The Commercial R35 is NordicTrack’s most advanced recumbent bike to date and even though it’s designed for streaming, it can hold its own quite well when it comes to overall performance.
With a 25 lb flywheel, 26 magnetic resistance levels, and a weight limit of 350 lb, the Commercial R35’s specs can hang with any home recumbent in this price range.
And with a 14″ HD touchscreen console, it’s also well-equipped for connecting with iFit and accessing all the instructor-led workouts, metric tracking, and other goodies iFit offers.
The only real downside I see is that NordicTrack’s warranty could be a little longer, but I still think the Commercial R35 is still easily one of the best home recumbents available these days.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.
In this review, I’ll be going over everything this bike does and doesn’t have going for it; I’ll also try to compare it to some of the other top contenders in this price range.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not the R35 is the right recumbent bike for your home gym.
Let’s do this.
The NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike
NordicTrack’s as well-known as any fitness brand out there, so I don’t feel the need to provide a lengthy introduction here.
I’m guessing we’re all good and familiar with these guys.
What I will say, is that NordicTrack’s been around for a long time and generally speaking, their reputation is pretty solid.
True, their customer service is kinda notorious for being difficult to work with, but most customers are usually pretty happy with their equipment.
Anyway, NordicTrack has certainly gone all-in with streaming – all of their machines these days are iFit compatible, which is great for the folks who are looking for the streaming experience.
As I mentioned in the intro, the Commercial R35 is NordicTrack’s highest-end recumbent bike to date and as I’m writing this, this bike is selling for around $1299.
Which I think is a very competitive price for this recumbent, but more on that later.
Let’s start this review off with a rundown on the performance specs.
- 14″ HD touchscreen console
- 25 lb flywheel
- 26 levels of resistance
- 350 lb weight limit
- Robust frame
- Access to iFit
- Automatic Trainer Control (iFit)
- Compatible with bluetooth headphones/heart rate monitors
- Built-in cooling fan
- Fair price
- Warranty could be longer
Most people opt for a recumbent bike because they’re more comfortable and a bit lower-impact than other types of cardio machines, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still provide a great workout.
Recumbent bikes can also come with heavy flywheels and advanced resistance systems – however, many home models don’t.
That’s why I think it’s just as important to check out these specs for recumbent bikes as it is for any other type of bike, especially if you want a recumbent that offers a smooth, substantial pedaling feel.
Having a heavier flywheel is usually a good thing because the extra weight helps build more momentum as it spins and this momentum helps keep the pedals moving between pedal strokes.
This results in a smoother, more seamless pedaling experience.
And, this rule isn’t written in stone or anything, heavier flywheels can usually provide more overall resistance.
Anyway, the Commercial R35 comes with a 25 lb flywheel, which is very heavy for a home recumbent bike.
Especially when we consider that more affordable bikes like Schwinn’s 270 and Nautilus’ R618 (which are both great bikes in their own rights) only come with 13 lb flywheels.
Sole’s LCR has it beat with a 30 lb flywheel, but to be fair, that bike costs a few hundred more.
Personally, when it comes to recumbent bikes and flywheels, I think anything over 20 lb is pretty good and certainly heavy enough to provide a nice pedaling motion.
The R35 also comes with 26 resistance levels, giving you a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts.
When it comes to resistance levels, having more doesn’t necessarily mean you have access to more overall resistance, but it does mean you can make smaller adjustments to the available resistance.
Which I think is a perk in itself because it allows you to make smaller changes between levels.
Some recumbents come with more resistance levels, others come with less, but having 26 levels still allows a solid amount of control over workout intensity.
Overall, I think the Commercial R35 scores highly in the resistance department – I like that it comes with a heavy flywheel and so many resistance levels to work with.
The flywheel and resistance settings are important, but it’s also important to have a recumbent bike that’s going to feel stable and secure during use.
One of the biggest flaws many affordable recumbent bikes have is that they come with lightweight, flimsy frames.
Going with a more expensive recumbent, like the R35, should ensure a heavier-duty frame, but we still need a more objective way to compare bikes when it comes to this quality.
Well, I think looking at the assembled weights makes the most sense because this spec tells us exactly how “heavy-duty” the bike is.
With the idea being that heavier bikes should feel more stable and be less likely to wobble on ya during workouts.
Bike weights will vary greatly and flywheel weight will certainly contribute to the overall assembled weight, but a recumbent bike costing north of $1k should weigh well over 100 lb.
That said, the Commercial R35 comes with an in-box weight of 192 lb.
NordicTrack makes things a little more challenging by not giving us the actual assembled weight of the bike – instead, they give us the in-box weight, which includes the weight of the box and any packaging in it.
This means we have to do a little math to get an idea as to what the bike itself weighs.
I could be wrong, but I’d guess the packaging for a bike like this likely weighs somewhere in the 30 – 40 lb range…
So, for the sake of being really conservative, let’s subtract 50 lb for packaging – that still puts the R35 with an assembled weight of 142 lb, which is great for a recumbent in this price range.
Sole’s LCR, which I mentioned above, weighs in at 145 lb and Sole is known for offering some of the heaviest-duty machines in their respective price ranges.
And the R35 is right there with ’em.
Based on this estimated assembled weight, you shouldn’t have to worry about the R35 feeling lightweight.
Another spec worth checking out here too is the max weight limit – seeing higher numbers here is another good indicator of overall build quality.
The R35 comes with a weight limit of 350 lb, which is quite impressive and allows folks of all sizes to safely use it.
Overall, I like that this bike has such a high assembled weight/weight limit.
The NordicTrack Commercial R35 comes with the following features:
14″ HD console- the large, touchscreen console mounted in front makes it real easy to see everything during workouts, but it’s really there for iFit streaming.
iFit- this is NordicTrack (and ProForm’s) streaming platform and having a subscription gives you access to unlimited, instructor-led workouts and metric tracking. iFit offers all kinds of non-cycling workouts too and the same membership can be used for all NordicTrack machines. An iFit membership is around $39/month and NordicTrack includes a 30 day free trial with purchase.
Automatic Trainer Control- this features allows the instructors to control your resistance throughout your workouts, so all you have to do is keep up. It’s a cool features, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to; and it’s only available with an iFit membership.
Bluetooth compatibility- the console is compatible with bluetooth headphones, allowing you to listen to your workouts without disrupting others. It’s also compatible with bluetooth heart rate monitors for more accurate readings.
Lumbar support seat- the seat is large and comes with built-in lumbar support for a more comfortable experience.
AutoBreeze fan- there’s a built-in fan in the console to help keep you more comfortable during workouts.
Water bottle holder- and yes, there’s even a place to put your water bottle.
If you purchase this bike and decide to assemble yourself, the job should be pretty straightforward.
Like most exercise bikes, the frame comes mostly assembled and you don’t have to mess with any internal components like the belt or flywheel.
You’ll have to attach the stabilizers, connect the mast, attach the console, as well as the seat, pedals, and a few covers.
The most difficult part is usually having to snake the console wires through the mast and make sure nothing gets too tangled or pinched while attaching the console itself.
Due to the weight of this recumbent, it’s a good idea to have a second person around to help with the process.
But overall, most able-bodied folks who are at least a little handy should be able to get the R35 unboxed and running in 1.5 – 2 hrs.
NordicTrack backs their Commercial R35 with the following home warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is the same warranty NordicTrack offers are pretty much all their equipment and it works better on some than others.
In this case, I think this warranty is pretty good.
Ten years on the frame is fair for a $1300 recumbent bike, although some brands (like Sole) do offer lifetime frame guarantees.
Two years on parts isn’t bad either, considering most offer somewhere in the 1-3 year range (Sole offers 5 years on parts for their LCR).
And a year on labor is pretty standard procedure.
Overall, there are certainly better warranties out there, but NordicTrack’s guarantee on this bike isn’t bad.
Alright, I think that about does it.
Considering the specs and features this recumbent has to offer, I don’t have much to complain about.
The 14″ HD touchscreen console and iFit capabilities make the R35 a smart choice for people interested in taking advantage of all the good stuff streaming has to offer.
But with a 25 lb flywheel, heavy-duty frame, and high weight capacity, this recumbent scores very highly in the performance categories too.
NordicTrack’s warranty could be better, but even that isn’t bad.
If you’re looking for a streaming recumbent bike that won’t break the budget, I think the R35 is a smart buy; if you don’t care about streaming, you might want to check out Sole’s lineup because their recumbents come with longer warranties.
But either way you look at it, I still think the Commercial R35 is a great recumbent for the price.