Why buy an air bike?
An air bike is a manual variation on popular indoor cycling bikes
. But instead of using a knob or dial to increase the resistance via friction or electromagnetic resistance, resistance is generated using a giant fan—hence the name “air bike.” The faster you go, the more resistance you’ll have to pedal against. Air bikes also have moving arm bars (like an elliptical
), which engages your upper body and stabilizing core muscles and provides a more efficient, total-body workout.
How to use an air bike?
Riding an air bike is even easier than riding a bike outside–it’s stationary, so you don’t have to worry about tipping over! Sit on the seat, place your feet on the pedals and grab the handles. Don’t hunch over; you should be sitting more upright than in an aerodynamic position, like you would on a beach cruiser versus a spin bike. Pedal slowly at first, moving the handles with your arms in time with your legs. The amount of resistance will increase based on how fast you push the pedals and handles.
What to look for in an air bike?
What to consider when choosing an air bike?
Air bikes use a belt drive or a chain drive. Belt drives are lower maintenance, more durable and quieter. Chain drives (like what you’d find on an outdoor bike) require more maintenance and generate more noise. You’re likely to find chain drives in less expensive models.
Most high-end air bikes can handle up to 350 pounds. More affordable options may only support between 200 and 250 pounds, which may be prohibitive for certain riders.
Since you’re pushing and pulling on an air bike, stability is key. When it comes to this type of equipment, the heavier the better. Bikes made from steel will be sturdier and more durable; materials like aluminum tend to support a lesser weight capacity and may rock back and forth, depending on how hard you’re riding.
Considering how quiet most indoor cycling bikes are these days, an air bike can be a bit noisier. The faster you pedal, the louder the fan will be (just like any home fan on higher settings). It won’t be loud enough to disrupt your neighbors, but it may prohibit you from watching TV or listening to music without headphones.
Whether a bike seat—also known as the saddle—is comfortable or not generally comes down to personal preference. Most are made from high-density foams, and some bikes allow you to switch out the saddle or use a seat cover if you need more support. Look for a bike with a fully adjustable seat—forward, backward, up and down—to really customize the fit and encourage proper form.
Like most cardio machines, air bikes are bulky and take up a fair amount of space. And the bigger (and heavier) they are, the more stable they’ll be even when working out at your highest intensities. Most include wheels for easy maneuverability, but they don’t fold and aren’t easily stored out of sight, so make sure you have the space.
Since air bikes are generally used for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), tracking your metrics is important. Most have basic digital or LCD screens, and you should be able to view time, distance, power, calories and RPM (or revolutions per minute). Some machines have built-in training programs, while others are Bluetooth compatible to sync with apps and fitness trackers. If you train based on your heart rate, make sure to check whether a bike is compatible with a heart rate monitor.
Ideally, you want a long-lasting warranty that will cover any defects or problems over time. Most air bikes offer at least a year-long warranty on the frame, with significantly less time covered for labor and parts. FYI: Most warranties don’t cover regular wear and tear.
Like any larger piece of home gym equipment
, an air bike is an investment. Pricier models tend to be sturdier, more durable and offer more features than more affordable models. It’s important to figure out which machine meets your requirements and fits within your budget.
Air Bike FAQs
Are air bikes good for beginners?
Air bikes are great for beginners because the resistance is only as powerful as what you’re capable of generating. The challenge is learning to maintain that power and then increase it. And the movement is simple: You pedal like you would on a bike while alternating pushing and pulling the handles with your arms. Plus, most air bikes don’t require you to buy spin shoes, so you can use the trainers you already have.
Do air bikes build muscle and burn belly fat?
Air bikes are aerobic machines, meaning they’ll improve your cardiovascular fitness. Because you’re using your upper and lower body, you’re recruiting a ton of muscles—which burns more calories than just a lower body workout. The more intense your effort, the more calories you’ll burn, too.
It’s not possible to target localized areas of fat, so using an air bike doesn’t directly lead to reduced belly fat, but burning more calories can lead to weight loss. And since you’re pushing against air resistance to pedal and move the arms of the device, you can build muscle—but you likely won’t notice the same visible effects as you would when strength training with heavier weights.
Is an air bike better than a spin bike?
This is like comparing a treadmill
to an elliptical: Both are great cardio machines with slightly different benefits. Air bikes were designed for total-body, HIIT workouts, while spin bikes really target your legs and are best used for steady-state workouts or workouts that combine all kinds of intervals—from longer, easy efforts to hills and quick bursts of speed.
Are air bikes worth it?
With an air bike, you’re going to get a great cardio workout that targets muscles all over your body and spikes your calorie burn, which can contribute to weight loss. These machines generally aren’t as expensive as treadmills, indoor cycling bikes and ellipticals, which can make them more accessible. But because you determine how intense any given ride will be, you have to be willing to put in the work.
Air bikes can be a valuable piece of home gym equipment depending on your goals. If you’re looking for a more studio indoor cycling experience, an air bike might be too no-frills for you. If you’re focused on full-body, HIIT workouts, you’ll get more of a challenge from an air bike than a traditional indoor cycling bike. They’re also a great option for beginners because you control the amount of resistance you’ll be pedaling against.
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