Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Review
The AC Sport Indoor Cycle with Carbon Blue is made for the fitness enthusiast who loves ergonomics and aesthetics as much as they do a good performance. Sleek, innovative, and hardworking, the Schwinn AC Sport Indoor spin cycle with Carbon Blue is a high-end indoor spin bike that works to deliver a boutique spinning experience to any fitness enthusiast from the comfort of your own home.
From spin and bike industry leader Schwinn, the latest addition to their higher-end cycle options promise a smooth and powerful ride that will push your fitness goals to new heights, but also might stretch your budget fairly thin. The Schwinn AC Sport Indoor Cycle with Carbon Blue offers a quality build and high-tech belt and drive components, but riders will want to read this review carefully to make sure they’re prepared for the rather pricey investment this bike requires.
The Schwinn AC Sport Indoor Cycle with Carbon Blue caters to any cyclist, offering customizable intensity and providing powerful spin practice for classes or cycling. Riders will be drawn to the sturdy yet portable build of this bike that can easily be moved to any area of your home and offers a durable and long-lasting performance.
Especially given recent COVID gym closures, having a studio-quality spin bike in your home is a huge convenience that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your workout. However, studio-quality also comes with a studio-level price tag; this bike will run you about $1,900 plus any add-ons you choose.
AC Sport W/ Carbon Blue Comparison!
This is where I often update the Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue 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. It’s a good bike but overpriced!
Therefore, I think you have better options (unless by the time you read this review, the price of this Schwinn indoor bike drops) for this price. Unlike the AC Performance Plus, this model doesn’t even come with the Schwinn’s Smart Release System (free-wheel system). So, you can’t do casting on the bike like you would on a road bike.
A couple of better value alternatives to this overpriced Schwinn indoor bike are; NordicTrack S22i, Keiser M3i, and Bowflex Velocore. They all come with watt and RPM reading monitors (S22i and Velocore come with 22″ HD touch screens). Additionally, they have Bluetooth connectivity to allow workout tracking and data download.
Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Review:
- Width: 20”
- Length: 50″
- Height: 48”
- Bike Weight: 126 Pounds
- Max User Weight: 350 Pounds
- User Size Range: 4’11” to 6’8”
- Transportation Wheels: Yes
Beyond an aesthetic and powerful performance, the technical components of the Schwinn AC Sport Indoor Cycle with Carbon Blue are meant to be top of the industry and innovative in every way. Built with a 37 pound flywheel equipped with a six-magnet, no contact braking systems, this cycle provides an effortless push and a layered-intensity ride for maximum ease of use.
The top-of-the-line Carbon Blue drive belt ensures a smooth and hard-working ride without any bumps or issues, integrating resistance and power into your fitness routine with ease. From start to finish, the Schwinn cycle company provides a streamlined and powerful spin experience that elevates your ride to new levels and keeps you coming back to your bike time and time again.
The highlights of this bike include a sturdy aluminum frame that’s both strong and lightweight, as well as their innovative new toothed-Carbon Blue belt. The Carbon Blue transmission drives forceful yet smooth strides, pairing with the ergonomically placed bike saddle and pedals to create a maximum workout with minimum strain on your body. Powerful yet petite, the Schwinn AC Sport Indoor Cycle with Carbon Blue measures 48″ L x 20″ W x 48″ H and folds into any space with ease and aesthetic grace.back to menu ↑
Digital Monitors (Add Ons):
- There is no monitor included with this Schwinn indoor cycle;
- Although there are three compatible consoles by Schwinn that you can purchase separately;
- Echelon2 with no powers, Echelon2 with resistance-based power, and Echelon2 4iiii with backlit and direct/accurate power reading;
One of the most notable flaws in the Schwinn AC Performance bike design is its lack of performance tracking monitor or digital display of any kind. Unlike almost every other fitness cycle on the market, there’s not a single metric monitor built into this bike, not even a basic LCD monitor. There are no cadence sensors, no pulse sensors, no heart rate tracking: nothing. Any rider who wants to track their ride will either need to use their own equipment (which won’t sync to the bike because there’s no Bluetooth or ANT+ compatibility) or invest in an additional digital monitor that Schwinn sells.
There are three major options for add-on monitors sold by Schwinn for performance and metric tracking. The Schwinn mPower Echelon2 monitor with power was designed to deliver both useful performance and lasting value to riders. The Resistance Power based console for AC Sport bike offers more features than ever before. The display shows approximate power, RPM, calories burned, bike gear, heart rate, time cycled, distance cycled, and more. The data connects to a flash drive or a wireless device through the monitor’s ANT+ projection capabilities. Powered by batteries, the monitor can plug into your bike and track rides with ease, all for a jaw-dropping $525.
Its sibling console, the Echelon2 with NO power, offers scaled back metrics for riders and coaches alike. Time cycled, calories burned (but only when wearing an activated heart rate monitor that can connect via the console’s ANT+), RPM, cadence, and telemetry heart rate are all available here, but the device does not track power or resistance like the Echelon2 with power. This scaled back monitor will still run you a few hundred dollars if you can find it, but it has mostly been replaced by its higher-quality older sibling.
The final console option, Echelon2 for 4iiii, offers all the benefits of the Echelon2 with power in addition to pairing ability with the 4iiii power meter and a larger and backlit display. The model offers the most innovative features Schwinn has to offer for under $400.back to menu ↑
- Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue pedals are SPD-compatible and have toe cages
- Dual-sided pedals are compatible with cycling shoes and will accommodate both high-performance SPD cleats and traditional fitness shoes
- The Q factor of Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue is 168mm
For the serious cyclist, the pedals on the Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue are some of the best on the market. The Morse Taper Double Link shape means these pedals are dual-sided and can be clipped into on either side, creating maximum flexibility for spinners whose workouts require lifting on or off the pedals.
The SPD equipment is another plus; any serious cyclist knows how essential SPD is to a good ride, and the benefits of their high-performance cleat compatibility will prove themselves in just a few workouts. The included athletic toe cage also allows workouts with traditional tennis or athletic shoes as well, so you have options when it comes to creating a perfect fitness experience.
The Q-Factor of 168mm is a standard and ideal ratio for all types of spinners. Known as a “narrow” pedal size, this Q-factor creates the greatest efficiency for riders. A narrow stance positions the feet and knees in a line that drives smoothly downwards, 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 powerful drive to move straight down without bending inward or setting the rider in a wide and unstable position, the bike creates the perfect drive mechanism for powerful spinning with almost no impact on the body.back to menu ↑
Schwinn AC Sport Flywheel:
- AC Sport comes with a 37 Lb fixed flywheel
- Aluminum and thin profile
- Employs sleek and quiet magnetic resistance to drive up workout intensity
- Six-magnet no contact braking systems
Magnetic resistance systems are a standard in the spin fitness industry because of their seamless, no contact drive between flywheel and transmission. The AC Sport flywheel is made up of six different magnets, and because they’re no-contact, braking is easy and causes no damage to your machine or unpleasant jerk to your body.
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. However, the fact that the flywheel is fixed means that it does not utilize the popular Schwinn Smart Release System, meaning that for such an expensive price the flywheel design is not as innovative as it could be.
The heavy-duty toothed Carbon Blue belt system, aluminum flywheel, and strong, powder-coated steel and aluminum frame make this bike reliable, preserving the function of your flywheel and transmission system no matter how many intense 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 many years or taking it with you if you move homes, apartments, or gym spaces.back to menu ↑
AC Sport Resistance:
- The Schwinn Fitness AC Sport with Carbon Blue features a six-magnet adjustable resistance system
- Incremental adjustment knob cranks up resistance before or during rides with just a few clicks
- Adjustment is manual and done via a knob (no automatic resistance change on this bike)
The Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue indoor cycle uses time-tested Schwinn technology to master the incremental approach to adjusting the degree of magnetic resistance. Instead of having a set amount of resistance levels like an elliptical or treadmill might, this spin bike features an incremental adjustment knob that allows a rider to adjust the resistance settings by twisting the knob in degrees in whatever direction you’d like your resistance to head.
This resistance knob does offer a few advantages, namely that it’s easy to click up or down mid workout, unlike other bikes where you can only adjust tension after you’ve stopped pedaling. However, the lack of marked levels can be annoying or difficult to manipulate if you’re in a workout that needs fast resistance switch that isn’t conducive to slow clicking through each level.
Incremental changes are usually best suited for long cardio-based style rides, but partly because of the magnetic contact system, this specific bike offers slightly faster adjustments that can help with hill or terrain training if that’s what you’re looking for.back to menu ↑
Handlebars and Seat:
- Four-way adjustable handlebars for maximum customization
- Four-way adjustable padded seat
- Integrated easy to reach dual bottle holders on the handlebars
One of our favorite perks of the AC Sport bike (and of Schwinn indoor bikes in general) is the personalization available due to the four-way adjustable handlebars and seat options. The handlebars and seat positioning are infinitely adjustable in all directions, meaning that you can find your perfect fit with much greater accuracy and detail than others might.
For riders who need flexibility with positioning and stances while riding or standing up on your cycle, this feature is a game-changer. On top of that, this Schwinn spin bike comes with two conveniently built bottle holders on the handlebars to keep you hydrated at all time.back to menu ↑
Transmission and Gear Ratio:
- The Schwinn Fitness AC Sport with Carbon Blue drive system is named for its shining feature: the Carbon Blue belt drive system;
- This revolutionary transmission system is high-performing and low-maintenance, providing an ideal ride for every user;
- The gear ratio for the Schwinn AC Sport spin bike is 1:4;
- Note! There is no “Free-wheel” (Smart Release System) on this Schwinn indoor bike;
Belt systems, in general, require significantly less effort to maintain than chain drives (what you’d see on the standard Schwinn AC Sport spin bike), but the Carbon Blue belt drive takes this a step further. Forget constant lubrication, tightening, and rust-prevention: these belts stay in top shape for a long time without needing a lot of work. The toothed belt drive (also known as the timing belt) provides a superior drive experience, including the tight fit to the gears and the smooth overall ride. There’s no stretching, jerking, or slipping with a Carbon Blue belt drive, making it one of the premium transmission options available on the marketplace.
The other big pro of the Carbon Blue belt drive is its smooth and silent performance. Pedaling this bike is a silent yet powerful experience that creates a strong drive and tough resistance that will challenge you during any workout. The low-noise component of these belt drives is the best thing about the innovative toothed Carbon Blue belt: when combined with the AC Sport’s magnetic resistance system this bike rides softly and silently, meaning you can ride this bike anywhere, anytime without worrying about creating a racket or waking up your household.
The gear ratio also contributes to your smooth and quiet ride: 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. As the Schwinn manufacturers state on their website, their goal was to simulate the ease of chain bike transmissions but with increased use and decreased maintenance needs, making one of the best belts for spin bikes ever.back to menu ↑
Price and Warranty:
- The AC Sport with Carbon Blue bike is currently priced at around $1,900
- The AC Sport with Carbon Blue bike’s warranty includes ten years on the frame, two years on most parts, and one year on labor and installation, if you choose to purchase that service
- For warranty questions or parts replacement, you can contact the Schwinn manufacturers through their website
The price of this bike in comparison to the range of features it offers and the range of other bikes available is steep, especially when you consider the accessories that you’ll probably need to purchase in order to get the most bang for your buck out of this bike.
These are definitely higher-quality bikes, but they’re probably best for spinners without a budget who can afford to upgrade as needed in order to build their ideal ride.back to menu ↑
Assembly and Shipping:
- Shipped in a single box, with assembly required
- Takes about ten days to arrive
- Depending on where you purchase from assembly services can be purchased as an add-on
Assembling your Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Indoor Cycle is pretty easy to figure out with the assistance of their manual and some useful videos on YouTube.
The key parts, such as the flywheel and the drive 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.back to menu ↑
Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Pros:
Powerful and efficient:
This is one of the higher-quality indoor exercise bikes on the market and for good reason. Schwinn’s expertise with cycles means that this cycle is designed to be sleek and strong at the same time, both in performance and design. It’s portable and easy to store (thanks to its aluminum frame), but it also provides a powerful ride for users while maximizing ergonomic and aesthetic design.
The Carbon Blue Drive:
With the combination of the toothed transmission belt and the Poly-V consistency, the AC Sport with Carbon Blue transmission is an extremely powerful addition to any indoor cycling setup. Both the durability and silent performance of the Carbon Blue belt mean that it performs at a high degree consistently over a long period of time, so you won’t have to worry about maintenance or performance issues for a while after you purchase it. The no-slip, no-jerk drive that’s achieved through the tooth design is another big plus, creating an innovative and smooth ride every time.
The six-magnetic resistance system is top-of-the-line on this bike. The no-contact braking and no slip drive belt work together to make a smooth, silent, intense workout, and the resistance knob allows for perfect customization and a truly personalized 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 of the performance quality of your ride.back to menu ↑
Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Cons:
No Digital Monitor:
The lack of a fitness monitor on the Schwinn Carbon Blue bike is very disappointing, especially in the context of its high price point. Many other bikes offer digital consoles or performance trackers, 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. The additional monitors offered by Schwinn are productive but expensive, and the fact that you need to pay extra for them on top of an already pricey bike is a major loss.back to menu ↑
The Final Verdict
The Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue Spin Bike is a behemoth of spin that would fit well in any gym, studio, or workout space. The versatile design, adjustable frame, and durable build mean this bike will last a lifetime, and can withstand all types of workouts by all types of riders. The Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue offers a lot of good performance capabilities, especially when it comes to its drive, pedals, and flywheel, but these are overshadowed by a hefty price tag and a lack of a digital console. Though you can work around these drawbacks by adding on a console, it just feels like an unnecessary expense that should be included in the original purchase.
At the end of the day, the Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue indoor spin bike is an expensive bike that is a shaky 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 will likely last you many years, but the initial price tag is large and will require a substantial commitment to your craft. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, this bike is potentially worthy in terms of features, but not worth its price tag at all.
The latest addition to the Schwinn line, the Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue belt, offers a powerful performance at a hefty price. The sleek new drive belt and magnetic drive make for a powerful spin and a challenging workout, but no digital monitor means it can be hard to track those workouts, to begin with. Your bike will last you a long time, but the initial investment is hard to swallow when there’s more cost-effective and efficient bikes out there that provide a similarly good ride at a much better price. The Schwinn AC Sport with Carbon Blue is certainly a high-quality bike, but at $1,900 it’s simply not the best option available.