Fancy yourself as a full-time spin pro but just can’t will yourself to get up in time to make it from Psycle to work on time, or haven’t got the budget to attend the best spin classes every week? You just might be in luck. Whilst the idea of an at-home exercise bike used to make me envisage a clunky, retro 90s style monstrosity that sits idly in the corner of your dining room, in recent years they’ve evolved massively. From its compact size to its slick aesthetic, the Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycle is an affordable at-home alternative that I couldn’t wait to try.
What is a Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycle?
The Schwinn IC8 is a premium indoor stationary bike that allows you to have a spin or cycling experience from the comfort of your own home – or home gym if you’re lucky enough to have one.
It’s suitable for all levels of cyclists, serious and cleat-wearing or otherwise, with dual link pedals offering the option of toe cages for the comfort of your own (barely ‘running’) trainers if, like me, you’re a casual bike rider only.
Super compact, the Schwinn IC8 is 124 x 137 x 132cm, and weighs just 50kg, meaning you can move it around your home more easily than other exercise machines and it can sit comfortably in the corner of your living room without distracting you from Netflix.
The appeal of cycling indoors is pretty high, especially as we get into the dark and dreary winter, where your walk to a local spin studio or a simple outdoor cycle can see you looking like Bridget Jones post-puddle. In the build-up to the festive season, our time becomes even more precious, and I always find myself frantically trying to factor exercise into a busy calendar. The Schwinn could be the perfect antidote to a busyness barrier…
What does a Schwinn IC8 do?
Safer than road cycling, a stationary bike like the Schwinn IC8 offers a tailored indoor cycling experience to strengthen your leg and lower body muscles. Spin classes and cycling are a low impact way to get fit if, like myself, you fancy yourself as more of a laid-back yogi than an F45 queen or HIIT class groupie but need to factor your cardio in. Burning between 500 and 700 calories an hour, they’re a great way to get fit and toned.
Designed to help emulate race style, high-intensity and endurance cycling if desired, the Schwinn IC8 is perfect for complex training programs as well as less-confident cyclists who are looking to get active in a quick way that requires little to no hand-eye coordination.
Schwinn IC8 review
At-home workouts have the ultimate appeal to me. I love to get my exercise in bright and early in the morning, but absolutely loathe the hustle and bustle of a gym changing room pre-work, or the idea of applying makeup before a class due to my own vanity and paranoia at possibly sighting someone I know. Working up a sweat is, like, the whole point of a workout – I don’t want to be rushing to wash my hair and taking foundation on and off or re-applying before we’ve even hit 8am. I’m also pretty terrified about cycling in London traffic in the winter (surely I’d need a high-vis, helmet complete with an umbrella and 20 bike lights?) but simultaneously scared by intense spin instructors shouting at me in the dark. So, I have a penchant for stationary bikes; the idea that I might manage my own resistance without my ineptitude being displayed on a neon leaderboard is something I can definitely get behind.
When you’re putting together the bike, like all decent exercise machines, it was a two person job, so I bribed my flatmate with the promise of chocolate for her assistance. With the adjustable race-style seat, I spent a little time working out the right position for my 5”7 self and relished in the bonus time you so rarely when rushing into a spin class to get yourself totally comfortable. Once it was built, I wheeled it on its back legs towards the windows that face the garden where I had a quick sit in the saddle and felt surprisingly sturdy and safe despite the bike being so light and maneuverable.
I stored my phone in the ‘media ‘rack’ which is designed for tablets and mobiles. This is, of course, where it falls down slightly from the pricier Peloton, which includes its own screen for training and classes. However, the Schwinn screen holder is good for digitally connecting with fitness cycling apps including Peloton, Explore the World and Zwift. You’ll still have to pay subscription fees for these as you go, but there’s a compelling argument in the fact you won’t be paying a higher price for a machine with a screen when you likely have one in your hands that already works. Alternatively, if you feel comfortable managing your own workout, you can watch distracting music videos or even television to relieve the pressure of an intense cycle. If you’re worried about draining your battery as you go, there’s also a very handy USB point for charging your device as you work out.
Post-assembly, I was ready to hop on the bike and start pedalling away. After a wistful glance at my flatmate’s cleats I hopped up with simply my slightly-battered veja trainers on, feeling smug that there was nobody to witness my sub-par exercise kit of an old band t-shirt and a pair of leggings.
As the Schwinn has 100 different magnetic resistance levels, I started with my resistance on a safe 44 and a steadily high RPM. I could easily adjust with the handy resistance knob, and shifted it up higher five minutes later, alternating between seated and standing positions. The handlebars are dipped and extra-large, meaning I had no problem clearly varying my hand position between the movements on my climbs and flats, and the bike ran smoothly and quietly beneath me, helping me to focus more intently on the shift I was putting my legs through.
Thanks to the handy dumbbell holders that I used to store some light 2kg weights I was tempted into adding additional arm exercises to my workout for 5 minutes, before getting tired and restoring them to their holding place. When it comes to motivation on a bike it can sometimes be a little hard without an instructor there to spur you on, and I found myself wondering whether I was working hard enough on a self-guided workout. Someone with more discipline might be better at managing this, but I resorted to syncing up my bluetooth heart monitor so I could measure how hard of a cardio hit I was really getting myself whilst also measuring my time and distances on the backlit LCD screen.
If you’re anything like me, and the thought of hopping on a bike in the dark, wet British winter fills you not only with dread but actual concerns for your safety (London cycling is not for the faint-hearted), then this is the ideal way to get low impact cardio and boost your leg strength without having to leave your house.
Where can I buy a Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycle?
Your own Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycle is available at Fitness Superstore for £899.
As the winter months roll in, this might just be the ideal at-home cycling hit to keep you fit without having to venture outside in this miserable weather.