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Is The Schwinn 411 The Best Elliptical $500 Can Buy? [A Review]

schwinn 411 elliptical review

The 411 is Schwinn’s most affordable elliptical machine to date. That said, it comes with a rather impressive collection of performance specs and features- something I can’t say for most ellipticals in this price range.

Highlights of the 411 include an 18″ stride length, 16 levels of resistance, and 13 built-in workout programs.

The console is also bluetooth friendly and compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors.

Schwinn even takes it one step further and backs the 411 with a very respectable warranty- again, something we don’t see often in this price range.

Long-story-short: if you’re in the market for an affordable elliptical (especially one that won’t take up much space), Schwinn’s 411 is about as good as it gets for $500.

But is it the right elliptical for you?

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

In this review, I’ll go over all the specs and features this elliptical has to offer. After reading, you’ll be well prepared to decide whether or not this is the right model for your home gym.

The Schwinn 411 Elliptical

schwinn 411 elliptical review

Photo courtesy of Schwinn Fitness

Schwinn is so synonymous with bikes that we may forget that they’ve got an entire lineup of other cardio machines to choose from.

And just like their bikes, their treadmills, ellipticals, and rowers are all pretty solid for their respective price ranges.

Like pretty much all of their equipment, all of Schwinn’s ellipticals fall in the budget category.

Their highest-end model, the 470, only comes with a $1000 price tag, which is still quite budget friendly when it comes to home fitness equipment.

Their mid-range model, the 430 costs a little less, coming in with a price tag somewhere around $800.

The elliptical we’re here to talk about today, the 411, is their most affordable option and will cost ya around $500 give or take, depending on where you purchase.

When you look at Schwinn’s different models, the more expensive options come with larger stride lengths, more advanced consoles, and incline functions.

You’ll also see that the upgraded models come with more resistance levels and more workout programs.

Pros

  • 18″ stride length
  • 13 workout programs
  • 16 levels or magnetic resistance
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • Chest strap heart rate monitor compatible
  • Bluetooth compatible with Explore the World app
  • Easy assembly
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • Light flywheel
  • No incline functions
  • Some complaints about resistance being too high on level 1

Stride Length

I always like to start my elliptical reviews off with a discussion on stride length. Personally, I think this is the most important spec to consider when considering any elliptical.

That’s because it tells you right off the bat whether or not the elliptical is going to be comfortable for you to use.

If the stride length is too short, you’re gonna feel like you’re jogging in place; too long, and you’ll feel like you’re stretching out too far with each step.

It’s more often the case that the stride is too short, especially with ellipticals in this price range that are notorious for coming with tiny stride lengths.

Most $500 ellipticals come with stride lengths in the 12 – 15″ range, which is quite small.

I mean I get it- cheaper ellipticals are cheaper for good reason, with the smaller size being a big one. But a 12″ stride? That’s weak.

Anyway, with all of this background info in mind, I want to point out that the Schwinn 411 comes with an 18″ stride.

Not only is this significantly longer than most comps in this price range, but its even getting up there with the more expensive models (most higher-end ellipticals offer a 20″ stride).

The fact that the stride on this model is so much longer than most of its competitors is a huge selling point for this elliptical.

I also want to point out that the 411 comes with a weight capacity of 300 lb, which is very impressive for this price range we’re it’s not uncommon to see weight limits in the 250 – 275 lb range.

Seeing a higher weight capacity is indicative of better overall build quality, not to mention it allows the machine to hold larger folks too.

One last note before we move on to the resistance system- the 411 weighs about 100 lb fully assembled.

This is very light for an elliptical machine, but compared to others in this price range that weight 70 – 80 lb, it’s not bad.

Having a higher assembled weight is a good thing because it makes for a more stable base during your workouts, which means less unwanted wobbling or movement.

Overall, the 411 scores very highly in this department with an 18″ stride and 300 lb weight capacity.

Resistance

Ok, moving on, resistance.

I mentioned above that most really affordable ellipticals come with tiny stride lengths and that this is one of the biggest reasons most of ’em kinda suck.

Well, these same cheap ellipticals tend to come with pretty wimpy resistance systems too.

Most home ellipticals, like exercise bikes, utilize a weighted flywheel system.

In these systems, it’s beneficial to have a heavier flywheel because they create more momentum as they spin, which makes for a smoother workout.

Heavier flywheels tend to provide more overall resistance too.

Higher-end ellipticals will come with flywheels in the 20 – 30 lb range, while cheaper models usually come with flywheels in the 10-13 lb range.

Schwinn doesn’t report their flywheel weights to the public, but I know they use 13 lb flywheels on their exercise bikes, so I would make a gentleman’s guess that this elliptical uses one of similar weight.

That’s probably best case, it’s likely somewhere in the 10-13 lb range.

Anyway, the point is, it’s a light flywheel.

It’s probably not fair to hold this against them, since all ellipticals in this price range use light flywheels, but facts are facts.

Schwinn pairs this light flywheel with a magnetic resistance system that offers 16 levels to choose from.

This is a decent number of resistance levels for an elliptical in this price range. And having more resistance levels is a good thing, because it gives you more control to fine tune the intensity of your workouts.

It’s worth noting though, that several users have complained that the resistance seems high at the lowest setting (like higher than commercial ellipticals high)- this sounds like a malfunction to me, but something to consider.

Something else to consider is that the 411 doesn’t have an adjustable incline function.

This isn’t a feature you should expect from a $500 elliptical, but again, something to keep in mind as you decide whether or not this elliptical is worth investing in.

Features

The Schwinn 411 Elliptical comes with the following features:

5.5″ LCD console- the screen on this console is far from fancy, but it’s of adequate size to see all your workout metrics clearly during use.

13 workout programs- this elliptical comes with a generous selection of workout programs to choose from, including interval profiles, heart rate guided workouts, and a manual mode.

Bluetooth- the 411 can sync with the Explore the World app, which allows you to explore different scenic routes across the planet. Kinda neat I guess, if you’re looking to make your workouts a little more entertaining.

Heart rate monitoring- the stationary handles have built-in grip heart rate monitors and the console is compatible with chest strap monitors as well. One isn’t included though.

Media tray- there’s a small media shelf built into the console, giving you a place to put your tablet or book during workouts. Just know that it will block your view of the console.

Water bottle holder- there’s even a built-in water bottle holder, a classic feature that never goes out of style.

Assembly

I think Schwinn does a great job with their assembly manuals.

I love that they provide large, easy to read images and that they break the process up into several steps so there isn’t too much going on in each one.

It makes it so much easier to follow along and see what’s going on in each step (Spirit should take notes).

The assembly process for the 411 should be very straightforward. If you choose to assemble yourself, you’ll be responsible for attaching various components to the main frame.

These include the legs, the pedals, the handlebars, the console, and a few covers.

All of the necessary hardware and tools are provided and the instructions are really easy to follow.

I think most able-bodied folks should be able to assemble themselves in an hour or so.

Warranty

Schwinn backs their 411 Elliptical with the following warranty:

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

I think this is a really nice warranty for this elliptical- it blows the warranties you’ll find on other machines in this price range right out of the water.

10 years on the frame is 2x as long as XTERRA offers on their similarly price FS3.0 Elliptical and Sunny Health & Fitness (another top budget brand) only offers 3 years on their frames.

2 years on parts is also a lot more generous than the competition, that might offer 6-12 months at most.

The 90 day labor guarantee is short, but it’s still better than the 0 days most brands in this price range are offering.

Overall, it’s the best warranty you’re gonna find at this price point.

Final Thoughts

Ok, that’s about all there is to say about the Schwinn 411.

After going through all the specs and features systematically, I think it’s pretty safe to say the 411 is easily one of the best ellipticals in this price range.

I’d even go as far as saying it’s the best elliptical in this price range.

The 18″ stride length is huge for such an affordable elliptical and this alone sets it apart from most in this category.

The resistance system and console features are all pretty standard, although it’s nice that the console is compatible with chest straps- that’s certainly not a give at this price point.

But it’s the warranty that really sets this model apart from the rest.

Overall, if you’re working with a tight budget, I think the 411 is a very smart buy.

And to answer my original question- yes, the Schwinn 411 is the best elliptical $500 will get ya.

Will

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