Review of Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Elliptical Trainer

Rhian Hunt's picture

Most elliptical trainer exercise machines have a fixed stride length – perhaps 18 inches, perhaps 20, depending on the model, but still with no adjustment possible. The Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Elliptical Trainer takes a different approach, however, which I find very useful: the foot pedals automatically adjust the stride length based on the amount of pressure you exert on them with each step.

This is an intriguing approach which, according to some users, takes some getting used to, but offers a uniquely thorough workout that adapts itself to your needs as you go.

The Schwinn 460 also offers solid construction, a good warranty, and several other features. There are occasional problems with the machine as well, but in large measure, most customers are well satisfied with this mid-level elliptical trainer.

Size and Weight - Dimensions

Elliptical machines tend to be quite large and heavy, given the complex mechanisms needed to provide the smoothly rotating elliptical experience, and the Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Trainer is no exception to this. However, unlike most ellipticals, it is quite a bit taller than it is long. The Schwinn 460 is 54 inches long, 34 inches wide, and 73 inches high (or roughly 4.5 by 3 by 6 feet). It thus has a smaller ‘footprint’ than many of its competitors and can fit into a smaller space, assuming that the ceiling is high enough to accommodate a user while standing on it. This height causes some slight stability problems (see below). The machine weighs 221 pounds, although shipping weight is 243 pounds.

Easy Assembly, Good Warranty, Very Durable

For once, an exercise machine comes with complete, clear assembly instructions and is easy to build – the Schwinn 460 is an easy-to-assemble device with an excellent set of directions. Some pre-assembled portions of the elliptical trainer are quite heavy, and having two people on hand is helpful at times, but not indispensable. The machine’s engineering is good, though not perfect, and the warranty on the frame is for 10 years, while parts, electronics, and wearing parts are warranted for 2 years, 1 year, and 90 days respectively. The Schwinn 460 is robust, made out of steel tubing and bronze and steel bearings.

As one user, Art Fritzson, said,

“it's well engineered, everything fits well and works smoothly, it's rock solid in operation, etc. This is really a well engineered and well executed machine.”

Maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds.

Variable Stride, Good Resistance

The most unique feature of the Schwinn 460 Elliptical is the variable stride provided by the pedals. Walking, running, and stair climbing are all provided by the machine. The heart of the machine is the variable stride length, ranging from 2 to 26 inches – the longer the stride, the more resistance, so when you are fresh, you can take long, challenging strides, and when you begin to tire, you can ease off for a while with shorter, easier steps.

Besides the thoroughness of the workout this provides, it also allows users of different leg length to use the machine comfortably, unlike machines with a fixed stride, which may be inconvenient for either large or small users, depending on the stride length. There are 16 different levels of resistance, with the default starting level being set at 3.

Display

The Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Elliptical Trainer has a backlit display, allowing you to work out with the lights off, and touch screen controls. The display shows your speed, the time of your session, the distance you have ‘traveled,’ your revolutions per minute (RPM), your watts, your pulse rate, the number of calories burned, interval time, resistance, and course profile – a smorgasbord of information that will satisfy both casual users and serious exercisers who want to track every part of their workout in detail.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Heart rate monitoring is provided by sensors in the hand grips and also by an included chest strap with telemetry. Since there are both stationary and moving handlebars, and you may wish to change back and forth between these during your workout, the telemetric heart rate belt is more reliable and accurate. One slight flaw in the heart rate measurement is that a full minute of exercise is needed for the machine to display your current heart rate, rather than the much briefer spans of a few seconds on other machines. Some users report that the heart rate displayed is half the actual heart rate, and that it is necessary to double the figure to be accurate, while other users do not report this problem.

Workout Programs and Extras

The computer also includes 16 different workout programs to keep your exercise experience fresh and interesting, and to ensure that you are working out different muscle groups. There are 11 ‘profile’ programs, 1 ‘manual,’ and 4 custom. The monitor area also includes a fan with three different speeds for cooling you while you work out, a water bottle holder, and a stand capable of holding up a thin book for entertainment while you work out.

A Few Problems with the Schwinn 460

The machine is slightly less than completely stable when a tall, heavy user employs it. There are no reports of it actually tipping over, but due to its height, it rocks or wobbles slightly sometimes when a tall user is working out strongly on it. Higher RPM also tends to cause the machine to become wobbly and sometimes tilt alarmingly, suggesting that the tall design was an imprudent choice on the company’s part. Customer service from the manufacturer, when it is actually needed, tends to be slow and somewhat frustrating, although it does eventually work out. The variable stride of the elliptical is somewhat difficult to get accustomed to for some users as well.

Overview

All in all, the Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Elliptical is a very well made, highly engineered elliptical exercise machine which will last for years and give plenty of good workouts to most users. There are a few flaws – slight instability thanks to its height relative to its footprint, slow-moving customer service – but in the main, the Schwinn is a very good machine at a medium-quality machine’s price and able to hold its own in many ways against competing models.

Where Can I Read More Reviews and Where Can I Buy it?

The best price and shipping deal for the Schwinn 460 Elliptical along with many reviews is to be found on Amazon.

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