Air Bike vs Spin Bike / Indoor cycle: A Detailed Comparison

air bike vs spin bike featured

Introduction 

Cycling is a perfect way to strengthen your body, both physically and mentally. It’s also one of the most convenient ways to workout. Today, many modern exercise bikes make it easy to achieve your fitness goals at home with the same workout intensity that would have been undertaken at the gym. 

This guide focuses on two very common indoor bike options: the Air Bike and the Spin Bike. Here we will provide you an in-depth overview of what each form of bike offers, what are its main features, and other elements. Moreover, we will compare both options before helping you choose the right kind of bike. 

Important Information

Spin®, Spinner®, Spinning®, Spin Fitness® are trademarks of Mad Dogg Athletics. Even if we use the phrase “spin bikes” sometimes to refer to the Indoor Cycle type of bikes, we must inform you that they are not in reality. When we are referring to Spin Bikes, we mean the official Spinner Bikes of Mad Dogg Athletics. However, keep in mind that in this article, where we talk about resistance, the Spin Bikes and Indoor Cycles share similar characteristics.

In a hurry? See the main differencies

  • Bike Wheel: Air bike has a wider wheel with fan blades inside that will transfer air.
  • Frame: Air Bike has a more upright position when you ride it, where spin bike is identical to a road bike where the center of gravity tips more forward to the handlebars.
  • Handlebars: Air Bike’s handles are at a great height and allow the user to engage his arms. On the other side, spin bike has the typical handlebars that let you stand up from the seat and lean forward.
  • Pedals: Usually, Spin Bikes, come with straps to keep your feet secure while you work out. There are, however, some Air Bike models that have also these straps.
  • Seat: The seat on the Air Bike appears to have a wider surface. The seat on Spin Bike is smaller and resembles the seat of a real road bike. You can, of course, change the seat to a more comfortable.
  • Resistance: It’s obvious that Air Bikes have air resistance from the fan blades. Spin Bikes come with two forms of resistance: magnetic resistance and friction resistance. 

What Is An Air Bike And A Spin Bike? 

Before we compare the Air Bike and the Spin Bike, let’s take a look at what these bikes are. 

Air Bike 

air bike woman

Air Bike is perfect for those looking for effective and intense workouts. Yes, these bikes are actually built to make you really work hard. Let’s have a look at some of the specifications and basic features of the Air Bikes: 

  • Gives cardio workout intensity similar to running.
  • Solid built with a weight capacity of up to 300 lbs up to 350 lbs.
  • Designed for a full-body workout.
  • Typically recommended for 20 to 30-minute workout sessions.
  • Solid build and sturdy frame.
  • Considerably heavier weights.

Also called the fan bike, the Air Bike was initially developed for aerobics and cross-fit training in the late 70s. It’s made of an upright build with a seat and handlebar set to keep your arms and legs engaged. When you’re on an Air Bike, your back is straight while your legs and arms are moving or pulling against the drag. 

Air Bike does not have a typical flywheel, but an air wheel. The resistance depends on the fan that uses air and other design elements to produce the required resistance. The air wheel, which is the dominant feature of an Air Bike, is mounted with fans that are angled to generate drag as you ride on this bike. 

On the downside, the bike’s mechanisms do generate chatter, and these kinds of bikes end up being kind of noisy. 

The seat on these bikes is typically broader, giving a more comfortable seat. The placement of the handlebars ensures that your arms stay engaged throughout the workout. 

Spin Bike – Indoor Cycle

indoor cycle woman

Now let’s take a look at some of the specifications and basic features of the Indoor Cycles: 

  • Spinning or Indoor Cycle classes, in general, means a lot of calorie burning.
  • Resistance in Spin Bikes & Indoor Cycles is either physical resistance or magnetic resistance.    
  • The assembled bike is heavy and can be challenging to move.
  • Provides a quiet workout experience.
  • Affordable with a wide variety of brands to choose from.
  • Use either belt drive or chain drive mechanism to operate.

Riding an Indoor Cycle is somewhat similar to riding a mountain bike. Many users have expressed that Indoor Cycle workout sessions are as good as an intense cycling workout. While riding this bike, your body will bend to an aerodynamic position, giving you full access to the handlebars, which is not much different than the usual stance users take on actual bicycles. 

Anyone trying to burn some calories by cycling can achieve their fitness goals by spinning. This bike is also aimed specifically at muscle groups, including legs, thighs, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and core. The Indoor Cycle’s overall design makes it especially ideal for fitness enthusiasts looking to exercise indoors or even for users who want a cycling-like workout experience at home. These bikes are priced reasonably and range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. More costly Spin Bikes have a heavier flywheel. This affects how realistically the bike can mimic an outdoor experience. The total weight of the flywheel is between 30 and 50 pounds. With it, pedaling is smoother. 

Air Bike vs Spin Bike / Indoor Cycle: Similarities 

Cycling is a very diverse way of working out, and the muscle groups involved, the number of calories burned, and the nature of the exercise are highly affected by the model of cycling equipment you use. 

While both the Spin and Air Bikes engage various muscle groups: each provides a specific workout experience. 

Pros

Air Bike Spin Bike / Indoor Cycle
Infinite resistanceMultiple resistance levels
Sturdy designTech equipped
Ergonomic seat2 different types of resistance
Full body workoutPerfect for HIIT and LIIT

Cons

Air Bike Spin Bike / Indoor Cycle
Quite heavyQuite expensive 

Fan Bike vs Spin Bike / Indoor Cycle: Differences 

Now that we know what each of these bikes is let’s talk about their differences. To compare both these bikes, we will give you the ultimate breakdown and discuss each difference between these bikes: 

Bike Wheel 

The bike wheel is the first major difference you’ll notice between the Spin Bike and the Air Bike. 

The bike wheel is very wide on an Air Bike and has fan blades inside that will transfer air more efficiently to create infinite resistance levels. 

Spin Bikes have a smaller wheel on the front, called a flywheel that weighs between 15 to 20 kg. The more the flywheel’s weight will be, the higher and smoother the resistance would be created. 

Frame 

As long as you choose a quality brand, the Spin Bike frame, and the Air Bike frame are well built. The frame carries the user’s weight and endures all the side motions, dragging, pushing, and pulling. 

Air Bike has a more upright position when you ride it. The seat is typically lower than the handles, so you can push the strength through its handlebars. 

Spin Bike is made to be identical to a road bike where the center of gravity tips more forward to the handlebars. Its saddle is almost aligned with its handlebars, which help to keep your back straight. 

Handlebars 

At first glance, it’s quite obvious that apart from the two wide wheels, the handlebars are still very different. 

Air Bike handles are at a great height for the rider’s shoulders and hands so that they are fully engaged as they work out. So this bike serves as a cardio device that allows the user to engage their arms, legs, and hearts. 

You’ll find a few different handheld combinations with a Spin Bike. One for an intense heart pumping, while the other is easier to cycle. You can choose the one that makes you feel more relaxed. The handlebars let you stand up from the seat and lean forward to the handlebars by placing your center of gravity over the bike’s pedals. This whole concept will encourage you to work out through harder resistance. 

Pedals 

The only difference with the pedals is that on Spin Bikes, they come with straps to keep your feet secure while you work out. You can also replace Spin Bike pedals. 

Although some Air Bike pedals come with straps, most of them do not have any straps because they are common HIIT fitness equipment where the user uses them for a few minutes, jumps off, takes a break, and hops back on it again. 

Seat 

The seat on the Air Bike appears to have a wider surface so that you can relax your back more easily. The main reason behind this is again the fact that this exercise equipment is intended for HIIT workouts. 

The seat on Spin Bike is smaller and resembles the seat of a real road bike. The narrow seat allows full leg extension to fully engage the hamstrings and glutes when you use the Bike. It is also beneficial to dramatically reduce chafing on the inner thighs. 

Resistance 

As its name suggests, the resistance of an Air Bike is air. When you push and pull the handlebars and push the pedals simultaneously, it helps to create a rotation effect. All of this rotation will then control the air wheel on the front. The faster you pedal, the harder it gets for the wheel to turn, and it helps to build resistance. 

Unlike Air Bike, there are two forms of resistance on a Spin Bike: magnetic resistance and friction resistance. The resistance of a Spin Bike comes from inertia. You shift and rotate the flywheel in the front as you pedal. By simply rotating the knobs, the magnets on the magnetic-based Spin Bike or the felt pads on the friction-based Spin Bike will move closer to the flywheel and attempt to counteract the speed of the wheel. For all the flywheel resistance, the user forces harder on the pedal to keep up with the same RPM. 

How To Choose The Best For My Needs? 

Both of these bikes can give you an outstanding aerobic workout, but choosing between them depends entirely on what you’re looking for. 

Spin Bikes are ideal for people looking for a similar experience while riding an outdoor bike but in the comfort of their home. 

With Air Bikes, you’re guaranteed a highly productive and intense workout, and you’re also going to burn an incredible amount of calories. If HIIT workouts are what you are looking for, we recommend going with an Air Bike. 

Conclusion 

So there was our full breakdown on Air Bike vs Spin Bike. Although both bikes come with their own set of pros and cons, they’re both fantastic bikes that can give the very best in cardio. They may have variations in look, features, and function but are very similar in their ultimate objective to help you burn those extra calories and lose weight. We hope that this article will give you the answers and the details you need to determine which one is better for you. 

Editorial Team

IF-FIT Editorial Team consists of experienced fitness writers and cyclists. Every article has been deeply researched to educate every bike lover.