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New “Favorite Thing” item: the Schwinn 231 Recumbent Bike.

My Schwinn  231

My Schwinn 231

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s update that I performed my first real cardio workout on my new recumbent bike (Schwinn, model 231) this past Tuesday afternoon. It was a 14-minute HIIT cardio session. I did 45 seconds intervals: 45 seconds at level 6 going at a moderate pace, followed by 45 seconds going “all out” on level 10 (there are 16 levels of resistance).

I read the instructions, and it’s possible to create up to two custom workouts (in addition to the 10 pre-programmed workouts). The way it works is you select custom program “01” or “02”, then input how long you want the workout to last, set the initial resistance level and you’re off. While you perform your cardio, you’ll need to change the resistance level manually to let the computer know your desired intervals. After that first session the computer is supposed to automatically save the intervals you used into the custom program you selected. I think did something wrong, because it doesn’t seem to remember the intervals I used. I’m going to perform some quick tests today and figure it out once and for all, then I’ll program a couple of good HIIT workouts.

Schwinn 231  Console

Schwinn 231 Console

The bike is awesome, I’m really happy with it. The only time it makes any noise is when the resistance level is changed, and the movement of the pedals is very smooth. The seat is ultra-comfortable and fully adjustable, including the height of the seat back. The heart rate monitor is actually very accurate, which surprised me (I checked it against my Polar HR monitor). The only caveat is that have to keep both hands on the lower grips the entire time. If you take your hands off the sensors to grab your water bottle or something, it loses track pretty quickly. I’ll continue to use my Polar, but it’s nice to know that the built-in HR monitor is there as a backup.

Speaking of water bottles, the water bottle holder is placed under the seat and is very easy to reach while riding. It holds a 700ml water bottle perfectly.

Assembly was a breeze, and took about 1.5 hours. The assembly instructions were very clear and extremely well done. I also like that the instruction manual talks about the importance of diet and strength training. While most visitors to this site already know that, most people don’t.

Build quality seems excellent. I expect this bike is going to last a very long time. I’ve destroyed plenty of cardio equipment over the past 4.5 years, and there is a noticeable difference in quality with this bike as compared to the other stuff I’ve purchased.

At just over $500.00, I think the Schwinn 231 strikes an excellent balance between price and performance, and has earned a spot in my Favorite Things thread.