Customer Reviews: Schwinn 203 Recumbent Exercise Bike
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on September 22, 2006
My Schwinn 203 exercycle (same as 201 but with larger display, more resistance levels, and more pre-programmed workouts)was purchased in Jan. 2005 to supplement my road and mtn. bike rides whenever there were time limitations or inclement weather. It has worked well in maintaining my cardio, leg strength, and overall fitness levels.

This exercycle is HEAVY so I'm glad UPS didn't cause any damage. It was relatively simple to assemble by carefully following the instructions. The base is stable and has small wheels in the back cross bars to provide some mobility for storage. Quality is average but that's expected at this price.

Likes: Comfortable reclined sitting position easy on the lower back and perineal regions. Great for maintaining cardio and leg strength. Watch TV, read a book, chat, etc....during workouts. Exercise anytime at home without the chance of cross contaminations from public/health club equipment.

Dislikes: Heart rate monitor gives erroneous readings occasionally and only works with both hands on the sensors. Flimsy wiring. The magnetic resistance unit developed some thumping noises after repeated uses at high cadences. Speed doesn't correspond with power output, e.g., level one (90watts) at 100rpm ~23mph; level six (260watts) at 100rpm ~23mph. Lower power output (watts) should equal slower speeds. Stock platform pedals not smooth and required bearing adjustments.

Overall: Very useful adjunct to regular outdoors training. I find myself using mostly the manual modes because some of the pre-programmed workouts (intervals of level 10+) can be very tough at ~100rpm (450+ watts). NOT a true ergometer but good for simple evaluations of one's cardio and strength fitness levels. Affordable price but questionable long term durability.

Update: Oct. 2006. My Schwinn 203 still going on strong although the slight clunking sound from the resistance unit (at higher rpms) remains. I found that periodic cleaning of pulse sensors with rubbing alcohol restores more accurate readings.
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on September 13, 2004
This bike is incredible. It is extremely quiet, has many different programs, and the electronics are easy to use. There is a place to prop up a book if you want and the lack of noise makes it easy to watch TV. My legs went back to pre-grad school buffness within a few weeks of use. I really love this bike! My mom has back problems and she says it provides her with a great workout while still supporting her back. Even my husband, who is in great shape, gets a good workout from it.

My only warning is that the bike is not designed for short legs. I am 5'4" and can reach the pedals only if the seat is pushed all the way up. If you are two inches or more shorter than I am, find a bike to test ride first to see if you can reach the pedals. Other than that... awesome bike!
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on October 28, 2004
I've been recovering from a broken foot the last few months. My physical therapist had me working on a recumbent bike at the rehab center. I thought it would be good to get one for home. You can just ride and ride while reading or watching TV and it's very low impact. I looked around the internet for a reasonably priced unit that had all the features the big unit at the center had including heart rate monitor, multiple resistance settings,full adjustability, and full back support. This one seemed to fit the bill. I bought it sight unseen based on information available on Amazon and other places on the web.

Be prepared for more assembly/setup time than you might like, but once put together, you've got a great unit. (I had to open the box in the driveway and bring the unit in piece by piece since the box weighed about 90 lbs.) It's totally quiet, can be used at the lowest level without being plugged in. The resistance setting is completely adjustable from the handlebar control panel, should give any fitness level a good workout, and the unit is sturdy as a rock. It is pretty compact but it is quite heavy. It moves fairly easily by tipping up the rear and taking advantage of the wheels on the front base support. Moving the unit for some might require an additional person to help. The floor levelers in the rear support make it very stable on any surface.

This is a great unit. I really don't know how it could be better.

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on January 31, 2006
The differences between this and the 213 model are minimal, but worth considering. The water bottle holder here is right in front of you, less sightly and unnecessarily, whereas the 213 has two of them, both within easy reach right under the seat. Also, the magazine/book holder is more substantial on the 213. The seat and programming are comparable. But the 213 has also been less expensive when on sale, so is on balance a better option.
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on May 11, 2007
I received my 203 via UPS 2 day air, thanks to Amazon prime. Yes, the box was rather beaten up. Only one strap and lots of clear packing tape barely holding it together. I opened it up with trepidation, expecting broken parts. Fortunately, other than some scratches on the main unit body, everything was intact. I heard something rattling in the computer unit, but after assembly, it works fine.
Assembly was quite simple. The parts boards are for both the 103 and 203 models, so you will have a few parts left over. Nothing to worry about. It took me about one hour to assemble (57 year old woman with some mechanical ability). I taped the computer connectors together at each end to prevent disconnection on assembly. I used a flashlight to make sure I didn't pinch the cords when I installed the main support bar. The only "issue" was the soft black hex key, which rounded off rather easily. However, I had a set of my own, and I used those instead. The hardest part was installing the foot pedal straps; I don't have a lot of finger strength and it's very stiff plastic. After I ran really hot water on the ends for a few minutes,they softened up and I was able to easily slip them over the pegs.
The instruction manual gives bare-bones directions for using the computer programs so you may have to play around a little to see all the features, but heck, that's half the fun! The unit is absolutely quiet; not a sound other than my heavy breathing ;-) and I was able to watch streaming tv without increasing the sound on the laptop.
I bought this to help with a bad knee, and I will post back after I have used it for a few months, but I expect no issues with the unit. It seems solid and well-designed.

11/20/10: just thought I would mention this machine is working perfectly still. no noise, no problems.
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on February 26, 2007
I ordered the Schwinn 203 just a week ago. It was eligible for free delivery and I took advantage of that offer. It stated that it would take extra time for delivery, however it arrived within a week. Though several have stated it was difficult to put together and took several hours my highly non-mechanical wife and I had it together in about an hour and fifteen minutes. The directions are a bit tricky but knowing that in advance from the other reviews helped. Once we were finished assembling it I got on it and started it up and began peddling. I was sure it was not working correctly becuase there was absolutely no sound at all--mechanical or otherwise. I then reached over and increased the resistance and found out it was working correctly. My wife and I both use it and love it. I am 325 pounds and it works great for me and based on several nights of extreme sweating during my workouts I don't expect to be 325 for long. Super bike!! Very pleased...besides this is what my knee surgeon suggested for rehabilitating a knee I torn up last year and it's doing fine.
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on January 9, 2007
I love this bike. The price was reasonable, the operation smooth and remarkably quiet. My only complaint is that the assembly instructions were wrong. I managed to assemble it myself (I'm a mechanically challenged 55 yr old woman with bad knees!) but when I was all done I had parts left over. Not a good thing! I went back over the instructions and one step was completely left out. I would recommend going by the diagram, not so much by the written instructions.

I use this bike every day, I would recommend it.
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on September 11, 2007
This bike is very sturdy and compact. As I am just under 5 ft, I needed to be sure that I could get the seat closeup enough so my feet would comfortably reach the pedals. It's a great fit for me but also for my nephew who is 6'4". Computerized readout panel is easy to read. This is an excellent product for a most reasonable price.
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on July 15, 2006
REceived the bike with no problem!! Perfectly packaged, and delivered by a freight company rather than UPS, so it was a pleasant suprise!! Nice bike, and Amazon was great in its timely delivery and excellent product!! Also, the shipping cost was awesome considering the price of gasoline!!! Thanks Amazon!!!
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on February 17, 2007
I was hesitant about assembling the bike myself (I'm a proverbial ten-thumber), but it was surprisingly easy to put together without any help, and all the necessary tools and parts are included. I only have a few parts left over that don't in any way seem to affect use or safety. Some of the leftover parts are because I made a little goof, but there's also one that I'm certain doesn't go anywhere on the bike (maybe it's from an earlier model?).

The "ride" is comfortable and quiet. It makes it easy for me to exercise and be a couch potato at the same time.

Important advice: after it arrives at your doorstep, make sure you have someone big and strong to help you bring the boxed unit inside to where you want it. I'm assuming FedEx will treat you like they did me and leave it at your door and disappear without ringing your doorbell because they don't want to move it inside for you (in defense of FedEx, they may not be allowed to bring it inside, but either way, I never got a chance to ask). Just remember, this puppy is heavy!

Overall, I'd say I'm quite pleased with the product, the price and the efficiency of delivery (it arrived in only a few days).
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