The Schwinn 870 Treadmill is an upgrade of the Schwinn 830, and the top treadmill in their 2015 collection.
All equipment under the Schwinn name is now manufactured by Nautilus, who also develop and release treadmills under the Nautilus, Bowflex, and TrimLine brands.
So how does the Schwinn 870 compare to the top-of-the-line T616 from Nautilus?
In our Schwinn 870 review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the differences between these two treadmill collections, to help you decide which one best suits your fitness goals and budget.
We’ll also be walking you through everything you can expect from the workout programs, display console, user profiles, design features, warranty, and assembly process.
Design and safety features
If you’re looking for a treadmill with a large running area for under $1000, there are few that measure up to the Schwinn 870.
Although it boasts the same 20″ belt width that you find on most entry level and mid range treadmills, the 60″ length is a lot harder to find.
It’s an obvious upgrade over similar treadmills from some of the biggest names in fitness equipment, including the LifeSpan TR1200i (20″W x 56″L) and Horizon Fitness T101-04 (20″W x 55″L).
This larger running area means it’s better suited to taller users than the earlier Schwinn 830 treadmill, as it provides enough space to build up to a full natural running stride.
But it’s not just the size of the running area that makes this treadmill stand out. You’re also getting the full 12 mph maximum belt speed, 15% incline, and powerful 3.0 CHP motor. These are all usually features reserved for treadmills twice the price.
Schwinn have also built an advanced impact absorption system called ‘SoftTrak’, which helps to reduce the impact of your footfall when walking, jogging, or running.
The 2-ply belt is an upgrade over the earlier Schwinn 830 and Nautilus T614 treadmills, and helps to reduce friction on the 2.5″ Crowned rollers housed inside the running deck. This results in a lower level of ongoing maintenance.
Schwinn 870 Treadmill – Features Summary
- Blue backlit Dual Track LCD display – two LCD windows display the status of up to 13 workout details
- Charging USB port and data export to schwinnconnect.com or myfitnesspal.com
- 0 to 12 MPH belt speed
- 0 to 15% incline
- 3.0 CHP motor
- 20-Inch x 60-Inch belt
- 26 programs
- 4 user profiles
- Acoustic chambered speakers for big sound
- 2.5-Inch crowned rollers
- SoftDrop folding system
Display console features
Finding a treadmill with a console that’s intuitive to use while at the same time provides all the feedback you need is incredibly important.
The console design for the Schwinn 870 is virtually identical to that of the Nautilus T616, with the same button layout, Heart Rate Zone indication, and Goal Display. The only difference is the label on one says SchwinnConnect, while on the other it says NautilusConnect.
This is referring to the online workout tracking that the treadmill supports, where you can download workout data to a USB, then upload to your online profile.
You can also sync your results to MyFitnessPal, which is a popular fitness app and online service that allows you to keep track of your complete nutrition and fitness routine.
The console is packed with useful features to help improve the quality of your workouts, including quick-select speed and incline buttons, controls for the 3-speed cooling fan, and an LCD screen that keeps you updated with the latest workout feedback.
This feedback includes your current heart rate, workout category, time, distance, speed, incline, and the course profile for the current workout program.
There’s also a more unique feature called ‘Pacer’, where you can measure your progress against a virtual competitor via a series of User Indicator Lights. As the Pacer progresses, the Indicator Lights will illuminate, with the goal being to have all of your indicator lights lit before the Pacer does.
Heart rate monitoring
Another major feature of the console is its Heart Rate Zone indicator, which indicates which one of five zones your current heart rate falls into. This could be either Warm Up, Fat Burn, Aerobic, Anaerobic, or Max.
The Schwinn 870 supports both touch sensors and telemetry heart rate monitoring via a chest strap (included). As long as you’re transmitting your heart rate using the sensors or a belt, your heart rate zone will show on the console screen.
Unless you have the budget for one of NordicTrack’s Commercial series treadmills, it’s unlikely you’ll find a console that supports more than MP3 playback.
This is true of the Schwinn 870, which features a port for your MP3 player and built-in sealed acoustic speakers so you can listen to your favorite motivational workout music.
There’s also a media shelf for your tablet, should you choose to watch a movie or catch up on the latest TV shows while you run.
To give you some idea of how this measures up against other treadmills in the industry, NordicTrack’s Commercial line include a full color touch-screen console that’s web enabled for internet browsing. This also includes the Google Maps virtual view of your running route via StreetView.
If you’re looking for a treadmill with even more entertainment options, you’ll probably want one of the high-end Precor models, or something that supports a PVS (Personal Viewing System). This is an additional, larger, full-color screen that mounts to the top of the existing console, giving you access to TV and audio channels.
The NordicTrack 2950 treadmill has a similar feature that’s more affordable, whereby you have a 15″ HDTV screen mounted to the top of the console and watch your favorite sports, TV shows and movies. This is in addition to their 10″ web-enabled display.
Workout programs and user profiles
As with the console design, incline range, and belt speed, the workout programs are identical to the Nautilus T616, right down to the names.
The Schwinn 870 has 26 workout programs to choose from, ranging from the default ‘Manual’ program, right through to profile programs that automatically adjust the speed and incline to meet your fitness goal.
7 Workout program categories
If you simply want to step on the tread belt and start running, walking, or jogging, this is the program for you. It requires no setup and won’t change the incline or belt speed unless you choose to do so via the quick-select controls.
- Quick Goal
Choose from one of 3 workout goals – Distance, Time, Calories. You can then view your progress using the DualTrack LCD screen (Goal Display).
- Heart Health
If you’re holding the touch sensors or wearing a heart rate chest strap, the 4 Heart Health programs will help keep you at a certain heart rate level. This can be either 55% (Healthy), 65% (Fat Burn), 75% (Aerobic), or 85% (Anaerobic).
- Weight Control
A selection of 5 workout programs designed to assist with fat loss and weight control. Each profile is based around lower intensity, steady-state cardio that keeps you at the optimum level for weight loss.
Interval training has become a hugely popular way of burning the most calories in the shortest time, with periods of high intensity work followed by a lower intensity recovery phase. These 3 programs offer incline intervals, speed intervals, and a combination of the two.
These are the high intensity workouts, designed to improve your overall endurance across longer distances. From these 6 programs, 3 allow you to race against a pacer, across distances of 1 mile, 5K, and 10K.
If you’re looking for even more workout variation than the programs above can provide, you also have the option of setting up your own custom workout. This means selecting the speed and incline level for each segment of the workout, then storing it against a user profile.
Most entry level treadmills won’t feature user profiles, and even those that do are usually limited to 2 profiles.
Although the price means it’s just starting to move out of entry level and more into mid-range, it’s still impressive to see that the Schwinn 870 offers 4 user profiles. That’s twice as many as the Nautilus T614 and Schwinn 830 treadmills.
Having these additional user profiles makes it a much better option for family environments, or where more than 2 people will be using the machine.
This allow you to store basic personal information, such as age and weight, which can then be used by the console to improve the accuracy of the calculations for your maximum heart rate and number of calories burned.
It also means you can sync your personal workout data to specific profiles on SchwinnConnect, making it easier to monitor your progress.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: 10 years
- Parts: 2 years
- Labor: 1 year