The Commercial R35 is NordicTrack’s premiere recumbent bike and I have to say, it’s packing some impressive features and performance specs.
Highlights of this model include a 25 lb flywheel, 26 levels of magnetic resistance, and a heavy-duty frame that can hold folks weighing up to 350 lb.
Oh yeah, it also comes with a 14″ HD touchscreen console that pairs seamlessly with iFit, giving you access to instructor-led workouts and automatic resistance control.
Throw in a generous warranty and a fair asking price and you’ve got the makings for one of the best recumbents in this price range.
All things considered, I think the R35 is a pretty safe bet if you’re planning on joining iFit, but if you aren’t you might want to consider other options.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this bike does and doesn’t have going for it.
After reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not the Commercial R35 is the right bike for your home.
The NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike
NordicTrack is an institution when it comes to home fitness – I mean, think about it, without ’em we wouldn’t have the Classic Pro Skier Machine to make fun of.
By the way, did you realize you can still order these things new from NordicTrack?
That’s kinda crazy.
Jokes aside, those skier machines were popular (and maybe still are, I don’t think they’d keep making them if they weren’t selling) and could provide a pretty legit workout.
These days though, NordicTrack has dove head first into the whole fitness streaming craze that seems to be taking over everything.
All of their products are now iFit compatible and they push that streaming service hard.
Anyway, NordicTrack has a pretty nice selection of treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes to choose from.
But when it comes to recumbent bikes, NordicTrack only offers the R35 directly through their site (although you can still find the Commercial VR21 and VR25 through sites like Amazon).
- 25 lb flywheel
- 26 levels of magnetic resistance
- 14″ HD touchscreen console
- Heavy-duty frame
- 350 lb weight capacity
- Access to instructor-led workouts (iFit)
- Automatic trainer control (iFit)
- Scenic rides (iFit)
- Bluetooth speakers
- AutoBreeze cooling fan
- Strap heart rate monitor compatible
- Well priced
- Good warranty
- iFit not cheap
- NordicTrack’s customer service not always the best
Even though recumbent bikes probably aren’t your first choice when it comes to getting intense workouts, I still think it’s a smart idea to prioritize performance when comparing models.
And since all recumbents in this price range will more or less be using the same kind of magnetic resistance system, it’s all about flywheel weight.
Like most other exercise bikes, most recumbent bikes also benefit from having a heavier flywheel.
And this is because of the momentum heavier flywheels can build as they spin.
This momentum helps create a smoother pedaling action because it actually helps keep the pedals spinning a little throughout your entire pedal stroke, thus eliminating any awkward lags that could occur otherwise.
Now recumbent bikes don’t pack the same massive flywheels many spin bikes do, but higher-end recumbents will still come with flywheels in the 20 – 30 lb range.
Which should certainly be heavy enough to provide a smooth feel during workouts.
With this in mind, the R35 comes with a 25 lb flywheel.
With a flywheel this heavy, you shouldn’t have to worry about the R35 feeling choppy or anything less than fluid during use.
That flywheel is paired with 26 levels of magnetic resistance, giving you a good deal of control over the intensity of each workout.
Personally, I like having a lot of resistance levels to play with because it means I can make smaller changes to the intensity between each level, fine tuning my workout.
Just keep in mind that more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more total available resistance.
Although heavier flywheels are usually able to provide more substantial workouts too.
Lastly, the R35 uses a belt drive, as do most quality bikes these days, which make for smooth, quiet workouts that don’t require maintenance.
Overall, this recumbent scores highly with a heavy flywheel and lots of resistance levels to work with. This combination should make for a quiet, smooth pedal motion.
I find it annoying when bloggers or marketers call a bike “heavy-duty” without backing it up.
According to these folks, everything is heavy-duty and I got news for ya – all bikes are made out of steel frames so that fact alone means nothing.
I prefer a more objective way to measure how stable a frame is, so for me, I like to look at the assembled weight spec for any bike I’m considering.
This spec tells you literally how heavy the bike is and as you may’ve guessed – heavier bikes usually feel more secure than lighter bikes.
Of course as I say this, I have to mention that NordicTrack doesn’t exactly supply this spec.
Instead, they gives us the in-box weight, which includes the box and all the packaging.
This makes it a little harder to compare NordicTrack bikes to other bikes with regards to this spec because we don’t know exactly how much the packaging weighs.
That said, I still think it’s worth talking about.
The R35 comes with an in-box weight of 192 lb, which sounds heavy, but again, we don’t know how much all that packing weighs.
But, even if there’s a good 50 – 60 lb of packaging, that still means the bike itself weighs somewhere in the 130 – 140 lb range, which I think is a pretty realistic guess.
To be safe, let’s say the R35 weighs around 130 lb – at this weight, I would still consider this to be a heavy-duty recumbent bike (and I think that’s a pretty conservative estimate).
With this much weight behind it, you shouldn’t have to worry about the R35 feeling wobbly or shaky during workouts; it should very solid and secure.
It’s also worth noting that this bike comes with a weight capacity of 350 lb, which is impressive for any home recumbent bike.
And with a footprint of roughly 5′ x 2′ (L x W), this bike is about average sized.
Overall, I think it’s fair to say the R35 is a pretty heavy-duty bike, based on its estimated weight and high weight capacity.
NordicTrack backs their Commercial R35 with the following residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is the same warranty NordicTrack offers on all their machines and I think it’s a pretty good one.
Yes, there are plenty of longer warranties out there, but there are also plenty of shorter ones.
I’d prefer to see a lifetime guarantee on the frame, but I think 10 years is still pretty good for a bike in this price range.
Two years on parts is also pretty par for the course, although some offer 5- 10 years.
And one year on labor is pretty standard regardless of price range, so no complaints there.
Overall, I think the R35 comes with a good (not great) home warranty.
The NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike comes with the following features:
14″ HD touchscreen- the star of the show here is definitely the large, HD touchscreen console. Not only does this pair perfectly with iFit, but it also makes it easy to see all metrics and select workouts, etc.
iFit- speaking of which, iFit is NordicTrack’s streaming fitness platform and through it you get access to thousands of instructor-led workouts, metric tracking, scenic routes, and all that stuff. There’s a lot of non-cycling workouts too. iFit is a paid service and goes for around $39/month, but you can get discounts if you opt for annual plans. And even though NordicTrack pushes iFit aggressively, you don’t have to sign up for it to use the R35 – there’s always manual mode and a few other built-in workouts you can access without it. Although I don’t see the purpose of getting a bike with a huge HD screen if you’re not going to use iFit.
Automatic trainer control- oh, another feature you get access to with iFit is automatic trainer control, which allows the instructors to control the resistance on your bike during workouts. It’s a cool feature, but you can always override it if you don’t want to give up control.
Bluetooth speakers- you can listen to music wirelessly through the built-in bluetooth speakers.
Heart rate monitoring- there are grip monitors on the side handles by the seat and the console is compatible with strap heart rate monitors as well for more accurate readings.
AutoBreeze fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep ya cool during those more intense workouts.
Mesh back seat- the seat is easy to adjust and comes with a mesh backrest. Nothing too fancy going on here, but most users agree it’s pretty comfortable.
Water bottle holder- finally, there’s a place to store your water bottle – hey, hydration is important!
Let’s talk price a little before I wrap this article up.
At the time of writing this, the R35 is going for $1499, although keep in mind this price can change at any time and may also depend on where you purchase.
Also keep in mind this doesn’t include the monthly iFit subscription, although I think NordicTrack includes a free month with purchase.
Based on the performance specs and the fact that this bike comes with a 14″ HD display, I think the asking price is pretty fair.
Other top competitors include Sole’s LCR (comes with a heavier flywheel and better warranty, but no HD console), which is priced identically, and the more affordable Nautilus R618 (much lighter flywheel, no HD console, but longer warranty).
Again, based on the comps, I think the R35 is priced to move.
Well, that about does it for the R35.
All things considered, I think this bike has a lot going for it.
From a performance perspective, it comes with a heavy flywheel, lots of resistance levels, and a legitimately heavy-duty frame.
It also scores highly when it comes to features, with a large HD touchscreen console, bluetooth speakers, and access to streaming workouts via iFit.
The warranty is also pretty good for a bike in this price, although it could be better.
Overall, I think the R35 is a good buy for people who are looking for a recumbent bike with access to streaming workouts – off the top of my head I can’t think of any recumbents packing a screen this large for a better price.
If you aren’t interested in streaming workouts, I think it makes more sense to go with a bike like Sole’s LCR because it comes with slightly better performance specs and a more generous warranty.
Any way you look at it though, the R35 is easily one of the best recumbents in this price range. Recommended.