Customer Reviews: Schwinn 220 Recumbent Exercise Bike (2009 Model)
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on December 1, 2009
UPDATE 2/22/2013 Three years, 5,000 miles, no malfunctions. Still quiet as can be. Excellent machine. Highly recommended.

UPDATE ON 01/17/2012. A little over 2 years now, and no problems. I keep a daily log of my exercises, and now have well over 3,000 miles (according to the machine's odometer). I understand that this particular model (220) has been discontinued, but the replacement unit appears to be quite similar.

UPDATE ON 12/27/2010. After one year of steady use, I am very pleased with the machine. In my original review (below) I reported a clicking noise, but I finally figured out that it was because the locking knob on the seat adjuster was not tightened down; once corrected the bike has been silent. It has been ridden an average of 2 1/2 hours per week. There have been absolutely no problems with the bike. My only complaints (and they're not show-stoppers) are 1) the useless book ledge, 2) the handlebars aren't usable unless you lean forward, and 3) the need for plugging the unit into an electrical outlet (rather than having a battery). Please note that I unplug my bike when it's not in use, as I expect the transformer unit would burn out much sooner if left plugged in all the time. SUMMARY: A great machine, and I highly recommend it.

The remainder of this review was written in December, 2009:

Please note that this review is written based on only ONE WEEK (Comments added 1/7/10) of use, so it can't possibly address performance over the long term. If I remember to, I'll come back in a few months and give a more complete review.

First, the machine was shipped promptly and arrived on time. The package was somewhat damaged, but all the bike parts arrived in good condition. It appears to me that the Chinese manufacturer packaged the bike for containerized shipment, and not for individual transport. Nevertheless, all was okay.

Assembly is straight-forward. I was interrupted (neighbor's horses got out), but total assembly time was probably about one hour, working alone. Note that I'm an experienced assembler, having put together many wagons, carts, bikes, trikes, etc. in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Also note that Step 5 (page 11) calls for REMOVING the seat rail bracket; the bracket on my bike WAS NOT already installed, and, not reading the instruction, I installed the bracket, as that's what the diagram suggested. No big deal, but you'll have to remove it later. Other than that glitch, all went smoothly. By the way, all the tools that you will need are included in the package - nice touch.

With only one week's use, the machine has been absolutely silent in operation; I certainly hope that continues. (ADDED 1/7/10: After a month's use, it has developed a clicking sound as I pedal.) By default, the bike starts at intensity level 3. Stepping up to level 4 is detectable but not severe. Further steps seem to increase resistance at a higher level.

I cannot grasp the front handle bars while sitting with my back against the backrest; in fact I can barely touch them with my finger tips. To grasp the handles I must lean forward. Not a biggie, but I would prefer them to be located in front of the electronic display, rather than behind it.

As to the electronic panel, it appears to me that the MPH shown is high; at 80 RPMs it registers 16 miles per hour, while my old bike showed 13 MPH. The display registers about 25 calories per mile at resistance level 4. The heart rate monitor shows about 5 beats per minute higher than my Polar unit, but I can't say for sure which one is closer.

I do not like the way the "time" feature changes between "elapsed time" and a one-minute countdown display at 6-second intervals - I would prefer it to stay on the elapsed time screen. If there is a way to reset this feature I haven't been able to find it. (ADDED 1/7/10: Press the LOCK button to keep on elapsed time and MPH.)

Also, my old bike stopped the elapsed-time clock whenever I quit pedaling, but this one continues to run - a stop to answer the doorbell reflected 5 minutes of exercise time while I was away. (ADDED 1/7/10: Press the STOP once (only once) to pause the display, and the top left button (I forget its label) to resume.)

I have not used any of the programmed workout programs, because I exercise at 78-82 RPMs for 30 minutes, varying pedal resistance during the workout (I'm a 70-year-old male, and I'm not trying to build endurance.)

The "magazine rack" is merely a small ledge. It will hold a magazine, I suppose, but I place my very small MP3 player on it. I don't believe that some of the larger players would stay on the ledge.

I knew this before I ordered the bike, so I can't really complain, but I would much prefer the display unit to be powered by a battery, as my old bike was. The Schwinn 220 must be plugged into an AC outlet - without electricity you don't get any readouts, and can't vary resistance.

The Schwinn 220 seems to be pretty stout, and my overall impression, at this point, is favorable. If it continues to function like it does now, I'll be pleased with my purchase. Time will tell. (ADDED 1/7/10: So far, so good.)
55 comments| 172 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've been searching for some time for a decent, affordable recumbent exercise bike to replace a rowing machine I'd quite using because of knee problems. It seemed the really solid ones were well over the thousand dollar mark, and the less expensive ones were... well, junk. I tried a Schwinn 240 at a local sporting goods discounter, but (1) I couldn't adjust it to fit me and (2) it wobbled and creaked as I tried to pedal it. I had about given up hope of finding an affordable unit when I tried a 220 at another discount store. It was poorly assembled, but it did fit, and pedaling it was comfortable. They could order me one and have it "just a few weeks", they assured me. I said I'd think about it.

Back home I read the Amazon reviews for the 220. Even better than the 240, said some, and it has the same 300lb rating, which means it should be just as strong. Hmm. I thought about it overnight, and decided to bite the bullet. Two days later I came home from my morning bike ride to the coffee shop to find a large cardboard box sitting on the back porch. I got out my pocket knife, opened the box, and - this is important- removed the assembly manual before doing anything else.

I studied the manual for a while- it's one of those modern multi-country ones with no text, just a lot of diagrams. Think Ikea. It was clear enough. I removed the pieces from the box and carted them upstairs one by one. Assembly was clear and straightforward, making allowances for those little production tolerances you inevitably come across in anything made in a semi-automated factory. I didn't have any of the problems some reviewers mentiopned, probably because I read the assembly manual fully and made sure I'd identified all the parts before starting. A few tips:

1. The bolts come in two types: Flat head, for attaching the feet (parts A), and round head for everything else. The round headed bolts are labeled in order of increasing length- B, D, E, F. Simple. Don't unwrap them all at once- just peel back the plastic to expose the bolts you need for the task you're working on.

2. The curved washers are for attaching screws to curved surfaces, That includes joining the front and rear assemblies together- here, the bolts are already inserted in the assemblies when you unpack- and attaching the column that holds the computer.

3. There are a number of interconnecting cables running through some of the assemblies. Most are simple mini-headphone type connectors (1/8" mini plug), but there are also a couple of flat, multi-wire connectors at the top and bottom of the column holding the computer. If you take care to align these when assembling, they'll slip together easily with little or no force.

4. Some of the cables are held in place with twist ties and rubber bands. Don't remove these ties and bands until you've connected the cables, or you're likely to lose a cable inside the machine.

5. Follow the instructions religiously. Coming up with shortcuts and "improved" methods will get you into a lot of trouble.

6. Don't tighten any bolts until you get all the bolts in for a given assembly. This is especially important when installing the seat assembly. There, tighten the bolts at the front support before tightening the bolts at the rear support.

7. The funny shaped metal piece sealed in with the bolts and washers is a screwdriver and pedal wrench. And remember: The left hand pedal has a reverse thread.

8. You'll notice that there are *two* sets of mounting holes for the seat back. Being 6'2" and having a long torso to boot, I used the lower holes in order to mount the seat back higher. You may have to experiment with this to find the best setting for you, but I'll suggest that if you're over 5'10" you start with the higher seat back position. (If more than one person will be using the machine, you may have to compromise on one position or the other.)

Once I'd studied the assembly manual and had all the pieces laid out, actual assembly took perhaps 30 minutes. I plugged in the power supply (a 9-volt wall wart), punched "Quick Start", and started pedaling. Easy. Pushing the "+" and +-+ buttons increased and decreased resistance smoothly- I found that I liked spinning at 4. I haven't tried all the programs and other settings because, frankly, I don't care about programs and automation and such. All I wanted was a knob that says harder <-> easier. But I do like some of the features, like the built in pulse monitor and the timer. Very useful. Some reviewers have complained that the front "handlebars" are too far away to reach. Those aren't handlebars; those are handles to make it easier to get up, for those users who might have some difficulties in doing so.

Short summary: This is a well made (for the money), easy to use, comfortable machine that will probably get a lot of use once the weather cools down and I can't bike every day. Until then, it'll be for rainy days. I'll update this in a few months after I get more miles in.


I've been using this bike daily for a month and a half, and I'm still very pleased with it. My favorite feature? It's silent, which means I can watch TV while spinning without turning up the volume. I'll pop in a DVD from the library- usually a documentary series- and before I know it, I've done 30 minutes of solid exercise.


I've now been using the 220 daily for just over 4 months, and I'm still very pleased with it. Everything still works, none of the parts have deformed or loosened, and the foam in the seat is still stiff and supportive. My knees have strengthened to the point that my arthritis is far less of a problem than it was. I'm pleased.

UPODATE II: It's been 8 months now, and I still use it every day I can't go bicycling. One tip learned: If yours goes "clunk" on every revolution as you pedal it, the chances are extremely good that you have a loose pedal. The pedals may not appear loose, but if you snug both up with a wrench, the noise will probably go away.
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on January 11, 2010
Ok. I've done research upon research on recumbent bikes. My biggest concern was that 95% of all the reviews out there were from senior citizens or those using it for physical therapy. I need a bike for exercise and weight loss. I purchased this bike and am very pleased. The resistance is top notch and the computer read out is very informative. I'm 6'5 and 275lbs and it is still a perfect fit. So for all those people out there who are tall and or big this bike will work great for you.! Great weight loss help a long!
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on February 14, 2010
Update: August 2014
Another year has past, and the bike is still as quiet as the day I purchased it. Everything still works perfectly. Well made product.


Update: July 2013
Over 3 years later, still happy with this purchase. Still quiet, no malfunctions. Nice product.

Update: November 2010
It's about 8 months since I wrote the review below and the bike is doing great. No obvious signs of wear and the bike is still incredibly quiet. Still recommended.

I was skeptical whether I could get a good quality workout bike for under $500 -- something that works well and feels solid -- but I'm pleased with this bike. A few things you may want to know before you buy:

1. It took me a total of 2 hours to unpack it and put it together. It wasn't difficult, but it was a little more time consuming than I was expecting. The directions are good enough, but the diagrams that walk you through the assembly process are unexplainably small on the pages.
2. The bike is much quieter than I expected. I watch TV while working out and with our other exercise machines in the house (i.e., a stepper and a rower) we need to turn the TV way up to hear it over the equipment. Not so with this bike. Whisper quiet is not an exaggeration.
3. The display is not backlit. Our bike is in the basement, which is not well lit making the display a little harder to read than I think it should be. Not a major issue, though.
4. The bike is solid, but it doesn't feel quite as steady as the $1,000 bikes I've used at the gym. I guess that is to be expected.
5. The bike has built in wheels that make it very easy to move around. The bike is light enough that, with the wheels, you can move it out of the way when it isn't in use without a big hassle.
6. You plug in the power cord into the front of the bike, which seems odd to me. In my view, it would have been better to plug into the rear of the bike so that the cord could be out of the way. Again, not a major issue but a little unexpected.

Overall, a good bike - worth buying.
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on December 30, 2009
Generally meets expectations. No problems with assembly. Was hoping for a smoother movement at low speed such as I had gotten at the fitness center on similar equipment. At low speed and low resistance, fly wheel does not seem smooth, causing a jerky motion. This goes away at higher speed/resistance, but as I am a cardio patient, I need to keep the exercise light. Otherwise, everything seems to be satisfactory.
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on October 6, 2009
We just rec'd the exercise bike today. My 2 son's put it together in about 1 hour.
We are enjoying the product so far. It is very quiet! I'm 4ft 11 inches and I can reach the pedals. I have knee problems and so far have been able to exercise without any aches or pains. It seems to be less stressful on my knees then walking.
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on February 3, 2010
HI, I also researched about which recumbent bike to use. I never saw the issue I am having and I want to warn others. The seat to me is very un-comfortable! There is a ridge on the seat, probably there for a good reason. However, the main reason I got this bike was so that I can sit and exercise and I cannot. Today, after much playing around with towels, pillows and anything that can fill up the ridge area, some comfort with a pad I found in my closet. Even then, I cannot sit on the bike for too long, hurts.

The bike is solid, however, once we got past level 6 there is a grnding noise, I cannot seem to get through the support line. Also, like someone said, the bike keeps counting even when you have stopped excercising. I have other machines in the house, when you stop so does the timer. We cannot figure out yet how to program this bike, the directions are not very good at all. Once again, I am trying to reach the support line provided and I cannot.

So, yes, the bike has real quality and hopefully except for the seat, we will figure out the rest and keep the bike. However, like I said the seat for us, real issue of comfort, not there.
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on August 4, 2010
For the price I don't think you can beat this bike. As everyone has said, it's very quiet and very sturdy (so far - I've only had it for two weeks). The assembly manual is much better than the user manual, that's for sure. It's recommended that two people assemble the bike since some of it is quite heavy, but I managed to do it on my own with not much problem. Everything came intact and in good shape, which was mainly due to the styrofoam they use to pack it. The box is a whole different story. Very weak and held together with very strong tape surrounding the box on all sides. I don't think it would hurt them much to use a stronger box in the future.

After assembly, I tried to setup the console and discovered that the backlight was not working. (The instructions say that you can set the backlight intensity from 1 to 5). After calling the company and double checking various wire connections as they suggested, when it still didn't work, it seems the only thing the company can do is send you another whole computer panel and wire to solve the problem. Well they did, but it didn't solve the problem. Then I get online and read elsewhere in other reviews that there is no backlight in this model. Strange that the "Console Setup Mode" would have an option in the computer program in this model to set the intensity for something that didn't exist in this model, and that the company would send me another console, but maybe it's cheaper to them than changing the computer program for this particular bike or taking out the mention of the backlight in the manual. In any event, I know now that it does not have a backlight due solely to my own research on the matter and not their support help. I went to Walmart and bought an LED angle-adjustable battery-operated tap light for about $5 and stuck it high on the wall behind the bike pointed down at the LCD display, and this surprisingly works out quite well.

Speaking of the LCD display, the cord for the AC adapter to power it plugs into the front of the bike instead of the rear, and it will just barely, reach all the way to the rear of the bike to reach an AC outlet behind the bike. I would suggest using an extension cord instead. As other reviews here have mentioned, the user manual is poor, and it will drive you stark-raving mad trying to add yourself as a user (it only saves one user and allows one guest user) Even the people here who figured it out didn't tell you how to do it! Well, I'm going to tell you how to do it.

Everyone who has the Schwinn 220 should do themselves a favor and go to [...] and download the users manual for the Schwinn 240 bike as well. It explains much clearer how to add a user. It also has explanations for "View" Edit" and "Delete" functions that the 220 manual doesn't have. The only difference is that you use the "Increase/Decrease" buttons to cycle through users and the "View" Edit" and "Delete" buttons, while on the 240 you use a special Schwinn button instead.

Another thing I also noticed is that the 240 manual says "Backlit LCD display" while my 220 manual says simply "LCD display". The 240 manual will also talk about extra features that the 220 doesn't have. But just ignore those and go to page 13 and "User Setup", but remember on the 220 you can only add one user and not two as on the 240.

Follow the 240 instructions. It is step 5 where 220 users and myself got lost. When it says "Custom 1", hit the "Start/Enter" button twice. You will have a resistance level of one all the way across the display. Use "Increase or Decrease" to put the first column on the far left to the level of resistance you want. Press "Start/Enter" to save it. Now here is the important bit of information they leave out in the 220 instructions so you understand what is going on. "The completed columns move off the screen to the left, and the next column is active. Continue until ALL 40 COLUMNS are set." The screen says "User Added", push "Start/Enter", and you have added a user. The time is set at a default time of 30 minutes and can be changed when you start your workout, but NOT when setting up a user as the 220 manual says under #2.

So that's right, even if you set your resistance to just one in each column, you have to push that "Start/Enter" button 40 TIMES to save 40 columns in your custom workout before you can also save yourself as a user even though the display only shows you 10 columns at a time. No wonder everyone got so frustrated! Nowhere in the 220 instructions does it say you must save 40 columns to save your custom workout.

So no fan, no basket, not backlit, only one user, no chest strap heart monitor and light, no extra "Schwinn" button, no deluxe pedals, a few less things monitored, along with a poor user manual and you have saved about $100. Decide if the extra things are worth it to you or not over the 240 model. Now that I finally figured out how to add myself as a user and that I know now I have no backlight, I'm still very pleased. Again, it's very sturdy and very quiet. I would have given it five stars if not for the lack of a backlight in the LCD display and the bad user manual.
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on November 8, 2009
I ordered this exercise bike a couple of weeks ago and received it on time as promised. I need it to help me recover from very serious and complicated hip replacement surgery. Assembly time was about an hour and not too difficult, which seemed apparent to me because I watched my neighbor do it. It is a well made, very smoothly running machine with lots of program options. It is comfortable as well as effective in strengthening my legs. It is also extremely quiet, which is important to me. It is so smooth that I can easily read while I pedal. I can't say that my hip is now completely recovered, but the Schwinn is a good tool that takes its place among other recovery tools and programs. It was a good investment.

Marianne Carroll
Ashland, Oregon
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on April 29, 2010
I purchased this bike in order to have an indoor activity I could do that would get my heart rate up but not make too much noise. Previously I have tried various DVD or video game based workout programs and because I live in an upstairs apartment I am always very conscious of having to jump up and down or run in place and potentially disturbing my neighbors. This bike was the perfect solution to my problem.

I have had the bike for almost 2 months and I use it 5-6 times a week about 30-45 min at a time and so far there have been no issues. I have it set up in my front room so I can easily watch TV or play video games while riding which makes the workouts fly by. I have been surprised how quiet the bike is. If I place the resistance setting about 7 or above and have my apartment completely silent I can hear an incredibly faint noise coming from the bike but as I always have something audio on while I ride it is a complete non-issue to me.

Originally I was very hesitant about buying an exercise bike online because when I would try them out in stores sometimes I wouldn't fit because I am 6'5". But with this bike I don't even have the seat all the way back and I fit great! However, my girlfriend is just under 5' tall and the seat doesn't go close enough for her so if you are right around that height keep that in mind.

Like other reviewers mentioned the bike took me about 1.5 hours to put together alone. I took my time in order to not smash any of the wiring and to make sure I only had to do it once. I imagine with 2 people it would be faster.

Overall I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend it to anybody looking for a mid-priced recumbent bike; the bike is sturdy and feels like it will last a long time. And most importantly I fit!
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