Echelon’s EX-5 vs The Schwinn IC4 – Which Is The Smarter Buy?

Schwinn’s IC4 and Echelon’s EX-5 Connect Bike are both designed to provide an affordable streaming experience, but they go about it in very different ways.

The IC4 is designed to pair with multiple fitness apps, giving you plenty of options to choose from, while the EX-5 can only pair with Echelon’s own streaming app.

Another big difference is that you have to sign up for Echelon’s app to be able to use the EX-5, while the IC4 can function on its own without any streaming services.

Both bikes pack some impressive numbers when it comes to the specs, although there are a few key differences there too.

If you’re still stuck between these 2 popular indoor cycles, don’t worry- you’ve come to the right place.

In this article I’ll go over all the key differences between the IC4 and the EX-5. We’re talking performance specs, features, warranties, and pretty much everything else in between.

After reading, you’ll be well-equipped to choose for yourself which bike is the right fit for your home.

Echelon EX-5Schwinn IC4
Resistance28.6 lb flywheel
32 levels of magnetic resistance
40 lb flywheel
100 levels of magnetic resistance
Frame300 lb weight limit
106 lb assembled weight
330 lb weight limit
106 lb assembled weight
Warranty1 year parts
1 year labor
10 year frame
3 year mechanical & electrical
1 year labor
FeaturesNo console
Only compatible with Echelon app
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Dual compatible pedals
Dumbbell holders
Water bottle holders
Heart rate monitor compatible
LCD console
Compatible with several apps
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Dual compatible pedals
Dumbbell holders (3 lb dumbbells included)
Water bottle holders
Heart rate monitor compatible (armband included)

The Echelon EX-5 vs The Schwinn IC4

Echelon was the first “Peloton competitor” that I became aware of and I thought their idea to allow users to save a bunch of money by using their own tablets was genius.

Now there are tons of Peloton alternatives for workout streaming, but Echelon continues to go strong.

And Echelon has evolved a lot over the years too- they now offer rowers, treadmills, and even a workout mirror.

They offer a lot more bikes to choose from too, with some even coming with their own huge consoles (the EX-5 is one of Echelon’s more affordable streaming bikes).

Schwinn is Schwinn- the most famous biking brand (of both the road and exercise varieties) around.

Their innovations have evolved the world of home fitness in many ways, including the introduction of the first air bike (their AirDyne line, which is still going strong today).

The IC4 is one of Schwinn’s newer inventions which was developed to get the brand a seat at the streaming table.

Ok, now that we have the intro’s out of the way, let’s dive right in by taking a look at how the resistance systems for the EX-5 and the IC4 compare.


Indoor cycles (or spin bikes) have become popular because they can be used effectively for high intensity workouts- well, the good ones can anyway.

The key to this ability is their resistance systems.

When it comes to the resistance, spin bikes basically come in 2 varieties: magnetic or friction brake.

The IC4 and EX-5 are both magnetic, so we can skip the friction brake discussion, but long-story-short: magnetic systems are better because they’re smoother, usually a little quieter, and require less maintenance.

When talking spin bikes, it’s a good idea to consider the weight of the flywheel too.

Generally speaking, heavier flywheels are preferred because they usually provide smoother rides (the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins, resulting in less lag between pedal strokes).

Indoor cycles these days are packing flywheels anywhere from 10 – 50+ lb, although most nicer models are well over 20 lb (except for Keiser, but they’re an animal of a whole different sort).

The EX-5 comes with a 28.6 lb (13 kg), rear-mounted flywheel. This is definitely heavy-enough to provide a smooth feel, so no concerns there.

Putting the flywheel in the rear gives the bike a cool cosmetic effect, but it can also protect the flywheel from sweat droplets during workouts- although most front-mounted flywheels are pretty well protected by the frame and guards anyway.

The IC4 comes with a 40 lb, front-mounted flywheel.

At 40 lb, this flywheel will be considered heavy by even the most discerning users out there and is more than big enough to offer a fluid ride.

Echelon pairs their 28.6 lb flywheel with 32 levels of magnetic resistance, while Schwinn pairs their 40 lb flywheel with 100 levels of magnetic resistance.

Something to keep in mind- more resistance levels doesn’t mean more overall resistance, it just means you can make smaller incremental changes.

I think having more levels is a good thing because you can fine tune the intensity of your workouts and gradually increase/decrease with time.

Having 100 levels is also beneficial if you plan on using the Peloton app (which you can with the IC4, but more on that in a bit) because Peloton uses the same 100 level system.

Overall, I think it’s easy to declare the IC4 the clear cut winner when it comes to the resistance systems alone- the IC4 comes with a significantly heavier flywheel and a lot more resistance levels to work with.


Moving on, let’s compare frames.

When researching any exercise bike, I like to specifically look at the assembled weight and the weight capacity to get an idea as to how “heavy-duty” the bike is.

Seeing higher numbers in both specs is a good sign to me that the bike will feel stable during workouts.

The EX-5 comes with an assembled weight of 106 lb and a max weight capacity of 300 lb, both of which are respectable for an indoor cycle in this price range.

The IC4 comes with an assembled weight of 106 lb as well and a weight capacity of 330 lb.

Looking at these numbers shows us that these 2 bikes are very similar when it comes to the robustness of their frames.

They weigh the same, but the IC4 comes with a slightly higher weight limit, so this might be an advantage for larger users.

There isn’t a big difference between the dimensions of these bikes either, so that shouldn’t make a difference either way (49″ x 21″ x 52″ vs 52″ x 20″ x 50″ [L x W x H]).

Overall, both bikes come with pretty heavy-duty frames that should feel stable during workouts. No significant advantage either way in this category.


The warranty isn’t a very glamorous spec to talk about, but it’s still important.

I know if I’m about to spend hundreds of bucks on something I’m gonna want some insurance that’s it’s going to work- well, the warranty is that insurance plan.

Better bikes usually come with longer warranties, although this rule isn’t written in stone. Some brands, even the really good ones, will just offer crappy guarantees.

In those cases, you have to make a judgement call.

Let’s compare the warranties offered on the IC4 and the EX-5, starting with the IC4:

  • 10 year frame
  • 3 year mechanical & electrical
  • 1 year labor

And now let’s take a look at the EX-5’s warranty:

  • 1 year parts
  • 1 year labor

It’s pretty easy to see the difference when looking at these 2 warranties side by side.

Schwinn’s warranty on the IC4 is really good for a bike in this price range. Hell, it’s better than a lot of the luxury bikes too, Peloton included.

On the other hand, Echelon’s warranty on the EX-5 is pretty weak.

I’d expect to see at least 5 years on the frame and at least 2-3 years on parts, but nope, just 1 year on everything.

This category is an easy win for the IC4.


Ok, so far we’ve been talking about all the performance specs these bikes have to offer. Now it’s time to switch paces and look at the feature side of things.

Let’s start with the most interesting- streaming capabilities.

The EX-5 is designed to be paired with Echelon’s own streaming workout app. This is the only streaming app it’s compatible with and you have to sign up if you want to use the bike.

Echelon’s streaming services costs $39.99/month, but you can get it a little cheaper if you buy a year or 2 upfront.

With their app, you get unlimited access to thousands of on-demand workouts as well as live instructor-led workouts daily. You can access all kinds of strength training, yoga, Pilates, and other workouts through this app too.

This is exactly how Peloton works too, although there is a pretty big difference- the EX-5 doesn’t come with a console, so you have to use your phone or tablet to act as one.

This means you can’t see any of your workout stats unless you’re signed into your Echelon account, meaning you can’t even do a manual ride without a subscription.

And if there’s a malfunction with your network or bluetooth stops working, you’re screwed.

The IC4 is also designed as a streaming bike, but unlike the EX-5, it’s designed to pair with numerous fitness apps (Schwinn doesn’t have their own streaming app).

The IC4 accomplishes this by coming with a small, LCD console that can pair with multiple apps (including Peloton, Zwift, JRNY, and several others).

The metrics you’ll be able to access vary depending on the app you’re using, but all will at least allow you to connect your RPM’s.

Being able to choose which app you use gives you a lot of variety, but it also means you aren’t forced to sign up with one if you don’t want to.

And since the IC4 has its own console, which displays all the usual metrics you’d expect, you can use it without any app as well.

This is great in case you decide you don’t want to or can’t afford a monthly subscription down the road.

As you can see, the streaming features for these bikes are quite different, but when it comes to the other features these bikes are pretty similar.

These bikes share the following features:

  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Fully adjustable handlebars
  • Dual compatible pedals
  • Dumbbell holders (dumbbells included with IC4)
  • Water bottle holders
  • Heart rate monitor compatible (armband included with IC4)


Price is always an important consideration, one of the most important considerations for most us actually.

Keep in mind prices may vary from time to time depending on promotions and where you decide to buy, so if these numbers aren’t 100% accurate don’t hate me.

But at the time of writing this, these bikes cost:

Echelon EX-5: $999

Schwinn IC4: $999

So, yes, these bikes cost the same amount, but keep in mind that you have to sign up with Echelon’s streaming app for the EX-5, which will add a monthly fee as well.

Both bikes offer financing, which can be helpful.

Other Considerations

I save this section for any extra info I want to add before I wrap things up.

I don’t have a lot to say here, although I wanted to point out that both bikes score highly when you look at user reviews. I compared ’em on Amazon and both had an average rating of 4.6/5.

I owned an EX-3 briefly a couple of years ago- I was actually given one to review for another site I own.

To be brutally honest, I wasn’t in love with it.

It was heavy-duty and well-built, and the flywheel felt fine, but I had issues connecting the bike to the app from day 1 (it probably didn’t help that I was used to using my Peloton too).

To be fair though, that was an EX-3 and it was a couple of years ago, so I know Echelon has made improvements since, but I just thought I’d share.

Final Thoughts

Ok, time to wrap this up.

If you look at all the specs and features each bike has to offer, I think it’s pretty easy to see which bike comes out on top.

So, without further adieu, in a head-to-head battle between the Echelon EX-5 and the Schwinn IC4, the winner is…

The Schwinn IC4

Yup, this one’s a no-brainer for me.

The IC4 comes with a heavier flywheel, more resistance levels, and a much longer warranty.

I also like the flexibility the IC4 provides, allowing you to connect with multiple fitness apps without having to be dependent on any single one to use the bike.

The fact that the IC4 comes with its own small monitor is a huge advantage, especially since these bikes cost the same thing.

Overall, if you’re looking for a more affordable approach to streaming, Schwinn’s IC4 is by far the smarter buy.

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