NordicTrack are a popular brand of exercise bike. They are popular because they come with one of the best consoles on any bike – certainly for a machine under a $1,000. But, are they a good machine overall, what sort of user do they appeal to, and what kinds of rating do customers give NordicTrack exercise bikes? The answers you get depend on the model of machine.
Most people can’t afford or justify paying more than a thousand dollars on a LifeCycle or Schwinn exercise bike. The biggest market for this type of fitness equipment is around the $500 mark and this is the niche that NordicTrack exercise bikes fall in to.
The most popular model is the AudioRider U300 bike; it’s also the cheapest, retailing for around $400. It’s an upright model and, for its price, you do get a lot of features. As you would expect it has magnetic resistance and it runs smoothly and quietly. The console really is the big plus point about this machine. It’s large, well laid out and easy to use; someone has described it as being like the dashboard of your car, which is a very good analogy. It displays the usual feedback data of time, speed, distance, resistance, pulse, RPM, carbs burned and calories burned. The handlebars have grip sensors to monitor heart rate and the seat is nicely cushioned. Another great feature is the AutoBreeze Workout Fan, which automatically adjusts the airflow to match your speed.
Getting to the more important features, you get 20 built-in workouts; 18 Personal Trainer workouts and 2 Heart Rate workouts. The personal trainer workouts will automatically adjust both pace and resistance during the workout to maintain the best optimized settings for aerobic, weight loss, or performance goals.
Many, especially first-timers, need motivation. It’s now quite common for all sorts of exercise equipment to be fitted with iFIT card technology. Each card is designed by a certified personal trainer and plugs directly into the bike’s console. During the workout, the trainer’s voice can be heard over the load speaker, helping you to achieve your specific goals. You can also download iFIT programs off the internet.
The bike also comes with Interactive Audio CrossTrainer, which is an interactive fitness coach that verbally and visually prompts you to perform a variety of strength-training and calorie burning exercises.
The AudioRider U300 is a great piece of kit however it really has been designed for casual or entry-level users. Those who are serious about bike training may find this machine lacks teeth. For instance, the position of seat and handle bars results in a sit-up-and-beg position. For more demanding training many prefer a more trapezoidal position with the hips up and shoulders down.
The AudioRider U400 is the same as the U300 except that it is a recumbent exercise bike. The features and workout programs are pretty much the same. It costs an additional $100. These bikes in which the user is in a reclined position are proving to be increasingly popular as they are more comfortable for those who have lower back problems or those who are overweight.
Lastly, there is the NordicTrack SL710 recumbent exercise bike. It retails for a little less than the U400. Personally, you are better off spending the extra and getting the U400. You only get 8 rather than 10 programs and the user weight capacity drops from 300 lbs to 250 lbs. The biggest claimed benefit of this bike is the Step-In design – this is where the center of the bike has been designed to be as near the ground as possible making it easy to get on and off the bike. The only reason to buy this model would be because you find it difficult to get on and off a more conventional recumbent.
In conclusion NordicTrack bikes are great value for money. If you’re a first time user or need something with a lot of motivational features then you should take a close look at these machines. However, if you’re a seasoned pro you should be looking at something a little more substantial like a Schwinn exercise bike.