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Back in November, Elysha and I purchased a Nordictrack stationary bike, similar to a Peleton but with several additional features that made it a much more appealing option.

The bike, for example, can rise and descend to mimic the terrain on the screen.

It has a fan to cool you as you ride.

It has access to Google maps, which allows you to ride anywhere in the world, and since Google Maps provides elevation information, the bike will adjust resistance and elevation to match the terrain.

We like the bike a lot. While I’d much prefer to be riding outdoors, it’s just too cold to do so, and I returning to the gym is not an option at this time. So it’s great to be able to ride a bike whenever I want and get a good workout.

But one feature that I didn’t realize the bike lacked was a power switch. In order to switch off the machine (and thereby turn off the screen), we need to unplug the machine from the wall each time. I assumed that this was a temporary problem and an update to the firmware would make a power button available onscreen.

I wrote to Nordictrack via their iFit support line about this issue, which began a string of emails that I can only describe as absurd and ridiculous.

Here is Nordictrack’s initial response to my request for a date when a power switch would be added to the firmware.

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Hello,

Thanks for contacting iFIT support! There is not a power switch for your unit please unplug it from the wall to turn it off. Let me know if you have additional questions.
Thanks!

Debby
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Debby,

That’s kind of ridiculous. Don’t you think? Every time I want to turn off the machine, I need to unplug it? Is there an update in the works to correct this problem? There must be. Right?

Matt
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Hello,

There is not an update to correct the issue. Your unit does not have a power switch. It will need to be unplugged. We do this to protect the machine from any power surges. 
Thanks!

Debby
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Hello Debby,

Are you really telling me that this machine has no power switch and the company has no intention of making a change to the firmware?
And the reason for this is to protect from power surges?
I’m sure you understand that I have dozens of electronic devices in my home currently plugged into an outlet, including the laptop upon which I write this email. Is it the opinion of your engineers that I should also unplug these devices, too, in the event of a power surge? What about my refrigerator? What am I to do to protect this expensive device against possible power surges and still keep my milk from spoiling?
As far as I can tell, every single electronic device that I own and have ever owned in my entire life, with the exception of a toaster, has a power switch. Is this “power surge threat” really what the company has decided to go with to explain the lack of a power switch? And what about the previous generation of the bike, which has a power switch, as do your treadmills and other pieces of equipment? Is the company not concerned about these machines, too?
Please explain. I wait anxiously for your reply.
Warmly,
Matt
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Then something funny happened.
It looks like Debby sent me a form email which contained a reference to the power switch (that no longer exists) then quickly replied again with a different email.
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Debby’s first reply:
Yes.  Never leave your equipment unattended while it is running. Always remove the key (if applicable), press the power switch into the off position (see owner’s manual for location), and unplug the power cord when the equipment is not in use. This will help to protect your equipment from premature electronic issues. Leaving the product plugged in still supplies a very low, but significant, amount of power to the electronic components. Refer to the important precautions page(s) in the owner’s manual.
Debby’s second reply:
Hello,
It was a manufacturer decision to remove the power switch and I do not have documentation as to the stated reason. The power surge and premature wearing of the electrical components is what I am told. It is not something that can not be updated by software as there is not a physical switch. If you would like to contact the company directly you can do so here is the number. ICON Health and fitness (435)750-5000

Debby
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Debby,

I appreciate you providing me with your source material, but this is odd, don’t you think? You’re the customer service representative. You don’t have the information I require, but rather than seeking it out for me, you’ve told me to go find it myself. You can see how this might be a little infuriating. Right? Sort of akin to one of my students asking me what the Third Amendment to the Constitution says, and my answer being, “Internet! Go online! Or ask your damn parents!”

You can see how frustrating this might be for a student.

Also, it’s the Amendment about quartering troops in the home. It’s thankfully never an issue in our country, so I wouldn’t blame the kids for not knowing.

So that’s it? A phone number and a gentle shove into the phonetic abyss?

This is how you end our relationship?

Warmly,
Matt
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I have yet to receive a response.

For the record, my owner’s manual references a power switch, as does the online owner’s manual.
I like my bike quite a bit, but this power switch nonsense is ridiculous.
I plan to start this process anew next week with different customer service representative, mostly because it’s fun to watch people attempt to defend ridiculous positions with a straight face.