Recumbent exercise bikes are become increasingly popular due in no small part to their comfort. Schwinn makes various models to try and cater for a broad client base, however if you’re thinking of buying a Schwinn recumbent bike then I’d recommend the 213 model and here’s why.
Schwinn currently make 5 different models of recumbent bikes; the 203, 212, 213, 230 and 231. Each differs in price and features but each falls in to the mid-price category, so they appeal to both entry-level and serious cyclists. But, without doubt, the 213 (at around $450) is the best of what’s on offer. Let’s take a closer look and compare it to the other models.
The 213 has been on the market a while and it shows. The overall look of the machine is a little boxy with hard edges and a chunky frame. But appearances can be deceiving. This bike comes with magnetic resistance of 16 levels that can be easily changed while still cycling by simply pressing a button on the console. The console isn’t at all bad – it comes with a built-in fan – and is easy to read and use. You get lots of feedback such as Time, Interval Time, RPM, Watts, Distance, Pulse, Speed, Calories, Resistance and Alpha-numeric prompts. There’s a Bio-Fit Comfort Wide Seat with dual position lumbar support seat back and side bolsters, which is one of the most comfortable seats I’ve seen on a bike at this price.
However, it’s the workout programs that really impress. There are 23 in all, including 1 Manual, 2 Custom, 3 Heart rate, 10 Profile, Calorie Goal, BMI Measurement, Time trial w/ pacer, Recovery Test, Results Mode, Fitness Test, Quick Start. Unless you’re going and look at very expensive models, you aren’t going to find a machine with such a comprehensive set of workouts.
So, why is the 213 the best of the Schwinn recumbent bikes?
Well, you could go cheaper. The 212 retails for around $50 less but for the minimal drop in price you have to sacrifice on the preset workout programs. The choice on offer is limited when compared to the 213. Personally I’d rather pay the extra $50 and have that rich set of 23 workouts.
The cheapest model is the 203 and retails for around $350. Well, you really do loose everything when compared to the 213. If the 213 looks old fashioned, the 203 looks positively prehistoric. You don’t get the Bio-Fit Comfort Wide Seat, the console is pretty basic – no fan either, and the number of workout programs is 17. If you can’t afford $450 then the 203 is a pretty good compromise, but if you can afford it, then go for the 213.
Schwinn make two models above the 213. These are the 230 and 231 retailing at $450 and $550 resp. These are newer models and look it, with rounded edges, sleek looks and easy step-in design. But don’t be beguiled by exterior charms. The 230 costs the same as the 213 and comes with the Bio-Fit Comfort Wide Seat and nice console with built-in fan. So at first glance, the 230 looks the better bet. However, its workout programs can’t match those of the 213 and that’s the most important feature of any bike, so why compromise on this?
The only real contender to the 213 is the 231 in as much as it also has 23 preset workout programs. But I fail to see why this is a better piece of equipment. It looks prettier but I’d rather save myself $100; looks aren’t important but what is important is what features you get for your money.
The 213 recumbent bike represents the best value out of all of the models on offer by Schwinn.