If you want to start cycling indoors, you’ll have to choose the best type of bike.
Two popular ones that regularly come up are air bikes and spin bikes.
Okay, but which one is known as the assault bike?
The air bike is known as an assault bike because of how it combines arm movements of cross-country ski machines with the leg power of cycling.
Sounds interesting, right? With that in mind, both air bikes and spin bikes have important pros and cons to know about.
Let’s take a look at them, as well as their differences, so you can choose the best one to help you get fit.
What Is An Air Bike?
An air bike is a great way to tone up your back, chest, arms, obliques, and abs.
How an air bike works is that the faster you pedal on the bike, the faster its wheel blades rotate and the more resistance will be created. An air bike uses a fan to produce this wind resistance, which enables you to get an intense workout from it.
An air bike has an upright design with fixed handlebars and seat so that your upper and lower body are engaged.
An air bike doesn’t put strain on your joints, so it’s great for you if you’re suffering from injuries or have a health condition such as arthritis. This is what makes the air bike a safer alternative to the elliptical trainer.
This bike is easy to use and control. You don’t have to push any buttons or turn any dials. You just change your speed to adjust the resistance!
The air bike helps to cool you down during a sweaty workout, thanks to how its large fan circulates air.
An air bike’s seat is wider than those of other bikes and therefore helps to accommodate the rider much better.
An air bike is not compact or foldable, which might make it inconvenient to store at home.
What Is A Spin Bike?
A spin bike is a stationary bike that is similar to a regular mountain bike. It enables you to bend your body into a more aerodynamic position so that you get a good workout.
Some common features that you’ll find on a spin bike include reinforced pedals, adjustable seats, minimal seat padding, and textured handlebars. This type of bike is built with a solid and large frame.
You can enjoy a high-intensity or low-impact session on a spin bike. It’s therefore versatile for you depending on your fitness needs and level.
Spinning can burn a lot of calories, so it’s excellent to do it a few times a week for weight loss – you can burn around 500 or more calories per hour.
Spin bikes give you an excellent lower body workout, especially since it works out some of the largest muscles in the body, like the gluteus maximus.
You can find foldable spin bikes that make it really easy to store them at home.
While a spin bike will engage your arms, it won’t do this as much as an air bike.
How Are Air Bikes And Spin Bikes Different?
There are some similarities between air bikes and spin bikes. These include how they’re both stationary bikes.
Both bikes also allow you to make the most of low-impact exercise, which is great if you’re unfit or recovering from an injury.
However, they do have some important differences you should know about. Let’s take a look at these by exploring different features of these bikes.
When it comes to the resistance of these bikes, they work in very different ways.
An air bike produces resistance via its giant fan. The more you pedal as well as pull and push the handles, the more resistance you’ll create.
The resistance also builds at a fast pace – it’s no wonder some people have nicknamed the air bike a “misery machine!”
Spin bikes are built to be similar to bikes you’d use to cycle outdoors, so they have pedals you clip into and static handlebars. The resistance doesn’t originate from the terrain you’re cycling or gears you’re using, of course, since you’re riding indoors.
Instead, it’s produced manually by a knob that controls the standard friction brakes or magnetic brakes, depending on the type of spin bike you use.
An air bike has a large wheel that’s basically its fan. It also has blades incorporated into its design that displace air as you pedal in order to produce resistance.
By comparison, a spin bike has a smaller front wheel that’s called a flywheel. This is heavy to create resistance when you cycle while also ensuring that it produces a smooth experience.
The handlebars on these two bikes vary quite a bit. On an air bike, the handles ensure full engagement of your arms and shoulders.
You have to pump your arms while using the handlebars, which is why the air bike is so great for upper-body workouts.
By comparison, on a spin bike the handlebars are used to support your body when you lean forward or stand up during your workout. They are usually textured for this very purpose.
Another design difference between these two bikes can be seen in their seats. On an air bike, the handlebars are positioned higher than the seat so that you maintain an upright position during your cycling session.
This also helps to engage your arms, abs, and legs in the pulling and pushing movements. An air bike’s seat is broad so that it feels more comfortable.
On a spin bike, you’ll have to sit in a forward position so that you take pressure off your legs in order to give them a better workout.
When using a spin bike, you’ll basically be in a racing position. The seat will be narrower than what you’ll use on an air bike, and it’s useful for working out the muscles in your calves and hamstrings.
The air bike’s pedals are pretty standard and basic, but you can find some that make use of straps.
It’s actually recommended that you use a spin bike without straps on the pedals so that you can engage in HIIT without feeling that the straps are getting in the way or restricting you.
A spin bike has different pedals, such as toe cage/toe-clip and platform pedals to suit your preferences and comfort.
What about the noise that these bikes produce?
If you want to purchase an air bike or spin bike for your home, you might need to consider how noisy they will be especially if your home is small and you don’t want to disturb other people in your household.
An air bike is generally not noisy because the blades cut the air while you rotate the wheels. However, this can produce a low howling sound.
As for spin bikes, they’re also usually not very noisy. If you’re using a spin bike that has felt pads, this will increase friction between the flywheel and pads, and can produce a whistling sound.
If you’re using a magnet-based spin bike, this is less noisy. This is because of how the magnets produce resistance as a result of the force of attraction with the bike’s flywheel.
Earlier, we mentioned that air bikes can take up quite a bit of space. They’re not compact, which is something to consider if you’re thinking of finding a spot for one in your home.
Air bikes are also heavy and bulky, as they’re meant to be used for intense full-body workouts.
Spin bikes are easier to store in the home, even if you live in a small living space, because you can find compact, foldable models.
Muscles They Work
Using an air bike will target many muscles in the body. All the major muscle groups will be engaged, so you’ll get a workout for your lower, upper, and core muscles.
What’s great about using an air bike is that you can target either lower or upper body workouts depending on your preferences.
In the lower body, your hamstrings, calves, glutes, quadriceps, and hip flexors will all get a good workout. In the upper body, you’ll exercise the chest, triceps, and front deltoids when pushing the handles. You’ll also work out your back, rear deltoid, and biceps when pulling the handles.
The core muscles get a workout by how you’ll be moving the handles at high speed.
With a spin bike, you will primarily exercise your lower body muscles, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes. However, it also works out the abs.
This is because sitting in an upright position on the spin bike will require your abs to be engaged the whole time to keep you stabilized. Interestingly, while you might not think you’re going to get much of an upper body workout on a spin bike, your arms are going to get some exercise.
This is because you have to support your upper body by holding the bike’s handlebars, which will tone your arms, upper back, and even your shoulders.
If you want to buy a stationary bike for your home gym, you will naturally have to consider how much they will cost.
You can find air bikes that range from a few hundred dollars to less than a thousand dollars, but they are usually more expensive than mini-style or magnetic resistance bikes.
That said, you get what you pay for as they are made of durable and quality materials. Popular air bikes, such as the Rogue Echo Bike, will cost around $700, and higher-end bikes, like Airdyne Pro, will cost around $1,000.
As for spin bikes, you can also find a range of prices. Some popular spin bikes, such as the SoleFitness spinning bike that costs around $1,000 while the Peloton is a popular – and more expensive – spin bike that costs around $1,800.
So, Which Bike Is Best?
Both spin bikes and air bikes have their benefits, so you can’t really say that one is better than the other.
The bike you choose to use for your workouts will depend on what you want to do.
If you want to have more of an upper-body workout in your regular cardio routine or you want HIIT aerobics, you should use an air bike. It will give you excellent total-body workout sessions.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cycling workout that feels less vigorous or you want to bring HIIT into your session in intervals, then a spin bike makes more sense. That’s also the case if you want to focus on your lower body.
What’s the difference between cycling and spinning?
Cycling works out all major lower-body muscles like spinning, but a spin bike doesn’t allow you to freewheel. This means your muscles work the entire time.
Why do air bikes feel so hard?
Since you can’t adjust their tension on a knob or dial, the harder you pedal the harder it gets to pedal!
If you want to up your stationary cycling game, you might wonder if you should choose an air bike or spin bike.
In this guide, we’ve compared the two pieces of equipment, running through their pros, cons, and features to help you choose the best one to keep you fit and fab.
Billy Hughes is a fitness trainer based out of New York. She has registered success in training clients at multiple fitness centers and thus aims to establish her module relevant to the post-pandemic era. Her space, Cerevellum.com, is an attempt towards encouraging and educating more people on the scope of indoor fitness. She believes the power of fitness can transform attitude, personality, and way of living. She also finds it rewarding to help people achieve their goals and make their lives better.