Schwinn IC4 Review
Cons: More expensive, speed and distance on display seems inaccurate, doesn't work perfectly with Zwift
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Schwinn is a big player in the home fitness market and the IC4 is the top of the line model in their range of indoor cycling bikes. In addition to its sturdy build, 40 lb weighted flywheel, and 100 levels of magnetic resistance, it is a smart bike with connected features. With more and more people exercising from home and latching onto the interactive at-home studio and virtual cycling trend, we felt this was a compelling model that was worthy of testing. We found the IC4 to provide an excellent workout, a high level of comfort, and functionality with popular apps like Zwift, Peloton, and Explore the World. We also think it's a great value since it retails for significantly less than many of the other connected bikes on the market.
The Schwinn IC4 really impressed us with its excellent exercise quality that is suitable for all fitness levels. This bike is stable and sturdy, with a 40 lb weighted flywheel and 100 micro-adjustable levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance. It can be used as a stand-alone spin bike with manual workouts or connected to popular apps like Peloton and Zwift for a studio or interactive virtual training experience. This versatility gives the IC4 a leg up on the competition in this metric.
The IC4 is built around a beefy steel frame that is impressively stable, even under the hardest of out of the saddle pedaling efforts. The frame supports a belt-driven 40 lb weighted flywheel which has 100 levels of magnetic resistance. With so many levels of resistance, you can micro-adjust it to exactly the level you want during your workout, and there is ample range for riders of all fitness levels. During testing, we rarely turned the resistance above 70, which was plenty challenging for quad busting intervals. The resistance is controlled by an adjustment knob below the handlebar on the frame, and the rider adjusts it manually whether you're doing your own workout or following along to an on-demand studio class.
While the IC4 is a smart bike with connected features, you can use it as a stand-alone bike for manual workouts without the need to connect to a device. In manual mode, you can simply start pedaling and adjust the resistance however you like. You also have the option of setting a time, distance, or calorie workout goal through the bike's console. If manual workouts aren't exciting enough for you, you have the option of connecting your device via Bluetooth and using apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World. These apps all have a monthly fee but are well worth the cost to have access to thousands of live and on-demand studio classes on Peloton or the interactive virtual training world of Zwift.
While we love the versatility that this connected bike provides, it doesn't seamlessly integrate with either Peloton or Zwift. Yes, it does connect to either app easily (we tested with an iPad Pro and iPhone 11) and it works, it's just not perfect. First, we noticed that the speed and distance reading on the bike's own display seemed too high, and this also translated when we used Zwift. We like to think we are fast, but we also know that we don't average 27 mph on an average road ride, nor do we think we should be setting course records on Zwift. This problem is quite common according to forums we found online and is the result of the power reading being an estimation based on cadence and resistance as opposed to an actual power meter reading. Apparently, there is a process to recalibrate the resistance on the IC4 which may help to normalize the power output reading on Zwift, although it seems unlikely that it would make it completely accurate. This is not to say that recreational Zwifters should avoid this bike, but those who seek to compete virtually would be better off looking into more accurate smart trainers. The Peloton app is a bit different since their studio workouts are based on cadence, resistance level, and perceived effort, although we've heard that the Schwinn's levels aren't an exact match of Peloton's. That said, it is up to the user to dictate the resistance level and effort they put in when following along with a Peloton class.
The IC4 comes with a few notable features that help to enhance the workout experience. A set of 3 lb hand weights is included with convenient cradles that hold them below the water bottle holders. This is a great feature for users who like to combine their cycling exercise with an upper-body workout. The dual-function pedals have cages on one side and SPD clips on the other, so you can wear regular or cycling-specific shoes while you ride. The race style seat is performance-oriented and well suited to this bike's serious intentions.
Throughout testing, we found the IC4 to be an impressively comfortable exercise bike. It has loads of handlebar and seat adjustability to dial in the fit for a huge range of rider heights and preferences, as well as an agreeable performance seat and multi-position handlebar.
The IC4 has a maximum rider weight limit of 330 lbs, although Schwinn doesn't specify a recommended user height range. Both the handlebar and the seat are adjustable vertically and horizontally to accommodate a wide range of user heights. The seatpost has 8.5 inches of vertical adjustment, as well as 3 inches of horizontal adjustability. Likewise, the handlebar has 4 inches of vertical height adjustment and around 3 inches of horizontal adjustment. All this adjustability means that you should be able to dial it in for your needs and comfort. Our six-foot-tall tester with a 32-inch inseam was able to fit perfectly on this bike, although he had the seat height in its highest position. Since Schwinn doesn't provide a height range, we measured the distance from the top of the seat to the pedal in its lowest position to find an approximate inseam range. With the seat pushed all the way forward, we measured a range of 29.25 - 37.25-inches in its lowest and highest settings.
The IC4 is made for serious indoor cycling and it comes with a race style seat. The seat is slim, performance-oriented, and perfect for the intense cycling workouts this bike was designed for. We found it to be quite comfortable, with ample padding and a pressure relief cutout. Riders who prefer a wider, more supportive seat will likely find the race seat to be a bit too narrow, and it can easily be swapped out for the seat of your choice. The large, rubber-coated multi-position handlebar also provides a huge range of hand positions to suit your riding style or preference.
The Schwinn IC4 comes with a small LCD display and it syncs to the device of your choice with a Bluetooth connection for use with the Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World apps. Thanks to the LCD display, this bike can be used on its own without an app or connection to your device, a feature that we feel gives it a leg up on some of the connected/smart bike competition. When connected to an app, your tablet or phone (not included) serve as a screen that displays the studio workout or interactive ride.
The LCD display is centered in the handlebar and has a screen that measures 3" L x 2" W. The IC4 must be plugged in to power the display and Bluetooth connection. The dark screen has bright numbers and letters and shows a wealth of information at a glance, including cadence, elapsed time, estimated calories burned, speed, distance, resistance level, and pulse. The display turns on if any button is pushed or the RPM sensor is triggered when the pedals turn. The screen automatically begins to display and record your workout information when the pedals start turning. Your workout automatically pauses if the pedals stop turning for 2 seconds and your workout ends and the display powers off after 5 minutes of inactivity. There are 5 buttons below the screen that control all of the functions of the display, including Bluetooth, start/enter/reset, and up and down arrows. The Bluetooth button is used to pair with compatible devices and the included heart rate monitor, while the others are used to start a workout or input a time, distance, or calorie goal for a manual workout. The 100 levels of magnetic resistance are controlled by a knob below the handlebar on the main frame of the bike.
Above the display is a padded device holder designed to hold a tablet or smartphone. The display has a USB charging port so you can keep your device charged while you ride. Using its Bluetooth connectivity, the IC4 is compatible with the Zwift, Peloton, and Explore the World apps for a studio or interactive cycling experience. All three apps have an additional monthly fee (Peloton is $12.99/mo, Zwift is $14.99/mo, and Explore the World is $9.99/mo) and require a device with a screen to serve as the display. Peloton has thousands of live streaming and on-demand studio workouts with various instructors and music to choose from, as well as scenic rides to watch while you spin away the time. Interestingly, the Peloton app is much less expensive to use with your own compatible bike than it is with a Peloton brand bike, although it doesn't provide all of the performance data tracking. Zwift is a virtual interactive training app with thousands of structured training programs, races and events, and a huge variety of maps and routes to follow. When connected, your device shows the virtual course you're riding, as well as metrics like speed, time, cadence, watts, and a leaderboard. Explore the World allows you to virtually ride in dozens of destinations and automatically adjusts to the video to the speed of your workout.
The Schwinn IC4 is one of the most feature-packed exercise bikes we've tested. The star of the show is its connectivity and functionality with third-party training apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World. Additionally, this bike comes with loads of user-friendly features that help to enhance your workout experience.
The IC4 functions well as a stand-alone spin bike, plus you have the option of connecting to your device via Bluetooth and using popular interactive training apps. If you're already highly motivated you may not need the added inspiration that live streaming, on-demand, or virtual training can provide, but we think it's really nice to have the option. Unlike the more expensive competition, the IC4 does not come with a high tech console for streaming workouts, you'll have to use one that you already have or purchase one for that purpose. It does have a device holder where you can dock your device for easy viewing, and it has a USB port to keep it charged while you ride. It also comes with a Bluetooth heart rate armband to monitor your pulse during your workout.
Beyond its connectivity, the IC4 comes loaded with useful features. Both the seat and handlebar have loads of adjustability both up and down and fore and aft. It comes with a performance-oriented seat as well as a large multi-position handlebar. Below the handlebar are two bottle holders with cradles to hang the included 3 lb hand weights. It comes with dual-function pedals that have cages on one side and SPD clips on the other, so you can choose the footwear that's best for you, plus they come with SPD cleats. The front stabilizer has integrated transport wheels that make it easy to move this heavy bike around, and all of the feet have independent levelers to help stabilize it on uneven surfaces. Resistance is controlled by an adjustment knob below the handlebar, and there are 100 micro-adjustable levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance. It also comes with an impressive warranty.
Ease of Setup/Portability
Of all the exercise bikes we tested, the Schwinn IC4 was one of the most involved and time-consuming to assemble. It comes with all of the tools you need and detailed instructions that are easy to follow, and while it isn't particularly difficult to finish, there are more steps necessary to complete the task. It took about an hour to get this bike from the box to ready to ride.
The IC4 arrived at our test location in a large and very heavy box. We didn't weigh the bike in the box, but with a claimed assembled weight of 106 lbs, you definitely want the help of another person to move it or remove the bike the from box. Once removed from the box, the remaining tasks can be completed by one person. It takes several minutes to remove the protective packing materials from the bike and all its parts, and the majority of the remaining assembly was relatively standard. The printed directions are detailed and easy to follow, and all of the tools and hardware needed are included. After attaching the front and rear stabilizers, pedals, handlebar and handlebar post, and the seat and seatpost, features like the device holder and bottle holders/hand weight holders also need to be installed.
Once the IC4 is assembled, moving it around on hard surfaces is relatively easy thanks to the transport wheels integrated into the front stabilizer. This bike does weigh 106 lbs, however, so moving it up or downstairs is a task best suited for two people. With dimensions of 48.75" L x 21.25" W x 52" H, the IC4 takes up roughly the same amount of space as most of the other upright models we tested.
The Schwinn IC 4 is among the most expensive exercise bikes we've ever tested, but we still feel it is an excellent value. This bike is much less expensive than the big name home-studio competition, yet it provides a similarly excellent exercise quality with connectivity that makes it compatible with the most popular training apps. If you've been wanting to join in on the at-home studio cycling craze but the price of the competition seems too high, we feel this is a more affordable option to consider. With a 10-year frame, 3-year mechanical and electrical parts, and a 1-year labor warranty, it's also clear that this product is intended to stand the test of time.
The Schwinn IC4 is a versatile connected spin bike offered at a reasonable price. This bike is sturdy and comfortable, with a huge range of seat and handlebar adjustment and 100 levels of smooth magnetic resistance. It comes loaded with features including hand weights and dual function pedals, plus it syncs to your device with a Bluetooth connection to use popular apps like Zwift and Peloton. If you've been itching to join the at-home studio or interactive cycling craze, we feel the IC4 is an excellent option at a reasonable price.
Other Versions and Accessories
Schwinn makes three models in their indoor cycling series including the IC4 we tested which is the top of the line model.
The IC3 is the mid-range model that retails for a few hundred dollars less. It looks quite similar to the IC4, but it has a 40 lb weighted flywheel with a felt pad to control the resistance. It doesn't have advanced connectivity, but it does have an LCD display that shows time, distance, calories, speed, RPM, and heart rate information.The IC2 is the least expensive model in the range that retails for a third of the price of the IC4. This relatively basic exercise bike has a 31 lb weighted flywheel with a felt pad to adjust the resistance level, and it features an LCD screen that displays current workout information.
— Jeremy Benson