The Schwinn IC4 and the Echelon EX3 are both spin bikes designed to be paired with streaming apps.
These 2 popular bikes have a few other things in common, like heavy flywheels and well-known brand names, but there are quite a bit of differences between them too.
I would also imagine they’re both popular Peloton alternatives, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Instead, I’m here to help you figure out which one of these indoor cycles is the better fit for your home.
In order to do this, we’ll compare the IC4 and EX-3 head to head in all the key specs and features they each come with.
After reading, you should have a much better idea as to which cycle is the right choice for you.
Let’s get rolling.
|Schwinn IC4||Echelon EX-3|
|Flywheel||40 lb||28 lb|
|Resistance||100 levels||32 levels|
|Frame||Assembled weight: 106 lb|
Weight capacity: 330 lb
|Assembled weight: 104 lb
Weight capacity: 300 lb
|Warranty||10 year frame|
3 year parts
1 year labor
|1 year all-inclusive|
Bluetooth compatible with several apps
Arm band heart rate monitor included
Fully adjustable seat
|No console (works with phone/tablet)
Heart rate monitor compatible (not included)
Not compatible with other apps
Fully adjustable seat
The Schwinn IC4 vs The Echelon EX-3
You’re probably familiar with Schwinn, after all, it’s one of the most recognizable brand names around. They’re best known for their bikes, but they also have a fairly extensive lineup of treadmills, ellipticals, and even a rower too.
If you go to Schwinn’s website, you’ll only find 2 indoor cycles being offered- the IC4 and the IC3.
Their higher-end AC Performance cycles are still available, you just gotta find ’em through another retail site.
Anyway, the IC4 is the highest-end spin bike you can get directly through Schwinn and it comes with some pretty significant upgrades over the IC3.
Now you might not be quite as familiar with the Echelon name, although they’ve been around for several years now.
I could be wrong, but I think they were one of the first companies who tried to compete with Peloton at their own game.
Echelon’s take was to offer significantly cheaper bikes that didn’t come with consoles- instead, you used your own phone or tablet to access the streaming app.
When you think about it, it’s a great idea.
And it’s one that’s spread to several other brands now.
Echelon’s lineup continues to expand. They started with just a few bikes and now they’ve got like 4 models to choose from, as well as a couple of rowers, a treadmill, and even one of those exercise mirrors.
The EX-3 is their entry-level streaming bike.
Since we’re talking about indoor cycles here, I think it makes sense to start with a comparison of the flywheels on each model.
You’ll hear a lot of talk about flywheel weight when researching spin bikes. If you’re interested in the full story, feel free to check out my spin bike guide.
If not, I’ll cut right to the chase- for most spin bikes, having a heavier flywheel is better because it creates a smoother feel during your workout.
With this in mind, the Schwinn IC4 comes with a 40 lb flywheel and the Echelon EX-3 is packing a 28 lb flywheel.
If you ask me, both of these are heavy enough to be considered “heavy”, but it’s easy to see that the IC4 is packing a significantly heavier flywheel.
So, in terms of weight alone, Schwinn gets the advantage.
But let’s take it a step farther and consider the resistance systems each bike is using.
Both cycles are using magnetic systems, so there’s no immediate advantage one way or the other there.
But there’s a pretty big difference when we compare the resistance levels each bike comes with.
The IC4 comes with 100 levels of micro-adjustable resistance. Peloton started this craze and I can tell you from experience (I own a Peloton) that it’s awesome.
With 100 levels of resistance, you can make very small, incremental adjustments to your resistance throughout your workout.
And like Peloton, you adjust the resistance on the IC4 by turning a knob, which is a very convenient way to do so.
The EX-3 comes with 32 levels of magnetic resistance, which is also a lot when compared to most indoor cycles, but it’s obviously less than 100.
It’s important to realize that just because the IC4 comes with more resistance levels, it doesn’t mean it can provide more overall resistance- it just means that you can make smaller adjustments between your minimum and maximum resistance setting.
Although having a heavier flywheel typically means you can provide a little more total output too.
So, considering that the IC4 comes with a heavier flywheel and more resistance levels, it’s pretty easy for me to give this category to Schwinn.
It’s important to think about how heavy the flywheel is for any spin bike you’re considering, but it’s also important to think about how “heavy-duty” the frame is too.
Having a bulkier, heavier frame is a good thing because it makes for a more stable base- meaning it’ll be less likely to wobble or wiggle during workouts.
The best way to determine how heavy-duty a bike is without trying it out is to look at the assembled weight and the weight capacity.
Seeing higher numbers in these 2 specs indicates a tougher, heavier-duty machine.
The IC4 comes with an assembled weight of 106 lb and a max weight limit of 330 lb, both of which are pretty impressive (especially for a bike in this price range).
The EX-3 comes with an assembled weight of 104 lb and a weight capacity of 300 lb.
These 2 bikes are neck and neck here, but technically speaking, the IC4 weighs more. And its weight limit is significantly higher, even though the 2 are so close in terms of weight.
In terms of actual size, the 2 bikes are pretty identical- each takes up a footprint of roughly 48″ x 21″.
But when it comes down to which bike is “heavier-duty” than the other, I’m going with the IC4 again.
I feel like the warranty is one of the more boring specs to consider- I mean, it’s certainly not as interesting to talk about as flywheel weight or resistance.
But it’s definitely one of the most important specs you should consider before making a purchase.
Not only does seeing a generous warranty give you peace of mind about your purchase, but seeing a longer warranty is usually a sign of a superior product.
Generally speaking, better bikes come with longer warranties (although I will say this isn’t always the case with spin bikes, which tend to come with shorter guarantees than other varieties).
Schwinn’s IC4 comes with the following guarantee:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
Echelon’s EX-3 comes with this guarantee:
- 1 year all inclusive guarantee
I think it’s pretty easy to see which warranty is superior here.
I mean let’s be real: the EX-3 comes with an awful warranty. I’m not trying to hate on the brand or anything like that, but this is one of the worst warranties I’ve seen for a bike in this price range.
Schwinn’s guarantee is the complete opposite- this is one of the better warranties around, especially for a spin bike in this price range.
This one is a no-brainer- the IC4 takes the category, hands down.
Ok, we’ve gone over the performance specs side of things, now let’s switch gears and take a look at the different features each bike has to offer.
As I mentioned at the beginning, both of the bikes are designed with streaming in mind.
The EX-3 doesn’t come with a console at all. You have to use your phone or tablet to access your workout metrics, as well as to even see what resistance level you’re on.
This means if your phone or tablet isn’t working or isn’t available, you can’t see any stats.
The IC4 comes with an included LCD console that shows all of your workout metrics.
When it comes to streaming, the IC4 is bluetooth compatible, so it can connect with any fitness app that provides spinning classes (including the Peloton app).
The EX-3 is bluetooth compatible, but only with the Echelon app which requires a membership ($39.99/month).
Now, you don’t have to sign up for a membership, but if you don’t, you don’t get access to any workouts and your workout history won’t be saved.
You’ll only be able to see your resistance level and real time stats in the freestyle mode.
The EX-3 can’t connect to the Peloton app or any other fitness apps.
So, if you’re looking for a more versatile bike in terms of connecting to fitness apps, the IC4 makes more sense.
The IC4 is compatible with telemetry heart rate monitors and an armband is even included with purchase. The EX-3 is compatible with bluetooth monitors as well (though your tablet), although one isn’t included.
Other than the consoles, both bikes come with dual compatible pedals that can be used with SPD cleats or sneakers.
Both bikes also come with fully adjustable seats (height and fore/aft).
The IC4 comes with a pair of 3 lb dumbbells included, as well as a media rack and 2 water bottle holders. The EX-3 comes with a dumbbell rack, but the weights have to be purchased separately.
Alrighty, let’s talk numbers.
Both of these bikes are in the same price range and I’d say both are fairly budget-friendly considering luxury spin bikes can cost over $2000.
More specifically, the Schwinn IC4 goes for a full retail price of $999, as does the EX-3.
Keep in mind, if you decide to sign-up for Echelon’s streaming app, you’ll also be paying $39.99/month.
If you go with the IC4, you could decide to subscribe to a streaming app or not- it’s up to you.
Although both bikes come with the same retail price, I’ve seen the IC4 on Amazon for as low as $800; I’ve also seen the EX-3 a little cheaper at around $950.
I save this area for any other thoughts I have regarding either bike.
I don’t have much else to say about the IC4, although I do want to mention that Schwinn’s customer service doesn’t really have a stellar reputation.
That’s not that big of a surprise though- most large fitness brands have a similar problem.
With regards to the EX-3, I should mention that I owned one for a brief time a couple of years ago.
I was actually given one to review for my other home fitness website, which you may or may not’ve come across in your travels.
Anyway, long story short- I wasn’t that impressed with it.
The feel of it was fine, it operated smoothly and it was able to provide a good deal of resistance, but I didn’t particularly care for the app.
And I didn’t like that I couldn’t see any of my stats without being connected to the app.
Plus, I had some technical difficulties getting my bike to connect to the app in the first place.
This was a couple of years ago, and I’m sure the app has been upgraded and is much smoother now, but I felt I should mention it.
After my review, I ended up donating my EX-3 because I didn’t have any use for it- like I told ya, I have a Peloton 🙂
Ok, that about does it for the IC4 and EX-3.
Going over everything each has to offer, I think it’s pretty evident these 2 bikes go at the whole streaming thing at different angles.
For Schwinn, I get the impression it’s all about the bike itself.
After all, it can be paired with any app you like and you can use it just as well without any streaming app if you so choose.
With Echelon, it’s all about their app- they want people signing up for memberships because I imagine that’s where the real money is.
Without a membership, you’re very limited with what you can do with the EX-3.
Anyway, I don’t think you’ll be surprised by the results of this friendly competition, but when it comes to the IC4 vs the EX-3, the winner is…
Yeah, this was an easy one.
The IC4 comes with a heavier flywheel, a more sophisticated resistance system, includes a console, comes with a vastly superior warranty, AND is even a little cheaper than the EX-3.
Not to mention how much more versatile it is.
Honestly, I can’t really think of any situation in which it would make sense to choose the EX-3 over the IC4…maybe if you really really loved their streaming app?
But even then, I think it would be a real stretch.
So, when it comes down to these 2 spin bikes, I think the Schwinn IC4 is hands down the better choice (it’s actually one of the best choices in this price range).