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Before my ICG (Indoor Cycling Group) certification on the IC7 indoor cycling bike, I had never ridden this model before. It includes a few fascinating features that I hadn’t utilized before in my almost 20-year career as a certified cycling instructor. I now have the privilege of instructing on this bike for all of my classes. I can’t wait to give you my first-hand insights on what to expect with this model and how to maximize your experience.
IC7 Bike Features
As the cycling industry continues to evolve, bikes continue to offer exciting new features and designs. Take a glance below to see what this fascinating bike has to offer.
The commercial-grade steel frame design features a unique shape that decreases the potential of sweat corrosion.
Handlebars & Saddle
One of the most significant differences between this model and others on the market is that the posts are gas-assisted. This means that when the post levers are unlocked, the seat and handlebars extend automatically to the full position. Riders apply pressure to lower these components to their desired height. Typically, indoor cycling bikes require participants to pull out the post pin to move these components. The IC7 handlebars and saddle offer four-way adjustability, making it easier to find the correct riding position.
The weight of the flywheel is not disclosed by Life Fitness, which is a little peculiar. However, based on the rear placement of the flywheel, it can be estimated that it weighs between 8 and 15 pounds which is a typical range for this flywheel placement.
This bike features a belt drive system. Belt systems require less maintenance than a chain system and provide a tranquil riding experience.
Like other commercial-grade indoor cycles that offer magnetic resistance, the IC7 provides a smooth and quiet ride. The difference is that the IC7 provides a 300-degree resistance knob turn. As a result, riders feel a distinct click when adjusting the resistance knob.
Both SPD pedals and toe cages are included with the purchase of this bike.
The console is one of the most incredible features that this bike has to offer. The console is bike-powered and therefore requires no batteries to be changed frequently or the need to be plugged into a power source. The primary display features cadence, resistance level, intensity level, and watts. Additionally, riders have the option to select four different display options. The display choices include only the basic metrics to more complex options featuring a detailed breakdown of the time and distance spent in each training level and showing the maximum and average metrics for each category.
The training levels correspond to specific colors that represent various intensity levels. In my opinion, the coach-by-color feature is the most significant bike component I found when riding the IC7 and nothing like any other bike I have ridden in my career. We will talk about Coach-by-Color in detail in the next section.
What Exactly is Coach-by-Color?
Life Fitness is revolutionizing the indoor cycling industry with its new Coach-by-Color feature. The IC7 integrates intensity levels and how color impacts human interaction and reaction (psychological, physiological, physical, and sociological). As a result, riders receive instant gratification for their efforts as the colors shift on their consoles. In addition, since the color levels are based on each individual’s FTP level, it provides a more accurate representation of the effort being completed in class. For example, not always do my riders understand how hard I want them to be working when discussing the rate of perceived exertion. With this visual technology, my students instantly know if I am asking for a different color level than they are currently giving me in class.
For those that might be wondering what FTP is, it stands for Functional Threshold Power. Your FTP level is the amount of power measured in watts that you can maintain for approximately an hour. Later we will discuss how to find your FTP level. Don’t worry! It does not include riding as hard as you can for an hour.
Five colors differentiate the intensities achieved within the class. These colors include white, blue, green, yellow, and red. Below is a breakdown of what to expect at each color level.
Level 1 White- Active Recovery
In level 1, riders are preparing their mind and body for their workout or recovering. This level can also be used as a chance to refocus during a ride. The rate of perceived exertion should be very light and easily maintained for multiple hours. Key level 1 metrics include less than 55% FTP and less than 60% max heart rate. (Maximum heart rate is estimated with the formula: 220- your age=Max HR) I often use level 1 at the very beginning of my class or as a short break during intense intervals.
Level 2 Blue- Endurance
The endurance level is similar to level one but will require a higher rate of exertion. This color and light intensity level can be easily maintained for up to 8 hours. It is often utilized in the preparation or recovery portions of a workout. Key level 2 metrics include: 56-75% FTP and 61-70% of max heart rate. For shorter rides, this is a great option to use as your active recovery instead of white. As you begin to get stronger, strive to stay in blue instead of going to white to catch your breath.
Level 3 Green – Tempo
During the tempo level, the rate of perceived exertion is moderate. It is essential to focus on form and consistent pedal strokes to maintain this level. When working in this color, riders should be working at 76-90% of their FTP and 71-80% of their max heart rate. This intensity is challenging but can be maintained for 3 to 8 hours, depending on your fitness level. A tempo level is an excellent option for longer seated or standing flats and climbs.
Level 4 Yellow- Lactic Threshold
This level can only be maintained from 10-60 minutes as the rate of perceived exertion is hard. The FTP range for level 4 is 91-105% FTP and 81-90% of max heart rate. It is essential to maintain mental focus in this range, as the output demand is much greater. Remaining focused in yellow helps to prepare you to work in the red level. This is the most challenging color for my students to maintain, and often they bounce between green and red. Through consistent practice, the yellow level will become easier.
Level 5 Red- VO2, Anaerobic Capacity, and Neuromuscular Power
The red level is broken into three different stages, which are VO2, Anaerobic Capacity, and Neuromuscular Power. The red group strives for maximal exertion and is therefore highly taxing on the body. Although this level tests a rider’s determination, it also provides an outstanding level of satisfaction and a feeling of success after completing a red section successfully. For example, VO2 can be maintained for only 1-8 minutes compared to the Neuromuscular Power stage that is only 5-10 seconds. Critical level 5 metrics for VO2 include 106-120% FTP and 91-100% max heart rate. I enjoy working in the red group with my class during short intervals in the middle or end of my class.
IC7 Pros and Cons
Who Should Purchase the IC7
This bike is an option for riders of all levels if it is within their budget. This bike costs over $3,000. This is a great indoor cycle for those riders that might require a little more incentive to push themselves and desire their workouts to be fun and inspiring. Veteran cyclists will also find this model to be a good choice because they can see their progress in real-time with the customized data based on their FTP level that the console provides.
The IC7 is relatively easy as it basically comes assembled except for a few items, including pedals, crank arms, saddle, handlebars, and console. Life Fitness offers an optional service to have a technician finish the assembly once your cycle arrives for an additional fee.
Competitor Detailed Comparison
Below, we will examine different models, including the IC7, Peloton, Schwinn IC4, and the Bowflex C6. Although these models have many similarities, they have significant differences that will impact purchasing decisions.
This indoor cycling bike, manufactured by Life Fitness, includes an evenly light-weighted rear flywheel and a unique steel frame design to minimize sweat corrosion. Priced at $3,199, this bike is more expensive than many similar magnetic resistance models. However, the robust technology that is included with this model sets this bike apart from competitors. Life Fitness’s Coach-by-Color technology not only provides an exciting riding experience but provides real-time interactive metrics to keep the workouts exciting and beneficial. In addition, the free ICG app easily connects with the IC7 cycle and helps riders prepare for FTP tests, track and log workout metrics, and provide various workouts to reach customized goals.
IC7 Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: Evenly weighted (estimated at between 8-15 pounds)
- User height range: 25″-38.5″ inseam
- User weight: 330 pounds
- Resistance system: magnetic
- L x W x H: 52 x 20.5 x 40.2 inches
- Item weight: 119 pounds
- Drive system: 2-Stage Hybrid Poly-V & Tooth Belt
The original Peloton bike costs $1,895 and includes a 22″ touchscreen. The belt-driven front flywheel weighs thirty pounds and contains 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Peloton offers a fantastic riding experience for those riders that like to take instructor lead classes and compete with other participants on the Peloton leaderboard. The Peloton membership is an additional cost to take part in the Peloton platform. The motivating and inclusive Peloton community is one of the most prominent selling points for this model.
Peloton Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: 30 Pounds
- User maximum height: 6’5″
- User maximum weight: 297 pounds
- Resistance system: magnetic
- L x W x H: 53 x 23 x 59 inches
- Item weight: 135 pounds
- Drive system: Belt
Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6
Nautilus manufactures these two almost identical models. These models offer an excellent riding experience at a fraction of the cost of other high-quality magnetic resistance models. For less than $1,000, purchasers can have a commercial-grade cycle in the comfort of their own home. In addition, the Schwinn IC4 and the Bowflex C6 offer an exceptionally smooth ride since they include a forty-pound front flywheel that is belt-driven. Furthermore, they offer 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Although these models do not come with their own interactive app, they can easily integrate with other apps, including Peloton, Swift, and Sufferfest.
Related: Bowflex C6 vs Schwinn IC4 Comparison
Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6 Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: 40 pounds
- User height range: 4′ 6″- 6’6″
- User weight maximum: 330 pounds
- Resistance system: Magnetic
- L x W x H: 51.8 x 21.2 x 48.7 inches
- Item weight: 106 pounds
- Drive system: Belt
What is an ICG Bike?
An ICG bike is an indoor cycling bike that ICG has produced. The Indoor Cycling Group (ICG) specializes in designing, manufacturing, and programming high-quality cycling equipment.
How do I set up my ICG indoor cycling bike console?
First, you must pedal at a cadence of at least 60 RPMs for the console battery to begin to charge. Then, after the console turns on and you select Power Training, it guides you through a series of questions. These questions include your fitness level (approximate FTP level, but you can input your actual number if you know it), gender, HR device availability, desire for Coach-by-Color to be activated, and a health waiver.
How do you use the ICG Training App?
This free app can be downloaded to your smartphone and integrates via Bluetooth into your bike. It not only records metrics during your rides but also allows riders to create customized workouts, complete an FTP test warm-up, and take different ride profiles.
How do I find my FTP level?
You can find your level by completing an FTP test executed at a fitness facility, or you can complete one using the ICG Training app and an IC7 bike. Various FTP tests are available, but the FTP Ramp Test is becoming the industry standard. It includes a five-minute warm-up, and every minute after that, the intensity continues to increase. If a rider is unable to get to the following intensity requirement, then the test is over. The Ramp Test usually takes less than 25 minutes to complete from the warm-up to the cool-down. FTP tests should be conducted every 4-6 weeks for an accurate assessment of your current level.
The IC7 is an excellent bike based on the unique technology that it offers. If you desire to become a stronger rider and do not mind the hefty price tag, the IC7 is a fantastic choice!