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The NordicTrack GX 5.0 Recumbent Bike is an upgrade over the earlier GX 4.5 model, with a larger console screen, more workout programs, and integrated cooling fan.
But how does it compare to exercise bikes like the NordicTrack VR Pro? Does the GX 5.0 really represent the best value for money?
In our review, we’ll take a closer look at the design, console, warranty, workout programs, and entertainment options. This should help you decide if the GX 5.0 is the best recumbent exercise bike for your own home fitness routine.
Although you no longer have the OneTouch controls to navigate them, the NordicTrack GX 5.0 now has 24 levels of resistance – an increase from the 22 levels on the GX 4.5 model.
This affects how much force is applied to the 18 lb flywheel, which is inertia-enhanced for a quieter cycling experience and a smoother transition between resistance levels.
To ensure the GX 5.0 is suitable for family environments and a range of user heights, you also have a range of EasyGlide™ seat settings, where you can quickly adjust the distance between seat and pedals.
The oversized, cushioned seat forms part of a Step Thru™ frame design, making it much easier to get on and off the bike compared to recumbent cycles like the Schwinn A20. The seat itself is ergonomically molded to provide better lumbar support in the reclined position.
As with the earlier GX 4.5 recumbent, you do have some storage space available, but it’s really only enough to store a water bottle. This is compared to the dual storage tray that wraps around the back of the seat on the NordicTrack VR Pro.
To improve the durability of the resistance and flywheel system, the actual cycling motion is controlled by a 3-piece crank system. This is something that’s used across the full range of NordicTrack recumbent bikes, but does reduce the likelihood of having to take advantage of the 2 year parts warranty or 1 year labor warranty.
One final feature worth mentioning is the set of levelling feet attached to the rear base stabilizer.
We also saw this on the GX 4.5, but using a slightly different system to the GX 5.0. With this model you simply need to rotate the feet to counteract any slight rocking movement and create a stable platform for your cycling workouts.
With the NordicTrack GX 5.0 you’re getting a slightly more compact display console compared to the GX 4.5 model, but with a larger screen.
But although you now have a 5″ backlit LED for a wider viewing angle, you’re actually losing the 1 Step resistance buttons that made switching between the different levels so easy.
In fact, the GX 5.0 recumbent bike is one of the only pieces of NordicTrack fitness equipment not to give you this option.
Even on the entry level treadmill in their ‘C’ series, despite the lower belt speed and shallower running deck incline, you still had OneTouch controls for changing their settings.
You can of course use the plus and minus buttons to change the resistance level instead, but this means more time spent at the console and less time focussing on your workout.
But the GX 5.0 does excel in other areas, with the return of the CoolAire workout fan, and a handle/transport wheel combination that isn’t available on either the GX 4.0 or VR Pro recumbent bikes.
Heart rate monitoring and entertainment features
Unfortunately we’re still missing a tablet shelf at the top of the console, which is one of the features that sets the ProForm 440 ES ahead in our opinion.
However, you can still connect your iPod or MP3 player via the port on the console to listen to your favourite music through the Intermix Acoustics 2.0 sound system if you want to.
In terms of heart rate monitoring, the NordicTrack GX 5.0 supports both touch and telemetry, with touch being via the CardioGrip sensors in the handles, and telemetry via a Polar wireless chest strap (included).
Your heart rate is just one item of workout feedback that’s displayed on the screen, featuring alongside workout duration, resistance level, number of calories burned, and ‘My Trail’ amongst others.
‘My Trail’ shows a track that represents a quarter mile, with a visual representation of your progress around the current lap shown in the display matrix, together with the total number of laps completed.
Workout program selection
As an upgrade to the GX 4.5, you now have 30 onboard workouts to choose from instead of 24, each designed by a certified personal trainer. This means 15 are targeted towards calorie burning, and the other 15 are more performance and endurance based.
But as well as the onboard workouts you also have access to a variety of ‘Set-A-Goal’ programs, and even personalized iFit workouts (providing you have the module and an iFit subscription).
Ease of assembly / maintenance required
The assembly process for the NordicTrack GX 5.0 closely resembles that of the GX 4.5, whereby the base frame, resistance system, and flywheel housing arrive pre-assembled as a single unit.
Due to the compact footprint and relatively lightweight design, there’s very little lifting required. Once you have the base stabilizers attached to the frame, you can construct the console upright and seat quite quickly.
Unfortunately this isn’t quite as straight forward as some of NordicTrack’s ellipticals and treadmills that use their SNAP assembly system. But at a fraction of the weight, you shouldn’t need to worry about paying extra for professional in-home assembly.
However, this is something that NordicTrack offer on a selection of their fitness equipment, but only in certain regions. If you would like to find out more about whether your area is eligible for the GX 5.0 home assembly, it’s worth visiting their website directly.
Irrespective of how much you’re willing to spend on new fitness equipment, you want to make sure it lasts for as long as possible, to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
In some cases the manufacturer will provide you with a complicated maintenance schedule, with weekly, monthly, or yearly checks, and even steps to perform after every use. In others, you might need to buy specialist cleaning materials, such as the chlorine water treatment tablets for indoor water resistance rowing machines.
Fortunately the maintenance routine for NordicTrack exercise bikes is very straightforward. There’s no need for complicated cleaning solutions, and being a recumbent exercise bike means you don’t have the same checks as larger equipment, such as treadmills. e.g. Belt tightening, belt centering, incline calibration, belt lubricating, etc.
All that’s required is to clean the equipment down after each use with a damp cloth and mild soap, being careful to avoid the console.
The NordicTrack GX 5.0 is also much easier to move around than their GX 4.5 or VR Pro recumbent bikes. That’s because you have a carry handle attached to the back, which can be used to life the bike onto its transport wheels and be rolled to wherever it’s needed.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Parts: 2 years
- Labor: 1 year
With the increased number of onboard workouts and resistance levels, there's no doubt that the NordicTrack GX 5.0 is an upgrade over the earlier GX 4.5 recumbent. But for us, the loss of the quick-select resistance buttons is kind of a big deal.
One of the main benefits of a recumbent bike is its reclined position, which helps provide added lumbar support and reduce the impact on your knee and ankle joints compared to upright designs.
Unfortunately, by removing the OneTouch resistance buttons and not having the controls integrated into the handles (VR Pro), this means you're spending more time reaching forward to the console.
If you like the look of the GX 5.0 but are looking for something with a few more entertainment options, then it might be worth taking a look at the Commercial VR 25 Elite.
This includes a web-enabled, full color touch screen display with a wider viewing angle, similar to the one found on their top-of-the-line Commercial treadmills.
But if you're on a slightly tighter budget and still want the option of tracking your workouts and nutrition online, the GX 5.0 offers some excellent workout variation and iFit compatibility. As a compromise between the two, we would recommend the Commercial VR 23 Elite.
It's a little more affordable than the 25 Elite, and features the OneTouch resistance controls that are missing from the GX 5.0, as well as a wider selection of onboard workouts.
Product dimensions: 58.5" (L) x 27" (W) x 55" (H)
Product weight: 150 lbs
Weight capacity: 350 lbs
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