Air bikes give people of all skill levels – from casual exercisers to elite athletes – the ability to squeeze in both cardio workouts and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the comfort of their own home.
Based on effort per minute, Air bikes are likely the highest calorie burning workouts. The increase in resistance with increased effort can challenge the best and most fit.
In this guide, we will review the best air bikes on the market that can fit your budget and your preferences. Without further wait, here are our top picks in 2020.
Top 6 Best Air Bikes on the Market
Rogue Echo Bike
|View on Rogue Fitness|
Schwinn Airdyne Pro
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Assault Air Bike
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Xebex AirPlus Expert Bike 2.0
|View on Get Rx'D|
Schwinn AD6 Airdyne
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Xebex Air Bike
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What Is An Air Bike?
Air bikes, also known as assault bikes are a type of stationary bike that features a fan that is driven by the power and speed of the pedals along with two handles that move back and forth.
Compared to running, air bikes are lower impact and allow you to get a good indoor workout, no matter your experience level, similar to a rower.
Related Read: 7 Best Assault Bike CrossFit Workouts You Have To Try
They’re pretty simple to use:
1. Sit on the air bike’s seat, grab the handles, and put your feet on the pedals.
2. Start pedaling slowly while moving the handles back and forth. As you pump the handles and pedals harder and faster, the air bike will increase its resistance.
3. As you get more comfortable with the movement, speed up. Instead of moving forward, keep your back straight.
4. For interval training, pedal as fast as possible for 15-30 seconds with rests of half a minute to a minute in between. For an aerobic workout, maintain a steady pace for 20-60 minutes.
How Are Air Bikes Different From Other Exercise Bikes?
There are now a number of different types of exercise bikes on the market. Some of these utilize air resistance to aid training methods while others do not.
This is one of the biggest ways in which air bikes differ from other types of exercise bikes. Air bikes incorporate a built-in fan within their steel frame that creates a level of resistance that depends on how fast you pedal and how quickly you pump your arms. This air resistance directly affects the belt drive, meaning the more you pedal, the more air resistance is generated and the harder you work.
This is the second way in which air bikes differ, they include handles that allow the rider to work their upper body along with their legs while riding. This is perfect for CrossFit athletes that want a workout for their upper and lower body.
History of The Air Bike
The concept of an air resistance bike with a chain drive has been around for over 50 years. Air bikes really began to grow in popularity around the 1980s alongside the home gym boom. This popularity was largely based on their compact design and the huge advantage of being able to work the upper and lower body in one exercise session. The air resistance nature of air bikes also made them particularly suited to interval training just as high-intensity workouts really hit the mainstream.
HIIT workouts still remain popular today and it is no surprise to see the renaissance of air bikes in helping people hit their fitness goals. The revival of air bikes has also been due to the innovation of the product. Many air bikes now include LCD displays, take user weight into consideration when calculating calories, include a water bottle holder, all while delivering a smooth ride.
Benefits of Using an Air Bike
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, there are five main physical benefits of cycling indoors:
1. Low-Impact Workout – Air bike cycling is incredibly low impact for the intensity level of the cardio workout.
There is minimal impact on the knee, ankle, and hip joints when you use your air bike correctly. That is why physicians recommend air bikes for people recovering from orthopedic injuries.
2. Burn Calories – You have found the right exercise if your fitness goals include losing pounds of fat.
You will burn about 450 calories per a 30-minute workout, which translates to a pound of fat lost every eight sessions.
3. Increased Endurance of the Muscles – Once you get into the air bike routine, your muscles will be able to repeatedly and continually exert force for long periods of time.
The lower body muscles this will benefit include the calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps as well as those in the upper body including shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Not many pieces of equipment can work your arms and legs in the same motion.
4. Decreased Stress Levels – With high-intensity interval training workouts, you get the same “high” that runners talk about.
This release of endorphins has been known to enhance your body’s immune response, lower your stress, and create feelings of euphoria.
5. Improved Cardio Health – Continuous cardiovascular activity from riding your air bike at least 30 minutes per session can lower your overall resting heart rate, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and decrease your risk of coronary artery disease, perfect for a piece of home gym equipment.
What to Look for When Buying an Air Bike
All air bikes may look similar at first glance, but there is a broad range of features.
Below, we will explore the different aspects of air bikes and why you might want to look for bikes that have these specific features.
Why Do You Want an Air Bike?
Any run-of-the-mill air bike will serve you well if you have an average physique and just want to casually exercise.
On the other hand, you are going to want an air bike with adjustable ball bearings and a heavy-duty frame if you are an athlete with clear goals.
You will want a bike that features a large digital console if you are someone who likes to monitor every workout, and capture your calories burned.
This will let you know your speed, time, distance traveled, RPMs, and calories burned. Some displays even feature automated workouts to keep you entertained.
If the cardiovascular aspect of the air bike entices you, then you should place heavy emphasis on a bike with comfortable seat and adjustable or multi grip handles, since these types of workouts will last longer.
Important Air Bike Features
We touched on a few of the key features found on air / assault bikes, but there are further options you might be interested in:
Since air bikes feature a fan wheel, there is a certain level of noise that is to be expected. For a garage gym, this will not be an issue.
However, if you live in an apartment with thin walls, want to watch television, or listen to music while working out it might become an issue particularly with high-intensity interval training where you’re looking to ramp up calories burned and working overtime. With the amount of resistance created the chain or belt drive has to work even harder which is what generates the noise. On the whole, the best air bikes will generally be quieter in the amount of noise they produce.
Note that the latest bikes now are coming out with belt drive system instead of chain drives, which has the impact of noise reduction as well as less maintenance. Belt drive systems are how most automobile engines are built.
Weight and Construction
Weight refers to the size of the bike and the size of the rider. Heavy-duty bikes for intense training weigh around 100 pounds and feature wheels to make them easier to move around.
If you’re a bigger person looking to shed pounds, make sure you choose a bike that can handle your weight. Most models have a capacity of at least 300 pounds.
In order to get the right stride as you are pedaling, all air bikes feature seats that adjust up and down. But, if you are a bigger or smaller person, this does not help with your arm strokes.
If you fall outside of the range of the average physique, look for a model that offers horizontal seat adjustments as well as high-density foam seats for extra comfort. For the most part, all of the bikes that we pick already have adjustable seats.
Bonus tip: Look for air bikes that include a water bottle holder.
Best Air Bikes Reviewed
Due to the broad range of air bikes available on the market, you might have a tough time choosing the perfect model for your needs.
To help you with this, we are going to review our top five options:
Rogue Echo Bike is a fairly newer entrant on the market. It is now in contention to replace the Assault AirBike as the top choice of most CrossFit athletes and gyms. It has a clean sexy look with a matte black paint, and a heavy duty presence; a signature look of most Rogue Fitness equipment.
We chose this bike as the top pick because it matches all the criteria of top air bikes on the market, yet is priced lower, and ships free. The Echo Bike matches the Airdyne Pro with the seat adjustments, the steel frame, the belt drive, heavy duty weight (coming in higher at 127lbs), and many other top air bike features, while coming in at a much lower cost.
The key difference from the Airdyne will also show up on the screen. The LCD console display is clean and clear, with some preset workouts, but will not be as extensive as the Airdyne Pro. However, the number of various workouts may not be an issue for most people if you are incorporating the air bike as part of a larger daily workout.
We highly recommend you also purchase the compatible Polar Heart Rate Monitor/transmitter (HRM) if you are serious about your workout data. The HRM allows you to capture the calories burned based on your specific workout rather than a theoretical number.
On a noise scale this air bike is quieter than the popular Assault Airbike due to the belt drive system. Mind you that there is still noise. A fan moving air that hits the cage around it will inevitably create noise.
Lastly, this bike is almost 30lbs heavier than the Assault Airbike, making it much more sturdy, with most of the weight skewed towards the base. The construction of this bike is built to last, as we have come to expect with most equipment from Rogue Fitness.
- Heavy duty construction, with matte black finish
- Belt drive that reduces maintenance, and noise
- Comparable features to more expensive airbikes
- Ability to switch out pedals to specialist cycling shoes
- Would be great to have more preset workouts
- Only one hand grip
This airdyne bike has been considered a market leader for a long time and for good reason too. The majority of the AD Pro is made of steel and aluminum, which gives it a hefty weight of 113 pounds. And, its 42” long by 20” wide by 52” high footprint requires little space in your home.
They were also the first belt drive system on the market. This was a huge advancement since it reduced the amount of maintenance over a chain drive system.
Infinite levels of resistance are supported by the fan bike. The fan blade in the wheel helps build tension as the rider builds speed.
This makes the Airdyne Pro ideal for both high-intensity workouts and low-impact riding. The sturdy design of this Schwinn air bike makes it strong enough for users who weigh up to 350 pounds.
A wide array of riders can find a comfortable stride length with the Airdyne Pro thanks to the adjustable padded seat, though individuals a bit taller than 6’ may feel awkward.
You can make the most of your exercise session with the nine preset programs. A range of interval training exercises and routines are supported by these workouts.
You get feedback in pulse, watts, RPM, calories, speed, distance, and time categories. To get heart rate, you will need to purchase a separate heart rate monitor. Schwinn recommends the following heart rate monitor: Polar® compatible 4.5kHz – 5.5kHz chest strap transmitter.
- 9 preset workout programs
- Most features on screen of any air bike available on market
- Supports users up to 6’ tall and 350 pounds
- This is a high price bike, but does have excellent quality
- The new version contains more plastic parts then previous versions. Long term durability in a commercial gym could be an issue.
The Assault Airbike is built to last with its 12-gauge steel handlebars, heavy-duty steel frame, metal fan blades, and 20 sealed ball bearings.
The overall weight of the bike is 98 pounds, and it has a 51” by 24” by 49” footprint.
There are no manual resistance adjustments on the Assault Airbike.
The 27-inch steel fan moving through the air as you pedal is all the resistance provided, so the level of difficulty of your workout will depend on how hard you pedal.
The assault bike supports riders who weigh up to 350 pounds, and it is easy to adjust the bike for people between the heights of 4’10” and 6’10”.
Both the handlebars and the seat adjust for maximum comfort.
Though it isn’t backlit and doesn’t come with a heart rate strap, the console for the Assault Airbike is one of the best available.
With this Airdyne bike there are eight programs, and you can easily see your heart rate, RPM, speed, watts, distance, calories, time, and interval.
- Easy to adjust for a broad range of body types
- 8 different programmable workouts to pick from
- Quick assembly in under 60 minutes
- Pedals don’t have straps or baskets to keep feet in place and don’t support specialist shoes
The AirPlus Expert is the latest in its series of air bikes by Xebex, and also their top of the line air bike. Key differentiator and newest advancement for this bike is its variability in adjusting resistance and its use of magnetic resistance.
Unlike many of its competitors, this bike has two types of resistance at any given time: natural resistance (from air), and magnetic resistance. This technology allows for a wider range in resistance levels than the traditional air only resistance bikes.
There is a lever to adjust the bike resistance (levels 1 - 8). At the lowest level 1, the resistance can be less resistance than a comparable resistance of another bike that is only using air resistance. And at the highest resistance level 8, the resistance is harder, that is if you can handle it.
At level 3, is the resistance curve is similar to that of other standard air bikes using only air resistance and no magnetic resistance. This type of variable resistance is unique about this bike, and is great for allowing a wide range of people to be able to get a good workout.
A beginner can use the bike at level 1, and get a great workout without being frustrated about the resistance level. It is also good for those who might be recovering from an injury. For this key differentiator, this bike does also come with a higher price tag than the average air bike.
Another key and cool differentiator is the third party app ecosystem that you can send your data to. You can connect to popular apps like Zwift and Kinomap while you ride this bike.
Lastly, with a 185lb base this is one of the heaviest air bikes on the market, ensuring that it is also extremely stable even during a tough workout by the biggest amongst us.
- Heaviest of bikes, and durable construction
- Belt drive system for a quieter workout
- Third party ecosystem of apps to capture workout data
The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne bike is one of the most affordable option on our list (often available for under $500), yet it is powerfully built with a combination of plastic and metal.
The aluminum and steel frame make up the majority of this sizable 112-pound bike.
The AD6 is a step up from its predecessor (the AD2) in that the frictionless steel fan runs quieter and it can hold larger people (up to 300 pounds.)
However, the AD6 is slightly larger than the top air bikes, at 50” by 26” by 51”, but as long as you have space, this just makes it more stable.
The frictionless technology found in the AD6 makes it easier on the joints with it progressive wind resistance. There is no other resistance so the faster you pedal, the more air resistance you will get, perfect for working the upper body and hitting your fitness goals.
The large console on this Airdyne bike is packed full of features, including the RevMeter RPM gauge which gives you a visual of how your interval training is going. And, six workout metrics are easily viewable simultaneously on the console making this one of the best air bike products we reviewed.
- 15-year warranty on the frame, 2 years for electronic parts
- 6 workout metrics viewable at the same time
- Water bottle holder is at a good height
- Maximum weight capacity of just 300 pounds
- The LCD display is not backlit
The Xebex Air Bike is made of a welded steel frame that won’t shake during your high-intensity workouts and consistency delivers a smooth ride.
The bottom bracket of the drivetrain features a sealed cartridge, which will keep grime from gumming up the works.
The first thing that strikes you about this 104-pound behemoth is the attractive design that looks like something out of a dystopian action movie.
It supports users up to 400 pounds in weight and can fit people of any height thanks to the vertically and horizontally adjustable seat.
As with other air bikes, the harder you pedal, the more resistance you will get from the Xebex Air Bike. The 24” fan offers endless resistance, but there are no additional ways to adjust the resistance.
The console is bright, large, and easy to read. There are several programmable custom interval functions, and the Xebex Air Bike tracks your heart rate, watts, calories, speed in miles or kilometers, time, and distance in miles or meters.
- Vertically and horizontally adjustable seat
- Supports users of all heights and up to 400 pounds
- Features two front-mounted wheels for easy relocation
- Ideal for high-intensity interval training and low-impact workouts
- Lighter base than some other bikes
If you’re looking to build more aerobic capacity or just needing to warm up before your wod, an air bike is a great an option! If you have the budget, for your gym this one piece of equipment will be a great addition, bring lots of pain :), but also bring the results!