The Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike is a mid-range spin bike with some rather impressive specs. It’s also sporting the Schwinn name, a fact alone that should grant it a certain level of respect, warranted or not. Schwinn’s obviously known around the world for creating quality bikes, but the market is really saturated with similarly priced spin bikes right now. There’s a ton of them.
Can the Schwinn IC3 compete in this market with so many options to choose from? Is it a smart buy for the price? Even the best for the price?
These are the questions I plan on answering with this review. I also want to show you a few tips on what to look for when comparing these bikes so you can make your own educated decisions.
Choosing A Spin Bike
Whether you’ve just started your search or have been looking for a while now, you’ve probably noticed there are A LOT of bikes to choose from. And many are similarly priced. The good news in all of this is that with all the competition, prices on these bikes have definitely gotten better.
But even if you’re using price as your primary decision maker, you’ve still got some work to do because there are a bunch of affordable spin bikes too, most falling within the 200 -$500 range.
User reviews are great, but they are subjective and everyone has their own personal experience, which may or may not be the norm. I think it’s important to consider this info, but I also think it’s important to make decisions based on solid, definitive facts that can be used to compare bikes to each other on a fair basis- the specs.
The following specs are the most important to consider when choosing a spin bike:
Honestly, I think a lot of people probably put too much emphasis on the flywheel weight. The general consensus is that heavier is better (unless you ask the folks at Keiser) because the momentum that builds up provides a smoother ride and more closely resembles the feel of riding a bike outdoors.
That makes sense, but I doubt many people can realistically tell the difference between a 30 lb flywheel and a 40 lb flywheel. Maybe I’m wrong. Experienced cyclists probably can.
Anyway, the flywheel weight is something all spin bikes advertise and heavier is usually preferred. The weights can vary anywhere from 20-50 lb. I suggest you look for one at least 30 lb for a smoother experience.
Heavier flywheels usually mean higher asking price, but nowadays it doesn’t affect the price as much as you’d think. There are plenty of budget bikes offering 40 lb flywheels and higher (Sunny Health & Fitness for one).
Warranty is another spec you should always consider when looking for a spin bike (or any other piece of fitness equipment). Warranties tell us a lot about a product and the company providing it. Think of warranties as insurance on your purchase, longer is always better.
Spin bike warranties are usually divided into frame, parts, and labor. Frame warranties should be the longest of the 3 and will vary greatly depending on the price of your bike. Higher end bikes should have at least 5 years on the frame and some will offer lifetime.
When it comes to parts, 3-5 years is awesome, but most are more in the 1-3 year range. Labor is always the shortest, with many only lasting 90 days. Higher end models may provide up to a year or so.
When stuck between 2 bikes, compare the warranty and go with the longer one.
Higher weight capacities indicate a more robust bike- sturdier construction and more durable materials. If stuck between 2 bikes, I suggest going for the one with the higher weight capacity, if there’s a difference.
Weight capacities vary some between spin bikes. Smaller, cheaper bikes may have weight limits in the 220-250 lb range. Larger, higher-end bikes should be at least 300 lb, with some going as high as 350 lb.
Make sure you have some wiggle room with your body weight, you don’t want to be right at the max of the bikes limit. I like to have at least a 50 lb buffer between my body weight and the machines max limit.
All spin bike seats are pretty standard (and uncomfortable), but the important thing to consider is how adjustable they are. I suggest you find a bike that offers fore/aft (horizontal) adjustments as well as height adjustments. The extra customizability is going to make sure you get a comfortable fit.
These days, most decent bikes are offering this. The most budget friendly spin bikes may not.
Some spin bikes also have horizontal adjustments for the handlebars, although I don’t think that’s quite as common as the seat adjustments.
The more options you can adjust the better in terms of getting a comfortable fit. And the more comfortable you are when you ride, the more likely you are to ride.
For more information on choosing the right cycle, check out my spin bike buyer’s guide.
The Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike
Schwinn is a legend in the cycling world, both for road and exercise bikes. They’ve been around since the late 1800’s and were one of the reasons cycling became so popular to begin with. Exercise bikes remain their bread and butter these days, but they’ve also ventured into ellipticals and treadmills.
At roughly $500, the IC3 falls in the mid-range price range and is the upgraded version of their IC2.
The IC3 comes with a 40 lb flywheel, which is very respectable for the price range and plenty heavy enough to provide a smooth ride experience. With the heavier weight, it will take a little more energy to get it moving from a dead start, as well as take a little more energy to slow it down (but there’s the brake too).
The resistance is adjusted by turning a dial, which increases or decreases the amount of contact with a felt pad. This allows you basically an unlimited amount of resistance, but it isn’t quite as smooth as magnetic. Higher end bikes usually use magnetic resistance because it is smooth, quiet, and virtually maintenance free.
Most users agree the flywheel on the IC3 works smoothly and is pretty quiet, although some have had issues with unwanted noise or clunking. Both of which would need to be addressed by customer service.
The seat on this bike is fully adjustable, which is what we would want to see from a bike in this price range. With the turn of the little lever, you can easily adjust the fore/aft position and the height is easily adjusted by pulling the pin and sliding the seat to your desired height.
Bike seats aren’t comfortable, probably because of how narrow they have to be. This seat isn’t really any different, but you can always throw a gel cushion on it or swap it out for a wider seat if you prefer.
The handlebars on the IC3 offer multiple grips, which is important because you will use different grips based on your position (seated vs standing). The wide grip comes in handy when standing and doing hill intervals. The handlebars are padded and adjustable both in height and horizontal position.
For a spin bike in this price range, the handlebars are surprisingly adjustable. Between the handlebars and the seat, you shouldn’t have any issues with finding the right fit.
This bike has a sleek frame and isn’t quite as heavy-duty looking as some of the more expensive spin bikes, but it still offers a max weight capacity of 300 lb, which is pretty impressive for a bike in this price range.
Fully assembled this bike has the following dimensions: 45″ (L) x 23″ (W) x 49″ (H). One of the benefits of spin bikes is that they are pretty small and don’t take up nearly as much room as other home fitness machines.
With a total weight of about 100 lb assembled, the IC3 is a substantial fitness machine that could be a little challenging for smaller users to move. The built in transport wheels make it easier to transport, but keep in mind most of the weight is coming from the flywheel in the front, so be careful when tilting.
One of the most common complaints users have is regarding damaged parts upon delivery or parts not fitting correctly. These are issues that should be taken up with customer service and should be able to be remedied pretty easily.
Other taller users (6’3″) have complained that the bike is too small for them to use comfortably. If you are well over 6 feet tall, you may have to consider more expensive options to accommodate your height.
I didn’t mention pedals at the beginning, maybe I should’ve. Pedals on spin bikes are usually caged (you can wear sneakers) or clipless (SPD, requires cleats). Higher end bikes tend to utilize the clipless pedals because a lot of experienced cyclists are using them anyway. Budget bikes usually only offer caged pedals.
The Schwinn IC3 offers both, something I haven’t really come across on a bike this affordable before.
For those of you who prefer to wear your sneakers, you can hop on and ride with the caged option. If you have your own cleats, you can clip in and ride as well.
Spin bikes aren’t known for having high-end monitors, they’re normally more of a “less is more” school of thought. Some spin bikes, like the ones seen in cycling classes, don’t have any monitors at all.
The IC3 does have a small monitor and it isn’t particularly sophisticated, although it does offer something most in this price range don’t- wireless heart rate monitoring.
One isn’t included, but if you already own a Polar chest strap monitor or want to purchase one separately you can use it to track your heart rate on the monitor.
Otherwise, the monitor is pretty standard. It displays time, distance, calories, and RPM. Like most spin bikes, there aren’t any programmed workouts on this monitor. That’s actually one of the reasons I chose the Diamondback 510Ic for my home gym, I liked the idea of having preprogrammed workouts.
But, there is a media holder that can hold your tablet or smart phone on the bike, giving the ability to stream workouts if you so choose.
Schwinn is known for offering good warranties on their fitness equipment and that reputation is for good reason. They offer the following warranties on the IC3:
- 5 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is a great warranty for a mid-range spin bike. Other bikes priced similarly are offering 1 and 3 year warranties on the frame and 90 days on parts. For the price, it’s going to be hard to find a better warranty.
Expectations should be high when considering a Schwinn fitness bike. That said, the IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike doesn’t disappoint. With a heavy flywheel, solid frame, and fully adjustable seat/handlebars this model has definitely earned its way into the discussion for best spin bike in this price range. It’s also happens to be backed by one of the best warranties on the market.
The only downsides are that taller users may have a hard time getting comfortable and there aren’t any preprogrammed workouts. With the media holder though, you can stream workouts from your phone or tablet if you want to.
To answer my original questions- yes, the Schwinn IC3 can definitely compete in a saturated market. It has specs that are as good as or better than most bikes in this price range. At roughly $500, it’s a very smart buy and quite possibly the best in its class.