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Schwinn has got the most well-known cycling name of all bikes on the fitness market, having produced road racing bikes and exercise bikes since the 1960's. Once the ‘go to’ indoor bike of any top-end gym or studio, in recent years it has lost ground on its rivals, although die hards will tell you that nothing rides and feels as good as a Schwinn indoor bike. Let’s see....
Firstly there is the name. Schwinn is synonymous with quality and cycling and has been for years. Its entry into the commercial power indoor cycle market is the AC Performance bike, using the 4iiii crank arm strain gauge with the Echelon 2 console.
Aesthetically, the bike looks good. Although obviously a standard design, which has been around since the 1990’s, it is tried and tested and the use of tubular frame materials gives it a more modern look. Vertical and horizontal control over the handlebar and seats mean the ride position is good. The drivetrain is the same carbon blue belt as used with the Stages SC3 and, therefore, is maintenance free. The Echelon 2 console feeds you all the information you need while riding the bike, from power to RPM, and is Ant + connective, so designed to link with the two largest Training Systems in the marketplace, namely Peloton and Zwift.
The AC Performance with 4iiii strain gauge power metre is over $2000, which is on a par with other bikes we have reviewed.
The major issue is that the Echelon console is only Ant + connected and therefore limits the applications and training you can do. The AC Performance is trying so hard to be the Stages SC3, but just doesn't quite get there. The 4iiii crank arm power strain gauge is nowhere near the same league as the Stages’ gauge and inaccurate power results mean your data probably will not paint a true picture of your ability. This becomes a major issue when connecting to competitive training applications such as Zwift or Rouvy. Connectivity to Peloton is good but if you only bought this bike to connect to Peloton, it does beg the question why you didn't buy the Peloton bike with the large touch screen.
For the price, I really believe that Schwinn could offer a more complete package. With competitors offering relatively complete solutions to the demands of this modern market, I feel Schwinn is still lagging behind. Ardent Schwinn lovers of course will not be swayed, but I do believe that anyone who is serious about their cycle indoor training and wants to connect to multiple applications to help this training will, once educated, choose one of a number of bikes that do this better than the Schwinn AC Performance.