NordicTrack NTEX76016 Commercial VR21 Recumbent Bike Review
The NordicTrack NTEX76016 Commercial VR21 Recumbent Bike is the most affordably priced model in NordicTrack’s recumbent bike series.
Still, it has some impressive bells and whistles including 25 digital resistance levels, 32 built-in workouts, iFit Coach compatibility and integrated tablet holder. It also features a sturdy construction that minimizes unnecessary stress on joints and back, while still allowing a good workout.
Published: April 15, 2020.
NordicTrack NTEX76016 Commercial VR21 Recumbent Bike Specifications
- Dimensions when assembled: 59 x 22 x 52 inches (150 x 56 x 132 cm) (L x W x H)
- Weight when assembled: 149 lbs. (67 kg)
- Resistance: Magnetic motorized, 25 levels
- Maximum user weight capacity: 350 lbs. (159 kg)
- Warranty: 10 years on frame, 2 years on parts and 1 year on labor
Features of NordicTrack NTEX76016 Commercial VR21 Recumbent Bike
The core of the NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21 comes pre-assembled. However, users have to attach quite a few parts, including the main base tubes, the console mast and console, the seat with its backrest and handlebars, the front handlebars, pedals and several covers. This can take more than an hour.
Although some tools needed for the assembly are included in the package, users will need a Phillips screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. The manual provides very detailed assembly instructions.
The frame of this NordicTrack recumbent bike is precision-welded steel, coated with a scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant paint. As of now the color of the paint is black. Most part of the metallic frame, however, is covered with ABS covers, which protect the frame and internal parts, while adding an aesthetic look. Also, the adjustment rail of the seat is not made of steel, but of aluminum.
The step-thru design of this machine allows easy access and exit towards the seat, which is great for users with disabilities and senior users.
Maximum User Weight Capacity
The NordicTrack VR21 has a decent maximum user weight capacity of 350 lbs.
The machine is quite large with 59” of length and 22” of width. Plus, NordicTrack recommends to leave a clearance of at least two feet on all its sides for ease of access and safe operation.
Thanks to the large transport wheels on the front base and a lifting handle on the rear base of the NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21, the unit is quite easy to move around once assembled, despite being quite heavy.
Nonetheless, it is highly recommended to position the bike on the permanent location, preferably on the good home gym mat in order to protect both the floor and the bike.
The NordicTrack NTEX76016 features excellent stability, thanks to the large rubberized stabilizers on both of its bases. Those on the rear base are even adjustable, offering a perfect leveling on any type of flooring.
Plus the machine is quite heavy, weighing around 149 lbs. i.e. more than double the average weight of road recumbent bikes. The machine also gets stability due to this hefty weight.
NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21 Console
The NordicTrack VR21 recumbent bike features a console that has OneTouch Controls and an awe-inspiring range of features.
It features a 5” LCD display having LED backlight and large easy-to-read digits. All the important workout metrics including distance, time, speed, RPM, pulse and calories are displayed by the console. Distance and speed are displayed in metric as well as imperial units. When it comes to pulse monitoring, users can either use the sensors integrated in the front handlebars or they can use a wireless HR chest strap (not included), because the console is telemetric.
The console is iFit enabled due to which users can sync it with their phone, tablet or laptop so as to communicate with the iFit app. This way, they can have an access to unlimited workout programs that will take them across the world and stream their workout metrics directly into their iFit account, to track their progress better.
Also, they can get many other features that iFit offers, but the console itself doesn’t. However, to use iFit, users need to have an active subscription, which is not included.
But even if users don’t want to use iFit, the console has as many as 32 built-in workout programs designed by certified fitness trainers. These workouts are classified into three main categories, viz. intensity, calorie burning and performance. The console automatically adjusts the resistance needed for the preset program users have chosen. Users can even create their own programs or modify the existing ones.
The console also offers goal setting for time, distance, calories and heart rate.
Note: iFit subscription is mandatory - without it, the user can't even start the console. Although many serious trainees this don't find as an issue, it must be emphasized for people that need a strong and robust recumbent bike, but don't need/want iFit subscription.
Seat and Backrest
The unit features an adjustable seat which is attached to a strong aluminum rail. Users can lock it into their desired position closer or farther from the pedals. Thus the bike can accommodate users from 5’0” to 6’5”. A foam padding of around 2” thickness on the seat provides optimal comfort.
The backrest however is not padded. It’s made from supple nylon material and is ventilated. It provides a firm lumbar support. The backrest doesn’t recline, nor can it be adjusted independently from the seat. However, the seat assembly doesn’t feature any angle-adjustability.
The NordicTrack NTEX76016 features two sets of handlebars, one of which is attached to the console mast and integrated with pulse sensors, whereas the other set is attached to the seat assembly and moves with it along the adjustment rail.
Having no pulse sensors in the seat handlebars might be considered as a drawback, but the console is telemetric, so, it can read users’ pulse via a HR chest strap transmitter (not included). There are rubberized grips on both the handlebars for optimal hand adherence and comfort.
The NordicTrack VR21 is equipped with an automatic eddy current resistance. This means that the resistance can be adjusted only through the console and to operate the console, the bike should be connected to a power source. The package of the bike includes a power adapter with many plug adapters for various types of plugs.
The resistance system comprises of a small servo motor and a magnetic brake. When users select a particular resistance level on the console, the motor will adjust the brake’s position in accordance with the flywheel, thereby increasing or reducing the tension. Also, when users choose one of the many built-in workouts from the console, the machine will adjust the resistance automatically as per the particular program.
There are 25 distinct levels of resistance on the NordicTrack NTEX76016 of which the first few are quite light, perfect for warming up or recovery training, whereas the top resistance levels can offer the users intense workouts by simulating a steep climb and providing a higher burn.
The main element of the drive system is the flywheel which is a mid-range flywheel with a perimeter-weighted, balanced structure. Its weight is 20 lbs. and it delivers a smooth, stable motion with a significant momentum.
Like most exercise bikes having a magnetic resistance, the NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21 too has a belt drive. Its belt is strong and stretch-resistant and offers a quiet, vibration-free motion. Unlike, a chain transmission, it doesn’t even need lubrication. Thus, users don’t have to undergo the hassle of taking out and placing the covers back again every few months to lubricate the system.
The machine features a strong, 3-piece crank set. Steel-made crank arms have plastic covers for additional protection as well as an aesthetic touch. They feature weighted pedals with adjustable straps so as to offer maximum foot stability during pedaling. The pedals have standard threads and therefore their replacements can be easily found if required.
The console of the machine integrates several add-ons. To start with, there is a sound system that is compatible with most smartphones, tablets and MP3 players. There is an audio jack to let users connect their device and listen to their favorite music through two 2” integrated digitally amplified speakers. The sound provided by the speakers is slightly better than that provided by speakers of a phone or tablet.
Next the console also has an AutoBreeze workout fan and a tablet holder integrated in it. The cooling fan is positioned at console’s bottom and adjusts its speed automatically according to the intensity of the workout. It’s not very big and won’t offer a lot of cooling but is enough for a recumbent bike workout.
The tablet holder is large enough to accommodate any tablet and is situated above the resistance control.
Plus, there is a water bottle holder too.
Because the bike features a belt drive with a magnetic resistance system, there is almost no maintenance required for the internal parts. Unless an internal part is damaged and needs to be replaced, users will never have to remove the pulley guards or flywheel.
Regarding the external maintenance, users just have to clean the bike and regularly check bolts and joints and tighten them if required, and keep liquids away from the console.
Pros of NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21
- Strong, durable, commercial-grade construction
- Excellent stability
- Large, easy-to-read LCD display with LED backlight
- Maximum user weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Telemetric and iFit enabled console
- Goal settings for distance, time, calories and heart rate
- 32 preset workout programs for cardio, intensity and performance
- Portable with transport wheels on the front and transport handle on the rear side
- Padded, comfortable and adjustable seat
- Supple, durable and breathable backrest provides excellent lumbar support
- Magnetic, motorized resistance system with 25 levels
- Pulse sensors in the front handlebars
- Extremely smooth belt drive
- Almost noiseless operation
- Perimeter-weighted, balanced, mid-range flywheel that provides a consistent momentum
- Weighted pedals with adjustable straps
- Additional accessories like sound system, cooling fan, tablet holder, water-bottle holder
- Almost maintenance-free
- Excellent warranty
Cons of NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21
- iFit subscription is mandatory
- HR chest strap not included
- Cooling fan not very powerful
- A tablet placed on the tablet holder covers the program controls
- The word ‘Commercial’ in the bike’s name is misleading as this is a bike for residential use
The motorized magnetic recumbent bike NordicTrack NTEX76016 VR21 with its 32 preset workout programs, 25 resistance levels, iFit compatibility and pulse monitoring, is an excellent exercise machine for an affordable price.
It has a great user weight capacity, a strong durable frame, step-thru design, comfortable seat assembly to avoid unnecessary strain on back and joints and excellent warranty. Thus it’s a perfect exercise machine for weight loss, interval training, cardio training and muscle toning, as well as recovery training and physiotherapy. It can burn up to 400-500 calories of users per hour of exercise.
All in all, this bike is excellent for those who are looking for a significant calorie burn and muscle-building.
Considering its technical features, this is great unit. The only serious problem is that iFit subscription is practically mandatory - hopefully, it will change in the future.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check NordicTrack NTEX76016 Commercial Vr21 Recumbent Bike Amazon link (link opens in the new window).