In this expansive Schwinn IC2 vs IC3 vs IC4 comparison I concentrate on how they differ rather than how they are similar.
Despite having a number of ways they are different there is an overriding similarity.
The bikes can all give a good cardio workout from gentle through to high intense ones and can be used by beginners to those who are more experienced.
You can get most of the fitness benefits of indoors cycling workouts from each of the bikes.
They cater for people with different budgets and that is reflected in the features that each bike has.
Before getting into the head to head comparison proper here is a description of these 3 indoor cycling bikes.
Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike
As the model number suggest this is the bike that has been around the longest. It is also the most basic model and the most affordable too.
As with a number of bikes in its price range it has friction resistance, chain drive and a lighter flywheel weighing in at 31 lbs.
The seat can be adjusted 4 ways to get the most effective positioning with regards to the pedals. The handlebars can be moved up/down for a comfortable height.
It does have some extras with a water bottle holder and a basic console that displays speed, RPM, distance, time and calories
Customers like the riding experience on the whole but aren’t particularly a fan of the seat.
Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike
The middle of the range bike comes with a number of good features to provide a quiet and consistent cycling workout. It has a belt drive, a 40 lbs flywheel and friction resistance.
To improve the fit you can adjust both the seat and handlebars 4 ways – up/ down and forwards/ backwards. It is quick to make the adjustments allowing the bike to be used by more than one person with the most effective fit for them.
The dual pedals allow you to use either athletic shoes or indoor cycling shoes catering for people with different requirements from causal through to more experienced.
Customers are positive about the bike liking how solid and smooth it is.
However, they aren’t keen on the seat and some have had to use lubricant soon after purchase on the resistance pad to stop squeaking.
Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike
As the top of the Schwinn range, this bike has a number of enhancements and an increased price from the other 2 indoor cycling bikes.
The features included to help it to be used with fitness Apps including the Peloton Digital App are the resistance levels display, heart rate monitoring as well as the media holder, USB charger and dumbbells and holder.
The bike doesn’t have to be used in conjunction with an App to get benefits from these enhancements.
Customer feedback is mixed. Although most do think it is a very good exercise bike and has good connectivity. The concern is about the accuracy of Power numbers when used with Zwift,
Read more about this exercise bike in our in depth review here
The Differences Explained
There is a table at the bottom of the post that has the bikes features side by side for a quick comparison and before that is an explanation of important differences and how I think they may impact your choice.
The console is where the differences require a little involved explanation.
But, in summary IC4 offers more functionality and measures.
The Schwinn IC2 console shows only one measure at a time for 5 seconds before moving on. You can see speed, RPM, distance, time and calories.
It can make it annoying if you are wanting to focus on one number while you workout – in particular if you are using RPM or have a target in mind. It is more than many affordable indoor cycling bikes have with many not having a console and those that have one, don’t measure RPM.
The Schwinn IC3 is a step up with a larger console display. It shows time, distance, speed, calories, RPM and heart rate (if you buy a compatible heart rate which is extra). Average RPM is shown at the top with a set of arcs lighting up as you pedal faster. For current RPM you can see this every 3 -4 seconds as its’ display is shared with speed. You can set yourself targets for calories, distance and time where the console counts down to zero and alerts you when you have completed.
The Schwinn IC4 display is the most comprehensive with it displaying resistance levels from 1 -100. It also displays time, speed, calories, distance and RPM. RPM level is displayed using a bar that lights up as you pedal faster rather than displaying easier to see numbers. As with IC3 you can set targets for calories, distance and time but there is no built in workouts.
None of the bikes consoles measures power (Watts or output) but you can get a calculated number using Zwift or kinetic Apps with the IC4.
The powering of the console is different on the IC4 in that it needs to be plugged into the wall and the other models the console is batter powered with 2 AA batteries.
For all the exercise bikes you don’t need power to use the bike, you just won’t have the benefit of the console nor in the case of IC4 the Bluetooth compatibility
The IC2 and IC3 are not backlit making them difficult to see if the light is dim. The IC4 is backlit allowing you to exercise and see your metrics when the light is not optimum or at night.
Only the Schwinn IC4 has Bluetooth for connectivity with Apps allowing you to use the Apps for monitoring and recording your workouts automatically. The other two models you’ll need to record workouts manually to keep a track of results over time or add Bluetooth compatible sensors.
Heart Rate Monitor
The Schwinn IC2 doesn’t come with functionality to measure heart rate. The IC3 & IC4 have this functionality. Toget the measure with the IC3 you are required to by a 5khz heart rate strap separately (un-coded Polar recommended). The IC4 comes with a compatible strap.
As you move through the range the extras become more comprehensive. In addition to the differences already noted the IC2 has a water bottle holder, the IC3 has this plus a media device holder and cleats. It is the IC4 that has the most extras with a dual bottle holder, media device holder, USB charging port and a pair of 3 lb dumbbells with holder.
The IC4 comes with magnetic resistance and also displays the level on its’ monitor. The other 2 have friction resistance which is noisier with a whooshing sound when lubricated otherwise it can make a squeaking sound if the pad has dried out. With magnetic resistance the magnets do not touch the flywheel so there is no rubbing noises and low maintenance due to less (none) wear and tear.
The IC2 has the lightest flywheel at 31 lbs with the other 2 at 40 lbs. A heavier flywheel will usually provides a more consistent pedaling experience. The weight of wheel has inertia as it turns allowing it to help pull pedals round at the top/bottom of the pedal cycle which can help promote propeer form especially when new to indoor cycling.
The IC2 comes with a chain drive similar to a road bike. You get more of a bike feel along with clinking noise and maintenance – lubricating and tightening as needed. The IC3 & IC4 both have the belt drive which is quieter and low maintenance but you miss out on the feel of the chain.
The IC3 & IC4 pedals allow the use of both specialist indoor cycling shoes with SPD cleats and normal athletic shoes – on one side there is toe cages and the other has SPD fittings to clip in to. This gives more flexibility in use and you can migrate to the SPD shoes when ready if you want or the bike can accommodate people with different shoes in the house. SPD pedals and shoes can help you have a more efficient pedal with a stronger pull and push connection.
The IC2 just has the pedals.
The IC4 comes with the much longer warranty with double the years on the frame at 10 year, mechanical & electrical 3 years and labor 1 year (IC2 is 9 days). It provides more peace of mind and you would expect this with the extra cost to buy.
The Schwinn IC2 with fewest features is the easiest on the wallet and the others going up in price with the IC3 up and IC4 up again (price differences depend on current deals etc, and is why there aren’t any included here so as to not give the wrong impression). The increase in the price for the models is for the additional features that the bikes give.
Is the additional price worth it? That depends, on whether you will use the features and they help you use the bike more or differently to get more of the fitness benefits you want.
Which One Should I Buy
If you want to exercise with a Fitness App and in particular the Peloton Digital App and want the measures and the extras that can enhance the benefits from the classes then Schwinn IC4 is the way to go, if it is in your budget. You get a bike at around 1/3rd of the price of Peloton that is compatible with other Apps and not have to pay full subscription price of $40.
The Schwinn IC3 is for those who want to spend less on a quality exercise bike with a good basic console. They can live without resistance levels being shown and are comfortable estimating the resistance setting they want. They want a quiet bike but aren’t bothered by the friction pad shooshing noise and the maintenance that comes with it (not major).
You can use it with the Fitness Apps but it doesn’t have Blueooth so it isn’t compatible. You won’t see your metrics on the App or be able to upload for measuring performance and progress.
If you want you can add more to the bike as you go with Wahoo sensors to use with Apps and dumbbells.
The Schwinn IC2 is a good starter bike with a basic console included which is not always available on indoor cycles in this price range – you have to pay extra for them. The console can help with intensity of pedaling to prevent drifting off track and motivation. If you are unsure or just getting started this bike can help. You can add specialist pedals later if you want and sensors too, as you go too as you become more interested or engaged.
|Feature||Schwinn IC2||Schwinn IC3||Schwinn IC4|
|Flywheel Weight||31 lbs||40 lbs||40 lbs|
|Pedals||Toe Cages||Dual Toe Cages/SPD||Dual Toe cages/SPD|
|Bike Weight||83 lbs||100 lbs||106 lbs|
|Max User Weight||250 lbs||300 lbs||330 lbs|
|Min User Height||4 ft 9 ins||5 ft 1 ins||4 ft 6 ins|
|Max User Height||6 ft 5 ins||6 ft 0 ins||6 ft 6 ins|
|Dimensions||Height: 49 ins|
Width: 23 ins
Length: 45 ins
|Height 51.2 ins|
Width 21.2 ins
Length 45.0 ins
|Height 51.2 ins
Width 21.2 ins
Length 48.7 ins
|Q Factor||Outdoor inspired?||203 mm (est)||203 mm (est)|
|Other Extras||Water Bottle Holder||Water Bottle Holder|
|Dual Water Bottle Holder
Heart Rate Strap
3 lb Dumbbells
USB Charging Port
I hope this Schwinn IC2, IC3 and IC4 comparison has helped you to clarify your thinking about these indoor cycles. If you have any questions or have decided on the bike for you please let me know in the comments below.