With a 14″ HD touchscreen, it’s easy to get distracted into thinking NordicTrack’s Commercial VU29 is just another showy streaming bike with mediocre performance specs.
But that isn’t the case here.
With a 19 lb flywheel and 24 levels of resistance, this upright bike has what it takes under the hood to provide a legit workout.
It also comes with a pretty heavy-duty frame and an impressive 325 lb weight capacity.
But let’s be real, it’s that 14″ HD touchscreen with awesome streaming capabilities that’s the real star of the show here.
I’ll get right to the point here – if you’re looking for an upright bike for streaming workouts, NordicTrack’s Commercial VU29 is easily one of the best options out there, but there are plenty of more impressive upright bikes when it comes to performance specs and warranties.
So, I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for.
But in case you’re still interested, in this review I’ll go over everything this bike has to offer – we’re talking specs, features, warranties, and even cost.
I’ll also compare it to some of the other top upright bikes in this price range to see how it stacks up.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not the Commercial VU29 is the right upright bike for your home.
Let’s do this.
The NordicTrack Commercial VU29 Upright Bike
NordicTrack’s a very popular brand that’s been around for a long time.
Generally speaking, they’re a pretty respected brand with a good reputation, although their customer service is a bit notorious for how slow they are.
Over the last several years, they’ve really gone all-in with the whole streaming experience – you’ll notice that all of their products are iFit compatible now.
Naturally, NordicTrack and iFit are owned by the same company (as is ProForm), so this all makes sense.
I haven’t seen any numbers, but I’d be interested in seeing how many people use iFit compared to Peloton – it wouldn’t surprise me if iFit has officially become the most popular fitness streaming platform in the US.
Especially now that it sounds like Peloton is having issues (massive layoffs, raising prices, etc).
Anyway, we’re here to talk about the VU29, which is their premiere upright bike to date (they also offer the VU19, which comes with a smaller console).
- 14″ HD touchscreen console
- 19 lb flywheel
- 24 magnetic resistance levels
- 325 lb weight capacity
- Access to unlimited workouts (iFit)
- Automatic Trainer Control (iFit)
- Scenic routes (iFit)
- Bluetooth compatible
- Built-in fan
- Fully adjustable seat
- Decent warranty
- Reasonably priced
- NordicTrack’s customer service has bad reputation
- Heart rate strap not included
Upright bikes offer a nice combination of still offering the sensation of riding a bike, but while doing so in a more comfortable position (when compared to an indoor cycle).
But that doesn’t mean a quality upright bike can’t still offer a great workout.
As long as the flywheel weight and resistance system are up to snuff, an upright bike can still offer a challenging workout.
When it comes to upright bikes, having a heavier flywheel is usually beneficial because the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins.
And this extra momentum actually helps keep the pedals moving throughout your pedal stroke, resulting in a smoother feel.
That said, upright bikes don’t usually come with the same massive flywheels found on indoor cycles.
Most decent home upright bikes come with flywheels in the 15 – 30 lb range; with that in mind, the Commercial VU29 comes with a 19 lb flywheel.
As home uprights go, 19 lb isn’t bad.
It’s heavier than the flywheels found on the more affordable uprights like Schwinn’s 170 or Nautilus’ U618 (13 lb flywheels), but still a lot lighter than the 30 lb flywheel you’ll find on more performance oriented uprights like Spirit’s XBU55.
Personally, I like to see at least a 20 lb flywheel to ensure smooth operation, but 1 lb isn’t going to make that much difference.
And users generally agree the VU29 has a smooth pedaling motion, so that’s good enough for me.
This 19 lb flywheel is paired with 24 levels of magnetic resistance, giving you good control over the intensity of your workouts.
When it comes to resistance levels, I think having more is usually a good thing because it gives you the ability to make smaller adjustments to your resistance.
But more levels doesn’t equate to more overall resistance.
For example, a bike with 40 resistance levels and a bike with 20 might still offer the same total output at their highest settings- but you’ll be able to make much smaller adjustments on the bike with 40 levels.
I hope that makes sense.
Anyway, there are plenty of upright bikes that come with more resistance levels (Sole’s LCB comes with 40 for example), but there are plenty that come with fewer as well.
But 24 is pretty good when compared to uprights across the board.
Overall, the VU29 certainly isn’t the highest performing upright on the market, with a 19 lb flywheel and 24 resistance levels, it’s got enough muscle under the hood to offer a solid workout.
When checking out any exercise bike, I always like to get a sense of how heavy-duty it’ll feel during use.
Nobody wants a rickety old bike that feels like it might snap in half the second you sit on it and unfortunately, it can be kinda tough to tell how stable a bike’s gonna feel without being able to take it for a test drive.
But there are a few things you can look for.
An important spec to look at when doing this is the assembled weight.
This spec tells you exactly how much the bike weighs and as you might guess, heavier bikes are more likely to feel safe and secure during use.
And that’s because a heavier bike is going to be harder to move, meaning it won’t be wobbling around during your workouts.
That said, NordicTrack throws a monkey wrench into things by not providing us with their products’ assembled weights.
Instead, they tell us the “in box” weights of all their products.
This is a little different because this value includes the weight of any packaging, meaning the in box weight is higher than the true assembled weight of the bike.
But hey, we gotta work with what we’re given here.
The VU29 comes with an in box weight of 115 lb, so if we subtract 15- 20 lb or so (being conservative) we’re left with an upright that weighs somewhere around 100 lb.
Which is reasonable given the weight of the flywheel and the size of the console.
Assuming our estimations are more or less accurate, an assembled weight of around 100 lb isn’t bad for an upright bike.
It’s much lighter than the 130 lb assembled weight of Sole’s LCB (to be fair, most uprights are much lighter than this bike), but it’s still quite a bit heavier-duty than the U618 and its 83 lb assembled weight.
So again, somewhere in the middle here.
I also like to compare weight limits because this is just another measure of how robust a bike is – and with seeing higher limits being a good thing.
The VU29 comes with a weight capacity of 325 lb, which is quite good for a home upright bike in this price range (where most fall somewhere in the 300 – 350 lb range).
Overall, I think the VU29 scores pretty well when it comes to this department – it isn’t the heaviest-duty upright on the market or anything, but it’s robust enough to offer a stable feel and strong enough to handle users of all sizes.
NordicTrack backs their Commercial VU29 Upright Bike with the following home warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is the same warranty NordicTrack offers on most of their products and while I don’t think it’s the best guarantee for a $4k treadmill, it’s not bad for an upright in this price range.
10 years on the frame is pretty good, although there are several brands out there (Sole, Spirit, 3G Cardio, etc) offering lifetime guarantees on their bike frames.
And 2 years on parts again, isn’t bad considering most offer somewhere in the 2- 5 year range.
A year on labor is pretty standard stuff, so nothing too noteworthy going on there.
Overall, I think the VU29 comes with a pretty decent warranty.
The NordicTrack Commercial VU29 comes with the following features:
14″ HD touchscreen console- the performance specs on this bike fall in the mid-range, but its tech features are top notch. With a 14″ HD console, viewing all workouts and tracking metrics will be a piece of cake. It’s funny though, as large as a 14″ screen seems, it’s actually pretty small compared to some of the huge consoles NordicTrack’s other products come with. Anyway, this console comes with nice built-in speakers, so you’ll be able to hear everything those instructors are instructing.
iFit- NordicTrack equipped this bike with that large gorgeous console because it’s designed to be paired with iFit. iFit is their streaming platform that gives you access to all the instructor-led workouts, scenic rides, and metric tracking this bike has to offer. iFit costs around $38/month I believe and you also get access to a whole lineup of non-cycling workouts too.
Automatic Trainer Control- oh, iFit also allows you to use this feature that lets the instructors automatically adjust the resistance throughout your workouts, so all you have to do is keep up. Most enjoy this feature, but you can always adjust things manually too.
Bluetooth- the console is compatible with bluetooth headphones for those times you want to keep noise levels down; it’s also compatible with bluetooth heart rate monitors too.
Cooling fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep ya more comfortable during workouts.
Fully adjustable seat- the seat on this bike is fully adjustable, meaning you can adjust both the height and fore/aft (horizontal) position easily.
Water bottle holder- there’s even a convenient place to store your beverage of choice during workouts.
I always like to include a little discussion regarding how much these bikes cost because I think it’s helpful to know how one bike compares to another in its own price range.
Of course on the other hand, these prices change all the time, so my price talk isn’t always super accurate.
And for that, I apologize.
But I still think it’s worth going over, so here ya go.
At the time of writing this, NordicTrack has the Commercial VU29 listed for $1299, which honestly, I think is a pretty good price point for it.
I mean, 14″ HD console, solid performance specs, decent warranty, tons of streaming features… not an unreasonable price.
But let’s take a look at what else this price range has to offer.
I’ve already mentioned Sole’s LCB a few times because that’s easily one of the biggest contenders in this price range (usually priced pretty identically).
The LCB comes with a 30 lb flywheel, 40 resistance levels, a much heavier-duty frame, and a much better warranty (lifetime frame, 5 year parts)… but no touchscreen console or automatic trainer control.
Spirit’s XBU55 is very similar in terms of the LCB and comes with an even better warranty (10 year parts), but again, no workout streaming.
For streaming, there’s also ProForm’s Pro C10U, which comes with a 10″ HD console and is iFit ready, but it’s much lighter-duty and only comes with a 275 lb weight limit (costs around $600).
In other words, there aren’t that many streaming upright bikes in the VU29’s league.
That’s about all I got here.
When it comes to performance specs, the VU29 is decent, but there are obviously plenty of bikes with heavier flywheels and heavier-duty frames.
But when it comes to tech features, the VU29 shines.
With a large HD touchscreen console and access to unlimited on-demand workouts, this upright bike has a lot to offer for folks interested in joining iFit.
And that Automatic Trainer Control feature is pretty cool too.
If you’re not sure about the whole streaming thing or don’t want to commit to a monthly membership, this probably isn’t the right upright bike for ya.
But if you’re looking for an upright bike with awesome streaming capabilities, I think the Commercial VU29 is about as good as it gets in this price range (I’d even go as far as saying I think this is one of the best upright bikes of the year).