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The unfortunate rise of the current global pandemic has led to major growth in the home workout industry. More people than ever are handling their fitness needs at home to avoid exposure. Industry giants like Bowflex and Schwinn are competing for the business of these customers by selling some of the most advanced and efficient home gym equipment that we’ve ever seen.
Keeping people interested in exercising at home takes more than just a simple piece of equipment. The overall experience needs to be comparable to that of a real gym. That means high-efficiency machines, instructor-led classes, and opportunities to connect with other people. Bowflex and Schwinn have both been able to duplicate this experience by releasing stationary bikes that work with the Peloton app. That means:
- Streaming workout videos around the clock.
- Instructor-led courses with certified professionals.
- Virtual rides through some of the world’s most scenic locations.
- Opportunities to compare and compete with other riders around the world.
The two stationary bikes leading the charge are the VeloCore from Bowflex and the IC4 from Schwinn. Let’s compare what these two bikes have to offer.
Traditional Exercise Bike (IC4) vs One That Leans (VeloCore)
If you strip away all of the extra features and advanced functions, then you have two stationary bikes capable of delivering similar results. You can burn calories, lose weight, and build endurance using either of these machines. And if you are interested in the most affordable option altogether, then the Schwinn IC4 may be all that you need.
However, for those who are interested in the extra features and the benefits that come with them, there are some big differences between the IC4 and the VeloCore. Those differences are what help the VeloCore stand out as one of the best stationary bikes ever manufactured.
The major difference between the two is how “stationary” the bike needs to remain. With the Schwinn IC4, you get exactly what you expect from a traditional stationary bike. The bike remains in a perfectly still and upright position as you peddle and burn calories. It’s a comfortable and familiar experience that we’re all familiar with.
Why We Love “Lean Mode”
Bowflex, on the other hand, has decided to make their bike a little less stationary by adding an optional “lean mode”. This is the first stationary bike on the market with a feature like this. Though, we expect to see more in the future considering its newfound popularity.
The new one-of-a-kind lean mode gives riders an entirely new way to experience cycling at home. As the name suggests, the bike is now capable of leaning and swaying from one side to another. This duplicates the real-life experience of riding a bicycle around a curve or corner. There are a few interesting benefits for this new feature.
- Engage additional muscle groups – Unlike your traditional stationary bike, the VeloCore is able to fully engage the core when leaning. You’ll be able to burn more calories while building more core strength.
- A more fun experience – Riding a stationary bike in your living room isn’t exactly exciting. Something as simple as leaning or swaying adds an extra layer enjoyment. This will make it easier to power through those long and tiring workouts.
- Complete immersion – Studies have shown that many people would be more eager to cycle at home if the experience was more similar to the outdoor activity. Leaning is a natural part of outdoor cycling and now you can do it indoors as well.
There may be times that you don’t want to lean and sway despite the added benefits. That is perfectly understandable and Bowflex has anticipated this possibility. Their bike is built with “lock out” technology.
You can simply engage lock-out mode and the bike will not be able to lean. This allows you to enjoy a traditional stationary exercise or a leaning cycle exercise depending on your needs.
Workout & App Comparison
The best workout equipment on the market today has to be capable of working with some sort of “connected” workout app. Bowflex and Schwinn are both well aware of this, which is why both of their bikes are compatible with the Peloton app. This alone helps them remain leagues above the competition that offers no form of connectivity.
However, while both devices are compatible with Peloton, they do not utilize it in the same way. The Schwinn IC4 requires the rider to have their own tablet or smartphone to run the app. The device is then attached to a console area at the front of the bike. If you don’t own a tablet capable of supporting the app, then you won’t be able to get the most from your bike And without the Peloton, there’s not much to separate the IC4 from some similarly priced competitors.
The Bowflex VeloCore doesn’t have these requirements of the rider. It comes with its own HD touchscreen-enabled monitor positioned at the front. The monitor is available in 16 inches as well as 22 inches. And it already contains all of the apps that you need to enjoy an intense workout at home.
Anyone who has used a built-in monitor vs their own tablet can attest to the differences. With a built-in monitor, there is less sway and thus it is easier to follow along with the program. Bowflex likely implemented this feature to ensure riders could remain fully immersed in their experience even as the bike leans while riding.
The Bowflex console is also capable of supporting a number of different apps aside from Peloton. Most notable is the Bowflex JRNY app. This app shares a few features in common with Peloton, but with a few additions that make it a worthwhile investment even if you already pay for Peloton. One of its best features is the dynamic coaching, which provides useful feedback and instructions based on your personal progress.
The Bowflex console supports apps for streaming entertainment, such as Netflix and Hulu. There are also apps that playback virtual scenery along with your ride. Combine that with the VeloCore’s ability to lean and you’ll really feel like you’re cycling along the roads atop a mountain or in the streets of France.
Pricing Comparison: Which Bike is Cheaper?
This is the final area where the two bikes greatly differ. It’s also the one area where the Schwinn IC4 has the advantage. The IC4 is one of the most affordable stationary bikes on the market to support such advanced features. It’s priced like your average entry-level cycle, yet it’s built to last and can support the Peloton app.
- Schwinn IC4 Price – $899
- Bowflex VeloCore Price w/ 16” Monitor – $1,699
- Bowflex VeloCore Price w/ 22” Monitor – $2,199
The VeloCore clearly requires a much larger investment than the IC4. You’ll be paying more than $1,200 above the IC4 price if you want the VeloCore with the largest monitor. It does make sense that VeloCore costs more because it includes a monitor and the included lean mode. We believe these extra features manage to justify the price increase.
Summary: Deciding The Right Bike For You
What are your goals? Do you want to lose weight at home? If so, then you can achieve that goal with either stationary bike. Do you want to have a realistic, immersive cycling experience with assistance from the most advanced technology on the market today?
In that case, then the VeloCore is the right choice for you. Finally, if your goal is just to lose weight while sticking to a tight budget, then there is nothing wrong with the Schwinn IC4.
Want the cheaper option?