Schwinn A20 Review: An Innovative Recumbent Exercise Bike

The A20 model is the simplest and most lightweight recumbent bike offered by Schwinn. It is lighter than their 230 and 270 bike models.

It is also the most affordable of Schwinn’s recumbent bikes and its simplicity makes it perfect for beginners starting out their fitness journey. The Schwinn A20 delivers the bang for your buck for the variety of features it offers at that price range. For example, it offers 8 pre-set workouts which is rarely found in a recumbent bike for that price. 

The Schwinn A20, like most recumbent bikes are designed for a variety of exercise types. It is great for cardio and resistance training for your legs and glutes.

The version of the A20 recumbent bike we’re reviewing here is the 2011 version.

Schwinn A20 Exercise Bike
Schwinn A20 General Information and Technical Specification
  • Product Dimensions: Height- 40.5in (1.03m), Length- 61in (1.55m), Width- 19in (0.47m)
  • Full Weight Capacity: 275lbs (125 kg)
  • Power Requirements: 4D batteries- LR20 (buy separately), Operational Voltage: 6VDC
  • Regulatory Approvals: UL Listed, CSA Certified, Rated 120V 60Hz input, 500mA, 9VDC Output
  • Bike Weight: 67.5lbs (30.6kg)
  • Warranty: Frame- 3 Years, Electronics- 1 year, Mechanical Parts- 1 year, Wear Items- 60 days, Labor- 60 days (this excludes preventative maintenance services or installation of replacement parts of the original bike assembly)
  • Workout Programs: 6 Pre-set workout programs
  • Resistance Levels– 8 
  • Contact Heart Rate sensors on the bike’s handlebar grips
  • Other key features: Simple-to-read LCD console displays information regarding heart rate, speed, time, RPM, distance, course profile and calories
  • Ergonomics: Adjustable Seat, Strapped Pedals, Padded and Contoured Seat, Built-in Fan for Cooling, Bottle Holder, Sound System, Heart Rate monitor on grips
  • Assembly: Transport Wheels for easy moving and storage
Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike

Main Features of the A20 Schwinn Bike
Overall Design and Layout
Simple yet classy design
  • As the simplest of Schwinn’s recumbent bike range, it is also the lightest weighing in at just 67.6 lbs compared to 96 pounds for the 230 model, for example. The overall frame design is also very easy-to-use for anyone with little risk of injury. The design is also similar to that of a rowing machine with an ergonomic slanted seat, which helps you keep proper form during exercising.
  • The bike’s adjustable seat is mounted on a long bar with a rail for the adjustable seat to slide on. It enables users to adjust the seat as far away or as close to the pedals as they like.
  • The frame is sturdy and stable due to its steel construction. The frame is covered in a corrosion-resistant coating so it is quite durable and protects the frame from rust, making it suitable for a variety of climates. 
  • While the bars on either side of the seat helps you to grip and keep yourself stable, they prevent the A20 from having a ‘walk-through’ design that is offered in Schwinn’s other recumbent bike models such as the 230. This could make it harder for some people to get on and off the bike easily as the handlebar grips are in the way. 
  • Thanks to the rowing machine-like design, the bike is quite long. The width given in the manual and product listings is 19 inches but this only accounts for the frame. The widest point of the bike is the handlebars which are 25 inches apart. So, for storage or use, it is recommended to leave about a foot’s worth of clearance space for all dimensions. 
  • At the bottom of the stabilizers, there are end caps to balance out any unevenness of the ground to achieve stability during exercise. 
  • The only handlebars are located around the seat, there are no handlebars at the front if you want to lean forward and support yourself. It is primarily designed to be used in the recline position. 
  • The sturdy design of the frame gives a high user weight capacity of 275 lbs which is actually higher than the more high-end recumbent models offered by Schwinn such as the 230. For the price paid for it, this is an exceptional feature of the A20. You get a similar weight capacity while paying around $100-200 less. 

Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike

Seat Features and Design
Comfortable & Adjustable
  • Schwinn’s A20 recumbent bike comes with an adjustable seat with 12 different height settings. The seat adjustment is done by turning a knob located at the bottom of the seat. You have to first pull the knob to release the lock and turn it to the setting you want, and then tighten the knob to lock it into position. The adjustment is quite easy and shouldn’t take you more than 30 seconds.
  • You do need to get off the bike to adjust its height, but it’s still relatively simple with just one knob. Similar recumbent bikes from other brands such as the Exerpeutic 900 XL has more than one knob you need to turn. 
  •  Turning the knob will take the seat up or down along the notches of the adjustment rail. The notches are around 1 inch apart. The adjustability features allows people of a wide range of heights to use the bike easily. From previous customer testimonials, people as short as 4’’10 or as tall as 6’’2 have had no issues using the bike. For taller people, it is still possible to use the bike but your leg won’t extend fully and it won’t be as comfortable. The A20 still offers a better range of heights compared to similar models like Exerpeutic’s 900 XL which is harder to use for people under 5’3. 
  • The seat is around 16 inches wide (40cm) and the backrest is around 17 inches tall. The seat is highly ergonomic with padding and contouring to add comfort. The backrest is however, not adjustable so it might be a little tough for some users with severe back problems.  
  • As the seat doesn’t offer adjustable back support, it is important that you set the seat at the correct height setting that enables you to exercise as comfortably and smoothly as possible without the risk of injury.

Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike

The Console Features

The console on the A20 is located at the front with a wide LCD display containing information regarding time, distance, course profile, RPM, chosen resistance option, pulse and calories. The console dimensions are 5 in x 3 in. 

There are both metric and imperial options for speed and distance. For the time, you can set a countdown goal so that it starts counting down from the time you set. 

The console is quite simple to use and navigate for anyone, even those who are not very tech-savvy. But, this also means that it is not as sophisticated as some of the other exercise bikes out there. There is no Bluetooth connectivity or any features that connect your exercise performance with any online apps. This makes the A20 great for anyone who likes an old school exercise bike that operates offline.

Preset Workout Programs

The console comes with 6 different pre-set workout programs that has automated duration and resistance level changes. The programs are:

  • Cross Training- It varies the resistance levels at different intervals
  • Uphill Finish- The resistance level increases gradually over time
  • Pyramids- The resistance starts off low and then reaches a peak in the middle of the workout program, and the resistance decreases again to the original level. This makes the course profile resemble a pyramid, and hence the name.
  • Ride in the Park- A relaxing, low intensity workout program with low varying resistance levels.
  • Rolling Hills- A workout of medium intensity with several peaks in the resistance levels
  • Mountains- This workout is similar to the pyramid one and starts off with low resistance levels before reaching a high peak and then reducing back to the original level.

Apart from the pre-set workout programs, there is also a Quick Start option where you can set your own resistance levels throughout the workout. You just press the Quick Start button and start peddling, changing the resistance levels as you exercise. There are eight levels of magnetic resistance to choose from. With the Quick Start option, you can tailor the workout to your ability and choose the intensity you want. You can do steady state, low-intensity cardio or you could even do high intensity interval training as well.

  • Magnetic resistance means that the resistance is provided by magnets near the flywheel. When the magnets are pulled closer to the flywheel, the resistance is higher. The resistance changes are smoother with magnetic resistance.
  • The console doesn’t have an ON or OFF switch and it shuts off automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity on the console or pedals.
Power

The console and resistance changes function through the 4D batteries, but they can also function using an AC adaptor which you will need to purchase separately.

Contact Heart Rate Sensors

To get your heart rate, all you need to do is to hold on to the grips on the handlebars of the seat. The grips have Contact Heart Rate sensors, which are found in the stainless-steel parts of the grip. The grip must be held firmly and both hands must be on the sensors to display the heart rate. If you can’t read the heart rate, ensure the sensor grips are clean and wipe off any sweat on your hands before trying again.

The heart rate detection is best done by pausing the workout or by lowering its intensity. Intense workouts that require heavy muscle contraction can generate small electrical signals in the body that could interfere with the heart rate sensors. 

After the sensors have detected four consecutive pulses, the initial heart rate in beats per minute will be displayed on the LCD monitor. Keep both hands on the grips for about 15 seconds more for the machine to confirm this initial heart rate.

Extra Accessory Features
  • The A20 recumbent bike model has features to store your accessories to make your exercising as fun and convenient as possible. It has a water bottle holder at the front, although it is a bit inconvenient having to grab it from the front while being in a reclined position.
  • The bike also comes with a media tray to store your phones or accessories and a sound system. The sound system has two speakers connected to the console. The console also has an audio jack in the middle where you can plug in MP3 players, phones, tablet. Of course, you will need to get your own cable and it does not serve as a charging station for your electronics. 

Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike

To summarise, here is a list of pros and cons of the features of the A20 recumbent bike from Schwinn:

PROS:
  • The bike is simple, lightweight and affordable, making it perfect for anyone starting out their fitness journey.
  • For a bike that is so affordable, it has quite a high user weight capacity (275 lbs) and elaborate features such as integrated heart rate sensors and several pre-set workout programs.
  • The LCD display is large with simple controls. It is easy to use, even for people who aren’t tech savvy.
  • The overall design is quite ergonomic, with a slanted backrest. Both the seat and backrest are padded. The handlebar also has a very ergonomic grip.
  • There are 12 seat adjustment settings, catering for people of a range of heights. Compared to other bikes, it caters to a wider range of heights- from 4’1 to 6’2.
  • The front section of the bike has small transport wheels making it easy to relocate and store.
  • Users have praised the bike for running quietly and smoothly
  • Other accessory features such as a water bottle holder and a sound system makes working out convenient and fun.

CONS:
  • The console is quite simple and offers no Bluetooth connectivity. Other bikes on the market can connect to online apps to transfer your exercise performance results.
  • The backrest isn’t adjustable which can be harder for people with back problems
  • There is no walk-through design as the seat’s handlebars get in the way, increasing the risk of injury.
  • There are no handlebars at the front to support you if you want to exercise while leaning forward.
  • The batteries and power adaptor needs to be bought separately


Verdict: Overall, the A20 recumbent bike model from Schwinn is a great bike for those who are new to working out or need an exercise bike that’s not bulky. The A20 definitely offers great value for money because it comes with pre-set workout programs which is not common for such an affordable bike.
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