If you would’ve told me in 2020 that I wouldn’t take an in-person workout class for the next 6 months to a year, I would’ve totally laughed at you! But here we are, many moons removed from the last workout class I took, and in-home workouts have become the norm in the Haines household. I was fortunate to snap up an indoor spin bike at the start of quarantine, and am here to finally share everything you need to know in this Schwinn IC4 spin bike review.
Let me preface this entire post by noting that I previously didn’t enjoy working out at home. I always thought I needed the structure and the encouragement of meeting in-person, at a workout studio, to actually get in a solid workout. Plus, the environment has always been important to me: surrounded by other people wanting to get in a workout and that loud music, that pumps you up. Of course, everything spun out of our control and life changed as we knew it. You can read about how I discovered my love for spin classes in this previous post.
With all the unknowns, plus the anxiety of it all, I decided to start looking into an in-home spin bike. I cancelled my ClassPass membership and stopped spending money on SoulCycle class packages, so I figured if I used my bike at least twice a week, it would soon pay for itself.
But where to start? I researched like crazy. Obviously, the household name Peloton was a contender, but I began reading about other options that saved money, yet still offered a great workout option. Ultimately, after a good two weeks of researching, reading reviews, and searching for in-stock bikes, I lucked out and found a Schwinn IC4 bike in stock at a Dick’s Sporting Goods about 35 minutes south of Houston and haven’t looked back.
My Schwinn IC4 Spin Bike Review
Of course I wanted a Peloton bike, but I quickly realized that it was just not a feasible option budget-wise. So with that brand scratched off my list, I simply typed into Google “best at-home spin bikes”. What returned was a gigantic list of bikes, by a variety of brands including Sunny, Bowflex, Keiser and Schwinn.
All the names, all the different models… truly overwhelming. So I turned to Facebook and was directed to a few different groups including this group for Schwinn and Bowflex riders. With over 9K members, there are plethora of threads to comb through, all with a wealth of knowledge. Like me, there were tons of other loyal spin riders looking for at-home bike options. And so began my serious search for an in-home spin bike.
Schwinn ic4 vs. other brands
As I mentioned above, there are a handful of household names that make in-home spin bikes, including well-known workout equipment brands like Bowflex, and lesser-known names like Sunny.
I ultimately narrowed down my search, based on availability, performance and price.
Search spin bikes on Amazon, and Sunny bikes are at the top of the queries. From my research I ultimately decided Sunny bikes are a great option for first-time riders or those who aren’t as committed to spin for their workout routine. As such, Sunny bikes are on the cheaper end of the in-home spin bike options. However, the flywheel and brake design are said to not be as smooth, which as a regular spinner, I knew I would notice.
To note: magnetic resistance means the bike will sound smooth, and the magnetic flywheel will simulate a true, in-studio bike experience. The silent magnetic resistance will need little to no maintenance, whereas less-expensive, non magnetic flywheel bikes use friction pads that might need to be replaced more often, and the ride isn’t as quiet.
Mixed in with all the in-home spin bike offerings, are a few other brands, and then enter Schwinn and Bowflex bike options. Through my research, I learned Schwinn and Bowflex are the same brand (parent brand is Nautilus), just held under their respective brand names. Schwinn carries a few different spin bike models, but the inclusion of Bluetooth was important to me, meaning I honed in on the Schwinn IC4 and the Bowflex C6 models.
The IC4 and the C6 really aren’t that different, except for price. Which is why I ultimately chose the IC4. It’s the same bike, but at a cheaper price.
As previously mentioned, I wasn’t at a place financially to afford a Peloton. The basic Peloton bike is $2,245 before tax. That price does not include access to the Peloton app, which comes at an additional cost.
Competitor Echelon, another at-home bike option with a screen attached and Echelon-specific classes, is a lesser-priced option to the Peloton, but still starts at $999. And a variety of reviewers mention that the cheaper price ultimately isn’t that far away from the Peloton price, when other fees are added. Plus you’re stuck with a system that only connects to Echelon or Peloton-branded classes.
Knowing that the Schwinn IC4 and the Bowflex C6 are essentially the same bike, it was a no brainer to go with the IC4. The IC4 is $899 (on some sites, you’ll find it for $799) and the C6 is $999, before tax respectively.
What I love about the schwinn ic4
I’m used to riding studio quality spin bikes, so after reading through all the reviews, I was pretty confident the IC4 would offer a similar experience.
I also didn’t want to be attached to a brand-specific bike (like Peloton or Echelon), because with the ever changing environment, it seems more and more options are becoming available for streamed spin classes. My beloved SoulCycle just announced they’ll be streaming classes with their top instructors (although at $20 a pop!).
The IC4 was relatively simple to put together and setup, thanks hubby! With the small wheels attached to the front, it’s also easy to move, too. Right now the bike is setup in a nook of our bedroom and I love that I can simply hop on whenever I want, and fit in a ride.
I personally use an iPad to stream classes, but you could also easily use a laptop or a nearby TV with streaming capabilities. The IC4 has a built-in media rack to hold your tablet, too. I’ve received some feedback from Android users that they have issues with compatibility and usage when pairing with the Peloton app for a phone or a tablet. Sharing this info as a heads up!
Unlike most in-studio bikes, the IC4 features an LCD display that tracks your distance, heart rate, time and RPMs. This is a huge plus for me. I love knowing my distance and regularly keep track of my RPMs during my spin workouts. The IC4 also comes with a pair of 3lb weights and a bluetooth heart rate monitor.
I personally use SPD clip-in shoes, but my husband does not. What’s nice about the IC4 is the dual pedals. One side is SPD compatible, but when you flip the pedals over, the toe cages are available for those who don’t own spin shoes.
As for streaming spin classes, it’s really simple! I was able to jump in on the 90-day free Peloton trial in 2020. Since then, I’ve been hooked on the platform. While they’re known for their spin classes, there’s truly something for everyone. I now stream spin, cardio, yoga and stretch classes regularly! The app is $12.99 a month. Truly a steal in my opinion when you can stream unlimited, from anywhere. I’ve also tried out a few local spin studio classes, too.
My only complaint…
The IC4 has been a great option for my workout needs, and I will definitely continue to use it, even when I feel comfortable going back to in-person workout classes. When I previously dreaded working out at home, and lacked motivation, now I love that the bike is right there and ready to use whenever I want.
I truly only have one complaint about the bike. And honestly, my complaint may not be one that another owner might have. But, I will say, coming from in-studio, high-end bikes at SoulCycle and other local studios, the IC4 resistance is heavy. Heavier than I’ve ever been used to. At a zero resistance, my bike’s resistance instead feels like it’s at 3-4 turns. And heavier with each turn.
**Updated on March 1,2021 to add: Now that I’ve used my IC4 regularly for over eight months, the baseline resistance has reduced a tad. It seems that with continued use, the resistance doesn’t seem as heavy. I know that’s not the answer everyone is looking for, but it’s something I’ve noticed. I have not chosen to recalibrate the bike, as I was worried it might make it worse.
So while this isn’t a dealbreaker, it’s something that’s taken getting used to. I already knew when purchasing this bike, and using it with the Peloton app, that the resistance levels would be different. So now, I really just go by feel, based off instructor cues (such as climbs, sprints on a flat road, etc.), and with that the resistance difference hasn’t been all that troublesome.
I’ve been reading about some different potential fixes to this resistance issue, so if I figure something out, I’ll report back!
Lastly, because the LCD screen requires electricity, the bike does need to be plugged into a wall. I’ll say the cord isn’t really that long, but it’s nothing an extension cord can’t fix!
With continued use, I realized out of the saddle I was hitting my knees every so often on the cupholders. I’ve since removed them and purchased a universal cup holder that attaches to the handlebars of my bike. A simple fix!
I’m really happy with the IC4. It’s been such a welcome respite during this time of uncertainty. I’ve found having an escape and a means to build up a sweat at home, has really helped with my anxiety, too.
I connected my Apple watch to the bike’s bluetooth and have my heart rate monitoring capabilities setup. I now also connect my bike to the Peloton app cadence monitor. I can see both my heart rate and cadence on the top left side of my streaming screen. It definitely makes it easier to follow along with the class and stick with the instructor cues. The cadence reads on my iphone screen so I can reference it. If you stream on your iPad or TV, you can attach this cadence monitor to your bike for an accurate number reading.
My favorite classes on the Peloton app are taught by Cody! If you haven’t taken his Brittney Spears ride, do yourself a favor and take it asap. I also love Olivia’s classes, they’re super tough.
As always if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email! I’ll link some in-stock IC4 bikes, along with other equipment and accessories below.