The 170 was Schwinn’s highest-end upright bike for a long time, but now that they’ve added the 190, that’s no longer the case.
With a sleek new exterior and a new console that’s JRNY compatible and comes with bluetooth speakers, the 190 is certainly more tech savvy than the older 170.
But in terms of performance, there aren’t many differences and both bikes are backed by the same warranty.
Does it make sense to invest a little more and get the newer 190, or should you save your money and go with the older 170?
Honestly, I think it’s a tough call and the answer likely depends on what you’re looking for… I know, I hate ambiguous answers too, but keep reading and I’ll explain myself.
In this review, I’ll provide a comparison between Schwinn’s 170 and 190 upright bikes, pointing out the major differences between these 2 models.
I’ll also offer my 2 cents regarding which bike I think makes more sense.
Alright, let’s get to it already.
|Schwinn 170||Schwinn 190|
|Resistance||13 lb flywheel|
25 magnetic levels
|8 lb flywheel
25 magnetic levels
|Frame||63 lb assembled weight|
300 lb weight limit
|81 lb assembled weight
330 lb weight limit
|Warranty||10 year frame|
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
|10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
29 built-in workouts
4 user profiles
Explore The World app
|7" LCD console
13 built-in workouts
1 user profile
1 year of JRNY included
The Schwinn 170 vs The 190
Schwinn’s a really well-known brand and even though they made a name for themselves with their road bikes, their fitness machines have become pretty renowned in their own right.
As a brand, they’ve been quite innovative over the decades – we have them to thank for giving us the first air bikes (Airdyne).
I’m not sure if we should hold this against them or not…
Anyway, these days their probably known more for their affordable exercise bikes, although they still offer some of their higher-end indoor cycles and Airdyne bikes as well.
When it comes to upright bikes, they’ve got 3 to choose from: the 190, the 170, and the more affordable 130.
We’re here to compare the 190 and 170, so let’s start off by going over what I consider the most important aspects – the performance specs.
Upright bikes find themselves in a kind of interesting mid-ground when it comes to exercise bikes and comfort – they’re more comfortable than indoor cycles, but not nearly as comfortable as recumbent bikes.
And even though we don’t see a lot of marketing for these upright bikes these days, they can still make a great option for folks looking for a lower-impact way to get their workout on.
When comparing uprights, much like any other type of exercise bike, I think it makes sense to start with the resistance system because this is what largely gives the bike its “feel”.
And if you’ve ever used a crappy bike with a less than smooth pedaling feel, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.
The resistance system is made up of a resistance mechanism (in these cases a magnetic one) and a weighted flywheel.
With these more affordable bikes, the magnetic systems are very similar, especially in this case where both bikes come from the same brand.
So, that brings us to flywheels.
Generally speaking, having a heavier flywheel is beneficial because the extra weight tends to provide a smoother pedaling motion.
That’s because the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins, which helps keep the pedals moving between pedal strokes.
Personally, I like to see a flywheel of at least 20 lb to ensure a nice pedaling motion, but that’s unrealistic in an upright bike in this price range.
Anyway, according to the Schwinn rep I reached out to, the 190 comes with a flywheel that weighs 8.16 lb and the older 170 comes with a flywheel weighing in at 13 lb.
I always try to get my flywheel weights from the brands themselves because you’ll see a lot of varying numbers out there and it can be hard to tell what’s accurate.
That said, I’m not sure how accurate these sales reps are too at times, but that’s the best we can do, I guess.
Personally, I find it interesting that the 190 would come with a lighter flywheel than the 170, especially considering that the 190 weighs quite a bit more than the 170 (more on that in a minute).
But, it looks like it is.
The 13 lb flywheel found on the 170 is pretty good for an upright bike in this price range, where most weigh in somewhere in the 10 – 13 lb range.
But the 8 lb flywheel on the 190 is pretty light, even for an affordable model.
When it comes to resistance levels, both bikes come with the same 25 levels of magnetic resistance, so no differences there whatsoever.
But again, the 170’s flywheel weighs about 5 lb more than the 190’s, which could certainly be something to consider, especially if you’re looking for an upright that can provide more strenuous workouts.
Ok, moving on, let’s see how these bikes’ frames hold up to each other.
When looking at frames, I’m more interested in the assembled weights and weight limits than physical dimensions because let’s be real – most of these bikes take up more or less the same footprint.
But, for the sake of thoroughness the 190 takes up a footprint of roughly 47″ x 32″ and the 170 takes up a footprint of 41″ x 21″.
Ok, the 190’s about a foot wider than the 170, so that’s actually a pretty big difference…
Anyway, the assembled weights and weight limits can vary greatly though, and these numbers can tell us a lot about the robustness of the bikes.
Personally, I like to see heavier assembled weights because to me, this says that the bike is heavier-duty and less likely to feel wobbly when I’m sitting on it.
I like to see assembled weights north of 100 lb for added peace of mind, but that rule isn’t written in stone of anything.
With all of this in mind, the 190 weighs in at around 81 lb and the 170 weighs in at around 63 lb.
The 190 weighs almost 20 lb more than the 170, which is a pretty big difference (especially considering the 190’s flywheel is lighter).
The 190 also comes with a higher weight limit (330 lb vs 300 lb), making it a better option for larger riders.
Overall, the 190 is a larger, heavier-duty upright than the 170 – it has a bigger footprint, weighs more, and can accommodate heavier individuals.
Schwinn backs the 170 and the 190 with the same residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 labor
There aren’t any differences between these bikes in this category, so I won’t spend much time going over every detail of the warranty, but I do want to say I think this is a pretty good guarantee for this price range.
10 years on the frame is legit, as is 2 years on parts.
90 days on labor is short, considering 1 year is the industry standard, but overall, a pretty good warranty for both bikes.
Alright, time to get to the fun stuff.
So far, we’ve seen a few differences between these 2 bikes when it comes to the performance specs, but we’re going to see even more differences now when we start talking features.
The 190 is the newer model, so we’d expect to see a nicer, updated console with added features… and those expectations would be correct.
Right off the bat, Schwinn ditched the DualTrack design with 2 smaller screens found on the 170 and instead, gave the 190 a single, larger LCD console (7″).
This larger console certainly looks more contemporary, but it’s also compatible with the JRNY streaming app, as well as Zwift, the popular virtual training app.
The 190 even comes with an included 1 year JRNY membership ($149 value) too.
Through JRNY, you can get access to instructor-led workouts, virtual rides, and metric tracking, however you would have to connect through your own tablet (the console screen doesn’t give you access to the app itself).
The 170 is compatible with the Explore The World app, which gives you access to tons of virtual rides, but it isn’t compatible with JRNY (so no membership is included).
The consoles on both bikes come with quick touch resistance keys, so no differences there, but there’s a big difference when it comes to built-in workouts.
The 190 comes with 13 built-in profiles, while the 170 comes loaded with 29.
This is because the 190 is really designed to pair with JRNY, where you can get access to unlimited workouts (and the 170 isn’t).
The 190 only comes with a single user profile, while the 170 allows up to 4 – something to consider if your home will have multiple users.
The 170 also comes with a built-in fan, while the 190 does not – I don’t see this as a big deal either way, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
Both bikes have built-in speakers and USB charging ports, however the speakers on the 190 are bluetooth compatible, making it more convenient to use ’em with your smart phone.
Both bikes also come with fully adjustable seats, making it easy to find a comfortable riding position.
The only other real difference here is that the 190 comes with upgrade, weighted pedals, while the 170 does not.
Having weighted pedals is a nice little feature because it ensures the pedals are always facing the right direction when you get on – again, it’s a little detail, but it’s the little details that add to overall enjoyment.
So, overall, there are some significant differences between the features these 2 bikes come with.
The 190 is designed to pair with JRNY and even comes with a free trial, while the 170 isn’t JRNY compatible and instead comes with a lot more built-in workout profiles.
Time to talk cost.
Prices can change and vary depending on where you purchase, but here are the current prices for these bikes at the time of writing this article:
Schwinn 190: $699
Schwinn 170: $549
That means the 190 costs $150 more than the 170.
Personally, I think these prices are pretty fair, especially considering the 190 comes with a free year of the JRNY app.
I would also say that both of these bikes are still quite budget-friendly, considering higher-end uprights cost well over $1k.
But, does it really make sense to pay the extra cash and go with the updated 190 or is the cheaper 170 the better buy?
That’s the real question and as I eluded to in the intro, I think the answer depends entirely on whether or not you like the idea of using the JRNY app.
If you want to try JRNY and give streaming workouts a go, I think the 190 makes more sense.
If you don’t want to mess with streaming apps and simply want to hop on your bike and do a built-in workout, I think the 170 makes more sense.
Because when it comes to performance, the differences between these bikes are pretty subtle.
The 190 is bigger and heavier-duty (which I like), but the 170, surprisingly enough, comes with a heavier flywheel.
In my mind, these 2 facts kinda cancel each other out and since both bikes come with the same warranty, I think it really comes down to the features.
The 190 is sleeker and designed specifically for the JRNY app, while the 170 is a more old school bike with built-in workout programs.
In terms of cost, I think both bikes are priced fairly – especially considering the only difference in price is the $150 cost of the JRNY trial.
So, long-story-short: if you wanna give streaming a whirl, I’d go with the 190; if not, I’d save the cash and go with the 170. (That said, larger riders should consider going with the 190 for the heavier-duty frame).