Help needed, a little confused

Hi everybody I hope you can help. I have spent the past week googling non-stop trying to sort this out.

I am a keen HIIT class attendee (or was) and a runner and have been looking forward to restrictions being eased however, I’ve been thrown one of life’s curveballs and I have something wrong with my hip joint which will take a year or two to sort out. I am now no longer allowed to do HIIT or running :flushed:. I went into panic mode! But have since calmed down. I now have a plan…

I am going to purchase an indoor bike and I want to use both Zwift and Peloton or something similar for virtual rides but also spin classes. And do some Pilates and weights sessions in the gym when we are able. After looking into it these are the conclusions I’ve come to…

  1. I cannot pay out the vast amount of money that a fully loaded Smart bike will cost at this moment plus I wouldn’t want to until I have spent a good year making sure that I love my new fitness regime as much as my last one.

  2. I don’t have enough room to get a trainer and put my road bike in it - it will be in my bedroom! Plus I plan to use it almost everyday but if the weather is nice I might take my real bike out and I don’t want to be carrying my bike up and down the stairs.

  3. I’ve called some stores and googled and I’ve narrowed it down to two options… the Schwinn IC8 or the Echelon Sport Connect. I’m not actually sure if I can use Zwift on the Echelon though as they have their own fitness app?

In fear of my own sanity could I please ask for you to share your wisdom as I’m on the verge of going running again and it would not be good for me physically at this time, although mentally it would be wonderful.

Sorry for the enormously long read… :grimacing:

If you care at all about having accurate power numbers for fitness and training, or want the benefit of using ERG mode for exercise, or if you want to enjoy the full Zwift experience with changing resistance with the profile of the course you are on, you shouldn’t buy a Schwinn spin bike or any other spin bike in my honest opinion.

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The Wahoo Kickr is a GREAT trainer for the rear wheel and works with Zwift flawlessly. I had one before i upgraded t the Kickr Bike.

If your bike will fit in the space, it also will with a direct drive trainer attached, maybe even less room once the back wheel is off.

If you want to do spin classes/peleton, get a spin bike. Zwift is kind of a different animal, imo.

If a spin bike is most practical for your situation, I would recommend that you buy a cheaper spin bike and a set of power meter pedals. That way you will have an accurate power measure when using Zwift. It should be noted however that your resistance will not be controllable by Zwift and you will have to turn a knob to compensate for gradient changes during the ride.

There are quite a few posts about just how inaccurate the power calibration is on the IC8.

And a few on how to use a cheaper spin bike with power meter pedals like the Favero Assioma Unos

Good luck!

Fez, Thank you for your comment. I do care about the stats and this is why I asked my question - because I really don’t know the best way to go. Although I am getting the impression that the Schwinn is a really bad idea.

Lee, I don’t really have enough room for my road bike to be in my bedroom plus I don’t want to keep having to take it up and down stairs whenever I want to ride it outside or inside. A trainer is definitely a non-option at this point.

I want to do spin and virtual bike rides, there must be a way to be able to do both without spending £2k on a Peloton?

That’s actually a good idea Lebasi - maybe I’ve been looking at this wrong. I now get that I should avoid the IC8 so I will. Turning the resistance knob on a bike is not an issue for me to start with. Hmmm :thinking:

I bought a smart trainer last autumn. Pre pandemic I’d been doing 2 to 3 spin classes a week and last summer doing a lot of cycling outside and faced with a winter of doing nothing I went and got a smart trainer. I would honestly say now it’s been my best purchase of the last few years, so I’m going to be biased and you asked this question on a Zwift forum so most responses are going to be biased.

From the outside doing a spin class and doing a Zwift session may seem similar, you are sat indoors on a bike pedaling and going nowhere, but they are very different. Now I’ve done Zwift I would find it very hard going back and doing spin classes on a regular basis. In Zwift you see actual power numbers and workouts are based all around your power output and you have a lot more measurable data to see how hard you are working and any increases in performance which when I did spin classes I simply didn’t have.

If I were you I would think what is more important Zwift (or similar) or spin classes and buy something appropriate for that. To my knowledge there is not a great solution that will do both, especially at a budget, if you want to do Zwift then a you can do it with a spin bike and a power meter (or speed sensor), but for the money you’d be much better off going for a cheap wheel on smart trainer.

As for space a bike and trainer is going to take a similar amount of space as a spin bike. And for several years I lived on the 14th floor and kept my bike in the apartment because of bike thieves and dealt with getting up and down on a daily basis to go out for rides.

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Thanks for such a lengthy response David. So when you first looked into it you wanted to do both Zwift and spin also. I’ve seen Zwift and it’s a must for me but I’m not driven by power numbers etc as I’m not when I’m out riding in the real world.

I will admit I haven’t tried Spin but I’ve seen it and it seems like a good replacement for my HIIT training and will keep me fit and toned. There is no alternative for me to look at.

I am def having a rethink on the equipment I need though. My bike in my bedroom is not an option. I want to avoid having to keep taking my bike indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs every time I want to go out on my bike. So it looks like it may have to be a spin bike with a power sensor.

Thank you again for your advice.

I was initially looking for a spin bike because I didn’t know Zwift (or it’s like) existed. At some point I became aware of Zwift (probably from ads or paid promotions related to cycling content). Once I’d looked into what it was it seemed a better fit for me as a lone activity in the basement. I enjoyed doing spin classes at the gym, but a big part of that was the social aspect, I attended classes at the same time every week and got to know the instructor and other regulars and it’s the chat and jokes with the others that take away from the monotony of just pedalling away in a dark room for an hour.

As a bonus for me getting a smart trainer and using my own bike was cheaper than a spin bike and come the summer it’s easier to pack up and put away than a spin bike.

I’m not familiar with those spin bikes, but it seems the schwinn does have a built in power meter and can be paired with Zwift using Bluetooth, but it isn’t very accurate and does inflate the power output. TBH this wouldn’t bother me too much as long as it is consistent and I knew so I didn’t think my performance in Zwift would translate to outside on my bike. Also note that some people will be annoyed if you race with it in Zwift.

Spin bikes that work on Zwift are expensive.
Cheap spin bikes will work with Zwift if you buy an expensive power meter.

The cheapest option is another cheap used bike on a trainer.
You can take the front wheel off and make a stand to save space.

I have the IC4 with the Assioma Uno pedals and it is working well for me. I wanted a spin bike for all the reasons folks choose spin bikes. The IC4 is a good deal for a solid bike that easily connects to numerous biking apps but not as good a deal when you add in the pedals. If you care at all about reality you will need the pedals. The bike put me at around 15 percent faster than the power meter pedals. The resistance knob, instead of zwift changing resistance and then the rider changing gears, has not bothered me. I have done a couple of workouts where ERG mode would have been nice. I originally planned to also try Pelaton out but having too much fun on Zwift. From an injury standpoint I like being able to choose my resistance and cadence. In spin classes I feel there is not as much control. If you know that you also want spin classes I think the IC4, with power meter pedals for Zwift, is a really good choice.

I am firmly in the direct drive smart trainer camp but I did have the opportunity to ride a Peloton for a few days recently. In addition to classes it offers what it calls “scenic rides” which essentially amounts to following GoPro or drone footage along various paths in awesome places like the Utah National Parks or Col du Tourmalet. You have to control the resistance but if the changing scenery is what compels you to like Zwift this might be an okay (yet still expensive) substitute. One final thought: in terms of space a direct drive trainer would take up only as much and probably less space than your bike with the rear wheel on…is there space where you store your bike to add a fan and a computer?

If using power pedals you can get a used spin bike for $100.00.