A Low-Stress Fitness Machine for Rehab & Cardio

Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical Review

7.5Total Score
Schwinn 520 Reclined Recumbent Elliptical Review

A Low-Stress Fitness Machine for Rehab & Cardio

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Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical Review
Schwinn 520 Reclined Recumbent Elliptical Review

The Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical is favored by people seeking low-impact workouts. It uses a fan rather than a flywheel for gentle resistance. It has three built-in programs and a high weight capacity.

The Schwinn 520 Reclined Recumbent Elliptical isn’t a recumbent bike, but it’s similar enough to get our review. Like a recumbent bike, Schwinn’s 520 lets the trainee recline during workouts. It supports exercise similar to walking or cycling, and it’s gentle on the knees, back and whole body. This machine is meant for low-impact workouts and does not offer a great deal of resistance.

The Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical is suitable for rehab, weight loss, cardiovascular exercise and toning the leg muscles. It has three preset workout programs and provides feedback about performance and heart rate.

This recumbent trainer originally sold for $999. Schwinn now sells the 520 online for $699.

Many owners of the Schwinn 520 would rate it a “10.” Others are dissatisfied because of factors such as light resistance or because, as petite people, they cannot reach the pedals. Feature by feature, here we look at some pros and cons of choosing this elliptical.

The Great:
Here are some reasons shoppers choose the Schwinn 520 and give it positive reviews.

  • Stable Frame: This bike’s frame isn’t very heavy; altogether the Schwinn 520 weighs just 88 pounds. Even so, it officially has a 300-pound capacity and has been used without incident by heavier people too.
  • Built-In Fitness Programs: Three programs aren’t a lot, but here you get three essentials: Set goals for Time, Distance and Speed.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: The Schwinn 520 has a grip heart rate monitor. We haven’t seen any complaints about these being inaccurate, which is often a problem with grip sensors.
  • Quiet Operation: These units operate pretty quietly with a smooth-running fan drive.
  • Extras: The 520 has an integrated water bottle holder and an accessory tray.

The Not-So-Great:

The Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical is rather basic in terms of programming and mechanics. It is made in China and shouldn’t be confused with the durable Schwinn outdoor bikes of yesteryear. We can easily find lots of not-so-great things to say. To be fair though, most people who own this product are pleased.

  • Plastic Seat: The recumbent seat is sort of a selling point. It is meant to provide lumbar support and a sense of safety. However, some customers describe the seat as cheap. Riders have commented that they don’t feel as secure as they would on a regular Schwinn bike.
  • Resistance: The Schwinn 520 uses “AirDyne” resistance. AirDyne is more like a fan than a flywheel. Trainees cannot adjust the resistance.
  • Console: The console’s LCD is powered by batteries that could require frequent changing. It displays time, speed, distance, RPMs, heart rate and calories burned. Some people have complained that the readout is dim. The machine does not save workout data, so you’re on your own in terms of charting of charting your fitness progress.
  • Warranty: The Schwinn 520 arrives with a residential warranty. This warranty is among the worst we’ve seen. It provides five years of coverage for the frame, one year for parts and electronics, and free repairs during the first 90 days only. For comparison: An average warranty at this price would give lifetime protection on the frame, one or two years on everything else, and a year of labor.
  • Price: Even at its sale price, this fitness machine seems overpriced. A longer warranty would help justify the price. So would some additional programming, a higher quality seat and a more advanced console.

Who Should Ride the Schwinn 520 Recumbent Elliptical?

The recumbent Schwinn 520 is favored by people seeking low-stress workouts. It’s recommended primarily to people with knee trouble or other joint pain, and not to those looking for powerful resistance. This recumbent elliptical has a high weight capacity and is sized for adults of average and taller heights.

The Bottom Line

The Schwinn 520 Recumbent Bike has made plenty of customers happy. As advertised, it supports low-impact cardiovascular exercise. However, it doesn’t stack up well against the competition. It has very few programs, doesn’t save people’s fitness progress, and doesn’t offer adjustable resistance. We recommend checking out the competition before making a commitment.

A reclined elliptical bike that we recommend with more enthusiasm is the Yowza Naples. It costs more up-front, but it has a best-in-class warranty. Plus, the Yowza Naples supports low-impact exercise for the whole body — arms, legs and core.

Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical Specs:

Overall Score:7.5
Resistance:Infinite Airdyne
Weight Capacity:300 LBS
Dimensions:61.7" L x 28.3" W x 40.2" H