The Bowflex VeloCore vs NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i – The Tale of 2 Cycles

There are plenty of elite indoor cycles to choose from these days, but if you’re looking for something a little different, there are 2 cycles that especially come to mind – Bowflex’s VeloCore and NordicTrack’s S22i.

Both bikes come packing impressive performance specs, like heavy flywheels, smooth magnetic resistance systems, and heavy-duty frames, but these bikes are quite different when it comes to additional features.

The most obvious being that the VeloCore allows you to lean the frame side-to-side, which not only makes your workouts more interesting, but gets your core more involved as well.

The S22i doesn’t lean, but it does come with an incline/decline function and live intensity controls that allows your instructors to automatically control the resistance/incline levels during your workouts.

In other words, both bikes are sophisticated and hi-tech- the question then, is which one is best suited for your home?

Well, that’s what I’m here to help you figure out.

In this article, I’ll go over all the specs and features each cycle has to offer. After comparing them side-by-side, you’ll be well equipped to decide which bike is the right option for you.

Off we go.

Bowflex VeloCoreNordicTrack Commercial S22i
Resistance33 lb flywheel
100 resistance levels
32 lb flywheel
24 resistance levels
Frame158 lb assembled weight
325 lb weight capacity
~200 lb assembled weight
350 lb weight capacity
Warranty2 year frame/parts
1 year electronics
1 year labor
10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
FeaturesLeaning frame
16" or 22" HD touchscreen
Access to entertainment apps
Streaming workouts through JRNY
Ability to incline/decline
22" HD touchscreen
Instructor controlled intensity
Streaming workouts through iFit
JRNY membership: $19/month
iFit membership: $39/month

The Bowflex VeloCore vs The NordicTrack Commercial S22i

bowflex velocore                      

above image courtesy of Bowflex

Bowflex and NordicTrack are 2 of the biggest names in home fitness. Both brands have been around for decades and have made considerable contributions to the evolution of fitness machines over the years.

Bowflex started out with their patented power rod gym systems and gradually expanded their lineup from there.

They still several gyms to choose from, but I feel like it’s their cardio equipment that gets all the attention these days.

And they didn’t phone it in after coming up with the power rods either, they’ve come up with several other fitness innovations over the years- like their SelectTech weights, HIIT Trainers, and TreadClimbers.

NordicTrack, on the other hand, started out with the creation of another game-changing invention: the ski machine.

Remember those things?

Depending on how old you are, you may not, but as goofy looking as they were, they actually provided a great workout (and are still available today if you know where to look).

NordicTrack obviously expanded over the years and now offers many cardio machines to choose from, most of which are equipped with HD screens and designed for streaming.

When it comes to the VeloCore and the S22i, both are popular models, but they’re very different in terms of the features they offer- so this should be fun.

Let’s start this comparison with a rundown on the performance side of things and then move on to the more interesting stuff.


The first thing I always like to check out when researching any exercise bike is the resistance system. To me, this is the first and foremost priority because a quality bike should be able to provide a smooth, substantial workout.

And the weight of the flywheel will play a big role in this.

The flywheel is the part that’s usually in the front of the cycle (although more and more bikes are putting it in the rear now) and that spins as you pedal.

The flywheel is crucial for creating the resistance and overall “feel” of the bike and most spin bikes are designed so that having a heavier flywheel is a good thing.

The extra weight in a heavy flywheel builds more momentum as it spins, which reduces any unwanted lag between pedal strokes.

The result is a smoother feel during workouts.

With this is in mind, lets see how the flywheels stack up against each other for the VeloCore and the S22i.

The VeloCore comes with a rear-mounted, 33 lb flywheel and the S22i comes with a front-mounted, 32 lb flywheel.

In terms of weight, these flywheels are almost identical.

And when it comes to rear vs front-mounts, there aren’t really any advantages either way other than cosmetic preferences (although a rear-mounted flywheel is less likely to get sweated on).

And with flywheel weights just over 30 lb, both bikes are packing enough muscle to provide smooth pedal action.

The flywheels are an important component to the feel of the bike, but the resistance system themselves are important too.

Most elite spin bikes these days use magnetic resistance systems because they’re smoother and require less resistance than friction brakes and the 2 bikes we’re discussing here are no exception.

Both bikes use magnetic resistance systems, but there’s quite a difference in the number of resistance levels each comes with.

The VeloCore comes with 100 resistance levels that are controlled by turning a dial; the S22i comes with 24 resistance levels that are adjusted by pushing buttons on the handlebars.

When it comes to resistance levels, having more is usually a good thing because it gives you more control over the intensity of your workouts (you can make smaller incremental changes).

The Peloton uses the same 100 micro-level resistance set up and personally, I love it. I also like using the dial because it makes it really convenient to increase the resistance rapidly.

So, even though the flywheels are roughly the same weight, the VeloCore has the S22i beat in terms of how many resistance levels you get to work with.

For this reason, I think the VeloCore wins this category.


When it comes to the frame, it’s a good thing for a bike to be big and heavy.

Even though this can make the bike a little harder to move around (although with built-in transport wheels, it still won’t be that big of a deal), it’ll be beneficial when it comes to how sturdy the bike feels during workouts.

Heavier bikes will feel more stable during use, especially when standing and working and heavier resistances.

The best way to gauge how “heavy-duty” a bike is is to literally look at the assembled weight of the bike- and again, being heavier is a good thing.

When we do this, we see that the VeloCore weighs 158.3 lb fully assembled and the S22i weighs about 200 lb.

I would classify both bikes as being heavy-duty, but the S22i weighs significantly more.

The assembled weight is a good place to start when thinking about frame integrity, but you can also look at the max weight capacity to get an idea as to how sturdy a bike is.

Heavier weight limits are a good thing because it shows the bike is tough enough to handle higher weights.

The VeloCore comes with a weight capacity of 325 lb and the S22i comes with a weight limit of 350 lb.

So, the S22i is heavier and comes with a higher weight limit than the VeloCore. By the way, these 2 specs usually go hand-in-hand, with heavier bikes being able to hold heavier users.

Overall, both bikes come with heavy assembled weights and impressive weight limits, but NordicTrack takes this category.


Ah, the warranty- not the most interesting thing to talk about, but easily one of the most important.

A good warranty not only adds peace of mind to a purchase, but it usually gives you an idea as to how well-built the product is too- after all, manufacturers aren’t gonna offer a long warranty on something they know isn’t built to last.

A bike’s warranty might not be the single most important spec to consider, but if you ask me, it’s near the top.

Bowflex backs their VeloCore with the following residential guarantee:

  • 2 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year electronics
  • 1 year labor

And NordicTrack backs their Commercial S22i with this warranty:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year labor

It’s easy to see that there’s a pretty big difference between these 2 warranties.

There’s really no gentle way of saying this, so I’ll just throw it out there- the VeloCore’s frame warranty sucks.

A 2 year guarantee is really short for a bike in this price range. For the sake of comparison, Peloton’s frame warranty is 5 years and I think that’s still too short, given the price and quality of the bike.

My guess is, with the leaning frame and everything, that Bowflex isn’t sure how long it’ll hold up with regular use.

On the other hand, NordicTrack’s warranty on the S22i is generous by comparison.

I’d still like to see a lifetime frame guarantee, but not many brands are offering that on these streaming cycles (for some reason), so 10 years is about as good as it gets.

The S22i easily wins the warranty competition.


Ok, time to get to the fun stuff- let’s take a look at the features each bike has to offer.

The star of the show for the VeloCore is the ability to unlock the frame, giving you the ability to lean on it while you pedal, mimicking the feel of turning on a road bike.

Remember those motorcycle games at the arcade where you controlled your guy by leaning on the bike…well, it’s like that.

This feature makes your workouts more difficult because you have to use your core muscles to control/maintain the lean as you pedal.

Something worth noting is that you don’t have to use the lean function- you can also do stationary workouts. The frame easily locks/unlocks with the push of a button.

The ability to lean is pretty awesome, but the VeloCore also comes with the following features:

  • 22″ or 16″ HD touchscreen display
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Dual-sided pedals
  • Bluetooth arm band heart rate monitor included
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Pair of 3 lb dumbbells included
  • Multi-grip handlebars
  • Access to entertainment apps (Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Disney+) with JRNY membership
  • Instructor led workouts with JRNY membership
  • Scenic rides with JRNY membership
  • 2 month JRNY membership included
  • Media rack
  • Water bottle holders

So, lot of good stuff going on here, but notice you have to sign-up for the JRNY membership to access a lot of it. You can still ride the bike in manual mode without the membership, but you can’t access any of the workouts or apps, etc.

The NordicTrack Commercial S22i comes with the following features:

  • 22″ HD touchscreen display that rotates
  • Ability to change incline from -10% to 20%
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Bluetooth compatible with headphones/heart rate monitors
  • Toe cage pedals
  • Multi-grip handlebars
  • Pair of 3 lb dumbbells included
  • AutoBreeze fan
  • 1 year of iFit included with purchase
  • Unlimited instructor-led workouts through iFit
  • Trainer controlled incline/resistance during workouts
  • Scenic rides
  • Water bottle holders

Ok, so the star of the show here is the incline/decline function and the automatic trainer control that sets your incline and resistance levels during workouts (you can adjust manually too if you like).

Unlike the VeloCore, the pedals on the S22i aren’t compatible with cleats, but you could easily swap ’em out if you wanted to.

The S22i doesn’t include a heart rate monitor either, so that’s something else you’d have to supply yourself if you were interested.

Like the VeloCore, you have to sign up for a streaming service (iFit) to take full advantage of all the goodies the S22i comes with. It’s nice that NordicTrack includes a free year to give you plenty of time to try it out though.

iFit is the same streaming app most of NordicTrack’s products use, so if you have a membership already, you wouldn’t have to pay anything extra.

With the iFit app, you get access to thousands of workouts, including non-cycling stuff like strength, yoga, Pilates, etc.

iFit has a lot more workouts to choose from than JRNY.

One thing JRNY has on iFit though, is the ability to access the entertainment apps- at the time of writing this, the S22i doesn’t allow you to do this.

Overall, both bikes are technologically advanced with HD touchscreens and streaming services. The features you prefer will be more so from personal taste.


Time to talk numbers.

Keep in mind prices can vary a little depending on time of year and promotions, so the numbers I list here could be a little off, but at the time of writing this, these bikes came with the following retail prices:

Bowflex VeloCore: $1699/$2199 (16″ vs 22″ screen)

NordicTrack Commercial S22i: $1999

It’s nice that Bowflex offers a smaller screen option for the folks who want this bike, but are working with a smaller budget.

Comparing the 22″ VeloCore to the S22i though, we see that the VeloCore is about $200 more.

These are both streaming bikes and if you want to take advantage of all the best features you have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

The costs for each are listed below:

JRNY membership: $19/month

iFit membership: $39/month

I should mention that there are different membership options for iFit and that I quoted the Family Plan above (the Individual Plan is $180/year).

You can also save a little on either membership by purchasing annual subscriptions.

Overall, the costs for these bikes are very similar. The VeloCore is a little more expensive upfront with the purchase of the bike, but the monthly subscription is a bit cheaper.

Other Considerations

I like to save this portion of the article for any additional info I think might be worth mentioning.

I don’t have a lot else to add in this case, although I should mention that NordicTrack’s customer service doesn’t have a very good reputation.

Tons of folks have complained that their customer service is difficult to reach and that it can take forever to hear back from them.

The customer service reputation for Bowflex isn’t quite as bad, but keep in mind that Bowflex is part of the Nautilus, Inc family, meaning it too is part of a huge home fitness company.

And huge companies tend to have slower service.

Final Thoughts

Ok, I think that’s about all I got when it comes to the VeloCore and the S22i.

Before I declare a winner, I’d like to say that I think both bikes deserve kudos when it comes to thinking outside the box. I mean regardless of which you prefer, I think we can all agree that neither bike is “basic”.

Anyway, when it comes to the VeloCore vs the S22i, the winner is…

The Bowflex VeloCore

This was a tough decision for me because when you look at the specs alone, these bikes are very similar.

They both come with heavy flywheels and heavy-duty frames- I will say that I prefer that the VeloCore comes with 100 resistance levels over the S22i’s 24 though.

But NordicTrack’s frame warranty is much better than Bowflex’s, so that makes it difficult too.

I also think it’s awesome that you can access entertainment apps directly through the VeloCore’s console, something the S22i can’t do at the moment.

Ultimately, I went with the VeloCore because I think its leaning feature is cooler than the incline/decline feature on the S22i.

As you decide which bike is right for you, I think this is probably the most important consideration to make.

6 Thoughts to “The Bowflex VeloCore vs NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i – The Tale of 2 Cycles”

  1. Mo Jones

    Have also seen the ads on TV, and frankly, I find the Bowflex lean function a little odd myself. Normally when a moving bike leans into a curve while cycling on a road, centrifugal force through the turn keeps one firmly seated upon the bike. This bike kind of mimics that, and attempts to capitalize on it from a marketing perspective, but there’s obviously no centrifugal force because one’s actually stationary on a stationary bike. Therefore, the “exercise” that one gets from the lean is actually due to resisting the effect of falling off the bike, since there’s no centrifugal force to keep you on the seat. In a sense, this leaning bike design is somewhat comical or fake. Can’t help but wonder if Nautilus really thought the implications of this design through and whether there was any critical internal review done before marketing it.

    1. Yeah, I think that’s a really good point and well put. Thanks for reading!

    2. Travis

      So that’s a very good point on the Bowflex lean vs a real life lean, however the fact remains that leaning on the Bowflex still engages your core. So there’s a benefit. The incline decline on the Nordictrack does literally nothing for you. In real life obviously you’re carrying your weight up a real hill and adding resistance. All this does is on a stationary bike is look cool. Any additional resistance still comes from manually changing the resistance, which you can do on either bike, since you aren’t actually going up a hill. So even though leaning on a Bowflex isn’t the same as leaning in real life at least it has a real world benefit.

      1. Well put and I agree.

  2. Steven Puig

    Thanks very much for the comparison. I purchased the Bowflex and had it installed by the local distributor. The ride feel is excellent and mechanically the bike has a high quality feel. Unfortunately, the 22 inch screen died as soon as it auto updated upon startup. The local distributor initially provided directions to reconnect monitor cables (did not work) and then failed to show up to repair the bike after taking a half day to work from home. After rooting around the internet for a solution it became clear that this failure is not uncommon for the Velocore. While the mechanical aspects of the bike are very solid, the electronics, from the power supply to the screen, do not seem to be on par. I am now in the process of securing the Nordictrack to replace the DOA Bowflex.

    1. Ugh, man, that’s annoying – I feel your pain. I’m sorry you went through such a tedious experience, but I appreciate you sharing it with us, certainly something to consider when thinking about the VeloCore. Good luck with NordicTrack and thanks for reading!

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