Are you a fitness enthusiast planning to get an indoor exercise bike for intense workouts? Or a gym owner looking for popular exercise machines that most people tend to prefer? Whether you wish to start a fitness center or simply use an exercise bike at home, you will be drawn to the kind of bike that allows you to burn calories and fat with intense workout sessions. 

Undeniably, spin bikes and air bikes are two of the best bikes you can integrate into your training schedule to get incredible and assured results. But how are these two bikes different, and which one should you pick? This guide will hopefully answer all your questions and help you find a suitable bike to kickstart your cardio training.

What are Spin Bikes?

A spin bike is one of the most popular types of exercise bikes that includes a flywheel mechanism. This exercise bike is generally used by gym hoppers on a regular basis as it ensures a great workout session. 

The pedal mechanism of a spin bike allows you to train your legs better than other bikes, including an air bike. This is because you have the choice of exercising while sitting on the saddle or simply standing as per your own will. To talk about the saddle of a spin bike, you will mostly find it narrow, just like any other regular bike. 

Due to the flywheel mechanism of a spin bike, you are able to experience the way cycling could feel on different terrains. Above all, this stationary exercise bike allows you to cycle in the privacy of your house or an indoor gym, which makes it one of the best stationary bikes.

Spin Bikes

Key features:

  • Utilizes a flywheel mechanism 
  • Narrow bike seat
  • Stationary and lightweight
  • Used for working out 
  • Suitable for low-intensity training
  • Smaller front wheel 

What are Air Bikes?

An air bike is an excellent exercise machine that involves a fan-based front wheel which is much larger than the one equipped in a spin bike. With a pedaling mechanism, air bikes are usually preferred by fitness-oriented people who are passionate about heavy workout sessions and toning their bodies. 

It is a perfect exercise bike for those looking for intense workouts that involve pedaling. Along with this highly-efficient pedaling mechanism, an air bike also features a large fan that continues to rotate as you pedal. 

This is also the reason why an air bike is called a fan bike. What allows you to have an intense workout is the air resistance created by these fans, as it increases your pedaling effort. 

Air Bikes

Key features:

  • Involves a fan-based front wheel
  • Attached handlebars and pedals
  • Larger wheel and broader seat
  • Solid built and heavy weight
  • Good for high-intensity training 
  • Used for cardio exercises

Spin Bike vs Air Bike

Frame geometry

The frame of an air bike is sturdy, durable, and built to last. In fact, due to their huge size and rigid structure, air bikes are comparatively heavier than spin bikes. The frame geometry of an air bike is systematically designed to ensure an upright seating position. 

Even the handlebars are positioned in a certain way to be higher than the bike seat. Moreover, with a heavy weight and solid build quality, an air bike is an ideal option for heavy riders. Even spin bikes that possess high-quality levels are equipped with a hard and rigid frame. 

However, the structure and frame geometry of a spin bike is designed to provide a front-leaning position while cycling. With a narrow saddle and placement of handlebars, you will have the option of sitting on the saddle or standing while exercising on a spin bike. 

The alignment between the handlebars and saddle are maintained to give you a forward-leaning posture, just like a road bike. The overall structure of a spin bike is designed to specifically target and train your legs, as it does not work to strengthen other muscles like an air bike. 

Even so, a spin bike can surely stimulate your calves, back muscles, core, butt, and quadriceps. The frame and structure of an air bike can give you an intense workout experience that strengthens your core, upper body, and lower body. 

From your back and leg muscles to your quadriceps and abs, all the muscles will be targeted. This also makes the frame geometry of an air bike a good option for cardio enthusiasts. 

Handlebars

When it comes to the handlebars, there are quite a few differences between a spin bike and an air bike. Air bikes are systematically designed to focus equally on your legs and arms while you work out. 

The positioning of the handlebars of an air bike ensures complete engagement of your shoulders and arms. Whenever you will put in some pedaling effort and move the handles, your upper and lower limbs and the core will be strengthened while you undergo cargo training. 

On the other hand, a spin bike gives you a choice to stand or sit on the saddle while you pedal. Considering this, the purpose of the handlebars in a spin bike is confined to supporting you while you take up a forward-leaning position while riding. 

The handlebars have nothing to do with strengthening your shoulders or arms, which makes the purpose of handlebars in spin bikes completely different from that of air bikes. There are different handlebar positions offered by spin bikes to let you pick the one that goes with your riding preferences. 

spin bike handlebars

Wheel

Air bikes feature a large fan-based front wheel with blades, which looks just like a fan. This front wheel is much larger in size than the front wheel of a spin bike. This fan equipped on an air bike keeps rotating and displacing air as you pedal. This leads to infinite air resistance being created in your air bike, which eventually makes it difficult for you to pedal. 

When you increase your effort to continue pedaling, you are able to have an intense workout session that works towards burning your calories as quickly as possible. In fact, air bikes are also called fan bikes due to this large fan. As mentioned before, when it comes to a spin bike, the wheel size is relatively smaller than an air bike. 

The front wheel equipped in a spin bike is known as a flywheel, which initiates the flywheel mechanism to let you have productive workout sessions. To ensure smooth resistance, you will find the front wheel of a spin bike to weigh between 15 kg and 20 kg.  

air bike wheel

Riding posture

The position of your body and cycling motion while you ride an air bike are completely different from a spin bike. As discussed before, spin bikes give you a choice between standing up or sitting on the saddle while exercising. 

You will have to lean forward in a front-leaning position that slightly arches your back. Such a front-racing stance takes away the pressure from your legs and makes sure that the center of gravity is in front of your legs. 

By this, you can carry out intense workout sessions without being worried about injuries while also focusing on your legs. In contrast, an air bike is built to deliver a different cycling motion.

You will notice the height of the handlebars being more than that of the bike seat. Because of such geometry, you are not supposed to bend forward in a front-leaning posture to ride an air bike. 

You are required to exercise while retaining an upright seating position that results in a continuous cycling motion of pulling and pushing. Such a posture and cycling motion strengthen your arms, abs, and legs. 

Bike seat and pedals

As discussed before, the bike seats of air bikes and spin bikes are quite different. You will find a spin bike with a narrow saddle, which you can choose or choose not to sit on while cycling. You can find such narrow saddles on regular or racing bikes. 

Such a bike seat and pedaling mechanism are perfect for performing low-intensity exercises. Air bikes, on the other hand, are equipped with relatively broader saddles and heavier frames. 

Since air bikes are ideally suited for high-intensity training exercises, your comfort is essential to boost your performance. Air bikes ensure a comfortable upright seating position coupled with a relaxed geometry that does not require you to bend forward while working out and pedaling. 

Unlike a spin bike that gives you the option of sitting on the saddle or standing, an air bike requires you to be seated on the saddle. Moreover, for high-intensity exercises, the straps of the pedals can be disappointing. 

This is why you will find the air bike pedals to be basic with no straps. However, some pedals could still include straps, even though they are not preferred. In a spin bike, you can find a variety of pedals like platform pedals, clipless pedals, toe cage pedals, and hybrid pedals, which are considered excellent options

Affordability

Although choosing one bike over another will depend upon your prime utility; the price point plays an important role too. It is apparent that you prefer a bike that comes with an affordable price tag unless it seems not to quench your needs accurately. 

You can find expensive and cheap models in both air bikes and spin bikes. Generally, you will notice air bikes to be on the expensive side. If you invest in a low-priced air bike with compromised quality, you may end up with an air bike with small front wheels. 

This will eventually create less resistance as the bike will fail to bring results. However, a stationary spin bike can cost much more than an air bike as it usually comes with an expensive price tag. 

This is due to the console system, virtual screens, and other advanced features equipped in a spin bike. When compared with an air bike, you may end up spending a little more on a spin bike. 

Sound 

When you pedal an air bike, air resistance will be created as the blades of your bike’s wheel slice through the air. This may generate a low howling sound which will not be disturbing.

Therefore, when it comes to noise, air bikes make up great picks for your home. You are able to have intense workout sessions with minimal noise, which can easily be neglected. 

However, whether a spin bike will be noisy or not will depend upon the type of model you own. If you have a friction-based spin bike, the felt pads will create friction against the flywheel of your bike. 

When such friction and resistance is created, you will hear a sound that is similar to whistling. Even so, you will not find it very noisy, and it will sound just fine while you work out in a gym. In fact, magnet-based spin bikes do not make any sound at all and are, therefore, perfect for indoor places like your home. 

Resistance 

As I mentioned before, when you use the pedals and handlebars of your air bike to rotate the wheels, the fan of your bike creates air resistance. To work this resistance out, you will have to put more effort into pedaling. 

Being pointed in the same direction, the fan blades of your air bike’s wheel make it possible for this pedaling mechanism to work. When you allow the wheels of your indoor bike to rotate while pedaling, these fan blades produce air resistance or drag that goes up as you pedal. 

The harder you pedal, the more will be this air resistance or drag. When you compare the resistance of an air bike with a spin bike, you will come to know that the working of a spin bike does not include air resistance. 

Whatever drag or air resistance you will feel will be because of some magnetic force or friction. If your spin bike happens to be friction-based, resistance will be created when the felt pads produce friction against your spin bike’s wheel. 

At the same time, if your spin bike features a magnet-based mechanism, you will be prone to feel the magnetic resistance when the magnets try to intervene in the working of your spin bike’s flywheel. However, there can also be bikes that feature both of these mechanisms. In that case, the resistance created will be much higher. 

Pros & Cons of Using a Spin Bike

Pros
  • A great option for low-intensity training
  • Relatively lighter in weight
  • Helps in burning calories and body fat
  • Great workouts with virtual screens
  • Helps strengthen your lower limbs
Cons
  • It cannot run without wifi and a power supply
  • Assembling a spin bike can be difficult
  • Quality spin bikes are expensive

Pros & Cons of Using an Air Bike

Pros
  • Helps in burning calories quickly
  • Suitable for heavy riders
  • Durable and built to last
  • Equal focus on arms and legs
  • Simple to use
  • Power outlet is not needed
  • Of Using An Air Bike
Cons
  • Heavy weight and bigger size due to solid structure
  • Air bikes are not foldable
  • Quality air bikes can be expensive 

Should I Get A Spin Bike Or An Air Bike? 

It is evident from the features of spin bikes and air bikes that they can both create a space for themselves in your workout and exercise routine. They feature noticeable benefits but come with their own drawbacks. 

Declaring a particular bike better than the other depends upon your needs and expectations, as both spin bikes and air bikes have an ideal and unique purpose. If you are looking for aggressive and high-intensity training where many of your muscle groups are toned, you should most definitely go for an air bike, as it offers a full-body workout. 

If you wish to go for low-intensity exercises that strengthen your lower limbs, a spin bike can make up for a great option. Whatever bike you choose on the basis of your preferences and training requirements, you can expect a heart-pounding and intense workout session that will boost your endurance. 

For lite cardio, I always do 15 min session on spin bike, as it doesn’t exhaust me much, but for intensive sessions, air bike is my only choice. It is a great fitness machine you can use for cardio/weight loss. – Axel Woods

FAQs

Is an air bike a good workout?

Air bikes are considered excellent for full-body workout sessions. If you are planning to strengthen a good number of your body’s muscles and have an intense sweat session, a solidly-built air bike will deliver great performance and results in cardiovascular exercises. 

By taking high-intensity training exercises, you will be able to burn calories and body fat with an air bike. Within just 20 minutes, you will have a great sweat and workout session, which will spike your heart rate. 

Is an air bike good for weight loss?

Since an air bike compels you to go beyond your limits and put in more effort, your cardiovascular endurance will definitely improve. Your body muscles will be toned, and your heart rate will be spiked up, just with a 10-15 minute sweat session on an air bike. 

With this efficiency, an air bike is sure to bring results by making you burn calories and fat, eventually helping you to lose body weight. 

Can I lose weight on a spin bike?

When it comes to losing weight, abdominal fat, and burning calories, exercising on a spin bike can bring great results. Unlike air bikes, spin bikes are focused on low-intensity training exercises and steady-state workouts. Just by inculcating regular workout sessions on spin bikes in your schedule, you can drop pounds. 

Why is the air bike so hard?

It is evident that exercising on an air bike is much harder than on regular bikes or spin bikes. An Air bike offers full-body toning within a single piece of equipment where all your muscles are equally focused upon. It is heavy, bigger, and built to last. 

Since air bikes are ideally suited for high-intensity training exercises and workout sessions, they may require you to put in more effort, which will feel hard initially. 

  • Axel Woods

    Axel Woods is an experienced cyclist and content writer with a passion for the outdoors. He has been riding bikes for over 15 years, and has competed in numerous races and events throughout his career. In addition to his love for cycling, Axel is also a skilled and experienced writer, with a background in journalism and a knack for storytelling.