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NordicTrack is virtually a household name for heavy-duty and highly interactive exercise bikes. So, it’s not surprising for fans to wonder which is the best NordicTrack bike to buy. Let’s settle this by comparing NordicTrack S22i vs S27i – two of the brand’s latest and most popular spin bikes.

These exercise bikes could easily pass as twins because they are from the same company. Putting their specs and features side-by-side will help you see which suits you best.

Spec Differences of the NordicTrack S22i vs S27i

Let’s start comparing the two by describing their specifications or built-in components. Here’s a comparison table summarising the specs of these studio bikes.

SPECSNordicTrack S22iNordicTrack S27i
Dimensions (LxWxH)141 x 56 x 155 cm145 x 71 x 165 cm
FrameCommercial-grade steel with enhanced corrosion resistanceCommercial-grade steel with enhanced corrosion resistance
User Weight Capacity150 kg159 kg
Box Weight92 kg98 kg
PedalsHybrid SPD + toe cageHybrid SPD + toe cage
FlywheelInertia-enhanced 13-kg flywheelInertia-enhanced 13-kg flywheel
Transport WheelsFront-mounted transport wheelsFront-mounted transport wheels
Adjustable PartsVertical and horizontal seat adjustment; vertical handlebar adjustmentVertical and horizontal seat adjustment; vertical handlebar adjustment (with lift assist)
Screen & Control Buttons22” smart HD swivelling touchscreen with handlebar quick buttons27” smart HD swivelling touchscreen with handlebar quick buttons
DumbbellsTwo 1.4-kg dumbbells (in front of the handlebars)Two 1.4-kg dumbbells (behind the saddle)
Water Bottle HolderDual water bottle holdersSingle water bottle holder
Workout FanYesYes
SpeakersTwo 2” digitally amplified speakersTwo 2” digitally amplified speakers
Tablet HolderNoNo

In this side-by-side comparison, the most significant difference between the bikes is their screen size. There are also subtle differences in their construction and design.

Let’s describe and compare them further (also shown in the diagram below).

Main Specification Differences - NordicTrack S22i vs S27i

1. Dimensions and Weight

Based on the measurements provided on their product pages, we can see that the NordicTrack S27i has a bigger footprint than the S22i. Its box weight and weight capacity are also slightly higher.

And while we typically associate bigger and heavier machines with robustness or stability, in this case, the extra size and heft are mainly because of the screen difference.

We’ll discuss more about their screens later. However, because the NordicTrack S27i has a significantly larger display, its weight and size naturally require adjustments to support the screen.

A bigger screen explains the extra width, too. The size and weight differences of the NordicTrack S22i vs S27i may not be crucial, though.

Still, home gym owners should consider them, especially if they have limited spaces or cycling areas. The slightly smaller and lighter NordicTrack S22i may be better if you plan to move or transport your bike around a lot.

2. Screen

The NordicTrack S22i has a 22” HD touchscreen, while the S27i has a 27” screen of the same capacity. Both 22” and 27” screen sizes are excellent compared with spin bikes from other brands.

The question is, are larger screens better? Most riders would answer yes, and there are a few reasons why.

One is that NordicTrack bikes are iFIT-enabled equipment and have no built-in workouts.

That means indoor cyclists would likely subscribe and sync with the app to access its scenic workouts or trainer-led classes, which are better on a larger screen.

Then, some riders have vision problems or a knack for clicking the wrong touchscreen buttons while working out. It will be easier for them to overcome these issues with a large screen display.

So, between NordicTrack S22i vs S27i, should you go for the model with a bigger screen? The more accurate answer to this is it depends on your workout preference, eye condition, and budget.

3. Handlebar Adjustment

This factor is not as evident as others and may not significantly influence your decision. Still, I find it worth mentioning, especially if you plan to share your bike with others.

NordicTrack S22i and S27i have handlebars you can move up and down to match your eye level. However, since the S27i has a heavier screen, NordicTrack added the Easy Lift Assist feature to this model.

According to its product page, it’s a built-in gas shock that lets you move the handlebar more easily. This improved adjustment system is a plus if the bike has multiple users who require different screen heights.

If not, then this feature is negligible.

4. Water Bottle Holder and Dumbbell Position

Another difference between NordicTrack S22i vs S27i is their built-in extras, particularly their water bottle holders and hand weights.

The S22i has two bottle holders and two dumbbells near the handlebar. On the other hand, the S27i has one bottle holder on the centre frame and two dumbbells behind the bike seat.

If you’re after convenience, I would say the S22i is better. After all, having two water bottles is ideal, especially if you’re fond of doing extended cycling workouts.

Moreover, access is better when you have the bottles or dumbbells in front of you.

Then again, a single water bottle at the central frame of the S227i bike is good enough for some riders. Its position is less obstructive while pedalling, too.

Also, when you work your arms on a stationary bike, it’s unusual to do it while cycling and mid-workout.

Typically, you would grab the weights, sit on the bike, and perform your arm exercises. So, in most cases, the positioning of the dumbbells is not that essential.

Feature Differences of NordicTrack S22i vs S27i

Feature Differences of the NordicTrack S22i vs S27i

Let’s compare the performance and technology components of these bikes next. Here’s a table summarising their features.

FEATURESNordicTrack S22iNordicTrack S27i
Resistance TypeMagneticMagnetic
Resistance Level2424
Incline Option-10% to 20%-10% to 20%
Decline Option-10% to 0%-10% to 0%
Heart Rate MonitorBluetooth heart rate connectivity (forearm/chest strap sold separately)Bluetooth heart rate connectivity (forearm/chest strap sold separately)
HeadphonesBluetooth headphone connectivityBluetooth headphone connectivity
App CompatibilityiFITiFIT
Built-In WorkoutsWith 30-day iFIT Family membershipWith 30-day iFIT Family membership
Price categoryHigh-endHigh-end but more expensive

Based on the table details, the only glaring difference between these NordickTrack bikes is the cost. There is also one other factor worth highlighting, and it’s the incline/decline motor.

Let’s discuss further.

1. Incline and Decline Motor

One of the best features of NordicTrack bikes is their ability to simulate uphill and downhill bike rides.

Raising your bike up or down is an excellent addition to diversify your cycling workouts.

It also makes iFit workouts more realistic and immersive, considering that this is an automated function in NordicTrack machines. Also, this feature lets you adjust your cycling form to recruit or focus on other muscles.

However, while the S22i and S27i have this incline/decline option, there’s a slight difference in their motors that control this feature.

Specifically, the NordicTrack S27i has a more updated climbing motor, allowing you to decline or incline much faster and quieter.

Again, it’s a minor detail, but it might help with your decision-making, especially if you are looking for a quiet exercise bike for an apartment or shared area.

2. Price Category

The price gap between NordicTrack S22i vs S27i is perhaps your most crucial deciding factor.

I included it here since the features typically affect exercise bike prices. This tendency explains why the S27i is more expensive than the S22i.

Both belong to the high-end price category. Still, as of writing, the S27i costs a few hundred dollars more (around $500).

The higher cost is not surprising, considering that it is a newer model with a bigger screen and a slightly better performance.

However, since most of their differences are minor and do not significantly affect cycling output, it makes you think if investing in the more expensive model is better.

Also, remember that both bikes have no built-in workouts and have limited iFit access. So, you should also consider long-term iFIT subscription fees on top of the initial cost of either bike.

Final Thoughts on NordicTrack S22i vs S27i Studio Bikes

NordicTrack is well-known for producing reliable and innovative exercise machines. So, seeing minimal differences between NordicTrack S22i vs S27i is not surprising.

Both spin bikes displayed top-notch construction, design, and features. We especially love the special extras, like the incline/decline options, iFIT access, and dumbbell inclusions, that set them apart from other bikes in the market.

Still, closer inspection revealed some factors for consideration.

For instance, the more expensive S27i has a considerably larger screen that optimises your iFIT workout experience.

On the other hand, the S22i is a more compact and user-friendly bike. It is more affordable and has nearly the same premium features as the S27i.

So, which do you think is a better NordicTrack bike? Whichever you choose, see that it matches your space, preference, and budget.

You might want to check out our list of top exercise bikes and Peloton bike alternatives for more options.

Questions on NordicTrack Exercise Bikes

1. Can I use my NordicTrack exercise bike without subscribing to the iFit app?

Any NordicTrack exercise machine has a manual mode, allowing you to use your NordicTrack bike without an iFit subscription. Some NordicTrack exercise bikes also have built-in workout programs that you can use without the app or Internet access. However, syncing to a fitness app like the iFit is worth considering as it adds variety to your cycling workouts. It makes ordinary exercises fun and engaging, too.

2. Do I need to wear special cycling shoes for NordicTrack exercise bikes?

You do not need special cycling shoes for the NordicTrack S22i and S27i bikes. Both have dual-sided pedals that let you wear regular athletic shoes or SPD cleats. Make sure to know about the different pedal types of exercise bikes to identify which ones require special cycling shoes.