Tom's Guide Verdict
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is a high-quality and low-impact at-home workout choice.
Easy to use
Low impact and comfortable
No membership fee needed
Not a full-body workout
Have to put it together at the time of delivery
Grip heart rate is unreliable & calorie count is inaccurate
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Item Dimensions: 64in (L) x 27.7in (W) x 49.9in (H)
Item Weight: 86.6 Pounds
Material: Carbon Steel
Power Source: Corded Electric | Plug into any standard electrical wall outlet on a 110V-120V Circuit
Number of Resistance Levels: 25
Resistance Mechanism: Friction
Maximum Weight Recommendation: 300 Pounds
Extras: USB Charging Port, Bluetooth connectivity, 3 Speed Fan
Included Standard Warranty: 10 year frame, 2 year mechanical, 1 year electrical, & 90 day labor
While I’m very used to riding a stationary spin bike, I could be persuaded to switch to the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike. Designed for those who need a lower-impact workout, the Schwinn 270 is easy to set up and use and has many workout options, including 29 programs, to choose from so your workout will never be stale.
Schwinn is a reputable brand, and the Schwinn 270 did not disappoint for many reasons including its quietness, the user-friendly design and technology, and its comfort. Among the best exercise bikes, it’s a great option, but as this Schwinn 270 recumbent bike review will reveal, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before buying it.
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Recumbent vs Spin Bikes: What is the difference?
Recumbent bikes are set up so that riders can sit in a comfortable laid-back reclined position. Additionally, the pedals on these bikes are in front of you rather than being aligned with the seat on spin bikes. Lastly, recumbent bikes have a wider and lower seat compared to spin bikes. Because recumbent bikes are lower to the ground, they are generally easier to get off compared to spin bikes; This is beneficial for those who have restricted mobility.
While riding, the recumbent bike puts less pressure on one’s joints; by comparison, spin bikes have an upright design, which makes riders use more muscles — including the arms and core — while pedaling. Because of this, spin bikes are considered to give you more of a full body workout.
Lastly, another notable difference is that a recumbent bike takes up more space in the house in comparison to a spin bike.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review: Price and availability
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike cost $649 and shipped to my house for free within one week after purchasing. Upon arrival, the bike came in one large box that was very heavy, and required two to three people to assist with lifting it into the house. The bike does not come already assembled but do not panic, you may purchase an In-Home Assembly for $129. It took the technician less than an hour to assemble the bike and he showed me how to set up the console before leaving.
If you do not opt for the In-Home Assembly, the bike comes with a full instruction manual to guide you through the assembly process as well as labeled parts so you can easily figure out what goes where. Furthermore, Allen wrenches and a screwdriver are included.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review: Design & Set Up
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike has transport rollers and a transport handle to help the bike where you want it. Levelers can be found on each side of the Rear Stabilizer and on the Frame Rail to keep the bike steady while riding.
The bike has an adjustable seat, with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The seat itself is comfortable, ventilated, and much wider than the average seat on a spin bike. Additionally, it has a back to it. On the sides of the seat, there are handlebars for riders to hold onto. To adjust your seat, make sure you are off the bike when you push down on the seat adjustment handle. When it comes to getting your seat in the right position, you’ll want to sit on your bike as if you are ready to ride — if your seat is in the correct position, you’ll have a slight bend in the knee when your foot is in the pedal. If your knees are locked out and you cannot reach the pedals, or your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle at the top of each rotation, you’ll want to adjust your seat.
On each side of the handlebars is a heart rate monitor attached that will record your heart rate when holding the handlebars. On the left side of the bike is a rather large cup holder that can fit your water bottle and even your phone for easy access while riding.
If you live in an apartment building or have young children you’re fitting your workouts around, the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is a good fit, as it is smooth and quiet since it is equipped with a weighted flywheel.
The nice thing about a recumbent bike is that unlike using the Peloton Bike, or say, the NordicTrack S22i, cycling shoes are not needed, you can use your running shoes, or a pair of athletic shoes and still get a good workout.
The main LCD screen is 3” X 5” making it easy to read throughout your entire ride. The second screen is smaller measuring 1” X 5” in size. The two screens display all the information you could need during your workout such as the time, speed, calories burned, distance, resistance level, your heart rate zone, goal achievement, and more. The displays are not touchscreen, but the buttons are easy to navigate and I found the resistance buttons particularly useful.
As well as the obvious, the display console also has speakers, a cooling fan, an MP3, and a USB port. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to plug my phone into the “MP3” port and listen to my own music during my ride through the bike's speakers. It was also nice not to have to plug in a standing fan before each workout. There is also a bench on the console which holds accessories such as your phone — ideal if you are looking to use your phone to watch entertainment during your workout.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review: Features
While the Schwinn 270 doesn’t have an interactive display like the one you’d find on a Peloton, it does have a few connected features. For starters, you can connect your phone via Bluetooth to the Schwinn 270 so that your workouts can be synced with Strava, MyFitnessPal or the Health app on the iPhone.
If you use the “Explore the World by Bowflex” Fitness App, you can virtually ride along some scenic routes; free scenic routes includeZion National Park, Route 66, and the French Riviera; if you purchase the app, you can unlock even more routes. One of my favorites was the Tuscany/Swiss Alps; not only does it look amazing, but the bike knows what route you are doing and will program it based on the video. For example, when I was going uphill, the bike would adjust the resistance to make it lifelike.
The USB port allows riders to charge their phones and tablets while riding; it’s great to have if you are streaming a show on the phone or reading a book. Built-in sealed acoustic chamber speakers also let you play tunes through the bike.
While the bike has a heart rate monitor built into the handlebars, you can also wirelessly connect a wearable heart rate monitor to the bike. However, it has to be a compatible Polar chest strap.
The Schwinn 270’s three-speed fan, mounted under the screen is a game-changer, especially during intense workouts.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review: Experience and performance
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent bike has 29 workout programs, 25 levels of resistance, and 10 resistance quick keys. The quick start program is a great option for beginners who want to get a feel for the bike without entering any information and familiarizing themselves with the bike.
The Heat Rate Control workout programs let you set a heart rate goal for a workout. Since the program monitors the individual's heart rate in beats per minute (BPM), it will adjust their workout to keep their heart rate in the selected range. 29 programs is a great feature this bike has because that is essentially a different workout for each day of the month; How can one get bored?
I thoroughly enjoyed taking the heart rate program classes on the bike. Before starting the class, I set a heart rate goal for my workout; it took me a few classes to figure out what to put for my goal and in the end, I found working in the zone of 70-80% to be the best. These heart rate workouts encourage you to stay within this selected zone and therefore, make you work harder to keep your heart rate up. Although I’m sure an external heart rate monitor from POLAR would be more accurate, using the grip heart rate monitors sufficed. (In order for the machine to read your heart rate, you have to hold both hands on the grip for 10-15 seconds).
I also enjoyed the quick-start workouts on the bike, which allow me to pedal while scrolling through my phone or catching up on this week’s shows. Even though this form of a workout is less intense than others, I still break a sweat after I am done.
Although I enjoy riding a spin bike as my main form of exercise, the recumbent bike is a nice alternative. While riding on the recumbent bike, I feel my body work just as hard as it does on the spin bike even though the seat is much more comfortable and relaxed and I definitely feel less pressure on my joints and knees while being reclined back. The only thing I did not like about riding this bike is that I could not ride out of the seat since it isn’t like a spin bike
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review: Verdict
With Schwinn being the reputable brand it is, it’s no surprise that the 270 Recumbent bike would surpass my expectations. As the most advanced Recumbent bike in its portfolio priced at $649, I would highly recommend it. Despite having to assemble the bike yourself and the short warranty, I enjoyed the many workout programs to choose from. This allowed my workout to be exciting and enjoyable since I had many to choose from rather than sticking to one and it becoming stale.
A highlight for me is downloading “Explore the World by Bowflex” because I was able to connect my bike with an app to enjoy scenic routes while getting a workout in. A plus to this app is that it will sync with the health app to log my workout.
The only thing I was disappointed with is that the bike does not come with a wearable heart rate monitor for accurate calorie burn and BPM measurements.
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent bike is worth the price since it is easy to use and delivers a quiet and comfortable ride while providing riders with a low-impact workout.