March 16, 2010

Schwinn Exercise Bike: Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

Schwinn Exercise Bike: Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

5-Star Customer Review

"The Schwinn Airdyne Upright is a classic - virtually unchanged for at least 20 years (I used them at Columbia University's gym back in college in the early 80s in essentially their current form). The lack of evolution speaks to their excellent functionality. The Airdyne differs from most exercise bikes in having a large air-resistance flywheel instead of a smaller heavier flywheel with mechanical friction or an electric magnetic resistance flywheel that needs power and the electronics head to operate it. The advantages are fourfold: 1) the larger flywheel is exceptionally smooth, 2) the air resistance is naturally graduated (i.e. the faster you pedal, the greater the wind resistance and the harder it gets to pedal). This resistance approach means you organically find your level by pacing - with no need to ever set resistance manually. 3) The air resistance flywheel kicks up wind that cools you as you work out. 4) Mechanical resistance devices tend to wear out first - becoming bumpy or uneven; magnetic resistance units become unusable if the electronics head stops working. The air resistance scheme is simpler and is built with tremendous durability. I've owned my Airdyne for 12 years and it has been perfectly reliable the whole time - and it has been moved 3 times and has taken a real beating. The Airdyne's handles are linked to the pedals, encouraging you to work out your arms at the same time. The upper body workout gets most of the arm and a good involvement of the chest and shoulders too. The unit is battleship built of stamped and welded steel - just like a Schwinn bike. The chain is enclosed for safety - and a safety lock lets you prevent things from moving when you move the unit (it moves on small integrated wheels in front). You need those wheels because the Airdyne is big and heavy. This translates to excellent stability when in use.

Is the Airdyne the perfect workout machine? There are some drawbacks: The air flow is nice - but it's noisy too. This makes it hard to watch TV or work out with others in the room. The big wind can send papers flying. The upperbody workout can be distracting from the biking rhythm. I wish there were an alternate set of handlebars that didn't move for when you just want to bear down and spin. The handlebars only allow an overhanded and underhanded grip. I wish the handles curved up at the ends so you could hold them vertically like ski poles. This would result in a more natural arm motion. The big padded seat is comfortable as bikes go - but that's not saying much. Bike exercise has the disadvantage of not being weight bearing - but this is a quibble. My heart monitor confirms you can definitely get your cardio rate up on a bike. Did I mention this unit is big and heavy? The little wheels help - but moving this bike isn't a casual exercise. Finally, despite the clear efforts at safety, ther are still places where cat's tails and children's fingers can be pinched when in use(notably where the handlebars link to the pedals with long metal bars near the bottom of the unit).

If you like to use an exercise bike to work out, and don't mind some noise and wind, the Airdyne will give you a great workout - keep you cool - and last basically for ever.

Followup 10/08: The computer on mine stopped working recently after 14 years - but it doesn't matter to me (I seldom used it anyway). The computer displayed time, rpm, distance, an arbitrary "workout level". It didn't do heart rate so I tend to use a wrist mounted heart monitor which times the workout for my anyway. I could probably buy a replacement computer but I'm not going to bother. The fact is that this bike works fine without it. Try that with any newfangled bike. This bike is like the old Nikon F camera - which mentioned in the instructions that if you accidentally dropped it in seawater you should rinse it in fresh water and then dry it with the film door opened in a an oven set at lowest temperature for an hour! That's how they used to make gear!"

For Product Details, click here: Schwinn Exercise Bike: Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

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