ProForm and NordicTrack are both household names when it comes to home fitness equipment and both brands offer popular cardio machines in varying price ranges.
But enough of the small talk, you’re here because you want to know who’s exercise bikes are better?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to figure out in this article.
We all have our preferences, so it can be hard to definitively answer such a subjective question- but I’m going to do it anyway.
And I’m going to do it by comparing the cold, hard numbers- you know, the performance specs.
Opinions vary, but the numbers don’t lie. The key, of course, is knowing which numbers to look at.
In this guide, I’ll compare ProForm’s and NordicTrack’s bikes based on their performance specs and features to see once and for all who’s bikes rule supreme.
ProForm vs NordicTrack
ICON owns a few other less well-known brands too, like Weider and Weslo, as well as the rapidly expanding streaming service known as iFit.
ICON obviously believes iFit is the future of their company (and rightfully so, I think it’s safe to say fitness streaming is here to stay) based on how much they seem to be investing in it these days.
But more on that later.
NordicTrack offers ICON’s highest-end lineup of equipment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s of better value.
ProForm’s machines are generally a lot more affordable, falling more in the budget friendly to moderate price range.
In order to compare these 2 brands fairly, I want to start by looking at the performance specs of each brand’s bikes. Let’s start with probably the most important one, the resistance system.
Regardless of what type of bike you’re searching for, if you want a smooth, effective workout, it’s a good idea to examine what kind of resistance the bike is packing.
And by resistance, I’m really talking about the flywheel and the resistance mechanism.
The mechanism is easy in this case, because I’m pretty sure all ProForm and NordicTrack bikes use magnetic resistance- so no need to worry about friction brakes.
But flywheel weights will vary greatly.
Unless you’re an elite brand like Keiser or Life Fitness, it’s pretty safe to say that having a heavier flywheel is a good thing.
And that’s because a heavier flywheel will build more momentum as it spins, which creates a smoother feel while pedaling (because the momentum helps keep the flywheel spinning between pedal strokes).
If we compare ProForm’s and NordicTrack’s top indoor cycles, they all pretty much come with 32 lb flywheels, which is definitely heavy enough to be considered “heavy”.
By the way, neither brand makes it easy to find this particular spec- I’m not sure why either because both brands come with solid numbers.
Anyway, when it comes to resistance levels, both brands are about the same too, offering 22- 26 levels to choose from.
So, when it comes to the resistance systems on their spin bikes, these 2 brands are actually pretty similar.
We see bigger differences though, when we look at their recumbent and upright models.
ProForm only offers 1 true recumbent bike now, the 440 ES, and that’s packing an 18 lb flywheel (which isn’t bad for a budget bike).
NordicTrack’s recumbents are significantly higher-end, with their VR25 and VR35 both coming with a 25 lb flywheel.
So, when it comes to the resistance systems, ProForm holds its own pretty well with regards to their spin bikes and upright bikes, but NordicTrack’s recumbents come with much heavier flywheels.
The resistance systems are important to consider, but so are the frames.
More specifically, the heavy-dutiness of the frames.
A quality bike should come with a solid frame that’s going to feel secure during workouts. Because if the bike feels shaky during use, your workouts are going to suffer.
When trying to get a feel for this quality, I like to look at the bike’s weight and weight capacity- seeing higher numbers in both categories will indicate a more stable frame.
ProForm and NordicTrack supply their in-box weights, which is different than a true assembled weight, but since both brands offer that spec, we can compare them just fine.
ProForm’s spin bikes are significantly lighter than NordicTrack’s, with the Studio Pro 22 weighing 144 lb compared to the Commercial S22i’s 203 lb weight.
The Commercial VR25 also weighs a good 50 lb or some than ProForm’s 440 ES.
When it comes to the upright bikes, there’s very little difference in weight, although the ProForm cycle actually weighs a few more pounds.
Looking at the weight capacities, pretty much all of NordicTrack’s bikes come with limits in the 325 – 350 lb range, which is great.
ProForm’s recumbent bike comes with an impressive 350 lb limit, but their indoor cycles all come with a rather disappointing 250 lb weight limit.
Overall, when comparing ProForm and NordicTrack’s frames, it’s easy to see that NordicTrack bikes are generally heavier and they come with much better weight limits.
I know, warranties are boring to talk about, but they’re still important.
A great warranty not only adds peace of mind about making a sizable investment, but it can also tell you a lot about the quality of the bike.
This isn’t always the case, especially now with more of these luxury streaming bikes coming out that don’t offer particularly good warranties, but generally speaking- better bikes will come with longer warranties.
NordicTrack offers pretty much the same warranty for all their bikes and it’s a pretty good one too:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
And ProForm offers a very similar warranty for most of their bikes:
- 10 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
So, not much difference here.
NordicTrack offers an extra year on parts, but given how much more affordable ProForm is, I would say the brand offers a pretty great warranty.
That about does it for the performance side of things, so let’s switch over and talk about the tech features these 2 brands include with their bikes.
The most notable feature for all pretty much all NordicTrack bikes has got to be the HD touchscreen console.
They all come with one and the size varies depending on the model.
Their highest end Commercial S22i comes with a 22″ screen, while their VR25 and VU19 come with significantly smaller 7″ screens.
ProForm’s Studio Pro 22 comes with a (you guessed it) 22″ HD touchscreen display as well, although none of ProForm’s recumbent or upright bikes have one.
I mentioned iFit briefly at the beginning, but iFit is ICON’s streaming fitness app.
Through it, you can access instructor-led workouts, metric tracking, scenic rides, and all that stuff.
Since ProForm and NordicTrack are both ICON brands, both are compatible with iFit. And both brands push joining iFit aggressively.
Even the ProForm bikes that don’t come with touchscreen displays are compatible through the use of a tablet.
So, if you’re looking for streaming workouts, both brands will work with iFit.
When it comes to other features, expect fully adjustable seats and bluetooth compatibility with both brands. Both will also be compatible with wireless heart rate monitors.
One thing NordicTrack bikes come with that ProForm bikes don’t are cooling fans.
That, and of course there’s the incline/decline function found on NordicTrack’s Commercial Studio Cycles– no other spin bikes offer this feature.
Overall, NordicTrack’s bikes have more advanced features than ProForm’s. They tend to come with larger consoles and they all have a touchscreen compatible with iFit.
Ok, that about does it.
Generally speaking, NordicTrack bikes are significantly higher-end than ProForm’s, which is to be expected based on their respective price points.
I have to say though, ProForm holds its own better than I would’ve expected.
When you look at the resistance systems, there isn’t that big of a difference between the ProForm and NordicTrack cycles.
The difference gets more obvious as you move on to the upright bikes and recumbents however.
NordicTrack bikes are a lot bigger and heavier though, which will give them a more commercial feel when compared to ProForm.
NordicTrack also offers more options with HD touchscreen consoles and ProForm doesn’t have anything nearly as advanced as the incline/decline function found on NordicTrack’s Commercial Studio Cycles.
When it comes to warranties though, again, ProForm holds its own well.
Overall, I think both brands have a lot to offer.
NordicTrack is a higher-end, more luxury brand, while ProForm is a more budget-friendly option.
When choosing between them, it really comes down to budget and what you’re looking for.