Exercise bikes are an amazing way to get a low-impact cardio workout. They can strengthen your legs and muscles in your lower body while burning fat, which can aid in weight loss.
Best of all, they allow you to get in an intense workout without ever leaving your home.
Many people benefit from additional motivation while they’re working out, which is why indoor cycles that provide access to live and on-demand workouts are such a popular option. Unfortunately, many bikes like this are prohibitively expensive.
The Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6 are some of the more affordable options available, but which one of these two bikes is better?
Schwinn IC4 vs. Bowflex C6: The Same Bike?
Even though the IC4 and C6 are made by different brands, Schwinn and Bowflex’s bikes (read our Bowflex C6 review) are both made by the same manufacturer, Nautilus. Nautilus is also the parent company of both brands. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the IC4 and C6 are essentially identical.
There are a few minor differences between the two bikes, but those discrepancies largely exist on the surface level. Even the appearance of the two bikes is the same.
The only real distinction is the branding. There are also some differences when it comes to customer service and product warranties.
Schwinn provides slightly more protection for their indoor cycles than Bowflex offers, with 10 years of protection in the standard warranty. In contrast, Bowflex only offers three years of coverage.
For an additional fee, users can purchase a protection plan that provides five more years of coverage.
If you want the most affordable of these two bikes then the Schwinn is your best best:
While the Schwinn is about $150 cheaper, some folks may prefer Bowflex because they’re more comfortable with the brand. If you fall into that category, you can learn more about the C6 Below:
Key Features of the IC4 and C6
In spite of their lower-than-average price tags, the IC4 and C6 have a wide array of features, including:
- Full-Color LCD screen: Track metrics like heart rate, calories burned, time, distance, and more
- USB charging station: Built-in chargers means devices will always be fully charged
- Comfortable seating: Seat is suitable for long rides and workouts
- 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels: Users can find the ideal resistance levels for their workouts
- Bluetooth enabled heart rate monitor: Perfect for heart rate zone training
- Pedals with built-in SPD functionality: Enjoy this popular Peloton feature at a fraction of the price point
- 3 lb dumbells: Work your upper and lower body at the same time
- 40-pound drive: Heavy drive functionality is perfect for more intense workouts
- Fully adjustable: Every user can find their perfect fit
- Built-in water bottle holders: Water is always in easy reach
- Smooth and quiet ride: Can exercise without disturbing anyone around you
Both exercise bikes are incredibly sturdy and suitable for many different types of workouts. Because they’re equipped with a 40-pound heavy drive, even experienced spinners will be able to push themselves to their limits.
However, these bikes are also beginner-friendly.
Fitness Apps Comptiable with the C6 and IC4
Neither the C6 or the IC4 are equipped with its own screen.
However, they do include a media rack where you can easily store a tablet or another device during workouts. Since these indoor cycles feature Bluetooth connectivity, users can stream workouts on smart TVs, tablets, and even phones.
It’s easy to see the lack of the screen as a downside, but it can be a benefit as well. When you use these bikes, you’re not locked into a single ecosystem. Instead, you can use a wide range of apps, such as:
You don’t need to invest in the Peloton cycle in order to enjoy their live and on-demand classes. This app includes over 10,000 classes, including cycling, strength training, and boot camp classes.
The instructors are experienced and motivating, and there are many different styles available.
A Peloton Digital membership will run you $12.99 per month. A 14-day free trial is available, allowing users to try out the app and see if it’s a good fit for them. The app is compatible with most devices and can be streamed on your Smart TV as well. It’s also compatible with the Apple Watch.
If you’re interested in riding along with others or even participating in races, the Zwift app might be ideal for you! This app was specifically created with group rides in mind. Many different types of rides are available, including rides that simulating riding on city streets and in the Mayan jungle. Structured training for solo workouts is also an option.
Zwift offers a 25km free trial to potential users. Once you’ve gotten through that, you’ll be paying a $14.99 monthly subscription fee. This app is compatible with iOS, Windows, and Mac devices.
This app offers personalized coaching, indoor classes, and simulated rides. There’s a massive selection of classes available, and the app can also be used alongside the built-in heart monitor that comes with the IC4 and C6.
An iFit membership costs $39 monthly. If you pay annually, your costs will be $33 a month.
If you’d prefer a focused training program, this app is a fantastic choice. It has more than 100 plans available for users of all types.
The cost of this app is $12.99 a month. Trainer Road doesn’t offer a free trial, but there is a 30-day moneyback guarantee. The app is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac devices.
As is the case with Peloton, Echelon’s fitness app is available to people that don’t have an Echelon bike. The app offers many types of workouts for users of all fitness levels. Live and on-demand classes are available.
Echelon offers numerous subscription options, such as the $19.99 monthly FitPass Access subscription or a $39.99 plan that provides unlimited access to live classes. Echelon’s app works with the IC4 and C6 heart rate monitor and is compatible with most devices.
These are just a few of the many apps that you can use with your IC4 or C6. Since you’ll be streaming workouts on your own devices, you’ll be able to experiment with different apps and choose something that works for you.
Price Comparison: Which Bike is Cheaper?
The Bowflex C6 has a price tag of $949. Shipping and a free mat are included. Financing is available with payments as low as $53 a month.
The Schwinn IC4 is priced $799, making it the less expensive of the two models. Shipping is free, but in-home assembly costs an extra $129.
Financing is available, with no interest payments if the bike is paid for in full within 18 months. Monthly payments start at $45.
The Schwinn IC4 is about $150 cheaper than C6...If you’re looking for the more adorable bike, then the Schwinn is a no-brainer.
Summary: How to Decide if the IC4 or C6 is Better for You
Since the Schwinn IC4 and the Bowflex C6 are the same bikes with different branding, and because the Schwinn IC4 is the more affordable choice out of the two models, the IC4 will be the better option for the majority of users.
With that said, you’ll want to compare financing options and look for other incentives when you’re trying to decide which bike you should buy.
Warranties and protection plans should also be taken into consideration. Schwinn’s standard warranty provides 10 years of protection for the frame, three years of mechanical and electrical protection, and a one-year labor warranty. The warranty for the C6 is less comprehensive, with three years of coverage for parts and one year of labor coverage.
The IC4 and C6 provide all of the standard benefits of an indoor cycle, but also offer increased flexibility and a lower price tag.
Because Schwinn offers more protection at a lower price, it’s the option that most users will want to choose.
Think the Bowflex C6 may be the better fit?