Bluetooth connectivity to ride with different apps
Quiet flywheel and pedals
Comes with weights and heart-rate monitor
Narrow and hard seat
Occasional streaming issues
What is the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
The Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike, our favorite "basic" exercise bike, is a Bluetooth-enabled stationary bike that works with a variety of fitness apps and platforms like Peloton, Aaptiv, Apple Fitness, Zwift, and more. Unlike Peloton and Echelon Connect bikes, there’s no video screen built into the Schwinn IC4—just a small LCD display that shows your ride time, distance, RPMs, and heart rate, plus a USB charging port. To stream your workouts, a tablet or smart TV is the way to go. You can also use your smartphone, but we think a bigger screen makes for a more enjoyable experience.
Like the Peloton bike, there’s an adjustable knob between the seat and the handlebars that controls the resistance, which ranges from levels 1 to 100. The Schwinn IC4 tracks your cadence, too. There's also a built in device holder that securely holds a smartphone or tablet in place while you follow along with your on-screen workout. Additionally, the bike also comes with a pair of three-pound dumbbells and a wearable Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor.
The handlebars and seat are adjustable for riders of heights 4 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 6 inches, and it has a weight limit of 330 pounds. The pedals come with cages, or you can clip-in with SPD-cleat cycle shoes like Tiems. (This is different from both the Peloton and SoulCycle At-Home bike, both of which use LOOK Delta cleats.)
It also has a better warranty than most bikes we tested—10 years on the frame, three years on the parts, and one year on labor. (Peloton’s warranty, by comparison, only covers five years for the frame and one year for the parts.) With the IC4, you can add an additional five years to the parts and labor warranty with the Schwinn Protection Plan for an extra $109.
One other thing to keep in mind: If you’re also considering the Bowflex C6, nearly everything in this review applies to that bike, too. Schwinn and Bowflex are owned by the same parent company, Nautilus, so their spin bikes offer pretty much exactly the same thing, save for some cosmetic differences and the price—for some reason, the Bowflex C6 is $100 more than the Schwinn IC4. Unless the Bowflex branding is worth $100 more to you, we recommend going with the IC4.
How much is the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
The Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike retails for $899, which can be paid for with Schwinn’s interest-free financing plan of $49.90 a month for 18 months. I purchased mine directly from Schwinn in May 2020 when the MSRP was $799. While I’m glad I ordered my bike before the pandemic-driven price increase, I’d gladly fork over $100 more for it if I was looking for an exercise bike today.
Something that adds value to the bike, at least for me, is that its price also includes the three-pound dumbbells and heart rate monitor— two things you have to pay extra for when you buy a Peloton. Plus, shipping is free for the 121-pound box when you order directly from the brand. Schwinn offers in-home assembly for an additional $129, though we don’t think you need to pay extra for that (more on this in a bit).
There are some additional costs to keep in mind, like spin shoes, a tablet if you don’t already own one, and the price of the fitness app you choose to use with the IC4. For example, I pay a monthly subscription fee of $12.99 to use the Peloton app for workouts on my Schwinn IC4 bike. It’s a fairly low price to pay, considering that Peloton bike users fork over $40 a month for access to the same content. The one notable difference is that app users don’t have access to or show up on the Peloton leaderboard, which shows riders how they rank against others in the class. This isn’t a make or break for me, but it may be for some riders.
All told, your first-year total cost if you pay for the bike in full and plan on using it with the Peloton app, is $1,054.88 ($899 for the bike plus $155.80 for the Peloton app—you can subtract a month or two of app payments if you’ve never used Peloton before, as it always offers a free trial to new users). If you don’t already have a tablet and cycling shoes, you may have to factor those costs in as well.
What’s it like to set up the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
Assembling the Schwinn IC4 is relatively straightforward, but the process is not without its challenges. The bike comes mostly prefabricated, with the heavy flywheel and frame already built in the box. Users will have to secure a base at each end—make sure the one with the wheels on it is at the front of your bike; it makes it easier to move later on—and the bike seat, handlebars, tablet stand, dumbbell holders and computer all lock or screw in without much fuss.
Attaching the pedals was a bit more challenging, however—and not just because they're reverse-threaded on one side. While it's important to note that only the left pedal will screw in toward your left side as you face the machine (in other words, it's not righty-tighty), the threads on the bike I purchased were also not drilled straight, leaving the pedal crooked when attached correctly.
Overall, I had a pleasant experience with Schwinn’s customer service department and they ultimately fixed the problem by sending a replacement bike. The necessary pedal arm was on backorder at the time, and my machine also came with a defective I/O cord, which prevented the computer from reading RPMs. (I learned this after first replacing the speed sensor, which required a nearly full disassembly of the bike.)
In any case, I assembled the replacement bike as described, and I don't think this particular job is worth paying an additional $129 for the professional setup, provided the machine arrives in working order.
What’s it like to work out on the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
Working out on the Schwinn IC4 bike is one of my favorite things to do early in the morning or after my kids go to bed at night. Using a lighting to HDMI adapter and HDMI cable, I connect my iPhone XS, which streams the Peloton app, to the 32-inch smart TV I have hanging on the wall near my bike. (It’s easy to pair the Schwinn IC4 with the Peloton app.)
Unless I’m taking a live class, I prefer to preload my Peloton workouts before riding and recommend you do the same. I experience occasional buffering issues with the Peloton iOS app (and trust me, you don’t want to run into that during the middle of a heavy climb) but preloading classes before starting fixed this issue for me.
Although a heart rate monitor is included with the Schwinn IC4, I opt to use my Apple Watch to track my heart rate and calories during workouts on the bike, as well as log my workout in Apple’s Activity app. The Bluetooth-enabled bike also pairs with the Peloton app, so you can track your cadence on-screen as you ride.
Overall, the bike provides a smooth ride and, even when I’m rocking from side to side, remains sturdily in place. The U-shaped handlebars offer a variety of ways for me to place my hands when riding and I found it easy to adjust the bike to my 5-foot-3-inch frame. One thing to take note of if you’re using the bike as a Peloton dupe, though, is that although both the Peloton and Schwinn bikes use 100 units of resistance, the intensity and increments of the levels aren’t equivalent—the resistance is heavier on the IC4 than the Peloton, so you have to modify what the instructor calls out. You can buy a conversion decal on Etsy to stick on your bike (or just write numbers down on a sticky note). With my current setup, I'm only able to view my heart rate and cadence on-screen during rides, not my output like Peloton bike users are able to see. Some Schwinn IC4 riders use the Kinetic app to track their output levels during rides, though I have not tested that myself.
What are the downsides of the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
As much as there is to love about the Schwinn IC4, there are a couple of things to be aware of. Let’s talk about the bike seat. Like the Peloton and most other connected bikes, the IC4 is a spin-style bike, which means it isn't designed for comfort—but its bike seat feels particularly firm to me. At first, I chalked my perception of the seat’s lack of plushness up to the fact that I was still adjusting to my new bike. More than six months later, the seat hasn’t gotten any softer but I’ve gotten used to it. Some people may want to ride with a seat cushion may help. I find it most uncomfortable when riding for 45 minutes or longer, or during classes when I’m not out of the saddle.
Additionally, the bike itself won’t log your stats like Peloton bikes, which is why I like to track my workouts using Apple’s Activity app. I can also view stats about my Peloton workouts in the Peloton app, but there’s no compatible Schwinn app that keeps tabs on your workouts. So, if you want to track your overall data, you'll have to take a photo with your phone or write it down from the display at the end of your workout.
Should you buy a Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike?
The Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike is a versatile option for any at-home fitness enthusiast who wants access to a variety of workout apps without being locked into a single exercise platform—and it’s a great buy for anyone looking for a more affordable alternative to the Peloton Bike. While Peloton bike owners are locked into a monthly $40 subscription fee, Peloton app users like myself can enjoy quite the savings at just $12.99 a month. It’s not the same immersive experience, but with the right setup (including a tablet or small smart TV for streaming), you’ll still come out spending less than you would for a Peloton—and get the same sweaty, calorie-burning workouts.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@rachel_murphy
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America.
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