IC4 - Novice

Hi guys,

I’m looking to buy a spin bike to address health issue, with that said, I’m considering the IC4. To make riding enjoyable, I’m also considering Zwift. Knowing that the IC4 is not a supported bike, does if make sense to subscribe to Zwift? Here’s what I’m looking to get out of the app:

  1. Scenic rides (leisure, not races)
  2. To experience a scenic virtual ride with my girl friend — just the 2 of us. Private ride.

Will I be happy with the IC4/Zwift combo?

And though the stats are not correct, if I’m not comparing the results against others, wouldn’t the numbers (though not correctly calibrated) still be relevant for tracking my progress?

Many thanks!

hi @Ken_Walker1, welcome to the forums.

This bike is discussed quite a bit on the forums, searching for the keyword has numerous results. One example: Getting a Schwinn IC4/Bowflex C6 & Power Pedals: I want accuracy

In my opinion you will be happier with a smart trainer that will automatically change the resistance rather than having to manually change it on a spin bike. You might find that once you get into Zwift you do start to care about accuracy and wanting to try racing.

Also, Zwift would require both you and your girlfriend to have paid accounts in order to ride together. Is she already on Zwift or would she need a bike/trainer too?

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Hi Mike,

She is not a member and nor does she own a bike. This idea to improve my health (arthritis/autoimmune) is also a Christmas gift consideration — possibly buying TWO Schwinn IC4 bikes and a subscription for each. Something we can share during this crazy time in history.

Don’t buy those spin bikes for using Zwift

I’ve had an IC4 since August 15. Pretty much the same as you, just riding for leisure and not racing.

You’re going to get a lot of people saying no, that it’s sacrilege to use a spin bike in Zwift. And there definitely is a bit of concern with the accuracy of the IC4 wattage in Zwift*, so I don’t mean to minimize that. Personally though, I’m very happy with my choice. The need to manually change resistance can be a little annoying, but you get used to it.

A lot of people will say to get a smart trainer and a bike separately, and that’s a better experience (especially since you then can take the bike outside), but it tends to be more expensive.

The IC4 on the other hand has the advantages of being easier to adjust, all-in-one (if you do have a bike to go outdoors with, you don’t have to worry about swapping it into the trainer and back), and it’s completely silent. Would I rather have a Wahoo Kickr Bike or a TacX Neo Bike? Sure. But those are about $2000 - $3000 more expensive too.

(In my specific case, my outdoor bike just isn’t compatible with a trainer - I live in an upper-level apartment of an older building with small staircases, so I use a folding bike with 20" wheels that also has an internal hub - so that was also a factor for me in going with a spin bike rather than a second bike and a trainer.)

For what it’s worth, I feel that the use case you describe works fine. If I set the bike to a certain resistance level and use a certain cadence, the wattage reported in Zwift is pretty consistent, which would mean you’d be able to gauge your improvements in fitness like you are interested in.

*I also feel like my IC4 purchased in August seems to be relatively accurate. Maybe not as accurate as a smart trainer, but it’s matching up fairly decently with my outdoor rides, especially when you consider my outdoor rides are in a city and often require frequent slowing down and speeding up for traffic lights and cars. See examples attached. I can’t attach the photos but data from Strava is below. I get that for some people this still isn’t accurate enough. I suspect part of the difference below is also that because it doesn’t auto-adjust to the road and I don’t micro-adjust the resistance as frequently as would be happening in real life accounting for elevation and wind and stuff, it’s just forcing me to be more consistent on the IC4.
Either way, for me the accuracy is just fine.
11/6: 12.76 miles outdoors, 1:06:18 moving time, 290ft elevation, 84w Estimated Avg Power
11/8: 7.01 miles in Zwift, 29:35 moving time, 200ft elevation, 99w Weighted Avg Power

Joe, I appreciate the opinion. Thank you!

I may be over thinking this — I just want to increase my cardo and be somewhat entertained. In all honestly, outside of monitoring my heart-rate and maybe RPM, nothing else (performance stats) is meaningful to me. Maybe I’m just better off biking while watching a movie.

Since I’m buying 2 spin bikes, his and her’s, cost is DEFINATELY a consideration. I want a solid bike with 3rd-party app capability even if I cannot utilize all the functionality imbedded in the app.

Joe, with so many spin bike options available, what was the deciding factor for you? Did you look at others bikes? How’s the build quality in your opinion? Happy with the choice? I definitely want a SOLID bike that will take a beating for many years.

Mostly, the big factor was that the IC4 reports power directly (even if it’s potentially not as accurate as other options), and that it works with other apps other than just Zwift - like Peloton if I ever decided I was interested in that. But to complicate things further, one other possible option could be getting a ‘dumb’ spin bike and adding power meter pedals, which would be much more accurate in Zwift.

Build quality is good in my opinion, and I’ve had no issues yet - but it’s only been a few months. I did hate the saddle it came with and needed to swap it out. Other people have had pedal/crank arm issues, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m also 6’1, I’ve read some complaints from people that are shorter. It might also be worth perusing the subreddit /r/SchwinnIC4_BowflexC6/. I haven’t checked it in a while but there’s a lot of other owners there.

Thanks, Joe! Helpful.