If you’re looking for an exercise bike that can provide intense workouts, an air bike might just be the best fit.
Through the use of fans (and air), these machines can provide virtually unlimited resistance, making them great for interval style training.
Well, the only real limit being you and how hard you can pedal.
These bikes are also great because unlike most other exercise bikes, you can opt to get your arms involved too, thus creating a full body workout.
Air bikes are great, but they aren’t for everyone.
Before you decide on purchasing one, it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible to ensure you’re happy with your purchase.
And that’s where this guide comes in.
In this article, I’ll go over everything you should know before deciding on an air bike. After reading, you’ll not only know whether or not an air bike is right for you, but how to go about finding the right model as well.
What Is An Air Bike?
An air bike or air resistance bike is a style of stationary bike that uses air to create the resistance you work against.
Just like all other exercise bikes, there’s a flywheel that spins as you pedal.
Unlike other bikes, the flywheels on these bikes have fan blades attached to it. As you pedal, these fans turn with the flywheel, cutting through the air.
The resistance you feel is dependent on how fast/hard you pedal.
The faster you pedal, the more resistance you feel and the harder your workout gets.
Want less resistance? Simply slow down and the resistance will decrease.
Air bikes also come with moving handles, allowing you to use your arms to help pedal if you so choose.
The biggest benefit to using an air bike is that there’s really no limit to how much resistance they can offer- the faster you go, the more resistance you’re going to feel.
This makes them perfect for all out intervals because you can completely exhaust yourself in seconds.
There are videos out there of people burning like 70-80 calories in 1 minute on these bikes- that’s more than a calorie a second!
Speaking of which, here’s one:
Which of course is why these bikes have become so popular with the athletes, the CrossFit crowd, and pretty much anyone else into HIIT workouts.
And when you think about, these are very simple machines.
There aren’t any magnetic resistance systems or anything like that to malfunction.
Schwinn is credited with the first air bike with the introduction of their original AirDyne back in 1979- it’s funny how old school these things are, but how they’ve made such a comeback recently.
Just goes to show ya, a classic never goes out of style.
Anyway, the advantage of using air resistance is the unlimited resistance potential, but the downside is that you get one noisy piece of equipment.
All that air the fans create makes a good amount of noise, so if you’re looking for a quiet exercise bike, an air bike is not the right option.
But if you’re looking for a bike that can provide one hell of an intense workout, air bikes are the best option.
So, if you’ve decided that an air bike sounds like the right choice for your home, how should you go about picking the right one?
How To Choose An Air Bike
Like I mentioned above, air bikes are pretty basic machines, so there aren’t a lot of features and specs to compared between possible options.
But there are a few.
When choosing your first or next air bike, I suggest you consider the following:
The weight capacity is a crucial spec to consider with any exercise bike because it tells you a lot about how “heavy-duty” or durable you can expect the bike to be.
Higher is obviously better, because it indicates superior built quality.
For example, I’d expect a bike with a 350 lb weight limit to be sturdier than a bike with a 275 lb weight capacity because it has to in order to be able to accommodate the extra load.
Most quality air bikes will come with at least a 300 lb weight capacity.
This is great because it’s high enough to safely hold most folks and it shows that the bike is pretty well constructed.
That said, the best air bikes will come with 350 lb weight limits, indicating even superior frame integrity.
Oh, I like to look at the bike’s assembled weight too. Much like the weight capacity spec, this number gives you a good idea as to how stable the bike will feel during use.
Heavier bikes are going to be less likely to wobble or shake during workouts.
I recommend going with a bike that weighs at least 100 lb if your budget allows it (cheaper bikes tend to be lighter). The highest end air bikes will come with assembled weights in the 130 – 140 lb range.
It’s pretty obvious why this spec is important, but you’d be surprised how many people pay little attention to the warranty info before purchasing.
The warranty is literally your insurance plan for your new bike- it should give you some peace of mind knowing your new purchase is guaranteed for a certain amount of time.
Higher-end bikes usually come with longer warranties and lower-end bikes usually come with shorter warranties.
Air bike warranties are similar to other exercise bike guarantees and are usually divided into 3 categories: frame, parts, and labor.
Good frame warranties will be in the 5-10 year range. Unlike other machines, you don’t see many lifetime frame guarantees on these, probably because of how much stress these bikes are usually under.
The parts warranties will be shorter, expect 2-3 years from quality brands.
The labor guarantee is always the shortest. Expect a year tops in this category.
Air bike consoles tend to be very minimalistic.
Most are little more than a simple LCD screen that shows a few key metrics, although they’ve gotten a little more sophisticated over the last few years.
Many consoles now will include a few built-in interval programs and some will even allow you to create your own custom interval programs.
Some will also come with goal oriented workouts (goal distance or goal calories, for example).
More sophisticated consoles will be compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors, cheaper options most likely won’t be.
Don’t expect HD touchscreen displays or bluetooth features. You also won’t find built-in speakers, fans, or even water bottle holders on most models.
Things to consider though are definitely workout programs and whether or not it’s chest strap compatible (that is, if you care).
That’s about all there is when it comes to air bikes.
These bikes are quite simple by design and easy to use, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that means these things provide easy workouts.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Air bikes are the best exercise bikes around for interval training.
The unlimited resistance potential makes them a potent calorie burner and perfectly suited for HIIT style workouts.
When comparing air bikes, I suggest you compare weight limits, warranties, and console features. You should also take a peek at the assembled weights- remember, being heavy is a good thing!
I didn’t mention it above, but you should also consider the seat.
All bike seats are pretty standard, but not all are fully adjustable (height as well as fore/aft). Having a fully adjustable seat is beneficial because it allows you to get a more comfortable fit.
I also want to point out that even though air bikes are well-designed for intense, interval training, that doesn’t mean you have to do those types of workouts.
You can certainly do lower-intensity, steady-state cardio workouts on these bikes too.
Just make sure you’re cool with the extra noise.