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

air bike vs spin bike featured

Introduction 

When it comes to the number of bikes available on the market today, none are as misunderstood as the air bike.

We’ve all heard of road bikes, mountain bikes, indoor cycle bikes, fixies, recumbent, and many, many more, but if you asked most people what an air bike is, they probably couldn’t tell you.

Well, I’m here today to answer the questions, what is an air bike? What’s the difference between an air bike and an indoor spinning bike? And how to choose the right bike for your needs.

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 instead of a typical flywheel of an indoor bike
  • Frame: The air bike, usually, is more solid and sturdy because it has to withstand the upper body motion of pushing and pulling the handlebars.
  • Handlebars: The handlebars on the air bike move, which is why the air bike offers such a challenging total body workout.
  • Resistance: The fan’s most significant advantage is that the resistance levels are unlimited, meaning that no matter what fitness level you are, the air resistance provided by the fan works to provide a great workout.

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

Whereas your traditional cycle has pedals connected to two tires, the air bike’s pedals are connected to a huge fan at the front of the bike.

One of the main differences between a conventional bike and the air bike is that the handles move on the air bike. So, in fact, the faster you pedal and push the bars, the more challenging the workout becomes.

So instead of using the traditional flywheel, the air bike utilizes the wind resistance created by the fan to provide resistance to your workout. Again, the harder you push, the more challenging it becomes, and in my opinion, air bikes are one of the best full-body workout machines out there, if not the best.

One significant bonus is that the fan’s air helps cool the user down while working up a sweat, allowing you to push harder and workout longer.

Spin Bike – Indoor Cycle

indoor cycle woman

An indoor cycle or spin bike does actually go by a few different names, such as stationary bike, exercise bike, and even exercycle. It’s crucial here that we understand that when referring to “spinning,” we refer to Mad Dogg Athletics, who is the trademark owner.

In essence, they are a bike without wheels. They are equipped with everything you’d expect from a traditional bike; saddle, pedals, handlebars but with one glaring feature missing; no tires.

The indoor bikes are specifically designed for people to workout inside without leaving their homes or offices. It’s important to note here that even your regular road bike could now be referred to as an “indoor bike” due to the introduction of smart trainers like the Wahoo Kickr Snap; simply pop it on the trainers, and away you go.

Indoor bikes or any bike, to be honest, offer an excellent workout because of the low-impact they have on the body; this also makes them a perfect choice for those undergoing rehabilitation.

Fan Bike vs Spin Bike / Indoor Cycle: Differences 

Air Bikes: Pros & Cons

  • The main selling point and or benefit of an air Bike is the total full-body workout it provides; in my opinion, it is second to none; I absolutely love it.
  • Air bikes require no electricity.
  • Almost every Air Bike I’ve ever ridden has been very well built with heavy-duty steel.
  • Because they are so robust and durable, users that weigh over 300lbs can safely use them.
  • Low-impact; The bike offers a total full-body workout without the high impact that running can put on your body.
  • It is straightforward to use, no complicated movements to learn, and to be quite honest, with your arms and legs moving in sync, I find it very relaxing. 
  • Can burn an estimated 500 calories throughout a 30-minute workout.
  • It can be very heavy because of its steel frame, making it challenging to move around.
  • Again, because they are heavy, many of the better bikes can be expensive, and then there’s shipping to consider, which will be costly because of the bike’s weight.
  • A large, solid area is needed to house the bike.

Indoor Cycling Bikes & Spin Bikes: Pros & Cons

  • Spinning is a very straightforward exercise to perform.
  • Many users connect their bikes to third-party apps like Zwift, making for one of the best indoor workouts you can get.
  • Indoor cycles are excellent for those looking to undertake HIIT workouts. (HIIT refers to High-Intensity Interval Training.)
  • If cycling at a slower tempo or heart rate both, you can burn calories and excess fat (to achieve this, however, you generally need to ride for between 45 minutes to an hour) 
  • The bikes are extremely quiet; something other family members will thank you for
  • These bikes are generally fully adjustable, meaning every single member of your family can enjoy the bike regardless of size and fitness.
  • Because they provide the latest technology, they can also be quite expensive.
  • Good connection to power outlets and WiFi is generally required to enjoy the experience.
  • The bikes can be tough to set up correctly; what I mean by that is ensuring the saddle and bars are in the anatomically correct position for your specific height and weight.
  • Although smaller and lighter than most pieces of home gym equipment, a dedicated space is still required.

Wheel Or No Wheel?

Obviously, the first difference to point out is that the air bike has a massive fan at the front where you’d typically expect to see a wheel. The fan’s most significant advantage is that the resistance levels are unlimited, meaning that no matter what fitness level you are, the air resistance provided by the fan works to provide a great workout.

Indoor spin bikes have a flywheel that can range from 10kgs to 20kgs; the heavier the flywheel, the smoother and quieter the riding experience.

Frame 

Both of these bikes are always well built, but as with anything generally, the more expensive the cycle, the better the quality. 

The air bike, in particular, is solid and sturdy, and that’s because it has to withstand the upper body motion of pushing and pulling the handlebars. These bike frames are durable and heavy.

Indoor Spin bikes are much the same; the more expensive the bike, the better the quality and durability. Many expensive spin bikes also come with an impressive 10-year frame warranty. 

Handlebars

The handlebars on the air bike move; yes, you heard right, they move, which is why the air bike offers such a challenging total body workout. 

The handlebars are perfectly positioned, and they enable you to both push and pull. 

Obviously, on the standard spin bike, the handlebars don’t move; their significant advantage is that they are ergonomically designed and provide the rider with several comfortable positions, great on long rides. 

How To Choose The Best Bike For You? 

So, at the end of the day, how do you choose the best bike for you? There are so many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the bike that’s best for you.

The obvious question to ask is, what are your goals? Are you trying to lose weight? Getting ready for a race or simply just wanting to stay fit and healthy. In my opinion, there is no doubt that the air bike provides the best overall workout.

The bike allows for a complete total body workout, and you can burn an insane amount of calories in a limited amount of time. Not only that, the air bike conditions your upper body muscles, including shoulders, triceps, biceps, pecs, and most importantly, your core. 

The spin bike is excellent for those who are looking for a complete cycling experience. You can download third-party apps that allow for such a realistic training experience to be well worth the money. 

The Spin bike provides the rider with a workout that, although not as challenging as the air bike, still offers the user an excellent training experience. However, they can be pretty expensive, so this is a factor that you must consider. 

If you’re not concerned with budget, then I would strongly recommend a spin bike as it just provides for a much more enjoyable experience overall. On the other hand, if you’re strapped for time and cash, then the air bike is your best friend; you’ll be amazed at how good a workout you can get with limited time. 

Conclusion 

When choosing the right bike for you, certain factors need to be considered, such as current fitness levels, future fitness goals, budget, size of your home gym, and many others. 

So there is no “correct” answer. However, if you’re looking for a total full-body workout, I strongly recommend the air bike; in as little as 20 minutes, you can get excellent training that conditions your entire body. On the other hand, if your looking for workouts to be a little bit more low-key, then the traditional stationary bike is best for you.

Either way, you’ll get a great workout, and the most important thing is that you’ll be well on your way to healthier better you. 

Good luck!!

Brenton Barker

Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute.Brenton currently consults with several Professional Athletes and clients in Self- Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.