Schwinn IC4 Exercise Bike Review – 2020

Last Updated: June 9, 2020
Schwinn IC4 bike review

The Schwinn IC4 exercise bike is an affordable indoor studio bike with 100 levels of magnetic resistance, four adjustment points, hybrid SPD and flat pedals and a tablet holder. This bike has been touted as an alternative to the Peloton bike since you can subscribe to the Peloton digital app on your tablet and then sync it with the IC4 via Bluetooth. This provides a Peloton experience at less than half the price. Some of the Peloton app functionality is compromised on the IC4, you don’t get the Leaderboard function and some of your metrics don’t transfer directly, but if you want to enjoy the Peloton classes and instructors with a few modified metrics, this is a great option. The Schwinn IC4 will sync with any number of other external cycling apps as well and the cadence sensors in the pedal cranks transmit accurate speed and cadence metrics to compatible platforms. The Schwinn IC4 is reasonably priced around $800 which makes it nearly a third the cost of a Peloton bike. Since the IC4 doesn’t include an attached touchscreen, you are not locked into one specific app or platform and you can use any tablet or personal device to stream your preferred program. This reduces the issue of dated tech on the bike since you can always switch apps or use a newer tablet when an upgrade is needed.

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Who It’s For: Riders looking for an affordable bike that will sync with external cycling apps for multi-platform training

Schwinn has manufactured the IC4 with several key features. This is a good option for riders who:

  • Are looking for an affordable indoor bike that is tech-enabled
  • Like to train using several apps or platforms without being locked into one subscription
  • Are happy to use their current iPad or tablet on the bike
  • Don’t need or want an attached touchscreen
  • Have access to a wall outlet to plug in the bike
  • Don’t want to shell out extra cash for a name brand
  • Enjoy riding indoors all year round
  • Want a bike that will work with any athletic shoe
Pros
  • Get all the benefits of cardiovascular conditioning on an affordable indoor cycle.
  • Chic styling with black frame and red accents looks stylish in your home
  • Despite its very affordable price tag, the IC4 provides a steady, smooth ride
  • Indoor cycling allows you to stay low impact but burn a ton of calories
  • The Schwinn IC4 has four adjustment points and will support up to 330lbs so it is a great option for riders of all sizes
  • Use any number of apps for your training. The IC4 will pair with Peloton, Zwift, Explore the World or other cycling apps that sync via Bluetooth.
Cons
  • You have to have your own subscription to any apps used; the IC4 does not include memberships to Peloton, Zwift, etc.
  • A tablet screen is typically smaller than the screens on the Peloton and NordicTrack bikes.
  • Tablet holder does not swivel and does not have an adjustable clip. You may need to remove any protective cover on your tablet for it to fit correctly.


FeaturesSpecifications
  • Bike weighs 106lbs, Footprint: 48.7″L x 21.2″W x 51.8″H
    • This bike is lightweight and has a compact footprint so you can tuck it in the corner of nearly any room in your home.
  • Max User Weight 330lbs
    • Despite being lightweight itself, the IC4 supports up to 330lbs of user weight which is impressive and makes it a good option for users of all sizes.
  • Use any number of apps or training platforms
    • Since there is not a screen attached to the IC4 you don’t have to worry about dealing with dated tech on your bike. When updated apps or streaming services become available, you can easily upgrade your tablet, phone, or smart TV to access your favorite training platforms. You are not locked into one specific subscription on the IC4.
  • Multi Position handlebars for various riding positions
    • The IC4 features both horizontal and vertical grips so you can sit up, hinge at the hips, or get really aggressive and lean your forearms on the bars for an aero-style position.
  • Handlebars and saddle are padded for comfort
    • No matter how sturdy the bike is, if it’s uncomfortable to sit on, you won’t ride it. The IC4 makes riding an enjoyable experience with just enough sweat-resistant coating on the handlebars and a lightly padded saddle.
  • LCD backlit computer console with speed, rpms, estimated calories, wattage, etc.
    • This streamlined console provides the riding metrics you need. Cadence sensors and Bluetooth functionality will transmit your cadence to external apps for calorie and wattage estimates during your ride.
  • Two oversized water bottle cages
    • Even when riding at home it’s nice to have water bottles close by. The two water bottle cages just below the handlebars make it so you don’t have to lean over or step off your bike to grab your water bottle. Drink as you ride!
  • Two weights included on front mounted cages
    • Many cycling apps include light upper body work and Schwinn includes two 3lb weights that are mounted just below the water bottle cages for convenience.

Construction:

  • Footprint: 48.7″L x 21.2″W x 51.8″H
  • Frame: Steel frame welded for stability
  • Stabilizers: Front and rear
  • Saddle: Stylish red and black stitched lightly padded
  • Pedals: Hybrid SPD and flat with cage
  • Flywheel: Weighted
  • Bike weight: 106lbs
  • Max Weight: 330lbs

Cockpit Design:

  • No attached screen
  • Multi Position handlebars for various riding positions
  • Extra wide tab on the end of the vertical handlebars
  • Handlebars are spongy coated for comfort
  • LCD backlit computer console with speed, rpms, estimated calories, wattage, etc.
  • Cadence Sensors in pedals transmit RPM’s and estimated speed to console
  • Two oversized water bottle cages
  • Two weights included on front mounted cages

Functionality:

  • Magnetic Resistance; Resistance Knob
  • Digital Resistance levels 1-100
  • Four adjustment points: Seat up/down and forward/aft, Handlebars up/down and forward/aft
  • Bluetooth enabled to sync with any number of external fitness apps
  • Requires power source to activate console
  • Requires internet connection to run apps
  • Armband heart rate strap included

Warranty:

  • 10 years frame
  • 3 years electronics/parts
  • 1 year labor

In-depth Review of Schwinn IC4 Exercise Bike


Construction

Schwinn IC4 exercise bike frame

Frame

  • Steel Frame
    • The Schwinn IC4 has a steel frame with supportive stabilizers at both the front and rear. A center support bar also links the stabilizers for added stability underneath. There are two adjustable levelers so you can make sure the bike sits firmly on your floor. Two red front mounted wheels make it easy to tip and roll your bike when needed. We recommend using a cycling mat underneath your bike which reduces floor vibrations and protects your floors from sweat.
  • Schwinn IC4 Features Four Adjustment Points
    • Seat raises up and down
    • Seat moves forward and aft
    • Handlebars lift up and down
    • Handlebars move forward and aft
  • Hybrid SPD/Flat Pedals
    • Unlike the Peloton bike which only offers Delta LOOK pedals, the Schwinn IC4 has hybrid pedals that are flat with a cage on one side and have an SPD cleat on the other. You can use standard spin shoes with SPD cleats if desired — or ride with any athletic shoe. This makes the bike usable by any number of riders. Often one person in your home may use and love spin shoes while everyone else just has athletic shoes. The IC4 makes it so anyone can ride and enjoy the bike without having to pay extra for spin shoes if you don’t want them.
    • For riders who don’t use spin shoes, we recommend wearing stiff-soled athletic shoes that provide extra support underfoot and won’t bend around the pedal when you apply pressure or stand up out of the saddle.
    • The pedals are replaceable with any 9/16″ pedal. Pedal cranks are 170mm long.
  • Plug
    • You do need to be close to a power outlet to use the IC4. While the bike will pedal and you can adjust resistance manually without the need for electricity, to use the console or enable Bluetooth you must plug the bike in. A standard wall outlet is sufficient. The bike includes a power adapter to counteract any power surges or other issues that could damage your bike.

FlyWheel

Schwinn IC4 bike flywheel

  • Weighted 40lb FlyWheel
    • When evaluating an indoor exercise bike, it is recommended that you assess the weight and design of the flywheel. Stationary bikes do not have the benefit of kinetic energy from actual forward momentum, so a weighted flywheel acts as a catalyst to both create and maintain momentum as you ride. A weighted flywheel will gain and maintain inertia to create a smooth motion while pedalling. If the flywheel is underweighted, it may not have enough inertia to spin evenly throughout the rotation, which causes a jerky feeling and heaviness in the spin. Thankfully, Schwinn has outfitted the IC4 with an impressive 40lb flywheel. This is about 10 pounds heavier than the flywheels on either the NordicTrack or Peloton bikes.
    • The resistance knob also acts as a break to slow and stop the flywheel since it will keep spinning even if you stop pedalling.

Saddle

Schwinn IC4 saddle

  • Comfort and Design
    • The IC4 saddle is stylish with a sleek red and black design and external stitching. It is lightly padded which provides both support and comfort while riding. Extra wide saddles or those with added padding can feel more comfortable initially, but often these lead to greater incidence of saddle sores or other friction sore spots. A narrower, racing style saddle will feel more uncomfortable when you first use it, but it is recommended for longer rides or for those who plan to ride regularly. The sweat-resistant surface will not absorb moisture and can be wiped down as needed as well.
    • The saddle cannot be swapped out for a different seat but you could add a gel seat cover if desired. If you do this, make sure to adjust the height of your seat stem as many gel covers add a few inches of depth.
  • Two Seat Adjustments
    • The IC4 offers two different saddle adjustments. You can raise and lower the saddle as needed as well as move it forward and back to find the right position. For indoor cycling, we recommend finding a leg extension that allows for a gentle 25-35 degree bend at the knee when your foot is at the lowest part of the pedal rotation. If your saddle is too low you will burn out your quads and put unnecessary strain on your knees. If it is too high you will find yourself rocking from side to side in an attempt to keep your feet in the pedals.
    • Schwinn indicates the bike can be adjusted to fit riders between 4’6” and 6’6” although the length of your inseam is a better evaluation of how much extension you need than simply height alone.

Console/Controls

Console

Schwinn IC4 console and tablet holder

  • Computer Display
    • As mentioned above, the IC4 does not include a tablet or screen. A bike computer attached between the handlebars displays time, calories, speed, distance, cadence (RPM), levels, and pulse (heart rate).
    • You can adjust for Miles or Kilometers on the console.
      • To switch units between kilometers and miles before a workout, push the Increase and Decrease buttons at the same time and hold for 3 seconds. Then, push the Increase/Decrease button to change the units (km/mi). Once the desired unit of distance is displayed, push any other button to save your preference.
    • We did notice one external cord that extends from the back of the console and drapes into the bike frame. Occasionally, we found this got in the way of either the weights or the water bottle cage. We recommend tucking this cord back out of the way so you don’t catch it when grabbing for your weights or water bottle.
  • Tablet Holder
    • The tablet holder on the IC4 is a great addition and enhances the functionality of the bike significantly. Using any tablet you already own, you can download and sign in to your favorite cycling app and then place the tablet in the holder for easy visibility while riding. The tablet holder does not pivot or swivel, but it doesn’t really need to since you can remove the tablet if you want to use it somewhere else. The holder also is not adjustable, so you may need to remove any protective cover on your tablet if it is too wide for the holder.
  • Bluetooth/Cadence Sensor
    • Since the bike is Bluetooth enabled, it will sync with any number of external fitness apps which can be viewed on your tablet. Sometimes your workout metrics may be a bit off based on disparities between your weight and how the app calculates calories or wattage, but this can be adjusted by playing with your personal metrics in the app. For example, if an app is overestimating your calories and/or wattage, adjust your weight so it more closely resembles what is displayed on the console. The console — especially if used in conjunction with the armband heart rate strap — will typically be more accurate than 3rd party apps. We love the streamlined functionality here as the bike is designed to work with any number of apps. You are not limited to one or a few that may be preselected by Schwinn. If the app syncs via Bluetooth and can interpret the cadence sensor, you should be able to get some (but maybe not all) of your ride info to stream to the bike. Bike metrics will be in real time; app metrics may be slightly delayed.
    • Apps that are supported (as listed by Schwinn) include:
      • Explore the World, Peloton, Zwift, Sufferfest, Rouvy, FulGaz, Tacx, TrainerRoad and MyFitness Pal

Accessories

  • No Fans
    • The Schwinn IC4 does not have any fans on the bike itself.
  • Water Bottle Holders
    Schwinn IC4 exercise bike water bottle holder

    • There are two front mounted water bottle holders directly beneath the handlebars that will hold most bottles.
  • Two front mounted weight cages (3lb weights included)
    • We love these front mounted weight cages! Too often, weights are tucked back behind the saddle where they can be hard to reach and return. Similarly, weights that rest on a tray in between the handlebars seem to always be in the way. We like the design here where the weights are visible and easy to reach, but not in the way when you aren’t using them.
    • If you are a taller rider, your knees may contact the bottom of the weights when riding up out of the saddle. If this is the case, simply raise the level of the handlebars which will pull the weights up and out of your way.

Functionality

Performance

  • It is nice that the IC4 only weighs 106 pounds since this makes it easy to move when needed. However, we did notice that occasionally the bike will rock from side to side when resistance and/or cadence are high. This is most likely due to the fact that the bike itself is lightweight. We never felt like stability was an issue, and the weight capacity is impressive. But there is a bit of frame rock that should be mentioned.

Incline / Decline range

  • There is no incline or decline built into the Schwinn IC4 bike. Most studio bikes do not have incline and decline, although it is a feature found on the NordicTrack s22i and s15i bikes. The Peloton bike does not incline so this is not something that will be an issue if you use the Peloton app.

100 Resistance Levels

  • 1-100 Levels of Magnetic resistance. Magnets adjacent to the flywheel oppose the motion as they move closer. Since this resistance is frictionless it is quiet and does not cause wear and tear on moving parts. Magnetic resistance is also more durable and requires less maintenance. This type of resistance is found on most high-end bikes.
  • Resistance is not automated
    • When following a 3rd party app, you may have to adjust your resistance based on how it feels rather than go by the level alone.
  • Resistance levels are preset for consistency
    • Rather than guess what level you are on, the IC4 console displays your level of resistance at any given time. This helps riders find and maintain the same level of resistance each ride for consistency and accurate calorie burn and wattage.
  • Resistance Knob
    • Like the Peloton bike, the Schwinn IC4 uses a resistance knob to adjust different resistance levels. There are both perks and drawbacks to knob resistance.
      • The Schwinn IC4 knob is easy to use and reach. It makes sense to just reach down and tweak the knob gently to add resistance. The red knob is a good size and feels comfortable in your hand. It also acts as a break to slow or stop the flywheel. Press down on the resistance knob to activate the break.
      • Since the knob has no numbers or preset metrics, you have to learn how far to turn it. The resistance level on the screen gives you an idea of how much resistance each turn will add. One advantage of preset digital resistance levels is the convenience of just hitting a button to find the exact resistance needed.
  • IC4 Resistance Levels 1-100 not exactly the same as Peloton’s 100 levels
    • It makes sense to have 100 levels of resistance. When at level 20, you know you’re about 20% resistance and level 50 would be 50% resistance, etc. However, we found that the resistance levels on the IC4 do not line up exactly with Peloton’s 100 levels. Peloton’s resistance levels seem to be easier at the bottom end and harder at the higher levels. If using the Peloton app, you may need to modify your levels up or down just a bit to find the correct range. Each manufacturer calibrates and measures their resistance levels differently — there is no preset standard (like there is for miles per hour). Some bikes may have 34 resistance levels, some have 100 and some only have 16. This doesn’t mean the bike with 100 levels of resistance gets harder, it just means the levels are divided into smaller increments.
  • Resistance Noise
    • Magnetic resistance is quiet and the Schwinn IC4 is pretty quiet when pedalling.

Pre-programmed workouts

  • There are no pre-programmed workouts on the Schwinn IC4. The console displays real-time metrics, but doesn’t offer any programs or training plans.

Subscription Options (must be purchased separately)

  • Bowflex/Schwinn Apps
    Explore the World app

    • Nautilus, the parent company of both Bowflex and Schwinn has a few fitness apps (Explore the World, Ride Social, etc.) but these aren’t specific to the IC4. Any number of apps will sync. One of our favorites is the Explore the World app which allows you to ride landscape videos all over the world with breathtaking views and videography.
  • Peloton Digital app $13/month
    Peloton App

    • You can purchase a subscription to all the Peloton classes (both live and on demand) via the digital online app. However, community functionality is a bit reduced in this version. Riders who are not using a Peloton bike won’t show up on the Leaderboard or get Shout Outs. You do have access to all the same classes and content. (The Peloton app is now available on Apple TV as well)
  • Zwift App
    Zwift app

    • Zwift is a very popular virtual reality cycling app where you compete with and against other riders on a virtual course. Zwift allows friends (and competitors) to ride at the same time even if they are across the country. The Schwinn IC4 syncs with Zwift for interactive training.

Noise Level

  • Since it uses magnetic resistance, the Schwinn IC4 bike is very quiet. There is no noise while pedalling or braking.
  • No speakers in console. Bluetooth headphones that sync with your tablet are ideal for volume control when using the bike. There are no speakers on the bike itself.

Storage / Folding

The Schwinn IC4 bike can be moved when needed. There are wheels under the front stabilizer so you can tip the bike and gently roll it out of the way. REMOVE ANY WEIGHTS BEFORE DOING THIS! We made the mistake of rolling the bike without removing the weights one time and they came tumbling down towards our toes.

We also recommend removing your tablet before you tilt and roll the bike. A bike mat under the bike will keep it secure on the floor (so it doesn’t walk) and it will reduce floor vibration and noise as well.

Bottom Line:

The Schwinn IC4 is the sister bike (and some claim it is identical) to the Bowflex C6 bike. The Schwinn is priced a $100 less however, and seems to provide similar features and functionality. This is a great bike for riders who just want to get on and go. You don’t have to worry about a touchscreen, videos, programs, trainers or a subscription. If you are looking for a well-built quality bike for a great price that is comfortable and easy to use, the Schwinn IC4 is the perfect option. We love that you can add tech to the bike with a personal tablet or iPad and use any number of compatible training apps. You are not locked into one platform or subscription on the IC4. Schwinn has read the market well here, since most riders enjoy a multitude of training platforms and many worry about buying an expensive bike with an attached touchscreen that will be outdated in just a few years. The magnetic resistance is smooth and quiet, which enables you to ride anytime of day or night without disturbing those around you. 100 levels also makes sense and corresponds roughly to Peloton’s 100 levels should you use that app. We love that there are hybrid pedals for both SPD cleats and athletic shoes. The handlebars are coated and comfortable and in general the bike sits firmly on the floor while riding. We are impressed with the affordable Schwinn IC4 and recommend it not only as a great Peloton alternative, but also as a well built spin bike that allows you to ride at your convenience in the safety of your own home.

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