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- Editor’s pick: The Assault AirBike Elite
- Best for rehabilitation: Schwinn Airdyne AD7
- Best for total body training: XTERRA Fitness AIR650 Airbike Pro
- Best for beginners: Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike
- Best for those looking for a challenge: Octane Fitness Airdyne ADX Fan Bike
- Most robust: Rogue Echo Bike
- Best budget bike: Body Rider BRF700
Perhaps because of the pandemic, more people are investing in at-home workout equipment. It’s hard to top the functionality, reduced commute time, and ease of working out in your own home if you have the space.
Air bikes are a popular equipment choice for many, especially in the CrossFit community. An air bike is essentially a cross between a traditional exercise bike and an elliptical. With an air bike, you can simultaneously work out the top and lower half of your body and get your heart rate up.
Read more to see if this bike is for you.
If you’re looking for a full-body workout, air bikes make a great option. Air bikes also work well if you’re looking to do a quick HIIT workout that spikes your heart rate. With an air bike, it’s possible to work up a sweat and burn fat efficiently in just 10 to 20 minutes.
This type of bike doesn’t have any preprogrammed options. Instead, you create resistance by pedaling. The faster you pedal, the faster the wheel blades rotate and the more resistance you generate.
The size and blade count of the bike’s fan can contribute to the resistance, impacting the level of your workout. These bikes are generally less expensive than other types of stationary bikes.
An air bike may be a good choice if you live in a small space, as many are compact and foldable. “Other pieces of workout equipment might be more ‘effective,’ but they require way more pieces of equipment — barbells need plates, dumbbells only have one weight. But with the bike you can do multiple workouts,” says certified personal trainer Kidd Campbell.
Air bikes are also a great workout option for those undergoing physical therapy or rehabilitation since they’re low impact and the rider can go at their own pace.
All that said, If you’re looking to keep just your legs moving and have online programming done for you, Campbell recommends sticking to a standard stationary bike instead of an air bike.
Compared with other pieces of fitness equipment, there aren’t many air bike models on the market. This is good if you tend to have decision fatigue, but it also means that there isn’t that much variety in price points.
Cheaper bikes tend to be made of cheap plastics, which makes them less sturdy and more prone to breaking down after continued use.
“You should get a bike that’s high quality and has fewer moving parts. If you have a chain, you’ll have to do more maintenance than if you have a belt, for example,” says Campbell. “Don’t skimp on price. I wouldn’t buy a $400 bike if there’s a $700 higher quality option available, because the more expensive one is going to last you a lot longer and have fewer maintenance costs.”
Campbell recommends looking for a bike that’s sturdy, belt driven, durable, and easy to maintain. “If you want the screen to track anything, it should show meters and calories so you have something to measure,” he says.
Checklist for choosing an air bike:
- belt drive
- comfortable seat
- monitor features
- fits in your space
We took the following into consideration when selecting our picks:
- anecdotal advice from real personal trainers
- user reviews
- shape, grip, and overall quality
- brand reputation
- a variety of cost to choose from
- $ = under $700
- $$ = $701–$999
- $$$ = over $1,000
|The Assault AirBike Elite||$$$||performance tracking on large LCD display
|Schwinn Airdyne AD7||$$||nine programmable workout options
measures heart rate in real time
|XTERRA Fitness AIR650 Airbike Pro||$$||wireless heart rate monitor
|Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike||$||transport wheels
|Octane Fitness Airdyne ADX Fan Bike||$$$||moisture-repellent frame
26-blade performance fan
quieter than other models
|Rogue Echo Bike||$$||wind guard, phone holder, and bottle cage add-ons
customizable LCD display
quieter than other models
|Body Rider BRF700||$||designed for easy use|
- Price: $$$
Assault Fitness focuses on two things: air bikes and treadmills. The Assault AirBike Elite uses spinning fans to create unlimited resistance, meaning that you can’t outgrow the bike. Compared to the chain drive on other AssaultBikes, this Elite model’s belt drive is quieter and requires less maintenance.
This solid steel air bike weighs 138 pounds, so it’s quite big and heavy. The company says it was built this way so that users feel more stable while using it, and to create a smooth and natural ride. This bike offers a removable windshield for those who want to block the fan’s air during their workout.
- bulkier steel frame for more stability
- bigger, more comfortable seat
- performance tracking via integrated LCD display
- large LCD display with Bluetooth connectivity
- easy to assemble
- higher price point
- fewer high-tech features than other bikes
- takes up a lot of space
- heavy at 138 pounds
Best for rehabilitation
- Price: $$
Schwinn products are known to be durable and come with long warranties. The company is also well known for great customer service.
This bike comes with nine options of at-home workout programming, including interval workouts, heart rate zone monitoring, distance targets, time, and calories. You can also use it to leisurely ride at a low resistance level, which can be good for those with injuries.
Reviewers say they like this bike because they can go at their own pace depending on their energy levels. Reviewers have also said it’s a great machine for older adults.
- quieter than other bikes on the market
- nine programmable workout options
- multi-position handles
- telemetric heart rate monitor that measures heart rate in real time
- multi-display LCD consolewith calories, watts, time, distance, speed, revolutions per minute (rpm), and heart rate readouts
- optimized fanfor high resistance
- short labor warranty at only 6 months
- lower technology monitor than some other models
- seat too small and uncomfortable, according to some reviewers
Best for total body training
- Price: $$
This upright exercise bike is built is another great option for all experience levels. Although the bike isn’t foldable, it’s pretty compact, allowing it to fit in small spaces.
It also comes with an LCD performance monitor display that tracks your rpm, speed, time, distance, calories, watts, interval prompt, and heart rate. Many reviewers agree that it is a solid, durable, and quality piece of equipment.
- wireless heart rate monitor
- multi-position handlebars
- fully adjustable seat
- industrial grade chain drive system
- customer pays shipping costs when returning with their 30-day money-back guarantee
Best for beginners
- Price: $
While many budget bikes are made of cheap plastics, this Marcy bike is constructed from 14-gauge steel tubing. The LCD screen tracks speed, distance, time, and calories. Reviewers claim that this no-frills model is a decent bike for the price, but that it could use a few improvements.
- transport wheels
- adjustable seat positioning
- computer display designed for easy use
- LCD monitor
- no pulse monitoring
- no coverage for the fan if the air bothers you
- designed for beginners rather than experts
Best for those looking for a challenge
- Price: $$$
This bike is versatile enough for high intensity interval training (HIIT), warming up, and cooling down. It’s easy to assemble and has a commercial grade reinforced crank and single-stage belt drive. A 27-inch fan means that the bike can keep up with your hard work in terms of air resistance.
The console is designed for easy use, tracking performance in heart rate, rpm, distance, watts, and calories. Because the bike is commercial grade, it is sturdy and durable enough to last you a long time.
- moisture-repellent frame
- commercial grade
- multi-grip handles
- quieter than other models
- 26-blade performance fan
- oversized cushioned seat
- no personalization based on height and weight
- potentially bothersome wind
- heavier crank assembly
- Price: $$
This bike is a known favorite in the CrossFit community because of its belt drive, which results in quick stops and low maintenance. The monitor is designed for easy use, the seat is adjustable, and the fan blades are made of pieces of formed aluminum unlike the plastic found on some other bikes.
This bike is larger than others on the market, but due to its size, it’s considered stronger and sturdier.
- belt-driven steel fan
- optional add-ons, such as a wind guard, phone holder, and bottle cage
- LCD console display with customizable modes
- textured black powder coat finish
- takes up a lot of space
- some people find that the bike is too big for them
Best budget bike
- Price: $
This built-in belt drive bike is for someone looking to dip their toes into the air bike space without putting too much money down.
This bike is lower in cost and adjustable. However, if you like to ride daily, with intensity, or for long periods of time, this may not be the bike for you. It’s not as sturdy or high quality as some of its competitors.
- lower cost
- designed for easy use
- adjustable seat
- built-in belt drive system
- no bells and whistles
- may not be ideal if you’re tall
- uncomfortable seat, according to some reviewers
Are air bikes worth it?
Air bikes can give you a full-body workout in a short period of time, making them a great option for anyone looking for a mix of cardio and strength training. Whether you’re a fan of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or a low impact workout, air bikes are a great choice for at-home workout equipment that gives you the most burn for your buck.
Do air bikes build muscle?
With an air bike, you create your own resistance by pedaling. The faster you pedal, the most resistance you have to work against. This resistance will help you build muscle while also boosting your heart rate and cardiovascular health.
Can you use an air bike every day?
How often you use an air bike will depend on your fitness level and goals. Since you set your own resistance with an air bike by how fast you pedal, there is the ability to fluctuate between more difficult and easier workouts, which may allow you to do it multiple days in a row. That being said, it is always important to pay attention to how your body is feeling and incorporate rest days, which are an essential component of any fitness routine.
Why is air biking so hard?
Working out on an air bike can feel especially difficult because with an air bike you are utilizing your entire body, unlike other pieces of equipment that focus only on the lower body.
In addition to building and pushing against resistance with your lower body, you are also working your chest, arms, shoulders, and obliques to increase speed and power with the bike’s handles.
Another factor that makes an air bike workout so hard is the way that you create resistance. The harder you pedal, the harder it becomes to pedal. This makes it difficult to quickly increase your speed because you need to significantly increase your force while working against intense resistance.
There are many options for those in search of an air bike. Choosing the best air bike for you really depends on your budget and space, though it may be worth spending the extra money for a higher quality bike that will last.
Iman Balagam is a writer based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not laughing at her own jokes or buying overpriced chia pudding, she can be found reading fiction novels, catching a cycling class, doomscrolling through TikTok, or waiting for her delayed Spirit flight to board. You can see more of her work on her website.