Which Is the Better Exercise Bike
Schwinn have established a reputation as a premium player in the exercycle market over the last decade. They became a household name in the outdoor bike market before launching into the fitness space several years ago. Today, when people want the best they ask for a Schwinn.
But which Schwinn is the best?
When it comes to upright bikes it’s a battle between the Schwinn 130 and the Schwinn 170. Both of these bikes represent good value for money. They also both offer a lot of features and benefits, with a console and construction that are similar.
However, the Schwinn 170 is a beefier version, with more programs, a more advanced crank system, and twice as many user profiles. All of this extra functionality obviously comes with a price tag, but it’s not that much more than the 130. For our money, the Schwinn 170 is the better option.
The Schwinn 130 In Depth
The Schwinn 130 reflects Schwinn’s responsiveness to customer feedback, based on their previous model, which was released in 2013. A big upgrade is the dual track monitoring system. Let’s step through the benefits of this impressive exercise bike.
Dual Tracking Ability– thanks to the innovative dual track monitoring system, the 130 allows you to watch movies on your iPad or read from your Kindle, while also monitoring your training diagnostics.
Constant Performance Monitoring – The display monitor of the 130 allows you to view the results of 13 key workout parameters, including heart rate, calories burned, speed, distance, RPM and time.
Comfort – The padded contoured seat of the 130 gives you a comfortable ride, even when you’ve been on it for a long time. The seat post allows for an easy seat exchange if you want to custom fit your own seat. The seat can also be adjusted up and down.
The angled handle bars of the 130 adjust easily for any user. A three-speed fan keeps you warm during intense workouts. There’s also an oversized water bottle holder that fits virtually any water bottle. Sealed acoustic chamber speakers allow you to enjoy your favorite motivational music without the hassle of having to wear headphones.
Keep a Constant Check on Your Pulse – Integrated heart rate monitors on the handles allow you to keep an eye of your training heart rate as you exercise. This allows you to stay within the optimal fat burning zone throughout your workout.
Ability to Increase the Intensity – The 130 provides you with 20 levels of Eddy Current magnetic resistance. This provides you with a smooth, jerk free riding experience, especially as you adjust between resistance levels. Many competitor bikes tend to stutter as you change between levels, but there’s none of that with this bike.
With 20 resistance levels there is enough variety here to suit every member of the family. It also allows for increased intensity to give you a progressive workload over time. As you get fitter and stronger, you simply go up to the next level.
Analyze your Workout – Schwinn Connect technology allows you to effortlessly synch your training diagnostics to the Schwinn Connect website. Schwinn has partnered with top rate app myfitnesspal to allow you even more functionality. Now you can sync you training and nutritional data to your myfitnesspal account, where you can track them in detail. You can even share your goals with friends and family.
Able to Save Multiple Profiles – the Schwinn 130 is designed to store workout data for 2 people. This allows you to keep your training statistics for later analysis. Simply download the data to the Schwinn Connect fitness app and you’re good to go.
A Variety of Training Programs – The Schwinn 130 provides you with 22 exercise programs. This gives you a whole lot of variety in your training options. You get 9 profile and 8 heart rate programs, along with a Quick-start option and two customized workouts. These programs provide an in-built source of motivation.
Strong and Sturdy – this upright bike looks and feels solid. It provides you with a heavy duty steel frame which is capable of handling a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.
Guarantee – Your peace of mind is assured with an impressive 10-year frame warranty. The guarantee on the mechanics is for two years, with a one-year electrical and 90-day labor warranty.
Limited Customization – The Schwinn 130 upright exercise bike only provides you with the ability to adjust the seat up and down. However, you cannot adjust it fore and aft. This provides a limiting factor, especially with people who are taller or shorter than the norm. The flow on effect is that it can put you in a compromising upper body position.
Limited Crank Power – The 130 has a one-piece crank system, which delivers limited pedaling power. Another problem with the crank system is that it doesn’t provide much freedom of movement. In fact, people who have large feet will have difficulty pedaling without knocking their feet on to the crank arm.
Limited Pedal Size – The pedals on the 130 are slightly small. They, therefore, make it difficult for those with larger feet to maintain a firm grip. The last thing you want is for your feet to slip when you’re pedaling at full speed!
The Schwinn 170 Up Close
The Schwinn 170 is the all-new updated upright exercise cycle out of the Schwinn stable. The 170 introduces a whole host of innovative features that make exercising on this bike an experience unlike anything you’ve had before.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of the Schwinn 170 to allow you to assess whether it’s an investment worth making . . .
More Resistance Options – the 170 provides an impressive 25 levels of resistance. The change between levels is incredibly smooth, working of an eddy current resistance. They high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel provides the ultimate smooth workout that perfectly replicates what you would experience when riding on the road.
More Programs – this Schwinn bike provides a huge selection of workout programs. You get a total of 29 varieties, including two fitness tests, nine heart rate control workouts, a recovery test and four customer user defined programs. Within those options, individual workouts are provided for beginner, intermediate and advanced trainers.
Multitask Display – the Schwinn 170 actually comes with two displays; one of them provides statistics about your workout including calories burned, speed of movement, time travelled and distance covered. The other read-out provides details of how far along the program you are progressing. Both displays are easily visible.
You are also able to set up your own user profile on the display. This will track your progress from workout to workout, creating a profile of your personal progress as you get fitter from week to week. You are also able to upload extra workouts using a USB.
Enhanced Comfort – this exercise bike has extra large pedals and a large, contoured, thick padded ultra-comfortable seat. Problems that were noted by customers in previous Schwinn models have been addressed, including not enough foot width and pedals that were set too far back. With these changes, you can be assured of an ergonomically sound, comfortable ride.
A 3-speed fan keeps you cool during intense workouts. The bike also features an over-sized water bottle holder which will fit virtually any sized water bottle.
Integrated heart rate sensors – these handle sensors allow you to get a quick check on whether you are in the optimal fat burning zone.
Quality Speakers – The Schwinn 170 bike speakers are a very popular innovation which allows you to train to your favorite sounds. These can be connected to your iPod or tablet. They are fitted with sealed acoustic chambers, meaning that you can get the perfect sound and pitch without having to wear headphones.
Technology Integration – the Schwinn integrated technology allows you to synch your workout result to the Schwinn website. In addition, Schwinn is partnered and synched with the top rated app ‘myfitnesspal.’
Stylish – the Schwinn fitness bike comes in a very sleek, stylish look. It is finished in black matte with red accents. It would make a smart addition to any room and its quiet operation means that it will not cause a distraction in the presence of others.
Adjustability – this bike is completely adjustable to suit all heights. The weight capacity is 300 pounds.
Sturdy construction – the materials are all high quality. The flywheel is robust, allowing for a free and smooth revolution.
Poor Manual -The user manual only has pictures. This absence of text means that you will have to interpret the manual visually. This is not as clear as it could be.
Difficult to Assemble -It will take two people between 30-40 minutes to put the machine together.
Comparing the 130 and the 170
Now that we’ve put the microscope to both of these bikes, let’s get down to the fundamental differences.
The Crank System – The Schwinn 130 provides you with a one-piece crank system, compared to a three-piece for the 170. While a one-piece will provide you with a decent riding experience, stepping it up to a three-piece will transform your pedaling experience. It will be freer and more natural. The 3-piece crank is also a lot stronger and more durable.
The three-piece crank also avoids the problem of banging against the crank arm that taller people may experience with the 130.
Programs – Both bikes provide you with a good number of training programs (22 for the 130 and 29 for the 170). However, the 170 gives you 25% more pre-set profile type programs. It also gives you 9 heart rate control programs, including a customized program. Both bikes give you two fitness tests, but only the 170 adds a recovery test.
Comfort – Both bikes do a good job of handle angle adjustment for comfort. When it comes to the seat, however, the 130 only allows for vertical adjustment. Both bikes provide forearm padding, but only the 170 gives you an extra layer of padding for the elbows.
The extra horizontal adjustment that the 170 provides allows you to get a more complete customization of your body positioning. This is important. When the seat is too far away from the handles, you are at risk of improper spinal alignment.
The pedals on the 170 are much larger than those on the 130. That mean that you get a more reliable foot hold on this bike.
Weight – Both bikes are relatively light compared to other models out there (70 pounds for the 130 and 74 pounds for the 170). The difference is accounted for by the extra weight of the three-piece crank system and the extra adjustability of the seat. Both of the bikes give you roller wheels, so the extra weight is not really an issue.
Pulse Monitoring – Both the 130 and the 170 give you the basic hand pulse heart rate monitoring that is common with many exercise bikes. The accuracy of this system is questionable and often it doesn’t work at all.
The 170 also allows you to use a non-coded heart rate strap which provides you with a much more accurate level of monitoring. The strap is manufactured by Polar, who are a high quality supplier, so this extra pulse monitoring is a big plus for the 170.
Levels of Resistance – Both the 130 and the 170 give you plenty of levels of magnetic eddy current resistance. With the 130 you get 20 levels, compared to 25 levels for the 170. That doesn’t mean that the 170 gives you a higher level of top resistance. The difference is that the increments between resistance levels are more minute.
Both the Schwinn 130 and the 170 are excellent home gym exercise options. However, for an extra few dollars, the 170 provides you with enhanced functionality, better levels of comfort and more power.
The Schwinn 170 gives you more options in terms of heart rate monitoring. In addition, the 170 doubles the number of people who can store profiles on the bike.
For these reasons, we believe that the extra cost of the Schwinn 170 is fully warranted. It is the better buy.