The Schwinn Airdyne exercise bike remains a preferred fitness machine even though it has been a part of the Schwinn product line for about 30 years. Stationary bikes still sell well even though there are new exercise devices regularly coming on the market. Fad machines come and go, but exercise bicycles continue to sell simply because they work. The Airdyne is still somewhat unique because of the design and construction. In fact it has something of a fan club among users because of what it is as a machine and what it can do for users.
I am a long-term Airdyne owner and user. My bike was purchased used and now I have owned and used this bike for over 10 years. After all that time and many "miles" of riding the same machine the following are some observations and impressions.
The design of the Airdyne is simple and basic with few gadgets included to quit working and cause expensive repair bills. It's not loaded with potential maintenance headaches and troubles. What you get is mostly a heavy duty mechanical stationary bike that has changed little since it's introduction in the 1970's. As a recommendation to it's dependability, many Airdynes have been used in gyms and fitness centers and that's where many users are introduced to the bike.
Part of the appeal to the bike even for commercial use is the heavy nature of the construction. Weighing in at about 100 pounds, you get a sturdy platform that is not likely to rock and roll and cause the rider to wonder whether the bike will dump the rider in the floor. What's more, as a stable workout platform,the machine will not likely come apart over time as many lesser bikes do. See, bikes that move around under load actually self-destruct just from the stresses of hard use and the more they get used, the worse the damage is.
In addition, the lack of electronic drives and computers means the complicated repair of such devices is absent and not something to be dealt with as a problem once the warranty expires. In fact, basic to the popularity of the AirDyne is the resistance system of the machines. The load you face as you pedal is simply generated by the turning fan. Turning the pedals faster and pumping the arm bars faster just makes the fan go faster and the load increases with faster fan speed. That fan takes the place of a friction band on some bikes or a magnetic resistance electronic resistance design on many modern cycles. The fan resistance is simple but effective and almost impossible to damage or harm in any way.
Another plus to the Airdyne bikes is the dual action motion of the workout. The bike is pedaled with legs and pumped with arms at the same time or separately. The two motions are synchronized by connected levers so the motion is comfortable and not odd feeling at all. The result of the dual action bike is a more balanced workout targeting most all of the muscle groups of the body without overworking any part. Of course the motions are all easy to do and that means no special skills or training are required as virtually anyone can simply get on and go to work pushing and pedaling.
The newest version of the Airdyne is the Schwinn Airdyne Evolution Comp. This bike design is an attempt to improve on the weak points of the standard bike. One of the main weak points is the fan noise. It isn't easy to listen to music while you ride an Air dyne. The Evolution Comp has a much smaller resistance fan plus the drive is by belt instead of chain. It's quieter.
Another weakness of the Airdyne is the lack of electronics. Many electronic features of comparably priced exercise bikes are lacking on the Schwinn. Then again maybe you don't want or need pre-programmed exercise workouts, especially when you consider the cost to repair computers if they fail. If you want a simple, durable exercise bike that will last for many years with little or no maintenance, the Schwinn Airdyne exercise bike should be one you consider.