Can the Schwinn IC4 be a better alternative to the NordicTrack S22i?
If you have been looking for a stationary bike, you may have noticed the NordicTrack S22i often appears as a top-rated bike packed with tons of features.
But given its important cost, you may be wondering what cheaper alternatives might be available. Today we will compare the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike to the NordicTrack S22i Studio to determine which one might take the crown.
Ordering and Assembly
The ordering process is quite smooth and straightforward for both bikes. Both bikes are easy to assemble, although the IC4 bike might be slightly trickier to assemble since not all the parts are labelled.
Still, in all cases these can be assembled in less than an hour by following the instructions. Also, you might need help from another person in both cases to move the frame to its desired location before assembly since it is quite heavy.
Quality and Durability
Those two bikes are very quiet and stable with a sturdy frame that doesn’t move when exercising. The sturdy frame guarantees that in most cases, riders can be accommodated. Still, the NordicTrack S22i Studio has a slightly higher weight capacity at 350 lbs while the capacity for the IC4 is at 330 lbs.
The flywheel is another element to consider. The S22i has a 32 lbs flywheel while the IC4 has 40 lbs flywheel. Having a heavy flywheel contributes to the smoothness and comfort of the rides and gives a more accurate experience. Indeed, heavier flywheels tend to mimic what people might experience when cycling outdoor in terms of effort.
A further element to consider is the type of resistance. In either one of those bikes, you will find a magnetic resistance. This is usually found in higher end models. The S22i offers 24 levels of digital resistance while the IC4 has 100 levels. In both cases resistance can be adjusted with a knob.
On the other hand, magnetic resistance also ensures that the bikes are quiet no matter what level of resistance you’re calibrated at. It also lasts longer than brake pads, which need to be replaced over time.
To recap, both bikes are stable when training and when getting in or out of the saddle due to the magnetic resistance and large flywheels.
Most customers will also concur that those two bikes are easy to maintain and clean.
The S22i comes with a 22’’ 360° rotating HD touch screen that can be used to stream classes from iFIT and view metrics. The screen is thinner than on previous models. The display has speakers underneath it so you can listen to instructors or music while exercising.
The IC4 doesn’t have a large screen like the S22i, but it does have a console that can be used to display metrics like RPM, calories, speed, distance, etc. The console is a backlit LCD color display.
Both bikes have Bluetooth connectivity. But, while the IC4 can be connected to a variety of apps like Peloton, Zwift, Stava and many others, the S22i can only be connected to the iFIT app. A free one-month subscription comes with the later.
The IC4 includes a heartrate armband monitor which is useful if you are trying to reach a target heart rate. The armband is easy to setup and use. You simply need to charge it prior to using it and then place it on your forearm. Then press the on/off button to activate.
The S22i on the other hand has Wi-Fi connectivity, which is a plus.
Note that on the IC4 the metrics coming from third party apps are not always accurate, as some users have experienced lag between their phones and the LCD display.
The IC4 and S22i use cushioned seats which, while better than non padded saddles, can be painful to some users and beginners.
However, it should be noted that this is a widespread problem with indoor bikes not limited to those two brands.
In both cases the bikes come with padded handlebars that can be adjusted up and down to the desired level. The two models offer a good handgrip and support when you exercise.
In either case, the bikes come with pedals that are dual sided with SPD clips and toes cages suitable for a great number of athletic shoes. It is worth mentioning that the IC4 has cleats included with the purchase to go with the SPD clips.
The S22i can accommodate people between 5’1’’ to 6’5’’ while the IC4 can easily accommodate riders between 4’6’’ to 6’6’’.
The IC4 now comes with a 1-year subscription to the JRNY app. JRNY is a digital fitness platform that offers daily adaptive workouts, fitness levels assessments, coaching and feedback.
You can also subscribe monthly to the Explore the World fitness app which is created by Schwinn. With it you can bike on various trails and streets around the world except there is no instructions or sounds
As mentioned earlier, this bike can be paired with other apps if you wish. Once it is connected via Bluetooth, the app will auto-adjust to the resistance you have selected.
This contrasts with the iFIT app by NordicTrack where you can follow trainers in a group or listen to music. The app offers 11 radio stations to choose from, with different types of music for each one. As for the workouts and exercises you can choose from the hundreds available.
The great advantage is that those classes are given by qualified instructors and appeal to many fitness styles and levels. iFIT also allows to train virtually in anyplace in the world by using Google Maps. You can also connect with other fellow users through challenges, discussions forums and live events.
The Schwinn IC4 offers many conveniences. These include dual water bottle holders, a device holder for a table or phone, a USB charging station, 3 lbs dumbbells and attached wheels to be able to move it.
The NordicTrack S22i also has transport wheels at the front to be able to move the bike. It includes two 3 lbs dumbbells to be able to exercise the upper body too.
The Schwinn IC4 comes with a 10-year warranty for the frame, a 3-year warranty for electronics and parts, and a 1-year warranty for labor.
The NordicTrack S22i has a warranty of 10-year for the frame and a 2-year for parts and 1-year for labor.
The IC4 cost significantly less than the S22i. Those two are also cheaper on price than a Peloton bike.
Reviews of the IC4 and S22i
Those two bikes receive plenty of positive reviews. Among the positives for both bikes are how smooth and silent the bikes are.
A downside for the IC4 according to some customers is the location of the water bottles holders which can make it difficult to adjust the handlebars and makes it easy to bump the bottle when exercising.
Another downside for those two bikes is the saddles which can be uncomfortable according to some. One way to remediate to that is to get a cushioned cover for the saddle.
For the IC4, customers seem to appreciate the price, how compact it is and the ability to connect other fitness apps with it. However, as
noted earlier in this review, some customers are complaining that the bike may be difficult to assemble due to the small diagrams in the directions and the lack of labelling for some parts.
As for the S22i, users enjoy the realistic outdoor experience provided with the incline/decline feature which is unique to this brand and the automatic resistance and grade change. The reviewers also note the integrated multiple speed fan and speakers, and the 22’’ screen as positives.
On the other hand, the complaints are mainly centered around the screen for the S22i. Some users have reported issues as wobbling, buffering and flickering of the screen.
Which one to choose then?
In all cases you can’t go wrong with either one of them, since they all have a lot to offer in terms of features and build quality.
If budget is a constraint, you might be tempted to go for the IC4 since it is way less expensive. If you want to use third party apps, then the IC4 might also be your choice.
If, nonetheless, you’re looking for a more realistic experience, and a bike that comes with a HD screen and loads of connectivity, then the S22i will be the option to consider. This is also the case if you are looking to a high-end alternative to a Peloton bike.