Ready to perform a laser-targeted attack on your weight loss goals? Here’s a detailed look at the best Air Bikes for home gyms.
The almighty air bike.
It’s been known to break the will of many an athlete and scare the shorts off of fat cells around the world.
The air bike maximizes resistance by forcing the user to pedal blades against the air (hence the name).
The harder you pedal and push the handles, the more resistance you generate.
Instead of being strictly a lower body workout (like a stationary bike) or a strictly upper body workout (like battle ropes), the air bike hits everything.
Which is why it can feel so hard.
Almost as hard as trying to figure out which air bike is the best one on the market.
In this guide, we will look at the best-built air bikes (otherwise known as “assault bikes”).
We’ll look at the key features of each, see how rankings have changed in recent years with the explosion of new air bikes on the market, and what you need to know before buying.
Let’s jump right in.
Best Air Bikes for Home Gyms
Rogue Echo Bike
⭐ Best overall air bike (again)
Ohio-based Rogue Fitness is one of the top names in the strength training equipment game, and for good reason.
Countless athletes put their equipment through their paces on a daily basis, from NFL training facilities to CrossFit boxes.
The Rogue Echo Bike is the best air bike on the planet, taking over from the O.G., the Assault Bike. Walk into just about any gym and you are going to find a few of these lined up against the wall, ready to take down even the most pre-workout-fueled gymgoer.
The Rogue Echo continues to sit at the top of the air bike heap thanks to its extraordinarily heavy-duty design that is built for consistent, relentless punishment.
Outside of its wide and balanced frame, the main reason it kicks all of the butts is because of its drivetrain. The Echo features a belt drivetrain, which is way better than a chain drivetrain in terms of maintenance and proper tensioning.
Powder-coated with the familiar Rogue black, the Echo has a fully adjustable seat (8 different height positions and 5 length choices), and rubber-tipped feet to keep the bike stable while you go to work on it.
Like other Rogue products, there are a lot of customization options with the Echo, including a water bottle holder, stand for your smartphone, wind guard, and more.
Key features of the Rogue Echo:
- Customizable LCD display that tracks power output, time elapsed, HIIT/tabata settings, and more.
- 127lb weight (350lb user weight capacity)
- Rubber wheels for easy transport
- Easy-to-adjust resistance knob
- Optional Shimano cleats available at checkout
- Retails for $845 (check Rogue for up-to-date pricing and special offers)
Bells of Steel Blitz Air Bike 2.0
⭐ Runner-up for best air bike
Although there are other very worthy contenders in this list, including the Schwinn Airdyne and the original air bike, the Assault Bike, runner-up goes to newcomer Bells of Steel.
A Canadian-based strength training company, the were founded by competitive powerlifters (disclosure: I worked with one of them at a nightclub waaay back in the day) who like making killer equipment.
The Blitz lives up to this standard.
For starters, like the Rogue Echo, it has a belt drivetrain that is easier to maintain and won’t require constant adjustments over time. But unlike the Echo, you don’t have to pay extra for features like a water bottle cage or fan guard.
Weight capacity is 350lbs (the frame when fully assembled comes in just under 120lbs) and the seat can be fully adjusted up, down, front and back.
Bells of Steel backs the Blitz with a two-year warranty, including guided repair and installation.
Another thing I love about BoS is that they have an extensive YouTube channel that documents assembly instructions (the Blitz arrives unassembled).
Key features of the Blitz Air Bike 2.0:
- LCD panels with time elapsed, power output (watts), RPM, speed, and so on. Fully customizable workout lengths and routines.
- The Blitz 2.0 is the best value option for air bikes, retailing for around $700 (check Bells of Steel’s website for current pricing and offers)
- Extra wide seat cushion and fully customizable seat height
- Includes wind guard, water bottle cage
- Commercial-gym sized 25” fan for tons of resistance
Schwinn Airdyne AD7
The Schwinn Airdyne has, in the past, flirted with challenging for the lead for best air bike.
In terms of durability and features, it’s still there, but the price of the bike hasn’t kept pace with similarly designed (and often, better designed) alternatives.
Let’s start off with the basics of the Airdyne AD7.
Fun Fact: The air bike, or at least the version as we know it today, enjoyed its first surge of popularity during the fitness boom of the 1970s thanks to the original Airdyne, made by Schwinn.
It’s a got a belt system that is enclosed (making it exceptionally quiet). Fully adjustable seat. And a nice, thick seat cushion for parking your rear end.
The major advantage of this bike compared to the Echo or Blitz is that Schwinn offers an in-home assembly option (for around $100), making it the ideal option for people who don’t want to deal with the hassle of assembling the bike.
Additionally, the LCD monitor readout is very in-depth, detailing more information at one time than any other air bike in this list (though, having a TON of data streaming at you can be unnecessary and distracting for most).
Schwinn tends to make very durable equipment (although my wife had significant issues with their C6 Spin Bike and ended up sending it back after a bit of a hassle) and you should rely on the in-home installation if you want max peace of mind.
All that said, the price is hard to digest.
The Echo is almost $300 cheaper and the Blitz is $400 less expensive. If you plan on assembling the bike yourself, and don’t need a ton of data on the LCD monitor, the extra cost isn’t worth it.
Key features of the Schwinn Airdyne AD7
- Water bottle holder and smartphone slot integrated
- Belt drive with encased plastic housing for very quiet operation
- Two handle heights (plus neutral grip)
- Has additional option for in-home assembly
- Priced at $1,099
When most people refer to air bikes, they often use the term “assault bike,” which is actually the name of a company that produces air bikes.
(And one of the companies to help it explode into the mainstream!)
Conceived with the help of CrossFitters in the 2000s who were looking for a sturdier air bike compared to the Airdyne for more aggressive interval training, the AssaultBike quickly gained popularity and exploded across CrossFit gyms, commercial gyms, and now, home and garage gyms1.
There have been a few iterations of this air bike, and their premium model is the AssaultBike Pro.
It’s got more seat adjustment options than any other air bike on the market, making it ideal for those who are extraordinarily tall or extraordinarily short.
Additionally, assembly is very straightforward, with the unit being delivered already mostly assembled (it will still take you about 40 minutes to complete the assembly).
Fun Fact: One study comparing forms of HIIT found that the Assault Bike significantly outperformed stationary biking for peak heart rate and cardiovascular conditioning2.
The LCD monitor has you covered for training metrics, recording power output, RPM, distance, time, and so on. Also included are quick-access buttons for common training protocols, including HIIT and Tabata.
There are two downsides to this particular unit.
First, it’s a chain drive air bike. Maintenance in the form of lubricating the chain and greasing it from time to time will be required.
And second, it’s pricier to what I consider to be better-built bikes in the Echo and even the Blitz at $899.
That said, this thing is built for high-volume, heavy-duty use.
Key features of the AssaultBike Pro:
- Easy to assemble
- High contrast LCD with built-in workouts
- Has a chain-drive
- Industry-leading 7-year warranty on the frame (3 yeasr on non-wear parts)
- Includes access to a free app that has daily challenges and workouts
- Priced at $899 (Rogue Fitness sells it through their website here)
Air Bikes — How to Choose the Right One for You
Here are the key things to look for when shopping around for an air bike for your demise, err, workouts:
⛓️ Belt vs Chain drive.
Air bikes either come with a hard rubber, belt-driven drive or a chain drive, like your ten-speed.
Belts are smoother, require less maintenance, and won’t fall off like chain drives do. They are also quieter, which can be an important feature for those who workout at home during quiet times (i.e. the baby is sleeping in the next room).
That said, belt drives *can* be more expensive in some cases, but by no means is this the rule.
Chain drives require more attention over the long term, including frequent lubrication and greasing to keep the train chugging along smoothly.
While chain drive air bikes may be a little cheaper in the short-term, you will pay for it in increased maintenance in the long term.
📱 LCD monitor features.
Tracking your workouts is a huge motivator when working out at home. Seeing the metrics in real time give you a boost and having the stats gives you goals and targets to go after.
Air bikes almost universally have an LCD monitor that tracks a wide variety of training metrics, including time elapsed, wattage, calories burned, distance traveled, and speed.
The better air bikes have an LCD monitor that has advanced workout customization options like tabata, HIIT, target calorie burning, and so on.
Some air bikes have LCD displays that are compatible with heart rate monitors (the Echo, for example, can be hooked up to a Polar heart rate monitor and sync up training information).
🧰 Ease of assembly
Air bikes are shipped disassembled to save on shipping costs for consumers.
Some assembly is required for them, whether you are looking at a Rogue bike or other brands. Assembly typically takes around 30-60 minutes depending on the brand.
Needless to say, because of the vigorous use that air bikes are designed for, it’s crucial that it’s assembly properly so that it can handle all of the punishment you throw at it.
(Fortunately, many strength training equipment brands, and their costumers, post tutorials and how-to’s on YouTube for assembly.)
Companies like Schwinn offer at-home assembly for an added fee if you prefer the peace of mind of knowing the bike is put together properly.
Air bikes range in price from around $350 up to $1,100.
Rogue and Bells of Steel—in my opinion and experience—provide the best bang-for-buck when it comes to cost and durability.
While there are some significantly cheaper air bikes out there—this Marcy Fitness Fan Bike (that is $350 or so) is one example—they aren’t built as well.
Best Air Bikes — FAQs
Can you build muscle on an air bike?
You can build muscle with anything as long as there is enough resistance, and that includes on machines that are typically reserved for conditioning.
Air bikes are best used as training tools for developing aerobic and anaerobic power.
In terms of muscle growth and hypertrophy, there is enough activation to create *some* muscle growth, but it’s best to think of the air bike primarily as a conditioning tool.
Is an air bike better than a stationary bike?
Air bikes are more effective than stationary bikes in a couple of key ways.
First, they engage the upper body in a way that stationary bikes do not. Building anaerobic and aerobic capacity in the upper body is typically limited to exercises like boxing or battle ropes.
Air bikes are a great way to introduce conditioning to your upper body.
Second, because your whole body is being stressed and exerted, air bikes generate significantly more cardiovascular stress 3.
(“Stress” is being used in a positive manner, in this case.)
Air bikes get your heart rate up much faster because it targets the whole body, making them an excellent choice for high-output cardio like HIIT and Tabata.
That said, both are tools, and there is always a reason to use one or the other.
Doing a recovery workout on an air bike machine, for example, is pretty hard when it sends your heart rate through the roof so quickly.
The Bottom Line
The air bike has become a popular and highly effective weapon for athletes and gymgoers in recent years.
When it comes to picking one out for your home gym, here’s a recap of the best options out there:
The Rogue Echo Air Bike continues to lead the pack. In terms of sheer durability, heavy-duty construction, and relentless testing in the hands of athletes, it wins all day.
The Bells of Steel Blitz 2.0 Air Bike is my best choice for a budget-friendly air bike that has everything you need to get started on day one.
At the end of the day, whichever air bike you choose comes down to your goals, budget, and appetite for soul-sapping interval training 😉.