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 very similar at times – with some of the same 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 rising inflation costs 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 be frank, 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 Studio Bike 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 bike is the Nordictrack Commercial Recumbent R35. It’s a premium recumbent with a molded, fully adjustable seat with extra padding and lumbar support for a more comfortable ride.
Plus it gives you an impressive 25-pound flywheel for smoother resistance transitions.
And for fun, you even get a large 14-inch, HD, full-color touch-screen. You can use this to connect with iFit and ride trails all over the world or take a new fitness class from your bike every day.
The console also comes with a dual speed workout fan to keep you cool, volume and resistance controls.
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 – under $700. And, while it’s a bit basic, it still 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 popular bikes is the very interesting Proform Carbon CX. It’s an upright studio bike with a bit of a twist.
Instead of giving you a standard bike console (that shows your stats, time, calories burned etc), it gives you a tablet holder.
So you can attach your own tablet and connect to iFit online. From there your tablet becomes your console, showing you all of your workout stats.
You can also take all of the different iFit studio bike classes or stream different world trail workouts and see the scenery pass you by on your tablet screen.
Well, first of all, you’re not paying for a fancy console. So this drops the price on this bike quite a bit.
Secondly, since you’re using your own tablet you can also choose to just watch your favorite Netflix or Youtube shows as you cycle.
You won’t see your stats – but it does give you a DIY entertainment option and some people prefer this.
At around 125 pounds, this bike is a bit on the lighter side. So it’s not going to give you the stability of the Nordictrack S22i above for example.
But this does make it easier to move around – which is great for apartments or smaller workout areas.
So it really depends on what you want at the end of the day. If you’re more of a DIY’er when it comes to bike entertainment – and you want a quality bike for less, this is a great option.
A Few More Benefits…
Most current Proform or 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 bikes like the Nordictrack S22i and S15i. While Proform used to add some incline/decline options onto their TDF bikes, since they discontinued this line, you won’t find incline or decline on any of the Proform bikes right now.
Almost all Nordictrack or Proform bike 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, HD touch-screens and incline/decline.
Proform, on the other hand, has a few more budget-friendly starter bike options (with some DIY options for entertainment). 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.
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