When it comes to home exercise bikes, few brands are as popular as Schwinn. With quality products that are easy on the wallet, Schwinn continues to be one of the top names in home fitness.
And their 230 Recumbent Bike is a prime example of what they have to offer.
Highlights of this budget friendly model include 13 built-in workout programs, 16 magnetic resistance levels, and a bluetooth compatible console.
More importantly though, it provides a surprisingly smooth ride and comes with a great warranty, considering the budget price.
Long story short: if you’re looking for an affordable recumbent bike, Schwinn’s 230 is one of the best options out there, but it’s still a good idea to do your homework before purchasing.
And that’s where I can help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the 230 has to offer, including the areas where I think it’s a bit lacking.
After reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not this bike is worth investing in.
The Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
Schwinn’s one of those brands that we’ve all heard of, so I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of time introducing them here.
What I did want to mention though, is that when it comes to their exercise bikes, they’re mostly a budget brand.
I say “mostly” because they do have some really high-end indoor cycles (AC Performance Cycles), but for some reason they stopped offering them directly through their website.
If interested, you can still purchase them through other retailers though.
Anyway, moving on.
All of their other bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals fall more in the budget category, meaning they cost under $1000 – which is quite affordable in the world of home fitness equipment.
Basically, the 270 comes with a few upgrades on the console, more resistance levels, and a few more workouts.
But on to the 230.
- 16 magnetic resistance levels
- 13 built-in workout programs
- Solid frame
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Bluetooth compatible with apps
- Chest strap heart rate monitor compatible
- Good warranty
- Affordable price
- Light flywheel
- Console not backlit
- Lacking other console features (fan, speakers, USB charging)
Like all of my other bike reviews, I think it makes the most sense to start with the 230’s resistance system.
After all, the resistance system it responsible for creating the feel of the pedal motion, and what’s more important than that when it comes to the quality of your workouts?
The resistance system is basically made up of a weighted flywheel and a resistance mechanism.
Pretty much all home exercise bikes are designed so that having a heavier flywheel is a good thing (more weight = more momentum as it spins = less lag between pedal strokes).
The 230 comes with a 13 lb flywheel, which is light when compared to the 20 – 30 lb flywheels found on higher-end recumbents, but it’s pretty good for bikes in this price range.
And even with the lighter flywheel, an overwhelming majority of users agree that the pedal motion is quite smooth.
The 230 uses a magnetic resistance system, meaning there are magnets near the spinning flywheel.
As you adjust the resistance level (digitally), the magnets come closer (increase resistance) or farther away (decrease resistance).
Magnetic systems are awesome because there’s no touching of the flywheel like there is with friction brake systems.
This makes magnetic systems smoother, but they also require less maintenance.
Pretty much all recumbents in this price range are magnetic these days, but it’s still a good idea to check.
The 230 comes with 16 resistance levels for you to work with, giving you a good deal of control over the intensity of your workouts.
Overall, the 230 scores pretty highly when it comes to the resistance system. The flywheel is pretty average for this price range, but it does come with a smooth acting magnetic system.
A tell-tale sign of a budget bike is a really lightweight frame.
You probably know what I mean – a lot of really affordable bikes weigh like 50 lb and look like they might blow away if a stiff breeze blows through the room.
Looks can be deceiving online, making it hard to tell which bikes are heavier-duty and which aren’t.
The best way I’ve found to discern between ’em without getting a chance to go for a test drive is to look at the assembled weight of the bike.
Seeing a higher weight is a good indicator that the bike will feel heavier-duty.
With this in mind, the 230 comes with an assembled weight of 80 lb.
This is pretty heavy when we look at other comps (like Exerpeutic or Marcy) that come with assembled weights in the 60 – 70 lb range.
Having the extra 10 lb or so of frame weight will give the 230 a more substantial feel.
And most users agree that the 230 feels sturdy during workouts.
This bike also comes with a 300 lb weight limit, which again, is pretty good for a bike in this price range.
I always use the 300 lb limit as a kind of line in the sand when it comes to quality bikes – if a bike has a weight limit under this, it’s an immediate ding.
Otherwise, the 230 is pretty standard in terms of size.
It takes up a floor space of roughly 27″ x 64″ (W x L), which is average for a recumbent bike.
Overall, the 230 scores highly with a solid frame and high weight capacity for its price range.
Schwinn offers the following residential warranty on their 230 Recumbent Bike:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
Overall, I think this is a very fair warranty for the 230.
Ten years on the frame is a lot more generous than most other brands in this price range where all ya get is a 1 year all inclusive guarantee.
Two years on parts/a year on electronics is also good considering what other budget brands are offering.
The only complaint I have is with regards to the labor warranty- simply put, it sucks.
To be fair, most budget brands don’t offer any labor warranty, but this is Schwinn we’re talking about here.
I’d like to see them bump that labor guarantee up to a 1 year, but I don’t imaging that’s gonna happen any time soon.
Even with the short labor guarantee, I think Schwinn does a nice job with the 230’s warranty.
The Schwinn 230 comes with the following included features:
5.5″ LCD console- this bike comes with a very basic console, but it’s pretty large, making it easy to read in well-lit environments. The biggest complaint people tend to have is that it isn’t backlit, which not only makes it look less jazzy, but also makes it harder to see in darker areas.
13 workout programs- the 230 comes with 13 built-in workouts to choose from. These include a manual mode, as well as intervals and all the classic rolling hill profiles you’d expect. There’s also a heart rate controlled program included.
Bluetooth compatible- this bike is bluetooth friendly, allowing you to connect to apps like Zwift of Explore the World for an added entertainment factor to your workouts.
Heart rate monitor compatible- this bike comes with built-in grip heart rate monitors on the handles, but you can also use the bluetooth compatibility to connect a bluetooth chest strap monitor if you have one (one isn’t included).
Contoured seat- the seat on the 230 is plastic and it isn’t padded, but it’s contoured and vented for a little extra comfort. If you have a sensitive rump, the lack of padding could be an issue with longer rides.
Media shelf- there’s a built-in shelf allowing you to prop a tablet on the console, although doing so will block your view of the console screen.
Water bottle holder- lastly, there’s a built-in holder for your water bottle (hey, hydration is important!)
Before we wrap this review up, I want to say a few words regarding price.
And before I quote the price of the 230, please keep in mind that the price of this bike could change the second I publish this article, making my quote a little inaccurate.
So please don’t hate me if my numbers aren’t exactly what you see online.
Anyway, at the time of writing this, the Schwinn 230 costs:
The above represents the full retail price when purchased through Schwinn directly.
You can sometimes find it a little cheaper through sites like Amazon, just keep in mind Schwinn usually offers free shipping too.
But again, with a price of roughly $500, the 230 is very much a budget bike – not nearly as cheap as some of the really affordable bikes, but still a lot more affordable than the $1500 high-end models.
Ok, that’s about all I have to say regarding Schwinn’s 230.
Overall, I think this bike has a lot going for it, besides just sporting the famous brand name on its side.
I like that it comes with plenty of workout programs as well as plenty of magnetic resistance levels to choose from.
I’m also pleasantly surprised that it’s bluetooth compatible with fitness apps and heart rate monitors, which isn’t a feature we should expect from this price range.
It’s also fairly heavy-duty when compared to other similarly priced recumbents.
The flywheel is on the light side, but to be fair, it’s as heavy as we’re gonna see in this price range (there are reasons some bikes cost less than others).
What really sets this bike apart from most in its price range though is the warranty – most comps only offer a 1 year guarantee, that’s it.
Schwinn’s warranty blows most completely out of the water.
The biggest downside I see with the 230 is probably that dated, unlit console, but that isn’t a big deal if you’ll be using your bike in well-lit rooms.
That said, if you’ve got a little wiggle room in your budget and are interested in a higher-tech bike, Schwinn’s 270 comes with an upgraded console that includes a backlit screen.
All things considered though, I think the 230 is a great option for folks looking for an affordable, easy to use recumbent bike- easily one of the best in its price range.