If you’re thinking of buying a Schwinn recumbent bike you have a few models to choose from. They come in various configurations and prices and are, no doubt, to give the consumer better options, however, some models are a good buy while others fail to impress.

Reviews of recumbent exercise bikes like them because they are more comfortable which in turn means a longer, and therefore, better workout. There’s no disputing the benefits of cycling in a reclined position; recumbent bikes are more ergonomic. Manufacturers are refocusing their design programs away from the bike towards the consumer. And what they’ve realized is that their machines are mainly used by older people, or overweight people, or people who’ve have never done any form of exercise: for these groups the recumbent is the best model of bike to get a good cardiovascular workout.

Schwinn, like everyone else, makes various models of recumbent bikes. Here’s what’s currently on offer, what features each has and which ones are worth considering and which are not.

The cheapest model at around $350 is the 203 recumbent exercise bike. It has 16 levels of magnetic resistance that can be adjusted while cycling. There’s a generous list of preset workout programs; 17 in fact – 12 Preset, 4 Heart Rate, 1 User Defined. There are heart rate grip monitors and the console readout displays Time, RPM, Distance, Pulse, Calories. For an entry-level bike it’s a very good buy with very little to be said against it. However, if you already own a bike then you’re probably looking to upgrade, so this model isn’t going to be suitable.

At $400 the 212 is the next model up. While looking quite different from the 203, it has most of the same features. However, you do get some programming options; 1 Manual + 6 Profile Courses with Calorie Goal, BMI Measurement, Recovery Test, Results Mode and Quick Start. It’s not a bad piece of kit but if you spend another $50, you can get hold of the 213, which is a much better buy.

The Schwinn 213 recumbent exercise bike costs around $450 and comes with a lot more features than the 212. You get an incredible 23 workout programs including; 3 Heart rate, BMI Measurement, Time Trial, Recovery Test and Fitness Test. An adjustable fan is built in to the console and the machine has bottle holders and trays. The console gives a lot of motivational feedback, including: Time, Interval Time, RPM, Watts, Distance, Pulse, Speed, Calories, Resistance Biofit and Alpha-numeric prompts. This machine would give all but the most serious athlete a great strenuous workout.

The two most expensive machines are the 230 and 231. They’re the best looking, with rounded edges and an overall sleek appearance. They retail for around $450 and $550 resp. If you’ve only got $450 to spend you are as well buying the 213 as the 230 offers no real extra features.

The 231, on the other hand, might be worth taking a closer look at. It comes with a BioFit seat with dual-position lumbar support and high inertia from a 22 lb. steel flywheel and computer-controlled drive system. The workout programs included are; 10 preset & 10 profile courses with Calorie Goal, Time Trial, Fitness Test, BMI Measurement, Recovery Test, Results Mode, Quick Start & 1 Manual Model. It’s a nice bike, but quite frankly, I’m rather disappointed with it. It doesn’t really offer very much more than the 213 but it costs a lot more. Also, this is Schwinn’s most expensive recumbent bike; I would have expected more features (even if it meant paying more) from one of the industry’s biggest players.