Which is the Best Option for You?
Trying to decide between a Nordictrack vs Proform bike?
Wondering which is best for you?
These are two of the most popular exercise bike brands on the market today.
They both offer a large range of recumbent, upright and indoor training cycles for you to choose from.
They each also have a couple of “star” machines in their lineup that offer you some unique perks (more on those later).
But how are they different?
And which is best for you?
Let’s look at some of the things you should know when making your decision:
Nordictrack vs Proform Bikes – The Larger Picture
One thing you may notice is that these bike brands can look alike at times – with some similar features (like iFit Coach or full-color touch-screens)
There’s actually a good reason for this – they’re both owned by the same company: ICON Health and Fitness.
ICON is a giant in the fitness industry. They’re one of the largest equipment manufacturers in the world and have been making bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and other equipment for years.
So that’s good news: they have the knowledge and experience to make a good exercise bike (it’s not easy these days especially with costs rising and manufacturing issues overseas).
That also means they will be around years from now to service your bike should you need it.
You can’t say that about several other companies who are putting out the latest “Bike Du Jour” – but have little to no experience actually making exercise bikes.
They have the resources and engineering skill to make a better bike for less.
They’re the first to take what shows up in the commercial market – and try to apply it to their home models. So you get the latest technology on your bike.
What About the Brands Themselves?
Well, to put it bluntly, Nordictrack is seen as ICON’s higher end brand.
While they do have some starter, budget bikes for sale, Nordictrack tends to get the higher end construction and commercial-grade bikes in their lineup.
Proform is seen more as a budget, starter-bike brand. As of this writing, they have a lot more budget bikes on the market.
They do have a few specialty bikes like the Proform Tour De France lineup. But for the most part, if you’re on a tight budget and want a basic starter bike, Proform will give you more options.
If you want a higher-grade of bike built to hold up well – even under heavy use, then a Nordictrack would probably be your better option.
Nordictrack bikes also tend to have a lot more fun features like incline and decline, massive touch-screens and more.
Nordicrack or Proform Bike – Star Machines
Each brand has their own star machines that are super-popular with buyers and have earned awards or Best Buys.
These are also some of the best-value bikes that pack more into the price than other models.
Nordictrack Star Machines
The Nordictrack has the uber-popular Nordictrack S22i bike. This indoor training bike was built to give you the most immersive cycling experience you can get from home – short of being outdoors.
It has a massive 22-inch, touch-screen, HD console where you can stream iFit Coach cycling workouts every day.
You can also tour around the world with iFit. You can ride through the Grand Canyon or explore the Swiss Alps.
You can ride alone and watch the scenery pass you by on the screen – or take a guided tour where a coach motivates you and points out interesting landmarks along the way.
The S22i also inclines and declines to match the actual terrain of the world trail that you’re riding for a more virtual-reality style experience. You also get a pair of free handweights to work your upper body.
Another popular model is the Grand Tour Pro bike. This is not a heavy or solid as the S22i model – and you can’t switch out the seats or pedals as you can with the S22i.
However it’s a bit more affordable and you can still get iFit Coach streaming workouts and world tours to your full-color console.
It also comes with a tablet holder – which many people like. You can attach your tablet and surf the web or watch YouTube videos as you ride.
Finally there’s the Nordictrack VR25 recumbent bike. This is a higher grade recumbent bike with again, a screen where you can stream iFit Coach workouts or just view your workout stats in full color.
It has a molded seat with extra padding and lumbar support for a more comfortable ride. You can easily adjust it forward and back with a handle under the seat while sitting.
Plus you also have resistance controls on the side handrails – so you don’t have to reach up to the console to change it, which is extremely convenient.
Proform Star Machines
One of Proform’s most popular recumbent models is the Proform 440 ES. This bike has been around for several years now, a testament to it’s popularity.
It comes in for a super-affordable price and, while fairly basic, gives you what you need for a decent home workout.
The console is only dual-color but it’s backlit and easy to read with a scrolling message board.
The step-thru design makes it easy to get on and off the bike. And you get 25 resistance levels to challenge yourself.
If you want a simple, well-made recumbent bike without a lot of frills – for a great price, it’s definitely one to consider.
Another one of Proform’s higher end star machines it the Proform Tour De France bikes. The TDF bikes have been around for several years now.
The idea was that these bikes could help give you the experience of riding the Tour De France. And they did carry some very cool features we hadn’t seen in a bike before.
Unfortunately when they first came out, Proform, in their enthusiasm, rushed them to market without working out all the kinks.
This resulted in a lot of poor reviews and bad press. Then the Lance Armstrong fiasco happened, which may have also affected people’s enthusiasm for this bike.
The good news is that Proform has since worked out the issues on these bikes. They’ve scrapped older models and reworked new models. They now only produce two current models – the TDF and the TDF Pro.
The Proform TDF Pro is the most popular model. It gives you a full-color, HD touch-screen so you can stream iFit world workouts to your bike.
You can even stream and ride portions of the Tour De France – which is a very cool feature. The bike also inclines and declines for a more realistic ride. And it also comes with 24 built-in Tour De France workouts.
A Few More Benefits…
Most current Proform and Nordictrack bikes are iFit Coach compatible (meaning iFit is an option you can add – not a requirement).
iFit Coach is a very cool streaming technology that turns a boring basic bike into your own personal fitness studio.
You can stream a new cycling class workout to your bike every day. There are thousands of workouts in the iFit library – from beginner to elite athlete.
You can also ride world trails and watch the scenery pass you by in the console (or tablet) screen. You can ride alone – or take a guided tour with a coach for more motivation.
iFit can also track your workouts over time, help you set new goals and track how far you’ve come.
As mentioned above, some of these bikes also come with incline and decline – which is another thing you don’t often find on home fitness equipment.
This can give more ways to crosstrain your body.
You can find incline and decline on more Nordictrack models than Proform – like the Nordictrack S22i, S10i, Grand Tour and Grand tour Pro. You can find incline and decline only on the Proform TDF series.
Almost all Nordictrack and Proform models also carry auxiliary music ports with speakers. So you can also plug in your phone or other device and play your favorite workout music or audiobook through the console speakers.
So regardless of which brand you choose, each one gives you a lot of entertainment options and fun ways to distract yourself.
What’s the final word on Nordictrack vs Proform bikes?
Well, obviously it comes down to the specific models that you want to compare.
Generally however, Nordictrack has a few more mid-grade to higher-end models. They also have more health-club style features such as massive touch-screens and incline/decline.
Proform, on the other hand, has a few more budget-friendly starter bike options (with the exception of the higher-end TDF series). If you want a more basic, simple bike for occasional use, they are probably the better brand for you.
So it really comes down to what you want at the end of the day.
Want to Learn More?