Adding a recumbent bike to your at-home gym is an excellent way to get your cardio done. It's a low-impact workout that allows you to exercise lower body muscles like your glutes, quads, and calves with less strain on your joints.
Knowing that, we've put two top-rated options head to head, the Schwinn 230 Vs 270.
Which one will best help you achieve your fitness goals all while keeping your joints at place?
Well, here's a hint, It's the Schwinn 270.
But, can you save a few bucks and work up a decent sweat on the more affordable 230?
Let's find out.
A Brief Introduction
Schwinn has a long history of being a quality bike brand—they started in the late 1800s! Throughout the centuries, they’ve evolved from outdoor bikes to indoor bikes. Today, they offer high-quality exercise equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, and more.
Let’s dig into a quick comparison of the Schwinn 230 vs 270 before we do a deep dive.
Schwinn 230 Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Schwinn 230 is a solid choice if you’re not 100% committed to a rigorous workout routine.
It will satisfy the average fitness user. Made of durable metal and plastic, it's able to hold up to the manufacturer’s user weight limit of 300 pounds.
Two large LCD displays make for easy viewing of your stats as you ride.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike
A slightly more versatile option when comparing the Schwinn 230 vs 270, this bike is an excellent choice if you know you’ll use its more advanced features. Like the 230, it comes with a water bottle holder and media holder.
Unlike the 230, this bike has Bluetooth connectivity. That means you can connect to their Explore the World app (more on that below) or MyFitnessPal to track your workouts.
Use the Explore the World app to bike your way virtually through a variety of trails and tracks across the globe. This not only makes your rides much more exciting but also increases the likelihood that you’ll complete them.
The Schwinn 230 Vs. The Schwinn 270
Build and Sturdiness
The Schwinn 230 vs 270 doesn’t have much difference in terms of their build quality and sturdiness. Both bikes are made from strong plastic and steel. Many users report being over the recommended weight limit of 300 pounds and the bikes still hold together. (Note: if you’re over the limit, use the bikes at your own risk.)
Users also report that both bikes have a smooth, quiet ride. This implies the mechanics, as well as the structure of each, are strong.
Winner: Neither. It’s a tie.
The Schwinn 230 weighs in at 81.6 pounds with dimensions of 64" L x 27.7" W x 49.9" H. The Schwinn 270 clocks in at 86.6 pounds with dimensions of 64" L x 27.7" W x 49.9" H.
You’re not seeing double. The 230 and 270 have exactly the same measurements. The Schwinn 270 is very slightly heavier, but that’s about it. Otherwise, the two bikes are interchangeable.
Winner: We’ve got another tie, folks. (We promise, there will be more decisive factors going forward!)
First of all, what in the heck is a flywheel? Essentially, it’s the heart of your exercise bike. It’s what provides resistance against your legs during your workout.
The Schwinn 230 has a flywheel that weighs 13 pounds. Compared to other exercise bikes, this is fairly light, meaning it doesn’t provide quite as much resistance. However, most average users do just fine with this model.
The Schwinn 270’s wheel weighs 17 pounds. This added five pounds is what contributes to the 270 models having 25 resistance levels, compared to the 230’s 20 levels.
Both bikes’ flywheels are located at the front of the equipment, connected to the pedals, because, well, they’re both recumbent bikes. There isn’t really another place to put the flywheels.
Winner: The Schwinn 270 takes this one. 25 resistance levels help keep your workouts challenging.
Type of Resistance
Arguably just as important as the flywheel is the type of resistance. There are two main options applicable to our article: belt (pad) and magnetic.
Recumbent exercise bikes that use felt pad resistance have a pad (duh!) that sits on top of the flywheel. When you feel it’s time to crank it up a notch, the pad physically presses against the flywheel to provide more resistance.
Magnetic resistance has no parts that physically touch. Instead, the flywheel spins between two strong magnets. The magnets create a field between them, and—without getting too scientific—the flywheel interrupts this field. This interruption causes drag on the metal disk, thus increasing your resistance.
Magnetic resistance bikes are usually quieter and require much less maintenance, thanks to the lack of physically touching parts. Both the 230 and 270 use magnetic resistance.
Winner: As both bikes are magnetic, when it comes to the Schwinn 230 vs 270, there is no winner here.
While both exercise bikes use magnetic resistance, the resistance levels absolutely differ.
The Schwinn 230 comes with 20 levels of resistance, which is satisfactory for most users. If you recall, this also relates back to its lighter flywheel.
The Schwinn 270 comes with 25 levels of resistance, making it a more versatile option. If you’re in the market for an exercise bike that can push you farther, the 270 is for you.
Winner: Even though your average Joe is probably fine with 20 resistance levels, we believe in never doing anything halfway. The Schwinn 270 is superior.
Arguably one of the most important considerations when researching exercise bikes in general, and recumbent bikes in particular, is the seat. After all, you’re going to be planted on your bike seat for significant amounts of time.
Both the 230 and the 270 tout having a “ventilated and contoured” seat for comfortable, cool workouts. Both recumbent bikes offer lumbar support as well as seat rail slider systems for easy adjustment.
The only place the chairs seem to differ is the actual, literal seat. As in, the horizontal part that supports your weight.
The Schwinn 230 continues the same aerated plastic of the backrest down into the seat. This keeps you cool during your sweat session, but the hard plastic may not be quite as comfortable.
The Schwinn 270 has a contoured, padded seat instead of the aerated plastic. While this may be more comfortable, it also has the potential to get pretty gnarly if you sweat a lot.
Winner: If comfort is your top priority, go for the Schwinn 270. Those pads beneath your butt can go a long way toward keeping you from ditching your workout thanks to sore muscles.
Heart Rate Monitor
Both bikes come with handles that measure your heart rate. These handles are ergonomically designed at your sides, so you can easily grip them while pedaling. The 230 and the 270’s handles are also both padded, so you’re not gripping hard or uncomfortable plastic.
Users report, however, that the heart rate sensors on both bikes are highly unreliable. Handheld monitors are affected by a wide variety of factors, including movement, moisture, static charge, ambient light, and more.
If you’re not overly concerned with your heart rate, you should be fine. However, if it is your primary data point for the intensity of your workout, you may be in trouble.
You’re best served by using a heart rate chest strap, as it’s one of the most reliable ways to monitor this information. And this is where we get to our…
Winner: In terms of heart rate, the Schwinn 230 vs 270 has a clear winner: the Schwinn 270 is the model that has the ability to connect wirelessly to a heart rate strap. If that’s a big deal for you, go with the Schwinn 270.
If there’s more than one person in your home who will be using the recumbent exercise bike, you need to care about user profiles. Why? Because these profiles enable you to keep track of your individual exercise progress.
The whole point of buying a recumbent bike is to get healthier, right? Why would you make such an investment and then simply not track your progress?
Your household size will determine which stationary bike is best for you. The Schwinn 230 has the capacity for 2 user profiles. The Schwinn 270 enables 4 user profiles.
So if it’s just you and one other who plan to use the bike, the Schwinn 230 is perfect. You'll each have your own user profile. If you have a family or more than one other person you’re sharing with, go with the Schwinn 270.
Winner: This one is subjective, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Unless you have dedicated programs you already know you’ll follow on your recumbent bike, the workout programs that come with each Schwinn will matter a great deal.
For example, the Schwinn 230 contains 22 preset workout programs, including 9 Profile, 8 Heart Rate Control, 2 Fitness Tests, and 1 Quick Start. The Profile workouts are sorted into categories: Fun Rides, Mountains, and Challenges. The Heart Rate, Fitness Tests, and Quick Start are all (hopefully) fairly self-explanatory.
The Schwinn 270 has 29 preset programs, including 12 Profile, 9 Heart Rate Control, 4 Custom, 2 Fitness Tests, and 1 Quick Start. It has the same categories for Profile workouts but with more rides.
Workout programs help you achieve your fitness goals using various workout intensity options. They provide a baseline from which to work and track your progress. This is especially useful on these recumbent exercise bikes because the bike itself stores your data and helps you see how much your workout stats improved.
Winner: The Schwinn 270 wins again on this one, folks. You just can’t beat the extra Profile programs, plus the four Custom ones you can design yourself. For the ultimate versatility, go with the Schwinn 270.
Both recumbent bikes provide a form of Goal Tracking, though they differ in execution. Goal Tracking is the ability to set individual exercise goals for each user and follow when those goals are met or exceeded. It’s essential for anyone who’s interested in reaching and attaining their fitness targets.
The Schwinn 230 has built-in Goal Tracking. That means you put your goals into the machine itself via the display. It keeps track of your current and previous workout and the 7 days before that. This makes the 230 a bit limited in terms of long-term tracking.
The Schwinn 270, on the other hand, tracks your progress via the accompanying app. You can transfer your data to their Explore the World app or MyFitnessPal, your choice. This means long-term tracking is not only possible but infinitely easier.
Winner: If you’re serious about your fitness and care about long-term goals, you need to get the Schwinn 270.
We touched on this a little bit in the Goal Tracking section, but it’s worth mentioning here as well. The Schwinn 230 has no Bluetooth capabilities. Everything you do, from the workout programs to Goal Tracking, you do directly on the recumbent bike itself.
The Schwinn 270 has Bluetooth connectivity. Track your workouts using their app or MyFitnessPal. Wirelessly connect your heart rate straps to the machine. This well-rounded approach to fitness means you get a clearer grasp of the effectiveness of your workouts, as well as your progress.
Winner: I bet you see where we’re going with this one... the Schwinn 270 is where it’s at yet again.
Seeing as how the console is the main part of the exercise bike you use to operate it, it’s a pretty important component. (We’ll dig into the display differences below.)
Physically, the console for the Schwinn 230 vs 270 has very few differences. Both have a large screen at the top that shows your current workout, intensity level, etc. There are buttons below that adjust incline and resistance. These buttons flank a smaller screen showing your speed, distance, and heart rate. Below that, there are buttons controlling the program, user profiles, etc.
The biggest difference appears to be aesthetic. The Schwinn 230’s lower sections for Programs and Goal Tracking lack any color border, whereas the Schwinn 270 has them outlined in blue.
Winner: The consoles are pretty much identical, so no winner here.
When we talk about the displays, we’re focusing on the screens. Both of the recumbent bikes have LCD screens showing pretty much exactly the same information.
The only difference appears to be that the Schwinn 270 has backlit LCD screens, whereas the Schwinn 230 does not. If backlighting for an easier time reading the LCD screens is important to you, go with the 270.
Winner: Honestly, the only difference being backlit or not means that we don’t think there’s a clear winner here, unless of-course you like exercising with the lights off in front of the TV.
One of the most essential parts of an exercise bike is the media shelf. After all, not many people want to be pedaling away with nothing to occupy their attention. Plus, some users report the console is tall enough it blocks their view of a television, so depending on your setup, the media rack will be key.
Both bikes have the media rack in the same position: directly underneath the higher, main display screens. If you’re the kind of person who likes to see how long they’ve got left as they’re exercising, this could be a problem for you, as your media of choice will block your view.
However, neither bike’s rack blocks the lower screen where the arguably more important stats of speed, distance, and heart rate are displayed.
Schwinn calls this, the "dual track display". And it allows you keep track of your workout stats while watching your favorite show on Netflix.
Winner: Users of both bikes report the rack is sturdy and can hold media as big as an iPad, so we’re calling (yet another) tie.
Both bikes come with a USB port to charge your devices as you exercise. This is an excellent way to help keep you on the bike during your ride, so you’re not scrambling around to charge your preferred device.
The USB port is where the Schwinn 230 gets a little credit back; it’s not Bluetooth, but you can sync with MyFitnessPal during your ride. If you don’t mind your device being tethered to the machine to record your stats, the Schwinn 230 has your back.
Nevertheless, I find using the USB option to keep track of my workout data quite annoying.
Personally, I'm more into "plug & play" kind of solutions, i.e., Bluetooth & apps connectivity.
Winner: USBs are so 2010. Bluetooth and app connectivity is where the future at. So, the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike is the winner here.
It’s important to stay cool during your workouts. Both bikes come with a speed fan placed in the bottom-center of the console, between the two speakers. Both fans have three speeds and are adjustable.
Users report the fans on each recumbent bike are very quiet, but otherwise, reviews are mixed. Some say they wish the speed fan had more power, and others say they love it as-is. Individual preference reigns here, apparently.
Winner: We hate to do this to you again, but the fans are identical. It’s a tie.
Both the Schwinn 230 and 270 have a pair of chamber speakers that flank the fan at the console's bottom. Based on user reviews, the Schwinn 230’s speakers are superior for listening to a podcast, music, or video while you bike. The Schwinn 270 appears to have underpowered audio.
Winner: Finally, a category where there’s a difference! The Schwinn 230’s speakers win.
The bikes come with decent warranties, though—you guessed it—they’re exactly the same.
- Frame: 10 years
- Parts: 2 years
- Electronics: 1 year
- Labor: 90 days
Users report some difficulty getting Schwinn to honor the warranty completely, but otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward.
Winner: Do we have to repeat it? It’s a tie, folks.
At this point, you’ve likely figured out that the two bikes are largely the same. However, the Schwinn 270 does have a few standout features:
- Bluetooth capabilities. If syncing your workouts to your mobile device of choice wirelessly is important to you, Bluetooth connectivity will be key.
- Heavier inertia drive system. Enjoy a wider range of resistance with the 270.
- Heart rate monitor. Connect a chest strap heart rate monitor to the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike for the most accurate readings.
- Goal Tracking. The 270’s seamless syncing to your mobile device gives you an effortless way to track your fitness.
Wrapping The Schwinn 230 Vs. The 270
When comparing two great recumbent exercise bikes like the Schwinn 230 vs. the 270, It's hard to get a clear, straightforward answer to the question, "which is the better recumbent exercise bike?"
The two share the exact same frame, dimensions, and pretty much a similar features set with a slight advantage in favor of the 270.
So, to make it easy for you, you should:
Use the Schwinn 230 (Check on amazon, or on schwinn.com) recumbent bike if you’re in the market for a bike that gets the job done without needing the extra features. This bike is perfect for the more casual exerciser.
But, if you're fully committed to your fitness and want the extra versatility and progress tracking, you should go for the Schwinn 270 (Check on amazon, or on schwinn.com).