Today, we will review both the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ and take a look at what makes these two premium bikes similar, as well as 24 of the biggest differences between them that you should know before you buy. (see an updated review of the S22i here)
How the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ are Similar
Build Quality and Magnetic Resistance
When riding these bikes, you can tell they are both built very well. They are heavy, stable, and quiet devices, and neither really sticks out as having more quality than the other.
One reason both the S22i and Peloton Bike+ are so quiet is because they both use magnetic resistance, which also makes the adjustments to resistance very smooth and allows both bikes to have…
EDIT: see our review of the brand new 2022 version of the NordicTrack S22i (and S27i) here.
Auto resistance is a feature that not many bikes have, but these two do, and what this allows you to do when you are taking a class is allow the resistance to automatically be controlled and changed by the coach. This helps keep you immersed and focused on the workout itself rather than always having to pay attention to making adjustments.
The S22i and Peloton Bike+ both have rotating 1080p HD screens, which allow you to see the screen from anywhere off of the bike. This is a nice feature because both services offer additional classes like yoga and strength training.
Both iFit (the workout platform used by NordicTrack) and Peloton have new challenges each month to help you create goals and stay accountable.
Live Classes and Leaderboards
Both bikes feature live classes that you can jump into throughout the day, and both have leaderboards to allow you to see how you stack up against everybody else who has taken that class.
Monthly Memberships and Financing
The monthly membership to take classes on Peloton and the NordicTrack S22i are both $39 per month (although NordicTrack does offer some other options). Both companies also offer a 0% APR 39-month payment options for those looking to purchase the bike over a three-year period.
How the NordicTrack S22i and the Peloton Bike+ are Different
Automatic Incline and Decline
Probably the biggest difference you’ll notice between the S22i and Peloton Bike+ when you ride them for the first time is that the S22i comes with its own power incline and decline feature.
This allows the bike to automatically raise the front wheel to an incline of 20 degrees and a lower to a decline of 10 degrees. This changes your body position and makes the resistance feel much more challenging.
These help a lot with immersion for the outdoor classes, as it really does feel gratifying to reach the top of a hill and sometimes is a huge relief when you finally get into a downhill section.
Auto Resistance Range
While both bikes have an auto resistance option, the Peloton Bike+ allows for a range, whereas with the NordicTrack S22i, you have to follow the coach’s exact suggestions.
This makes the auto resistance feature on the S22i pretty much useless for many people unless you happen to find a class that matches the resistance perfectly to your fitness level.
Whereas with Peloton, the range allows you to change the difficulty up and down, and then it will continue to automatically adjust your resistance for your fitness level. There is a limit to this, so it is not perfect, but it makes it useable for a much bigger % of people than the S22i.
The Peloton Bike+ has a very intuitive and quick UI compared to the S22i. It’s not that the NordicTrack has a terrible UI, either… it just feels a little slow, outdated, and a little hard to manage everything when compared to the Peloton.
iFit and the NordicTrack focus heavily on outdoor exploration, and they have a huge and amazing library of location-specific series where you follow along with a trainer to exploring all over the globe. It feels really cool and unique and makes you want to check out each of the different locations to see and learn more about them.
Peloton does offer some outdoor options, but they feel like little to no effort has been put into them. These classes aren’t coached, and they are not filmed from a bike perspective, so it feels strange when you start floating up like a drone.
While Peloton might not have great outdoor options, they have a better indoor studio experience. This is largely because they come out with so much content from so many coaches that it is easy to find a coach (or few) that you really enjoy and can get consistent content each week.
Part of what makes the indoor classes from Peloton great is that every ride has a curated playlist. On the S22, all you get a general radio station that plays across all the rides. Peloton also has music genre rides, live DJ Rides, and classes featuring specific artists that are very popular and well produced.
However, by using a radio station, the NordicTrack S22i actually allows for something that I think is really great: allowing you to remove the music completely from your ride. On the Peloton, there is no way to mute the music without muting the instructor, but with iFit, you can play your own music while still paying attention to the coach.
While the NordicTrack S22i has two speakers, the Peloton Bike+ has two front and two back (subwoofer) speakers. And so, the sound quality is significantly better coming from the Peloton.
Obviously, if you tend to wear headphones or keep the music pretty quiet, this might not make a big difference. But if you like cranking up the volume, it feels much better to do so with the Peloton Bike+.
Fan and Tray
The NordicTrack S22i comes with a fan and tray already installed. And while you can buy additional third-party attachments for the Peloton, it feels nice that these are included.
The fan is also excellent as it is part of the bike (and doesn’t require its own power source) and is placed in the perfect spot to make your ride more comfortable on a hot day.
Apple Watch Integration
One thing the NordicTrack S22i cannot do is pair with an Apple Watch. And while the Apple Gym Kit on the Peloton Bike+ is limited, it still works very well with all of the cycling classes.
Each bike comes with different clips. The Peloton Bike+ comes with requires Delta Clips, so a cycling shoe with a Delta attachment is needed to ride. The S22i comes with cage clips, so no additional shoe is needed.
Personally, I wish both bikes would offer each of these clips as options when you order, as I think different people would prefer both. Personally, I think having the cycling clips makes for a better riding experience, so I am going to replace the S22i cage clips.
Both Peloton and iFit offer “arms toning” classes that utilize light dumbbells while you are on the bike. While the Peloton Bike+ comes with an attachment to hold these dumbbells, no dumbbells are actually included as part of the order. You will need to purchase those separately.
The NordicTrack S22i, on the other hand, does come with a pair of dumbbells for these classes, so you can get started with them right away without making an additional purchase.
As mentioned earlier, both Peloton and iFit have monthly challenges… but they are quite a bit different from each other.
Peloton’s challenges are usually based on taking a certain amount of classes or going a certain distance. When you complete a challenge, you get a special badge added to your collection in your stats page.
The challenges on the S22i with iFit instead usually require you to complete a series of specific rides with a month. The cool thing with iFit, however, is that when you complete a challenge, you actually get a magnet of the badge you earned shipped to you for absolutely free, which I think is a really cool way to help stay motivated (they also will send you medals when you participate in live races).
While the Peloton Bike+ has an on/off switch, as you would expect, the S22i surprisingly does not. The only way to turn the S22i off is by unplugging it.
If you leave it on, the S22i doesn’t go into “sleep mode” either. Instead, a screensaver with various pictures will play, which is obviously not ideal for those who may need to keep the bike in their bedroom.
This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but along with the bike being called the “Commercial S22i,” it does give off a vibe that it is designed for a gym rather than a household.
Series and Progressions
iFit and the NordicTrack S22i has a very strong focus on providing series and progressions. Most classes are part of a location series or are built around a structure to improve your fitness in a logical and planned way.
While they do provide some programs to follow, Peloton very much encourages you to mix and match however you’d like. They do have sort of a hidden power zone progression that is mostly laid out and discussed online (which is great), but overall everything is geared towards just doing what you like on any given day.
And I think both approaches work pretty well with how they are laid out, and I think they fit well into what different people may be looking for in a workout program.
While iFit has a lot of great content, trying to sort through it is a bit clunky as the filtering options available are not very useful. It’s great that you can sort rides by which continent they are on, but not having a way to sort by which type of ride (intervals, climbing, etc…) and no way to filter off the bike classes well (good luck finding the stretching classes), there is a lot to improve on here.
Peloton, on the other hand, has great filtering options that are useful and makes it very quick and easy to find the exact type of ride or class that you want.
While the Peloton Bike plus comes with a 12-month limited warranty, the Nordictrack S22i comes with a 10-year frame warranty, a two-year part warranty, and a one-year labor warranty.
So if you’re worried about your bike having issues (and this is a legitimate worry), then the S22i offers you a bit more protection.
For those of us who may be a bit bigger, knowing the weight capacity of each bike is important. The Peloton Bike+ has a 297lb limit, and the S22i has a 350lb limit. So if you weigh over 300lbs, then the Peloton Bike+ might not be the best option.
In order to control resistance with the Peloton, you rotate the red knob in the center of the bike. With the S22i, you use the buttons on the right side of the handlebars.
While the buttons on the S22i are in a good spot, changing the resistance just isn’t nearly as fast or as smooth as using the center knob on the Peloton.
A difference that might seem small but can play a big part in your experience is the class leaderboard. Peloton has a much more socially interactive leaderboard, encouraging you to
“high-five” others, check out their profiles, and you can even jump into live sessions every 5:00 with a small group if you’d like.
iFit and NordicTrack don’t really have any of that. But where their leaderboard does shine is its customization. Instead of only being able to rank you by total power output with everyone (like Peloton), iFit gives you a lot of options, including the ability to separate men and women, and also an optional “Effort Score,” which is based on how hard you are pushing the workout relatively to you previous efforts of that workout type.
I think this is a great way to keep people motivated because the top of the Peloton leaderboard is always dominated by men (size and muscle play a large role in power output). So I think giving people the option to try and climb the leaderboard through their effort is a great thing.
Peloton allows you to use their bike with a 30-day risk-free trial, meaning if at any time within the 30 days you no longer want the bike, they will take it back, and it’ll cost you nothing.
The NordicTrack S22i also has a 30-day trial, but in order to return it, they will charge you $250 plus 10% for a restocking fee.
The purchase of the Nordictrack S22i comes with a free year of the iFit family membership, whereas Peloton starts charging you $39 every month on the day your bike arrives. This means the Peloton Bike+ actually costs an additional $468 for membership during the first year.
Price (the $1,000 difference)
One of the biggest differences between the Peloton Bike+ and NordicTrack S22i is their price:
The Peloton Bike+ costs $2,495 plus an additional $468 for the first year of Membership, $25 for Dumbbells, and ~$100 if you don’t already have cycling shoes.
The Nordictrack S22i costs $1999 with no additional purchases necessary for the first year (afterwards you will need to pay $39/month for the family membership or $18/month for the individual membership)
So you are really looking at closer to a $1,000 difference between these two premium bikes, which is obviously an important factor in many people’s decision. As you look through each of the differences, you’ll really need to evaluate if the pros of the Peloton Bike+ are worth the extra $1,000.
You can purchase the bikes here:
Nordictrack S22i at NordicTrack, or at Amazon
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