Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical Trainer Review


Schwinn 520 Recumbent Elliptical Trainer Review

If you’re no longer feeling challenged with your exercise routine, it’s time to up the ante with a fitness product that is designed to push you to your limits! Schwinn have introduced the 520 Reclined Elliptical as their mid level Seated Elliptical Trainer. It uses the same technology as the upright Schwinn Airdyne range such as the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne and the Schwinn AD2 Airdyne.

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Read on for our Full Schwinn 520 Reclined Elliptical Review:

Made by iconic brand Schwinn, the 520 Elliptical Machine is not just any other elliptical trainer in the market. It’s such an easy-to-use fitness machine that makes exercising seem like a no-brainer. We have managed to find the Schwinn 520 with a great % Discount:

What makes the Schwinn 520 Elliptical Trainer Best the under $500 Class?

Schwinn 520 Side ViewFeaturing a fan system for resistance, the Schwinn 520 recumbent elliptical trainer runs smoothly and quietly, with infinite levels of air resistance to keep you on your toes.  The faster you pedal, the more the air resistance builds up, making you work harder.

The battery-operated (not included!) trainer is not equipped with workout programs, this helps keep the price low and lets you customise the workout.  We prefer to start with a slow steady pace and do mini ‘sprints’ every minute during a 20-30 minute workout.  This keep things challenging at all times. You get to choose the intensity level based on your specific fitness goals. More so, it has a 17.” stride length and footplates that make peddling a very natural movement that is comfortable for everyone upto about 6′ as natural as can be.  This stride length is a good mid point for most users, and just shy of that found on the more expensive Schwinn 430 Elliptical.

The stability of the machine is impressive, with an oversized stabilizer at the rear of the trainer providing a good solid platform for the machine to sit on.

The Schwinn 520 Recumbent Trainer comes with the best warranty deals that only go to show how much the company is committed to making top-quality products in the market. It has a 5-year warranty for the frame, plus a 12-months warranty for the metal parts and electrical components. However ‘wear’ parts only have three months.

In addition, if you’re committed to religiously getting the most out of your workouts, the Schwinn 520 Elliptical Trainer is packed with awesome features that allow you to monitor your progress easily.  The bike is able to hold riders of 300lbs easily, I have heard of a guy that started using it at 317lbs with no problem and lost enough weight to drop below the 300lbs limit.

Let’s look at some of the Schwinn 520 features in more detail….


OK this is a fan powered trainer so can expect some noise to come from the machine.

However I like the way that the designers have given this some real thought, the rollers are smooth, and at low speeds the fan is hardly noticeable.  Its quite nice to hear the effort you are putting in with the higher pitched sound coming from the fan.

You will hear some noise creeping out at high intensity levels, but the balanced mechanicals gives a smooth operation.  Most of the sound can be eliminated through the use of noise cancelling headphones.

In comparison to other bikes in this price bracket, and given the other features offered by the Schwinn the noise is not a deal breaker for me.

Stride Length

At 17″ the stride length is on the short side, most trainers are in the 18″-20″ range.  However remember that this is a recumbent bike, and its not so important to have a longer stride length as it is when you are standing.  The reason is that your legs will have a slighty shorter range of motion because your back is in the saddle, rather than when you are standing.

As this point does not fit else where, the 520 can be run in two directions, forwards and back wards.  This may feel a little strange at first, but it does provide a great change to the muscle groups!

The Console

Schwinn 520 ConsolePossibly one of the weaker elements of the Schwinn 520.  This is more a function of the type of the elliptical.  Most trainers need the resistance changed on teh console, since the 520 Recumbent changes resistance with the speed of pedaling there is no need to have this feature on the console. It also makes workout programs redundant, because again it cannot control the effort needed to turn the fan.  What you do have is a basic console, well positioned at the side of the bike so you don’t have to reach far for it.  The console displays: Time, RPM, Distance, Speed, Pulse,

There are 3 easy to use buttons that are easy to access on while working out, for example changing setting the time, or the current displayed stat.  Navigation is easy via an intuitive display

There are two small issues with the console, its not back lit so you will have to exercise in reasonably well lit rooms. Also the unit does require power, from a couple of AA batteries (not included) or from a separately supplied power supply.

Heart Rate Monitor

More and more an accurate measurement of heart rate is seen as an essential feature of any cardio machine.  Without this measurement you may not be working at the peak level, and not making the best of your workout time.

The Schwinn 520 Elliptical trainer, has contact heart rate sensors mounted on the handlebars.  These are placed at a good natural height, however you can only use them if you are not using the handlebars.  Most users should not find this an issue.

These sensors are good quality, and quickly pick up your electromagnetic output from your heart beating.  Providing there is a little moisture in your hands then the readout is quickly displayed.

Portability and Comfort Functions

If you are anything like me, i’m always moving things about.  If you choose the 520 Hybrid Elliptical then there is a good chance that the place you assemble it is not going to be its final home and you will want to try it in different locations.

The 520 is a lightweight trainer, weighing just 120lbs, and is fitted with transport wheels on the forward stabilizer bar.  With the weight of the machine up front it is an easy job to pick up the rear stabiliser and move the unit to a location of your choice.

With its easy portability you can move the elliptical in front of the TV and easily put it away after the workout.

On the console stem on this elliptical is a convenient water bottle holder, well sized and placed.  The console can double as a book or iPad rack so you can keep your mind exercised as well as your body.

Alternatives to the Schwinn 520 Hybrid Elliptical:



Schwinn 520 Dimensions

The Schwinn 520 weighs in more than the Airdyne range, due to the extra seating and mechanicals at the rear.  After assembly the machines dimensions are: 61.7″ x 28.3″ x 40.2″ high

There is no step, so its easy to slide into the seat.

Schwinn 520 Reclined Recumbent Reclined Elliptical Review

Schwinn 520 Assembly:

The Schwinn arrives disassembled and there is some element of home assembly required.  This is a straight forward process that can be carried out by one person (although two might make the job a little easier), in an hour or two.

You receive a simple to read manual that breaks the build down into 13 logical steps.  The link is included so you can see for your self just how easy to use this 520 elliptical is.

There is a simple sheet of card with all the fixtures and fittings easily displayed.  Much better than having them in a bag as it lessens the chance of a vital component being missed.  The sheet has easy to follow images on, along with each part being labeled A, B, C etc.

With these easy to follow instructions, and with all the tools included you will soon be up and running on your new Elliptical.

 What are other customers saying?

The Schwinn 520 is a fairly new concept to the market, however the combination of the comfortable recumbent position and the elliptical motion has proven popular!

“Very easy to set up. Comfortable and effective to use. The machine feels completely stable, does not wobble and is quite sturdy.”

“I love this machine! I found it really easy to do a dumbbell workout while I am using it. “

To read more  Pros and Cons click here.

In summary

With basic features that are convenient and easy to use, the Schwinn 520 Recumbent Elliptical Trainer is definitely one of the most versatile elliptical machines in the market.  We have dozens of elliptical reviews under our belt, and the 520 stands among the best.  The combination of exercise makes this quite unique at the price.

The motion of this machine is perfect if you are recovering from injury or have weak knees.  As your weight is taken off your knees you can focus on great technique getting your lower body stronger and fitter with no risk of further injury.

Not only are you getting terrific workouts with the machine, it also allows you to carry on other tasks at ease. While sweating it out, you can catch up on your readings, listen to a podcast or watch your favourite shows.  Because you are sitting down it is much easier to multi task, you can catch up on reading or your latest movies while still workout out.

The best part is you don’t have to go anywhere far to achieve results. That’s right – why go to the gym and wait in queue to use your favourite cardio machine, when you can achieve more at home with the Schwinn 520 Elliptical?

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