Exercise bike reviews often recommend upright stationary bikes, but if you have problems with your wrists, back, or pelvis, any of the dozens of recumbent bicycle reviews online will tell you that a recumbent bike takes the stress off of your body and keeps you comfortable so you can pedal without wincing. If you aren’t ready to take a recumbent bike on the road, a recumbent exercise bike is a great way for just about anyone to exercise, no matter their age, weight, or mobility. If you’re training for road recumbent biking, then you’ll appreciate the practice a stationary recumbent bike can provide! However, trying to sort out recumbent bike reviews can be confusing, so we tried to make it easier by comparing a top rated recumbent bike against a lesser-known model.
The Schwinn 270 is a best-selling recumbent exercise bike, but the high price can be discouraging to some budgets. We wanted to find a cheaper alternative that was still made to last. We read tons of recumbent exercise bike reviews and tested them for hundreds of miles to find the best recumbent bike option that was similar to the Schwinn at a low price, and found the Exerpeutic 900XL. We think both qualify as some of the best recumbent exercise bike models around due to their easy access walk-through frame, comfortable seats, and quiet operation. If you’re not sure how much you want to spend on a recumbent bicycle or aren’t convinced a cheaper model can be comparable to a more expensive one, check out our spec comparisons below!
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is designed for dedicated cyclists and indoor fitness fanatics. Schwinn is a popular and well-known brand in the world of bike manufacturers, and they’ve branched out into other exercise equipment as well. Although the Schwinn 270 has great basic features like seat adjustability and a heart rate monitor, it also offers goal tracking, tons of programs, a fan, and even built-in speakers that you can play music through. You can also download your biking data to a USB flash drive to view on your computer or smartphone and sync to different fitness websites like MyFitnessPal. These are amazing features for intermediate and advanced users who have made fitness a big part of their lifestyle, though some might find the options overwhelming. However, for people just starting out on their fitness journey or for more casual bikers, we recommend the Exerpeutic 900XL.
Exerpeutic is a brand produced by Paradigm Health & Wellness, which also produces Ironman and Fitness Reality products. The Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike is a comfortable and easy to use recumbent bike. Although it lacks workout programs, it still offers tracking of your heart rate, distance, time, and speed. If you don’t like fiddling with different programs and settings, you may prefer the simplicity of the Exerpeutic 900XL. This bike may also be a great choice for older people who are less tech-savvy. Like the Schwinn 270, it has a user weight capacity of 300 pounds to suit a range of body types. It’s also smaller and lighter than the Schwinn model, so it’s easier to fit into your home and to move around as needed. It has a respectable three-year warranty on the frame and all parts, too. When you just want to get on the bike and go, the 900XL is always ready to ride.
The Schwinn 270 uses a smooth and quiet magnetic tension system and a high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel. You can adjust to specific resistance settings with 10 “quick keys” or push an up or down button.
The Exerpeutic 900XL also uses magnetic tension combined with a belt-drive flywheel. This makes resistance transitions low-noise and easy. You use a tension control knob on the handlebars to for adjustments.
Resistance levels can be a way to add more variety to your workout. The Schwinn 270 can be adjusted to 25 different resistance levels, more than double what the Exerpeutic offers. Dedicated riders and people who are at a high level of fitness may prefer this range of levels.
The Exerpeutic 900XL has 8 resistance levels. Although fewer than the Schwinn’s, this is still enough to add variety to your workouts. If you tend to pick a few settings and stick to them, the Schwinn 270’s 25 levels may not be very relevant to your fitness goals.
The Schwinn 270’s balanced and weighted flywheel, combined with a V-belt drive, encourages smooth and quiet operation. Combined with the magnetic tension system, you can watch TV or listen to music comfortably while cycling.
The Exerpeutic 900XL also uses a balanced, weighted flywheel and a V-belt drive. Besides being smooth and quiet, this high-end design feels comfortable and realistic, comparable to the smooth ride of an outdoor bike.
The Schwinn 270 comes preloaded with 29 workout programs for beginners and advanced users, and ones that focus on heart rate zones. If you enjoy preset programs and the challenges they can offer you, you may prefer the Schwinn 270 to the Exerpeutic model.
The Exerpeutic 900XL does not have any workout programs--you just get on and ride. This makes it a better option for people who prefer to self-direct their workout or just don’t find pre-generated exercise programs all that interesting--why pay for what you won’t use?
The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike has pulse sensor grips on either side of the seat that are easy to reach. It’s also compatible with telemetric heart rate monitors like chest straps. If you want to use the bike’s heart rate-based workouts or have a chest strap, you may prefer the Schwinn model.
The Exerpeutic 900XL also comes with pulse sensor grips placed on either side of the bike’s seat, although it does not come with telemetric pulse monitor compatibility. If you like to monitor your pulse occasionally or throughout your workout, the Exerpeutic 900XL allows you to do that easily.
The Schwinn recumbent bike has dual backlit, single-color LCD screens that can display 13 different feedback options, including your distance, time, speed, heart rate information, and how many calories you’ve burned.
The Exerpeutic recumbent bike model has one single-color basic LCD screen that displays your distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate. This is a fine option for people who don’t care as much about their workout data.
The Schwinn 270 has a user weight capacity of 300 pounds. Combined with the walk-in design of the bike, people of a range of weights and mobility levels can use the bike comfortably.
Like the Schwinn 270, the Exerpeutic 900XL has a 300-pound weight capacity and a walk-in design. This makes both models two of the best recumbent bike options for people who are overweight.
The Schwinn 270 includes transport wheels for moving the recumbent bike around easily. However, its larger size and heavier weight can make this difficult.
The Exerpeutic 900XL also comes with transport wheels to make relocation less of a chore. This makes it easy to hide the bike when company’s coming!
The Schwinn 270 has large, comfortable pedals with straps and a texturized design for extra security.
The Exerpeutic 900XL uses a similar large pedal design, with straps and a rubberized surface.
The Schwinn 270 is 64 inches long, 28 inches wide, and 50 inches tall. Being noticeably longer and taller than the 900XL, this bike will fit better in larger rooms or living areas with plenty of space.
The Exerpeutic 900XL is 54 inches long by 22 inches wide, and is 33 inches tall. As a result, it is easier to incorporate into any-sized home, as well as being easier to store than the Schwinn 270.
The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike weighs 87 pounds. It’s 30% heavier than the Exerpeutic bike, so it is more difficult to move. However, it can offer a little more stability, which people who have broader builds or are overweight may appreciate.
The Exerpeutic 900XL bike weighs 62 pounds, making it easier to transport or relocate if you need to. Despite its lighter weight, it is still very stable thanks to its T-bar leg design, solid build, and comfortable chair.
The Schwinn 270 has a 10-year warranty on the frame, two years on mechanical parts, one year on electrical parts, and a 90-day warranty on labor. If you like the reassurance of a long warranty, you may prefer the Schwinn 270 bike, despite its high price.
The Exerpeutic 900XL comes with a three-year limited warranty on the frame, mechanical parts, and electrical parts. Most defects and problems rear their ugly heads early on, and the 900XL has longer coverage on mechanical and electrical parts than the Schwinn model.