In this Schwinn 170 upright bike review, we'll check whether the new and improved version of the old 170, really brought something new to the table.
Since the old 170 was quite the popular one, we have high exceptions from this new version.
In movies, it's a rare thing that a sequel will be better than the original movie. (Except for Die Hard 2,3 and 4 of-course)
Does the same law applies on the home fitness equipment industry?
Let's find out.
quick overview OF THE
schwinn 170 upright bike review
It seems that Schwinn tried to play its cards right in everything related to the 170's upgrade.
And they did a decent job at it.
They've managed to keep the feeling of the old 170 while doing some minor cosmetic changes, and adding a much needed Bluetooth ability.
There are Some minor drawbacks, like the weight of the flywheel, or not being able to turn off the displays light.
And some major, like the pulse reading being inaccurate.
Nevertheless, the Schwinn 170 upright bike is an upright bike that get's the job done.
It's quiet, solid, comfortable (for most users), and it can make you work up a sweat.
And, with Its long list of features, there's a chance you'll actually have a good time exercising on it.
why go for an upright bike?
Cycling regularly can help you in so many ways.
In fact, a recent publication from Harvard medical school states that, besides cycling being easy on the joints, it also builds your muscles, increases bone density and promotes better cardio abilities. [Source]
Furthermore, and maybe the number reason to why most people want to start cycling is:
It promotes fat burning and weight loss.
According to another Harvard article, a person weighing 155 lbs, will burn 7 calories per minute smooth cycling a bike at a pace of 10 to miles per hour.
That's 420 calories for a low intensity hour workout.
In contrast, the same 155 pound person will burn less than 5 calories per minute walking at a pace of 4 mph.
Which comes to only 300 calories burned in one hour.
To burn 300 calories on a bike, you'll have to pedal for 43 minutes.
Bottom line is, in addition to cycling regularly being a great way for you to improve your fitness and overall health, it will also help you to burn calories faster.
And if you want to be able to achieve all that right in your own home, well, then why not?
What this upright bike is all about?
The Schwinn 170 Upright Bike we're reviewing here is the new version of the 170.
And even though the old version had a nice run, it had to step a side since it lacked features new upright bikes from the competition were starting to bring in.
But more on that later.
In the new 170, Schwinn just took an item that already proved itself in the customers eyes, and just upgraded it a bit.
"If it ain't broken, don't fix it" is a great tag line to describe this upright bike.
So some of the changes are just cosmetics, and some come in a form of new features.
So what does the new version of the 170 has to offer you?
let's check it out.
Our schwinn 170 upright bike review
Available space is an important factor you have to consider before buying any home fitness equipment.
The Schwinn 170 doesn't take up that much room, definitely not when compared to a recumbent bike.
It dimensions are 41" L (105 cm) X 21" W (54 cm) X 55" H (141 cm).
I would add that for safety reasons you should add at least 15" - 20" (40 cm - 50 cm) on each side of the bike.
So the ideal available space in your place should be 60" L (152 cm) X 40" W (100 cm).
How does it stack against other upright bikes?
Well the Schwinn 130 is 41" long X 23" wide.
The Nautilus U614 is also 41" long X 23" wide.
Th Exerpeutic is 31" long x 19" wide. But it is not as massive as the Schwinn/Nautilus bikes.
To conclude, I would say that the 170's dimensions are pretty standard even with the extra 20" for safety purposes.
The final word is up to you, if the bike fits your place in size, keep on reading, if not, well, there are plenty of foldable upright bikes on the market.
The drive system of the Schwinn 170 consists of a 10 lbs perimeter weighted flywheel.
And yes, 10 lbs don't really sound that much. Because its really not.
However, perimeter weighted flywheels are unique because the weight is distributed on the edge of the flywheel.
So despite being lightweight, it can create just enough inertia for you to start pedaling, and it keeps a set level of constant momentum through out the spin.
This also helps provide a smooth and uninterrupted workout.
Type Of Resistance
The Schwinn 170 offers 25 levels of magnetic based resistance.
(The 170 shares the same resistance system as the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike)
Having 25 levels is more than enough for most users.
It also means that the difficulty level between each resistance level is more consistent.
And you're not likely to experience high increase in resistance by jumping just one level up. (Though you can skip over some levels with the help of the quick level buttons on the console. Like from 1 to 3, 3 to 5, and so on)
Furthermore, this helps provide a smooth pedaling experience and it might make it even easier for you to choose the exact resistance level you want.
Finally, having a magnetic based resistance bike means less maintenance needed from your side, and in most cases, as in with the 170, its quieter than a pad friction resistance system.
frame and sturdiness
The Schwinn 170 upright bike can be considered as a sturdy and well built upright bike.
It can support a max user weight of 300 lbs, which is quite decent.
The sturdiness of the bike, together with its magnetic resistance system, contribute to the fact that the 170 is a pretty quiet bike.
It doesn't wobble or shake while you pedal even at high intensity levels.
However, you should know that even though that it's a sturdy bike, it's not meant for pedaling standing up.
So if you're looking for a bike that you can pedal-on standing up, check our best spin bikes for home use.
Heart Rate Monitor
Like many other bikes from Schwinn, the Schwinn 170 also features heart rate sensors.
These are located on both handlebars.
And in order for the bike to give you your pulse reading you should grab the sensors.
The main downside of this is, the pulse rate reading is not very accurate, simply because there are some variables the bike has to consider in order to give you a pulse reading.
The movement of your upper body and arms will affect the pulse reading.
Sweaty hands can also cause not accurate pulse reading.
So, if you'll like to get an accurate pulse reading, I suggest you look at the Polar T31 Non-Coded Transmitter.
Since the 170 supports the use of an external heart rate chest strap.
While using a heart rate chest strap, make sure to not put any electronic devices in the left side of the media rack.
Since the telemetry HR receiver is located there.
The old Schwinn 170 didn't had Bluetooth connectivity.
Which basically meant that if you wanted to keep track of your stats in a fitness app, you had to download all your workout stats to a DOK.
Then you had to upload it to your PC and from there to the Schwinn fitness website, which had since been closed.
However, the new Schwinn 170 enables you to pair your device with the bike, using Bluetooth.
The bike will then sync all your workout stats to the Schwinn trainer app, and from there you can also transfer them to the MyFitnessApp.
This is definitely a better solution compared to the method used in older models.
Tracking workout stats with such an ease might help keep your goal on sight, and keep you motivated.
Since it might trigger a constant "challenge mode" to improve your stats every time you check them out on your phone.
There are 29 workout programs for you to choose from.
The are basically the same like in most Schwinn indoor bikes.
Using a workout program can help spice things up from workout to workout.
Besides of the 4 programs you can set as you want, there are also 12 preset profiles in which the bike will automatically adjust the resistance and the overall intensity of your workout.
These 12 programs might also come in handy when you just want to watch something on the TV and let the bike do its thing.
Furthermore, there are 9 heart rate control programs.
With these you'll have to set a heart rate target and the Schwinn 170 will adjust the workout in order for you to reach that target.
Once you'll reach the target rate, the bike will try to maintain the intensity so that you could maintain the heart rate.
This is handy when you want to get your heart to its fat burning zone, and keep it there.
Another 2 programs are the fitness test programs.
These will essentially tell you what your fitness level is.
And they do so by comparing your power output (in watts) to your heart rate.
The idea behind it is that, as your fitness level improves you will your power output at a given heart rate.
Finally, there's a quick start program which is pretty straight forward.
This program will allow you to start your workout without entering any info.
The new console of the Schwinn 170 upright bike is, in my opinion, better looking than the old one.
The lines are more modern, and speakers don't look like boombox speakers from the 80's.
However, being that there are quite a few buttons on the console, I can totally see some people panicking.
But, learning how to operate every thing on the console is not that intimidating.
The majority of the button are just a quick jump button between resistance levels.
The rest of the buttons are pretty self-explanatory.
I do love the fact that the buttons are big and easy to press on.
otherwise it might would have been hard to increase resistance level while you pedal at full pace.
Overall, the console of the new Schwinn 170 is a nice an upgrade from the old one.
If you don't have the luxury of being able to place this bike in-front of your TV, then the media rack can come in handy.
The media rack is located at the top part of the console, and on it you can put your smart device.
Phone, tablet, or maybe magazine if your more into reading than watching Netflix.
Right above the media rack there's a USB port that will allow you to charge your device while you use it.
Nice touch from Schwinn I should say.
Since working out on an indoor bike can get a bit boring, this can help keep your entertained while you workout.
That is, in case you can't place the bike in front of the TV.
On the console of the Schwinn 170 there are two displays.
Schwinn simply call this "dual track display".
In essence, the stats are divided between these two disaplys.
On the upper display (the main one), you'll see:
- Which workout program is currently active
- The selected user profile
- Selected goal
- Intensity level
- Selected goal
- Heart rate zone
The lower display will show you vital workout stats like:
- Level of resistance
- Calories burned
The lower display also comes in handy when you have your phone or tablet on the media rack.
Since your device is blocking the upper display, you can still check the more important workout stats.
Finally, both displays have a back-light, which is great cause you'll be able to read it in dark rooms.
But, I don't understand why Schwinn didn't included an option to dim, or turn off the light completely.
Not that it matters that much.
But it might be handy if you're using the bike in a dark room while watching a movie or something.
The seat of the Schwinn 170 is adjustable, both up and down, and forward backward.
Though there isn't that much room for adjusting forward and backward.
However, having a fully adjustable seat is not something that you can see on a lot of upright bikes.
Adjusting the seat is quite easy.
Schwinn went with an adjusting knob.
As for comfort, well, the seat is not that comfortable.
But, that's more of a personal preference.
What's considered comfortable for me, might not be for you, and vice versa.
The seat is wide, wider than a real outdoors bike seat.
And it's padded.
Finally, and perhaps fortunately, you can change the seat to your whatever seat you want.
The USB port, at least in old models was used for two purposes.
One is to charge your device while you use it on the bike.
And the second was to allow you to download your workout stats to a DOK and from there to the Schwinn connect.
This model has Bluetooth connection so you don't really need the USB for that purpose.
However, it can still charge your device.
The Schwinn 170 upright bike allows you to save up to 4 user profiles.
Each profile will store its users workout stats for each workout session.
In addition, the users profiles stores each user's:
The ability to manage 4 different users profiles is really helpful in case someone else besides you will use the bike.
This way, each can track and record it's own progress.
Furthermore, it helps the bike to provide a more accurate workout program, when choosing a program that is based on your user profile, like fitness test.
Which takes into consideration your age, weight, height and gender.
All The Rest
In my opinion, one of the coolest features of Schwinn 170 is the integration with the RideSocial app.
In short, the RideSocial app is an app that simulate cycling on different famous locations like, Santa Monica, death Valley, and the Swiss Alps to name a few.
The app tracks your workout stats through the integration with the Schwinn 170.
But the real kick is that the app is live.
Meaning you'll see other users on the app cycling along side, and you can cycle away with your friend.
Definitely a cool feature that adds a fun and a bit realistic dimension to the workout session.
Other Noticeable features
In addition to the features listed above, the Schwinn 170 upright bikes packs other noticeable features that might worth mentioning.
The first one is the built-in fan that is located in the console.
Don't expect to get a cool breeze in your hair.
But, this 3 speed levels fan can help cool you down a bit if you're really killing it on the bike, when, it's on the highest speed level.
I guess that any wind blowing on your face while you sweat is better than no wind.
The next feature is the built in speakers.
There's two of them, and the will "blast" whatever you'll plug-in the aux input.
A good playlist can make you workout harder. And I'm not just saying it.
Groove makes you move, it is a fact.
However, like with the fan, don't expect a sound system quality from the speakers.
But their sound is rather decent.
What are the alternatives?
The first competitor of the Schwinn 170 upright bike is the:
1. Schwinn A10 Upright bike
If you're looking for an upright bike without all the bells and whistles, then the A10 is something worth checking.
With only 8 level's of resistance and 7 workout program, it's not a work horse like the 170, but it can get the job done.
Check it out here.
2. Nautilus U614 Upright Bike
The Nautilus (Owns Schwinn) U614 offers 20 level's of magnetic based resistance along with 22 workout programs.
And at the time of writing, it is significantly cheaper than the Schwinn 170.
However, that's partly because it does not have Bluetooth capability.
But, you will find a perimeter weight flywheel, padded seat, dual track display, media rack, 3 speeds fan, speakers, aux input...
Basically pretty much everything the Schwinn 170 has to offer, minus Bluetooth.
Check it out here.
3. Nautilus U618 Upright Bike
The Nautilus U618 is like the Schwinn 170 on steroids.
It's got all that the 170 got, and then some more.
To name a few, 30 lbs flywheel, gel cushioned seat, adjustable console, adjustable forearm support, resistance level buttons on the handlebars and more.
It is in slightly higher level than the 170, but at the time of writing, the difference in price is not that high.
Check it out here.
wrapping up the schwinn 170 upright bike review
If you ever exercised on an indoor bike, then you know that unless your motivation level is really high and up there, you're gonna lose interest sooner or later.
What Schwinn tries to achieve with its line of indoor bikes, and in this case the Schwinn 170 upright bike, is to keep you coming back for more.
And they're trying to do so by implementing features they believe, will help keep your motivation level up.
From workout and progress tracking via various fitness apps, media racks to keep you entertained while exercising, to social riding app.
Of course, none of it will be worth if the "platform" on which it is implemented is lousy.
Fortunately, Schwinn know their way around bikes.
And despite the drawbacks I mentioned earlier, the new 170 can and probably will make you work up a sweat.
Finally, I would say that this upright bike is an item you might want to take into serious consideration.