The 10 Best Air Bikes
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in July of 2015. For a low-impact workout without the cost or hassle of going to a gym, try one of these air bikes in your home. Offered at price points to suit any budget, they'll get you sweating like you would on a regular bicycle, but without having to endure any bad weather, and their fans provide a cooling breeze. Place one in your living room and you can watch TV while you exercise. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 06, 2020:
Many people like air bikes for the progressive and essentially unlimited resistance they offer. Due to their design, the harder and faster you pedal, the more the resistance increases. Another benefit for many is the inclusion of upper body training. Unlike spin bikes, which only rely on leg strength, nearly every air bike includes moving hand components that activate the muscles in your arms and back. A notable outlier in this is the Concept2 BikeErg, which doesn't have moving arm components. Instead, it is equipped with a fixed handle bar that offers standard, drop, and bull horn grips. That, combined with its clutched flywheel that lets you coast while the pedals are stationary allows it to most closely replicate on-road cycling of nearly any air bike on the market.
When it comes to features, the Schwinn AD Pro Airdyne immediately stands out. In addition to all the traditional statistics you expect to see on the digital consoles of high-end models, such as calories burned, distance, and speed, it also boasts a tachometer that provides a visual representation of how hard you are pedaling, which is something many people will find motivating.
While the Assault AirBike Classic may not have the cool tachometer feature of the AD Pro Airdyne, we feel it offers better value for the money. An extremely sturdy build ensures it can accommodate users up to 350 pounds, while the sealed ball bearings offer smooth action. It is worth noting that it is chain driven, which is a feature some may prefer as it tends to feel a bit more like a standard bicycle and can be more durable, though others may dislike as it requires more maintenance and isn't as quiet.
Those on a very tight budget should look to the extremely affordable Body Rider BRF700, or, if you have a little bit more money to spare on a slightly sturdier and more feature-packed option, but still want to keep things easy on the wallet, the Schwinn Airdyne AD2 and Body Rider BRF980.
November 26, 2019:
A decent air bike can provide an effective means to burn calories, boost metabolism, get your heart rate up, and target your legs, arms, glutes, and core. When used with additions like hand weights and ankle weights, you can curate a truly brutal workout. Because we know that everybody from the serious CrossFit enthusiast to those who have a casual fitness regimen or like to keep busy while they watch TV uses an air bike, we kept this list as diversified as possible, with an aim to please all budgets.
While the Marcy NS-1000 and Stamina Airgometer are packed with great features and are both solid devices, we felt confident in letting them go to make way for the extremely well-made Concept2 BikeErg and the technologically-inclined Fitness Reality 1000AR.
Coming from a company known for its rowing machines, the Concept2 BikeErg is an excellent choice if you're serious about your fitness routine. It's portable, intuitive, and easy to assemble, and is built around precision flywheel air resistance that can be used to create a custom workout. It uses high-strength, self-tensioning polygroove belts rather than a chain, which greatly reduces the sound output. It's also easy to swap the seat, pedals, and handlebars out with standard bike parts of your choice.
For bargain hunters who want something to get their heart rate up, but are not necessarily looking for a machine that can handle rough, high-intensity workouts, the Sunny Health & Fitness Hybrid and Body Rider BRF700 are ideal. If you'd like a middle of the road option that strikes a balance between price and features, the Fitness Reality 1000AR and Airdyne AD2 are solid. For serious equipment, the Gronk Fitness Chaimberg RXM, Assault AirBike Classic, and Schwinn AD6 are all right up there with the Concept2 model.
Cascade Unlimited Mag Built tough with commercial-grade materials, the Unlimited Mag air bike from Cascade Health and Fitness boasts eight levels of magnetic resistance at the turn of a dial. This feature adds convenience and versatility, with lower levels acting as a great workout choice for more casual users while the top levels provide high intensity workouts. It sports a four-way adjustable seat, multi-grip handlebars, sealed bearings, and a durable fan with steel blades. cascadehealthandfitness.com
The Rogue Echo The patent-pending Rogue Echo combines heavy-duty steel with precision engineering, and provides a rock-solid foundation with a 350-pound weight limit for intense cycling sessions. It offers easy portability thanks to a set of 1-inch polyurethane front wheels. A quiet, belt-driven steel fan produces smooth and consistent performance, while a high-contrast, battery-powered LCD console allows athletes to track intervals, distance, calories burned, heart rate, and more. roguefitness.com
How Do I Select the Correct Air Bike For Me?
In addition, you'll want the option of following several automated workouts, whether those workouts simulate intense inclines, or they guide you through a baseline flow.
At a glance, the majority of air bikes look similar; same shape, same colors, same basic framework. But different bikes have different features, and different features can add up to a different overall design.
If you exercise casually and you have an average physique, any run-of-the-mill air bike should do you just fine. Assuming you're an athlete who has fitness goals, on the other hand, you're going to need an air bike that has a durable frame and adjustable ball bearings. That bike should weigh somewhere between 90 and 130 lbs.
If you're someone who enjoys monitoring every workout, you'll want a bike that offers a digital display (much like a treadmill), complete with time, distance, rpm, mph, resistance level, and more. In addition, you'll want the option of following several automated workouts, whether those workouts simulate intense inclines, or they guide you through a baseline flow.
The more your interest veers toward building muscle, the more you'll want an air bike that offers almost unlimited resistance settings. The more your interest veers toward building endurance, the more you'll want an air bike that features a comfortable seat and adjustable handles, along with a high-level fan that will circulate cool air for as long as you go.
How to Accomplish Your Fitness Goals On an Air Bike
If you're buying an air bike, chances are you're trying to build muscle, boost endurance, burn calories, or all three. The good news is an air bike can allow you to accomplish any or all of these goals. The better news is that an air bike can accommodate you based on your personal fitness level, or skill.
That being the case, you'll want to keep the resistance at a constant level.
If you've chosen an air bike as a means of building calf or thigh muscles, the primary setting you're going be concerned with is the resistance. If you're just starting out, you'll want to keep the resistance level low (resistance can be adjusted by way of an air bike's digital settings, its ball bearings, or its gears). As you start to feel more comfortable, you can begin to tighten the resistance level, ever so slightly. Making a major leap in terms of resistance can - and very likely will - result in you developing a charley horse, or worse.
Let's say your interest is in building endurance. That being the case, you'll want to keep the resistance at a constant level. Your goals should be based on increasing the length of every workout, and perhaps the average distance, as well. You can chart your progress by documenting daily stats inside a notebook. You may be able to use a fitness app to monitor your workout statistics, as well.
One unique way to build both speed and endurance is by engaging in interval training. Interval training is based on splitting your workouts into more concentrated bursts. Instead of doing just one continuous 40-minute bike ride, for example, a person might do three 10-minute rides (with a minor break in between) at a slightly faster pace. Over time, interval training will condition your body to feel more comfortable while pushing a bit harder. Interval training is tremendous for cardiovascular fitness, but you should only do it once every few days.
A Brief History of The Air Bike
Stationary bikes have been in existence since the end of the 1700s. Air bikes, which represent a modern outgrowth of the stationary bike, came into their own during the 1970s, perhaps due to the popularity of resistance-based home gym equipment.
Air bikes generate resistance as a result of either magnets, or some level of air pressure facilitated by the gears or the fan. This pressure creates friction, the opposing force of which compels a rider to pedal harder. The goal, more often than not, becomes one of building strength by maintaining the same rpms despite the resistance pushing back.
You can still find air bikes in any public gym, and they continue to be a viable piece of equipment for the home.
What separates the air bike from its stationary contemporaries is the ability to focus on muscle-building (as opposed to just cardio), while also circulating a self-sustaining flow of air throughout any room. In addition, air bikes are generally designed with elliptical handles, which means that users can work their leg muscles in addition to their arms.
Air bikes became particularly marketable during the 1980s, as companies began to specialize in selling compact gym equipment for the home. Any apparatus that offered dual benefits (e.g., a fitness tower or a rowing machine) without taking up a lot of space represented a hot-ticket item. It's important to recognize that elliptical trainers weren't introduced until the 1990s, which meant that for a time air bikes remained one of the only resistance machines that coordinated upper- and lower-body movement.
Today, certain air bikes have been upgraded to include comprehensive digital displays and automated settings. You can still find air bikes in any public gym, and they continue to be a viable piece of equipment for the home.