Wall balls and bodyweight squats can work your cardio, but if you want to really work on your aerobic system, you need to put some time into monostructural activities like running, swimming, or rowing. But running too much can be hard on the joints, and we don’t all have access to a pool when we train, and maybe your back is too fried from deadlifting to row. That’s where air bikes come in. They’re great low-impact cardio solutions that you can fit just about anywhere. Bike machines, like the AssaultBike or Airdyne, are great for endurance, specifically lower body endurance. They can even be a better workout than rowing machines because they deliver constant resistance, unlike rowing machines which give you a glide after every pull.
In this article, we looked at the two most common types of bike machines, the Assault Fitness AssaultBike Pro, and the Schwinn Airdyne Pro. We compared the two machines on different metrics to help you decide which is right for your specific needs.
The Air Bikes Compared
|Product's name||Dimension||Weights||Cost USD||More Info|
Assault Fitness AssaultBike Pro
|49.8 L x 24.1 W x 51.1 H||118.4 LBS||$899||View Product|
Schwinn Airdyne Pro
|42" L x 20" W x 52" H||113 Pounds||$999||View Product|
#1- Assault Fitness AssaultBike Pro
Assault Fitness is a California-based company, specializing in cardio machines like treadmills, rowers, and of course, the AssaultBike. The company’s mission is to improve life through fitness. The AssaultBike Pro is a hybrid of Assault Fitness’ Classic AssaultBike and their AssaultBike Elite. The AssaultBike Pro is made to be the ultimate mix of durability and low-maintenance.
The AssaultBike Pro uses air resistance and a system which actually makes it harder to pedal, the harder you push. This is quite different to other exercise machines that become smoother once you get up to speed. The AssaultBike Pro delivers the same assaulting workout no matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete.
The frame of the AssaultBike is made durable, so you can push yourself as hard as you can and not worry about damaging the equipment. The bike also comes with a 3 year warranty on parts, and a 7 year warranty on the steel frame.
The AssaultBike Pro also offers some impressive customization features. With 11 height settings, and 6 horizontal settings, the bike can fit most bodies. The monitor is also bluetooth enabled and carries over 7 different customizable settings. The AssaultBike Pro can track watts, calories, distance, time, heart rate, RPM, and more!
The AssaultBike Pro retails for $899.
#2- Schwinn Airdyne Pro
For over 125 years, Schwinn has been a leader in bike manufacturing. Starting in the 1960s, Schwinn began making their first indoor exercise bikes. From there, Airdyne has become a synonymous term for indoor bike machines. The Airdyne Pro combines all those years of experience into a quiet, reliable machine.
The Airdyne Pro uses a drive belt system, combined with the fan, the resistance increases as you go harder. The use of a belt system instead of a chain system also makes the Airdyne Pro much quieter than most other exercise bikes.
The Airdyne Pro has an adjustable seat, both for height and backwards and forwards. The seat is well-cushioned for optimal comfort. Similarly, the Airdyne Pro has a couple different handle options, that you could switch up during a longer workout. The monitor has 9 programmable settings, and tracks metrics like watts, calories, distance, time, and more!
The Schwinn Airdyne Pro retails for $999.
Here are a few other exercise bikes we tested. They certainly aren’t the same quality of the AssaultBike or Airdyne, but each one has a special feature that we felt compelled to mention.
#1- Marcy Fan Exercise Bike with Air Resistance System – Red and Black – NS-1000See latest price
Marcy Fitness have established themselves as a great cost-effective fitness brand. The Marcy Fan Bike has a fan and air resistance system, and combines both foot pedals and arm handles. The Marcy bike has a display monitor, which can track time, distance, and calories.
Common issues people have with the Marcy Bike include the belt drive rubbing on parts, the pedals breaking after a few months, and the monitor having issues. That being said, if you don’t quite want to commit $1000 to a piece of equipment you aren’t sure you’ll be using that often, the Marcy Fan Bike might be a viable option.
The Marcy Fan Bike retails for $199.
#2- Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike with Seat and Easy Computer / Dual Trainer 2 in 1...See latest price
I’ve always found it weird that the machines Crossfit endorses and those it doesn’t. Specifically, I think more Crossfit boxes could incorporate elliptical machines into their gyms. The Body Rider BRD2000 is a really interesting piece of equipment, which combines an exercise bike and an elliptical. You can use the machine like you would an Airdyne, or you can use it feet only, or you can use it like an elliptical machine, making it the most versatile equipment on this list. The BRD2000 also tracks distance, time, and calories.
The drawbacks to this machine include the issue that some people feel like the bike does not offer enough tension for a tough workout. The plastic design also makes the machine less durable than others. Some customers have also complained about the noise the machine produces.
So, Which is Better?
Well like anything, it depends. If you’re training for Crossfit, your main metrics for workouts are going to be calories, which both Airdyne Pro and the AssaultBike Pro track (or even the Rogue Echo). Either machine is a great option for warming up or cooling down pre and post WOD. The AssaultBike Pro is constructed of more metal, so may be more durable. That being said, the Airdyne Pro comes with a longer warranty. The Airdyne Pro is also much quieter because it uses a belt drive instead of a chain drive like the AssaultBike Pro. So if you workout early and you have other people living close by, you might opt for the Airdyne.
Still not sure which bike is right for you? Check out the buying guide below for more tips.
Air Bike Buying Guide
What to look for when buying an air bike
Ask yourself what you need a bike machine to do for you. Are you looking to complete WODs RX’d? Are you just looking for a reliable cardio machine? Is durability the most important factor or is a quiet ride?
If you’re going to be looking at the bike every single day, you’ll probably want one that looks good in your home. The all black design of the AssaultBike Pro looks better than the greys and reds of the Airdyne Pro. The all black design also ensures your bike matches most decors.
As discussed earlier, the AssaultBike Pro uses a chain drive system, whereas the Airdyne Pro uses a belt drive system. The belt drive system, while being quieter, is also much smoother than the chain drive. The AssaultBike Pro’s chain drive can often feel quite cumbersome, not ideal when training.
Both Airdyne and AssaultBike tracks calories and distance, the main metrics used in Crossfit workouts. If you are using the bike in an open type workout, you should be fine with either style. Some competitions, like the Crossfit Games, use the AssaultBike, while others, like the Kill Cliff Championships, use the Airdyne.
The AssaultBike Pro is the more durable and stable of the two. This is largely because of its use of metal in the frame as opposed to plastics. While Schwinn has increased the amount of metal in it’s Airdyne Pro, there is still a good amount of plastic in the construction. Not only does the metal give AssaultBike a slight edge on durability, but it feels more stable as well.
Both the AssaultBike Pro and the Airdyne Pro come with warranties. The parts of the Airdyne have a 2 year warranty, while the parts of the AssaultBike have a 3 year warranty. The frame of the Airdyne has a 10 year warranty, and the frame of the AssaultBike has a 5 year warranty. Because the frame is going to be the most expensive piece to replace, I would give the edge to Airdyne here.
Both the Airdyne Pro and the AssaultBike Pro use fans in their construction. The main difference in noise level comes from the drive system. The Airdyne’s belt drive is much quieter than the AssaultBike’s chain drive. If you live in a condo, or workout early and don’t want to offend the neighbours or family members, you might want to go with the Airdyne.
FAQs for Airdyne and AssaultBike
What is an Airdyne / AssaultBike?
Airdynes and AssaultBike are exercise bikes that incorporate the arms into the exercise as well as the legs. Most of these machines use a fan and air as resistance.
What is the difference between an Airdyne and an AssaultBike?
Both bikes track the same metrics. The main differences are that Airdyne’s are quieter, while AssaultBikes are more durable.
Is an Airdyne / AssaultBike similar to biking / cycling?
Not really. Airdynes and AssaultBikes are great for cardio, but if you’re training for cycling, you should look elsewhere.
What are the benefits of Airdyne / AssaultBike / Fan bikes?
Low-impact: The cycling motion is great for people with most joint pain needs.
Total Body: Unlike traditional bike machines, fan bikes have handles as well, so you are using both legs and arms to train.
Unlimited Resistance: As you pedal harder, the air resistance increases. This means that no matter your fitness level, you are going to get an intense cardio workout.
Calorie Burn: Because you are using your whole body, and because the resistance continues, unlike some exercise machines which get easier as you go, your total calorie burn will increase.
The fan: In addition to creating your resistance, the fan blows air on you while you train, giving you a slight cooling effect.
Airdyne / AssaultBike WODs
Here are a few workouts to try to get you started:
- Time Trial: Pick one of the following distances and complete as fast as you can. 250m, 500m, 1K, 2K, 5K, 10K, 21.1K, 42.2K.
- With a partner: Bike 1000m. One partner must be performing WallBalls or Goblet Squats while the other is biking. Anytime the ball or weight is dropped, you must stop biking and switch.
- 5 Rounds: Bike 500m, 50 air squats.
- Death by AssaultBike/Airdyne: Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) bike 3 calories. Each minute, add 3 more calories. So minute one is 3, minuty two is 6, and so on. See how long you can last.
- 5 Rounds: :30 seconds max effort for calories. 4:30 rest.
Hopefully this list has helped you make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing a bike machine. Biking is a fantastic exercise that targets your full body, and no matter which machine you choose, you’re in for some healthy torture.