Before you spend almost $500 on the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike, you need to go through this review with a fine tooth comb to understand it’s benefits but – more importantly – its weaknesses because, in my opinion, it has a few. Some you can live with but – depending on your needs – some you can’t.
We understand that spending several hundred dollars on an exercise machine can be a big investment so I’m going to give you all the information about the unit that you need to know before you make a decision about whether or not this one is right for you.
- 1 Description
- 2 Schwinn 270 Crank and Pedals
- 3 Recumbent bike drive system
- 4 Schwinn 270 Tension Resistance System
- 5 The Display Type and Readouts
- 6 Schwinn 270 Preset Programs
- 7 Profile Programs
- 8 Heart Rate Control Programs
- 9 Custom User Programs
- 10 Fitness Test Programs
- 11 Recovery Test Program
- 12 Quick Start Program
- 13 Resistance Level Quick Buttons
- 14 Other Buttons and Functions
- 15 Schwinn 270 Sleep Mode
- 16 Measurement Unit Selection
- 17 User Profiles
- 18 Heart Rate Monitoring System
- 19 Noise Level
- 20 Accessories
- 21 Electricity
- 22 Warranty
- 23 Dimensions of the Unit:
- 24 Pros
- 25 Cons
- 26 Price:
- 27 Reviews and Rating:
- 28 Summary:
Schwinn is a renowned brand in bicycles and this company has also been in the exercise bike and recumbent bike market for several years. The company was acquired by Nautilus, a famous sport equipment company who is also the parent company of Bowflex. Their main product ranges, apart from bikes, are the ellipticals, recumbent and exercise bikes. One of these products’ most reputable features is its DualTrack display. Also, the unit has very interesting goal tracking features. I’ll talk about how cool these two features are in the later sections of the article.
The product delivers a fun and interesting workout in a relaxed position which is suitable for both people in rehabilitation, elderly people, and those looking for a regular cardio option for their home use. The unit has an extra thick padded seat for your comfort. This seat is slightly different from the one on the Schwinn 230 which is not padded. The unit’s seat is obviously thicker and more comfortable. The design of the seat and a large seat back allow you to have better lower back support. The easy-to-slide seat rail accommodates different positions for multiple users. The walk-through feature allows you to enter the machine easily without climbing across a high middle-bar.
The position on the bike is so relaxed that you can ride in maximum comfort and with minimal strain. The console of the unit is made to be oversized for a clear visual of your performance stats. You can track your progress easier than on other recumbent bikes. There are 29 workout programs, 12 course profiles, 25 resistance levels. Also, the product is equipped with a high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel, in-console speakers, a USB charging port, media rack and contact heart rate monitoring in the handlebars.
In addition, you have access to an updated Schwinn DualTrack and goal tracking function. You can set and track your time, distance and calories from your sessions. The workout parameters can be uploaded through a USB thumb drive to the SchwinnConnect website. You can track your results weekly, monthly or yearly. The information can also be used with MyFitnessPal. Also, this USB port can be used to charge your phone, tablet or other device while you are working out.
A lot of the outer components of the machine are plastic probably in order to keep it as lightweight as possible and low cost. Still, the main frame of the unit is metal. This makes it strong and it can handle a weight capacity up to 300 pounds. While the main plastic components are quite rigid, I read that some customers reported that they had broken the seat back or saw the water bottle holder to be too flimsy. However, those issues seemed to be few and far between and I did not see similar issues on any of the other plastic parts.
The machine runs smoothly and quietly thanks to its modern technology used in the crank and pedal, drive and resistance system. The LCD display is made to be clear with all the functions that you can select. There are lots of options to play with. When it comes to appearance, the unit has a sophisticated and premium look. This is similar to a gym grade product. This is a very intriguing option in the mid-range price for recumbent bikes..
Although the unit gets a lot of good reviews I’ve also seen a few complaints online. The major complaint I found was about the inaccurate or defective heart rate monitor. Other issues had to do with delivery service which is normal for a big and heavy unit like this one and may not have anything to do with Schwinn but the shipping company itself. Some online reviews showed consumers were missing parts in the delivered package. The missing parts include bolts, nuts, and washers which are essential for putting the unit together. In one case, Schwinn informed that the parts were on back order and would need one month to deliver. In my opinion, this should not be the case for the small parts like these for a company this size.
I don’t say this to deter you from considering this product – it’s got a lot going for it. I just know that when you’re researching a product you want a general understanding of what others have experienced so you can weigh those into your decision making process. I’m just summarizing the few items I’ve come across.
Schwinn 270 Crank and Pedals
The unit has one-piece pedal cranks. It also comes with toe straps. The straps allow you to adjust the size to fit your feet. You will have a good and firm attachment to the pedals. This will make you confident when you make each stroke during your exercise so you’re feet don’t slip off the pedals.
Recumbent bike drive system
The machine comes with a high-speed and high-inertia perimeter-weighted flywheel. The mechanism is designed to have the weight of the wheel placed on the perimeter of it instead of somewhere else. As a result, it creates an inertia response to each stroke it gets and allows you to have both smooth and consistent strokes. It provides a 360 degree pedal stroke, not an up and down stroke. This arrangement helps reduce stress on your hips and knees when you are working out. You will feel that your ride is smoother, safer and more enjoyable. In the end, you will get a stronger and more efficient workout. Also, it keeps the noise level to a minimum.
Schwinn 270 Tension Resistance System
If you have heard about the eddy current tension system, you will know that the system is widely used especially in the modern high-speed train. If you have not, that is okay. I’ll explain it here. An eddy current tension system – or break system – is a technology that combines a magnetic yoke with electrical coils. It generates a vertical magnetic tension to the machine. With this, you can get more accurate tension control and measurement. Since there is no mechanical contact, the machine can last longer because there is no part to wear down. In addition, this tension system gives no noise and no odor. You can be assured that you will accurately get your desired resistance level with this technology.
The good news is that this recumbent bike comes with 25 resistance levels. That is a lot to play with. You can easily adjust the resistance level on the display using up and down buttons. Also, there are 10 quick-key buttons for you if you want to quickly select the resistance you want. This can be done within less than a second.
The Display Type and Readouts
The Schwinn DualTrack? two blue backlit LCD windows give you the chance to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks. This may be the highlight of the unit since this is where you can get the most out of your exercise. You can track your progress and see how you are doing during your workout. The display can even connect to a remote heart rate monitor stripe on your chest and let you know the metrics.
The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike display has two chambers of the LCD display that give you all the information you need. There is an upper display which size is 3 inches by 5 inches. The other is a lower display which size is 1 inch by 5 inches. You can see the attached image to illustrate the console and displays.
The upper display consists of large LCD screen. It is the large display at the top and center of the console. It’s very handy since it is divided into sections providing different types of information. This is where you can set the programs. Once you get the course selected, you will see the progress of your workout on the screen. Each column represents one interval of your workout. The higher the column, the higher resistance you get. The flashing column is your current workout interval.
The right side of the upper display shows you the heart rate zone information. You will see which zone your heart rate is in at that moment. You can use the information as your workout guideline. You can see if you want your workout to be for anaerobic, aerobic or fat burn. As for the left side of the display, you will see the level of intensity you are working on. It also comes with the number columns 1-10 to give you the idea of your current intensity level.
The main exercise information is in the center of the display. What you will see in this display panel includes:
[contextazon id=’8′]Goal display: You will see your selected goal during your workout. It can be distance, time or calories. Apart from that, the data also includes current values to achieve the goal and the percentage of the completion when it is compared to your goal.
User display: Which user you are using can be seen here. The unit allows you to save up and restore up to four user profiles.
Achievement display: This gives you a nice congratulations message and sound when you reach your goal.
The lower display gives you the chance to see the relevant data which are not shown in the upper section including:
RPM: This is an abbreviation for revolutions per minute. It shows you how many rounds of the pedal stroke you get in one minute.
Time: This shows you the total time that you have worked out. It can be used to see average time for the user profile and the unit’s total operating time.
Distance: This gives you the estimated distance of your ride. It can be set to be in both miles and kilometers.
Pulse or heart rate: You will know your current heart rate in BPM – beats per minute. The heart rate monitors are provided on the handlebars beside the seat. In order to make the system work you will need to take a grip on the handlebars.
Speed: Shows you the estimated speed. It can be set in miles per hour or kilometers per hour.
Level: This gives you what resistance level you are in currently.
Calories: This allows you to know how many calories you have burned from your workout.
Schwinn 270 Preset Programs
Believe it or not, Schwinn 270 comes with 29 programs. You may think that you don’t need that many but it can be handy when you get bored with your routine. The 29 preset programs include:
- 12 profiles
- 9 heart rate control (4 Beginner; 4 Advanced; 1 Custom)
- 4 custom user defined
- 2 fitness tests (1 Beginner; 1 Advanced)
- 1 recovery test
- 1 quick start
Let’s look into each program so that you understand what you will get when you buy this recumbent bike.
These are preset resistance and patterns for you to choose when you are working out. They help you avoid boring repetition during your exercise routine. This unit gives you three categories and each category has multiple profiles. The categories include fun rides, mountains and challenges. Here are the pictures showing you each profile.
Heart Rate Control Programs
You can let the program control your workout by monitoring your heart rate and its goals. The program will automatically adjust the resistance level to the monitored heart rate. There are nine heart rate control programs to choose from.
Custom User Programs
When you store a user profile you can restore it for your use. With this feature, you can also tailor-make your programs and store them into your user profile. Then you can call them up and workout at that program without having to repeat the same programming steps again. This is very convenient. Since there are four users to be stored, there are also four custom user programs that can be used.
Fitness Test Programs
These programs are used to identify your fitness level by monitoring your heart rate during your workout using one of these two fitness test programs. In the end, you will see your fitness score and how the machine evaluates your fitness level.
Recovery Test Program
This program lets you know how quickly your heart recovers from an exercise state to a restful state. The improved recovery means better fitness. You can do this after you have elevated your heart rate from the exercise. Just select the recovery test program. The console will show a stop exercising sign. The goal begins to count down. You stop exercising but still continue to grip the contact heart rate sensors. After 5 seconds, you will see the relax note from the machine. It will continue to count down to zero. Then the machine will calculate your recovery score.
The recovery score is equal to your heart rate at the beginning time minus the heart rate at zero time.
The higher the score, the quicker your heart returns to normal. By keeping a record of this score, you will learn in time if you have a trend toward better health.
Quick Start Program
This is the same as a manual program in many exercise machines. What you need to do is to just sit on the machine and push the increase or decrease to select your user profile. If you have not saved user profile data, you can select any user that has not stored the custom programs. Then you press the quick start button to start the manual program. You select a resistance level using the resistance increase or decrease buttons. The default manual resistance level is 4 and the time will count starting from zero. When your workout is done, you can push pause/end button to pause and push it again to stop the workout.
Resistance Level Quick Buttons
Out of those 25 resistance levels, you can immediately select one of the ten buttons to get the resistance you want. The levels on the panel include 1,3,5,7,9,12,15,18,21,25.
Other Buttons and Functions
There are several additional buttons to increase/decrease resistance, to select the programs of your workout, and to pause/end the workout. Also, the goal track button is used to display the workout totals and achievements for each user.
Schwinn 270 Sleep Mode
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike comes with an auto shut-off mechanism. When it is not in use for five minutes, the machine will shut off automatically. You don’t have to turn it off or do anything. However, it is recommended to unplug the unit when it is not used in order to prolong the life of the console and the adapter. When you want to turn it on, you can just plug it and press any of the buttons.
Measurement Unit Selection
You can select to use this recumbent bike either in miles or in kilometers by adjusting the parameters when you start the machine the first time. It will be the same time that you setup your date and time.
The unit allows you to store and use up to four user profiles. The user profiles will record your workout results and let you review the data whenever you want. The stored data of each user includes name up to 10 characters, age, weight, height, gender and preferred workout values.
When you turn the machine on, the last user who completed the workout will be the default user.
Heart Rate Monitoring System
( CHR and telemetry heart rate monitoring)
You can use the sensors at the handlebars to track your pulse or heart rate. Just take hold of the grips on the two handle bars while you are working out and you will be able to read the value on the display. The value to be displayed will be in BPM (beats per minute). When a heart rate signal is received by the console, the icon will flash.
The contact heart rate (CHR) monitor sensors on the handlebars send the signal to the console and let it show the value. When you use the sensors, put your hands comfortably around the sensors. The location of these sensors make them easy to use during your workout. They also seem to make good contact when in use.
Alternatively, you can use a remote heart rate monitor. This is also called telemetry heart rate monitoring. A heart rate chest strap transmitter that operates in the 4.5 kHz to 5.5 kHz will work with the unit. It sends the heart rate signal to the console and you will be able to read it. It is recommended that you use the heart rate chest strap that is un-coded from Polar Electro or an un-coded Polar compatible model. Please note that the coded ones will not work.
Since the heart rate monitoring mechanism is the one seems to have a few complaints from consumers online, you may want to check it out first when you actually buy the unit. If you have an issue with the console, contact the manufacturer. If you’re considering this bike exclusively because of the heart rate monitor you should be aware that if the part may not be working (which has happened to a few buyers recently) then you run the risk of not being able to use that feature for up to a couple of months. The problems that a few users found were that the heart rate was not shown accurately and the console did not pick up the signal for the separate heart rate monitor or the Polar straps.
The maximum weight limit is 300 pounds. The company, however, said that there is no maximum height for using the machine since the seat can be adjusted for several height ranges. From our online research , we found that people who are as tall as six feet three can use the unit but it all depends on how long your legs are really. The shortest height that can fit appears to be around five feet.
This bike is very stable. It’s sturdy and the floor levelers can be used to make sure you’ve got consistent contact between the base and floor no matter what surface you have under the bike.
The machine runs smoothly and quietly as we have mentioned before. You can exercise and at the same time watching TV or listening to the music with little interference from the noise.
There are a few extra accessories that come with the unit including:
- Media rack that helps hold your iPod or mp3 tablet or a magazine. It doesn’t appear thick enough to hold a book, though.
- Two built-in speakers which will play the audio from the attached device, iPod or mp3 players. In my opinion, the quality of them is OK but not outstanding.
- A fan. Again, don’t expect much because I think it seems a little weak – you should be able to feel the air but it’s not going to be a giant wind fan to keep you from sweating.
- Built-in water bottle holder which is made to hold even oversized bottles.
The Schwinn 270 needs to be plugged into a standard electrical two-prong wall outlet on an 110V-120V circuit. 120V 60Hz AC input; 1.5A output. AC power adapter is included. The power cord length is approximately 72 inches.
The company offers conditional warranty including:
10 years frame, 2 years mechanical, 1 year electrical and 90 days labor.
The unit has to be used in the residence not commercial gym.
Dimensions of the Unit:
Product Assembled Dimensions: 64″ X 27.7″ X 49.9″
The unit comes unassembled. You therefore need to assemble it yourself. The good news is that the assembly is rather easy and can be done within one to two hours. There is a manual which explains clearly what to do. All the components and tools are provided.
When you look for an area to place the unit, please understand that it needs 24 inches clear on each side in order to make sure that it runs smoothly.
The weight of the unit is 100.2 pounds. The padded seat width is approximately 20 inches and the depth is 15 inches.
You can select up to 25 levels of resistance.
It has telemetry heart rate monitor to work with some chest straps.
There are 29 preset programs to play with.
The padded seat bottom with contoured leg area combined with a large vented seat back allows you to workout with comfort.
The seat is easy to adjust. This is great for multi-users since the unit can support up to 4 user profiles. It is also suitable for different body sizes.
The unit calculates calories burned according to the personal setting.
The built-in speakers work fine.
You can charge your phone/tablet/mp3 during your workout.
It has both a USB port located on the top of the console and 1/8 inch stereo jack for your iPod and mp3 player.
You get the congratulations message when you achieve a goal. That is encouraging.
The unit is easy to assemble.
It works quietly and smoothly.
The design is modern and attractive.
You can place an iPad or Kindle on the shelf. You can watch movies while you are exercising.
The unit can be adjusted if you have an uneven floor.
The price is reasonable considering its features.
The workout data can be exported and analyzed in SchwinnConnect, MyFitnessPal and Goal Tracker mobile apps.
It has a convenient handle on the back which allows you to lift the unit and the front two wheels let you roll it around conveniently.
LCD display is a little bright especially in a darker room. It is not adjustable.
Some consumers have reported a malfunctioning heart rate monitor. Schwinn appears to be responsive in getting these fixed.
Fan works but is a little light although it has 3-speeds.
The unit has a price range of about $504-799 depending on where you shop. One of the most reliable price sources is Amazon. You can check the current price here at Amazon.
Reviews and Rating:
From 92 reviews I analyzed, around 70 per cent of them give the unit four to five stars. This means that they are quite happy with how the unit performs. There are, however, some complaints on the delivery, damaged package and defective heart rate monitors as I mentioned earlier. Schwinn seems to respond quickly in Amazon and in some cases they send in the tech person to check the bike. However, some essential parts appear to be on back order – especially the heart rate monitor reading device which some people have been told can take two months to receive. This is quite a long time to wait for a person who just purchased the unit. This doesn’t happen often but, in my opinion, you just need to understand this could happen if you decide to buy. My guess is that since this product is still relatively new, these issues will be ironed out over time and further down the road – based on Schwinn’s reputation for customer service – this will be less of an issue.
While the mixed online reviews of Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike show that most people like the unit, there are some points that you will need to consider before you purchase. This bike is very similar to the Schwinn 230 but can cost at least $100 more. For that additional $100 you’re getting a more padded seat, extra workout programs, and the ability to add 4 users instead of 2.
It’s certainly quiet, sturdy, loaded with features and reasonably priced. However, If you can settle for having only 2 user profiles, slightly fewer workout programs, and a non-padded seat you might be better off with the higher rated Schwinn 230 and save yourself the extra $100.