Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Equipment, Exercise Bikes

NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro Upright Bike Review

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The NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro upright bike is the top model in a collection that also includes the GX 4.4 Pro and entry level GX 2.7.

As with NordicTrack’s top elliptical trainers and treadmills, this means a significant upgrade to the console and entertainment features, as well as an increase in onboard workouts and resistance levels.

But if you’re on a strict budget, is this really the best exercise bike for your goals, or would you be better choosing one of the earlier models?

In this review we’ll be making important comparisons between the GX 4.6 Pro and other leading stationary bikes, to help you decide on the best option for your own budget, goals, and home fitness routine.

Design features

NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro Upright Bike

In upgrading from the GX 4.4 Pro, you’re not just getting an improved console, you’re also getting an increase in resistance levels and a heavier flywheel.

The GX 4.6 Pro now features 24 digital resistance levels, which use NordicTrack’s Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) system for a smoother, quieter cycling workout.

You can choose to switch between these levels using the buttons on the console, or switch to one of the onboard workout apps or iFit programs and have the level change automatically.

With iFit, the resistance will automatically adjust depending on the terrain of your virtual cycling route, which is similar to the incline adjustment on their Commercial treadmills.

To help create this smooth cycling motion, you also have a 19 lb inertia-enhanced flywheel, which is 2 lbs heavier than the earlier GX 4.4 Pro model.

As with other upright bikes in the GX collection, the seat can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. This improves your posture and lets you find the most natural cycling position for your height, creating a more efficient transfer of power into the pedals.

The pedals themselves are extra-wide and ergonomically designed to provide comfortable foot placement, with adjustable straps for increased stability.

Adding to the comfort of your workout you also have an oversized padded seat, with thick cushioning and a vinyl cover for improved durability.

There’s even a water bottle holder within easy reach, which is useful for keeping you hydrated and improving your performance during longer cycling sessions.

NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro Upright Bike

NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro – Features Summary

  • 7-inch web-enabled color touch screen.
  • iPod compatible sound system.
  • iFit enabled.
  • Integrated tablet holder.
  • 19 lb. effective inertia-enhanced flywheel
  • 24 Digital resistance levels
  • 32 Onboard workouts
  • Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR)

Console and entertainment features

NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro Upright Bike

As the top-of-the-line upright bike in NordicTrack’s GX collection, the GX 4.6 Pro features the full range of console features and entertainment options.

The display screen that was backlit on earlier models now has a wider viewing angle, measuring 7″ corner-to-corner compared to the 5″ of the GX 4.4 Pro.

It’s also full color, web-enabled, and uses a touch screen. This comes with a whole range of benefits, such as viewing your progress around a virtual route via iFit and Street View, and being able to browse the internet while you cycle.

Steady state cardio isn’t always the most exciting way to burn calories, but it can be extremely efficient if it keeps you within a target heart rate range. Having the option to send email, watch movies, or check social media at the same time makes the experience more enjoyable.

If you prefer to listen to music while you workout, the console has a port that makes it iPod and MP3 compatible, with integrated speakers and buttons for adjusting the volume.

But what if you want to watch a movie while still keeping track of important workout feedback?

The GX 4.6 Pro has a secure tablet holder attached to the top of the console, similar to the one found on the earlier GX 4.4 Pro. This lets you watch your sports, TV, or movie on a tablet, while keeping the console clear for you to view feedback on the screen and use the buttons.

We did notice a tablet shelf on the entry level GX 2.7 Pro, but this obscured the buttons and screen if used. By changing its position to the top of the console, you’re also moving the screen closer to eye level, helping to improve posture and reduce neck strain.

Some of the workout feedback provided by the console screen includes:

  • Current resistance level
  • Speed
  • Time
  • Number of calories burned

  • Pulse
  • Current workout program
  • Distance

If you’re using the manual program or want to change the default setting for a preset workout segment, OneTouch™ resistance controls are a useful addition. This means quicker switching between the SMR levels, less time spent at the console, and more time focussing on your workout. Ideal for interval training.

Heart rate monitoring and keeping cool
The NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro supports two different types of heart rate monitoring: touch, and telemetry.

CardioGrip™ heart rate touch sensors have been built into the handles, which display your pulse on the screen when held for a short period of time. These are great for quickly checking your heart rate, but not for continuous feedback.

If you want to keep track of your heart rate without maintaining the same grip position throughout your workout, you can also use a Bluetooth wireless chest strap (included).

Using BLE technology, this ensures continuous feedback to the console, which is much more reliable as it allows you to change resistance levels, programs, or volume without worrying about losing the signal (a common problem with touch sensors).

This also means you’re free to adjust the speed of the AutoBreeze cooling fan, positioned close to your body at the base of the console.

As with other NordicTrack exercise bikes, the speed of the fan can either be adjusted manually (buttons on the console) or set to ‘Auto’ mode, where the fan speed changes based on your cycling pace.

Workout programs

When you’re buying a new exercise bike, it’s important to find a model that offers a large collection of challenging workouts. This not only motivates you to keep trying new programs, but also supports a higher level of fitness goals.

The NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro includes 32 onboard workout apps, each designed by a certified personal trainer. These have been split into three categories: Calorie (11), Intensity (11), and Performance (10).

These are completely separate to the ‘Set-A-Goal’ and iFit workouts, and represent an upgrade over the 28 workout apps of the earlier GX 4.4 Pro bike.

So what does this mean for your training? Can you still improve your cardiovascular fitness and increase muscle definition even without an iFit subscription?

  • Onboard workouts (32)If you’re short on time and don’t want to rely on a wireless network connection for iFit or changing the resistance manually, these programs are the perfect option.They follow a preset profile of resistance settings that change automatically as you move between workout segments, and prompt you to stay within a specific speed range.

    You can override the settings for the current segment, but they’ll resort back to the defaults when it ends. If you’re looking for more of a custom workout, the Manual program would be a better fit.

  • ‘Set-A-Goal’ workoutsThis is where you can set a target for the workout duration, number of calories burned, or distance cycled, then follow along with the target cadence displayed on the screen until you reach your goal.If you’re comparing the GX 4.6 Pro against other upright bikes from NordicTrack, it’s worth knowing that these goal setting programs are the same on every model.
  • iFit workoutsAlthough this is one of NordicTrack’s iFit enabled bikes, you still have to sign up for a monthly membership, and be able to connect to a wireless network if you want access to the iFit programs.Once you have access, you can connect to the iFit service and choose form a large library of personalized workouts. Because the GX 4.6 Pro has a full color screen, you get a more immersive and enjoyable cycling experience than if you were staring at a backlit display.
  • Manual programThe quickest way to start a workout is to sit on the seat and start pedalling. That’s what the Manual program is all about, where it follows no preset profile of resistance or speed settings, and you’re free to make changes whenever you want.

Ease of assembly and maintenance required

Connecting the console is much simpler on the GX 4.6 Pro than it was on the GX 2.7

When we compared the GX 4.6 Pro to the entry level GX 2.7, it became clear that the design features and workout options weren’t the only things to get upgraded.

Although you’re not getting the same advanced SNAP assembly system as on their Elite elliptical trainers, the process has certainly become much simpler. Once you have the base stabilizers attached there’s also very little lifting required.

The pedal crank, flywheel, and resistance system are all pre-assembled, and completely enclosed in the base frame casing. This wasn’t the case with the GX 2.7, where you had to slide the console upright down inside the base and bolt it to a plate inside the frame.

This makes connecting the console cable much easier, which is also helped by the bracket that holds the console already being attached to the upright that supports it.

As with all NordicTrack fitness equipment we’ve reviewed, the user manual does an excellent job of explaining the steps required, with clear diagrams and written instructions with references to each part.

Overall the setup shouldn’t take much more than 45 minutes, although you might need to allow time for connecting to a wireless network if you plan on using iFit.

Although the instructions are clear, NordicTrack do offer a professional home assembly service for certain equipment in certain regions. To find out if your location and the GX 4.6 Pro are covered by this service, it’s best to check on NordicTrack’s website.

Transport options
The footprint is much smaller than an elliptical or incline trainer, but if you’re short on space you still might want to move the bike to a different location between workouts.

Unfortunately the GX 2.7 is the only upright bike from NordicTrack to offer a carry handle, but you still have the front-mounted transport wheels to make moving the bike easier if needed.

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Parts: 3 years
  • Labor: 1 year
NordicTrack Exercise Bike Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

5 / 5

After reviewing each of the upright bikes in the GX collection, it's clear that the NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro offers the widest range of features that can benefit your workouts.

This includes having the most onboard workout programs and resistance levels, the highest weight capacity, and the widest range of entertainment options, from iPod connectivity to browsing the internet.

These are features that simply aren't available with upright bikes from other fitness companies, including the Sole Fitness B94, and Diamondback Fitness 910UB (although this does advertise iPod, iPhone, and iPad compatibility).

Is it worth paying the extra money to upgrade from the GX 4.4 Pro? That really depends on how much you value the web browsing and colour display.

By choosing the GX 4.6 Pro you're only getting a couple of extra onboard workouts and resistance levels, and you still have the tablet holder at the top of the console. Both bikes are iFit enabled, but of course you're getting a more immersive and unique experience with the full color Street View.

Overall it's clear that the GX 4.6 Pro has one of the highest specifications of any home exercise bike, and offers the widest range of workout programs. You can even track your progress and nutrition via iFit. When you combine this with an industry-leading warranty, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this bike for all levels of fitness.

Product dimensions: 60" (L) x 24.8" (W) x 41.25" (H) Weight capacity: 325 lbs

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