The Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike has a simple yet effective design that looks clean and modern.
From first impressions it looks to me that it could be a great answer to getting low impact cardio in your home to meet your fitness goals.
It has a much better console than most you see at this price range even if the display itself looks dated. It provides you with pre-set programs to give you variety, guidance and motivation in your fitness journey. As well as these you get a range of measures displayed.
But there is more to a good recumbent exercise bike than a console and its important it is comfortable, supportive to the back and gentle on the joints while you get a good cardio workout.
In my review I look at how well it does the basics of providing a good low impact cardio workout as well as how good the console is.
It has a steel frame and wide stabilizer bars that hold the bike steady as you workout. There is no noticeable wobbles, shaking or annoying creaking. You can just get on with your exercise and if you want watch TV etc interrupted.
The end caps on back stabilizer bar are levelers. You turn them round the bar to balance out the bike when there is unevenness in the floor. This should stop it rocking for small variations only as they don’t have that much depth to them.
If it does still rock after that because the levelers don’t compensate enough for the floor then a rubber exercise mat can help to stabilize the bike.
The warranty for the bike is 3 years for the frame, 6 months mechanical, 6 months on electrical parts and 60 days on wear parts and labor. This is a reasonable length and better than most in this price range.
People who have had the bike for 4 years plus have found it that it holds up well to regular use. However, it does seem at one time that they had an issue in some cases at one point with quality control which is noted in reviews. (with 1 – 2 problems also noted recently).
The seat can be adjusted backwards/forwards. It does go on an angle upwards as you move the back seat which can help with a more comfortable position..
Unfortunately when it comes to whether the bike will fit a certain heights the company is not that helpful with them saying it fits most sizes. They advise you try it out locally and if you can do that, it is a good idea.
However, there is some guidance from the customer reviews. From these I estimate that you should be adjust the bike to fit if you are between 4ft 11 ins and 6 ft 3 ins.
It takes less than 30 seconds to make the adjustment so it can easily be used by multiple people to work on their fitness.
You do have to be off the bike to do it. There is a knob under the seat that you loosen and pull to release the holding pin then slide the seat to the correct position, release the knob. You do need to make sure the pin engages in a pre-set hole and then tighten up.
When you tighten up the seat properly after adjustment you should have a steady seat without any wobble.
The resistance is controlled through the console, so you do need power to the console to set the level you want to pedal against. This works a band of magnets that are inside the shroud to move closer to the flywheel to increase resistance and further away to decrease it.
There are 8 levels of resistance, the level of resistance is displayed on the console. You can adjust it manually or it can be changed automatically when using one of the preset workout.
As with the manual program you can change the resistance on the pre-set programs to an easier or harder level by pushing the up/down buttons.
It starts off very easy at Level 1 (almost none) and moves up incrementally. Most people who use the machine find that there is enough resistance to provide a good workout to get there heart rate up and develop a sweat if they want.
However, the top resistance levels aren’t going to satisfy someone who is very fit and/or is looking for demanding hill type workouts.
The movement between levels is smooth
It is very quiet and doesn’t require ongoing maintenance.
Inside the shroud is a perimeter weighted flywheel and belt that provide a fluid and quiet cycling action. It should also prove to be low maintenance.
The shrouding protects them from damage also prevents pets, kids and exercisers from injuring themselves on the moving parts.
At the lower levels of resistance the weighted flywheel helps to pull the pedals through to ensure the pedaling is smooth. At the higher levels of resistance it also helps but you may notice a bit of pulsing as it slows down as the resistance starts to work as a brake when you aren’t pulling/pushing on the pedals as happens at the top/bottom of the stroke.
The single crank and oversized pedals provide a strong platform for your pedaling without any flexing. The pedals are textured and have rubber/plastic straps to keep your feet in place as you pedal.
Adjusting the straps can be a little difficult at first. They have holes along the strap that are put over a tab to size them for your foot. When they are new it can be hard to put the tab through the hole but they do soften up after a few uses. Also, you don’t have to adjust them each time you can just slide your feet into them once they’re adjusted to your shoe size unless someone has changed them since you used it.
Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Comfort
Seat. The seat and backrest have some cushioning on them but aren’t contoured. The seat is 16 inches wide and 10 inches deep (approx) giving a reasonable sized area for sitting in comfortably.
Most people do find them comfortable and can workout for as long as they want to without feeling much discomfort. However, not everyone is impressed. This is to be expected as comfort is a personal thing. Those that are in this situation find a folded up towel or small cushion can provide the boost to comfort they need for a pain free ride.
There is a small step over needed to get on the bike where you need to lift your foot over a few inches to clear the frame. Then sitting in and out of the bike is easy as you sit down on the seat as you would a normal chair.
The seat is very slightly angled backwards which helps to keep you from sliding forward as you pedal.
The backrest is angled also for comfort and support the lower back. The angle can’t be adjusted but it does move with the seat when it is adjusted.
You can’t slide in to the seat as the handlebars at the side are above the height of it and are angled upwards.
Handlebars. These are at either side of the seat and are angled upwards which provides a comfortable grip for support or leverage when pushing against the resistance. They are covered at the end so are easier on the hands and prevent them slipping when sweaty. The hand pulse sensors are also in the end of them which you grip when you want to monitor your heart rate.
Noise. The bike is very quiet, It can be used day and night without disturbing others. You can also watch the TV without having to turn it up to hear it. Others in the same room may even forget that you are on the bike. If you live in an apartment your neighbors won’t be bothered by you exercising as they would be it you had a treadmill. If you are concerned that a vibration or noise may be heard underneath you a rubber exercise mat should solve any possibility of that happening.
Cleaning. It doesn’t need too much in the way of cleaning. The bike itself won’t generate much dirt or dust. It is likely to be sweat from users that cause the biggest cleaning concern. It can drip on the floor and the bike. It does need to be cleaned off the bike because it is corrosive and can cause it to jam up and corrode overtime if not wiped up on a regular basis. If you are concerned about your floor then a rubber exercise mat is advised as this will prevent the sweat dropping on the floor.
Although it looks like it could fold up it doesn’t. Also it is not designed to be tipped up to reduce the floor space it requires.
It is reasonably compact so when not in use the bike requires an area of 19 by 61 ins for storage.
If you want to move the bike there are transport wheels at the front of the bike that you tip the bike on to when you want to move it, You do this by lifting it up at the back using the back stabilizer bar. You can then move it on your own to where you want it to go.
You do need to be a little careful with it to ensure you don’t over balance the bike and it tips and causes damage or injury. This is unlikely to be a problem but it is worth remembering.
The bike is delivered part assembled. It can be put together easily within one to two hours.
It does come with the tools needed to complete it but you may find it goes quicker and easier if you use your own tools (but they’re not necessary). They do advise you have a utility knife or scissors to get the parts out of the packaging.
All the hardware is attached to a card and labeled making it easy to identify and have it to hand for each of the steps.
There are 12 steps (including batteries and giving it the final check) clearly shown in the manual with simple instructions and clear diagrams. This includes attaching to the main unit the stabilizer bars, front post, seat assembly, back support, handlebars, pedals and console. This is a simple process.
The most difficult part for the customer is normally getting the pieces out of the box so it is easier than putting together kitset furniture.
One person can do this on their own but a second pair of hands can help by holding the pieces in place while they are attached.
The console has 6 pre-set programs and a manual (quick start) option.
It also measures time, RPM, distance, speed, calories, resistance level and heart rate when using the hand pulse sensors. At the end of your workout it displays your results which are totals and averages of the measures.
The console can be powered by 4 D size batteries (not included) or you can pay separately for an AC power adaptor. The power adaptor is available from Schwinn and has a short lead. It won’t recharge the batteries. There are other power adaptor alternatives available online that say they are compatible with the A20.
What’s On The Console
First up near the top of the console is the display screen. The LCD screen is a good size at 5 by 3 ins and measures can be seen from the seat when used in good lighting conditions. However, it isn’t backlit so is difficult to see when light gets dim.
The display looks a bit old fashioned looking but it is clear – it gets the job done of keeping you informed on how you are getting on.
The top section of the display shows the name of the workout you are doing. The next section gives you a visual representation of the workout with bars or columns – the height of the bar indicates the amount of resistance in that interval of the workout. The flashing bar indicates which interval of the workout you are currently in.
Underneath this are the measures. It split into 4 sections. The left section displays time elapsed or time to go if a time goal has been set. Next along is displayed is speed and distance that swap every 6 seconds. The measure can be miles or kilometers. Next along it shows RPM and calories each for 6 seconds. In the right it shows resistance level and heart rate (if sensors gripped) and these swap over every 6 seconds).
Under the display are the buttons for controlling the console and choosing the workout you want to do, starting/stopping a workout and changing the resistance level.
Beneath that is the media shelf for placing your personal electronics. Below that is the media port for using the speakers and around the outside on the face of the console are the speakers.
The Workout Programs
The 6 profile programs provide you with a variety of workout programs with a variety of resistance levels like working out on different terrains outside – there a 2 fun rides, 2 mountains and 2 challenges. The default time is 15 minutes but you can change that up or down.
To start the bike you can push any button or start pedaling. You can then either choose the quick start option or one of the 6 profile programs.
The quick start option allows you to just start pedaling and adjust the resistance as you go. It starts at the lowest level of resistance – Level 1 each time.
When you choose one of the 6 workout programs they start at Level 3.
There are no heart rate programs where the bike adjusts resistance to help you stay in a training zone.
At the end of a workout or when you pause pedaling the bike displays your current workout totals and average. After 5 minutes the console will turn off.
Heart Rate Monitoring
To monitor your heart rate you need to require both hand pulse sensors at the side of the seat.
Like all exercise bikes with hand pulse sensors you are likely to find it difficult to get as good reliable reading from it. Your hands can be too cold, too dry, too much moisturiser etc and even after trying all that sometimes you just can’t get a good reading.
If you are looking to train in a heart rate zone or use it for recovery time you are better getting a heart rate strap and monitor and do this instead of using the bike’s monitoring system.
The owner manual supplied with the bike doesn’t provide the full instructions on how to use the bike. To have them you need to download the full manual from Schwinn’s website.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are:
Height 40.5 ins
Width 19 ins
Length 61 ins
Bike weight 60.1 lbs
Maximum User Weight 275 lbs
There is a water bottle holder for a small bottles on the front support towards the bottom. You do need to lean forward to reach it and along with the tight design of it can make it a little difficult to grab the bottle when you want a drink and return it when you’ve finished.
You can also place your personal electronic on the console on the shelf. You can plug them into the speaker using the included media cable. The track selection and volume is changed using the media device – there is no function to do this on the console. The actual quality of sound isn’t that great and they’re not that loud so you may want to wear headphones
You can’t plug them into a USB port to charge them. The bike is steady so there shouldn’t be an issue with them bouncing out and falling on the floor.
When you do use the shelf you won’t be able to see the display. If you are following a program or have set a goal you will need to remove your device from the tray to see it as you go
There is an AC adaptor that can be bought separately if you don’t want to rely on batteries. It is only 6ft long and it plugs into the back of the console.
This can cause it to get caught up with your pedaling so needs to be tied on to console to prevent this happening. You may also want an extension cord so as to be able to position the bike where you want it.
- The console comes with 6 pre-set programs and 1 quick start to provide you with some variety and guidance with your workouts
- Can be adjusted easily for people of a variety heights
- Has levelers that can help to stop the bike rocking on a slightly uneven floor
- Has transport wheels to make it easy to move from place to place
- It is easy to assemble
- Pedals have straps to prevent your feet from slipping off them
- Provides a good steady platform for workouts
- The bike is very quiet and can be used at any time without disturbing others
- Most people find the seat comfortable and provides support to the back
- Low impact workout that is gentle on the joints
- Has a shelf for your electronics although when in use the display will be covered
- Doesn’t come with the 4 D batteries to power the console or the AC adaptor
- The console doesn’t track your progress over workouts this has to be done manually
- If the console doesn’t have power from batteries or AC adapter the resistance does not work and can’t be changed
- Manual included doesn’t cover console adequately you have to download the full manual from the company’s site
- Speakers are quiet and don’t produce a great sound
Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Consumer Ratings
A good number of people have rated the bike a 4 or 5 in their online reviews.
There appears to have been an issue with the motor that controls the magnets resulting in there being none or too much resistance. This issue is noticed when you first try it or soon after.
However, there have been some other issues with it breaking after a few months too. These issues are disappointing but the company does also seem to have a problem in responding to these problems in a timely and helpful manner in some cases which results in the negative ratings.
The other issue is that people don’t like the fact they don’t get a power adapter and have buy this separately. It does state that it isn’t included and it does work on batteries.
But the majority do like it as evidenced by the ratings – they like how quiet and smooth pedaling is at all levels of resistance. It is solid and the console is easy to use.
Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Price
For the price you get an affordable priced bike with a console that provides you with pre-set programs to follow along to and help you to get started. Most bikes round this price don’t have such a good console so that is a big plus.
At Amazon it can qualify for free shipping.
The Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike is a great entry level bike. It’s great for beginners, those looking to stay active or lose weight .
It has a comfortable seat with an angled backrest which provides good support for the back and the pedaling motion is smooth and gentle on the joints which can be good for those who are recovering from injury or surgery too (as advised by their doctor).
There are some concerns about quality control and customer service at times. Also the resistance isn’t for those wanting very demanding workouts.
Those aside many get a good solid bike with 6 pre-set workouts that you can set goals which are great in helping you get a good workout without having to think about. It can help with getting a good low impact cardio workout where you can get your heart pumping and get a sweat on if you want or something more moderate if you prefer.