Customer Reviews: Schwinn Airdyne AD4 Upright Exercise Bike
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on October 12, 2006
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!
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on January 15, 2007
Surprisingly, my Airdyne was delivered disassembled, and with no accompanying assembly instructions of any kind. I am no mechanical genius, and this didn't look like a job for the faint of heart in the first place. Unable to obtain any assembly instructions from either Amazon or Schwinn, I tried a local bike shop. For an $85 fee, they assembled my machine. When I inquired about the lack of assembly instructions, they told me that this was a deliberate omission, and that self-assembly invalidates the product warranty. I can't vouch for the absolute accuracy of all I was told, but I feel that I should at least sound a faint alarm. CPW 1/07
After using my Airdyne for several months, I changed my review from three to four stars. What I wrote above still applies, but the Airdyne is a wonderful piece of exercies equipment. I have osteoarthritis in both knees, and the Airdyne enables me to precisely control how much stress I put on my knees. CPW 5/07
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VINE VOICEon November 6, 2006
I bought one of these in 1988. It was already -quite- old, (probably from 1977, the first year it was made, which means the 30 year warrantee is -still- in effect!), and not well taken care of. Whatever abuse it took only made it a little dirty. It's almost 2007, and it's still working perfectly. The all-steel construction has kept it repair-free while newer machines go into the garbage. Different year models come with different monitors, so I won't go into that, but the machine itself is always the same: No shifting. The fan-resistance increases with pedaling speed. Arms and legs contribute whatever proportions of the total effort you desire, a very natural intuitive movement. For arms only, there's a foot-rest, for legs only, just hang your arms at your sides. (The Airdyne is not a bicycle, not a 'spinner', it is a thing unto itself, but unless road-bike technique is an issue, it will do more than spinning can do for your fitness.)The warrantee, or any other right to complaint, is probably voided if you stand up while pedaling, but I've been able to stand on these pedals for all these years, and the combination of arms and legs while out of the seat is the most intense workout available on a home cycle. (I did eventually get a Schwinn 'Windsprint', because it shifts to increase pedal pressure, but it doesn't 'do' arms. This is still the single best home cycle.)
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2007
I bought this Schwinn about two months ago to add some upper body exercises along with walking 5 to 7 miles every other day. It really is a good workout that you can control. My wife watches movies on her laptop while using the Airdyne. It is pretty easy to assemble if you remember to lay the bars (that make the push pull handles go back and forth) on the floor first. I had to take it apart because I thought they would fit as I was following the directions very closely but nope you gotta lay them on the floor first as they will only fit in the slots from the bottom. We both love this piece of equipment especially if the inclement weather keeps you from regular outside exercise. The price is excellent from Amazon. These bikes have been around for years, so they must be doing something right.
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on December 23, 2007
Schwinn Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike

I only bought this product for one reason--I wore my first one out at the equivalent of 30,800 miles. It only took about 20 years.

It gives me the workoutI want, hence I bought this second one. I hope they are still on the market when I wear this one out--I should be about 90 then.

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on January 9, 2007
The Schwinn Airdyne is built to last out of steel. For upper and lower body workout, it uses a fan/flywheel to create resistance rather than a friction belt or magnetic motor; hint--fewer repairs and failures since there is no friction mechanism to fail.

The onboard computer allows your to select what information you wish to see such as mets, calories, distance, speed, rpm and even displays your pulse if you wear a chest strap. You can select miles or kilometers for distance and "club or home" for setup; hint--built to withstand use in a fitness center/health club. It even allows you to imput your geological elevation to facilitate a more accurate calorie count.

Assembly is straight foward but does require a few basic tools such an adjustable wrench and phillips screwdriver.

This represents a good way to go if you want a well built durable piece of equipment intended for serious use to achieve your goal of cardio-vascular conditioning, weight loss or just plain old exercise.
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on June 3, 2010
I'm a very heavy guy who is trying to get it together. I use the treadmill, but frankly it hurts in my knees shins and back so bad I can't get get a hard workout on it. I bought this airdyne bike at one of those second hand sports shops purely on a whim. I saw it and was admiring the quality of it, wondering if it will hold my weight. It looked so sturdy compared to the plastic clad pieces of junk everywhere else I had looked. Other exercise bikes except the top of the line recumbent bikes have a cap at 300 max, some less than that. I would try them out and they wobbled and groaned under my weight. The guy said can you believe that bike is 30 yrs old? The odometer says it has over 2,000 miles on it. I said well it looks great and he invited me to try it. I said if it breaks under my weight I'm not to blame, and he just smiled and said it could take way more than what I could dish out. Well that was history. Even at over 300lbs this bike never groaned or moaned or wobbled or creaked or in any way acted like it was going to give up. It is built solid as a rock. Everything works great, the action is smooth and I'm getting a work out like I've never had in my life. I went from struggling off a couple pounds a week to dropping 7-10 a week. Can't say enough good about this machine. When it finally busts I'm gonna buy another and another. But if this is an indication.. I doubt I will ever wear this one out in my lifetime. It may actually be saving my life. No knee pain, and no foot pain, which is a problem I've had on other stationary bikes. Only one bad thing and that is the seat is pretty firm. I had to kinda angle it down a tad because it was hurting my 'bits and pieces'. I'm going to see if I can replace the seat with one of those that has the cutaway front. But I think with continued weight loss it is going to hurt less and less. Either that or I'll eventually develop a callus on the effected area, ha ha.
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on September 5, 2011
I was recently grounded from my normal gym and cardio routine after a chest and shoulder injury/ortho surgery. I'd used this bike during rehab before so I knew it had benefits beyond those of a spin bike. The Airdyne is simple to use, efficient, and I get a very good workout. Working the core requires some technique, and you may want to Google some ideas for workouts. The bike did come with sample workouts that are good. I find the best workouts on this bike to be intervals, rather than long rides.

Far as set up goes you'll want to go to the Schwinn fitness website and download the assembly instructions. They are easy to follow and you can set the bike up on your own but I'd recommend having someone to help you flip the bike and move it around. It's relatively heavy and some of the assembly requires turning the bike upside down and tightening bolts. The tool sizes listed in the assembly guide did not match the bolt and nut sizes my bike had. You can pull it off with a #2 phillips screw driver and a couple adjustable open head wrenches. I am a pro mechanic, welder, and fabricator but I can remember days when I knew nothing about assembly. This bike can be assembled by anyone, regardless of skill level, and with basic tools. I did have an issue putting on the foam grips. I used some windex diluted with water to help slip them on. I've heard of others using different things, and again, I bet a Google search will reveal tips if you come across the same issue. The computer can also be difficult since you are screwing in self-tapping screws (meaning you are essentially making the holes for them as you set the screw). It helped me to line the slots on the bottom of the computer with the holes in the mount tubes using a small flashlight, then getting one screw started (which ever one was easiest). The rest go in easily after that. Don't tighten all of them down until you have all four screws inserted and snugged down. This way you can adjust the computer if it's not straight before tightening the hardware.

If you plan to use the bike on a carpet I'd recommend placing the bike on a rubber mat, or something similar to protect your carpet. Expect the bike to be noisy (you are turning a large fan), and move loose papers that may be laying around (most of the air is directed back at you). It won't bother people in the next room or apartment but if you like to watch TV or listen to an iPod on a speaker mount you'll have to turn the volume up. I use ear buds and can hear my tunes just fine. The bike's difficulty range is completely effected by how quickly you move, so the workout can be light to extreme depending on how hard you crank on it. The electronic read out works well. No issues after a month of frequent use, and I am extremely happy with this product.
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on November 9, 2006
This is certainly not the least expensive piece of equipment I could have bought but I am glad I made the decision I did. I am almost 300 lbs and this bike is plenty sturdy for me and I am sure it will still be working just fine long after I am dead. It is quite comfortable and the seat adjusts easily up and down. The air blowing on you from the front wheel is a nice feature too.

I like the little computer, it gives a nice variety of measurments depending on what you want to use as a benchmark, mph, miles traveled, time, calories burned, heart rate, etc. and you can monitor 3 at a time.

Overall a good purchase.
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on January 13, 2007
Schwinn's assembly instructions leave much to be desired. Poor, poor graphics and the words didn't help much. Additionally, some of the nuts and bolts are of obvious poor quality. However, once assembled, it provides a good workout.Buying from Amazon was, as always, a great idea. Free shipping and no tax saved my a bundle. Amazon is now my favorite store, internet or otherwise.
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