The Schwinn AC Performance Plus is one of the most popular spin bikes with gyms. It has a lot of great features that can explain this with it being designed for low maintenance as well as giving their customers comfortable and effective workouts.
It all seems like it should be a winner for home as well. In our review we check to see if it meets some of the additional requirements for home.
At home a spin bike may need to be able to be used in limited space, be quiet, be able to be moved around easily and not be too loud.
That is on top of how good it is at delivering a good cardio workout at different levels of intensity.
It has a heavy flywheel, magnetic resistance, chain drive and ergonomic designed handlebars that certainly give it the potential to be a bike of choice for home gym as well as commercial gyms.
In preparing this review we looked at all these features and more. We investigated them in depth and dug into the manuals, reviews, descriptions and asked questions to provide the full lowdown on the bike and its capabilities.
The first feature to be put under our investigative gaze was how stable and durable it is.
The bike has an aluminum frame which helps to make it lighter and resistant to rust. It still weighs in at 111 lbs and doesn’t feel or look cheap. It gives a solid stable base for riding at whatever intensity you want – low to high. There are no wobbles or shaking when you are standing or jumping or pushing hard – it provides the basis you want to get on with your workout.
It does have a compact base with it only being 20 inches wide but it doesn’t sway or move due to strong design. This all helps to keep it looking good and performing well for a very long time. There are also stretching pads on the bars and frame to prevent the paintwork being scratched and damaged by shoes.
The flywheel weighs 37 lbs with perimeter weighting for a fluid and full pedaling cycle. It gives you the natural feel of riding a bike. it is easier on the joints as you are cycling through the whole cycle and not just up and down as flywheel helps to pull pedals through the top and bottom. This results in much less impact on your ankle, knee and hip joints giving them a chance to repair (if needed) while you still get a high intense cardio workout.
Underneath the stabilizer bars are 4 feet adjusters that you turn to level up the bike to prevent it rocking side to side on an uneven floor. This makes it suitable to use in a basement or garage where the floors may not be as even as the rest of the house.
Schwinn AC Performance Plus Adjustability
The process to adjust the bike to the proper size is quick and simple. Due to this the bike is something that the all the member of the family or household can use as part of their fitness routines.
There are measures on the adjustment poles and sliders that make it easy to adjust the bike back to your setting if the bike has been changed since your last used it.
The height is adjustment for the seat and handlebars is done by unscrewing the pop pins and sliding the poles into place and then re-inserting the pin and tightening the pop pin knobs up fully to prevent any shaking. There are pre-set holes in the poles that are used for holding the poles in place.
The horizontal adjustments are on a continuous scale so the seat and handlebars can be placed exactly where you want them and then fixed in place (there are no pre-set holes), this helps in getting the fit exactly how you want it for maximum comfort and performance.
The Schwinn AC Performance Plus uses magnetic resistance for simulating hill climb workouts. It gives a smooth and incremental change as you turn the tension knob at the top of the frame.
Magnetic resistance works on a principle called eddy current principle with the magnets on either side resisting the flywheel.
As you turn the tension knob to increase the resistance you bring the magnets closer to the flywheel and vice versa to decrease the resistance. The magnets never touch the flywheel, they sit just either side of the flywheel.
The change in resistance is small and consistent so you can get the feel of it quickly to know how much to turn to get the intensity you want. It goes from easy to very hard on a continuous scale.
There are no markings on the knob to let you know what level you are with the resistance. This also makes it difficult to return to a previous level especially when returning to the bike after a day or so.
The resistance is silent as there are no touching parts.
This lack of touching makes it low maintenance and there is no dust as there is nothing to wear out. In the long term the resistance may need re-calibrating as the cable attaching the magnets to the lever may stretch slightly over time.
The bike has a chain drive with forged steel crank. It works the same as the one you find on an outdoor bike. It gives you the same riding experience as well as having the same requirements for looking after it and the same level of noise.
The maintenance of the bike requires it to lubricated and tightened as required which is not that often , with lubrication being at most once a month. The chain is going to need less attention than an outdoor bike as you aren’t riding in the wet or flicking mud or hitting holes etc. There is also a guard around the chain which prevents sweat and dirt dropping onto it again increasing the longevity of the chain.
When properly adjusted the chain is quiet but not silent, there have been no complaints when properly adjusted by any of the people using it home about the noise. It seems you can use it in your home without annoying others in the household or the neighbors.
Schwinn do make a version with belt drive called Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue which is quieter and lower maintenance but does cost about $200 more.
It is ribbed horizontally and it goes over sprockets like a chain drive which prevent slipping and gives more of a bike feel to the pedaling than you usually find with belt drives.
The bike does have a fixed gear which means that the pedals will continue to turn while the flywheel is turning, which helps to keep cadence up. It does provide a better riding experience but can make it difficult to get off when you need to in a hurry.
To do this you need to press down hard on the tension knob and it works like a brake to stop the flywheel. This is the usual arrangement for spin bike.
However, there are some bikes that have smart release technology where you can stop the pedals by pushing backwards. The only bike I’ve checked out so far with this is the Schwinn AC Sport which does make getting off the bike easier and reduces chances of injury. I discuss the pros and ocns of fixed gaar and smart release here.
To stop children playing on the bike when not in use there is a safety belt included that you thread through a pedal and buckle together to stop the pedals and flywheel from tuning. It takes seconds to put on and remove.
The bike has dual pedals. One side is SPD for specialist shoes with cleats and the other side has toe baskets with straps for normal athletic shoes.
The straps tighten the athletic shoes in place and you get a good grip on the pedals and for many people this will give them what they need for a workout. If you haven’t used SPD pedals you need to buy the specialist and have them fitted properly to get the most beneficial pedaling motion.
If you don’t like the pedals you can change them for any other pedals that have standard bike thread.
The bikes Q Factor 170 mm or 6 11/16 inches. This is the measure of the horizontal distance between the inside of the left and right pedals. The closer together the pedals are the less stress there is on joints and legs as a rule – it feels more natural and the hips and feet are more in alignment.
For a spin bike or indoor cycle this is a good distance but is wider than on many outdoor bikes. The only bikes with a better Q Factor are the Spinner bikes such as the Spinner NXT with a Q factor of 158 mm, which costs about $200 less but has friction resistance instead of magnetic resistance.
Handlebars. The handlebars have a couple of features that add greatly to the comfort. At the top of the handlebars they have been flatten out to make gripping at the ends, when you are leveraging yourself, much easier to keep a good solid grip on them,
The aero bars in the middle have a nice curve making it easy to grip and rest arms on them plus the cross bar is flattened out and padded for resting the forearms cushioning them so they don’t hurt when cycling for long periods of time in the aero position.
The handlebars can be gripped in the 3 spinning positions as well, and are covered with a rubberized coating to prevent blisters and to enable a good solid grip even when sweating.
Noise The bike is quiet with the magnetic resistance making no noise at all but there is some noise that comes from the chain – a soft clinking sound. It is not likely to disturb others sat in another room and you won’t be needing to turn the TV up much to hear it. You can hold a conversation if you want to without shouting.
Dirt And Dust The bike is going to generate minimal to no dust as it has magnetic resistance but there is likely to be some lubricant dropping from time to time from the chain. You may also drop sweat on to the bike and floor. A quick wipe down of the bike will keep it clean and an exercise rubber mat will protect the floor.
Seat The bike includes a standard bike saddle which is going to be fine for some and not for others as with any bike seat. This is very much down to personal preference.
If you don’t like the seat you can try padded bike shorts or a gel seat cover and if that doesn’t work you can replace the seat with a bike seat that you prefer.
The bike is compact and can be stored in an area of 20.5 by 42 inches. To move it you tip it on to 2 transport wheels at the front of the bike which take most of the 112 lbs weight. It can then be moved to where you want by pushing or pulling the bike but you do need to be careful to balance the bike as you go and gently return it to the floor so you don’t bang the walls or over balance.
The wheels can take the weight and roll freely on all surface except maybe very deep pile carpet. Also on wood floors you need to be careful to ensure that the wheels don’t scratch or dent it as you move the bike across it.
The bike comes partly assembled with the frame, crank, chain and flywheel put together. You need to put on the stabilizer bars, adjustment poles, handlebars, seat and pedals. It should take about 60 minutes at the most from opening the package to completing.
The tools and all the hardware needed to complete the job are included. The manual isn’t the easiest to follow but is adequate and there are short videos online to help. It is much easier than putting together IKEA furniture and most people have no trouble even with the poor instruction layout.
The hardest part is likely to be moving and holding the bike due to its weight. It weighs 112 lbs fully assembled. It is advised two people put the bike together for this reason.
The bike doesn’t come with a console as standard which is disappointing as this can be very useful for motivation and staying on track, but not everyone wants them. You don’t need a console to get very good workouts.
Schwinn do make a console that you can fit to the bike but this needs to be bought separately.
A console is not necessary to get a tough spinning workout but they can help with motivation and tracking of performance. Instead of buying the Mpower Echelon Console some people fit standard bike computers from Schwinn and Cateye instead – they work out cheaper but there are adjustments needed to them to get them to fit, in particular to the spoke magnet.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are
Height 48 ins
Width 20.5 ins
Length 42 ins
Flywheel Weight 37 lbs
Bike Weight 112 lbs
Max User Weight 350 lbs
The bike doesn’t come with many accessories which is standard with spin bikes. In fact the only accessory is a double gravity held water bottle holders at the front of the bike in between the handlebars.
The positioning of bottle holders is convenient and getting your bottle and returning is easy as there is no clip to worry about. They can fit most sizes of bottle too.
You could place your MP3 player in one of the bottle holders but there isn’t anywhere for a book or tablet.
- Great designed handlebars for comfortable riding generally and in the aero position in particular
- Frame comes with a 10 year warranty, mechanical parts 2 years, labor 1 year, wear items 6 months
- Magnetic resistance is quiet and smooth and increases incrementally
- Easy to adjust to fit various sizes making it a bike everyone in the family can use
- Low maintenance
- Easy to put together within 60 minutes
- Riding experience is like riding an outdoor bike with perimeter weighted flywheel giving a full circular pedaling motion
- Low impact cardio workout
- Narrow Q factor at 170 mm for better alignment putting less strain on joints
- No console included as standard nor preset workout programs
- Nowhere to place your book or plug in MP3 player
- The bike is quiet but not silent and chain needs to be adjusted to keep it quiet from time to time
- It is a heavy bike
- It is an expensive bike which might put it beyond the budget of many people
Schwinn AC Performance Plus Consumer Ratings
Customer reviews for the bike are positive overall with people liking the stable and smooth ride. They like the quality of the build and the ease of assembly.
A couple of people do mention the chain making a little noise but this is normal with a chain drive. One review mentions there is little instruction include with bike, so if you are new to riding a spin bike you will need to consult with YouTube.
Overall people are pleased with their purchase and are getting good value out of the solid and comfortable but intense workouts
Schwinn AC Performance Plus Price
This is a premium priced bike for the home that is made for many years of usage. There is little maintenance required and the aluminum frame means it will not corrode as a result of the sweat. The longevity, solid build, ergonomic handlebars and low maintenance are what is included in the price.
Amazon hand a good deal when I looked. It also qualified for Prime.
This is a well designed bike that gas a lot of great features making it one of the best bikes for its price. The handlebars are designed for comfort and practical use, the quiet effective magnetic resistance, the perimeter weighted flywheel and chain drive giving natural low impact riding experience and stable for getting on with your workouts.
The only thing it is missing is a console for monitoring workouts for feedback to keep you on track during the workout or training session and tracking performance over time.
That aside it features make it ideal as bike for spinning in your home or training when you haven’t time to get on your outdoor bike or the weather is atrocious outside. It is a bike that is soild and durable for many years use making it great for beginners as well as experienced spinner and cyclists.