By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Owner of the Bowflex C6 Bike
We asked 165 C6 & IC4 bike owners to share their feelings on these models. Here are our unbiased conclusions and results.
But first, a big thank you!
On behalf of the Girlbikelove.com Staff, we would like to thank everyone who participated in our survey. Your insight was vital to understand how real users felt about these models.
Specifically, we would like to thank the members and admins of the following C6 and IC4 Communities which helped us by answering our survey questions:
* Schwinn IC8 is the UK version of IC4, so we have merged the data of both of them under Schwinn IC4.
Our survey included 165 owners of either the Bowflex C6 or the Schwinn IC4 models. In this sample size, 41 people owned the Bowflex C6 Bike, and 124 owned the Schwinn IC4 (or IC8 for the UK). These models are produced by the same manufacturer and include only slight differences. If you want to learn more about the minor differences between them, you can check our detailed comparison article.
One of our initial questions included asking participants how long they had owned their indoor cycle. Our data showed that most of our respondents (69%) had owned their bikes for approximately six months. We found that 27% of users had owned their model for 7-12 months, which correlated to when many COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns were in effect. Finally, a small percentage (4%) of owners had purchased their bikes at the beginning of the pandemic or earlier.
The average weekly usage amount reported by our survey respondents was 4.38 hours (37.5 minutes daily). However, many people described their bike usage numbers as closer to 6-10 hours per week.
#1. The Majority of Owners Seem Delighted With Their Bike
We asked owners to rate their bike satisfaction level on a scale from one to ten. On average, the satisfaction rate of the 165 respondents was 8.18 / 10, which is one of the highest we have seen in the indoor cycling category.
Almost half of our survey participants ranked their bike satisfaction a nine or higher on a scale of ten, and 89.1% of participants gave a score of at least seven.
“I loved the Peloton classes but wasn’t interested in the high price tag. That is what drove me to consider this model.”
Katie Pierson, Spinning Instructor
I purchased the Bowflex C6 bike approximately six months ago, and I could not be happier. As a certified SPINNING instructor for almost the past twenty years, I am pretty picky when selecting my bike models. I loved the Peloton classes but wasn’t interested in the high price tag. That is what drove me to consider this model. In my opinion, for the price, this bike provides an exceptional riding experience. I am completely satisfied with my purchase.
#2. Top 3 Most Loved Bike Features Include Connectivity, Construction Quality & Smoothness of the Ride
We asked our survey participants to share in their own words which features were their favorite and what aspects could be improved for the future. Providing their observations was an optional section of the survey, but fortunately, 121 of the 165 participants shared their thoughts.
Our graph below shows our results after aggregating and grouping the answers to understand which attributes were most appreciated by our bike users.
As we can see, connectivity, construction quality, and smoothness were the top-scoring attributes for the IC4 and C6 bikes. Other high-ranking features included the bike’s price point and how quiet the bike is when riding.
Let’s examine our top three ranking qualities in a little greater detail:
1. Connectivity: Many of our IC4 and C6 owners agree that the best bike feature is the excellent connectivity with various devices and apps. Respondents mentioned the Peloton digital app and Zwift in particular. Also, the Bluetooth pairing seems to work seamlessly. Some of our respondents made the following statements regarding connectivity capability:
2. Construction Quality: Our results indicated that 25 out of 121 respondents selected bike quality as one of the best features that these models provide. The data clearly shows that the craftsmanship and commercial grade construction of the IC4 and C6 bikes does not go unnoticed by users. Direct statements from our survey included:
3. Smooth Ride: Twenty-two users felt that the bike offered a very smooth and consistent ride. A smooth ride should be expected from any quality indoor cycle. Users shared the following statements regarding the ride it provides:
A few additional statements from the survey that we felt we should also note include:
- the great price: “Price is way cheaper than Peloton.”
- the fact that you can use your own tablet: “I like that you can bring your own device because the technology aspect of the bike won’t get outdated.”
- the ease of use: “It’s simple and not hard to figure out how to use.”
#3. Top 3 Features Needing Improvement Include Cadence Display, Adjustability, and Quality of Pedals and Crank Arms
We asked our survey participants also to explain which features needed improvement. Contrary to the belief of many community members, pedal and crank arm reliability was not the number one feature that respondents thought needs improvement.
Most IC4 and C6 bike owners selected the cadence display and adjustability of their bikes as the most critical factors to be improved by the company in the future.
Let’s explore why respondents selected these three characteristics in greater detail.
1. Cadence Display: Our results indicated that users wished that the cadence display included the cadence number instead of the cadence bar graph. Many riders found the graph more challenging to read. In addition to this request, ten respondents also desired that the power level be displayed on the console. Users shared the following views:
2. The Adjustability of Seat and Handlebars: A selection of owners wished that their bike had a little more range in adjustments of the seat and handlebars. Half of the people who answered this, with a height of 5’2”-5’4”, wished the saddle could move closer to the handlebars. Some of the answers we recorded included:
3. Quality of Pedals and Crank Arms: We found that 11 out of 121 owners answered that they would like more reliable pedals and crank arms. Some of the answers we received were:
Like any bike, there is room for improvement, but we do not believe that any of the issues listed would justify avoiding purchasing these models. Additional improvements mentioned were an upgraded console with more features, better bottle position, more accurate power output, and an easier way to match their magnetic resistance with the Peloton System.
Pro Tip: I post a conversion chart of the Peloton resistance levels and the equivalent to my C6 right next to my bike, so I never need to wonder what level I should be selecting while taking a ride on the Peloton digital app.
#1. Around 32% of the Respondents Did Have an Issue With Their Bike
The majority of the owners, approximately 70%, did not have any issues with their bikes. In our opinion, the low occurrence of bike problems reported with these models from our survey participants is quite remarkable.
However, it is important to discuss the issues noted by users so that potential buyers are aware. We asked all 52 owners who had problems to be candid about their encounters. Continue to the following sections to find out more!
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: We didn’t see a strong correlation between respondents who reported bike issues and either used their bike more frequently or were on the higher range of the bike’s weight capacity. For example, the owners who had an issue have an average weight of 187lbs (85kg), where those without a problem have a slightly lower average weight of 176lbs (80kg).
#2. Pedal, Noise & Crank Arm Issues Are the Top 3 Choices of the Respondents
In this section, we asked the owners who encountered bike problems to describe which issue or issues they had in an optional free form field. Read on to learn about common issues our survey participants experienced.
Types of issues experienced located below:
As we can see, noise, pedal, and crank arm issues were most prevalent. Our free form answers provided additional insight into why users were experiencing these three issues simultaneously. Pedal and crank arm issues initiated the bike noise that users were also encountering.
As a C6 bike owner, I am currently in the process of troubleshooting pedal issues. Some of the problems I have experienced with the pedals include clicking, tightening pedals regularly, clips not holding my cleats in place correctly, and breaking a screw on one of my pedals. I recently received replacement pedals, as I am still under warranty. I hope replacing the pedals will rectify my issue, but I will follow the tip from other owners located below if I continue to encounter problems with the replacement parts.
Pro Tip: Most of the owners replaced their pedals with quality SPD or flat pedals. With an extra cost of $50-$100, you can get an excellent Shimano or a Venzo set; and yet your IC4 or C6 bike will be again way more affordable than the Peloton.
Below is a selection of responses from our participants describing bike issues they encountered:
1. Noise/ Pedal/ Crank Arm Issues:
2. Resistance Knob Issues:
3. Seat Issues:
#3. Almost All of the Owners Who Used the Bowflex or Schwinn Support for Their Issue Seem Satisfied
As you can see from the above chart, 33 respondents answered our optional question, “If you used Bowflex / Schwinn Support for the Issues you had, how do you rate it?”. Twenty-four out of the 33 people (72%) that answered this question rated the support with at least a 3 out of 5. More importantly, 42% of owners are extremely pleased as they rated the support with at least a four our 5.
I have been delighted with Bowflex Customer Support. They have been kind, courteous and have taken the time to try to help troubleshoot the issue. This included walking me through which screws to tighten on my pedals to try to rectify a problem. The customer service representative stayed on the phone as I tightened each one.
If I were rating their customer service, I would give them a 5 out of 5 as I have never experienced a customer support team so responsive.
“I have been delighted with Bowflex Customer Support. They have been kind, courteous and have taken the time to try to help troubleshoot the issue.”
Katie Pierson, Spinning Instructor
The Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 are exceptionally well-constructed cycles. With the insight provided from our 165 respondents, it is clear to see why owners rated these models so high. Yes, there are a few issues that have the potential of occurring and needing to be addressed, but they are not significant enough to change whether or not someone should purchase one of these models. With first-rate customer service provided by Bowflex and Schwinn, a dedicated team is standing by to rectify the issue even if a problem does occur.
These bike options allow flexibility within a rider’s routine to help keep each workout new and exciting. The number of devices and applications available and compatible with these models will enable riders to maximize their riding experience compared to other cycles on the market.
This is an amazing product for the price, and if someone is considering purchasing an indoor cycling bike that delivers a fantastic workout, the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 are incredible options.