The Schwinn name has been linked to bikes since 1895. That’s when Ignaz Schwinn, an engineer, founded Schwinn Bicycle Company in the USA. The company gained a strong reputation and its Chicago manufacturing plant dominated American bike manufacturing for much of the 20th century. But today Schwinn is a different brand because of financial pressures. Schwinn exercise bikes are own by Nautilus, Inc. and produced in China. Schwinn road bicycles are also owned by a multinational company and produced in Taiwan.
Schwinn’s exercise bikes especially stand out to people looking for low price tags. Many of these bikes sell for less than $500. Some of their best features are preset workouts, wireless heart rate monitoring, and USB ports for advanced data management.
Our review of Schwinn exercise bikes considers more than a dozen models sold in 2015: five Schwinn upright stationary bikes, seven recumbent bikes, and their lone indoor cycle trainer.
Here are some pros and cons about choosing a Schwinn brand bike.
- Sturdy Bike Frames: Schwinn bike frames are good quality for the price. Their maximum weight capacities are 275 and 300 pounds. Some have center supports to provide greater stability. The best Schwinn exercise bikes have 10-year warranties on their frames.
- Built-In Programs: All Schwinn exercise bikes have preset workout programs. One of their cheapest upright bikes, the A10, has six program modes. Their top bikes, the Schwinn 170 and 270, have 29 preset workouts each, including nine for heart rate control. Even the Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycle Trainer provides exercise guidance, which is rare for a spin bike.
- USB Data Transfer: This best exercise bikes by Schwinn support advanced fitness tracking. Each has USB drive for transferring data to the Schwinn Connect website. The interface is also compatible with MyFitnessPal, which can create a profile of your fitness activities both on and off your bike.
- Heart Rate: All Schwinn exercise bikes help trainees track heart rate. Each has contact grips. Wireless monitors are included on the 270 recumbent, 170 upright and other top Schwinn bikes. On the top Schwinn bikes, this info can be used to control the machine’s resistance level in preset heart rate programs.
- Adjustable Saddles: Many Schwinn exercise bikes have good adjustability in seat height. For example, riders who are 4'10” and 6'2” have written that the very low-priced A10 fits them well. Its seat can also be exchanged for one from a standard bicycle.
- Adjustable Handlebars: Handlebars on Schwinn exercise bikes can be moved vertically or turned forward and backward to fit different riders.
- Audio: The Schwinn 270 and other top Schwinn bikes have sound systems for MP3 players.
- Water Bottle Holder: All Schwinn bikes have integrated water bottle holders.
- Cooling Fans: Workout fans with up to three speeds are built into Schwinn consoles.
- Quiet Operation: Most Schwinn bikes use magnetic resistance systems for quiet operation. An exception is the IC2 Indoor Cycle Trainer, which uses a more audible mechanical system.
- Small Footprints: Made for home use (not for commercial gyms), Schwinn exercise bikes are conveniently sized for condos and other small homes.
- Transport Wheels: Wheels are attached to the exercise bike frames to make transport easy.
- Warranty: Schwinn bike warranties vary from below average to slightly above average. The parts warranties can be pretty good deals, especially if you get the bike on sale. However, the labor warranties are sometimes as short as 60 days.
Since these bikes cost so little, customers generally go easy in the reviews. Here are some common themes. More specific criticisms for each bike model are in our product reviews.
- Lighter Resistance: This brand wouldn’t appeal to someone seeking powerful resistance. Flywheels on Schwinn exercise bikes are mostly 13 or 17 pounds, which is light for the industry. Even their spin bike wheel tops out at 31 pounds, whereas 40 pounds is the norm.
- Packaging: Sometimes the packaging for Schwinn exercise bikes is substandard and the products arrive damaged.
- Console Lighting: The cheaper Schwinn consoles aren’t backlit. People tend to set up lamps near their bikes.
- Lower Quality: Schwinn exercise bikes fit their low prices. You might have some trouble with the mechanics or electrical parts. Schwinn expects owners to attempt certain repairs on their own and provides instructions in the manuals.
Who Should Choose the Schwinn Bike Brand?
The Bottom Line
Schwinn serves the lower budget market. Customers report that Schwinn exercise bikes generally last a few years and require some maintenance by the owner, which is fair for the money.
Because the parts and labor warranties may be very short, it’s a good idea to unpack and attempt to assemble your bike as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate or save the unopened box for gift-giving later on.