Sole SB900 vs. Bowflex C6/Schwinn IC4: Which is the Best for Me?

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission.

By Robbie Ferri, Cyclist, Personal Trainer, and Group Exercise Instructor.

When it comes to exercise, an indoor exercise bike is a fantastic tool to get fit and have fun in the process of doing it. There are so many bikes on the market now it can be tough to choose between them. Two bikes that are regularly compared to each other are the Sole SB900 and the Bowflex C6/Schwinn IC4. In this article, we will answer today what the differences are and which one is for you.

Before we start, it’s vital to understand that Bowflex and Schwinn are both the same bikes. They are just branded differently. Internally they are exactly the same, and the only difference is a few colors and the name on the side.

When we talk about the Sole SB900, we are talking about the latest model, which has a few key differences from the previous model. Make sure that you have the most recent version before you buy, as it is much better. You can tell by the LCD Screen buttons you want the ones with the black buttons, not the red.

sole sb900 vs schwinn ic4

In a hurry? You Should Know at Least the Following

  • Design: The SB900 is a very impressive bike and is built to a high quality. I love the oversized tubing, and the sleek side panels give it a gorgeous finish. It has a front-facing flywheel, and the bike is very adjustable, even being four-way at the handlebars, which is something you rarely see in high-end bikes. I love the bike‘s simplicity, and the tablet mount in the front is a lovely touch. The Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 design is quite different from the SB900. It’s much more simplistic. Although they both have front-facing flywheels, the Bowflex has left the bike more open. I love that they have color-coded everything in a beautiful mat black and just used a little red detailing.
  • Connectivity: One thing a lot of people look for when it comes to a modern spin bike is the possibility to connect it to applications and give themselves a better experience. Both bikes have Bluetooth connectivity and can link up with your favorite applications.
  • Resistance: Both bikes have a magnetic eddy current resistance system. This will give you frictionless resistance and enough to challenge anyone, even a professional cyclist. They also both have a belt drive, which will make it feel silky smooth and won’t require oil or much general maintenance like many spinning bikes do.

Comparison Table

SB600Bowflex C6 / Schwinn IC4
4 Way Adjustable Handlebarsxx
LCD Data Monitorxx
Belt Drivexx
Magnetic Resistancexx
Weights
x
Bluetoothxx

Sole SB900 Review

On-Sale!
Sole SB900 Bike Sole SB900 Bike
4.7

Equipped with a 48lbs flywheel, this bike is going to be super silent and going to feel incredibly solid at all times, including when you're in a maximum sprint. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity so that it can be used with third-party applications such as Zwift or Peloton.

Specifications

  • Traditional Spin Bike Design
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Belt Drive
  • LCD Monitor
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Upgraded Pedals 

Design

I’m a huge fan of Sole as a company. They make an excellent product and the other bikes they have in their range are also very good. Let’s start by talking about the design. It’s a beautiful bike that, honestly, in my opinion, looks fantastic compared to other spin bikes on the market. It wouldn’t look out of place in a gym.

The Sole SB900 can cater for cyclists from 5ft all the way to 6ft 2”. It’s not a vast range, but one thing I love that they have done with the bike is made it very adjustable. Both your seat and your handlebar are four-way adjustable, meaning you can really tie it into your fit. As far as spinning bikes go, it is very small and only 42 x 21 x 40.

Assembly and Quality

The assembly of this bike isn’t complex, and it can be done in about an hour. I would recommend taking your time and making sure everything is nice and tight before riding. The build quality of the Sole is excellent, and it does feel a nice and high quality, and at the price, I would expect that. Nothing on it feels too cheap, and the saddle is pretty good and has a great cushioning effect for beginner cyclists. It also has SPD clip-in pedals as standard, which feel great to use.

Resistance

The resistance system is incredible and works exceptionally. With many modern bikes, they are what we call a frictionless system. This means that the bike doesn’t use a brake pad to create resistance. It actually uses a magnetic eddy current. This means the bike is quieter, and it can create a much better force and requires much less maintenance. It has a whopping 48lbs flywheel which typically, with bigger flywheels, you get a smoother feel.

This is also linked up with what we call a belt drive. A belt drive is what most modern spinning bikes have, and it is used instead of a traditional chain. It means the bike doesn’t require oiling. It will last longer than a chain, and if you ever needed to replace it, it would be cheaper and easier to change. The sole doesn’t give resistance levels, it’s a small turn dial, and the heavier you go, the more it tightens onto your legs. It works well, but I like knowing what gear I’m in when I’m riding to track my improvements.

LCD Screen

The screen on the Sole is very basic, and although they have updated it recently, it does look very simple still, but it isn’t designed to be compared to say a Peloton screen. It’s just a small training aid. It will give you all the data you need, power (estimate), rpm, distance, time, and heart rate. The new screen has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can link heart rate monitors and even link it to applications such as Zwift, which is incredible.

It does come with a tablet mount which I thought was a lovely touch. It’s easy to use and ideal for most tablets. I think bikes with a small monitor and accessibility for a tablet are the way forward because it just opens you up to more applications and gives you so much more flexibility for the experience you want.

SB900 vs. the SB700

There are lots of differences between these two bikes. The SB900 has magnetic resistance, and the SB700 doesn’t, and this is worth every penny extra, in my opinion. Also, you get Bluetooth connectivity and upgraded pedals on the SB900.

If you are interested in the SB900 and want some more info, you can check our detailed review of this excellent Sole indoor bike.

Bowflex C6 / Schwinn IC4 Review

Bowflex C6 Bike Bowflex C6 Bike
4.8

An excellent alternative option to Peloton or other streaming bikes. A quiet magnetic resistance bike, proficient enough to link with the many available streaming devices such as Peloton® and Zwift®.

$200 Off + Free 1-Year JRNY!
Bowflex C6 Bike Schwinn IC4 Bike
4.8

Comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to link to several apps such as Peloton® and Zwift®. The Schwinn really does offer excellent quality at a very affordable price.

Specifications

  • Traditional Spin Bike Design
  • Weights
  • Magnetic Resistance with levels
  • Belt Drive
  • LCD Monitor
  • Bluetooth Connectivity

The Design

I have always been a big fan of the design of the Bowflex C6 and the Schwinn IC4. It has a traditional spinning bike look, but it is blessed with oversized tubing for strength, and the matt black finish is a treat. The only thing that I wasn’t too sure about was the weights on the front. As most companies look to put their weights on the back. They don’t get in the way, so I can’t complain.

The bike itself has excellent user capability of 4ft 6” all the way up to 6ft 6”. This is an incredible user height range and much better than the SB900. Then we have the bike itself. It is 49” x 22” x 52”. So, in turn of having a more extensive range for users, the bike is a medium to large-sized spinning bike. The bike can also adjust 4 ways on the seat and handlebars, which helps tie in that bike fit perfectly.

Assembly and Quality

The assembly of the Bowflex isn’t the most challenging job, and most say it will take about an hour. Personally, I would allow a little longer and just take your time following the instructions and getting it right. The quality you can’t fault. There’s a reason these bikes are so popular, and it is not because they are excellent to ride, but it’s because they are well designed and built to last.

Resistance System

The resistance system, like the SB900, is a frictionless magnetic system, and it also uses a belt drive. You can expect a very quiet system that will provide you with lots of resistance and also require very little maintenance. The flywheel the Bowflex / IC4 uses is a 40lbs flywheel and is lighter than the SB900. 

One thing I did like about the Bowflex is that fact on the screen, it gives you resistance levels, 100 to be precise, and I feel like this is an excellent feature as it really helps you track your progress and also gives you places to work where you know your putting a lot of effort in.

LED Screen

The screen is excellent on the Bowflex, and although it is not a Peloton HD screen, it isn’t trying to be that. It just wants to be a small monitor, and the tablet holder is there for your interactive entertainment. The screen will give you lots of data such as time, distance, rpm, resistance level, speed, heart rate, and calories. It also has Bluetooth connectivity so that it can link up to all your favorite applications, such as Zwift and Peloton.

The table holder is a lovely touch on this and perfectly holds a tablet such as an iPad. It opens the bike up to being a bit more of an entertainment center which is what many people want in a spinning bike typically these days. I feel they have hit the nail on the head by offering the capability to do everything from simple spinning to interactive cycling with this screen.

How do the bikes compare?

If two bikes share considerable similarities, it’s the Bowflex C6 / Schwinn IC4 and the Sole SB900. What the companies have done is they have set out to make a mix between a traditional spinning bike and an interactive entertainment spinning machine, and they have both done is incredible. Let’s break them down and speak about the differences between the two.

Design

In my opinion, the designs are very similar. They both have a traditional spinning bike look to them, small monitors and tablet stands on the front, and that oversized front flywheel. I think visually. The Bowflex does look better finished. Knowing they have gone to the extent to color code the whole bike and keep the red trim to a minimum shows me they have an eye for detail. 

The Bowflex design also comes with weights, which is something the SB900 doesn’t. The SB900 doesn’t need to be plugged in for full functionality, but the Bowflex does. The Bowflex as a bike is much larger overall than the SB900, so if you are short of space, the SB900 will suit you more.

Assembly and Quality

As far as assembly goes, you pretty much are doing the exact same process to build the bikes. I feel there’s very little in it when it comes to quality. The bikes are both made to an excellent standard, and they are both machines that I would be proud to own and know that they will last.

Resistance System

The bikes both use a magnetic resistance system and a belt drive. At the price they are, I would expect this, and when it comes to riding them, they will produce a very similar experience. The flywheels are large, and they will give you excellent resistance and work quietly and efficiently.

As far as the flywheel weight goes, there are 8lbs in it, and you’re not going to notice the difference between these two on this level. It’s common in modern bikes to use evenly weighted ultra-small 15lbs flywheels. So judging these bikes on the weight of the flywheel can’t be done.

LED Screen

In my opinion, this is where the Bowflex differs from the SB900. The screen on the Bowflex feels much higher quality and gives you those resistance levels, which helps you design workouts. Then you have the SB900, which has the power in watts which will be an estimation, but it’s something the Bowflex doesn’t have, and for me, this is something as a cyclist could be very useful. They both have fully Bluetooth connectivity and can go on applications which is excellent.

Which bike is for me?

The most important thing to understand about these bikes is that they are made to be capable of being an excellent basic spin bike that you might use in a class and a bike that has the capability of a Peloton with a tablet added. If you are a cyclist and plan to be using Zwift and just like traditional basic spinning and indoor cycling, then the power function on the sole will go a long way, and I feel this would be the better choice for you. 

If you plan to use the bike as a replacement for a Peloton, then the Bowflex is the bike you’re going to want. With the weights and the resistance level on the screen, it is much more suited. Take into account the height restrictions on the SB900 compared to the Bowflex, so if you are very tall or short, then you might only have the Bowflex as a choice. The last point to mention is typically, the SB900 is more expensive, so if you are on a lower budget, you might want to go for the Bowflex instead. 

Conclusion

They are both excellent bikes, and either one will be ideal and capable of being a great indoor cycling machine or an excellent entertainment spinning system. Your money is well spent either way.

Robbie Ferri

A Personal Trainer and Ultra Cyclist living in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK. From Ultra Cycling World Records to Bikepacking Races and a huge amount of time on the gym floor training myself and clients my experience when it comes to Health and Fitness is vast.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.