By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer.
Comparison of C6/IC4 vs. M3i
Before digging into the differences between these great bikes, we want to point out that Nautilus manufactures the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4. These bikes are almost identical with only a few slight differences so that we will be comparing these bikes against the Keiser M3i. If you would like to learn more about the subtle differences, please check out our ultimate comparison article of the C6 and IC4.
Flywheel Weight and Placement
One of the most significant differences between these cycle designs is the placement and weight of the flywheel. The C6 and IC4 offer a more traditional appearance with a 40-pound front flywheel than the lightweight rear flywheel located on the M3i.
Another substantial difference between these indoor cycling options is the price point. The Keiser M3i retails for $2,095 compared to the $999 price tag of the Bowflex and Schwinn models.
Resistance Type and Number of Levels
These models all include magnetic resistance; however, the number of levels they provide are quite different. Like the Peloton, the Bowflex C6 & Schwinn IC4 offer 100 levels of magnetic resistance. The M3i delivers 24 resistance levels.
Although the Nautilus and Keiser consoles display key metrics such as speed, duration, cadence, distance, and calories, only one also provides a power meter. A power meter measures a rider’s output while riding. The Keiser M3i provides a very accurate power meter.
Connectivity & Apps
The M Series group app is free for the Keiser M3i. The M Series allows riders to track their progress and metrics and shares this information with cycling apps such as Zwift, Peloton, TrainerRoad, BKool
The Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 easily pair and integrate with third-party apps such as Peloton, Sufferfest, and Zwift, in addition to Bowflex’s JRNY app. The JRNY app, which initially was only offered with the VeloCore, is now available with these models through a tablet or phone. It provides tailored workouts based on the rider’s metrics, coaching, instructor-led classes, and the ability to stream your favorite shows while still seeing metrics displayed.
User Height Ranges
Even though the height ranges for these cycles are similar, it is essential to pay attention to the low and high range values. The C6 and IC4 accommodate riders starting as small as 4’6” compared to the M3i at 4’10”. For those above 6’6”, the M3i accommodates riders up to 7’, one of the highest max heights offered by a commercial-grade model.
Instructor Tip: If you are a shorter rider like me, I suggest trying both bikes before purchasing. Although cycling manufacturers might market they accommodate shorter riders, it doesn’t always mean that you will find the best riding position. For example, I am 5’4,” and I feel that the C6 barely allows me to get into a great riding position based on my torso and leg length.
Check out our comparison table below for a quick side-by-side look at these models.
|Bowflex C6 & Schwinn IC4||Keiser M3i|
|Magnetic Resistance Levels||100||24|
|Flywheel Weight||40 pounds||Undisclosed-lightweight|
|Maximum User Weight||330 pounds||300 pounds|
|Height Range||4’6″- 6’6″||4’10”-7′|
|Power Meter Included||No||Yes|
|Hand Weights Included||Yes||Yes|
Bowflex C6 & Schwinn IC4 Detailed Reviews
Bowflex C6 & Schwinn IC4 Bike Specs
- Flywheel weight: 40 pounds
- User height range: 4′ 6″- 6’6″
- Backlit LCD Metric Console
- Magnetic Resistance with 100 Micro-Adjustable Resistance Levels
- Height: 51.8″
- Width: 21.2″
- Length: 48.7″
- Item weight: 106 pounds
These two Nautilus models offer almost identical specifications. The Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 are not only affordably priced (under $1,000) but provide a fantastic value and riding experience. The front 40-pound flywheel is powered through a belt drive which offers a whisper-quiet riding experience. Also, these cycles give riders 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Bowflex also delivers excellent customer service, which I have used first-hand as a Bowflex C6 owner.
In the following video, you can see a quick review of the Bowflex C6
Recently, the C6 and Schwinn IC4 can now integrate with Bowflex’s JRNY app via a tablet or phone. This app allows riders to enjoy tailored workouts, real-time coaching, on-demand classes, and the ability to watch their favorite streaming services. Bowflex offers a 1-year free trial of the JRNY app, and then it costs $149 per year if you wish to continue. One feature that I really enjoy as a C6 owner is the handy USB port on the LCD console. This ensures that I can still complete my digital Peloton class without worrying that my phone will run out of power.
Keiser M3i Detailed Review
- Flywheel weight: 8 pounds
- User height range: 4’10” -7′
- Resistance levels: 24
- Height: 45”, Width: 26”, Length: 49”
- Item weight: 85 pounds
- Max user weight: 300 pounds
The Keiser M3i offers 24 levels of magnetic resistance. The Poly-V ® belt drive is self-tightening and low maintenance. The rear flywheel spins eleven times faster than the turning pedals providing a smooth riding experience. In addition to the excellent construction, Keiser also offers its M Series app for free on this model, which monitors heart rate and power, cadence, and FTP zones. This
Related: Keiser M3i Detailed Review
When comparing the Keiser M3i vs. the M3, the handlebars are one of the biggest differences in appearance. The handlebars of the M3 are very similar to many other cycles on the market. However, the M3i includes more of a butterfly shape handlebar system. A notable change is the connectivity of the M3i. The “i” stands for intelligence and allows this
Bike is For Me?
You really can’t go wrong selecting the Bowflex C6, Schwinn IC4, or Keiser M3i. However, there might be a few minor details to consider to choose the perfect
Where is Keiser made?
Keiser manufactures all equipment in California.
Does Keiser M3i have a power meter?
Yes, the Keiser M3i has a very accurate power meter.
Is Bowflex C6 the Same as Peloton Resistance?
No, the resistance is different for the Bowflex C6 and Peloton. A level 5 on Peloton is a 25 of C6. Check out our article for the entire conversion chart.
Does Bowflex C6 come with a mat?
The Bowflex C6 doesn’t always include a mat. Often Bowflex uses the mat incentive during sales.
The Bottom Line
The C6, IC4, and M3i all provide a great riding experience. However, the sensation of riding a heavier or lighter flywheel varies, so we recommend seeing which flywheel suits your needs best. Happy riding!