Air bikes, also known as fan bikes, have increased in popularity over the last few years thanks to how effective they are at burning calories within a short time. Instead of a flywheel like any other stationary bike, air bikes feature a large fan. This fan generates wind resistance when you pedal. So, how exactly do you go about shopping for an air bike? This article will give you a complete guide about all things related to buying an air bike.
➥ If you’re undecided between an air bike and a spin bike, in that case, we recommend, you have a look at our article air bikes vs. spin bikes for exercising.
What to look for while buying an air bike
1. Stability and Durability
Compared to other exercise machines, air bikes have to take a lot of beating. The best use of an air bike is through high-intensity workouts. Therefore, the frame should be both stable and durable. Look for a machine with a decently heavy frame made of steel. The heavier it is, the harder it will be to topple it over. All the moving parts should have a high-quality build so that they can last for at least a few years. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars only to have something break in a couple of months.
2. Smooth Drive System
There is no avoiding the fact that an air bike will never be as quiet as other stationary bikes. The rotation of the fan will make some noise. What you can do is look for the quietest machine that you can find. The design and quality of the drive system can make the noise levels tolerable at the least. Specifically, a belt-driven fan is preferable. A belt drive runs silently and smoothly and requires little maintenance. There are chain-driven systems available as well which are cheaper than a belt drive. But those make slightly more sound and require occasional maintenance.
3. Adjustability and Comfort
The key component that determines comfort is the seat which is also sometimes known as the saddle. The seat should be of the right width and have the right amount of padding. Too little and too much are both not ideal for long workouts. The default seat is usually good enough, but if you want you can replace it with one that you prefer. More important than that, however, is the adjustability. The seat should be four-way adjustable – vertically and horizontally. That way you can set the seat to a position that is comfortable for you. The setup should be similar to how you would set it up on an upright bike.
4. Electronic Console
A console is pretty much essential nowadays as it displays calories burned, distance, time, and speed. With this, you can keep track of your progress which motivates you to improve more. Some higher-end consoles come with additional features as well. These include pulse sensors, pre-programmed workouts, a backlit display, and even internet/Bluetooth connectivity. Hence, you will be able to connect to a smartphone or tablet and save your stats or share it with others. The more features you want, the more expensive the air bike will be.
5. Multi-Grip Handles
Many air bikes have a standard grip for handles. Others have handles with multiple grips. These grips allow you to position your hands differently which in turn, targets different muscles of the upper body. For example, a grip where the palms are facing upwards will target the biceps more than if the palms were facing down. There should also be a grippy material so that your hands do not slip during the workout.
6. Weight Limit
Whenever you buy any exercise machine, it is always a good idea to check the maximum weight limit. This is especially true for overweight users. The higher the weight capacity the better. This is because it is an indication of the sturdiness of the machine and that it will last a long time. Normally, an air bike should be able to handle between 250 and 350 pounds of weight. Nonetheless, some go higher or lower.
➥ If you’re searching for exercise bikes for overweight people, check our article: exercise bikes having 400 – 500 lbs. capacity.
Most air bikes have standard pedals. But make sure that they can provide enough grip to keep your feet in place. You might want to use clipless pedals in place of regular ones. In this case, you should be able to switch the pedals. Before buying, check if the pedals are removable. Clipless pedals used with cycling shoes and cleats offer better and more efficient transmission of power from the legs.
8. Bottle and/or Device Holder
Air cycling is quite an intense activity and you will most likely be sweating a lot. This is why you should have easy access to a bottle of water. With a bottle holder, you won’t have to pause your workout to stay hydrated. The placement of the holder should also be checked since in some air bikes it can be hard to reach the spot. Some spin bikes also have a device holder under the console Where you can keep a phone or tablet. This allows you to listen to music or watch videos as you pedal away.
9. Transport Wheels
Transport wheels are a must-have, especially for home-use. These are two small wheels attached to the front base of the air bike. With transport wheels, you can easily tilt the bike and roll it around to change rooms. You might want to store the bike in a small spare room but actually use the machine in your living room where you have a tv and speakers. These wheels make that a sure possibility for you.
10. Frame Levelers
Not all places at your home have perfectly horizontal ground. Hence, the air bike frame will remain slightly tilted. To tackle this problem, most machines include four frame levelers or stabilizers. These are dials at the bottom of the frame and are located at each corner. Turning them will either extend or retract them. This lets you keep the air bike in an upright position regardless of the floor tilt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How much does an air bike cost?
Ans.: The price of an air bike can vary a lot depending on the brand and model. You can get one for as low as $200. But there are also ones that cost up to $1500. Therefore, your budget is also one of the factors that will influence your decision. For higher prices, you get a better quality build and a smoother drive system. Additionally, expensive air bikes offer more features such as heart rate monitoring, Bluetooth, built-in programs, etc.
Q2. How can I block the wind from my air bike?
Ans.: Generally, the wind-generated from an air bike is a good thing as it helps to keep you cool. However, some of you may not appreciate it, especially on a cold day. To block the airflow, you can simply attach a wind guard. Wind guards are available for purchase and some air bike models have one included. It attaches to your side of the fan and keeps the wind away from you.
Q3. Which muscles does an air bike work?
Ans.: Using an air bike provides you with a full-body workout. The pedals work out your lower body muscles such as glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Meanwhile, the moving handles engage the upper body muscles including the arms, shoulders, chest, and back. Moreover, your core muscles work to keep the body in a stable position throughout the exercise.
➥ To know more, we have specially prepared a detailed guide on the muscles an air bike works on.
You have already made a great choice by deciding to buy an air bike. After reading this article, you should not face any trouble when looking to buy one. We have tried to deliver as much information as you will need to buy the right air bike. In reality, there is less variation among air bikes than with other stationary bikes. As long as it is stable, durable, and functions properly, it will serve you well.