The Schwinn Airdyne AD6 is a fan bike that has the ability to get you sweating and panting in double quick time. They have the reputation for being a form of torture that people often have a love/hate relationship with.
It can be used by beginners but it is designed to be used by people wanting to take their cardio and HIIT workout seriously.
It is a workhorse fan bike constructed from steel to get the job done without too many frills other than a water bottle holder plus a console to keep you on track. This leaves you to concentrate on your workout whether that is to burn calories or push yourself to the limit.
In our review we look at just how well it stands up to the demands of intense training (as well as moderate exercise) and how it can meet the special requirements of using it in the home and not just in a gym situation.
The bike is well built to provide a steady and stable base for your workouts. There is no shaking or wobbling as you workout even at high intensity.
There are none of those annoying rattles that you get on some bikes as everything is well bolted and welded together.
The frame comes with a 15 year warranty backed with the Schwinn name gives more confident that it will take the punishment for a long time in much the same way as previous models of the Airdyne. Those are still around and working to this day – with the owners giving up before the bike did!
There are 4 levelers under the stabilizer bars that you turn to balance the bike up to prevent rocking from side to side when using on an uneven floor.
There’s not a lot that can be adjusted on the bike. The one thing you can change is the height of the seat so you are sitting the best distance from the pedals to ensure your legs are slightly bent at the lowest point of pedaling cycle.
You can’t adjust the horizontal positioning of the seat to take you closer or further away from the movable handlebars. For some people this lack of adjustment can mean you are stretching to reach the handlebar when it is at the point furthest from the seat, making it uncomfortable and awkward as well as potentially causing an injury. The majority seems to be okay with this apart from those below 5 ft 3 ins where it seems to be too much stretching from customer feedback however, the manufacturer say it is tested and designed to be used by people from 5ft up to 6 ft.
The handlebars can’t be adjusted or fixed in place, they move back and forth with the pedals. you can rest your hands on them if you want but they have to move with them or you can rest them by your sides if you don’t want to work them.
Making the adjustment to the vertical position of the seat is quick and straightforward to allow it to be used by multiple users of the bike of various heights.
You loosen the adjustment knob and move the seat into position insert the pop pin and tighten it up again to hold it in position. There are levels marked on the pole that help with returning to your setting if it has been moved since you last used it.
It is described as exponential resistance in marketing speak. What it means is that to increase the resistance you need to pedal harder and faster. Pedaling faster is the only way to increase the resistance. It is the air being pushed by the fan that is provides the resistance. The faster you pedal the more resistance there is.
There are no dampeners like you find on a rowing machine or any other adjustment to change the resistance manually..
The fan is made of strengthened ABS plastic that is hardwearing and seems to be durable and robust.
Unlike previous Airdyne models the air for the most part is pushed forwards away from you so you don’t get much of a cooling breeze at all (or an annoying wind depending on your point of view).
If you want to control resistance to get a ride similar to an outdoor bike then it is better to look at a spin bike where you manually adjust the resistance using a tension knob to increase/decrease the resistance. To check out the difference between Airdyne and spin bikes click here
The bike has a “dual-stage super-torque drive belts” that provides a smooth and quiet experience. It is low maintenance. At some stage they will need replacing and this is going to need to be done by people with the skills and tools to do it. Overtime the belt will eventually stretch and the pedals will start to slip. This is the same with any bike with a belt drive. But it is unlikely to happen in the near future
It is all within a plastic guard that stops sweat and dirt getting into it preventing damage to it. This guard also stops clothes, ankles and little fingers getting caught in it.
The pedals come with a strap for fixing your feet on to them. They take normal sneakers or athletic shoes. The bike doesn’t take the normal 9/16 thread size but is 1/2 inch according to customers so the pedals can only be replaced with an adaptor.
The bike has a fixed gear so the pedals, fan wheel and handles or move in sync with each other – when one is moving they all are moving. For this reason when you are just wanting to train your arms you can place your feet on the foot rests at the front of the bike out of the way of the pedals. They do move slightly as they are attached to the handlebars but you don’t have to be concerned about your feet slipping off.
You can pedal backwards on the bike which does blow air on you unlike pedaling forwards where you don’t really get any wind blowing on you.. You will need to check that the pedals are still in tight after doing this as the pedals may unscrew
Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Comfort
Handlebars. There are grips on the handlebars to make it easier to grip them especially when your hands get sweaty. They always move back/forwards when the bike is in use. There is no way to fix them in place. When you just want to workout your legs you need to either rest your hands on handless or have them by your side.
Noise. The belt drive is pretty much silent. The fan wheel makes a noise similar to that of a fan when it is going round fast. It isn’t that loud but you may need to turn up the TV to listen to it as you ride. The noise is unlikely to disturb your neighbors but may disturb people in your home if you try it out in the middle of the night.
Riding Position. The recommended position is upright similar to that of riding an outdoor bike. However, some people of smaller stature find they have to lean forward when the handlebars are at there most forward position which can result in stretching uncomfortably and also sliding around on the seat.
Seat. The seat in the product listing is described as being oversized, extra padding and ergonomically designed. Some people find the seat comfortable but many don’t. This is to be expected with any type of bike seat. It is such a personal thing!
To help if you find it too hard on the sit bones you can try a gel seat cover and/or padded shorts. These help in most circumstances. It is possible to replace the seat but you do need to change the clamp that is used to attach the seat to the pole if you want fit a standard bike size seat which can be got by taking the pole and seat to a bike shop who will replace it for a few dollars.
The bike doesn’t take up too much room requiring an area of 26 by 50 ins when not in use. It looks pretty good too, so can be kept in a room if you don’t have a home gym or somewhere to store it out of the way when not in use.
There is a strap that you use to stop the fan, pedals and handlebars moving when not in use to prevent damage when transporting the bike and someone hurting themselves.
If you do want to move it somewhere to store it somewhere (for instance in a closet) you move it using the transport wheels at the front of the bike. You tip the bike on to them and they support the weight of the bike so you can wheel it to where you want to go. The bike does weigh 115 lbs and the wheels make this easy to handle.
The wheels work best on hard surfaces and are okay on most carpet. You may find on carpets with a deep pile that they jam up as the wheels are partly enclosed.
If you’ve a wood floor you may want to check that the wheels don’t scratch or dent it before moving the bike all the way across it.
The bike comes part assembled. Most people can complete the bike assembly within an hour or so. There are clear instructions and the necessary tools included. Everything is labeled and fits together like it should.
The most difficult part is dealing with the weight of the bike in the box – moving it and getting it out. Once out and you’ve got the stablilizer bars it is much easier to handle and put the rest of the parts together. It makes good sense to have a friend help you with the lifting, moving and holding to prevent injury or damaging the bike.
Some people have a little trouble tightening the seat on to the seat post sufficiently with the tool provided but this can be resolved by using an adjustable wrench to tighten it up.
As well as adding the stabilizer bars you are required to add the console, handlebars, pedals, seat, adjustment pole and water bottle holder.
The console that comes with the bike is basic. All the metrics are displayed at one time and they are large enough to be seen easily when in a well lit room. If you have poor light you will struggle to see the black numbers on the display’s gray background.
The console displays RPM, time, speed, distance, watts, calories and heart rate (when a heart rate strap is worn – needs to be bought separately).
At the top of the screen is the RPM RevMeter that provides a graphical representation that can make it easier to see how hard you a pedaling.
Time is next and displays minutes and seconds up to a maximum of 99:59, if you go over it restarts from zero.
Next is speed then distance. These both can be displayed in kilometers or miles
The Watts is a measure of how much work you are done with 746 watts = 1 horsepower. It won’t equate to what you get on an outdoor bike (due to how the resistance works) but can be used for keeping on track during your workout. It shows the watts you are producing at the current resistance level.
Following this is calories. This is an estimate only as you aren’t required to enter in your weight or height. Although it isgood for monitoring performance between workouts it shouldn’t be relied on to calculate for weight loss purposes.
Heart Rate. This works only when you have compatible heart rate strap. It lets you know beats per minute.
Under the display are 3 buttons for stopping/pausing/starting and adjusting time goals, setting whether Kms or miles and entering altitude. When you first use the bike you are asked to enter altitude.
It takes 2 AA batteries that you need to supply separately. It lets you know when the battery is down to 10% and needs replacing.
The heart rate strap must be an uncoded Polar compatible strap like the T31 uncoded strap
The console will pause for 5 minutes before turning itself off – if it doesn’t detect any movement in that time. This does give you good time to refill your drink bottle or go to the bathroom without losing your results.
If you get on the bike and start pedaling the console wakes up and starts monitoring your performance and time etc count up. It is possible to program the console using the buttons under the screen for the length of workout you want, so that time counts down to zero.
When you pause the diplay flashes and gives the current workout of time, average speed, distance, total machine distance, watts, calories and average heart rate.
When you complete a workout you it displays your workout values three times in the order of time, average speed, distance, watts, calories and average heart rate.
The console monitors your performance while you are working out on the bike but it doesn’t record the results or upload them to an App or internet account. To keep a record of your workouts you need record them manually in your workout journal or spreadsheet.
There are instructions in the manual for using the console. They are basic but there isn’t much you can do so it doesn’t take too long to master it
The dimensions and weight of the bike are
Height 51 ins
Width 26 ins
Length 50 ins
Bike Weight 115 lbs
Max User Weight 300 lbs
The bike itself doesn’t come with much in the way of accessories. It comes with a water bottle holder at the front of the bike. It saves you having to get off the bike or riding next to a table. It is at the front of the console putting it in easy reach for when you need it. You do need to be careful of the handlebars when you are getting/returning the bottle so you’ll need to slow down to ensure you don’t bang your arms.
The company does offer a couple of accessories that you can buy separately:
Reading Rack. This is attached to the front of the bike where you can place a book for reading or a tablet etc with a strap. It can be a little hard to read text on books especially if you are short as it feels like it is above you and it is bent back. It can also be difficult to install.
Wind Screen. This is to stop the wind from the fan blowing on you as you ride I’m not sure this is really necessary as the wind is pushed away from you when you pedal forwards so you don’t get much of a breeze on you as you ride. If you intend on doing a lot of backwards pedaling it may be worth buying if you don’t want a breeze blowing on you. It is easy to install.
The instructions give some good advice about training zones, adjusting the bike to fit and some ideas on how often to train. However, there are no ideas on workouts you could do on the bike to get the most out of it. You can get some good workouts online at YouTube and other sites to get you started.
- The frame has a 15 year warranty, parts 3 years, electronics 2 years, labor 6 months
- Bike is stable and durable
- Provides a great overall cardio workout where you can exercise arms and legs at the same time or just the arms
- Has a basic console for feedback and keeping you on track during workout including RPM, calories, speed, distance, time elapsed and heart rate (when you supply a heart rate strap)
- Assembly is straightforward and can be done in less than an hour
- Transport wheels make moving the bike a relatively easy job for most people
- Compact size makes it easy to store and use in home or apartments with limited space
- Includes an easy to reach water bottle holder
- No programmed workouts
- You can’t save workout results or upload information to a fitness account
- Console is hard to read in low light as there is no backlight. To be able to read you need to have good lighting
- You can’t move seat closer to the handles making it difficult for some shorter people to reach when they are at furthest point from the seat, resulting in them leaning more forward than they should be
- The handlebars can’t be locked into position when you want to work the legs only
- You can’t manually increase the resistance this is only done by pedaling faster
- Seat can be uncomfortable for some and it can’t be changed without buying a clamp from bike shop to fit it with other seats
- Pedals don’t use standard bike thread so makes it harder to change them for other pedal
- Pedals have straps only for keeping feet on pedals. Do not cater for specialist shoes
- Doesn’t include heart rate strap to use with the console. This need to be bought separately
Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Consumer Ratings
Overall customer reviews are positive with many people liking the intensity of the workout they can get. They like how sturdy and solid the bike feels. They feel they are going to get many years of workouts from the bike.
The negative reviews deal with problems with the bike not being properly manufactured and customer support. However, these are the minority and as mentioned in the paragraph above people get a very good bike that they can enjoy (torture) themselves for a many workouts year in year out.
The other issue that people who are below 5 ft 3 ins experience (although not all) is that they have to lean too far forward to use the handlebars through the whole back/forward motion. Unfortunately, there is no way round this as the seat doesn’t adjust horizontally to help in shortening the distance.
Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Price
This is a no frills fan bike (with a good console) that can take many years of punishment and can humble you in quick time if you want.
The bike qualified for free shipping when I looked was at Amazon.
This fan bike is made for the hardcore and serious trainer but can be used by all people including beginners. The unique way it uses air resistance to increase the resistance and the moving handlebars lets the workouts be easily tailored to your own ability and personal goals.
The bike, as with most fan bikes does not give you the option to adjust the resistance manually and there is no way to lock the handlebars in place. (If that is what you are looking for, a spin bike/indoor cycle may be a better option for getting low impact workouts as tough as you want.)
It provides a good stable base that on the whole can take whatever punishment thrown at you for years. The frame comes with a 15 year warranty.
The only concern with the bike is the lack of seat adjustment can mean you are too far from the handlebars to comfortable.