The Concept2 BikeErg is an air bike with a difference.
The handlebars are fixed like an indoor cycling bike and you can manually adjust the level of resistance rather than just relying on pedaling faster to increase the resistance
It is made by the same people with the very highly rated rowing machine the Concept2 Model D Rowing machine which uses air resistance with a damper to manually adjust the airflow to vary the intensity.
It seems to be more of a cross between a air bike and indoor cycling bike and does make me wonder if it can provide the type of workouts and or training of either.
Or is it something else?
And if it is, can you still get a good cardio conditioning workout, training as well as moderate exercise from it?
Concept2 has a great pedigree and that gives this bike a lot to live up to. Let’s see if it does in my review below where I give the bike thorough examination.
The bike is built with a welded aluminum frame (which helps with the overall weight and rust) and steel stabilizer bars to keep it firm and steady no matter the intensity in and out of the saddle.
It has been built to be used in commercial settings, so this should be more than enough to be used at home.
It seems it does live up to the reputation of the supplier to provide sturdy and durable exercise equipment from customer reviews. They are pleased with how it handles their workouts and training. They are expecting a lot of use out of it without problems.
The bike should be set up on a level surface to prevent rocking, there are levelling pads on back foot to balance up the bike if there is some small changes in the level of the floor.
It will work on carpet but you may struggle on carpet with deep pile where an exercise mat may help or if it is very deep you may need to put it on plywood if that is your only choice for locating the bike.
There is some minimal maintenance required such as wiping down the bike after use, and periodically checking everything is tight and clearing the flywheel of dust (all explained in manual and appears straightforward and not time consuming).
The bike comes with a limited warranty for 2 years, where they will replace or repair defective or worn parts and 5 years they will repair or replace material or workmanship defects subject to the owner looking after the bike as described in the manual. If it is sold on, the remaining period of the warranty can be transferred to a new owner. (Please check the warranty for the complete description and limitations.)
The bike is put together in the US from a combination of domestic and imported parts.
The Concept2 BikeErg has the main adjustability of the handlebars and seat height being able to be changed. The horizontal positioning of both can also be changed. The seat horizontal movement is more involved and much restricted involving the use of a 9/16 wrench (not supplied).
An interesting feature of the adjustment set up, that is not common with exercise bikes of any type, is the ability to change the height of the seat while on the bike – you can change it while standing on the pedals and pulling the seat upwards to correct height with your legs at full extension being slightly bent. You do need to lower the seat first which is done off the bike and is easy to do by releasing the clip on the seat post and pushing lightly on the seat.
It can make it easier to get the fit right without having to estimate the positioning while standing next to the bike.
But you don’t have to do that and you can use the usual method of making the adjustments and corrections rto the seat height while standing next to the bike.
Although it isn’t continuous, it has set positions they are close together so you should get the position you need.
The seat post is on an angle which helps with keeping the right position in relation to the pedals and handlebars.
The seat vertical adjustment range is 10 ¼ inches and the distance from floor is a minimum of 30.75 ins and maximum of 41 ins.
If you want to make adjustments to the seat horizontal postion it is best to check out the video on how to do this as it isn’t obvious and isn’t shown in the manual I have. There is nut you need to loosen under the seat and you can then move it back and forwards an inch to get a better fit for long cycling. It can be moved approximately 1.5 ins in total. (It is in a similar place when adjusting an outdoor bike saddle backwards and forwards.)
The seat angle can also be changed – although again it’s not obvious by looking at the seat fixture which may have led some reviewers to believe it isn’t possible It involves loosening the same nut needed to adjust the horizontal positioning of the seat – it is included in the same video too.
The handlebars vertical positioning uses the same system as the seat but you do you need to loosen the knob on the side of front post (make sure you tighten it up once in place so it doesn’t come out if you pull up while using) – it is quick to do. Fortunately, the horizontal positioning of the handlebars is easier and obvious to do. You turn a knob at the front of the bike and move the slider to position the handlebar in place and then tighten in place.
The height range is 10 ins and the horizontal position can be changed 7 inches, this combined with seat adjustments gives a minimum reach to handlebar of 22 ¼ ins to a maximum of reach of 30 1/4 ins.
The BikeErg standard fit is recommended for people with an inside leg length between 28 ins and 37 ins. If you have a longer leg length the manufacturer can supply an alternative tall post that fits people with an inside leg length between 31 ins and 41 ins. They also have a short seat post designed to fit with an inside leg length between 26 ins and 35 ins. (These optional can be ordered from the supplier’s website.)
The inside leg length measurement is a better way to decide if a bike fits you than your height as there is variation in leg length between people of the same height. The inside leg length measurement is normally taken from the top of the inside leg to the sole of the foot.
Customers between 5ft 2ins and 6ft 2 ins have said that the bike can fit them but it is the inside leg measurement that is key as this can vary of people of the same height. The company seem to be very helpful when contacted.
The resistance is provided by air resistance as you pedal the fan flywheel at the front. The faster you pedal the more resistance there is. Unlike most air bikes such the Assault Air Bike you can manually increase the “resistance” by moving the lever on the flywheel called a damper. (It works in the same way as the rower).
However, Concept2 do not like this interpretation that the damper adjusts resistance as they state that can only be done by changing pedaling speed – the faster you pedal the more air resistance you push against. The damper setting they explain works more like bike gearing in that it affects the feel rather than the resistance.
Having said that it can make it easier or harder pedaling by moving it and keeping the same cadence as there is more “air” to push against.
The lever to make the changes is down by the cover of the flywheel at the front– it is easy to make the adjustments, but you do have to lean down to change it during your workout which may mean you need to stop pedaling to do it. It would be better if they could have it near the handlebars so it is easier to make changes on the go.
There are 10 levels marked on the flywheel cover, but these are hard to see from the bike – you could use a permanent marker to mark them to make it easier to see the level you have set it at. However, it should be more straightforward to estimate the level you’ve set it at and return to a previous setting than turning a tension knob (as you do with indoor cycles and psin bikes) by seeing the position the lever is at.
An alternative is to use the monitor to determine the amount of resistance. It is called the drag factor. You can get to it through the start menu and choose the more options then display drag factor. It has measures from 40 (damper setting 1) to 210 (damper setting 10) approximately per manual. The amount of drag factor can be changed by adjusting the damper to get the amount of drag (resistance) you want. The drag factor is probably a more accurate measurement than the damper setting and can be compared accurately from bike to bike.
The setup is more like their rower where you set the resistance level you want to train at and leave it there for the session unless you have specific break points rather than an indoor cycling workout
The move through the resistance is smooth without any sudden jumps.
If you want to stand on the pedals and push hard against the resistance it is similar to that of going up a hill on an outdoor bike.
There are differences to an indoor cycle with a fixed gear, in that you can freewheel and the faster you pedal the more resistance there is. You don’t have the same flywheel inertia to pull the pedals
Inside the unusual “blocky” looking casing that runs across the bottom of the bike is the self-tightening polygroove drive belt. They provide a smooth and silent operation that should require little maintaining. It is designed to keeps the same tension as you workout each time you use it and reduces the chance of slipping as it gets older.
The casing should help stop dust from getting to the drive and protect anyone from hurting themselves on the moving parts.
The bike also has a clutch which means you can freewheel unlike most air bikes and indoor cycling bikes. These other bikes have a fixed gear that mean when the flywheel is turning so are the pedals and you need to gently come to a stop using the pedals or use the brake function of the resistance pads on an indoor cycling bikes.
It allows you to get off the bike when you want without any risk of getting bashed in the back of the legs or causing other injuries. It would be good if more exercise bikes were built this feature.
Without a weighted flywheel you may find you need to work a little on your form to get a fluid motion going.
The flywheel is also covered which helps to prevent injury as well as restrict the airflow.
Some people have noticed air from the fan being felt on their knees which some thought was fine but others found it annoying.
The pedals don’t come with toe cages or SPD fittings – it just has flat platform pedals like you might find on outdoor bikes.
There is no need for special shoes and you can use standard athletic type shoes.
You can buy toe clips direct from the Concept2 site to help keeping your feet from coming off the pedals for a better stroke, help with foot positioning and safety especially if you want to get out of the saddle – they aren’t pricey..
Alternatively, you can swap out the pedals for your own preferred set as they have a standard fit. The thread is 9/16 ins and 20 tpi.
The Q-factor is 155mm which is narrower than most other indoor bikes which can allow for better alignment of the legs reducing stress on the hips, legs and feet. Q-factor is the horizontal distance between the inside of the pedals.
The crank length is 170 mm.
SeatLike all exercise bike seats, some people find the seat comfortable enough for their needs although it may take time to break it in, however, there are some who find it too much and hate it. This is not unusual.
There are a number of things you can do – adjusting the seat level by tilting it, persevere with it and hope you get used to it by breaking it in (or your sit bones) gradually, try a gel seat cover or padded bike shorts (especially for long workouts) or you can replace it with another bike seat (it fits many other standard bike seats).
HandlebarsThese are fixed in place with a clamp. They include dropbars and small horns to provide good hand options similar to an outdoor bike rather than indoor cycling bike giving not as many options if wanting to follow an indoor cycling class but you should still be able to follow along to most classes to get a good cardio workout.
This gives you three different grip options to cater for some different cycling positions (standing or sitting or streamline), intensities and comfort.
The handlebars can be replaced for other bike handlebars if you want a customized fit. The clamp size is 1 ins.
They are covered to provide a more comfortable grip and help prevent hands slipping when they get wet from sweat.
This is probably one of the most noticeable differences to other air bikes – the fixing of the handlebars. It does mean you don’t get the same upper body workout but you can some real intense workouts just the same. It also more suitable for longer conditioning workouts.
Dirt and CleaningThe bike itself is unlikely to generate any dust by itself when in use although it may kick up some due to the fan.
The biggest issue is likely to be from sweat that can drop on the bike and floor. It can be a good idea to put the bike on an exercise bike mat to protect the floor from sweat and protect bike dirt from the floor. Mats can also absorb noise too.
To keep the bike clean a wipe down with a damp cloth will keep it clean and help preserve its “looks” and performance.
There is also a need to cleanout the flywheel casing (instructions included in the manual) to keep it running at an optimum and not affect the amount of resistance from the damper. It isn’t too much hassle.
NoiseIt’s not quiet, unlike a magnetic resistance indoor cycling bike due to the fan noise at from the flywheel which increases in noise as you pedal faster. It similar to the fan noise you get from household fans.
However, there shouldn’t be any squeaks or rattles from the bike based on customer feedback.
It’s quieter than air bikes with a chain drive and moving arms – there won’t be the clinking of the chain as it move across the sprockets. But you probably won’t be able to use it in the same room as someone is sleeping unless they are deep sleepers. In a different room it shouldn’t be an issue with door shut.
If you live in an apartment it is probably not going to loud enough to hear through walls just as a loud fan is unlikely to be heard. You may want to put it on an exercise bike mat to absorb vibration especially if you live on an upper floor.
It might look good in a garage gym but is probably not something you want in your living areas, so you may want to store it out of the way when not in use.
When storing the bike out of the way it should be kept down (not stored upright like the rower) and it doesn’t fold up. It needs an area of 21 ins by 48 ins making it too big for storing in most closets.
To help with moving the bike there are 2 small transport wheels on the front stabilizer bar that you tip the bike on to. The weight is supported on the wheels which makes it safer to move by one person. The bike is lighter than many other exercise bikes at 68 lbs.
The tipping up of the bike still means you need to be careful as it can be awkward to move around corners and if in a tight space but this is no different to other exercise bikes.
The transport wheels will work on most surfaces but on carpet with a deeper pile you may find it feels like it has the brake on as they sink into the carpet. It makes it tougher to move, and if the carpet pile is very deep it may jam resulting that you may need to drag it but be careful.
The bike is delivered part assembled with much of the assembly done.
It comes with the tools and instructions needed to complete it.
You are required to install right pedal, rear leg with seat post and saddle, handlebar, front leg with handlebar post, performance monitor, rear foot and front foot with castors to the box frame assembly (this includes flywheel, drive, casing, cranks and left pedal).
With the left pedal already installed this prevents an issue that some people can have with installation of pedals as the left pedal has a reverse thread. This can cause the threads to be stripped if the pedals are mixed up or left pedal is turned the wrong way (righty-tighty instead of lefty-tighty).
There are 13 steps to follow in the manual and most people complete the assembly within in an hour and don’t run into any issues. The step to be careful with is to ensurie the cable to connect the monitor is not crimped during assembly.
The assembly can be done by one person but having a second person can help with holding the bike.
Concept2 BikeErg Console
The bike comes with the same PM5 monitor that is used on the rower and skierg making it easy to swap between the equipment. It has a simple look and set up.
You can monitor your calories, power, RPM, speed, distance and heart rate if you are wearing a heart rate monitor that needs to be bought separately. You can also see drag factor (resistance) but that isn’t available on the standard metrics screen).
The console uses both Bluetooth and Ant+ which can be used for connecting to Apps or for connecting to a heart rate strap.
There are 2 ways you can keep a record of your workout results by either pairing it with an App (including their own App) using Bluetooth or using the USB (as well as manually).
The screen is backlit which helps it to be seen in all light conditions – those consoles that aren’t backlit can be almost impossible to see in dim light. You could ride this in very dim light and still see your numbers. It is also possible to adjust contrast to help with viewing.
There is a is a simple screen layout and the numbers are a good size to see while working out.
The console starts up when you start pedaling or by pressing the menu button.
The square monitor size is about the size of a smartphone. In the center is the display which takes up most of the monitor. Along the top of monitor is company logo and monitor type PM5.
Along the right hand side of the screen are the 5 buttons to work through the menu options displayed on the screen. On the start up menu you have the options:
Just ride – you select this if you just want to ride without a set time or distance. It starts recording as soon as you start pedaling and will start saving your results if your workout lasts longer than 1 minute.
Select workout– you can choose from a variety of workouts. The options are – single time, single distance, single calorie, time interval, distance interval, calorie interval, variable interval, workout with undefined rest, favorite workout, ride a past workout, Ergathlon (with rower and skierg) and biathlon (with other activity). There are 3 games – darts, fishing and target training. This gives good variety to keep vary workouts and keep it interesting.
Connect – this is where you can connect to heart rate monitors and Apps (third party apps as well as their own) using Bluetooth or Ant+.
Memory – this allows you to see previous workout results and if a USB drive is attached you can view the USB logbook
More Options – you can use this to see drag factor (can be used to help gauge resistance setting), racing and games
Below the screen are the following 3 buttons:
Units – this allows you to select to display meters, pace, watts or calories
Display – gives you the options on how your metrics are displayed with the options of all data, power curve, pacer, bar chart or large print
Menu – is pressed to start the monitor, display a previous workout or save your results
At the back of the monitor is where you replace the batteries as needed. Also, at the back is a USB-Flash Drive and USB-B port. In addition, there are 2 race system jacks to connect other bikes when racing. There is also a reset button if you run into trouble with the monitor.
A standard set of metrics it displays on the screen is as follows:
Along the top is elapsed time and cadence (RPM), below that is current pace per 1000 m,
next is average pace and heart rate (if wearing a heart rate strap), then is the average pace for workout, next is split meters in user set time or distance and below this projected time to finish if current pace is maintained.
You can set up a pacer workout or race against another person’s time.
Included with the bike is a free online logbook for recording and tracking your results. You can upload using their ErgApp or the USB drive or manually if you prefer. This is good to help you keep track and isn’t offered by many other fan bikes or indoor cycling bikes.
The monitor is powered by 2 D size batteries and these are included. There is no need for the bike to be plugged in. To help with the battery life the monitor is also powered by the user when pedaling.
It is Bluetooth and ant+ compatible which allows it to connect to their app, third party fitness apps and a variety of heart rate monitors.
However, to monitor your heart rate you need to buy a heart rate strap separately. A shame one isn’t included as standard.
Resistance:To see drag factor (a substitute for resistance) you push the more options button and select Display DragFactor but you can’t add it to the main display screen and see it with other data.
If you want to see drag factor along with the other metrics on the same screen you will need to connect to the ErgApp and then set up the screen on your phone to include it.
Distance and speed are measured in meters and can’t be changed but when you use it with the ErgApp it can be converted to mph or kilometers per hour. The reason for this restriction on the console, given by Concept2, is that it makes it easier to compare watts/power needed to compare with the rower and skierg.
If the ErgApp doesn’t offer enough workouts or data then you can link up to Zwift (as well as other Apps like Sufferfest). The connecting seems straightforward for most people (providing you have wireless turned on and latest firmware). Zwift can pick up the cadence and power from your bike.
It isn’t a smart bike so resistance (damper or pedaling faster) still needs to be changed manually if using Zwift.
The PM5 monitor goes into free ride mode once you start to pedal and your avatar moves on Zwift. Moving the damper and keeping cadence up makes it easy to increase your power for sprint workouts, virtual race etc.
You don’t have to use third party Apps to compete against others.
The accuracy and comparability of the PM5 monitor allows you to race against others in the same room when connected or you can take part in virtual sprints via the logbook.
The logbook gives you a number of options for competing against others in the world and you can take it as serious as you want. There are challenges and rankings too, to help with motivation.
The console turns off after 2 minutes of inactivity. If you want to keep your workout going you need to press display, change display, units or change units within that time – it doesn’t give too much time for a needed rest break (or the break needs to be interrupted) in the middle of longer workouts.
You can sign up to have a new daily workout sent to you in the morning for more variety, inspiration and motivation.
The App in particular the Android App has mixed reviews with some customers having problems with the connection and how poorly it runs in the background. They also wished it work with heart rate straps. It seems others like the look even if it is dated and how it works with the logbook.
You can share your data in the logbook with Strava, Training Peaks, Fitbit and Garmin Connect to help keep your fitness data to be collated in one place or multiple places.
You can also share your workouts on Facebook, Twitter or by email if you want to let others know how well you’ve done.
The logbook can keep full history of your workouts (and others who use the bike) and provides you with analysis, summaries and statistics. You can only log data from Concept machines as they won’t accept it from other machines due to reliability and comparability of their monitor. This is for comparing performance with other users and to be on their league tables.
The dimensions and weight of the BikeErg are:
Width 21 ins (use width 24 ins)
Height 40.5 ins
Length 48 ins
Bike Weight 68 lbs
Max User Weight 300 lbs
The bike doesn’t come with much in the way of accessories as standard which is a little disappointing. It didn’t have any when first launched.
Just the one has been added.
Smart phone cradle – this now comes with the bike as standard. It fits on the top of monitor putting in a good place to see the metrics in real time. It can fit smartphones of a variety lengths and width of 2 ¼ ins and 3 ½ ins
The accessories you can buy separately for the bike (that would be useful as standard are):
Tablet holder/mount – This fits at the front of the bike with the tablet mounted just above the monitor. It does put it in a good position to see as you ride. It has a spring loaded construction to help with fitting different sizes of tablets and to hold them in place. It can be swiveled to for the best view.
The mount allows the table to be viewed in portrait or landscape. And will hold different tablet sizes between
Height 8.5 ins to 11 ins
Width 6.25 ins to 7.75 ins
Depth .13 ins to 0.56 ins
It can be used along with the phone cradle.
There are cheaper options that can be found but they won’t look as good or fit as conveniently with most alternative designed to fit on handlebars
Water bottle holder I’m not sure why this isn’t standard. It isn’t expensive to buy and fits on the handlebars putting it in a good place to reach on the go. The alternative is to have the bottle on the floor or look at other options like a shelf etc.
Toe clips – These attach to the front of the pedal and provide more security to keep feet on the pedal. It doesn’t have straps to help provide a better fit. It will work with most shoe sizes. They work with athletic shoes etc they don’t add SPD fittings. I think it would be better if they came as standard.
Also, they sell on their site the following:
Exercise bike mat – made from black PVC which 3/16 inch thick and covers 5 ft by 2.6. It is suitable for any surface according to the manufacturer. There are alternatives and you can read about my choice of top exercise bike mats here.
Heart Rate monitors – They have Garmin and Polar heart rate straps options to buy. The bike monitor does work with a variety of other straps and these straps are available elsewhere too.
- Quick to adjust to fit different sized users
- Can adjust the seat height while on the bike
- Seat, handlebars and pedals can be easily swapped out
- Consistent measures between bikes allow you to swap bikes for same results or fairly compete with others
- Can use it for HIIT and longer conditioning rides
- Can adjust resistance levels
- Can see resistance/damper settings on monitor shown as drag factor
- Monitors power/watts
- A narrow Q-factor of 155 mm closer to a bike and provides more alignment of hips, legs and feet
- Has a clutch to allow freewheeling
- Works with Zwift and other fitness Apps
- Monitor is backlit for ease of viewing
- Easy to assemble in 30 – 60 minutes
- Comes with free online logbook with options for manual, via USB drive or through the ErgApp to keep it updated
- Difficult to change and see damper (resistance) setting when on bike without stopping pedaling
- Design is more for function than looking good
- Doesn’t cater for upper body training
- Horizontal adjustments of seat is not as easy as could be and limited
- Water bottle holder does not come as standard and needs to be bought separately
- Heart rate strap is not supplied
- Measures speed in meters, you need the free app on your phone (etc) to convert to see miles per hour
The bike doesn’t come with much in the way of accessories as standard which is a little disappointing. It didn’t have any when first launched but …
Smart phone cradle: – this now comes with the bike as standard. It fits on the top of monitor putting in a good place to see the metrics in real time. It can fit smartphones of a variety lengths and width of 2 ¼ ins and 3 ½ ins
There are some accessories you can buy separately for the bike (that would be useful as standard are):
Tablet holder/mount: This fits at the front of the bike with the tablet mounted just above the monitor. It does put it in a good position to see as you ride. It has a spring loaded construction to help with fitting different sizes of tablets and hold them in place. It can be swiveled to for the best view.
The mount allows the table to be viewed in portrait or landscape. And will hold different tablet sizes between
Height 8.5 ins to 11 ins
Width 6.25 ins to 7.75 ins
Depth .13 ins to 0.56 ins
It can be used along with the phone cradle.
There are cheaper options that can be found but won’t look as good or fit as conveniently with most alternative ones designed to fit on handlebars
With more people using Apps with their bikes this would be useful included as an extra for home use.
Water bottle holder: I’m not sure why this isn’t standard. It isn’t expensive to buy and fits on the handlebars putting it in a good place to reach on the go. The alternative is to have the bottle on the floor or look at other options like a shelf etc.
Toe clips: these attach to the front of the pedal and provide more security to keep feet on the pedal. It doesn’t have straps to help provide a better fit. It will work with most shoe sizes. They work with athletic shoes etc they don’t add SPD fittings.
Also, they sell on their site the following:
Exercise bike mat: made from black PVC which 3/16 inch thick and covers 5 ft by 2.6. It is suitable for any surface according to the manufacturer. There are alternatives for this and you can read about my choice of exercise bike mats here.
Heart Rate monitors: They have Garmin and Polar heart rate straps options to buy. The bike monitor does work with a variety of other straps and these straps are available elsewhere too.
Concept2 BikeErg Consumer Ratings
Customer reviews are very positive on the whole (just like Concept’s rower). Most don’t have any concerns with the build and durability of the bike. They say it can take what they dish out and expect it to last. They can get the workout they want from low intensity to high intensity sprint to long endurance rides.
They find it is a smooth ride although a different feel to an indoor cycle.
Some have said they prefer it to other air bikes they have tried or own(ed) including the Assault Air bike and Rogue Echo.
One criticism is that the damper (resistance adjustment) is not at a good height and that the markings of level can’t be seen by the user. But this is normal fo r many stationary bikes especially spin bikes and people can estimate the level or use the drag factor that can be viewed on the monitor.
The other concern noted is the perceived inability to change the angle and horizontal position of the bike seat. However, it is possible to change the horizontal positioning of the bike by an inch and the angle by loosening the nut under the seat – it isn’t very obvious.
The ratings given in customer reviews are probably among the best of exercise bikes available online.
It seems from feedback that people feel it delivers good value for the price.
The price for the bike can fluctuate, these days especially, with the inconsistent availability of the bike. Therefore, it pays to do some checking as to latest prices online.
Concept2 have put together a bike that matches up to its reputation in that it is simple to use and set up and is sturdy and durable. With customers pleased with it
If it is like their rower it should have a good re-sell value if you ever tire of it.
It is great for working on your conditioning with a range from low intensity through to high intensity interval training. You have the choice of long endurance workouts to short intense sprints
It is great for those who want to take their conditioning training seriously.
However, the bike can also be used by beginners who want lighter training as well as those much more experienced too.
It is easy to adjust the bike to accommodate a range of sizes and abilities. It can be used by the more senior as well as the “youngsters”.
The Concept2 BikeErg is designed to withstand the use and abuse of commercial settings so should be more than enough for the home.
It doesn’t provide an upper body workout as you get with an air bike. Nor is it the same as an indoor cycle. However, you can get the workout to improve cardio conditioning for either endurance or high intensity.
It seems it is a top exercise bike.