Everything You Should Know About Schwinn’s 290 Recumbent Bike [A Review]

The 290 is the newest addition to Schwinn’s lineup of home recumbent bikes and for starters, I’d like to say that I think this is one good looking bike.

Not that looks should really matter that much, especially when choosing exercise equipment, but still – the 290 is pretty darn sleek looking.

Especially for a bike in this price range.

Anyway, more importantly, the Schwinn 290 comes with a lot of impressive specs and features that are likely to make this model a hit.

Highlights include 25 magnetic resistance levels, bluetooth compatibility with fitness apps, USB charging, and a respectably heavy-duty frame.

It’s also backed by a pretty solid warranty, which never hurts.

The biggest downside is the surprisingly light-weight flywheel, but given everything else it has to offer, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a dealbreaker.

Overall, I think the 290 is a nice recumbent bike, but there’s a lot of competition in this price range – so, is this bike really worth investing in?

Well, that’s what I’m here to help you figure out.

In this review, I’ll be going over everything this bike does and doesn’t have going for it.

I’ll also compare it to some of the other top options in this price range so you can get a better idea as to how it really stacks up.

After reading, you’ll know once and for all whether or not Schwinn’s 290 is the right recumbent bike for your home.

Let’s do this.

The Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike

schwinn 290 recumbent bike review
Image courtesy of Schwinn Fitness

Schwinn’s one of the most well-known brand names in the fitness/biking world and for good reason – they’ve been around forever and their products are pretty good.

When it comes to their exercise machines, they offer a few ellipticals and treadmills, but it’s their exercise bikes that they’re known for.

And most of their exercise bikes fall in the under $1k range, making them quite affordable as exercise equipment goes.

The 290 is one of their newest additions (along with the 190 Upright Bike), usurping the highly popular 270 as their highest-end recumbent model to date.

I’ll be comparing the 290 to the 270 some throughout this review because the 270 is still a great bike in its own right (although now that it’s been discontinued, it’s going to be harder and harder to find), but to cut to the chase a little – the 290 basically comes with a heavier-duty frame and an updated console.

But I’m getting ahead of myself because I always like to talk performance specs first.

So, without further ado…


  • 25 magnetic resistance levels
  • 13 built-in workouts
  • Pretty heavy-duty frame
  • 330 lb weight limit
  • Sleek design
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • 2 months of JRNY membership included
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • USB charging port
  • Weighted pedals
  • Padded, ventilated seat
  • Good warranty


  • Flywheel could be heavier


I could be wrong, but I assume we’re all looking for an exercise bike that offers a smooth, quiet pedaling motion during workouts.

If you’re not, please accept my apologies for making assumptions.

Well, when it comes to smoothness of operation, the flywheel weight is one of the most important specs to consider.

And just to make sure we’re all on the same page – the flywheel is that thing that spins as you pedal and yes, recumbent bikes use weighted flywheels too, just like indoor cycles.

You just can’t usually see ’em because they’re housed inside the frame.

Now recumbent bikes don’t usually come with flywheels as heavy as indoor cycles do, but having a little extra weight is helpful for a recumbent bike as well.

Generally speaking, a heavier flywheel is preferred because the extra weight builds more momentum while it spins.

And this momentum helps keep the flywheel (and pedals) moving throughout the entire pedaling motion, reducing any lag between the up and down stroke between feet.

Flywheel weights will vary, but higher-end models tend to come with heavier flywheels (20 lb+) and affordable recumbents tend to come with lighter flywheels (less than 15 lb).

With all of this info in mind, Schwinn actually doesn’t disclose the weight of the 290’s flywheel, which in itself is usually a sign that the flywheel is light-weight.

But, I’d bet dollars to donuts that it uses the same 13 lb flywheel found on the Schwinn 270 and Nautilus R618 (which, unfortunately, I believe has been discontinued by the manufacturer).

Well, turns out I’d lose that bet.

I reached out to Schwinn and according to their rep, the flywheel on the 290 only weighs 8.16 lb.

I find this reallllly surprising because I’m not sure why Schwinn would be a lighter flywheel on their upgraded model…hmm, very interesting.

But, if this rep is correct, the 290 comes with a really light flywheel.

I mentioned Nautilus’ R618, which also uses a 13 lb flywheel, but there’s also ProForm’s ProC10R which only uses an 11 lb flywheel.

There are some though, in this price range, that do come with more weight under the hood.

There’s XTERRA’s SB4500, which is usually priced somewhere around $700 and it comes with a 22 lb flywheel; there’s also Diamondback’s 910Sr which is similarly priced at times, which comes with a massive 32 lb flywheel (which unfortunately, has also been discontinued).

So, it’s possible to get heavier flywheels in this price range, but of course these other bikes don’t necessary come with the same features, etc.

Moving on.

Schwinn pairs that flywheel with 25 magnetic resistance levels, giving the rider a lot of control over their workouts.

I’m of the opinion that having more resistance levels is always a good thing because it allows you to make smaller adjustments to the resistance throughout your workout.

Just know that having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more overall resistance.

It’s worth knowing though, that lighter flywheels tend to offer less overall resistance than heavier ones – so along this train of though, I wouldn’t expect the 290 to be able to provide a ton of resistance.

This makes the 290 better equipped to handle light to moderate intensity workouts and not so much higher intensity workouts.

Overall, I think the 290 could score a little better in the resistance department – it would be nice to see a heavier flywheel, but I do like that it comes with so many resistance levels to work with.


Having a smooth pedaling motion is important, but it’s also important that a bike doesn’t feel rickety and wobbly the second you sit on it.

Again, I’m assuming here, but I don’t think any of us are looking for that “could fall apart at any moment” feel from our recumbent bikes.

“Heavy-dutiness” is a hard quality to objectify, but I think looking at the assembled weight and weight limit is a good place to start.

My thinking being that a heavier bike is more likely to feel stable because the heavier it is, the harder it’ll be to move – which in this case, is a good thing.

And the same goes for weight limits – seeing higher numbers here is a sign of superior overall build quality (usually).

Anyway, the 290 comes with an assembled weight of roughly 108 lb, which is pretty good for a recumbent in this price range.

This is right there with the SB2.5r (108 lb) and Nautilus’ R618 (107 lb) and it’s a good 20 lb or so heavier than Schwinn’s own 270 (87 lb).

It’s also about 27 lb heavier than Schwinn’s more affordable 230, which actually has a heavier flywheel (13 lb).

Diamondback’s 910sr is a lot heavier than all of them, weighing in at 130 lb, but that’s certainly not the norm for this price range (again, it’s really disappointing that this bike has been discontinued).

So, with an assembled weight well over 100 lb, the 290 should feel stable and secure during use, so no worries there.

And with an impressive weight limit of 330 lb, the 290 is also able to safely accommodate most riders as well.

And in terms of dimensions, the 290 is pretty standard for a recumbent bike, taking up a footprint of roughly 66″ x 28″.

And as I mentioned at the beginning, I really like Schwinn’s new take on the frame.

I think the angled frame between the seat and the flywheel looks sharp and the black paint job makes it look sleeker and more up to date.

Anyway, when it comes to the frame, I think the 290 scores very well. I like that it comes with a high assembled weight and weight limit.


Schwinn backs their 290 Recumbent Bike with the following home warranty:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year electronics
  • 90 day labor

Ok, not bad, not bad.

10 years on the frame isn’t quite as generous as Nautilus’ 15 year frame guarantee for the R618 (again, so sad that it’s been discontinued), but it’s better than XTERRA’s and Diamondback’s 5 year guarantees.

Two years on parts is pretty average for this price range, where most will come with guarantees in the 1-3 year range.

90 days on labor is pretty short though, considering most offer a full year here.

Overall though, I think Schwinn’s warranty is pretty good.


The Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike comes with the following features:

7″ LCD console- the console is large and updated on the 290, making it clear and easy to see during workouts. You can track all the expected metrics on the brightly lit screen.

13 built-in workouts- the 290 comes with 13 built-in workouts, giving you several profiles to choose from and if you opt for the JRNY membership, you get access to basically unlimited on-demand and coaching workouts.

JRNY- speaking of which, JRNY is the streaming fitness app Nautilus uses with their brands and the 290 is designed to pair with JRNY for metric tracking and workout access (using your own smart phone or tablet). Schwinn includes a free year of JRNY with purchase and then it costs $99/year (or $11.99/month).

Bluetooth- the 290 is bluetooth compatible with JRNY and other streaming fitness workouts, so you’ll be able to see your cadence displayed through the app.

Bluetooth speakers- this recumbent also comes with built-in bluetooth speakers, so you can listen to your workout playlists wirelessly through the console if you like.

Heart rate monitoring- the 290 is compatible with bluetooth heart rate straps, allowing you to keep an accurate eye on your pulse throughout workouts.

Padded, ventilated seat- the seat is padded and the backrest is ventilated for a more comfortable experience.

USB charging- you can also charge your device up during workouts so you won’t have to worry about draining your battery.

Weighted pedals- the pedals are weighted, which keeps them always facing the right direction. It’s a small thing, but it does make it more convenient to get on.

Tablet holder- there’s a tablet shelf included in the console, giving you a place to put your tablet for easy viewing during workouts. It does block your view of the console however.

Water bottle holder- and finally, there’s even a place to put your water bottle for easy reaching.


Ok, before I wrap this review up, I want to spend a little more time talking about the other top recumbent bikes in this price range.

At the time of writing this, Schwinn is selling their 290 for $799.

This price could change in the future, but if we use this price as our guide, there are several great recumbents that come to mind.

The Nautilus R618 and Diamondback 910sr were both in direct competition with the 290, but since both of ’em have since been discontinued, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to use them as comps here.

So instead, we’ll go directly to XTERRA’s SB4500 which I mentioned earlier.

The price on the SB4500 varies quite a bit and as I’m writing this, it’s on sale for around $500 directly through XTERRA, but this could change any day (it’s also available through Amazon for around $700, give or take).

The SB4500 comes with a 22 lb flywheel, 24 resistance levels, 12 workout programs, and is bluetooth compatible.

It comes with a dated console and isn’t quite as sleek looking in general, but it’s warranty is also better (lifetime frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor).

There’s also Sunny Health & Fitness’ Premium Recumbent Bike, which costs around $600 and it comes with 16 resistance levels, 24 workout programs, and is bluetooth compatible.

But it’s quite a bit lighter-weight (weighs 86 lb), uses a 7 lb flywheel, and comes with a shorter warranty.

Finally, I should probably mention Schwinn’s own 230.

The 230 is priced at around $600 and it comes with a 13 lb flywheel, 16 resistance levels, 13 workout programs, and the same warranty as the 290.

But the 230 isn’t bluetooth compatible, comes with an outdated console, and is quite a bit lighter-duty (only weighs 80 lb).

Final Thoughts

Ok, I think that about does it.

First and foremost, I want to give a shoutout to all the great recumbent bikes we’ve lost – the Schwinn 270, the Nautilus R618, the Diamondback 910sr, XTERRA’s SB2.5r…

It wasn’t until I started updating this review that I noticed that a lot of the great budget-friendly recumbents aren’t around anymore.


That said, it eliminates a lot of the 290’s competition.

And honestly, there’s really not much to complain about when it comes to the 290.

I think this recumbent has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to the redesigned console and features.

It isn’t the highest performing recumbent in this price range, but few bikes offer the same kind of combination of performance specs and features that this one does.

And yes, it would be nice to see a heavier flywheel, but it’s nice that it comes with such a robust frame.

Plus, the fact that it includes an entire year of JRNY basically makes up for the price difference between it and Schwinn’s 230.

So, if you like the idea of accessing streaming workouts and metric tracking with your recumbent bike, I think the 290 could make a good investment.

If you’re looking for a heavier flywheel and a longer warranty, you might be better off checking out XTERRA’s SB4500.

Either way, I’d say Schwinn’s 290 holds its own well against competition and is easily one of the best recumbent bikes under $1k.



14 Thoughts to “Everything You Should Know About Schwinn’s 290 Recumbent Bike [A Review]”

  1. erica fallis

    Hi Will!

    I would like to know your opinion on the Matrix U50 and the Xr console? What is the flywheel and q factor?

    Also, the Visionu60 which has a q factor of 7.1.

    I have had a hip replacement and may have the other one done so not sure which bike is better for me. I find the Vision is harder to pedal but it seems more comfortable for the knee. The Matrix pedals are more underneath the rider, not forward. (?) Do you know in my situation which one would be better for me? I am a young senior in my sixties with some health issues. Thanks for your help!!!

    1. Hi there, great questions! I wasn’t familiar with the U50 but I looked it up and at first glance it looks like a great bike. Matrix doesn’t disclose their flywheel weight (which isn’t uncommon for these nicer, commercial grade brands), but I’d guess it’s likely 20 lb or less (especially consider their U30 uses a 23 lb flywheel). Nicer bikes like the U50 tend to have more sophisticated resistance systems, so they can create smooth pedaling without needing the extra flywheel weight. The q-factor though, would be about the same as the listed pedal spacing of 7.6″. And online, it looks like the Vision U60 has a q-factor of 7.8″, so they both come with more or less the same pedal spacing. For your situation with your joints, it’s all about comfort and trying to find a riding position that doesn’t hurt your hips or knees. Looking at them online, it’s hard to tell, but I doubt there’s a huge difference in the position of their pedals, since they’re both upright bikes. Speaking of comfort, the seat on the Matrix U50 looks larger and cushier to me too. I also like the price of the U50 better. So, personally, I like the U50 better, but both bikes come from elite brands and should be able to offer a comfortable ride for ya. I hope that helps a little and thanks for reading! (and you’ve officially motivated me to do a formal review of the U50)

  2. patricia montgonmery

    what brand of heartrate monitor wrist straps will work with this bike

    1. The 290 is supposed to be compatible with all bluetooth enabled heart rate straps, although I know in the past that some of their consoles have had issues with Polar straps and only certain non-encoded straps would work. But honestly, I’m not very familiar with the different heart rate monitor brands. I know Bowflex has an arm band monitor and that would be guaranteed to pair with the 290 because Nautilus owns both brands.

  3. Francis X Dewan

    Schwinn is a joke!!! I recently bought a Model 290 Recumbent stationary bike for home use. I tried to use it this morning and a QR Code is on the screen with a message to update the bike. The bike is basically inoperable without the update. The process of using the QR Code is not easy. I tried and I had a more technically proficient person try. No luck. I called Schwinn and they were going to send out a USB to update and/or have a technician come out to do the update. I’m supposed to hear from the company (GO CONFIGURE) with a time and date for a technician to come. All of this is totally unacceptable. I would advise anyone looking to purchase one of these units NOT TO PURCHASE ONE. Meanwhile, I can’t use the bike.

    1. That’s annoying, sorry to hear you’re having to deal with this update issue. Hopefully Schwinn can get it figured out for ya sooner than later. Thanks for sharing, definitely something to consider.

    2. ChipH

      I suspect that QR code is the same one I had on my newly purchased 290. It’s actually a link to sign up for JRNY, with a note saying “Scan code to update firmware.” I ignored the QR, rebooted the bike and hit start on the console, and it works perfectly without the subscription. BTW, I purchased direct from Schwinn and JRNY is free for two months, then $99/yr.

      1. Thanks for helpful tip and thanks for reading!

  4. COLIN

    Could one replace or modify the existing flywheel with a heavier one? Have you ever heard of something like that? I am inclined to tinkering like that, and it would be a nice DIY project to do, all that I am worried about is not destroying the bike by doing that. One does want to improve, but not to destroy for sure!
    Any idea would be appreciated, thank you for a great review.

    1. I’ve never heard of anything like that, but it’s an intriguing idea. My gut instinct is that it would be more trouble than it’s worth because once you removed the cover, you’d likely have to remove the magnetic resistance system to get full access to the flywheel itself. And then of course, you’d need a heavier flywheel that would actually fit in that space to replace it with. Before you did any of this, you’d want to know the exact dimensions of the flywheels so you could rest assured the new one would fit properly. Plus, tinkering with the flywheel would definitely void the warranty, so in the case you accidentally messed the bike up, you’d be stuck with the cost to repair or replace. Personally, I think it would make more sense to invest in a bike with a heavier flywheel from the get go, but again, intriguing idea (here’s a link to the 290’s service manual if you’re still thinking about it… check out page 16 for the schematics on the flywheel and internal workings). Thanks for reading!

  5. rbrools4032

    I wish the 230 and 270 were still available. I don’t care about all of these extra electronics. I had a stair master bike that had nothing but an array of dots to tell you if you’re gong up or down a hill, or flat. That was always plenty of information for me.
    With these being for home use, I’m more fond of placing the bike in front of the 85″ TV with surround sound to enjoy my session. I’m quite content to watch the latest episode of Rings of Power or something rather than an iPad with some forest scenery on it.
    Unfortunately, my old 2005 era bike died and I couldn’t get replacement parts any longer.
    I’ll probably just hit up the local Play It Again or other used equip. store and see if I can find a later model..maybe a 2014 or 2015 that just has the basics done well.
    The flywheel hijinks on the 290 are a deal breaker.

    1. Now Schwinn’s 230 is still available, but I know what you mean and I agree 100%. If brands want to update their equipment with nicer, newer consoles that’s great, but don’t takeaway from the performance specs that are already there. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed other fitness brands doing this recently too. Checking out your local used equipment stores is a smart move. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

  6. Randy

    The 290 is worthless without the JRNY app, and the app is horrible. Its been trying to force a firmware update for MONTHS now and it fails. You cant use the app with the bike at all unless you update the firmware for some stupid reason. This bike is a basic entry level dumb bike without the app working, this is a SCAM!

    1. That sucks, sorry to hear you’re having such a bad experience with the 290. I hope their customer service is able to help get it figured out. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your experience.

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