Schwinn 240 Recumbent Review – Honest, Thorough!

Schwinn 240 recumbent bike reviewGood luck finding a good Schwinn 240 recumbent bike review.  I’ve been looking at them for hours and they’re a rehash of each other…and frankly a bunch of junk; filled with typos and ‘common knowledge’ that would intrigue only an exercise moron.

What I’ll do here is explain the features of the Schwinn 240 recumbent, with an emphasis on what they mean to you; clarify any terms that need to be explained (i.e. Eddy Current Brake Resistance System, Telemetry Enabled, etc); and cheerfully ignore a lot of the nonsense that’s written about, but is so obvious that it borders on ‘product review spam’.

About the reviewer: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.
Product Quality 04 Noise Level 05
Realistic Feel 05 Assembly 02
Overall Rating 4.5

A Word About The Schwinn 240 Recumbent Resistance Unit

I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing reviews and writing articles about indoor bike trainers…and the resistance unit in the Schwinn 240 recumbent (as in just about all high quality exercise bikes that plug into the wall) puts bike trainers to shame.

The Schwinn 240 recumbent generates resistance using an Eddy Current Brake Resistance System.

Industrial Eddy Current Brake, But You Get The Idea.

In short, this system spins the aluminum flywheel through a magnetic field (generated by the electromagnets- thus the need for it to be plugged in).

Any metal that conducts electricity (the aluminum flywheel) will be influenced by the “eddy currents’ which are around the electromagnet.  The ‘drag’ on the aluminum flywheel as it spins through the eddy currents creates the resistance in this system.

It’s a similar system as that used on some trains…and if it can stop a train, it’ll certainly slow down your massive legs when you’re pedaling.

Distinct Advantages of the Eddy Current Brake System

  • No friction between moving parts, so no noise, heat buildup, or wear and tear.
  • ‘Seamless’ transition between resistance levels on the Schwinn 240 recumbent. Change is gradual, not abrupt.
  • Smooth resistance with no ‘pulsing’ through individual magnetic fields (like in mag trainers).

To understand the advantage in this system, let me describe how units without this type of resistance generate a workload.

Back to the world of bike trainers…

Bike trainers are those devices you attach the rear wheel of your outdoor bike to in order to get an indoor workout.  But they’re portable, so they can’t afford to be hindered by being within reach of a wall socket…and besides, the Eddy Current System weighs too much to be put into a portable bike trainer.

In order for a bike trainer to generate resistance it has to turn a fan, spin some magnets, or turn an impeller through silicone.  They all have their disadvantages, and three of the worst disadvantages are easily conquered by the Eddy Current System.

Unlike exercise bikes with Eddy Current Resistance Units, bike trainers are noisy, don’t always provide smooth resistance, and they don’t all provide enough of a workload for high intensity workouts.

Not so with the Schwinn 240 recumbent. The pedaling is very quiet, it’s absolutely smooth, and it can provide nearly limitless resistance levels (the Schwinn 240 recumbent has 16 resistance levels), with gradual change between workloads.

Getting Set Up

If there’s a gripe about the Schwinn 240 recumbent, it’s the setting up.  The instruction sheet has a lot of very small print with too much blank space around it.  If you want to see what I mean, you can look at the entire Schwinn 240 recumbent assembly instructions in a PDF file format hereschwinn 240 recumbent bike

The advantage to the PDF file is that you can make it as big as you need to.  It beats using a magnifying glass like one reviewer did.

Another tip is to be sure to write down the serial number of your Schwinn 240 recumbent since you’ll need it to register for the warranty, and it’s on the bottom of the unit, so once it’s assembled the serial number’s hard to get to.

I’ve read all sorts of time estimates for the Schwinn 240 recumbent set-up…anywhere from 20 minutes (highly unlikely), to 45 minutes when performed by a professional exercise bike assembler, to a couple hours when performed by those who end up being very irritated by the whole assembly procedure.

Some Schwinn 240 Features

1). Long live recumbency!  If you’ve spent many miles on a traditional bike saddle (yes, the correct term is saddle…not seat) you’ll know that spending too much time on the bike hurts more than your legs.  Namely your back and your backside.

The adjustable recumbent seat on the Schwinn 240 recumbent accommodates a variety of leg lengths, and is pretty comfortable.  The company calls it a ‘padded ergonomic’ seat which might just be taking advantage of the trendy term ‘ergonomic’.  Nonetheless, the seat on the Schwinn 240 recumbent is spoken of very highly by most riders, and both the seat and the console are adjustable so you can get the correct  ‘reach’ to the pedals as well as the most comfortable height of the console.

The adjust-ability of the seat is unclear.  Numerous reviewers note the awkwardness of changing the seat position, noting that you have to screw out a pin, slide the seat, and then screw the pin back in.  They’re crying out for an easy slide adjustment device on the Schwinn 240 recumbent.

Large Flywheels Are Good.

2).  20 pound flywheel…so what?  While the weight of the flywheel may not seem like much of an issue, it is critical for producing a ‘realistic’ feel to the exercise bike…and the Schwinn 240 recumbent has a heavy flywheel.  A heavy flywheel resists changes in speed, much like occurs when riding a bike out on the road.

After-all, accelerating on a bike isn’t instantaneous, so why should you be able to ‘spin-up’ instantly on an exercise bike?

As a point of reference, the top bike trainers have flywheels in the neighborhood of 6 pounds, with the granddaddy flywheel of bike trainers weighing in at 18 pounds.  Once again, the Schwinn 240 recumbent flywheel is twenty pounds.

3). The Schwinn 240 recumbent has 17 preloaded exercise programs in it, including 8 different course profiles.  If there’s anything that stands out in my hours of indoor cycling, it’s the monotony factor.  I’ve watched football games, detective shows, and ultimate fighting to ward off boredom.  With the different course profiles on the Schwinn 240 recumbent, you should be able to fight off the dull-drums trying to ‘keep-up’ with the machine.

Speaking of ‘profiles’, this unit will remember the user profiles of two different riders so you don’t have to enter in the information every time you switch between exercisers…should you do like your mama told you to do, and share the Schwinn 240 recumbent.

4). Telemetry enabled, integrated grip heart rate system merely means that you’re able to grab a hold of the grip and it’ll give you your heart rate…important feedback for determining how hard you’re working.

In case this seems to be an inane feature, consider the alternative…wearing a strap around your chest to get your heart rate, which I can tell you is just one more annoying thing that has to be done before each of my outdoor bike rides.

The All Important Console

schwinn 240 recumbent bike console

The Console Has Everything…Some Made Up, Like Speed And Distance! (see text)

If you’re casual about working out, reading a magazine or watching TV may be up your alley.  But if you’re doing some ‘purposeful’ huffing and puffing, your eyes will no doubt be glued to the information on the console.

The Schwinn 240 recumbent console is multi-colored and back lit to grab your attention in case you can’t concentrate for any length of time.

It’s like Ritalin in that way.

Here’s something else to consider if you can’t concentrate very well…setting up the console to make maximum use of the many features isn’t ‘intuitive’.  Several brilliant minds (at least they report themselves to be brilliant) have had to monkey around to mine the depths of the Schwinn 240 recumbent console.  In this ‘information’ age, something as basic as instructions shouldn’t be an issue, but it appears to be with this unit.

But the console does store all of the data from previous workouts, so you’ll know how well you’re progressing in your workouts.  I read a good discussion comparing the electronics of the Schwinn 240 recumbent to those on the Nautilus R514.  It seems the heart-rate monitor on the Nautilus unit (by the way, Nautilus owns Schwinn) doesn’t work very well.

The heart rate unit on the Nautilus is made by the Polar company.  I’ve had a bias against that company after my portable heart rate monitor broke and they were unresponsive to my sniveling.  Who knows, maybe they’re a lot better now…but I still like resenting them.

But back to the Schwinn 240 recumbent console unit;  it has a back-lit color LCD display, it’s easy to navigate, it ‘remembers’ you (and who doesn’t love to be remembered?), and the heart rate monitor is more reliable than the one on the comparably priced Nautilus.

Here’s what’s displayed on the console:

  1. Time- accumulated time of the workout on your Schwinn 240 recumbent.
  2. Interval time- The Schwinn 240 recumbent is ideal for doing ‘Intervals’, so that you can do the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that’s sweeping the fitness world.
  3. RPM, or what should be called ‘cadence‘.  Only someone more inclined to watch tractor pulls on Hillbilly TV would use RPM’s instead of the svelte term ‘cadence’.  I guess I’ll have to forgive the Schwinn 240 recumbent designers for this misnomer.  😳
  4. Watts- this is the actual unit of work as it relates to human powered energy produced.  This is better than ‘horse power’, since it’s very difficult to get a horse onto the Schwinn 240’s recumbent seat.  More importantly, it’s more encouraging to know that you’re producing 200 watts than merely .27 horsepower (that’s an actual conversion).
  5. Distance- not much to say here except that you can toggle from miles to kilometers on the Schwinn 240 recumbent.  But then again, you aren’t turning an actual wheel so I don’t know how they calculate distance.
  6. Pulse- if you put together heart rate, watts, and perceived effort you have a very accurate picture of your workout.
  7. Speed- big deal…it’s a stationary bike so you aren’t going anywhere anyway.  And once again, you aren’t turning a real wheel, so it’s an estimation.
  8. Calories- after you enter your body weight into the Schwinn 240 recumbent unit, it will couple this information with your heart rate to come up with an estimate of how many calories you’ve burnt up.  I use this figure to figure out how much ice cream I can eat without feeling guilty.
  9. Resistance- not much to say here…this lets you know which of the 16 resistance levels on the Schwinn 240 recumbent you’re pedaling.

‘Convenience’ Features

These may seem frivolous, but here goes.  You never know which small features make or break your satisfaction in exercise equipment.

The water bottle holder is out in front of the rider just below the console.  Some other exercise bikes have the bottle holder under the seat.  Not so with the Schwinn 240 recumbent.

The walk-through frame on the Schwinn 240 recumbent makes getting onto and off of the unit easier.

There’s a rack for magazines under the seat of the Schwinn 240 recumbent .  But you’ll probably won’t be able to read any magazines with all of that stinging sweat dripping into your eyes.  What, no sweat in the eyes?  Pick up the pace, slacker!

Here’s a good one.  There are transport wheels on the Schwinn 240 recumbent so that it’s easier to move it out of the way when not in use.  After-all, this unit weighs 117 pounds so you won’t be lifting it anytime soon.

==>Amazon Has The Schwinn 240 Recumbent At Discounted Pricing<===
The Good
  1. The Schwinn 240 recumbent compares favorably to units up to 10 times as expensive. (the Kettlers)
  2. The backlit console of the Schwinn 240 recumbent  has plenty of features (some even made up) to entertain.
  3. Eddie Current braking system is used on the Schwinn 240 recumbent and provides nearly limitless, smooth resistance.
  4. Recumbent seating saves the back and neck.
  5. The hefty 20 pound flywheel on the Schwinn 240 recumbent provides a ‘realistic’ feel.
  6. The Schwinn 240 recumbent stores two different rider profiles to make sharing easier (think kindergarten)
  7. Telemetry enabled heart rate monitor…big term, simple concept.
  8. The Schwinn 240 recumbent has several convenience factors: magazine holder, water bottle holder, walk-through frame, wheels for moving the unit.
The Bad
  1. Setting up the console on the Schwinn 240 recumbent can be frustrating.
  2. Assembling the Schwinn 240 recumbent  may be a struggle for some people.

The Schwinn 240 Recumbent Bike Is For:

  1. Those looking for a solid indoor recumbent bike that’s withstood the reviews of over 200 customers and emerged with a 4 and a half star rating.
  2. Someone who’s willing to put up with a bit of assembly angst to put the machine together.
  3. Someone who likes a nice console with enough bells and whistles to entertain and inspire them to better workouts.

What Other People Are Saying…

The Schwinn 240 recumbent model is nice looking, smaller than our elliptical and easy to move around with the wheels. I haven’t had it long enough yet to know how it will hold up, but it’s very sturdy, very quiet and seems like it will last for a long time.   ‘Lisa Lynn’ {read entire review here}

I did extensive research before I bought the Schwinn 240 recumbent. I’ve ridden it for about ten hours since assembly and am simply delighted with it. I am a good mechanic and assembled it by myself in about three hours. The assembly manual has little text, mostly illustrations; but they marginally suffice, more text would be very helpful.  ‘Larry’  {read entire review here}


I was pleasantly surprised to see how well thought of the Schwinn 240 Recumbent Bike is.  After all, I’m a bit of a bike snob and Schwinn has greedily occupied the bottom rungs of the cycling product world for a long time.

Apparently that’s not the case in the exercise bike world.  Perhaps because Schwinn’s owned by Nautilus; or maybe they just put their focus into exercise bikes rather than ‘on the road’ bikes.

When a product gets a four and a half star rating (out of 5 stars) after being reviewed by over 200 reviewers (and you know how much people like to gripe and moan on the internet), I’m confident to say that you’ll get plenty of exercise bike for your money with the Schwinn 240 Recumbent Bike Trainer.

Where To Buy The Schwinn 240

I’ve looked high and I’ve looked low.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to get the Schwinn 240 recumbent than from Amazon, of all places.  They have the best pricing (last I looked they offered a 33% discount), are very good about standing behind what they sell, and their online transactions are very secure.

If you think this Schwinn 240 recumbent review is worth reading, please link to it, Facebook it, Google plus it, or bookmark it.  Much appreciated!

4 Responses to Schwinn 240 Recumbent Review – Honest, Thorough!

  1. PAUL HOLLAND says:

    I recently purchased a “new” Schwinn 240 on eBay and upon assembly, discovered that the flywheel will not turn. At first it moved a few inches, there was a grinding sound of metal on metal and then it locked tight. The electronics work and tension is set on “1”. There is no guarantee (my bust!) and I don’t expect the seller to do anything about this although I found evidence of faulty assembly of the flywheel cover (seam cramping) which was suspicious though the seller stated it was new, never used, tested and worked perfectly. The seller specializes in selling these at a very marked discount. Can you tell me where I might find a diagram of the flywheel/magnet assembly on line before I open this up and “experiment” on fixing this problem or is this a situation that is going to have to be repaired professionally? Thank you so much for your time and response. Paul Holland (919) 902-2346

    76 Tarpon Drive, Benson, NC 27504

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Paul, That doesn’t sound very good at all. I don’t know where to find a diagram of the flywheel/magnet assembly…or if it needs to be repaired professionally.

      Nautilus owns the Schwinn exercise bike line and you can try to contact them using the variety of channels on this contact page…

      That may be the best place to start.

  2. Michael Hollender says:

    Fantastic review. I compliment you on your thoroughness and great
    sense of humor. I found your review while searching for the manual for the 240 and glad I did. You reinforced my buying decision as I already purchased from Amazon

    Thanks again for your efforts. I know you helped many folks.


    • Ron Fritzke says:


      Thanks…I’m glad you found it helpful. What was the reason for searching for the manual; was assembly difficult?

      Welcome to!


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