Wondering how they’re different?
These are two of Nordictracks most popular recumbent exercise bike models, both coming in with extra-padded, adjustable seats with lumbar support, iPod docks, backlit consoles and extra wide, ergonomic pedals.
They also both come with easy step-through design which makes it easier to get on and off the bike.
Both also give you with tablet holders and are iFit compatible – meaning you can bike trails all over the world for some virtual reality fun.
However there are some key differences that you should know if you’re trying to decide between them.
So with that in mind here’s a review of the main differences between the Nordictrack VR21 vs VR25 recumbent bikes to help you decide.
Nordictrack VR21 vs VR25 Bike – Price
The Nordictrack VR21 is the more affordable of the two bikes coming in around $899 with Free Shipping here.
The Nordictrack VR25 is the next model up in the series with more perks – so it comes in a bit higher. You can usually get it direct for around $1399 with Free Shipping here.
So is the Nordictrack VR25 worth the extra money? Read on.
Nordictrack VR21 vs VR25 – Console
This is where you see a big difference between the bikes. The Nordictrack VR21 recumbent has a 5 inch backlit console – which is easy to read and gives you feedback on the basics like speed, time, calories burned etc.
It also has a tablet holder/media shelf in front of the console screen, an iPod dock and a built-in cooling fan.
The Nordictrack VR25 console however takes it up a level and includes a full-color, touch screen, HD console. So you can view your workout stats easily with a swipe of your finger.
The console screen is also larger than the Nordictrack VR21 at 7 inches across instead of 5 inches – so your workout stats are easier to read.
It also has a built-in tablet holder – but it’s located above the console. So unlike the VR21 bike, your tablet won’t cover the console display and you can see your console display and your tablet holder at the same time.
Another thing to consider?
The console on the VR25 bike connects to iFit Coach (more on that below) with the push of a button. And from there you can watch iFit Coach world scenery through the console display as you bike – which really makes your workouts a lot more enjoyable!
Nordictrack VR25 vs VR21 – iFit Coach
iFit Coach is a new technology that takes your bike online using the Wifi in your home. From there you can do all sorts of wonderful things like track your workouts over time, set new goals and plot out how far you’ve come for some workout motivation.
You can also bike trails all over the world – from Paris to Hawaii – and see the scenery pass you by.
Want more challenge?
You can also stream studio cycle workouts into your home. In fact with iFit Coach there are over 12,000 HD workout videos, world trails and various in-studio workouts you can try – from beginner to advanced.
Here’s the main difference with iFit: On the Nordictrack VR21 bike, you’ll need to connect to iFit on your tablet and watch the scenery that way.
On the Nordictrack VR25 bike you can connect easily through the console itself and watch the iFit scenery that way.
You don’t need your own tablet. (However if you have a tablet, you can also connect to iFit using that – so you have two options with this bike).
So the bottom line is that you don’t need a tablet to enjoy iFit on the Nordictrack VR25 bike. But you will need a tablet to try iFit on the Nordictrack VR21 model.
As of this writing, you can get a 1 year membership to iFit Coach included with the Nordictrack VR25 recumbent bike. So you can try iFit out for a full year to see if it’s right for you.
You don’t get this option with the Nordictrack VR21 bike. If you want to add iFit, you’ll need to pay extra for it.
Nordictrack VR21 or VR25 Bike – Flywheel
A heavier flywheel helps to give you a smoother-feeling ride, especially during resistance transitions. It also helps to anchor the machine and add more stability.
The Nordictrack VR21 bike has a 20 pound flywheel – which is really good for the price point. However the Nordictrack VR25 bike takes it up a level with a 25 pound flywheel.
So overall the VR25 bike is going to feel a bit smoother and more stable than the VR21 bike.
The Nordictrack VR21 recumbent comes with 25 resistance levels – which again is really good for the price point. The Nordictrack VR25 bike gives you 26 resistance levels – so you get one more level of resistance.
The difference isn’t really that great – both bikes give you a lot of room to grow. However it is worth knowing.
Heart Rate Hand Grips
The Nordictrack VR21 bike has the EKG hand sensors on the grips near the console (see above). So you have to reach up and grip the EKG sensors to get your heart rate reading.
The Nordictrack VR25 bike however puts the EKG hand sensors down below on either side of your seat – which is a lot more convenient than having to reach up to the bars by the console to do it.
There are also easy controls on these two bars by your seat with this bike – so you can adjust your resistance easily without having to constantly reach up to the console to do it. This is not found on the VR21 model.
Nordictrack VR21 Bike vs VR25: Heart Rate
Both bikes will work with a wireless chest strap to take your heart rate (if you don’t want to use the EKG grips).
However, as of this writing, you can get a Free wireless heart rate monitor included with the Nordictrack VR25 bike.
This is not included with the Nordictrack VR21 recumbent bike.
So what’s the bottom line on the Nordictrack VR21 vs VR25 bike debate?
Well, they both give you fully adjustable seats, easy step-through designs and lots of resistance levels.
However, a big difference is seen in the console – the VR25 gives you a larger, full-color console where you can watch over 12,000 different iFit Workout world trails and workouts. This can add a lot of fun and challenge to your workouts.
It also steps it up in terms of a heavier flywheel and more convenience features like the heart rate chest strap and hand grips by the bike seat.
On the other hand the VR21 is no slouch either – and it comes in at a more affordable price, making it attractive from a budget standpoint.
So it really comes down to what’s most important to you and your situation.
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