Schwinn’s 230 is an affordable recumbent bike that comes loaded with a lot more features than you’d expect from a bike in this price range.
To be more specific, we’re talking 16 magnetic resistance levels, a 13 lb flywheel, 13 workout programs, and bluetooth capabilities.
It’s also backed by a surprisingly awesome warranty.
Not bad for a bike that costs around $500.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly recumbent, the 230 is a pretty safe bet, but with so many options to choose from these days, you have to really do your homework before deciding.
And that’s what I’m here to help with.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this affordable recumbent bike has to offer, including where it falls a little short.
I’ll also offer a quick comparison to some of the other most popular recumbents in this price range so you can see how it stacks up against the competition.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not Schwinn’s 230 is a smart investment.
Schwinn’s 230 comes with a simple console, but it’s surprisingly heavy-duty and backed by a better warranty than any other recumbent bike in its price range.
Schwinn’s 230 Recumbent Bike
Schwinn is easily one of the most recognized brands on the planet.
They specialize in road and exercise bikes of course, but they do also offer a few ellipticals, treadmills, and rowers.
When it comes to their exercise equipment, they’re more of a budget brand these days and I’d go as far as saying they offer some of the best products in their price range.
As I’m writing this, Schwinn offers 2 recumbents, the newer 290 and the 230 we’re here to discuss now (you may still be able to find the 270 through other retailers, but Schwinn doesn’t offer it directly anymore).
Anyway, the 230 is their most affordable recumbent bike to date and it usually goes for around $500, give or take.
Let’s start things off with a rundown on the 230’s performance specs.
- Solid, step-thru frame
- 300 lb weight capacity
- 13 exercise programs
- 13 lb flywheel
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- 1 user profile
- USB charging port
- Bluetooth connection with apps
- Bluetooth heart rate monitor compatible
- Easy assembly
- Good warranty
- Great price
- Plastic seat
- Simple console
Starting from the beginning, Schwinn’s 230 comes with a solid frame with a convenient step-thru design (this just means you don’t have to step over the body of the bike to sit on the seat).
It also provides easy seat access from either side.
At first glance, the frame of this recumbent looks fairly robust and with a 300 lb user weight capacity, this bike is sturdy enough to hold most users comfortably.
If you’re looking for a more objective measure of robustness (and you should be), you can look at the assembled weight, which tells you exactly how much the bike weighs.
This is a good spec to look for and seeing higher weights is always a good thing in my book – heavier bikes will feel more secure during use.
The 230 comes with an assembled weight of 80 lb, which is pretty good for a recumbent in this price range.
For the sake of comparison, XTERRA’s similarly-priced SB240 weighs around 74 lb, Harrison’s Recumbent Bike weighs about 65 lb, and Niceday’s weighs about 99 lb.
Horizon’s 5.0R is quite a bit heavier-duty, weighing 123 lb, but otherwise, the 230 ranks pretty highly in terms of weight.
When it comes to the resistance system, recumbent bike aren’t really known for packing a lot of weight (especially affordable bikes), but it’s still a good idea to consider flywheel weight.
Basically, having a heavier flywheel tends to give you a smoother feel, while giving you access to a little more overall resistance.
Schwinn’s 230 comes with a 13 lb flywheel.
This is light compared to the 20 – 30 lb flywheels on more expensive models, but it’s actually pretty good compared to other bikes in its price range.
For the sake of comparison, the SB240 mentioned above comes with an 11 lb flywheel and Niceday’s comes with a 15 lb flywheel, while plenty of others come with ~10 lb flywheels.
Schwinn pairs that 13 lb flywheel with 16 levels of resistance, giving you a fair amount of control over the intensity of your workouts.
That said, the 230 is not well-suited for high-intensity workouts – it’s better suited for low to moderate intensity use.
But this is the case for all recumbents in this price range.
Overall, the 230 comes with a pretty heavy-duty frame and one of the heavier flywheels you’ll see for a recumbent in the $500 price range.
The first thing I noticed when I checked this bike out was the seat.
It’s vented and contoured, but you’ll notice there isn’t any padding- just plastic.
Some users complain about this, others don’t mind. Personally, I prefer some cushioning on my seats.
The backrest isn’t adjustable, but in this price range I wouldn’t expect that. At least the backrest is sturdy and has some lumbar support built-in.
The seat slides easily along the horizontal frame, making it easy to set your seat distance from the pedals.
Overall, the seat could benefit from a little padding for added comfort, but I don’t consider this a dealbreaker by any means.
The Schwinn 230 comes with the following features:
5.5″ LCD console- the display is very simple here, it isn’t backlit and it doesn’t come with many advanced features, but it’s easy to use and large enough to see clearly during workouts.
13 exercise programs- for a budget recumbent bike, the 230 comes loaded with a ton of workout programs to choose from. This is helpful for the people out there that get bored easily.
Bluetooth- the 230 is bluetooth compatible with fitness apps like Zwift and Explore the World, as well as bluetooth heart rate straps.
1 user profile- you can save the settings for 1 person, making it faster and easier to get your workouts started.
Media shelf- the media shelf makes it convenient to read a book, watch your tablet, or place your phone for easy viewing during your workouts.
Water bottle holder- don’t worry, there’s a place to keep your beverage of choice within easy grabbing distance during workouts.
Putting the 230 together is pretty easy.
Schwinn did a nice job on the assembly instructions, making them straightforward and easy to read.
And the procedure itself is pretty simple to begin with.
All of the images are oversized, making it easy to tell which hardware is to be used for each step.
They also break the instructions down so that there isn’t too much going on in each step.
The necessary Allen wrenches and screwdrivers are included, so if your toolbox is scarce you’ll still be able to get the job done.
Most able bodied folks should be able to assemble this bike themselves.
I’d plan on spending 30-60 min to get the job done.
Schwinn backs the 230 up with the following guarantee:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
For a budget recumbent bike, the 230 comes with a pretty generous warranty.
10 years on the frame is much better than the 1-3 years most budget brands offer, although I will say Horizon offers a lifetime frame warranty on their 5.0R.
And 2 years on parts is better than the 1 year offered on most similarly-priced comps.
90 days on labor is a little shorter than the 1 year industry standard, but in this price range you can’t expect to get any labor warranty.
Overall, I think this is a great warranty for this bike.
Ok, that about does it for what the 230 has to offer, but before I wrap things up here I want to go over some of the other top bikes in this price range.
The first one I want to mention is Niceday’s Recumbent Bike, which sells for around $500 and is currently one of the more popular options on Amazon.
This recumbent comes with a 15 lb flywheel, 16 resistance levels, and is a bit heavier at around 99 lb.
It also comes with a higher, 400 lb weight capacity, but its console is even more basic than the 230’s – and its warranty is pretty non-existent.
There’s also XTERRA’s SB240, which sells for ~$430.
The SB240 comes with a lighter-duty frame, an 11 lb flywheel, and 24 levels of resistance.
Its console is also pretty basic, but it does come with 24 built-in workout programs, so it does give you a lot more workout options.
But it only comes with a 265 lb weight limit and XTERRA only backs it with a 1 year parts warranty.
The last recumbent I want to mention is Horizon’s 5.0R, which is a little more expensive, costing around $650.
The 5.0R comes with a much heavier-duty frame, a 15 lb flywheel, 100 levels of resistance, USB charging, a cooling fan, bluetooth, and a handful of workout programs.
It also comes with a lifetime frame, 1 year parts/labor warranty.
Alright, that’ll about do it.
Based on the comps I mentioned above, I’d say the 230 holds its own pretty well against any recumbent in this price range.
I think Horizon’s 5.0R is a nicer bike, but to be fair, it costs $100 more… either way, something to consider.
Regardless, I think the 230 has a lot to offer for such an affordable option.
I like that it comes with a pretty heavy flywheel and a stable base that won’t feel shaky or wobbly during workouts.
And I love Schwinn’s warranty, which embarrasses all the cheaper recumbents you’ll find on Amazon.
The console is quite simple, but this is to be expected for any bike in this price range.
The biggest downside I see, other than the simple console, would be the plastic seat that doesn’t come with any real padding.
If you’re worried about being uncomfortable, this could be an issue.
But if you’re able to sit comfortably on any standard, un-cushioned seat, this shouldn’t be a huge deal.
Overall, I think Schwinn’s 230 is easily one of the best recumbents in its price range.
And to answer my original question – yes, I still think it makes a lot of sense to invest in this bike.