Schwinn Airdyne Pro Indoor Bike Review

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Schwinn Airdyne Pro Indoor Bike ReviewReview Facts

Schwinn makes bikes. The American company has been doing so since 1895. For your editors and, we’re sure, some of you readers, Schwinn bicycles are intertwined with memories of riding with friends during the summers of our childhood. Although riding an indoor bike isn’t the same thing as riding outdoors, it can still bring back the same nostalgic feelings, allowing you to feel free, even during the most intense workouts.

The level of craftsmanship and resiliency translates over into Scwhinn’s “all grown up” stationary cycles, which you sometimes see in group fitness classes. The company introduced its Exerciser model in 1966, and it was one of the first indoor cycles suitable and practical for use in the home. The gold-framed bike sported one front wheel, a leg with rubberized feet in back, and manually adjustable friction resistance. There was also a speedometer and odometer, featuring analog readouts and knobs. Technology and user experience have come a long way since 1966, but you can still rely on Schwinn to make an indoor bike that will last a long time and deliver consistent results.

Today, we break down the Schwinn Airdyne Pro stationary bike.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

9 ready-made programs give you different goals and challenge all fitness levels for different users

Cycling is effective low impact cardio, and you can go as fast-slow, long, or hard as you like

Resistance comes from a fan and automatically goes up or down depending how hard you pedal, so always a challenge

The steel frame and big foundation tubing/rubberized feet make for a steady ride at any speed

The belt drive is quiet, and bike does not shake, so your ride is quiet and you will not disturb the family

The padded, oversized, comfy seat is easy to adjust for different body types

An option lets you get wireless heart rate--no strap, but still more accurate than handgrips alone

Cons

Bike is pricey compared to others with similar features and application

Missing some of the advanced features you'd expect at this price point (like Bluetooth and a sound system)

The Rundown

The Rundown

Reviews we looked at, from customers and commercial fitness sites, the trend towards the favorable. The bike is a compromise between a true compact machine and a gym-ready model meant to stay in one place. In our research, we found out you can get the Airdyne Pro (and some accessories) from Rogue Fitness, the strength training, and the heavy lifting powerhouse. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is worth noting because Rogue does not offer anything that it did not make or cannot endorse 100%. A vote of confidence from Rogue is a good sign.

The entire frame is coated, twice, in a durable and sleek finish. The flywheel, which sits in housing and connects to the fan by a belt, is weighted for accuracy and made of durable components. You will not need to perform much maintenance. We checked the manual, though, and it suggests coating the seat post in silicone-based lubricant (not oil-based and not WD 40) to keep the seat adjusting smoothly. This is not necessarily more than a few times per year. You will be able to tell when the belt wears, too, because the flywheel, pedals, cranks, and fan will not all move together at the same ratio the way they should--ride quality will suffer.

The company says to replace the pedals once a year if you own and operate the Airdyne Pro in a commercial gym. Since most of our readers are home gym users, the pedals will last a lot longer.

The pedals are clear, made of hard plastic, and function as standard BMX pedals. You do not have toe clips or a lip around the pedal--Schwinn wanted to help you replicate an outdoor road bike experience. But there is texturing on the pedals, and they are contoured to help you build speed and accelerate quickly when you start a ride. If you have to replace them, only use Schwinn brand pedals. It may be worth hiring a technician to change the pedals/belt for you, too, if you have not worked on bikes or cars much in the past. If you have changed out the chain on a regular bike, we are sure you can tackle the belt on the Airdyne Pro when it wears out.

Speaking of Rogue Fitness, they provide an option to Schwinn branded pedals if you'd like to do an upgrade right away. Rogue has Shimano components for sale, including 2 different kinds of clipless pedals and a Condor speed saddle. Rogue would not be able to offer these extras without Schwinn's approval. Those of us who know about endurance biking know about the quality and consistent performance you can get from Shimano or Condor; both brands are regularly used by professional, sponsored riders including triathletes and tournament competitors.

Here is an advanced feature you do not see everywhere: you can customize the seat on the Airdyne Pro. The factory seat is comfortable and supportive, but you may prefer a split seat, banana seat, or one more like a racing bike seat. Schwinn makes the process easy, and you do not even have to use a Schwinn brand seat.

Rounding out the basic features, the handlebars have the option of moving so you get more of an upper-body workout in addition to the leg and heart conditioning offered by the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.
Tech Specs

Tech Specs

We pulled these numbers and factoids from the owner's manual and the Rogue Fitness product listing to ensure accuracy. As of this writing, there is no product page for the Airdyne Pro or any Airdyne on the Schwinn site. This makes us think the bike has been discontinued, but we were not able to verify this. Finding the manual was a bit hard, but there are plenty of third-party sites that download and share manuals for almost any fitness product you could desire.

User weight max is 350 pounds, which is quite generous considering 300 is an unwritten industry standard. We support high weight capacities, because the low impact and adjustable speed of an indoor bike may be just what a sedentary person needs to start getting active again. Also, have you ever looked at a powerlifter? They are not svelte or ripped, just strong as heck, and those athletes need cardio training too. The Airdyne Pro can accommodate all sorts of bodies, with the weight limit and also the adjustable seat/handlebars.

The bike weighs 113 pounds, which is remarkable considering there are folding exercise machines that weigh more. The exercise bike does not fold, but it does have a small footprint--3.5 feet long, 1.6 feet wide, and 4.3 feet tall. Even with extra airflow/safety space on the sides, this is a tool that can fit into most smaller spaces. The sub-5 foot height means you will never have to wonder if your ceiling is high enough, or worry about bonking your head (this can happen to taller users of stair steppers and other tower-style machines).

The console takes 2 "D" size batteries. When they start to run low, the system will warn you so you can replace them promptly. We will break down the console functions in the next section. Assembly is not too difficult, but the manual suggests getting a friend to help you hold pieces in place. The frame is already together when the bike ships. That includes the flywheel and housing, the fan, belt, cranks, seat post, and floor leveling feet on the steel tubing base. So your job is to install the console, handlebars, pedals, and other smaller pieces that turn the frame into a complete exercise bike. Assembly tools are included, but you may need a box cutter that Schwinn does not supply.
Other Features

Other Features

The console is surprisingly feature-rich for something relatively inexpensive (when compared to similar products by other makers). You can make your own manual workout, or use one of the specialty goal-oriented ones provided in the console. Those training programs include intervals, time, heart rate, calories, and distance. You can also program your own HIIT workouts, and programming is easy. The console also gives you a tachometer that measures your RPM on an old fashioned looking digital dial. Other console metrics are calories, watts, speed, and maximum effort during a workout. After you enter your age and weight, the bike sets up your target heart rate so you can use it as a benchmark. Remember that no hand grip or wrist heart rate sensor will be as accurate as a chest strap and that the sensor on this, or any other stationary bike, is not a medical device.

Although every possible option is labeled, the LCD console looks like it will take some learning. There is no touch screen, so there are push buttons for everything and each one is labeled. The console is oblong or coffin-shaped and is installed vertically rather than horizontally. One perk is how big and legible the mono-color numbers are, so you never have a problem reading your data or making adjustments on the fly.
The Final Word

The Final Word

If you need more cardio training in your life, either as your primary activity or as part cross-training for your activity of choice, we are confident in recommending the Schwinn Airdyne Pro. It has enough custom and ready-made programs to keep you interested and provide progressive challenges. The moving handlebars help you get in an upper body workout in addition to building strength in your legs. Though not made to be moved from room to room, the Airdyne Pro is lightweight and does not take up a huge amount of space. Once you learn to navigate the console, the bike will be a reliable tool you can use several times a week to improve your level of fitness and quality of life. Though there isn't an iFit platform or touch screen, you are able to dial in your workouts, push yourself during intervals, and go easier on days when you do not want to work out but know that you have to.