For decades we’ve all been bombarded with ads for home workout gadgets and gizmos, with promises from losing pounds to toning up, and everything in between. The only problem is many pieces of home gym equipment are exorbitantly expensive, and extremely one dimensional.
Many of us likely have memories of our grandparent’s exercise bike in the basement, used more frequently as a clothes hanger than anything else. Bikes have always been a popular option for home exercise because they are low impact and can provide a challenging workout. But in recent years a new breed of bicycle has emerged: The Air Bike.
Air bikes aren’t actually anything new, however they’ve garnered attention lately because of a push for the fitness industry to move towards more functional exercises. So why buy an airbike over a traditional stationary bicycle? The answer is very simple: It’s full body!
Most air bikes have moving arms as well as pedals, meaning it’s not just your lower body doing the work. When your heart has to pump blood and oxygen to all four extremities the impact on your fitness is multiplied. This means you can get a more effective workout in a shorter period of time. In fact this is why Cross Country Skiers are some of the most fit athletes on the planet, just like the skiers, the air bike uses upper and lower body training simultaneously.
Things to consider before buying an Air Bike
Before you rush out to buy one of these heart pumping machines, there are a few things you should consider:
- Do you have the space for one?
- Air bikes are typically a bit larger in their footprint than a regular exercise bike. The large fan on the front of the machine is how the air bike creates is resistance. The Schwinn AD7 for example has dimensions of 53 L x 26.5 W x 53 H and you must have room for the arms to actuate.
- What are your fitness goals?
- While air bikes can be used for many different fitness applications, they are really designed to build endurance, stamina, and burn fat. If you’re a bodybuilder, I probably wouldn’t prioritize this piece of equipment.
The Best Air Bike: The Schwinn Airdyne AD7
Schwinn has a long and storied history of building iconic bicycles, and they have actually been involved in the fitness space for nearly just as long. A few years ago when functional fitness really started to take off with the popularity of Bootcamps, CrossFit, and other HIIT programs, the air bike made a big come back, and for good reason! Anyone who has ever used an air bike will tell you just how challenging they are.
Despite the fact that several other air bike options popped up in the market, Schwinn’s experience really shines through in their design and functionality. The Schwinn AD7 Air Bike is ideal for anyone who wants to get an intense, full body workout. These air bikes are great for in home or for small personal training studios or gyms.
- Full body workout using upper and lower body
- Intense workout in a short period of time
- Low impact
- Quality design and construction
- Easy to assemble
- Moderate sized footprint
- Not great for very short people
- Screen brightness could be better
Features & Benefits of the Schwinn AD7 Air Bike
The first thing that stands out about the Schwinn AD7 is the fit and finish. Compared to other Air Bikes on the market, Schwinn’s bicycle design experience really shines through, as it is one of, if not the most comfortable air bike on the market in terms of ergonomics. You can also tell from its heavy duty design that it is made with quality materials.
The seat on the AD7 is adjustable for both height and fore/aft positioning, which is great if you have shorter arms, you can move the seat forward to make gripping the handles easier. The handles also have multiple positions from which you can grip. This is a huge advantage as when your arms start to fatigue you can reposition them to engage different muscles.
The AD7 air bike allows you to pedal at your own leisure and pace, or has the option for several different interval modes to develop different aspects of your fitness. It also allows you to pedal backwards which stimulates the muscles in your legs in a much different way. Another nice perk to this machine is there are foot pegs that allow you put your feet up if you want to focus solely on upper body training. A nice function of these pegs is that they rotate. In some other air bikes, the pegs are fixed to the arms, meaning if you try to rest your feet on them, they turn under the sole of your shoe, which can be quite annoying!
What People Are Saying about the Schwinn AD7 Air Bike
In my experience as a small gym owner and personal trainer, the Schwinn is my go-to piece of cardio equipment. Given its low impact and how challenging it is to use, it’s an effective workout for anyone regardless of their current fitness level, and it’s a much safer option for overweight trainees compared to running or other high impact cardio moves like burpees, jumping jax, etc…
A quick look on Amazon will show how much people love these air bikes. One user says “This bike is solid! Easy to assemble. Way to go Schwinn. Great workout… I’ve been using it almost a month now and it kicks your @$$. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put in. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get in satisfying workouts at home.”
Another Amazon reviewer commented “I jumped right into my first workout after assembly, and it was GLORIOUS! Thanks for an awesome product!”
Alternatives to the Schwinn AD7 Air bike
As previously mentioned, once people caught on to how effective these bikes are, quite a few options hit the market.
- Schwinn AD2: This is the baby brother of the AD7! This is an excellent entry level option for those on a bit of a tighter budget as it is priced lower than the AD7.
- Takes up less space than the AD7
- Better suited for a home environment only, not a great choice for semi-commercial or commercial use.
- Still features a LCD screen, however it is awkwardly placed down low on top of the fan.
- The fan is much smaller, meaning the bike does not generate as much resistance
- Assault Air Bike: The Assault bike became the standard in many CrossFit gyms for a time. Previously our facility housed two Assault Bikes, but our customers weren’t fond of them. They have a newer version out, however they appear to be a bit over-engineered, expensive, and hard to find. Here are some points about the original Assault Bike:
- Notoriously uncomfortable ergonomics
- Very uncomfortable seat
- Much better display/buttons compared to the Schwinn
- Prone to mechanical problems
- Rogue Echo Bike: If you’ve read any of our product reviews before, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Rogue pop up on this list. Impressively Rogue has taken many of the popular products on the market and simply made their own version. While this is the only air bike on the list I haven’t personally used, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it from friends in the industry.
- Slightly larger footprint than the Schwinn
- Matches the Schwinn’s weight capacity at 350lbs
- Sleek all matte black paint
- You have to pay for add-ons like a phone or bottle holder.
- Much more compact display
- Slightly lighter than the Schwinn
Conclusion – The Best Air Bike
If you’re budgeting for a piece of cardio equipment, you should take a strong look at an air bike, and the Schwinn AD7 specifically. While there may be no “perfect” cardio machine out there, the Schwinn is a great blend of comfort and quality all while providing a butt-kicking workout for less than the cost of a decent treadmill or elliptical. While there are many air bikes to choose from on the market, Schwinn’s bicycle manufacturing experience makes the AD7 stand out from the rest.
PS – Looking for an alternative Cardio option? Take a look at this jump rope review.