In the world of exercise, air bikes would be considered the new kid in town. But that hasn’t stopped it from dominating the CrossFit world.
With its combination of the arm-pumping action you’d normally get while using dumbbells, and the thigh-firming action from traditional cycling, air bikes have managed to displace two gears, without you needing to leave your home.
What’s An Air Bike?
It’s a fancy indoor pedalling stationary machine that uses a fan to generate wind resistance to make your cardio less painful but just as effective as, if not more than, normal bikes. It does this while ensuring your chest, abs, back, arms and obliques get a good workout.
Air bikes have become a staple in the CrossFit world, and are easily recognized by their obscene blowing fans – each brand trying to outdo the other is “how big can this get without being ineffective”.
Air bikes allow you to work your lower body without any serious impact. However, what sets this bike apart from other stationary bikes is that it also comes with rotating handles that spin as you pedal. This provides some upper body workouts.
As a plus, you won’t have to deal with soggy workout clothes, and if you feel the need for even more sculpted thighs, add ankle weights.
How To Find The Best Air Bike?
Belt vs Chain Drives
There are two factors that should affect your decision here: how comfortable you are with being a handyman because you might need to grease your chain drives if you opt for it, and how much cha-ching noise you can tolerate.
Perhaps I should have said 3 things because money’s definitely the third factor. Belts are the creme de la creme of air bikes. They require little maintenance while chain drives will grate on your nerves, and require you to change the oil from time to time.
If you were born with a platinum spoon, belt drives are an easy pick, but chain drives aren’t too bad themselves.
The really good air bikes come with quality displays – big screens and backlit keys for nighttime mode. These displays are usually within easy from your seat and can be the difference between an OK and a great workout.
Some air bikes don’t even have screens, so you need to first decide if that’s a no-no for you before looking at other features.
If you want high-quality metal for your bike, don’t go for plastic frames. Plastic accessories are okay, but not plastic frames because they won’t last long.
If your seat feels like a rock or splits your cheeks in two, there’s a problem. On the extreme end of the plush spectrum, they use padded, well-cushioned seats that cradle your glutes like the good buns they are. They’ll also be adjustable so people on different ends of the height spectrum can use it.
On the other end, there are seats that make you give up your workout. If you don’t want to get after marketing padding, make sure your seat is somewhere in between the 2 spectrums.
The 5 Best Air Bikes You Can Buy
If you want to peddle your way to a calorie deficit without breaking the bank, Marcy’s got your number with the AIR 1 fan bike.
It features a relatively sturdy steel frame that’ll give you your money’s worth. In addition, it has an LCD screen that keeps you informed on the most basic aspect of your workout routine, and transportation wheels that allow you take the bike from point A to B without ruining your floor.
The seats are fairly adjustable – allowing only vertical height adjustments but not horizontal ones.
- Extra foam padding on the seat and handles
- Dual-action handles that allow you to work your upper body even when you’re not peddling.
- Very affordable beginner to intermediate air bike
- Comes with 2 years warranty on the structure
- Has a console that tracks speed and calories lost
- Transportation wheels so you can switch workout rooms
- The console is too basic, doesn’t include heart rate monitor, or preset workouts
- The seat can only be adjusted in one direction
- Advisable only for professionals
This is even more budget-friendly than Marcy’s Air 1, so at the very least you should be skeptical of why.
What stands out most from this is the frame. It has some steel but looks to have more plastic than metal on its body.
It’s no wonder this comes with just one year warranty on the frame – its accessories have just 90 days warranty. Despite the low price, this air bike still has a display screen that tracks workout speeds and calories burned.
- Handlebars come with knots that allow you to adjust the resistance
- High momentum blades in its fan
- Extremely affordable
- Comes with an LCD screen despite its low cost
- The seat can be adjusted
- Most of the body is made of plastic, which is why the frame has just 1-year warranty
- Just 250 lbs weight capacity
- You’ll need to buy a mat separately so your stationary bike doesn’t become a moving one
- Seat cushion’s suspect
Schwinn’s a household name in the biking industry, so you know they don’t disappoint with the Airdyne Pro.
This bike comes with the full works, belt drives for smoother, soundless workouts, a display screen with more workout options than you’d be able to handle, 26″ fan blades for a professional range of resistance, and a double-coated frame to repel moisture and keep your machine going rust-free.
Take your time to explore its features because it has everything you’ll need.
- A tachometer that warns you if you’re overexerting yourself
- Preset HIIT programs
- 26″ fan blades to allow for better resistance range
- Double coated to prevent rust
- Single belts for a smoother cycling experience
- 10 YEARS warranty
- On the high side of prices
- A complicated assembling process, particularly the arms
It’s not uncommon for people to refer to air bikes as assault bikes, and this is the reason. Assault’s constantly reinventing the pedal, and they did an outstanding job with the Assault AirBike Classic.
Let’s start with the frame. The AirBike Classic frame is made with 20 sealed cartridge bearings all through the frame to provide a smoother riding experience for you. Their plush seat is both vertically and horizontally adjustable and goes a step further by allowing you to tilt it in your preferred angle.
It has an extremely detailed console that includes 7 preset workouts and the option to customize yours.
- The seat can be tilted, as well as adjustment vertically and horizontally
- Allows you customize your own workout routine
- Can support up to 350 lbs
- Has 20 sealed ball bearings for a sturdier frame
- Extremely detailed assembling instructions
- 7 preset workouts
- Has 8 seat adjustments
- No heart rate monitor
- Takes up a lot of space
Right off the bat, the first thing you’ll notice is that this BikeErg doesn’t come with handles. So how are you supposed to get the upper body workout air bikes as promised? You improvise.
Despite the obvious difference, the BikeErg does work just as effectively as other air bikes, if not more. Take the addition of a damper for example. The damper takes the stationary bike from air to spin bike within the blink of an eye.
What its engineers paid more attention to was in making it more versatile, and cause fewer mechanical problems than its air bike counterparts. Its main domain is thus hardcore lower body workout.
- Combines air pressure and temperature sensors in the flywheel to enhance damper performance
- Extremely accurate performance monitor
- Extremely versatile
- Wheel design makes it less prone to mechanical failures
- Professional grade leg workouts
- No upper body workout
- Very pricey
What Air Bike Should You Buy?
Air bikes may be the new kid but they’ve quickly crafted a staying niche for themselves. But regardless of how great they are for full-body workouts, it’s surprisingly hard finding a suitable air bike even after memorizing the “what to look for” section.
So far, you’ve seen that air bikes can go from ridiculously cheap with one-year warranties, to very expensive professional-grade machines that are overkill. Opting for moderate bikes, like Marcy Air 1 Fan Bikes, thus makes more sense because they’re sturdy and will do the job without putting much of a dent in your wallet.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org