The Sole LCR and the NordicTrack VR25 are 2 of the most popular home recumbent bikes on the market.
Both bikes come with impressive performance specs and reputable brand names, but when it comes to the features there are quite a few differences.
Most notably, the VR25 comes with a small HD touchscreen designed for workout streaming (through iFit), while the LCR comes with a significantly more basic console.
However, the LCR comes with a better warranty (including a light commercial guarantee).
Ultimately, when deciding between these 2 elite recumbent bikes, it’s going to come down to personal preference and what you’re looking for out of your bike.
But I’m here to help.
In this article, I’ll compare the LCR and the VR25 head-to-head with regards to all the key specs and features each bike comes with.
After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to choose the right bike for your home.
|Sole LCR||NordicTrack Commercial VR25|
|Resistance||30 lb flywheel|
40 magnetic levels
|25 lb flywheel
26 magnetic levels
|Frame||145 lb assembled weight|
350 lb weight capacity
|192 lb in- box weight
350 lb weight capacity
5 year parts/electronics
2 year labor
* Light commercial warranty as well
|10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
|Features||10" LCD console|
10 standard workouts
Chest strap compatible
USB charging port
|7" HD touchscreen console
35 built-in workouts
Chest strap heart rate monitor included
Quick touch resistance controls
The Sole LCR vs The NordicTrack VR25
Sole and NordicTrack are 2 of the biggest home fitness brands in the biz. Both come with stellar reputations, although personally, I have to say I prefer Sole.
Sole is probably my favorite brand when it comes to cardio equipment because I think they have a lot to offer for their respective price ranges.
They’re mostly known for their treadmills, but their exercise bikes and ellipticals are just as impressive.
What I like most about Sole is how un-flashy they are – these machines are nice and simple, but they’re built to perform and last.
Not to say NordicTrack’s aren’t, but NordicTrack makes all of their equipment iFit compatible now and I’m of the opinion that not everything needs an HD screen and streaming capabilities (so says the owner of a Peloton, ha).
Although if that’s what you’re looking for, NordicTrack is a great place to start.
The LCR (“light commercial recumbent”) is Sole’s highest-end recumbent bike to date, while the Commercial VR25 is NordicTrack’s second highest-end recumbent (with the R35 coming with an upgraded console).
These bikes are in the same moderate price range, but more on that in a minute.
Even though recumbent bikes are usually chosen for their comfort, that doesn’t mean they can’t still offer a great workout.
Well, as long as they have a respectable resistance system that is.
Like any other exercise bike, a recumbent’s resistance is created through the use of a spinning flywheel and either a magnetic or friction brake resistance mechanism.
The LCR and the VR25 both use a magnetic resistance system, so we don’t have to dive into the differences between magnetic and friction brake resistances.
But magnetic systems are much better, so both bikes are starting off on the right track.
Speaking of which, the LCR comes with 40 magnetic resistance levels and the VR25 comes with 26.
Keep in mind that having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean the LCR can offer more total resistance, it just means that you can make smaller incremental changes to the resistance it has available.
Which in itself is a good thing, because it allows you to fine tune the intensity level of any workout.
But let’s talk flywheels.
There’s a lot of talk about flywheel weight when it comes to spin bikes. For most bikes, it’s agreed that heavier flywheels are preferred because they build more momentum as the flywheel spins.
This extra momentum helps the flywheel continue spinning between pedal strokes, which makes for a smoother feel.
Well, the same is true for recumbent bikes: heavier flywheels = smoother pedal motion.
The Sole LCR comes with a 30 lb flywheel, which is very heavy for a recumbent bike, considering most nicer models are packing 20-25 lb flywheels.
With this in mind, the VR25 comes with a 25 lb flywheel, which is still at the higher end for home recumbents, but obviously not as heavy as the LCR’s.
Overall, the LCR comes with a heavier flywheel and more magnetic resistance levels to work with. Performance speaking, the LCR wins the resistance category hands down.
Ok, so the LCR comes with a more advanced resistance system, but let’s move on and compare the frames.
I think having a heavy-duty, stable frame is one of the most important features for any exercise bike, although it can be hard to objectively assess how “heavy-duty” a bike is.
The best way to do just that I’ve found is to look at 2 key specs: the assembled weight and the weight capacity.
A bike with higher numbers in both of these categories is a lot more likely to feel heavy-duty than a bike with lower numbers.
Let’s start with the LCR first and see how it scores.
The LCR comes with an assembled weight of 145 lb and a max weight capacity of 350 lb, both of which are impressive for a home recumbent.
For the sake of comparison, the popular Schwinn 270 comes with an assembled weight of 87 lb- just to give ya an idea how much heavier this bike actually is.
NordicTrack doesn’t specify what their bike’s assembled weight is, instead they provide what its “in box” weight is, which would include the weight of all the packaging.
This is different, making it harder to compare, but with that in mind the VR25’s in box weight is 192 lb.
Even if there is 20-30 lb of packaging, this still puts the VR25’s assembled weight above 150 lb, making it heavier than the LCR.
The VR25 also comes with a 350 lb weight limit, so no difference there.
Something else worth noting is that the VR25 is quite a bit longer than the LCR.
The VR25 comes with assembled dimensions of 68″ x 21.75″ (L x W), while the LCR comes with assembled dimensions of 57″ x 30″ (L X W).
So, even though the LCR is wider, the VR25 is almost a foot longer.
This is something to consider if your workout space is limited to begin with.
Overall, both of these bikes are very heavy-duty for home models and both come with high weight limits. It’s hard to compare the VR25’s in box weight to the LCR’s assembled weight, but based on these numbers the VR25 is likely a bit heavier.
Warranties aren’t the most exciting things to talk about, but I think they’re amongst the most important specs to consider when looking at exercise bikes.
A bike’s warranty is its insurance plan- it offers peace of mind that your investment will last at least this long regardless of what else happens.
And when we’re talking about spending upwards of a few thousand bucks, any additional peace of mind we can get is much appreciated.
Anyway, Sole offers the following residential warranty on their LCR:
- Lifetime frame
- 5 year parts/electronics
- 2 year labor
And NordicTrack offers this residential warranty on the VR25:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
Yeah, I forgot to mention it in the intro section, but Sole offers one of the best residential guarantees around.
And seeing these 2 warranties beside each other like this, it’s easy to spot the differences.
Sole’s got NordicTrack beat on every section here.
You can’t beat the lifetime frame guarantee Sole offers, but the most significant difference in my opinion is in the parts warranty, where Sole’s is over 2x as long as NordicTrack’s.
It’s also worth mentioning that Sole also offers a light commercial warranty on the LCR:
- Lifetime frame
- 3 year parts/electronics
- 1 year labor
Even if you’re shopping for your home, seeing a commercial warranty is a great sign because it’s indicative of superior quality (the VR25 comes with no commercial warranty, making the “Commercial” part of its name a bit misleading).
Overall, Sole’s warranty blows NordicTrack’s out of the water.
Ok, that about does it for the performance side of things, so let’ move on to the fun stuff- the features.
So far, I think it’s fair to say the LCR is winning this competition, but this is where the VR25 gets its second wind.
When it comes to high-tech features, there’s really no debating that the VR25 has the LCR beat hands down.
The star of the show for NordicTrack’s recumbent is the 7″ HD touchscreen display designed to pair with their iFit streaming app. Through this app, you get access to unlimited live/on-demand, instructor-led workouts.
iFit is a paid subscription (~$39/month last time I checked), so that’s something to consider, but it’s optional with the VR25, so you don’t have to sign up for it if you don’t want to.
And even if you don’t sign up for iFit, you’ll still get to access the 35 built-in workout programs the VR25 has to offer.
If you do sign up for iFit, you’ll be able to take advantage of the automatic trainer control function, that allows the instructors to automatically adjust the resistance during your workouts.
This is cool, because you just have to sit back and pedal- no need to worry about adjusting your resistance levels back and forth.
Other notable features of the VR25 include:
- Bluetooth speakers
- Included bluetooth chest strap heart rate monitor
- Quick touch resistance controls
- AutoBreeze cooling fan
- Comfortable seat
The console on Sole’s LCR isn’t HD or touchscreen, but at 10″ it’s large and easy to read during workouts.
Speaking of which, the LCR only comes with 10 standard workout programs, but it does include a Fit Test which is kinda cool.
Unlike the VR25, you can’t stream any workouts directly through the console, so there aren’t any streaming services or subscription fees to discuss.
Additional features for the LCR include:
- Bluetooth speakers
- Compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors (but one isn’t included)
- Compatible with fitness apps for metric tracking
- Tablet holder
- USB charging port
- Cooling fan
- Comfortable seat
Overall, the VR25 has the LCR beat when it comes higher-tech features. If you’re looking for a streaming bike, the VR25 is obviously the better choice.
Ok, time to talk numbers.
This will be a quick section because both of these bikes come with the same asking price of $1,499.
Keep in mind this number could vary slightly, depending on where you purchase or if one brand is having a promotional sale or something.
Although I haven’t noticed any big variations in the prices for either bike, both seem consistent in their cost.
This price puts both bikes in what I would consider the moderate price range for home recumbents. Based on the specs and features for both bikes, I think both are fairly priced.
Just keep in mind the additional monthly streaming cost if you decide to go with an iFit subscription (although if you already have one, you don’t have to pay extra to add additional devices).
I like to save this area for any other remaining thoughts I have regarding either bike before I finish up.
I don’t have a lot to add for either one of these recumbents, although I want to say that NordicTrack and Sole are both very well-respected home fitness brands.
Both brands have loyal followings and both of these recumbents are generally very positively rated by their users.
NordicTrack (and ICON Fitness in general) has a bit of a reputation for having a crappy customer support department, with lots of folks complaining about how difficult it is to contact them and hear back from ’em.
That said, Sole’s customer support reputation isn’t much better.
The truth is, pretty much all larger fitness brands will come with customer supports that can be challenging to interact with- that’s just the nature of the business.
When it comes down to it, I think Sole’s LCR and NordicTrack’s VR25 are both quality recumbent bikes for their price range.
When deciding between them, I think it all comes down to whether or not you’re interested in using iFit to access streaming workouts.
The VR25 definitely has the LCR beat when it comes to included features, but the LCR has the VR25 beat when it comes to performance.
Overall, if you ask me, when it comes to the LCR vs the VR25, the winner is…
The Sole LCR
For me, I think it’s more important to have the heavier flywheel and extra resistance levels than to have a touchscreen console- not to mention how much better Sole’s warranty is.
But again, it all depends on what’s more important to ya: performance or features.