Schwinn’s IC3 vs The IC4 – Which Indoor Cycle Is Really The Better Buy?

Often we find fairly subtle differences between successive models in a brand’s lineup, making it kinda hard to spot why one is more expensive than the other in the first place.

Well, this certainly isn’t the case when it comes to Schwinn’s IC3 and IC4.

Besides the fact that both bikes are produced by Schwinn, these 2 affordable indoor cycles have very little in common.

When comparing the IC3 and IC4, you see major differences in the resistance systems, the included features, and even the warranties.

And considering all the extra goodies the IC4 comes with, there isn’t that big of a difference in price.

When choosing between these 2 bikes, it really comes down to budget and which features are important to you, but if you’re stuck deciding, don’t worry- I got your back.

In this review, I’ll provide an in-depth comparison between these 2 spin bikes, looking at all the key differences between them.

I’ll also provide my 2 cents regarding which one I think is the smarter buy.

After reading, you’ll be confident in choosing the right option for your home.

Schwinn IC3Schwinn IC4
ResistanceFriction brake
40 lb flywheel
100 levels of magnetic resistance
40 lb flywheel
Frame100 lb assembled weight
300 lb weight limit
106 lb assembled weight
330 lb weight limit
Warranty5 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
10 year frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
FeaturesSimple LCD console
Heart rate monitor compatible
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Dual compatible pedals
Media holder/water bottle holder
Backlit LCD console
Bluetooth compatible
USB charging port
Arm band heart rate monitor included
Pair of 3 lb dumbbells included
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Dual compatible pedals
Media holder
Dual water bottle holders

The Schwinn IC3 vs The IC4

Schwinn’s a trusted brand that’s been around forever.

They basically created the whole bicycle craze back in the day and we definitely have them to thank for the success of home exercise bikes too.

And even though home fitness seems to be all about HD touchscreens and instructor-led streaming these days, there’s still room for classic exercise bikes that can get the job done.

These days, Schwinn is known more as a budget-friendly brand when it comes to their exercise equipment, although their high-end AC cycles are still available through other retailers.

But the IC3 and IC4 are the only spin bikes they offer directly through their website anymore.

And like I mentioned above, there are a lot of differences between these 2 cycles.

Let’s cut right to the chase though and start this review by going over one of the biggest differences between these bikes- their resistance systems.


A bike’s resistance system is the most important spec to consider.

I say this because if your bike can’t provide a smooth, substantial resistance, you probably aren’t going to enjoy using it.

Your workouts will suffer, and, ultimately, you’ll stop using it.

Indoor cycles come in 2 varieties when it comes to resistance: friction brakes and magnetic systems.

Friction brakes have been around for a long time and as the name implies, they use physical contact (between a brake and the flywheel) to create the resistance.

Magnetic systems, as their name also implies, use magnets to create the resistance (magnets are placed near the spinning metal flywheel, resistance is increased/decreased by adjusting the distance of the magnets from the flywheel).

Each system has it’s advantages, but most folks (myself included) prefer magnetic systems because they usually feel smoother and you don’t have to worry about swapping out the felt pad on the brake when it breaks down.

With all of this info in mind, consider that the IC3 uses a friction brake system and the IC4 uses a magnetic system.

A legit benefit of the IC3’s friction brake is that you can fine tune that resistance any way you like it – there are no preset resistance levels that you’re confined to using.

The downside to that is that with no resistance levels, you have to rely purely on feel to gauge your intensity (you can’t simply “start at level 5”).

The IC4 comes with 100 levels of magnetic resistance, giving you a ton of control over the intensity of your workouts.

If you’ve ever used Peloton’s app (or plan on using it in the future), you’ll appreciate this because this is the same scale they use.

So, the IC4 comes with a magnetic system and the IC3 uses a friction brake, good to know… but what about flywheels?

It’s generally accepted that heavier flywheels are better because they provide a smoother feel (Keiser’s M3i being the exception), but is it better to go with a lighter flywheel and a magnetic system over a heavier flywheel with a friction brake?

Fortunately, this won’t have to be a consideration because the IC3 and IC4 both come with same 40 lb flywheel.

Which is a great size for a flywheel, so there shouldn’t be any issues with regards to smoothness with either bike.

Overall, both bikes come with a nice heavy flywheel, but the IC4’s magnetic system is a big step up from the friction brake used on the IC3.


Checking out the resistance system is key for any bike, but I think it’s important to consider frame stability too.

And by this, I really mean how stable and secure the bike is going to feel during workouts.

Affordable bikes tend to feel light weight and kinda flimsy, which to be fair, is one of the reasons they’re affordable to begin with, but still- nobody wants a flimsy bike.

The best way to determine how heavy-duty a bike is gonna feel is to look at the assembled weight and see literally how heavy it is.

Heavier bikes will feel more secure than lighter ones.

With this in mind, the IC3 comes with an assembled weight of 100 lb and the IC4 comes with an assembled weight of 106 lb.

Considering that both bikes come with the same flywheel, the IC4’s extra weight has gotta come from a little extra bulkiness in the frame.

But 6 lb isn’t that much.

Looking at the dimensions, the IC4 is about 3 inches longer than the IC3, but the IC3 is a couple inches wider, so no real difference in overall size.

When we look at the weight limits for each bike, we see that the IC4 has a slight advantage here too: 330 lb limit vs a 300 lb limit.

This allows the IC4 to hold larger folks, but I think both bikes come with very respectable frame specs.

Overall, the IC4 technically wins this category with a heavier frame and higher weight capacity, but I think the IC3 scores surprisingly well here.

And users seem to agree that both bikes feel very stable during workouts.


Ok, time to compare warranties.

Schwinn offers the following warranty on their IC4:

  • 10 year frame
  • 3 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Ok, that’s a legit warranty for a bike in this or really any price range.

Few brands offer longer than 10 years on the frame and most also top out at 2 years on parts. A year on labor is pretty standard across the board.

Moving on, Schwinn offers this warranty on their IC3:

  • 5 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Given the price range the IC3 is in, this warranty too is pretty good, but there’s a pretty noticeable drop off from what they’re offering on the IC4.

Schwinn cuts the frame warranty in half and cuts the parts warranty by a year.

Is this difference in warranty enough to choose the IC4 over the IC3? Probably not, but it’s part of the bigger picture.


So far, we’ve been concentrating on the performance specs for each bike. Well, now it’s time to check out the more entertaining features each bike comes with.

Let’s switch it up and start with the IC3.

The IC3 comes with a small, basic LCD console that can display all your workout metrics.

It isn’t backlit, so it’s a good idea to keep it in a well-lit area.

This console lacks most of the more advanced features like bluetooth and USB charging, but it is compatible with some chest strap heart rate monitors (one not included).

Other than the console, the IC3 comes with a fully adjustable seat, fully adjustable handlebars, dual compatible pedals (toe cage and SPD), and an interesting water bottle/media holder combo attached to the handlebars.

The IC4 comes with some serious upgrades.

The console on the IC4 is brighter and backlit for easier visibility, but it’s also bluetooth compatible with fitness apps (like JRNY).

The IC4 also comes with a built-in USB charger that can keep your devices fully charged during workouts.

Another nice bonus is that the IC4 comes with an included arm band heart rate monitor, as well as a pair of 3 lb dumbbells (and cradles for easy storage).

The IC4 comes with the same fully adjustable seat and fully adjustable handlebars as the IC3, as well as the same dual compatible pedals.

On the IC4 though, they got rid of the goofy water bottle holder and instead put 2 standard holders below the handlebars.

Overall, the IC4 comes with an upgraded console, an included heart rate monitor, and a pair of dumbbells.


Before we wrap this comparison up it’s probably a good idea to discuss cost.

I hesitate to quote specific prices sometimes because these numbers can change the second I publish this, but I do it anyway because I think it’s helpful.

At the time of writing this, the IC3 and IC4 cost the following:

Schwinn IC3: $649

Schwinn IC4: $999

Now, these prices are coming directly from Schwinn’s website, without any promotions or deals or anything.

Based on these, the IC4 costs about $350 more than the IC3.

That said, I’ve seen the IC4 on Amazon for $799 and the IC3 on Amazon for $549 before, making the IC4 only $250 more…

I obviously like those prices a lot better.

I think it’s pretty safe to say by now that the IC4 is obviously the nicer bike, so the real question is whether or not it’s worth the extra cash?

Final Thoughts

Yes, I think the IC4 is definitely worth the extra cash.

The IC4 comes with some serious upgrades over the IC3, most notably being that magnetic resistance system with 100 levels.

I know friction brakes can be effective, but I have to be honest – I don’t like them.

We each have our preferences, but I find it hard to justify dropping $600 on a friction brake bike these days when there are so many affordable magnetic ones.

They just never feel as smooth as magnetic bikes and you have to mess with replacing that felt pad…

So for me, the difference in resistance systems alone is enough reason to warrant going all in with the IC4, but there’s all the other stuff too.

The IC4 comes with a heavier frame, a higher weight capacity, a longer warranty, and all those console upgrades mentioned above.

Put it all together, and I think the IC4 is the smarter buy and certainly worth the extra cash (but regardless of which model you go with, please make sure to compare prices!)


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