Monday, 20 May 2024

Exercise Bikes

NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro Upright Bike Review

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The NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro features 28 onboard workouts and 22 resistance levels, making it one of the top models in their upright bike collection.

So which features have been upgraded since the entry level GX 2.7, and what are you missing out on by choosing this bike over the top-of-the-line GX 4.6 Pro?

In this review we’ll be making some important comparisons between the GX 4.4 Pro and other stationary exercise bikes from NordicTrack, Diamondback Fitness, and Nautilus. The results can then be used to help you decide which is the best indoor exercise bike for your own home workouts.

Design features

NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro Upright Bike

The basic frame design of the GX 4.4 Pro is very similar to that of the GX 4.2, with vertical and horizontal seat settings and a water bottle holder to keep you hydrated and improve endurance.

But there are some important differences, one of which being the design of the handles, where you lose the added forearm support and return to a design that’s similar to the GX 2.7.

However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it promotes a more upright posture that reduces the stress placed on your lower back, and aids with strengthening your core muscles.

Although the forearm support was a nice option to have on the GX 4.2 Pro, we don’t feel it improved the overall quality of your workouts, and wasn’t particularly efficient during high intensity workouts.

The inertia-enhanced flywheel has also been upgraded from 17 lbs to 19 lbs, which combines with NordicTrack’s Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR™) braking to create a smoother and quieter cycling motion.

There are 22 digital resistance levels to choose from, which is only two less than their top-of-the-line GX 4.6 Pro bike, and caters for a variety of personal fitness levels.

In terms of comfort, the GX 4.4 Pro uses a similar seat to other upright bikes in the collection, which is oversized and well padded with extra cushioning. It’s also vinyl covered to improve durability.

One final feature we wanted to mention was the pedals, which are extra-wide and ergonomically designed for improved comfort and stability. The pedal straps are easily adjustable, which helps hold your feet securely in position.

NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro Upright Bike

NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro – Features Summary

  • 5-inch backlit iFit display.
  • iPod compatible sound system.
  • iFit enabled.
  • Integrated tablet holder.
  • 19 lb. effective inertia-enhanced flywheel.
  • 22 Digital resistance levels
  • 28 Onboard workout apps
  • Bluetooth compatible heart rate monitoring

Console and entertainment features

Creating an intuitive console interface that’s easy to understand and quick to use is something that NordicTrack specialize in.

That’s why we’re happy to see a return to the OneTouch™ resistance controls that disappeared in the upgrade from the GX 2.7 to the GX 4.2 Pro. This means less time spent at the console and more time focussing on your workout.

You also have the quick-select buttons for accessing the different categories of onboard workout. Earlier upright bikes in the collection offered only Calorie and Performance workouts, but you now have the new Performance category to choose from.

Although there aren’t any heart rate controlled programs, you can still monitor your pulse using the CardioGrip heart rate touch sensors built into the handles.

If you don’t want to maintain the same grip position but still want to stay within a heart rate range, the console has an inbuilt receiver that picks up the signal from Bluetooth telemetry chest straps.

By wearing a Bluetooth chest strap you can ensure an accurate reading on the screen, which helps with achieving goals like weight loss, where a specific heart rate range can speed up your progress.

But the 5″ backlit screen displays more than just your pulse, with workout stats including:

  • Calories burned
  • Distance
  • Speed
  • Resistance level

  • Time
  • My Trail
  • Workout intensity
  • Calories burned per hour

My Trail represents a 1/4 mile track, which is shown in the display matrix section of the screen. This makes it easier to monitor your progress around each lap, and keep track of how many you’ve already completed.

Entertainment options
The NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro is the first upright bike in their GX collection to position a tablet shelf on top of the console. Earlier models have always relied on a shelf on the console itself, which often obscured buttons or workout feedback.

Having the tablet shelf at the top of the console also puts your tablet screen closer to eye level, and helps to display TV shows, sports, or movies that can make the overall workout experience more enjoyable.

If you don’t have a tablet, you can still take advantage of the iPod/MP3 compatibility and integrated speaker system for listening to your favorite music while you cycle.

Buttons to control the volume are included on the console, alongside the manual controls for adjusting the power of the cooling fan.

As with the earlier GX 4.2 Pro, the speed of the cooling fan can be set manually using these buttons, or set to ‘Auto’ mode, where the speed will adjust automatically based on your cycling pace.

Workout programs

In our review of NordicTrack’s GX 4.2 Pro bike, we noticed a big increase in the number of onboard workouts compared to the entry level GX 2.7.

Unfortunately there’s no increase between the GX 4.2 Pro and GX 4.4 Pro, with both bikes offering 28 preset profiles to choose from.

Because the bike is iFit enabled you can always select a program from their online library, but this is only an option if you sign up for a subscription and pay the monthly membership fee.

If you’re looking for more onboard workouts, the top-of-the-line GX 4.6 Pro (upgrade of the bike we’re reviewing here) has 32 programs as standard.

  • Onboard workouts (28)These have been split into three main categories: Calorie burning (10), Intensity (9), and Performance(9). Each of the onboard workout apps was created by a certified personal trainer, and follows a preset profile of speed and resistance settings.It’s the variation between these workout profiles that makes them so well suited to the different categories. Calorie burning workouts will involve higher resistance settings, while Performance programs are better for improving your endurance.

    The quick-select icons on the console and touch screen also make it quick and easy to find the program you want to follow.

  • ‘Set-A-Goal’ workouts (3)Setting yourself measurable goals is an extremely powerful way of achieving your target level of fitness.That’s why NordicTrack give you the option to set a goal for the distance cycled, number of calories burned, or workout duration, giving you a clear indication of your progress from week to week.
  • iFit workouts – As one of NordicTrack’s iFit enabledexercise bikes, the GX 4.4 Pro allows you to connect to your profile via a wireless network, then download personalized workouts straight to the console.This is in addition to the 28 onboard workouts, and helps to keep your fitness routine feeling fresh and interesting.

    The only downside is that you don’t experience the full iFit experience due to the console screen being backlit instead of full color. This means no following your virtual route with Google Maps and StreetView.

  • ManualIf you simply want to start cycling and adapt your workout to your performance, this is the best option for you.Although the onboard workouts are great for giving you a workout routine that’s ready to follow, they don’t offer they aren’t easy to customize.

    You can change the resistance for a segment of the workout, but as soon as you move onto the next, the resistance and target rpm resort back to the program’s defaults. With Manual, you can adjust the resistance and your cycle speed at any time.

Ease of assembly / maintenance required

Assembly instructions are clearly explained in the GX 4.4 Pro user manual

NordicTrack have come a long way with simplifying their assembly process, with SNAP assembly now available on many of their modern ellipticals.

For their recumbent and upright bikes, most of the equipment now arrives pre-assembled, including the GX 4.4 Pro.

But although the base frame, pedal crank system, and SMR braking system arrive already setup, there’s still quite a few steps to follow before you’re ready to enjoy your first workout.

To make things easier, the instructions in the user manual are very easy to follow, and well explained through a series of exploded drawings and written explanations.

There’s a bit more work involved in assembling the seat and console unit, but once you have the base stabilizers attached there’s no heavy lifting required.

With all the parts in place, you’ll want to take a few minutes to get the seat at an optimal position and get used to using the console buttons. But the entire process shouldn’t take much more than 45 to 60 minutes, after which you can move the bike to wherever you want your workouts.

Transport options
Upright bikes traditionally have a smaller footprint than most spinning or recumbent bikes, and are considerably lighter than treadmills or elliptical trainers.

When you combine the lightweight, compact frame with front-mounted transport wheels, the NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro is an exercise bike that’s easy to move around. This is ideal for if you’re short on space and want to store the bike in a different location when you’re not cycling.

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Parts: 2 years
  • Labor: 1 year
NordicTrack Exercise Bike Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

After carefully reviewing and comparing each of its features, the NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro has proven itself to be one of the best upright bikes for its price class, far exceeding Nautilus and Sole Fitness bikes in terms of workout variation and performance tracking.

The return of the OneTouch resistance controls and splitting the onboard workouts into more specific categories lets you focus more on your cycling and spend less time at the console.

Is it a better option than the GX 4.6 Pro? There's no denying the two bikes are very similar in terms of physical features, such as seat design, console layout, and flywheel weight. But for entertainment options, the GX 4.4 Pro does lag behind.

You're missing the larger, web-enabled color screen, and the GX 4.6 Pro offers more onboard workouts (32) as well as more resistance levels (24).

If your budget doesn't stretch beyond the GX 4.4 Pro then these aren't going to have a huge impact on the quality of your workouts. They should be considered more 'nice-to-have' features that improve how enjoyable your indoor cycling is.

Product dimensions: 60" (L) x 24.8" (W) x 41.25" (H) Weight capacity: 300 lbs

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