Recumbent bikes allow you to work up a sweat and burn calories without stressing your muscles, joints, and tendons. You exercise in a seated position with your legs placed out in front of you. These exercise bikes are used heavily in physical therapy and make excellent additions to homes and even professional offices.
If you live in an apartment, your neighbors won’t hear your feet pounding on a treadmill. If you have arthritis or another medical condition that impacts your joints, you may find this style of exercise bike much safer for your lower body. The same goes for recovery after an injury or illness. You can also use a recumbent bike to increase your daily activity level for general fitness or weight loss.
Schwinn makes two of the best recumbent bikes on the market right now. We’re talking about the Schwinn 230 and Schwinn 270. To help you decide if one of these recumbent bikes is right for your fitness needs, we created a detailed comparison with honest reviews and insights.
Schwinn’s 230 and 270 recumbent bikes look a lot alike when you stand them side by side. They share the same highly durable carbon steel frame and ventilated seat with ample cushioning. From the sliding rails that allow the seat to change positions smoothly to the media rack and USB charging port, there are a lot of similarities. That includes smooth pedaling and quiet operations.
The following chart breaks down the most notable features, giving you a side-by-side comparison.
Heart Rate Features
Contact Sensor Bars
Contact Bars + Telemetry
Preset Workout Options
Virtual Workout App
Explore the World App
Sliding Seat Rail
USB Charging Port
64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches
64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches
Maximum Weight Capacity
Where the Schwinn 230 Wins
The lower price tag is the first difference that many buyers notice, but it’s important to look beyond the sticker. The 230 model is the exact same size as the 270, but it’s about five pounds lighter. It operates on battery power. Some users may find that an advantage because they don’t need to place the bike close to a wall outlet. For other users, replacing batteries is an inconvenience.
The 230 offers all the basic features that you need to work up a sweat in the privacy of your home or office. There are 20 resistance levels, which is more than adequate for most users. The dual LCDs are large enough to see your workout statistics plus select between 22 pre-set workouts. The machine will adjust speed and resistance automatically as you work through those workouts.
You can even place your hands on the medal handlebar strips to check your heart rate throughout the workout. If you’re shopping on a budget or don’t need additional features, the 230 may win for you.
Where the Schwinn 270 Wins
What the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike offers is more workout variety and entertainment. The dual LCD monitors are illuminated with blue backlighting, which makes it easier to see the screens even in low lighting. If you intend to exercise in the early morning or late night without much light in the room, you may struggle to see the display on the Schwinn 230 recumbent bike.
What you see on that display may differ significantly between models as well. The 270 bike is set up for Bluetooth connections. That allows you to connect wirelessly to your phone, tablet, or another Bluetooth device. You can listen to your own music or even audio-books and podcasts through the speakers on the bike.
You can also use the Explore the World app, which comes pre-installed on the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike. It allows you to explore more than 50 destinations across the world while the bike automatically changes resistance and speed to deliver an effective and rewarding workout. You can watch beautiful scenery of each location, making your workout more entertaining. This app also tracks your progress and allows you to see look at weekly overviews of your activity and progress.
This Schwinn exercise bike also stands out when it comes to heart rate monitoring. It has the handlebar grips that will give you a quick reading at any point during your workout, just like the Schwinn 230. Unlike the 230, it also allows you to monitor your heart rate throughout your workout without placing your hands on the handlebar. That allows you to adjust the intensity of your workout to make sure it’s effective for your goals and safe for your heart.
If you will use some of these more advanced features and can afford to invest just a little more in your recumbent bike, the 270 may win for you.
Potential Cons for Schwinn’s Leading Recumbent Bikes
It’s easy to see the value of both the Schwinn 230 and 270 recumbent exercise bikes. It’s time to talk about the potential downsides to these models. You can’t make an educated buying decision without understanding the weakness of the machine, and all exercise machines have weak spots.
For of these recumbent bikes, the biggest flaw is perhaps the lack of moving arm handles. Recumbent bikes focus on the lower body, allowing the upper body to rest. That may work for some users, especially those with limitations on upper body strength training. If that applies to you, then the lack of moving arms may not matter.
For other users, the stationary handlebars limit these machines to lower body workouts. There are some competing recumbent bikes that offer moving arm handles to incorporate the upper body and increase overall calorie burn. If this is a problem for you, consider using a set of lightweight dumbbells or wrist weights. You can pedal the exercise bike while pumping your arms at your sides, raising them over your head, and pushing them out in front of your chest.
Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike Cons
The 230 recumbent exercise bike lacks when it comes to advanced technology. The basic features are highly competitive, especially the 20 levels of resistance and varied collection of pre-set workouts. The design includes a magazine rack, dual screens, and a water bottle holder. Many competing recumbent bikes offer just one or two of those features.
What you can’t do with this model is monitor your heart rate while your hands rest free or connect your own music and other entertainment to the speakers. You’re limited to sounds included in the machine due to the lack of Bluetooth capabilities. That also means you’re missing out on the Explore the World app and access to many other fitness apps that are now available through Bluetooth.
The questions to ask yourself when considering the Schwinn 230 include:
Your answers to those questions will either point you in the direction of the 270 or allow you to comfortably settle on the 230.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike Cons
For many consumers, the higher price tag is the biggest downside to considering the Schwinn 270 recumbent exercise bike. It does cost a bit more, but it also offers quite a bit more when it comes to advanced technology. Whether it’s worth the extra investment comes down to how often you will use those advanced features.
You can ask yourself a few questions to determine if this is the ideal recumbent bike for you:
It’s worth noting that the Explore the World app offers three free programs, but the remaining content is available only to paid subscribers. That adds to the cost of your workout routine if you aren’t satisfied with the three free programs.
If you won’t use these advanced features, you may not consider this the ideal recumbent bike for your fitness needs. If you will use these features regularly or need additional entertainment to stick to your fitness routine, then the 270 may fit your needs better than a more basic recumbent bike like the 230.
The recumbent bike you select should have a solid frame with a maximum user weight that matches or exceeds your current weight. It should offer a reasonable range of resistance and easy seat positioning. From there, it comes down to determining how much of the advanced technology you will use and can afford.
If the Schwinn 230 and 270 aren’t the perfect fit for your current needs, there are many other exercise bikes to consider. Let’s explore your options together.