You could do a lot worse than choosing a recumbent exercise bike by Schwinn. The company has been making bikes for over a hundred years, and has been one of the industry’s innovators making some of the best exercise bikes in the mid-price range. Here’s a quick review of what’s currently on offer.

Consumers are choosing more and more to ignore the traditional upright in favor of a recumbent model because of the benefits most people get when using one. Cycling in a reclining position and sitting in a chair is more comfortable for those with back problems, are overweight or have some mobility or physical restrictions.

The rise in popularity can also be explained because manufacturers have refocused away from the bike towards the cyclist. As well as being more comfortable, tests have shown that cycling in a reclined position is more ergonomic and results in better cardiovascular workouts for the majority of people. Schwinn is one manufacturer who has been putting more effort in the development of recumbent bikes and it now produces a variety of models to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are the company’s latest models.

The Schwinn 203 recumbent exercise bike is the cheapest and retails for around $350. As you’d expect with a mid-range model it comes with magnetic resistance of 16 levels, heart rate grip sensors and a variety of workout programs. There are 17 programs in all, 12 Preset, 4 Heart Rate, 1 User Defined, which is pretty good for a bike of this price. The bike represents great value for money. If there is one drawback it’s the lack of heart rate workout programs.

The Schwinn 212 exercise bike is the next model up and retails for around $400. It offers pretty much the same as the 203 with the addition of heart rate monitor programs – these programs adjust automatically to increase/decrease the resistance Biofit to keep your heart beat at the optimal rate. The workouts vary slightly as well; you get 1 Manual + 6 Profile Courses with Calorie Goal, BMI Measurement, Recovery Test, Results Mode and Quick Start. However, I wouldn’t recommend this model; for an extra $50 you should get the 213 instead.

The Schwinn 213 recumbent exercise bike costs around $450 and comes with a lot more features than the 212. You get 23 workout programs including; 3 Heart rate, BMI Measurement, Time Trial, Recovery Test and Fitness Test. There’s also an adjustable fan and bottle holders and trays. Unless you’re very serious about exercising and in very good physical condition, this model is all you’d ever need.

The most expensive models are the Schwinn 230 and 231 recumbent bikes. They retail at around $450 and $550 resp. In all honesty I wouldn’t recommend the 230. It offers nothing over the 213. You’re best to ignore it and look at the 231. This bike comes with a BioFit seat with dual-position lumbar support and high inertia from a 22 lb. steel flywheel and computer-controlled drive system.

However, I’m a little disappointed by this bike. It doesn’t offer any more programs than does the 213 and apart from the fancy seat and easy Step-In design I can’t figure out why you’d want to spend the extra hundred dollars to upgrade to the 231 from the 213.

Also, this is Schwinn’s most expensive bike. I feel it’s a shame Schwinn doesn’t make a higher spec model that came with features such as a wireless heart rate monitor and optional console configurations etc.

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