If you’re looking for a quality air bike, Schwinn’s Airdyne lineup is a great place to start.
These famous air bikes come in several varieties, but if you’re working with a smaller budget, your best option is either the AD2 or the AD6.
Both bikes have plenty to offer for their respective price ranges, but there’s really no denying that the more expensive AD6 is a nicer bike.
The real question is whether or not there’s enough difference between the 2 models to warrant the extra cost.
And this is exactly what this review is here to help you determine.
In this head to head comparison, I’ll compare all the key specs and features these 2 Airdynes have to offer.
After reading, you’ll have a much better idea as to which air bike is the better fit for your home gym.
|Schwinn AD2||Schwinn AD6|
|Resistance||Air (smaller fan)||Air (larger fan)|
|Frame||96 lb assembled weight|
250 lb weight limit
|112 lb assembled weight
300 lb weight limit
|Warranty||5 year frame|
1 year mechanical/electrical
90 day wear parts
90 day labor
|10 year frame
2 year mechanical
1 year electrical
6 month labor
No heart rate tracking
Small, firm seat
Chest strap compatible
Larger, softer seat
The Schwinn AD2 vs The Schwinn AD6
I usually use this space to provide a little intro for each brand we’re comparing, but that won’t really be necessary here since we’re talking about 2 bikes from the same brand.
And since that brand happens to be one of the most well-known names in cycling, I’m not sure an intro is really necessary anyway.
What I do want to mention is that we have Schwinn to thank for bringing us the first air bike back in the late ’70s- yes, they’re original Airdyne was the first of its kind.
And even though we have a lot of options to choose from these days, Schwinn’s Airdynes are still going strong.
You might also come across the Airdyne Pro, but that’s the same as the AD7 (only marketed for commercial use).
The AD2 is their entry level air bike and the AD6 is their slightly more expensive, mid-range model.
Both of these bikes are air bikes, meaning that they both use a fan based system to create the resistance you work against.
The unique thing about this type of exercise bike is that the resistance you get is directly based on how fast (or hard) you pedal- there are no resistance levels to adjust.
If you want more resistance, simply pedal faster.
Want less, slow down.
It’s a simple system, but quite effective. Especially for folks looking to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time.
Air bikes work exceptionally well for interval training, where you’re going all out for short periods and then resting.
Another great thing about this type of resistance is that there isn’t really a limit to how much resistance the bike can provide- again, the faster you go, the more resistance you’ll feel.
Another benefit of air bikes is that they come with handles that allow you to get your arms involved too- turning your bike routine into a full body workout.
Something most other exercise bikes can’t do.
Anyway, both the AD2 and the AD6 use the same fan based resistance system, but if you compare the images you’ll notice that the fan on the AD6 is larger than the one on the AD2.
Even though both fans work the same way (go faster, get more resistance), a larger fan will be able to provide more overall resistance than a smaller one.
The larger blades are hitting more air as they spin, thus creating more resistance for you to work against (more air = more resistance).
So, if you’re looking for a harder workout, the AD6 has an advantage.
I think frame integrity is an important thing to consider when considering any exercise bike. A common feature of many affordable bikes is a light weight frame that feels a bit shaky during workouts.
And nobody wants this, but hey- cheaper bikes are cheaper for reasons.
It can be tough to determine how “heavy duty” a bike is without trying it out first, but the next best thing is to look at 2 key specs: the weight capacity and the assembled weight.
Seeing higher numbers in both of these categories will be indicative of a heavier duty frame, meaning the bike should feel more stable and less wobbly during use.
The AD2 comes with a weight capacity of 250 lb and an assembled weight of 96 lb.
The weight limit is lower than the 300 lb capacity I like to see (a limit this high is a good indicator of overall construction quality), but the 96 lb weight is actually pretty good for a bike in this price range.
The AD6 comes with a 300 lb weight limit and an assembled weight of 112 lb.
To me, this shows that the AD6 is significantly “bulkier” than the AD2.
Not only is the weight capacity significantly higher, allowing it to accommodate heavier folks, but it weighs a good 16 lb more, making for a more stable base.
Does the heavier frame of the AD6 mean it’s worth the extra cash?
Not necessarily, but if you’re a larger individual, it’s definitely something to consider.
I’ll admit it- I’m a stickler when it comes to warranties.
When comparing bikes (or anything else for that matter), I put a lot of weight in the warranty department. What can I say, if I buy something, I want it to last.
And if it doesn’t, I want to know that it’s backed by a decent guarantee.
Let’s take a look at the warranties Schwinn offers on each model to see how they compare:
The AD2 comes with the following warranty:
- 5 year frame
- 1 year mechanical/electrical parts
- 90 day wear parts
- 90 day labor
The AD6 comes with the following warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year mechanical
- 1 year electrical
- 6 month labor
Ok, so, a few things to say here.
First of all, I want to commend Schwinn for the warranty they’re offering on the AD2- I think this is a good guarantee for a $400 bike (certainly longer than most in this price range).
I’ll say the same for the warranty on their AD6- these are both great guarantees.
But when you compare ’em side by side, you can see that the more expensive AD6 comes with a guarantee that’s 2x as long in every category except electrical.
Again, is this worth upgrading to the AD6 over the AD2?
That’s up to you, but personally, I think the extended warranty is one of the biggest advantages the AD6 offers.
At first glance, it’s pretty obvious there’s a big difference between the 2 consoles on these bikes.
Not only is the console on the AD2 located on top of the fan, where it’s more difficult to read, but it’s significantly smaller and less cosmetically pleasing.
The console on the AD6 is larger and elevated, making it easier to see during workouts.
But the differences don’t stop there.
The console on the AD6 displays a few metrics the AD2 doesn’t, like power and heart rate, and it also has a RevMeter RPM feature for added motivation.
The AD2 only displays speed, distance, calories, time, and RPM.
The AD2 isn’t heart rate monitor compatible either, while the AD6 is Polar chest strap friendly (although one isn’t included).
There are a few other differences too, besides the consoles.
You might notice that the seat on the AD6 is a little larger and a little more cushiony (is that a word?) while the seat on the AD2 is a little smaller and firmer.
Something else- the AD2 doesn’t come a water bottle holder and the AD6 does- hey, I know it sounds like a small thing, but it’s the small things that make a difference.
Plus, hydration is important people!
That about does it for the features. Both of these bikes are fairly simple by design, but as you can see, the AD6 comes with a more advanced console.
Definitely something to consider if you want to monitor your heart rate during workouts.
Ok, let’s talk price.
The big question I asked at the beginning of the article is whether or not the AD6 is worth the extra cash. I mean it’s pretty obvious the AD6 is a nicer model than the AD2, it’s supposed to be- it’s an upgraded model.
But is it upgraded enough to the point to where it makes sense to spend more, especially if you’re on a tight budget to begin with?
If you check the full retail prices for these bikes on Schwinn’s website, you’ll see that the AD2 costs $399 and the AD6 costs $699.
(P.S.- prices change periodically, these are the prices at the time of writing this- please forgive me if they’ve changed by the time you’re reading this).
That means the AD6 costs about $300 more than the AD2.
You might be able to find both of these bikes a little cheaper depending on where you purchase- for example, I’ve seen the AD6 on sale on Amazon for $599.
At that price, that would put the AD6 only $200 ahead of the AD2.
Is it worth an extra $200-$300?
I think so, but more on that in a minute.
I save this area for any other issues or things that should be considered when deciding between the 2 models that didn’t really fit in any of the other categories.
In the case of these 2 air bikes, I don’t have much else to say.
I wanted to mention that the AD6 looks better than the AD2 (cosmetically), not that that should necessarily mean much when it comes to making a decision.
Both bikes take up roughly the same floor space too, so space shouldn’t be a factor one way or the other.
Oh, customer service…
Both of these bikes are Schwinn models, so this isn’t a factor either, but I do want to mention that Schwinn doesn’t really have a stellar reputation when it comes to their customer service.
Users often complain that it can be tough to reach them in the first place and once you do, it can take forever to hear back from them.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty common complaint for larger fitness brands.
Also, both bikes are very highly rated by users on Amazon, so there isn’t much of a difference there either (4.4/5 vs 4.5/5).
Ok, that about does it for the AD2 and the AD6.
I’ve gotta say- I’m pretty impressed with the AD2. It’s got a lot going for it for such an affordable air bike, especially when you compare it to some of the competitors in this price range.
And like I’ve said several times already- the AD6 is a higher-end bike, with obvious upgrades over the AD2.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what differentiates different models in some brands’ lineups, but I don’t think this is the case here.
When you look at the different specs side by side, it’s pretty easy to see the differences between these 2 air bikes.
The AD6 comes with a larger fan, a heavier duty frame, a significantly longer warranty (2x as long), and a significantly upgraded console.
Plus a water bottle holder!
Ha, jokes aside, I think the upgrades the AD6 comes with justify the added cost.
I would almost argue the extended warranty alone is worth the extra investment, but I don’t have to- there are the other upgrades already mentioned too.
So, if you have the budget, I think it makes sense to go with the AD6 over the AD2- especially if you’re larger or looking for a more substantial workout.
And getting the AD6 for only $200 more than the AD2 makes the decision a little easier if you ask me.