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The Horizon IC7.9 Indoor Cycle – A Budget Friendly Alternative For Streaming [A Review]

horizon ic7.9 indoor cycle review

Horizon finally decided to enter the streaming spin bike race and I think a lot of folks are gonna be glad they did. With their IC7.9 Indoor Cycle, Horizon offers one of the most budget friendly streaming bikes I’ve come across.

They took a page out of Echelon’s book and designed the IC7.9 without a large, expensive display. Instead, you pair your own tablet to it and off you go.

Unlike Echelon though, this cycle is designed to work with any spinning app you like. Feel free to choose between Peloton, Studio SWEAT onDemand, or any other on-demand/live streaming app you find.

And at roughly 1/3 the cost of Peloton (and no mandatory subscription fees), I think this bike is well positioned to be a huge hit.

But is it the right bike for your home?

That’s what this review is here to help you figure out. In this article, we’ll take a close look at everything this bike has to offer. After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide whether or not this is your next spin cycle.

Ok, let’s get to it.

The Horizon IC7.9 Indoor Cycle

IC 7.9 Indoor Cycle

Horizon Fitness has made a name for themselves for providing solid equipment that’s reasonably priced. Their products aren’t flashy or fancy, but they’re solidly built and come with generous warranties.

Horizon is basically a provider of upscale budget equipment. You know, stuff that is really affordable but actually works.

They offer a little bit of everything cardio related, from treadmills and ellipticals to bikes and rowers. They even have a cool HIIT trainer (Peak Trainer HT5.0) designed to compete with the Bowflex models.

The IC7.9 is their newest bike and only 1 of 2 spin cycles currently in their lineup. The other being a little more traditional (and affordable) and less sophisticated.

Pros

  • 35 lb flywheel
  • Precision resistance lever with intensity levels from 0-100%
  • Easy to use with fitness apps
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Fully adjustable, multi-grip handlebars
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • Dual-sided pedals
  • LCD console tracks workout metrics
  • Good warranty
  • Well priced

Cons

  • No heart rate monitoring

Flywheel

I always start my spin bike reviews with a discussion on the flywheel. When you think about it, spin bikes are pretty simple machines- well, the bike part anyway.

You have the frame, the pedals, and the flywheel. Just like a traditional road bike, minus the wheels. I guess there’s the whole magnetic resistance system in there too.

Anyway, what I think I’m trying to say is the flywheel is the meat and potatoes of the bike. It’s what gives the bike it’s “feel” during your workouts.

Most people are of the school of thought that when talking about flywheels, well, flywheel weights, that heavier is better. Although this idea has been challenged recently with some awesome spin cycles utilizing really light flywheels (like the Keiser M3i).

Heavy flywheels are preferred because the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins. This momentum helps keep the flywheel spinning between pedal strokes, which makes for a smoother ride.

These days, “heavy” can be a subjective term, but generally speaking, quality bikes advertising their heavy flywheel will usually come with at least a 25-30 lb flywheel.

This is certainly heavy enough to provide a smooth, fluid ride.

The IC7.9 comes with a 35 lb flywheel, which I’m certain is considered heavy in anyone’s book. Pair this massive flywheel with a quiet magnetic resistance system and you’ve got everything you need for a serious workout.

Speaking of resistance, I like what Horizon did here. On the IC7.9, you adjust the resistance level using a lever, making it easy to precisely select your intensity.

They took a page out of Peloton’s book too, allowing you to set the intensity between 0-100%. According to Horizon, there are technically 10 different resistance levels spaced between that 0-100% bar, although you can place the resistance between these levels.

It also makes it easy to repeat any resistance level.

Say you’re doing interval work and you want the intense portion to be the same on each one- simply recall what resistance % you set it at and set it there again with the convenient lever.

This is similar to how Peloton does their resistance, but they use a dial instead of a lever. Peloton’s resistance is also digitally displayed and much more sophisticated.

Overall, the IC7.9 scores highly with its heavy flywheel and smooth magnetic system. I like the 0-100% scale for setting resistance levels too.

Seat

The IC7.9 uses a standard bicycle seat. This means 2 things: 1) the seat is uncomfortable, and 2) you can easily swap it out for another one if you want to.

The truth is all spin cycle seats are uncomfortable if you’re not used to them. They’re small and hard, just like road bike seats.

After all, spin cycles are designed to mimic the feel of riding a bike outdoors.

All seats are like this, so I can’t hold this against the IC7.9. After a few rides, your rear end will adapt and get used to it. If not, get yourself an affordable gel seat cushion and that should help a lot.

What’s important to consider is whether or not a bike’s seat is fully adjustable.

The IC7.9 does come with a fully adjustable seat, meaning you can adjust both the height and the horizontal (fore/aft) position. Being able to adjust the horizontal position is key for finding the most comfortable riding position.

The only thing missing here is a place to store some small dumbbells. Many streaming spin classes involve arm sections in their workouts.

Not a huge deal, but this bike doesn’t come with a dumbbell rack attached. You could choose not to do resisted workouts or simply place your weights on a chair beside you within reach.

Overall, the IC7.9 comes with a fully adjustable seat, and that’s what really matters.

Handlebars

When it comes to handlebars on a spin bike, there’s only a couple things to look for. First, they should be multi-grip and offer at least 3 different positions (standard, narrow, and wide).

The IC7.9 checks this box with their multi-grip handles. You can comfortably stand and ride as you choose your preferred grip (I prefer the 3rd position, or the widest, most distal grips).

Some bikes offer fully adjustable handlebars, others don’t. I don’t think it’s as important for handlebars to be fully adjustable as it is for seats, but it’s a nice feature to have.

This bike does come with fully adjustable handlebars, allowing you to set the height and horizontal position. It’s just another way to customize your fit, which is never a bad thing.

So, not much else to say here, other than the handles are nice and thick, which makes for a more comfortable ride. Overall, the IC7.9 scores highly here too with the added horizontal adjustment on the handles.

Frame

A quality spin bike needs to have a heavy-duty frame to ensure you won’t get any unwanted moving or wobbling during use. It can be hard to get a sense of that without trying a bike out, but there are a few things you can look at to get an idea of how stable it is.

Simply looking at the bike, does the frame look thick or thin?

This is subjective, I know, but if the bike looks “small” or “wimpy”, odds are it is.

A less subjective way is to look at the weight of the machine. Heavier bikes have larger, heavier components. And heavy is a good thing when talking about fitness equipment, because it usually means more stable during use.

Spin bikes by design are smaller than a lot of other fitness machines, but I still recommend going with one that weighs over 100 lb. This should be heavy enough to provide a sturdy base for you to cycle on.

Keep in mind the flywheel makes up a good portion of the total weight, so bikes with heavier flywheels should weigh more.

The IC7.9 has an assembled weight of 124 lb, which is impressive considering the price. For comparison’s sake, this is identical to the Echelon Connect EX-5s (which is significantly more expensive) and not too far off from the Peloton Bike.

The NordicTrack Commercial S22i is a beast at almost 200 lb, but you gotta think a good portion of that is coming from the console.

Besides bike weight, you should also look at max weight capacity, because that also gives you a good idea as to how sturdy and well-built a bike is.

I don’t recommend going with any bike with a weight limit under 300 lb unless budget dictates it.

The IC7.9 comes with a 300 lb weight limit, which is really pretty average for spin bikes, even budget friendly ones.

Overall, this bike scores highly with the heavy weight, it’s a good sign of frame integrity. The weight limit isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it’s high enough to safely accommodate most users.

Pedals

Spin bikes usually come with pedals that have a toe cage (to be used with sneakers or any shoe you prefer) or clipless pedals (to be used with cleats).

Both have their advantages, but I prefer to use cleats because being attached to the pedals allows you to reach higher cadences more efficiently.

The IC7.9 comes with dual-sided pedals, meaning you have a toe cage on one side and a clipless system on the other. This is good news because you can use sneakers or cleats, dealer’s choice.

Like most spin bikes, these pedals are standard, so if you want to switch them out for others for any reason, it’s really easy to do so.

Overall, the dual-sided pedals are a nice touch, especially for a cycle in this price range.

Console

Ok, so the biggest money saving factor with the IC7.9 is the fact that it doesn’t come with a large, HD touchscreen console. It’s designed so that you can use your own tablet (or smartphone) to access spinning apps.

It does come with a small LCD console that displays your workout metrics- stuff like cadence (rpm), distance, and calories.

This is key, because this bike isn’t bluetooth compatible. This means you aren’t connecting the bike to your fitness apps in anyway- you’re simply watching the workouts while you spin.

And since it comes with a small screen that displays your cadence, you can match the metrics the instructors on the apps are guiding.

This is a very simple system, but brilliant if you ask me.

Especially when comparing it to the Echelon bikes, that are completely dependent on the app for measuring all metrics. On the Connect EX-3, you can’t even see your cadence if you aren’t connected to their app.

This is fine when everything is working correctly, but what if you can’t access the app for some reason? Or your bluetooth isn’t connecting? In these cases, you can’t workout.

That’s why I think Horizon had a great idea to add this simple little display. You can access and use apps if you want, but you aren’t dependent on them.

You could use the IC7.9 on its own as a standard spin cycle if you wanted and you’d be able to see all your stats.

Some may be asking then: what’s the difference between the IC7.9 which is “made for streaming” and any other spin cycle?

Well, the addition of that little LCD screen goes a long way. Keep in mind a lot of traditional spin bikes don’t come with a display. The display alone allows you to measure your cadence and keep up with the instructors on the apps.

The lever resistance adjustments makes a difference too. Being able to easily adjust between 1-100% mimics the Peloton’s system, which will come in handy when following spin classes.

Otherwise, you’re right, it’s just a fairly regular spin cycle. Of course, even if you don’t use streaming apps, the IC7.9 has a lot to offer (flywheel, frame, pedals, etc).

The only thing missing is bluetooth, meaning this bike isn’t compatible with wireless heart rate monitors (and there aren’t any grip monitors either).

Overall, the lack of a large fancy display allows the IC7.9 to keep its budget friendly price. Instead, it utilizes a small LCD screen to measure all workout metrics, allowing you to follow along with any fitness app you like.

Warranty

The Horizon IC7.9 Spin Cycle comes with the following warranty:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 1 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Overall, I think this guarantee is pretty good, especially considering the price. Lifetime on the frame is more generous than most of the luxury brands I’ve mentioned above (Peloton, NordicTrack) and a year on labor is standard operating procedure.

It would be nice to see a little longer on the parts warranty, but considering the price, this isn’t too unexpected.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to join the streaming sensation without having to take a second mortgage out on your home, Horizon’s IC7.9 is worth considering.

As a straight up spin cycle, it’s got a lot to offer. I like the heavy flywheel and I really like that they used a 1-100% system for the resistance settings (similar to Peloton).

The bike frame is heavy-duty and well-built, which is something a lot of budget bikes can’t say.

Throw in dual-sided pedals and a fully adjustable seat (and handlebars) and you’ve got a home run. It’s even backed by a solid warranty.

The only thing missing is heart rate tracking- it would be nice if the small LCD console was bluetooth compatible.

Overall though, I think the IC7.9 is a quality bike. It would be a great buy for folks looking to take advantage of all the spinning classes available through apps without having to pay the luxury brand prices.


 

 

 

Will

19 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for your review, I just bought this bike and I’m really excited to give it a go. Can you let me know the cleat design on this bike so I can make sure I have the right spinning shoes ready to go when it’s delivered? I can’t find that information anywhere other than it’s a dual design with cleats and cage.

    • Great question- I also couldn’t find that exact info on their website or in the owner’s manual. Most exercise bikes use SPD pedals, so I’m guessing the IC7.9 does too, but I’m not certain. You could try to contacting Horizon support directly, they should have that info. sorry I wasn’t much help.

    • hey Jan, I found out for sure- the IC7.9 is only compatible with SPD cleats.

    • It sounds like it should enter energy saver mode after your workout and wake up (and reset) once the next rider touches a button on the console. You could also try pushing the left button until distance is selected and then hold right button for 3 sec. If that doesn’t work, you may want to contact Horizon’s customer service.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Do you have to plug this bike in? I’m assuming no, but with the LCD display… maybe?

    • nope, the little LCD screen runs on batteries, so no need to plug in or be located near an outlet.

  3. It’s obvious that you’ve never actually used this bike. The resistance doesn’t go from 1-100% just like the peloton. Sure, it’s labeled that way, but there’s actually only 8 different resistance settings. Do all your ‘reviews’ just contain information you found on the internet?

    • Thanks for the “constructive” criticism. I’m not sure what you’re talking about with regards to the resistance system.

      • I did some more digging and spoke to a Horizon rep and I think I get what Mark is talking about here- the resistance level is set up with a graph representing a 0-100% scale and there are 10 different resistance levels set up on that scale. You can place the lever anywhere on that scale to set your resistance, but you aren’t likely to see much difference in resistance between resistance levels (unlike the Peloton, that has incremental resistance changes with each percentage of resistance added or subtracted).

      • Of course you’re not sure what I’m talking about. You’ve never actually used the bike. Instead, you’re just copying information you’ve found on the internet.

  4. It has 8 “clicks” for resistance, the lever can be in 8 positions, from easiest to hardest, hardest does not seem super stiff though

  5. You mention the resistance level is displayed on the LCD screen. I’ve not found that. Can you provide additional info?

    • I doubled checked and you’re right, the console doesn’t display the resistance level- my mistake. I amended the review. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. I recently purchased the IC7.9 because it appears we may be on the verge gym closures – Round 2. I bought the floor model at a big box sporting goods store. The bike was dusty and not assembled properly. This probably turned a lot of people off to the bike. Parts were loose and the seat slide was installed backwards, so unless you were 6’5″, the seat would never get to a comfortable riding position. I brought it home and completely checked it over, fixed some assembly issues, and have a great bike for $350! There is one missing cover over the magnets and I’m waiting for a reply on this plastic piece. I have used it for a week with the Peloton app and the resistance control is sufficient for anyone who doesn’t want to spend >$2K on a bike! The app is $12.99 / month. The magnetic resistance is great and the bike is very sturdy for my 230 lb. frame to be pushing it without worrying that the bike is going to fall apart. The only thing lacking is that the display is not backlit. It is difficult to see in my dimly lit garage, especially when I’m standing on the pedals and blocking the light. Will buy a clip on LED light to cure that problem!

    • That’s awesome, I’m glad to hear you are getting it fixed up and that it’s working great for ya! Thanks for sharing your experience.

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