Schwinn’s 170 has become one of the most popular home upright bikes on the market and when you take a closer look, it’s not that hard to see why.
After all, the 170 comes loaded with built-in workouts, offers a ton of resistance levels to work with, and even includes a few higher-end features like USB charging.
It’s also reasonably priced and backed by a legit warranty.
It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s rockin’ one of the most recognizable names in fitness either.
Put all this together and you’ve got the makings for a great home exercise bike.
If you’re looking for an affordable upright bike to add to your home gym, I think Schwinn’s 170 is a great choice, but you have to do your due diligence before you decide.
And that’s where I can help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the 170 does and doesn’t have going for it.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not this is the right bike for you.
Let’s get to it.
The Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
Schwinn’s one of those brands that needs no introduction- even folks that’ve never owned a piece of fitness equipment still likely know of ’em.
So I won’t waste much time talking about them as a brand here.
What I do want to mention though, is that even though Schwinn can be looked at as one of the founding fathers of home fitness, these days they’re known more as a budget brand than anything else.
And I don’t mean that in a bad way.
I say that because if you look at their lineup, most of their machines are priced at $1000 or less (and significantly less in most cases).
Now their A.C. Performance Indoor Cycles are another story, but Schwinn doesn’t offer those directly anymore.
As budget brands go though, Schwinn is easily one of the best.
Their combination of features, extended warranties, and affordable pricing is hard to deny, not to mention their history and reputation.
Anyway, the 170 is one of 2 upright bikes in their current lineup, with the other being the even more affordable 130.
- 25 levels of magnetic resistance
- 29 built-in workout programs
- DualTrack console
- Bluetooth compatible
- Chest strap heart rate monitor compatible
- USB charging port
- Fully adjustable seat
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Cooling fan
- Fair price
- Great warranty
- Flywheel could be heavier
I like to start all my reviews with a rundown on the resistance systems because I think this is the most important thing to consider, regardless of which style of exercise bike you’re considering.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for an intense, HIIT-style workout from a spin bike or a more casual, comfortable experience from a recumbent- you’ve gotta check out that resistance system.
And it’s really because the resistance system is what gives your bike it’s feel as you pedal.
And let’s be really, if you’re bike doesn’t have a smooth pedal motion, you probably won’t be using it for long.
I like to look at the flywheel weight and the resistance mechanism to get an idea as to what I can expect from a new bike.
We hear a lot about flywheel weights with regards to indoor cycles, but it’s an important consideration for all exercise bikes.
For most home bikes, having a heavier flywheel is a good thing because it provides a smoother pedal motion (more weight means more momentum, which decreases lag between pedal strokes).
The 170 comes with a 13 lb flywheel.
This is very light when compared to similarly priced spin bikes, that might be packing 40- 50 lb flywheels, but this is an upright model we’re talking about here.
And they aren’t designed with the same massive flywheels.
It’s also light compared to the 20 – 30 lb flywheels found on higher-end home upright bikes, but that’s one of the biggest reasons those bikes cost more.
When compared against other uprights in its price range (like the Nautilus U618 and U616), it holds its own nicely.
And realistically, this is the heaviest flywheel you’re going to find in this price range anyway.
But there’s also the resistance mechanism to think about.
Exercise bikes can use friction brakes or magnetic systems to pair with that flywheel and each has its benefits.
The 170 uses a magnetic system though, and that’s the preferred system.
And that’s because magnetic systems provide a smoother feel and don’t require the replacement of felt pads.
The 170 comes with 25 resistance levels to work with too, which is a lot of levels.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean you get more overall resistance, but it does mean you have more control over the intensity of your workouts.
More levels means you can make smaller adjustments to your resistance, fine tuning the intensity to meet your needs.
Overall, the 170 scores highly in this department. I like that it comes with so many magnetic levels to work with and a 13 lb flywheel is the best we can expect from this price range.
Another big difference between nicer bikes and the rest is the overall heavy-dutiness of the frame – nicer bikes feel heavier and more stable.
A lightweight, flimsy frame takes away from the experience of using it and unfortunately, is the norm for affordable exercise bikes.
Again, there are reasons why some bikes cost more than others.
It can be hard to get an idea as to how stable a bike’s going to feel without taking it for a test drive first, but looking at the assembled weight is a good place to start.
This spec tells you exactly how heavy the bike is and heavier bikes will usually feel more stable than lighter ones.
The 170 comes with an assembled weight of about 63 lb, which I wouldn’t really consider “heavy-duty” considering higher-end upright bikes weigh well over 100 lb.
But it’s better than a lot of other affordable uprights that weigh somewhere in the 50 lb range.
We can also look at a bike’s weight limit to get an idea as to how secure it is – again, see higher weights is a good sign that the bike is well-constructed.
The 170 comes with a max weight capacity of 300 lb, which is good for a bike in this price range.
I actually like to use the 300 lb limit as a minimum requirement for nicer bikes – any weight capacity less than this and I instantly lose a little respect.
And with a footprint of only about 41″ x 21″ (L x W), you won’t have to worry about this bike taking up too much space.
Overall, I’m not sure it’s accurate to call the 170 a heavy-duty bike, but it is a little heavier than many bikes in this price range.
And most users do seem to be happy with the feel and stability of the bike during workouts.
Let’s take a look at the residential warranty Schwinn offers on their 170:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
Ten years on the frame is great for a bike in this price range. It’s unrealistic to expect a lifetime warranty at this price point, so 10 years is about as good as it gets.
Two years on parts is also better than the year or so you might find on other bikes in this price range.
The only real disappointing part of this warranty would be that labor warranty- it’s short. It would be nice to see 6-12 months on labor for a bike in this price range.
Overall though, very nice warranty on the 170.
Schwinn’s 170 Upright Bike comes with the following features:
DualTrack console- the console is divided into 2 backlit LCD screens that allow you to see all of your metrics and workout profiles at the same time. Nothing fancy here, but they are big enough and bright enough to see easily.
29 workout programs- the 170 comes with a ton of built-in workouts. These include 12 standard profiles (hill, fat burn, etc), 9 heart rate guided workouts, 4 customs, and even a few fitness tests.
Bluetooth- you can connect this bike with popular fitness apps for metric tracking and scenic routes if you like.
USB charging port- this handy feature allows you to charge your phone or tablet during workouts.
Heart rate monitoring- this bike comes with built-in grip monitors and is also compatible with uncoded Polar straps for more accurate readings.
Fully adjustable seat- you can adjust both the height and fore/aft positions of the seat to ensure a comfortable riding position.
Media shelf- there’s a built-in shelf to hold a phone/tablet, although it’s located in front of the upper screen, so a tablet would block your view.
Speakers- you can plug an mp3 player (do people still use those?) into the audio port and listen to your music through the built-in speakers.
Cooling fan- there’s a 3 speed fan to help keep ya comfortable during workouts.
Water bottle holder- this unique feature allows you to hold your water bottle.
Before I wrap this review up, I want to discuss price real quick.
Prices on fitness equipment can vary throughout the year, but as I’m writing this, the 170 goes for around $549 directly through Schwinn.
I’ve also seen it on Amazon for as low as $449, so if you’re interested in purchasing, definitely a good idea to compare prices.
At around $500 give or take, the 170 is considered a budget bike (I consider anything under $1000 to pretty budget friendly for fitness equipment).
Although it’s still more expensive than the reallllly affordable bikes that cost like $100- $200.
There’s also ProForm’s 8.0 EX which is very similar and actually comes with a slightly heavier flywheel (16 lb).
All things considered though, I think the 170 is fairly priced considering what it has to offer.
Well, that’s about all I got for the 170.
Like I said at the beginning, it’s easy to see why this upright bike has become so popular.
Not only does it have the Schwinn name on its side, but it’s got a great combination of features.
I like that it comes with so many built-in workouts and that it comes with so many resistance levels to work with.
I also like that it comes with more advanced features like USB charging, bluetooth, and telemetry heart rate monitoring.
The biggest downside I see is that the flywheel and frame are both on the lighter side, but to be fair, that’s to be expected in this price range.
Overall, I think Schwinn’s 170 is indeed a smart buy and easily one of the best upright bikes in its price range.