Getting a Schwinn IC4/Bowflex C6 & Power Pedals: I want accuracy

Good morning all,

I’m about to jump head first into indoor cycling and due to budget and multiple users, I’m going to purchase the Bowflex C6/Schwinn IC4. If I was the sole user, I’d get an old road bike with a trainer but due to space and my wife who is much shorter than me, that’s not an option. I saw some guides about Zwift and it scratched my gamer itch! After hours of research, I discovered that users of this bike are reporting godly numbers on Zwift. Being an avid gamer (World of Warcraft for too many years…) I want to be fair and have fun. Most importantly, I want my hard work to actually pay off and legitimately earn my times.

I was reading that many users are opting to recalibrate their machines when they get them, yet the results still may be a bit off. Seeing as the devices can only can be recalibrated so many times, I was interested in exploring other options. Enter power pedals.

Are power pedals a solution to this problem and are they worth it? I figure I’m good with spending extra for accuracy as I do the same for my gaming pcs. Also, what should I be looking for in terms of compatibility for the bike?

Thanks in advance! Looking forward to having fun while losing weight!

Hi @Mike_Richards

If you are planning to spend money on power pedals, then you can get away with a super cheap used spin bike.

Power pedals is a good option to get accurate power numbers on a spin bike. The only thing is a spin bike does not change the resistance based on terrain so you have to do that by using the resistance knob.

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Sounds good! Thanks for the response @Gerrie_Delport. I was actually looking at a set of Garmin pedals. I just need to see if they are compatible.

As for the terrain, I’m ok with changing it manually. I found some posts by guys that use certain resistance levels and may use their posts as a guide.

I would also add that not all spin bikes have standard size threads for the pedals, so you will want to make sure that whatever you choose has the correct size thread for the power pedals. I believe the Assioma Uno power meter pedals are the least expensive on the market, and have good reviews.

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Thanks @Mike_Rowe_PBR! I was just looking at those! I’m interested to see if those or the similarly priced Garmin pedals are comparable.

Question, what I have to do in settings to change over to enable power pedals? Just change the settings prior to the ride?

When pairing sensors in Zwift at startup you will choose the pedals as your power source, it will then remember your settings and automatically search for them every time you start Zwift.

Should be easy and straight forward.

:ride_on:

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Sounds good! I’m excited. I’m happy that I did the research! I want to do this the right way. I’ll look into other spin bikes that might be more cost effective.

@Mike_Richards

I modified my wife’s spinning and added a Stages left power crank arm, and she is very happy, the plus point is it is easy to adjust size so my daughter can also use it.

@Gerrie_Delport which bike does she have? Are there advantages with going with a crank over a pedal?

Pedal is 100% easier. !!

The crank was a pain to install, lots of modifications but I got the stages super cheap used.

I don’t know the model but it is a schwinn about 15 years old from a gym that sold old stock.

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Awesome! As petty as it sounds, it’s temtping to get the Bowflex over the Schwinn due to aesthetics. I know they are the same bike, but it would match the other equipment I have down there.

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Question for @Gerrie_Delport, @Mike_Rowe_PBR and others who may know. If I get the power pedals, will I have to recalibrate the bike still? I’m kinda wondering if the resistance will be right or will the power pedals negate that since ZWIFT is no longer getting power data from the bike?

I don’t think you would need to, just don’t expect the numbers to match with whatever the display is on the IC4. Zwift will use the info from the pedals, so it doesn’t matter what the bike is broadcasting. The pedals should also provide cadence info for Zwift, so nothing from the IC4 is really needed at all.

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I’m kinda torn now. I’m not sure if getting the pedals will make the console useless now if I don’t use Zwift. I think all of this data is confusing me now!

It is already useless if the accuracy is so far off :slight_smile:

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Haha I suppose so! So taking all this info into account, is the bike console by itself inaccurate if I was just biking in my basement without Zwift? I hope this makes sense.

Based on the reports I have seen on the forums, the power accuracy is terrible. Usually way over what is actually being produced. If you are serious about training and getting faster, you will want accurate power, heart rate, and cadence. A good set of power meter pedals will solve the power and cadence piece, then you will want a good HRM (not those silly things on the handle bar that you grab onto to measure HR, I’m not sure if the IC4 even has those). These are the metrics you want to track and improve to get fitter and faster.

If you don’t care about accuracy and just want to ride around and have fun, be social, etc. then it doesn’t really matter. However, if you plan on racing and being competitive please use an accurate power source, or you can really ruin the experience for everyone else in the race that has accurate power sources and aren’t intentionally sandbagging (entering a lower category to get an easy win rather than racing against people of similar ability).

If you just want to ride the bike and watch Netflix, or do a virtual spin class then accuracy doesn’t really matter. It really depends on your overall goals.

The bowflex/schwinn comes with an armband HRM. I also use a Garmin watch for that. I just don’t want a product that’s inaccurate outside of Zwift since I’m not sure how much my wife will be using the app.

Im just thinking if you have the power pedals you can probably try to calibrate the trainer to be less inaccurate for using outside of Zwift.

But as Mike mentioned outside of Zwift you probably wont care about accuracy.

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@Gerrie_Delport, @Mike_Rowe_PBR, Thanks again for all the info! I just spoke with customer service and found out that pedals are 9/16". I can at least purchase my pedals before I get the bike in. I know Amazon has the bike in stock but kinda like the black of the Bowflex better and I’m kinda nervous about Amazon’s delivery service lately…

Question, in terms of hills on Zwift, will I just have to feel how how much to torque the resistance to get the best experience? (Oh look a hill! Time to crank this up!)