In like Schwinn: How the Economical IC4 Bike Delivers the “Peloton Club” Experience – and More!
Popular apps make for popular bikes. In the case of the top-selling Schwinn IC4, success followed a marriage of the bike’s affordability, quality and ergonomics to one of the most popular home exercise experiences available – but the IC4 didn’t stop there.
Good things come in small packages.
Many a Schwinn IC4 testimonial begins with, “I had my eye on a Peloton bike but …” The “but” usually leads to one or both of two common home-gym issues: space and price. When Nautilus launched the IC4 in October 2019, it played to a receptive audience. The manufacturer touted their new spin bike’s “slim and compact footprint so it can fit easily in your home.” The price was also pleasingly small – less than half that of the storied Peloton bike, with which the IC4 shared many features. Doing so in an economical, space-saving way might have been attraction enough, but the IC4 could also deliver the dynamite consumers were looking for – the Peloton app and its vast array of motivating trainer-led video workouts.
The IC4’s built-in Bluetooth® connectivity provides access to those treasures in a few simple, guided steps:
- Download the Peloton app to an iOS smartphone or tablet (the app does not currently pair with the IC4 via Android. Learn more about connectivity for various apps here.)
- The pairing process involves activating your Bluetooth connection, opening the app, and setting up your cadence (Pedaling speed in RPM). Your cadence will now show up on your screen – which could be the smart device mounted on the rack over your handlebars or a smart TV on your wall.
- You can also monitor your heart rate via the strap that came with your bike or by using your own Apple Watch. There are not-too-complex processes for getting either monitoring device to display their readings. (The Apple Watch route involves a couple of extra steps). Whichever way you go, you can always find your cadence (as RPM), heart rate, time, calories, speed, distance, and resistance level on your IC4 display.
An Incremental Difference
Resistance levels will require some attention because the Peloton instructors will frequently ask you to change for hill climbs and sprints. Keep in mind that although both the Schwinn IC4 and the Peloton Bike have the same number of levels (100), they don’t necessarily change in the same increments. The IC4’s lower levels tend to offer more resistance than the Peloton’s. The opposite is true once you get into the higher levels.
Fortunately, there are online conversion charts that you can either print or write down on paper or cardboard then display on your bike’s media rack. You can also purchase sturdy, plastic conversion reminders that are much less prone to blow away. Either way, users say, you’ll likely soon develop an instinct for converting in your head. Until you do, the IC4’s easy-to-use level shifter and easy-to-read level monitoring will free up some much-needed attention. If you don’t care for conversions, there is an alternative to the Peloton app – from a familiar name.
The Apple Fitness+ App
Launched in December 2020, the Apple Fitness App has a lot in common with Peloton’s product. Both are subscription services. Both offer an expanding library of easy-to-access classes, inspiring music by original artists, and a fine selection of expert instructors covering various exercise regimes. Apple Fitness does its trainer-led video classes differently. Some users prefer it for various reasons, including its lower monthly cost, but there are a couple of trade-offs for those savings:
- If you use this Apple App, everything needs to be Apple. Your heart rate can be monitored only by an Apple Watch, which can only sync to an Apple smart device. If you want to watch your class on the big screen, it will have to be an Apple TV. Of course, the iOS smart device is already compulsory with the IC4, so bringing the rest together might not be that inconvenient – especially if you’re already an Apple fan.
- Currently, the Apple Fitness doesn’t pair with your IC4 bike, but there are workarounds. Your Apple Watch will show you your heart rate (BPM), time, and active and total calories. Heart Rate, time and calories burned will also appear on your smart device and/or Apple TV. For resistance levels and cadence, you’ll need to consult your IC4 display. Not all riders miss the app-to-bike sync because, unlike their Peloton counterparts, Apple instructors don’t ask riders to dial in specific resistance levels. Instead, they'll simply announce it’s time for a hill climb, sprint, etc. Independent-minded users who’ve developed a feel for their bike resistance settings like this approach because it provides a sense of workout autonomy while eliminating that whole conversion issue. The same goes for the instructors’ cadence recommendations. However, if you want a clear numerical cadence reading, you can always put the money you saved with your Apple Fitness subscription towards a reliable cadence sensor or cadence sensor bundle.
As competition continues between Peloton and Apple Fit , we may see the rivals adapting more of each other’s features and styles – and price differences may eventually level out. Fortunately, both apps offer a free trial period so that you can make your own comparison.
Don’t forget the IC4 is also compatible with non-trainer-led apps, making your road to results a lot smoother.
More Apps 1: See the world from the Seat of your IC4.
There are several different apps on the market that provide an immersive cycling experience. Fortunately, some of the best are compatible with the IC4:
Zwift® blends serious training and interactive video games ass you explore ten virtual worlds and 130 routes. Jump on your IC4 and share an immersive cycling experience, mutual support and competitive camaraderie with other users around the world. Over 1,000 structured workouts designed by top coaches offer fresh daily adventures for years – including races and group rides. The IC4’s built-in Bluetooth connectivity makes for an easy five-step pairing process. You can also activate functionality that sends heart rate and cadence data to Zwift (a Bluetooth Light Energy [BLE] heart rate device is required). Like Peloton and Apple Fitness , Zwift is a subscription service that offers a free trial.
Explore the World™ is Nautilus’s own virtual escape/training app that transports your home cycling workout to city streets, country roads, and nature trails around the globe. You can choose from dozens of high-definition destinations (with new ones added each month). As you ride 5K races or full marathons, the scenery goes by in real time, thanks to adaptive videos that match your speed. This app three free courses you can try. If you enjoy the experience, you can unlock the rest with a subscription.
FulGaz takes a different approach to re-creating a real outdoor cycling experience. Instead of VR graphics, it offers a library of bike tours in 4K video. You can start with the Easy collection – to get a feel of how the app works – then work your way up to more challenging Hilly Rides, Loops, Races, and Trails. The sound matches your video for authenticity – incorporating breezes, conversations, and the sound of bike tires on asphalt or gravel. You can even enter your weight to personalize your experience. All features are yours to try during a full two-week trial.
More Apps 2: Interval Training Apps
If you’re looking for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) apps, the IC4 hooks you up with top names. Each app focuses on FTP (Functional Threshold Power). It’s the measure in watts of the highest average power you can sustain over an hour – an excellent indicator of improved endurance that also helps establish your workouts' calibration.
Sufferfest promises to deliver everything you need to get stronger, faster, and tougher. Like Peloton and Apple Fitness , it offers structured video workouts in multiple disciplines, including cycling and strength training for cyclists, but with a harder, humorous edge. As the name implies, this app cheekily owns the idea of suffering to achieve results. It backs that up with expertly-designed training plans, interval workouts, unique FTP tracking, immersive video rides, and rewards. You can still watch a show while you pedal, but onscreen instructions, audio prompts and metrics graphics will keep you sweating.
Trainer Road features science-based planning, training and analysis tools designed to increase your performance. It’s billed as cycling’s most complete & effective training system. It makes its case with structured, power-based interval training, training stress tracking, personal record measurement, detailed insights and full-season plans for road, triathlon and off-road event training. You’ll also be able to create your own custom training plan.
Tacx indoor training software offers a wide variety of training options and can be accessed by apps for either smart devices (iOS and Android) or computers (Windows and Mac). You just need Bluetooth connectivity. It’s AirPlay TV-enabled so that it will fit right in with your other apps. You can also access Tacx via its cloud website, where you can create your own workouts. That feature is one of several offered by the free version of this software. Other features include analysis of your activities, the capability to export data to Strava, and structured workouts based on slope, power or FTP. The Premium and Premium HD versions of Tacx offer 3D GPS map workouts, custom training plans, the ability to challenge other cyclists, and more.
Pedalling Into the Future
Indoor cycling has come a long way from its original 1960s approximation of an outdoor ride. The IC4 experience offers on-demand expert training tailored to the individual, immersive outdoor simulations and training apps that draw the shortest, straightest line between you and your health goals. There’s never been a better time to jump on and start your journey to where you want to be.
Flaman Fitness is ready to discuss IC4 apps, features and options with YOU.
With so many indoor cycling experiences available, it might be hard to grasp the full scope of the IC4 and what it can do for you. Fortunately, Flaman Fitness offers a team of experts who make it their business to understand all of the possibilities and perceive their role in your personal health journey. Contact your nearest Flaman Fitness location for more details.