Schwinn 800IC review: Peloton alternative exercise bike done right

Schwinn 800IC test report TL; DR: a powerful indoor bike that offers a first-class home training experience for the general public. [Please note: this exercise bike is sold as Schwinn IC4 in the US/AUS]

I know it’s horrible that you can’t read a review these days that doesn’t start with “This is a great peloton alternative” or “[product] is the peloton of [product category]The title of our hydrow test says it is the rowing machine world’s ‘answer to peloton’.

The problem is that the Schwinn 800IC is actually a decent peloton bike alternative, so I can’t compare it to the Big P in this test. The Schwinn 800IC is one of the best exercise bikes I’ve tried lately. The Peloton Bike + may lack the huge 24-inch display, but it has its own merits and is also much, much cheaper than a new Peloton bike.

Schwinn 800IC test: price and availability

The Schwinn 800IC is available through the Fitness Superstore in the UK and Schwinn’s own online store in the US at a suggested retail price of £ 949 / $ 999.

The model number for countries with a 110 V socket (e.g. USA), the Schwinn IC4 Bike, is a bit confusing. Remember.

A JRNY subscription is required to access all aspects of programming.

The Schwinn 800IC is also compatible with the Explore the World app, Zwift and the Peloton app. Subscription fees may apply.

Schwinn 800IC test: what is the difference between the 800IC and the IC8?

Connoisseurs may notice that the Schwinn 800IC looks incredibly similar to another Schwinn model, the IC8. In fact, the Schwinn IC8 is essentially the same indoor bike aside from the Bowflex JRNY app connectivity.

The Schwinn IC800 has access to the JRNY software, which is now integrated into the bike. You can access a personal trainer program directly from the app that connects to the bike and records your efforts right in the app (more on that in a moment).

To sum up, if you already have a Schwinn IC8, unless you really want to use the JRNY app, it’s probably not worth upgrading the IC800.

Detailed view of the flywheel and the pedals of the Schwinn 800IC

(Photo credit: future)

Schwinn 800IC test: design and workmanship quality

Assembling exercise bikes or any type of larger fitness equipment can be a real challenge. Not all manufacturers are as nice as NordicTrack, who deliver and assemble their products, and that is exactly the experience I had when I tested the NordicTrack RW900.

Even so, the Schwinn IC800 isn’t the worst when it comes to assembly. The screws fit neatly in the holes and the overall build quality is amazing. It took less than half an hour to assemble the bike, which is really not that long. All of the tools needed for assembly are in the box, although I used my own wrenches and Allen keys because I have them.

The processing quality of the Schwinn IC800 is great: The soldering of the tubes exudes robustness, and the tubes themselves look smooth and well made. The peripherals, such as the double bottle holder and the tablet holder, have an interesting, structured cover that further underlines the quality of the bike.

The Schwinn IC800 is an indoor bike that can be used for spin style courses. It has a large flywheel on the front and an ergonomic handle that allows multiple grip positions. One of my favorite details on the bike was the backlit metric LCD console, which looks stunning for a console like this.

Better still, it shows the magnetic resistance level (of which there are 100) which is great as you don’t have to guess what level you left it at the last workout. Since everything is digital, you can also see this information on the tablet or TV that you are using to stream JRNY workouts.

The Schwinn IC800 has double-sided pedals (SPD clips / toe cages) so if you have cycling shoes lying around you can use them for the IC800 workouts. Of course, you can also use training shoes for pedaling on the toe cage side of the pedals, just as you prefer.

Detailed view of the control panel of the Schwinn 800IC

(Photo credit: future)

Schwinn 800IC test: performance and driving experience

While we’re halfway through this review, I have to admit: I don’t particularly appreciate exercise on exercise bikes. I’ve never really looked at virtual courses and coaches trying to motivate on a screen; I don’t need this motivation.

After setting up the Schwinn 800IC, however, I wanted to get on the saddle and ride. Even stranger, I made a habit of jumping on the bike in the morning when I woke up, still on an empty stomach, until I burned 300 calories, which took about 20-30 minutes. Every morning.

It was during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. So after I set my phone and heart rate monitor to record my workout, I took out my tablet to see the Olympic highlights from the day before.

It probably helped a lot that training on the Schwinn 800IC is an almost silent process, so that although I was sweating in the living room at 5:30 in the morning, the rest of the apartment could sleep undisturbed.

The flywheel was silky smooth and the digital resistance button worked like a charm too. The seat was comfortable, at least by indoor cycle standards. It’s not one of those wide, padded seats, but it’s definitely comfortable enough for the duration of your workout.

As mentioned above, there are 100 resistance levels, but I didn’t go above 25 during my workouts (I mostly did low to medium intensity rides). There is clearly room for progress here.

Detailed view of the saddle of the Schwinn 800IC

(Photo credit: future)

Schwinn 800IC test: the JRNY app

The JRNY app is relatively new. At least the current iteration, which wasn’t released until February 2021. The updated digital platform has added adaptive workouts and instructor-led videos, the former recommending workouts based on your progress and fitness level.

In short, as long as you log your training sessions in the JRNY app (you can use the Schwinn 800IC as a standalone exercise bike), the app recommends training sessions that match your training load and the type of training you prefer. It’s not very demanding, but it might help people who need a little more guidance.

The training library is not as extensive as in similar apps (e.g. Peloton, iFit); at least not yet. I also don’t think there are live workouts (as far as I can tell) but some on-demand courses are available through the app.

Better still, thanks to the Schwinn 800IC’s Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream movies and so on into the JRNY app while viewing your stats at the bottom of the screen.

I found it a bit annoying when I opened the app, I had to go into the Bluetooth setting every time to connect the heart rate monitor before I started training. When I didn’t, the app didn’t show my heart rate even though the bike itself had found the device.

Even more strange was the fact that the bike and the app showed different calorie consumption values ​​as usual, the app caught up with the sensor a little after I started training.

On the positive side, the JRNY app works with multiple Schwinn and Bowflex devices. So if you have an elliptical trainer or treadmill from these brands, you can record all of your workouts in one place, which is admittedly convenient.

Detailed view of the digital brake knob of the Schwinn 800IC

(Photo credit: future)

Schwinn 800IC test: verdict

The Schwinn 800IC is a great home fitness machine. It’s sleek, smart, sexy, and it doesn’t cost the world, while also providing a top-notch indoor cycling experience.

Of course, it would be better if the bike came with a display and the JRNY app was a bit more robust. If you prefer the iconic atmosphere of the peloton ecosystem, you will be disappointed with the Schwinn IC800.

However, if you need an exercise bike that feels great to the touch and allows you to workout indoors without disturbing the rest of the household, you will love the Schwinn 800IC. It even convinced me, a strength training enthusiast, that indoor cycling can be a pleasant experience.

Schwinn 800IC test: also consider

I already mentioned the Peloton Bike + in the intro and it would be silly not to mention it here. Admittedly, if you have the money to jump on a peloton bike, that will most emulate the peloton-like riding experience. Needless to say.

The Echelon Smart Connect EX3 is a robust peloton alternative for those on a tight budget. It might not have a built-in display, but if you love to stream workouts on your smart TV, this smart bike can save you a lot of money.

Do you want to train harder? Try the Wattbike Atom. It offers one of the most realistic indoor bike rides around (and looks absolutely fabulous doing it).

Prices – Schwinn 800IC: