NordicTrack vs. Proform: Which bike should you buy?

NordicTrack vs Proform

NordicTrack and Proform are separate brands that are both owned by iFIT and connect to the iFIT platform. This means that if you are looking to purchase a new iFIT enabled device, you have at least five bikes, six rowers, and 12 treadmills from which to choose. It’s almost impossible not to feel overwhelmed! So today, we are going to focus the differences between the five connected fitness bikes.

From NordicTrack, you currently have two bike options to choose from:

Then, with Proform, you have three bike options:

Differences between NordicTrack and Proform

First, let’s talk about some of the general differences between the NordicTrack and Proform brands.

1. The NordicTrack bikes are quite a bit more expensive and the NordicTrack S22i and S15i were designed with incline and decline control. This allows the bikes to reach all the way up to a 20% incline and 10% decline. You are able to control this yourself, but it’s mostly adjusted automatically during your rides since it matches the terrain you are riding through. So if you start riding up a big hill, your bike will adjust the incline as well, which definitely makes each ride more immersive.

The Proform bikes do not have this incline and decline control. So if you go up a hill on one of those bikes, the resistance will still automatically go up, but there will not be a physical incline. I would say this is the largest difference between the two brands.

2. Another difference is how you control the resistance. On the NordicTrack bikes, you have buttons directly on the handlebars that allow you to adjust the resistance. Whereas on the Proform, you have to make all of your resistance adjustments on the screen.

Now this may seem like a big difference to some people, and I certainly thought it would be for me. But after using both brands, I would say having to adjust the resistance on the screen is not a big deal. The only thing you really lose is not being able to see the leaderboard at the same time since they are both in the same area of the screen.

iFIT also recently came out with a new Smart Adjust feature on all of their bikes. This adjusts the workout automatically based on what the instructor is suggesting, the terrain you are on, and how fit you are.

3. NordicTrack bikes have a fan installed at the bottom of the screen, a tray to hold your phone, and two bottle holders. On the Proform bikes, there is no fan, no tray, and they only include one bottle holder.

4. Finally, there are some adjustment and cosmetic differences as well. When it comes to making adjustments, the Proform bikes are much more difficult to use. You really have to loosen each knob all the way to get them to move. Whereas the NordicTrack bikes are quite a bit easier and faster. This is definitely something to consider if you are constantly sharing your bike with someone else.

Also, the NordicTrack bikes are suggested for use up to 350 lbs, compared to the Proform bikes that only suggest up to 250 lbs. So if you weigh more than 250 lbs, this is an important factor to consider. 

Similarities between NordicTrack and Proform

Both the NordicTrack and Proform bikes have:

1. Automatic Resistance Control and Smart Adjust. As mentioned earlier, this is a super-nice feature that allows you to enjoy the ride and immerse yourself into the amazing locations where iFIT films their programs. 

2. Magnetic Resistance. This type of resistance is super smooth and quiet. I am actually pretty impressed that the Proform bikes also have this since most other bikes at their price do not. 

3. Dumbbell holders and weights included. These are included with all bikes, although they are slightly nicer and are placed up front on the NordicTrack.

Now that we know the differences between the brands, it’s time to dig in a little further at the differences between the actual bike models.

NordicTrack bikes

The NordicTrack S22i is the most premium bike in the iFIT lineup. It is, however, very similar to the S15i in almost every way except for two features: the size of the screen and the resistance levels. The S22i has a 22-inch rotating screen and the S15i has a 14-inch rotating screen. The smaller NordicTrack S15i screen also fits into a larger encasement that allows it to have adjustments outside the screen as well.

That’s the main difference between the models and the other is the number of resistance levels. The S22i has 24 resistance levels whereas the S15i only has 22. Also, just as a reminder, there is a $400 difference between these bikes, which makes it sort of a tough call. I personally always prefer a bigger screen, but you will have to decide how much that is worth it to you.

Proform bikes

The Proform Studio Bike Pro 22 is the top Proform bike. I have been using it a lot lately for an upcoming review, and as the name suggests, it includes a 22-inch rotating screen, similar to the S22i. It also has 24 levels of resistance like S22i. So in some ways, this bike is better than the NordicTrack S15i since it has a bigger screen, more resistance levels, and is $300 cheaper. But again, it’s missing the incline/decline, handlebar buttons, fan, all the things we already went over. 

Proform Studio Bike Pro 22

Proform’s lowest priced bike, the Proform CX, only costs $599. Yet it still includes magnetic and automatic resistance controls, which is a tremendous value for a bike that price. But what you lose here is the screen. Instead, there is a tablet holder that you can use and connect via Bluetooth. You also lose quite a bit of resistance levels since the Preform CX only goes up to 16 levels instead of 24. But if you’re looking for a really good bike in this price range, it is a very good deal. 

Proform CX

Now the strangest, at least the hardest to evaluate in terms of value, is the mid-tier ProForm Studio Bike Pro. This bike is similar to the Studio Bike Pro 22 except without the 22-inch screen. The screen on the Studio Bike Pro is only 10 inches but it still does rotate, so you can take classes off the bike as well. It also only has 22 levels of resistance instead of 24. But what blew my mind the most with this bike is that it is actually free. Sort of.

Proform Studio Pro

The Proform Studio Bike is free “with a 3-Year iFIT membership” that costs $39 per month for 36 months. So essentially, you are paying $1,403 over that time frame. So wouldn’t that make it more expensive than premium Proform Studio Bike Pro 22? Not quite. To figure it out, we did a little math and compared each of these bikes’ cost over a period of three years.

Which bike is the best value?

If you buy any Proform or NordicTrack bike, you will need to pay for a monthly iFIT membership. They do give a you a free month, but we are going to ignore that to keep things simple. So if you look at the cost of each bikes over a three-year period, including their membership fees, you get:

When you break it down over a period of three years, the Studio Bike PRO is the best overall value for the total cost.

Now that you know the differences between the two companies and 5 bikes, hopefully that will help you make the best decision to find what is best for you. You can learn more about each of these bikes at:

NordicTrack
Proform

If you would like to see how iFIT’s premium bike, the NordicTrack S22i holds up to the Peloton Bike+, make sure to check out our comparison here.


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