The Bowflex IC Bike SE makes indoor cycling a breeze | CNN underlined

Although its popularity may have increased during the pandemic, indoor cycling is still going strong. Boutique studios like Cyclehouse, SoulCycle, and Flywheel have built loyal fans for their high-energy exercise classes in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. And of course Peloton cornered the domestic market during the Covid-19 lockdowns. But if you don’t live in a big city or have an extra $1,500 to spend on an indoor bike, you can still get a great workout at home without breaking the bank.

The new Bowflex IC Bike SE is an affordable alternative to taking in-person spinning classes or investing in smart exercise bikes with even higher price tags. I recently tested the IC Bike SE at home for several weeks and was impressed with how much you get for the money. At just $1,099 when not on sale, it includes free accessories, a trial membership to the Bowflexs JRNY app, and is compatible with other fitness apps, including Peloton. Here’s why we think this budget bike is worth the investment.

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned spinner, the Bowflex IC Bike SE is an affordable spin bike that’s perfect for training at home, thanks to its compact size, 100 levels of magnetic resistance, and an impressive 10-year warranty.

A Bowflex IC SE bike in a garage.

Not everyone has space for a home gym. That’s just one of the reasons why I think the Bowflexs IC Bike SE is a great option for burning calories without having to rearrange furniture to squeeze in a workout. Measuring 4 feet by 2 feet, this bike has a compact footprint and a sleek design that fits almost anywhere. I tried it in my garage, but it could easily fit in the corner of a bedroom or living room without detracting from the decor.

However, despite the IC Bike SE being extremely compact, I was surprised by how sturdy it feels. I won’t lie: I expected to be shaking during my workouts, especially during those tough climbs. But lo and behold, it ended up feeling completely stable throughout my entire ride, even when I was standing on the pedals. The bike also has a 36-pound flywheel that’s comparable to Peloton’s 38-pound flywheel and mimics the same feel you get on an outdoor bike, producing smooth, continuous momentum as you pedal toward your virtual destination.

If you’re on a tight budget or just want to save a few bucks, investing in the Bowflex IC Bike SE is definitely the way to go. While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of more expensive bikes like the Peloton and SoulCycle At-Home Bike, the money you’ll save makes up for many of those missing features.

For example, I didn’t miss many of the high-end features of the competitions, especially since the Bowflex allows you to sync the Zwift, Peloton and JRNY apps directly to your bike. Simply download these apps to your personal device, then connect to the bike by turning on Bluetooth. This allows you to view real-time metrics on the bikes’ 7-inch LCD screen while streaming your classes from your smartphone or tablet.

Another great advantage of the IC Bike SE is that you don’t have to spend extra money on accessories because they are already included. The IC Bike SE includes a pair of 3-pound weights so you can do hybrid cycling and strength classes, as well as pedals equipped with cages and SPD clips. So you can decide if you want to invest in a pair of cycling shoes or just use sneakers for your indoor workouts. I mostly wore running shoes, but I tried the SPD clips and found they worked well too. Whether or not you think it’s worth investing in a pair of cycling shoes is just a matter of personal preference.

The display and handles of the Bowflex IC Bike SE.

While downloading fitness apps is a great way to save money, I would have preferred to have a large touchscreen instead of a small LCD screen attached to the IC Bike SE. This feature is available on several other Bowflex bikes, including the VeloCore Bike 22 and Velocore Bike 16, but it’s not available on this no-frills, budget-conscious model.

And while I appreciated the variety of being able to sync my own fitness apps, I missed the immersive feel of streaming classes on a large built-in monitor. Part of the appeal of companies like Peloton and NordicTrack is that they offer interactive features like auto-fit and high-fives during the ride. There is also a leaderboard that you can upload. Unfortunately, you don’t have access to these same benefits by connecting to Bowflex with JRNY or the Peloton digital app.

A woman rides a bike in a garage on a Bowflex IC Bike SE.

Let’s face it: sitting on any bike for 30 minutes or more can hurt you. But sitting on the IC Bike SE for an extended period of time is downright uncomfortable. The seat is extremely hard, which makes it difficult to get used to, especially if you are new to indoor cycling. While Bowflex offers an Extra Comfort bike seat for an extra $40, you shouldn’t spend more of your hard-earned money to go without a pair of padded shorts.

While I didn’t get a chance to test the Extra Comfort bike seat, I definitely preferred the Pelotons bike seat to the IC Bike SE. It had a lot more cushion and felt noticeably wider at the base, so I had more room to get on and off during sprints and hills. I wish Bowflex would make the Extra Comfort bike seat standard on all their bikes; however, until that point, I would recommend making this additional purchase if you plan on going regularly.

Despite some drawbacks, I think the IC Bike SE is a great value for anyone looking to get started with an at-home cycling routine. Whether you’re a long-time cyclist or new to indoor cycling, this bike is a great way to train on rainy days or stay in shape if you don’t want to go to a cycling class. face-to-face spinning.

The price is also significantly lower than The SoulCycle At-Home Bike, Peloton Bike, and Bowflex Velocore Bike 16. While you won’t get interactive features or a large touchscreen, you do get the ability to sync compatible apps with the bike to view the real ones – time metrics on the integrated 7-inch LCD screen. You can also watch TV, read a book or listen to music on your tablet without being tied to an expensive streaming subscription like Peloton and NordicTrack.

A woman pedals the Bowflex IC Bike SE while holding the dumbbells above her head.

The Bowflex IC Bike SE is a great way to make indoor cycling accessible to everyone. Not only is it affordable, but every purchase includes free accessories, access to popular fitness apps, and a great space-saving design. If you’re looking for fancy, high-end features like rotating monitors, a large touchscreen, or tons of storage, this probably isn’t the bike for you. But if you want a sturdy, stylish machine that’s easy to set up with tons of resistance levels, a powerful flywheel, and an impressive 10-year warranty, look no further than the Bowflex IC Bike SE.

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