Bowflex and NordicTrack are both huge names in the world of home fitness and for good reason- both brands provide great fitness equipment.
But when it comes right down to it, which brand is superior when it comes to exercise bikes?
Well, that’s what I’m here to figure out.
Now before we get rolling, I want to acknowledge from the get-go that this is a very subjective question to try and answer, but rest assured, that isn’t going to stop me from trying anyway.
The best way I can think of to answer such a subjective question is to try and make it an objective one.
So, in this article, I’m going to discuss the general characteristics and specs you can expect from Bowflex and NordicTrack’s bikes.
This way, we can see generally, which brand builds the better bike (based on the specs and features).
Alright, let’s see if this makes any sense, off we go.
Bowflex Bikes vs NordicTrack Bikes 101
Both brands have earned their stellar reputations by providing us with awesome equipment year after year. And if you check any “best of the year” list, it’s pretty much a given both brands will have bikes that made the cut.
But as a brand, Bowflex tends to be a little more outgoing and experimental.
Think of all the “outside of the box” fitness machines they’ve introduced the world to: power rod gyms, SelectTech dumbbells, TreadClimbers, Max Trainers…
And not to mention a spin bike that can lean.
Overall, Bowflex is a very innovative brand. Not to say NordicTrack isn’t, but as a brand they tend to be a little more classic.
NordicTrack was very innovative with the creation of their Classic Ski Machine that put ’em on the map, but now they’re known more for their treadmills and bikes.
And iFit, their subscription based streaming app of course.
NordicTrack offers several more, with spin bikes, recumbents, and upright bikes in their lineup, with the Commercial S22i Studio Cycle likely being their most popular model.
Anyway, let’s start comparing these bikes based on some of the key specs I think are worth looking at before purchasing a bike.
These include: flywheel weights, assembled weights/weight capacities, and warranties.
We’ll also discuss some of the more fun features as well.
A bike’s flywheel is like its engine- well, technically I guess you’d be the engine, since you power the bike…let’s forget the engine metaphor all together.
Anyway, the flywheel is responsible for the bike’s feel, but it also plays an important part in providing the resistance too.
We hear a lot about flywheel weights and spin bikes, but a heavy flywheel is actually beneficial for upright and recumbent bikes too.
The more weight a flywheel has behind it, the more momentum it can create as it spins- and this momentum helps keep the pedals moving once they get going.
This makes for a smoother pedal motion because it helps eliminate any awkward lags between pedal strokes.
Bowflex certainly isn’t afraid to throw a heavy flywheel on their cycles. Their C6 and C7 both come with a 40 lb flywheel and their VeloCore is packing a 33 lb flywheel.
My only complaint would be that Bowflex makes it unnecessarily difficult to figure out these stats because they don’t list the flywheel weight with the bike descriptions.
NordicTrack bikes pack some impressive flywheels too though.
Their S15i and S22i both come with 32 lb flywheels, their recumbent bikes come with 25 lb flywheels, and their uprights come with 19 lb flywheels.
Speaking of which, if you look at NordicTrack’s lineups, they offer a pair of bikes in each category, but the biggest difference between those pairs is really the size of the screen, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Overall, Bowflex cycles come with heavier flywheels than NordicTrack’s, but of course NordicTrack also offers more variety.
Something else worth noting is that Bowflex cycles come with 100 levels of resistance (which is awesome), while NordicTrack bikes come with 22 – 24 levels.
Personally, I like having more resistance settings because you can make smaller changes to fine tune your resistance.
Assembled Weights/Weight Capacities
Let’s compare frames.
It’s hard to get an idea as to how “heavy-duty” a bike is without being able to try it out first, but the next best thing is to look at the assembled weight and the weight capacity.
Seeing a higher number in each category is a good thing and indicative of a more stable frame.
Bowflex’s Velocore 22 comes with an assembled weight of 158 lb, which is massive for a spin bike- of course this model is unique with its leaning frame and whatnot.
But Bowflex’s other cycles score pretty highly too, with assembled weights in the 111-112 lb range.
NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i comes with an in box weight of 203 lb, which is a little different than an assembled weight, but that’s what NordicTrack gives us to work with.
Even if you subtract some packaging weight, that still leaves a very heavy bike.
Bowflex doesn’t have any recumbents to compare to, but NordicTrack’s R35 is almost 200 lb too, which is pretty solid for a recumbent.
Bowflex’s cycles come with 330 lb weight capacities (325 lb for the VeloCore), while most NordicTrack models are around 350 lb, so both brands score highly but NordicTrack comes out there.
Overall, it’s a little hard to compare these 2 brands in this category because Bowflex doesn’t offer any upright or recumbent models, but generally speaking, NordicTrack’s bikes tend to be heavier and come with slightly higher weight capacities.
Ah, the warranty department, one of my favorite specs to compare.
I know it’s kind of a boring thing to talk about, but I’m not gonna lie- I kind of enjoy it.
When comparing bikes, I weight the warranty pretty heavily because I think it says a lot when a brand is willing to back their products with generous guarantees.
Bowflex’s warranties are kinda all over the place.
Their C6 comes with the best warranty they offer, which is 10 years on the frame, 3 years on parts, and 1 year on labor.
That’s a solid guarantee for a $1000 bike.
Their C7 only comes with a 3 year frame warranty for some unknown reason and the VeloCore only comes with a 2 year frame/parts warranty and a 1 year labor guarantee.
NordicTrack, on the other hand, as far as I can tell backs all of their bikes with the same warranty: 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor.
This is very similar to the warranty Bowflex offers on their C6, but it’s much better than Bowflex’s other 2 warranties.
Overall, I have to go with NordicTrack on this one. When it comes to warranties, generally speaking theirs are better.
Ok, time to get to the more fun stuff- the features.
Bowflex and NordicTrack are quite different when it comes to their console features and whatnot, with NordicTrack generally coming with much more sophisticated consoles.
Bowflex’s C6 only comes with a simple LCD screen that can show basic metrics because this bike is designed to pair with a pad for streaming apps.
Their C7 comes a 7″ HD touchscreen console, allowing you to access the JRNY streaming app for instructor-led workouts.
Their VeloCore is easily the most technologically advanced bike Bowflex offers, allowing you to choose between a 16″ or 22″ HD touchscreen display.
On the VeloCore, you can use the JRNY app too, but you can also access entertainment apps like Netflix and Disney+ too.
All of NordicTrack’s bikes come with a touchscreen with sizes varying between 7″ to 22″.
And as I mentioned above, if you compare the specs between the pair of bikes they have in each category, the biggest difference is always the size of the screen.
This is because NordicTrack pushes their streaming app, iFit, very hard and you can access that app through all of their current exercise bikes.
Like all the other big apps, iFit gives you access to instructor-led workouts, scenic rides, and metric tracking.
It’s optional for all their bikes though, so you don’t have to sign up to use any of them.
Otherwise, Bowflex and NordicTrack bikes both offer bluetooth capabilities and telemetric heart rate monitoring.
NordicTrack offers cooling fans on most of their bikes, something you won’t find on Bowflex, and the S22i comes with a cool incline/decline feature as well.
And then there’s Bowflex’s VeloCore, which lets you lean from side to side, something you won’t find on any other exercise bike period.
Overall, when it comes to tech features, I would say that NordicTrack has the advantage since all of their bikes come with an HD touchscreen.
It’s actually kind of hard to compare these 2 brands when it comes to their bikes.
Mostly because Bowflex only offers 3 indoor cycles, while NordicTrack offers uprights and recumbents too.
Overall, both brands have great bikes to choose from and I’m a fan of both brands.
But when it comes to performance, I prefer Bowflex because their cycles come with heavier flywheels and more resistance levels to work with.
NordicTrack bikes tend to be a little heavier and come with higher weight capacities and overall, NordicTrack covers their bikes with longer warranties.
Although Bowflex’s C6 comes with the best warranty of the lot.
When it comes to features, NordicTrack probably wins too, although Bowflex has the most unique bike by a long shot with their VeloCore.
If you tally up the scorecard, I’d have to say that NordicTrack wins overall win it comes to exercise bikes (plus they have a lot more models to choose from).
But for the price, I think I’d take Bowflex’s C6 over anything NordicTrack has to offer.