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’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.
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.
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).
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.