Schwinn AC Performance Plus Review
AC Perfomance Plus Overview
Sleek, advanced, and designed to elevate your performance to the highest level, the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus is a top-of-the-line indoor bike that’s a good fit for any level of athlete looking for a way to scale up and spin impressively from home. From the industry titan, Schwinn cycling brand, the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus Indoor cycling bike is a streamlined, smooth, and powerful spin bike that’s a great entry into the spin world and perfect for people looking for safe, sturdy, and comfortable rides.
The Schwinn Performance Plus indoor cycling bike is designed and made for any level of cyclist, providing powerful practice and a stable base on which to level up your spinning abilities. Easily moved and lightweight (thanks to its aluminium frame), this spin bike is built for gentle yet productive training and at-home work, so you can add cycling into your routine right away without having to invest in your local gym or spin studio. Priced at around $2,000, this is definitely a pricey purchase, but the quality of the bike and performance stand up to the test.
The technical capabilities of the Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus indoor cycle are top-of-the-line in every way. Built with a 36 pound perimeter-weighted flywheel that use six-magnet, no contact braking systems to generate thorough resistance with each push of the pedals. The Schwinn team really works to offer a simplified fitness experience that will push you hard and elevate your workout from average to spectacular.
With an adjustable design, chain-transmission, and free-flywheel, this indoor cycling bike was made to create high-energy, high-intensity cardio workouts. The race style bike seat is designed to cushion and protect as you move on and off the bike, while the handlebar unit is height adjustable to accommodate a variety of rider sizes up to 300 lbs.
AC Performance Plus Comparison!
This is where I often update the Schwinn AC Performance Plus review to let you know if, for the price, there are better value indoor bikes that you can buy. Currently, in 2020, I don’t believe this Schwinn spin bike offers enough to justify it’s $2000 price tag. Therefore, I think you have better options (unless by the time you read this review, the price of the bike drops).
With that said, if you are looking for the lightweight aluminium frame, free-wheel system (Smart Release System) and Chain Transmission (and the lack of a tracking monitor is not a factor), this is your best bet for the price. Because there are no other spin bike on the market (under $2000) that has the combination of those three features.
If those three parts/features (aluminum frame, free-wheel system, and chain transmission) are not important to you, here is a great value alternative that I suggest. The Keiser M3i, it is made in the US, comes with a backlit, Bluetooth, watt reading monitor, and a has quiet belt drive transmission.
Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus Review:
- Width: 21”
- Length: 54″
- Height: 51”
- Bike Weight: 102 Pounds
- Max User Weight: 300 Pounds
- User Height Fit: 4’11” – 6’8”
- Transportation Wheels
The Performance Plus has a compact design while still delivering a powerful performance. This bike has an extremely sleek design and performance. Thanks to its industrial smooth drive system and powerful aluminum frame, it feels like a masterpiece of exercise machinery.
The chain and flywheel work in tandem to create an endurance-based workout, and its included transport wheels mean that you can easily transplant this bike wherever you want to work out without needing to grab some friends.
From its portability to its streamlined yet intensive design and performance, the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus spin bike is designed to accommodate needs for gentle yet productive workouts.
AC Performance Digital Monitor:
- There is no monitor included with the Schwinn AC Performance Plus:
- The Schwinn Team has built three consoles (sold separately) for this bike:
- Echelon2 for AC Performance, no Power.
- Echelon2 for AC Performance with Power Upgrade.
- 4iiii Crank for AC Performance with Direct Power Upgrade and Backlit (the best console by Schwinn).
- Note: Echelon2 consoles utilize direct or estimated power and have the ANT+ connection.
A big con right out of the gate is the total lack of monitor or personal device holder. Unlike many indoor bikes on the marketplace, there’s no included digital monitor, at least not built into the bike. There are no cadence sensors, no pulse sensors, no heart rate tracking: nothing.
In order to incorporate any kind of tracking, you have two options: buy the add-on compatible fitness monitors designed to clip onto the bike or use your own tracking gear.
The compatible add-on monitors sold by Schwinn is anywhere from $200 to $700, an additional fee tacked onto the already pricey AC Fitness Performance Plus indoor cycle. Even if you choose to purchase the monitor, it’s relatively low-tech, offering the bare essentials of RPM, distance, cadence, time, and calories, which is simple compared to its price tag and to competitive models that come with 22″ touchscreen displays.
If you’re looking to track biometric statistics like heart rate or get a more accurate read on burned calories, you’ll have to rely on a smart watch or a third-party fitness tracker that will again cost more. For a bike with such a high initial price point, it’s a bit surprising that this feature is not already built-in.
AC Performance Plus Pedals:
- Pedals are SPD-compatible and have toe cages/dual-link (some sellers might send the “triple-link” pedals instead).
- Dual-sided pedals are compatible with cycling shoes and will accommodate both high-performance SPD cleats and traditional fitness shoes.
- The Q factor of AC Performance Plus is 168mm.
SPD compatibility is a must-have for any serious cyclist. Most SPD pedals are double sided – that means you can clip into either side of the pedal, which makes starting from stationary a lot easier. You can adjust the release tension of the cleat using the small screw at the rear of the pedal (one each side, because they’re double sided). Some riders prefer the additional security that comes from increased release tension, but if you’re just starting out you may want less tension.
Most cleats will offer some ‘float’ in the shoe to pedal interface, letting your feet rotate about a vertical axis without disengaging, for a more comfortable ride. All SPD cleats are made of metal, so they are robust. This means that they can be used with regular shoes and special bike cleats that allow for maximum training and grip during a cycle or spin class. Those are typically useful for people who are looking to take their cycling to the next level or who are doing off-season training indoors.
The Q-Factor of 168mm is a great ratio for all kinds of spinners. Known as a “narrow” size, don’t be fooled: this Q-factor actually ensures the greatest efficiency for riders, allowing maximum drive on the pedal and creating ergonomic positioning for legs and knees that reduce strain on joints and other muscle functions. By positioning the legs to be able to drive straight down without bending inward or setting them too wide apart, the bike creates the perfect drive mechanism for powerful spinning with almost no impact on the body. However, people who have especially long legs or are generally taller than others might struggle with the positioning of the pedals because the narrow Q-factor is generally designed for the average or standard body type. The Q-factor here will likely work best for riders between 5-6.5 feet tall.
AC Performance Plus Flywheel:
- 36 lb fixed flywheel
- Durable and stable
- Employs sleek and quiet magnetic resistance to drive up workout intensity
- Six-magnet no contact braking systems
Unlike bikes with traditional tension systems, bikes with magnetic resistance never come in contact with the flywheel, resulting in a silent, stable and virtually low maintenance experience. This flywheel is made of six different magnets, and because they’re no-contact, braking is easy and causes no damage to your machine.
The fixed flywheel works to generate internal traction that propels the pedals forward as you push, meaning you work hard with every stride to earn a good workout. This flywheel’s intense magnetization and powerful weighted wheel mean you have to work even harder than normal to drive through each cycle.
The heavy-duty belt system here, which we’ll talk about in more detail later, is incredibly reliable, preserving the function of your flywheel no matter how many intensive rides you demand from it. The flywheel, similar to the rest of this bike, is built to withstand any amount of use, so you’ll have no problem riding it for years to come and it can survive multiple moves or transitions to different places. Your whole family could ride it for years without any damage or extensive wear, and even if you did happen to experience issues, they’d likely be covered by the generous warranty (discussed in more detail later on in this review)
AC Performance Plus Resistance:
- The Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus features six magnets adjustable resistance system
- Variable adjustment knob cranks up resistance before or during rides
The Schwinn AC Performance Plus bike stands out among spin bikes in its approach to adjusting resistance. Instead of having a set amount of resistance levels like many similar exercise bikes, the adjustment knob allows a rider to adjust the resistance settings with the twist of a knob.
While this does help the rider customize their intensity more specifically to their needs, it’s important to remember that it lacks the third-party or electronic resistance options that more advanced bikes offer, like resistance levels that simulate specific terrain or target specific workout types.
However, interval workouts that are typically hard to achieve with knob adjustments are actually easier on this bike due to the ease of setting rotation, so this bike is suited for both long cardio-based style rides and regular interval intensity changes such as hill or terrain training. The knob also allows for more refined adjusting, meaning that you can push yourself as hard as you might on a higher end model.
AC Performance Plus Adjustment:
- Four-way adjustable handlebars for maximum customization
- Four-way adjustable padded seat
- Dual-bottle holders on the handlebars
One of our favorite perks of the Performance Plus is the personalization available due to the four-way adjustable handlebars and seat options. They have all the possible positions a rider could want, as both riders who normally train indoors and those who ride outdoors can find their preferred arm positions with little to no trouble adjusting and creating a good fit.
This flexibility is also helpful for people who will be using their cycle for spin classes or wanting to incorporate weight training into their cycle experience. The variety of positions can fit standing, squatting, and movement on, off, and around the bike area, meaning that you’ll be able to match pace with whatever intense contortions your workout instructor is putting you through.
For those in homes with more than one cyclist, especially who are of significantly different builds, this feature makes it much more convenient to switch back and forth from custom seat settings. Because of this adjustability (in all four directions), it allows the spin bike to fit an extremely wide range of users. The seat also fits several different height ranges, so any one between 5 feet and 6.5 feet of height will be able to use this bike effectively and maximize its available frame flexibility and positioning.
Transmission and Gear Ratio:
- AC Performance Plus comes with the chain-driven transmission (no belt).
- The gear ration for the AC Performance Plus spin bike is 1:4.5
- This indoor bike comes with Schwinn’s Smart Release System” (free-wheel for casting).
The chain drive system on the Schwinn Fitness Performance Plus is high-performing and transfers full power to the flywheel regardless of the resistance. However, the chain systems in general are louder and require significantly more effort to maintain than belt drives (what you’d see on most indoor bikes). Therefore, from time to time, you will need to lubricate, tighten, and clean.
The big pro of the Performance Plus chain transmission is its power efficiency and similar to outdoor bike performance. Pedaling this bike feels like you’re riding an outdoor bike while still creating a strong drive and tough resistance that will challenge you during any workout.
The gear ratio also comes into play here: the ease of adjustment with the knob-based resistance system contributes to the overall silence of your ride and eliminates the loud cranking and creaking that some older spin bikes or outdoor chain bike models are known for.
Price and Warranty:
- The Performance Plus bike is currently priced at around $2,000
- The Performance Plus bike’s warranty includes:
- Five years on the frame
- Two years on most parts
- One year on labor
The price of this bike in comparison to the range of features it offers and the range of other bikes available is steep, but for those who are truly committed to a quality ride and want free-wheel technology, it might be worth it.
These are quality spin bikes for those who are just starting out in cycling and or experienced riders upgrading their game, but they’re very pricey and are a hefty investment for any spinner. For warranty or parts replacement, you can contact the manufacturer through their website.
Assembly and Shipping:
- Shipped in a single box, with required assembly tools included.
- Takes about ten days to arrive depending on your location.
- Depending on where you purchase from assembly services can be purchased as an add-on.
Assembling your Schwinn Performance Plus is relatively simple. The integral parts, such as the flywheel and the chain system, come pre-assembled, so you won’t need to worry about how to attach them.
However, if you’re nervous or unsettled as a result of the idea of assembly, you can purchase labor services to come to your home and assemble the bike depending on your location.
Shipping timeframes will depend on the carrier, but if you have concerns about getting it into your house you can call ahead and arrange assistance with your local delivery system.
Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus Pros:
Smart Release System:
Perhaps the selling point and the most remarkable aspect of Schwinn AC Performance Plus is its “smart release system” that allows you to cast (like you would on a road bike) while the flywheel is still turning. Also known as “free-wheel”, it also allows you to jump off the bike without being forced to wait until the flywheel stops turning.
Powerful and Efficient:
This is one of the most durable indoor exercise bikes out there. It’s sleekly designed and easy to use and store, so people looking for unobtrusive but challenging exercise will find it perfect. The lightweight aluminum frame and included front wheels make transport even easier, so you can wheel the bike to wherever you feel like exercising today and then quickly push it back into its storage place until you’re ready to use it again.
The Customizable Setup:
With the combination of the adjustable seat and handlebars, the Performance Plus spin bike is extremely adaptable to just about any cyclist. Both the seat and handlebars can be adjustable in four directions and both can be done with relative ease and simplicity, meaning you don’t need to be an expert in tools to make adjustments to your positioning. This can be really handy if you have multiple users of the bike in your home or just want to try out different settings or styles without having to take apart your entire bike and spend hours tinkering with wrenches to get it just right.
The magnetic resistance system is top-notch on this bike. The no-contact braking is smooth as silk and the resistance knob allows for perfect customization and a truly layered and intense workout. The magnetic system is also highly durable, meaning that your bike’s lifespan is longer than normal and can stand up to years of regular and intensive use without sacrificing any resistance quality.
Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus Cons:
No Digital Monitor:
Possibly the biggest con about the Fitness Performance Plus is the lack of a fitness monitor or console built into the bike. Many other bikes offer better digital consoles or at the very least Bluetooth and ANT+ integration; this bike does not. With no immediate way to track rides, the bike isn’t immediately helpful if you’re trying to reach specific fitness goals without incorporating third party technology.
For $2000, it is simply not fair to receive a chain transmission. It should have been the Carbon Blue (Toothed/Timing) belt. But unfortunately, to get the Carbon Blue belt, you have to pay $400 extra and buy the Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus with Carbon Blue. With that said, some elite road riders do prefer the chain transmission over belt transmission because it offers better power transfer.
The Final Verdict
The Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus Spin Bike is a powerhouse that would work well in any gym, studio, or workout space. The highly versatile design allows for maximum customization to the needs of every cyclist. The sleekly integrated drive system and micro-adjustment knob make for a simple yet challenging workout design that you can build to your exact needs. It’s also portable and easily stored, and the flashy white frame makes it an aesthetically pleasing feature in any space.
Its durability and performance metrics are superstars in every category. The few small cons (mostly the lack of technology aspects) are important to remember but easily worked around by adding a tablet, third party fitness tracker, or by adding weight training into your spin workout. The Schwinn Performance Plus is versatile and flexible in both user audience and user abilities, making it a great across-the-board choice for any cyclist.
At the end of the day, the Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus spin bike is an expensive bike that is a solid investment into a future of dedicated spinning and indoor cycling. Its strong and durable resistance system ensures repeatedly intense workouts that are constantly working to better you, and its flexible setup allows for maximum rider use. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, this bike is a fantastic addition to the indoor cycling landscape. And I hope by the time you are reading Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus review, the company put a fair price on this commercial quality indoor cycling bike.
While it might have some imperfections (namely, the price and the lack of a monitor), the Performance Plus spin bike is most certainly one of the best products on the market. The seamless incorporation of the six magnetic resistance stability perimeter-weighted flywheel and high-power chain design elevate the Performance Plus to the top of the Schwinn indoor cycling ranks and make it competitive with many other similar bike styles on the market, especially considering its long lifespan. However, the question then becomes does the bike stand up to the test in every category? The Schwinn Fitness Performance Plus certainly serves as an excellent piece of exercise equipment for users and is utilized across the country in personal and public gyms, studios, and workout spaces. However, the underdeveloped and missing technology aspects combined with the staggering price leave it just a few steps away from perfection.