Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike Review

The Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike comes with some very good features.

You don’t see them all offered at this price range too often.

It is quite an upgrade from the Schwinn IC2, and is better rated too.

Some of those features are the dual sided pedals, LCD display monitor, tablet holder, cleats, monitor and a belt drive.

They all make this a bike worth considering as the exercise bike to achieve your fitness goals

It makes it worth considering as an alternative to the more expensive bikes (Peloton), gym memberships and their spinning classes, or using for indoor training when you can’t get outside due to the weather conditions.

The review looks at all aspects of this indoor cycle to determine whether it meets these expectations .

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Sturdiness

The bike provides a good solid base for training in and out of the saddle ensuring you can stay focused on your workout at high intensity.

There are no distractions coming from the bike.

It seems durable with it holding up well from repeated use over time – with customers saying they have had no problems with the bike after a year and none expected.

Some have had issues with the console not working properly and flywheel squeaking. The manufacturer has proactively helped sort these out with customers.

Customer service does seem to respond well and sorts issues on the whole. Although, there is times when this takes longer than it should due in the main to a shortage of parts.

If the floor is a little uneven there are levelers in the end caps of the support that you turn to balance up the bike to stop any rocking while you exercise.

The bike comes a reasonably long warranty on the frame of 5 years, and not so long for mechanical/electrical of 2 years and 1 year for labor. It not the best available but it is reasonable overall for the price.

Ongoing maintenance to keep the bike in good shape is outlined in the manual and is fairly minimal involving checking that nothing has come loose etc.

Adjustability

The handlebars and seat can be adjusted in 4 directions – forward/backward and up/down to get the most optimal setting for you to exercise.

The up/down for the seat works like many bikes do with an adjustment knob on support post and adjustment holes. To move the seat you undo the knob, pull to release the pin and slide the seat to the height you want and then insert the pin (on the underside of the knob) into the hole nearest to your height and tighten into place.

The manual provides guidance as to the correct positioning of the seat. As there are set places you can adjust the seat height there are some people who find that one position is too low and one just a little too high to get the just right spot which is in between.

The horizontal positioning of the handlebars and seat are the same where you undo the adjustment knob and slide into position and then tighten in place.

You may need to do some adjusting if you can’t tighten in place due to being too close to a post you can adjust the knob handle by pulling it, turn it and push back into place and then continue to tighten. This is covered in the manual.

Some people have not realised they could do this with the adjustment handles and this may have contributed to the feeling that the bike can’t be set right for them. Getting the right adjustment helps with comfort and to get the most optimal position for exercising.

The seat will move 2 ins and handlebars 4 ins horizontally.

The handlebars can be shifted up and down and placed where you want without the position being restricted to the holes in the post. You tighten the adjustment handle and the handlebars are held in place.

Making these adjustments are quick to do. If you have to adjust the bike after someone else used it, you won’t be slowed up too much in getting your workout stared.

The manufacturer has confirmed that the bike can be adjusted to fit people between 5 ft 1 ins and 6ft 4 ins on Amazon.

The inseam measurement it seems to work best for are between 29 – 38 ins (from supplier feedback).

However, customer experience seems to show that 6ft 1 ins is a more maximum comfortable fit and at 5 ft 1 ins you may experience that you are stretching a little further to than you want to the handlebars but this might be due to not fully adjusting horizontal of seat and handlebars due to handles getting in the way of the posts and not repositioning the handles.

However, if you are over 6 ft 1 ins it can feel cramped with your legs may not fully extended at the bottom of the cycling motion where your legs should be slightly bent for proper mobility and form.

People under 5 ft and under appear to struggle with having to stretch to reach handlebars and pedals – it would be good if possible to try the bike out first before buying.

Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike Resistance

Resistance is provided by a felt pad that rests on top of the flywheel. The level is controlled by the red tension knob on the frame above the flywheel. You turn it clockwise to increase tension for a harder workout, like going up a hill and counter-clockwise to make it easier. The resistance level is not displayed on the console.

It should provide a smooth experience and not a grabbing feeling as the pad provides a direct pressure on the flywheel and is not dependent on squeezing callipers.

The sound will be a quiet whooshing sound. I say should because there has been a noise from the resistance pads and flywheel note in some cases.

It’s not as quiet as magnetic resistance but you do get a higher limit and range on the resistance with the pads.

You can have the resistance exactly where you want as there isn’t set levels.

It seems there is a problem between the resistance and flywheel where they develop a vibrating and squeaky sound early on in the training experience – sometimes straight away or after only a few weeks.

This noise can happen with any exercise bikes using felt pads but this bike seems to get to the point of needing it to be addressed earlier

There is an easy solution to this. It is to use a silicon based lubricant on the pads to stop the vibrating and squeaking sound. It’s like the pads have been allowed to dry out or accumulate dust in a warehouse somewhere. The process to fix is not detailed in the maintenance instructions

Also, you do need to buy the silicon based lubricant separately.

The video below shows how you can perform this maintenance, It is on a different model of Schwinn but the principle is the same except instead of applying the lubricant to the sides of the flywheel you apply it to the outside rim so it comes in contact with the pad.

Also, the advice to release the pad is not the same as advised in the instruction manual which advises to fully tighten it to prevent the flywheel and pedals from moving when not in use.

When this fix has been done it seems to sort the problem for most users.

Changing the resistance is incremental (called infinite by the manufacturer) and you shouldn’t go from easy to hard so it makes it easy to turn it up to where you want to be working out at.

The infinite resistance is between the easy and very hard limits of the bike. This means there is no set positioning between these two points and you can put the resistance level to where you like

There is no marking of levels so that returning to a previous setting needs to be done by feel or if you are following along to a video or App like Peloton you are estimating the level. This is not uncommon.

This lack of marking and not showing up on the console is common with indoor cycles and spin bikes using friction based resistance.

There will be a little dust and the pads will need to replaced eventually – how long that is will depend on use and maintenance but you won’t need to do it too often. You won’t have to be replacing it that often, replacing is straightforward and it isn’t really that burdensome.

Drive type

There is a guard over the resistance pads and the top of the flywheel to prevent sweat getting on the flywheel, stopping the corrosion process and/or damaging the pads and the tension mechanism.

The bike has a belt drive which provides a smooth and quiet experience. Belt drives are lower maintenance and much more quiet than a chain drive. You do miss out on the soft clinking sound and motion of a chain as you get with a road bike.

There is no adjusting on lubricating required with the belt drive. After a number of years the belt will stretch then it will start to slip and need replacing. This replacement will probably need to be done by a bike mechanic unlike chain replacement or adjustment

The flywheel weighs 40 lbs which provides a good consistent and natural feel to the workout. The weight of the wheel helps pull the pedals through the cycling motion like you have with a road bike – it helps promote better form by pulling the legs through a circular motion by preventing the pedals slowing too much at the top/bottom of the cycle – it stops the up/down motion you might otherwise have which isn’t great and can put more impact on the legs and feet.

It has a fixed gear arrangement where there is no clutch to release the pedals from the drive – when the flywheel is turning the pedals are turning. There is no option to coast or free wheel. It does help to keep you moving and help with pulling the pedals through at the top/bottom of cycle – so you don’t end up with an up down motion like on a stepper.

When you want to stop this should be done slowly with the feet until pedals come to a stop to avoid injury to knees or to legs from the pedals continuing to turn.

You can stop the pedals in emergency by pushing down hard on the tension knob to use the resistance pad as a brake.

Pedals

The bike’s dual sided pedal include toe cages on one side and SPD on the other.

This extra feature makes the bike more versatile by catering for people with different shoes and probably different goals and from casual use to serious trainers. It saves on having two bikes or buying the them separately.

The toe cages are designed to work best with athletic shoes. The cages include straps to adjust them to fit your feet so as to get the best grip on pedals for pushing and pulling.

The SPD pedals fit Standard 2-Hole MTB SPD Cleat Mounts (the cleats are included but not the shoes).

If you have your own pedals or want to change then they should fit the bike as they are standard thread of 9/16″ and some customers have done this – but it isn’t necessary.

From customer reviews the q factor is approximately 8 ins but this isn’t confirmed with Schwinn who have said it is 9.5 ins which seems wrong. I have asked for clarification.

The q factor measures the distance between the pedals horizontally. It is important that this isn’t too wide as it can lead to overuse injury to the legs as they aren’t in alignment with the hips. However, there hasn’t been any concerns noted by road bike riders using the bike for indoor training (who you would expect to have concerns or notice the change if it were too much),

Comfort

Seat It has a ventilated narrow racing style bike seat measuring 5.9 ins by 10 ins . The ventilation should help keep you cool when you are pushing hard.

It seems Schwinn have gone out of their way to make it uncomfortable for as many people as possible. It is usual for people to find bike seats hard on the sit bones but it is uncommon to see as many people not like the seat as there is with this indoor cycling bike.

There are a few options other than to grin and bear it. You can try a towel or cushion (not the steadiest option) or a gel seat cover and/or padded cycling shorts. If those don’t work or don’t appeal it is possible to change the seat (although manufacturer isn’t too keen) with other standard road bike seats as it has the standard pole and rail system for attaching the seat to the bike.

HandlebarsThe design of the handlebars allows for multiple hand positions and can cater for different workout styles. It allows for more comfort too as well as when you need the support for those tough training sessions.

They are covered by urethane which is durable and provides a little padding making it an easier, more comfortable, a secure grip and for resting on (although long periods resting on your arms, they may start to ache).

NoiseThe bike should be quiet with the belt drive and the felt pads making only a soft whooshing sound at high rpms.

But as talked about above in resistance this bike has a history of the flywheel and felt pads vibrating which is solved with applying silicon based solvent.

When the pads have been lubricated it is quiet enough to use in an adjoining room to people sleeping and not wake them up early in the morning.

It should be suitable for an upstairs apartment as you don’t pound like a treadmill, but you may want an exercise mat to be on the safe side to prevent any vibration transmitting below.

Floor and Dirt The bike shouldn’t damage your floor but you may want a mat to avoid it scratching a wooden floor when it moves. It can also catch any lubricant or sweat that may drop from time to time. There isn’t much cleaning needed but it is advised to wipe down with a damp cloth to keep it looking good and in good working order.

Storage

It is a heavy bike weighing in at 100 lbs. It needs an area of 21.2 ins by 45 ins when not in use if you want to store it out of the way, which will make it too big for most closets.

When using it is recommended that there is 2 ft clear area around the bike giving an area of 69 ins by 97 ins to be properly safe.

The Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike comes with small transport wheels on the front support to help with moving the bike. You tip the bike forward to engage them and they hold the weight making it much easier to move. You still need to be careful not to overbalance and navigate around corners and furniture.

If you have wood floors you might want to be careful and check that the wheels don’t scratch or dent it before moving it all the way across,

The wheels should work well on most floors but if you have thick carpet the wheels are likely to jam up and stop turning.

Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike Assembly

The bike comes mostly assembled with the frame, drive and flywheel put together. This leaves the pedals, stabilizers, handlebars and post, seat and post, and console to be added.

The package comes with the necessary tools and clear instructions.

It is recommended that 2 people are involved in the assembly – it is a heavy bike with shipping weight 144.4 lbs and assembled it is 100 lbs. It is a good idea to have 2 so nothing overbalances or there is no needless struggling or straining when putting together.

The process can be completed in around an hour with unpacking often taking up a good portion of the time.

Most find it easy.

One thing to look out is when attaching left pedal (as with all exercise bikes) is that this is reverse threaded. it is attached by turning counter-clockwise. This is to prevent it coming undone as you pedal. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the thread isn’t stripped.

If you are still unsure there is the assembly add-on that can give peace of mind. But some people who have ordered this service have canceled when they see what is involved.

Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike Console

The Schwinn IC3 has a small console with LCD display that is clear and easy to read. It displays time exercising, distance, average RPM, calories, speed, rpm and heart rate (with compatible heart rate strap that needs to be bought separately).

It is basic and could be considered old fashioned. It gets the job done.

Below the screen are 4 buttons – up and down, mode and reset.

Going from the top:

Average RPM – this is a chart that has three arcs from side to side of console. Each arc is a range of average RPM of 1-29, 30-59, and 60-120. As you pedal faster a larger arc is lit up to let you know where you are up to.

Time is below the average RPM and goes across the screen. This has a max time of 99 mins and 59 seconds. You can set a target using the mode key and it counts down otherwise it will count up. The console lets you know when you’ve reached zero by sounding it out.

Calories and speed/RPM are on next row and each have half the row.

Calories is on it own and counts up to maximum of 999.9. Again you can set a target using the mode button and the monitor alerts you when you get to zero. The calculation of calories doesn’t take into account body weight nor does it use the resistance you are exercising with.

Speed/RPM – these alternate during your exercise when in scan mode evry 3 – 4 seconds. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a way to change it from scan mode so you could just have one shown continuously, in particular RPM.

On the next row are distance and pulse – these each have their own half of the display.

Distance can be measured in kilometers or miles. Maximum distance is 99.99 (miles or kms). Again you can set a target and it will count down otherwise it counts up from the start to the end.

Strangely, the default distance is kilometers and this can be changed by using the up and down buttons below the screen.

Pulse will show blank if you aren’t wearing a compatible heart rate strap. Recommended is an uncoded Polar Strap (coded ones won’t work with it). It can read heart rate straps that transmit 4.5 – 5.5 khz range. It measures heart rate from 40 bpm to 240 bpm.

I prefer a heart rate strap (even if it needs to be bought separately) as the way to monitor your heart rate rather than the pulse grips you see on other bikes because it seems to be more accurate and consistent. You aren’t restricted to having hands in one position to get a reading.

The console does not measure watts or power which is an important measure used in cycling training but I’m not sure I’ve seen a bike in this price range that does.

Below the display are up/down buttons that allow you to increase or decrease values when setting a target.

Below on the left is mode button to select value to set a target -time, calories or distance.

Next to it is the reset button where you reset values to zero and if you hold down for 3 seconds it restarts the console.

To turn the console on you can start pedaling or push any button. It turns off after 4 minutes of inactivity to help save battery. There is no on/off switch.

The console does not connect to Apps it only has a connection with certain heart rate straps for monitoring heart rate.

When people use the bike with Peloton it is to follow along with the training classes and programs that are available through the Peloton Digital App (the one that doesn’t come with the bike and is about 1/3rd price of the full experience membership).

To use with the training that comes with Peloton you will need to judge the turns of the resistance knob to match up with the resistance numbers (1 -100) given by the trainer. It is done by feel and experience to get this right as you’ve no markings to help you.

One way to do this is to start at easy setting and see how many turns it takes to get to the hardest setting then divide into 100 to get an idea of Peloton resistance level to turns.

The other issue to overcome is that RPM is shown only half the time with speed the other measure the other half on the console. Many of the classes use cadence to determine how hard you should be working.

Both of these – resistance and RPM issues – can be catered for after a little bit of practice and perseverance. Customers who do use the Peloton Digital App seem to be on the whole happy with the combination despite the compromises. So, not ideal but it is a much more economical solution.

It is possible to help the RPM issue with a cadence sensor like Wahoo to give you continuous RPM and with wahoo you can pair it with the App and read it on the training screen direct (The Wahoo heart rate sensor also works with Peloton).

The console isn’t backlit which makes it difficult to read when the light is not at its best. If you exercise without good light conditions and want to see your numbers then a clip on light can be used to shed some light on your workout.

The console is powered by 2 AA batteries and these are included. The bike will work without the console being powered you just won’t know how you are getting on.

The console will go dim when batteries are down to 25% life to give you an early warning to change batteries.

The bike does not need to be plugged in and there isn’t an option to do this. You can’t plugin your media devices to the bike for charging. It also doesn’t come with speakers. This is common practice with indoor cycles.

I prefer the heart rate strap as a way to monitor your heart rate rather than the pulse grips you can see on other bikes because it seems more accurate and consistent and you aren’t restricted to having hands in one position to get a reading.

It doesn’t come with any programmed workouts. Included in the manual is some help with setting up the bike for each person, how to use the SPD pedals and basics of heart rate training. As mentioned above there are Apps you can use or there are videos to follow along to, bought or you can find some good ones on youtube.

Dimensions

Height 49 ins
Width 21.2 ins
Length 45 ins

Flywheel Weight 40 lbs

Bike Weight 100 lbs

Max User Weight 300 lbs

Accessories

The bike comes with three accessories that includes two accessories in one – a media device holder and water bottle holder plus SPD clips.

Water Bottle Holder This sits at the end of the bike between the handlebars. It is in good place to get your bottle when in the middle of your training and exercise (except if using a media device) . It will hold one large water bottle. It will be out of the way of most sweat too.

Media Device Holder This is on top of the water bottle holder with two hooks at bottom to keep your tablet or other device in place. It does mean you may find it difficult to get your water as you will have to avoid your device as you slide bottle out from under it. If you ride in the aero position you’ll probably find the device too close your face and in the way.

Shoe Clips/Cleats This is something you don’t see too often that clips are included. It is a nice extra. They will fit any shoe size with the right cleat mounts – “Standard 2-Hole
MTB SPD Cleat Mounts” (MTB SPD = Mountain Bike Shimano Pedaling Dynamics).(from manual).

There are instructions included on how to fit the cleats to cycling shoes in the manual.

The bike doesn’t come with anywhere to hold dumb bells to include in your workout. This lack is standard with indoor cycles. At present there doesn’t seem to be a readymade solution for this

People have come up with solutions using bike baskets, garage hooks with zip ties or baby buggy holders.

Unfortunately, if you are wanting to use them while on the bike you are going to have to get something not designed or put them close and get off/on to use.

Pros

  • Includes a simple console for measuring workout
  • RPM measured – current (alternates with speed) and average
  • Can measure heart rate (heart rate strap needs to be bought separately)
  • It has transport wheels
  • Has a perimeter weighted 40 lbs flywheel to provide natural feel and help form
  • Transport wheels make it easier to move
  • Bike is manual and therefore isn’t plugged in
  • Assembly can be done in about an hour
  • Dual pedals fits athletic and spin shoes
  • Includes cleats that fit SPD side of pedals
  • Handlebars are covered and cater for multiple hand positions
  • 4 way adjustment of handlebars and seat allow you to get a good set up
  • Good warranty
  • Easy to reach bottle holder
  • Good customer service
  • Tablet holder

Cons

  • Does not include heart rate strap (it only works with certain ones and they need to be uncoded)
  • Have to keep a manual record of workouts – there is no upload capability
  • No Bluetooth – does not connect with Fitness Apps including Peloton or Zwift
  • Problems with squeaky flywheel – but can be solved easily in most cases
  • Console isn’t backlit and is hard to see when light is dim
  • It does require some assembly
  • Resistance level is not marked or displayed on console
  • Seat has a bad reputation for being uncomfortable but it can be replaced or other workarounds
  • Squeaky flywheel (resistance pads rubbing on flywheel) but is easily sorted by silicone lubricant (needs to be bought separately)
  • Does not show RPM constantly
  • Does not measure Power/Watts
  • Q factor is an unknown quantity
  • Height suitability is an unknown factor
  • No pre-set workouts included

Consumer Ratings

schwinn ic3 indoor cycling bike reviewReviews on the whole are positive for Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike. Many like the solid feel and smoothness of the ride and comparing it favorably to other more expensive bikes.

They like that they can use it to follow along to training on Fitness Apps such as Peloton, (it does not have Bluetooth and does not pair with any Apps). But people manage to get good workouts using these Apps by following along to classes without being connected.

They’d like the monitor to have the choice to set it so it just reported RPM rather than it alternating with speed to help with following along to Apps and videos.

A good number of people don’t like the seat – they find it too hard on their sit bones, It’s not all but it does seem to have a bad reputation However, most people find a way of alleviating the problem by replacing it or using gel seat covers or padded shorts.

A couple of people or so have noted a little flex and small movement in the seat and handlebars but not enough to affect their exercising.

The squeaky flywheel isn’t too liked, as you’d expect but this is something that can be easily fixed with the use of silicon lubricant.

It has good overall ratings.

Price

This is a mid-range priced indoor cycle that comes with some good extras – a basic console, dual sided pedals, tablet holder and belt drive.

The bike does have some short comings when compared to more expensive bikes but you are paying a lot less for a more basic bike and less than the IC4. It does a lot in covering the basics to get a good workout but it doesn’t have extras like syncing with Apps as some of the more expensive exercise bikes do, or monitor resistance or power.

When I checked at Amazon it qualified for  free delivery.

Click here to check out availability and latest price:
Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike

Summary Review

For the price this is a good solid bike that gives you the basis for a cardio workout at the level of intensity you want.

It includes dual pedals, water bottle holder, basic console (with RPM and speed half and half), tablet holder, heart rate monitor and cleats for SPD side of pedals.

You can also use it to workout with Fitness Apps including the Peloton Digital App(with some workarounds) in a more economical way than buying the more expensive indoor cycles.

It provides a lot of flexibility catering for beginners through to more experienced and those wanting a high intense workout. But if you want you can have a low intense and steady state workout.

It is a bike that multiple users can adjust to fit them to help achieve their personal fitness goals.

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