Fitness

Schwinn Airdyne Stationary Exercise Bike (AD6 & AD2) & The Benefits

If you live in America you most likely know the name Schwinn and that they make a lot of bikes. Based on the long history Schwinn offers many options, and it can be daunting to know which bike will best meet your needs. We’ve selected three Airdyne® machines for review. We’ll highlight the features and what they mean to you and share our recommendations to help you make a selection.

But first, let’s look at the big picture of Schwinn Airdyne Exercise Bike and shed some light on the issues.

What Exactly is an Airdyne?

Airdyne® is a trademarked name for the type of resistance that many, but not all, Schwinn exercise bikes have.

Here’s how it works. A large fan is in a similar place to where the front wheel would be. A belt system runs from the pedals and handles and makes the fan rotate. The faster you pedal and pump, the more resistance is created by the fan and the harder workout you get. It’s a simple, low-tech way to make your effort harder or easier. If you don’t like computer buttons, you’ll love this.

Like all fans, these get louder as they spin faster. Magnetic resistance bikes will always be quieter than fan based ones, so keep this in mind if you live in an apartment building or where close neighbors may hear you.

Airdynes® also weigh 10-20 pounds more than most similar mag trainers. All bikes are heavy and awkward when they’re delivered. If you need to move the bike frequently to use it make sure you’re ok with the added weight.

We mentioned handles but didn’t really describe them. Airdyne ® bikes offer two ways to work out. You can pedal the bike, or you can grab the vertical arms and push/pull them to build upper body strength. You get more thorough body toning, burn more calories in the same amount of time, and save money over buying two machines.

How Comfortable Are These Bikes?

Everyone wants to know what his or her rear end will feel like during and after riding an exercise bike. Like any measure of comfort, much of it comes down to personal preference. Large, padded seats will feel soft and spread the pressure out, but some people don’t like how they restrict the pedaling motion a little bit.

In Schwinn’s line-up, we’ve found that the seats get bigger and softer as the price goes up. It’s pretty much that simple. However, the most noticeable difference in comfort can come with your choice of a recumbent or upright design.

The fan on an Airdyne® will create some wind which is a nice feature if you want to stay cooler. It doesn’t blow directly at you but creates a noticeable amount of air circulation to help keep you comfortable.

What’s the Difference Between a Recumbent and an Upright?

Exercise bicycles are divided into these two categories, but you still may not know which one is right for you. We’ll list highlights and if you want more info to check out this site.

The seat

Most importantly to some people, the seat is much bigger on a recumbent. Uprights will always have a smaller saddle. The recumbent seat resembles a chair, complete with a backrest, which may or may not be cushioned. A plastic, perforated back allows more ventilation which can help to keep your back cooler. If you tend to overheat, or have a confined space to ride in, this may be a better choice.

The position

Recumbents are low to the ground making them easier to get on and off. If you have restricted movement or aren’t confident in your balance, recumbents are usually a better choice. You sit on an upright just like a regular bike which ironically, puts you in a more bent over position. Your torso will be more upright on a recumbent setup.

The size

If you’re tight on space, or need to move the bike when not in use, an upright is a good way to go. They’re smaller to start with, many can be folded, and they tend to be lighter and easier to move. If you’re tall (6’4” or more), an upright may have a bigger adjustment range to accommodate your leg length.

The price

The price of upright bikes is usually less. The notable exceptions are the high-end “spin” bikes like the one we reviewed below. We recommend picking a machine that you will be motivated to use rather than letting price dictate your choice. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may get more for your money in an upright.

The muscles worked

Not everyone agrees on this one. Some say that when riding a recumbent, your legs will extend more at the hip joint, which you may appreciate that if you have stiff hips and want to loosen them. Others argue that it’s all the same muscles. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIycFLjZ3xg) The position of an upright will require lower back strength and stabilization. You may think this is a great feature for your fitness, or you might need to avoid that based on existing conditions.

Both will provide a cardio training benefit. The upright bikes allow you to stand if you choose and this is a great way to boost your effort. Short intervals of fast pedaling at a higher resistance can burn more calories and raise your anaerobic threshold. If you’re looking for an endurance ride a recumbent may be more comfortable and keep you on the bike longer.

Which Schwinn Airdyne Exercise Bike is Best for Me?

Following are descriptions of three Airdyne® Exercise bikes. The Airdyne® line is smaller and has fewer choices than exercise bikes in general. We’ll explain the differences to help you choose the one that best matches your needs.

We’ve listed them from lowest to highest price. The most important thing with exercise gear is that you enjoy it enough to keep using it. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive bike, but if a cheaper one doesn’t make you happy you may not use it enough to see results.

Pick #1: Schwinn AD2 Airdyne Bike

Click Here for Great Prices on the Schwinn AD2 Airdyne Bike

The AD2 is Schwinn’s entry-level Airdyne® Exercise bike. It doesn’t have many frills, but still has all the benefits of the Airdyne® technology. With lower end magnetic resistance bikes, there is sometimes less resistance or fewer difficulty settings. With the Airdyne® there is always an unlimited amount of resistance because it’s based on how fast you pedal.

The computer is very simple and has only basic functions. It’s in a lower position which may be ok since you won’t be punching buttons very often. However, it would be easier to read if it were closer to the eyes like the other two machines.

The seat may be the biggest drawback on the AD2. This is one of the smallest seats we’ve seen on an upright exercise bike. Most people will probably want to add a gel pad or other seat cushion to make their workout more comfortable.

Choose this bike if you like:

  • The position of an upright bike.
  • Simple computer readouts.
  • A lower price tag.

Possible downsides to be aware of:

  • Fairly small, basic seat.
  • Very little electronic features.
  • Lower weight capacity than the other machines.

Pick #2: Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

Click Here for Great Prices on the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

The AD6 is a step up from the AD2 with better construction and a longer warranty. Overall the bike appears similar in size and shape, but there are many small upgrades that add up. Although a bit hard to notice, the specs on the AD6 should make it longer lasting and smoother to operate. For instance, the drive system is a beefier dual-stage design but is well hidden under the plastic guards.

The most obvious difference is the computer, which is larger and raised up to be closer and easier to read. The AD6 console is easy to use, making it perfect for the computer challenged. It gives a continuous readout of six items like time, speed, distance, etc. There is functionality to display heart rate, but it requires a separate chest strap sending unit. These are quite affordable and add quality data to your training. It also includes watts so you can compare power output and know how hard your workout was. The screen isn’t large, but the numbers that you want to see are quite big.

The seat is billed as, “large and thickly padded.” For an upright bike, we think it’s a nice saddle, and it’s definitely better than the AD2. Compared to a recumbent seat it is much smaller, but the padding is fairly thick.

Choose this bike if you like:

  • The position of an upright bike.
  • Higher quality, including a longer warranty.
  • Simple computer readouts.

Possible downsides to be aware of:

  • May feel less comfortable than a recumbent.
  • The fan can sound noisy when you’re going hard.
  • Very little electronic features.

Pick #3: Schwinn 520 Recumbent Elliptical Trainer

This is a unique piece of exercise equipment that we think is worth checking out. It’s a cross between a recumbent exercise bike and an upright elliptical trainer. The motion of your legs is less circular than when pedaling, but not as challenging as weight bearing machines like a stair stepper. Check out this video to see for yourself how it operates. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We2CWMC6cmM)

Because of its recumbent design, the 520 will likely win the comfort contest. The seat is cushioned while the backrest is perforated plastic that allows better ventilation. The large footplates can also increase comfort by allowing different positions.

For those in rehab or with a limited range of motion, this trainer may be particularly attractive. It’s easy to get on and off and requires even less balance than typical stationary bikes.

The computer is very simple as the others but is placed to the side which makes it easier to reach. The readout is large and very visible, and the side placement allows for better TV viewing.

Unlike the other Airdynes® the 520 doesn’t have the option to exercise the upper body. This is significant because it’s also the highest priced model. We like the setup of this bike, but it’s not quite as good a value with only one type of exercise.

Choose this bike if you like:

  • The lower position of a recumbent bike.
  • Bigger seat and foot plates.
  • The different pedaling motion of an elliptical.

Possible downsides to be aware of:

  • No way to get upper body exercise.
  • Very little electronic features.
  • Higher purchase price.

Recommendation and Conclusion

The clear winner in this group for us is the AD6 Upright. The quality, features, and price all line up where we expect them to. The ability to exercise legs, upper body, or both at the same time adds versatility and helps keep us interested.

This reviewer liked the flexibility of multiple workouts for rehab reasons.

The computer isn’t great, but the power readout is a bonus. The ability to show heart rate is a useful feature to help judge the level of exertion.

We’re intrigued by the design of the 520 Recumbent Elliptical trainer but felt as if the price overshot its value. If it added a second workout option that might change, but until then we’ll recommend the AD6 as a first choice.

The AD2 is an entry-level trainer with a mid-level price. The fact that it includes the handles for an arm workout justifies the price a bit, but we’d still choose to pay more for the AD6 and its higher quality.

Now, what’s your verdict? Which one have you chosen to purchase?

Give us your feedback; we can post your review on our website, which would be helpful for others.

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