider getting? You can also check out my exercise bike reviews and buying guide next for more options.
1. What is iFit membership?
iFit is a fitness training app that works with specific equipment or gadgets. After downloading this workout app, you can access high-energy studio classes and global workouts with the best personal trainers. Purchasing compatible exercise machines, like NordicTrack and Proform, include a free iFit trial for a limited time. Once it expires, the user will have to pay a subscription fee to continue accessing it.
2. How much does an exercise bike cost?
In Australia, exercise bikes cost between $100 and $4000. While brands and product features usually dictate the price, the type of exercise bike is also an indicator. The best price point would probably be the mid-range category or models that cost between $1000 and $1500. However, the final choice should depend on your needs, preferences and budget.
3. Can exercise bikes be stored outside?
Keeping an exercise bike outdoors is not the best idea. This fitness machine has electronic and metal parts that can deteriorate quickly when exposed to dirt, moisture or weather changes. Dust particles can easily build up inside the equipment and affect the moving parts, too. Also, depending on where you live, exercise bikes left outside can get stolen. Before buying one, plan where you can store it indoors and measure the area.
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