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Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Review

A smooth, high-quality Airdyne exercise bike with a reasonable price tag that will give you a full-body cardio workout
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Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Review (The low-impact, choose-your-own-intensity AD6 quickly became a tester favorite.)
The low-impact, choose-your-own-intensity AD6 quickly became a tester favorite.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens
Price:  $799 List
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Manufacturer:   Schwinn Fitness
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 5, 2023
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 17
  • Exercise Quality - 30% 9.0
  • Comfort - 20% 9.0
  • User Interface - 20% 6.0
  • Features - 20% 6.0
  • Setup and Portability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Workout fads come and go, but the Schwinn Airdyne has stood the test of time for good reason. The Schwinn Airdyne AD6 tested here is an evolved version of the original Schwinn Airdyne launched in 1978. The ergonomics have improved, and the user interface has changed, but the idea is still the same, use your entire body to propel a fan that provides cooling while you work out. This machine is smooth, enjoyable to use, and quickly raises your heart rate for a solid workout. The fluid motion and steady, fan-based resistance set this machine apart, making it ideal for users wanting a low-impact cardio workout. Compare it to top competitors in our review of the top budget exercise bikes.
REASONS TO BUY
Good exercise quality
Smooth performance
Low-impact
REASONS TO AVOID
Not much adjustability
Basic user interface

Compare to Similar Products

 
schwinn airdyne ad6
Awards Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $799 List$499 List
$399.00 at Amazon
$340 List
$319.99 at Amazon
$203 List$210 List
$149.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
75
74
68
55
55
Star Rating
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Bottom Line A time-tested machine that gets your limbs moving and your blood pumpingA reasonably priced upright model with connected featuresThis affordable spin bike has a weighted flywheel and a gym-like workout feel but lacks any connectivityThis folding model is affordable, convenient, and best for light to moderate intensity exerciseThis simple and affordable recumbent bike is best suited for light to moderate intensity exercise
Rating Categories Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Schwinn 130 Upright... Yosuda Indoor Cycli... Exerpeutic Folding... Marcy Recumbent ME-709
Exercise Quality (30%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
User Interface (20%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
Features (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Setup and Portability (10%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Schwinn Airdyne AD6 Schwinn 130 Upright... Yosuda Indoor Cycli... Exerpeutic Folding... Marcy Recumbent ME-709
Max. Weight Capacity 300 lbs 300 lbs 270 lbs 300 lbs 300 lbs
Display LCD display: 2.5" W x 6" H LCD display: 5" W x 3" H LCD display LCD display: 3.3" W x 1.5" H LCD display: 3" W x 1.5" H
Resistance Settings Unlimited 16 levels Unlimited 8 levels 8 levels
Recommended Height Range not specified, 10" of seat height adjustment not specified, 13" of seat height adjustment not specified, 10" of seat height adjustment 5'3" to 6'1" not specified, 12" of seat height adjustment
Style Airdyne Upright Upright Upright/semi-recumbent Recumbent
Resistance type Fan Magnetic Weighted flywheel and adjustable resistance pad Magnetic Magnetic
Companion App time, speed, distance, calories, watts, pulse Resistance level, course for the program, speed, distance, elapsed time, rpm, calories, and heart rate time, speed, distance, calories, odometer distance, calories burned, time, speed, odometer, scan, and heart rate monitor time, speed, distance, calories, odometer, and scan
Measured Dimensions 46" L x 25"W x 51.75" H 42" L x 21.25" W x 51.5" H 40.5" L x 21.5" W x 45" H 33" L x 22" W x 46.5" H 58"- 46" L x 24.75" W x 38.5" H
Measured Weight 112 lbs 61 lbs 68.8 lbs 41 lbs 54.2 lbs
Resistance Adjustment type n/a Buttons Knob Knob Knob
Connectivity None 13, 1 HIIT Interval, Profile, Heart rate Control None None None
Heart Rate Sensor Compatible but not included Yes No Integrated in handlebar No
Other Features Pedals with safety straps, transport wheels, water bottle holder, device holder Bluetooth, works with Zwift and Explore the World, bottle cage, pedals with adjustable straps, heart rate sensors, adjustable handlebars, transport wheels, device shelf Bottle cage, device shelf, cage pedals, flywheel brake, transport wheels pedals with straps, cell phone holder, transport wheels, folding for storage Recumbent handlebar, transport wheels, adjustable seat, digital display, pedals with straps
Warranty Frame: 10 years, Parts: 2 years, Electronics: 1 year Frame: 10 years, Parts: 2 years, Electronics: 1 year 1 year parts replacement Frame: 1 year, All other parts: 90 days Frame: 2 years

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


schwinn airdyne ad6 - the schwinn ad6 provides a low-impact, choose-your-own-intensity...
The Schwinn AD6 provides a low-impact, choose-your-own-intensity workout.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Exercise Quality


The Schwinn Airdyne AD6 is a smooth, low-impact exercise machine that delivers a high-quality exercise experience. It has an upright bicycle position, but you don't feel like you're riding as you might on a regular exercise bike, and we found it to be sturdy enough to handle hard, all out efforts up to 700 watts. The belt drive system produces an incredibly smooth feeling from the machine, and its enclosed mechanics give it a polished, user-friendly feel. The arm levers travel 18" from front to back, giving your extension a bit of a twist at the end that helps to engage the core. The comically large saddle wouldn't work on a normal bicycle but feels ideal for perching on while you struggle to produce the watts. Trying to produce more than about 700 watts on this bike is difficult due to the fan size; if you're looking for a hard-core interval trainer, you may want to look elsewhere. It's an interesting sensation to climb aboard this bike and start striding, there are no settings or resistance adjustments, and it feels like it's almost too easy. As you push a little harder, the fans' resistance seems to ramp up exponentially, and you're quickly operating at an elevated heart rate. The machine is incredibly basic but provides an amazing workout experience that will satisfy most users.


Using the Schwinn AD6 is so straightforward and satisfying; those that haven't been impressed with stationary bicycles or get bored using them may want to experience the Airdyne. Unlike most budget exercise bikes, the AD6 isn't conducive to reading or viewing a tablet, and there's no need to follow a class. Despite having none of the current tech that dominates the studio-style exercise bike market, the AD6 doesn't induce boredom. You can check your basic stats on the simple console, but having all your limbs moving simultaneously can quickly become an intense workout. Want an easier workout, slow down; want a harder workout, speed up.

Using the foot pegs, you can use the machine's top half or bottom half without the other.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The simple console shows an elapsed time that automatically starts when you start moving the machine; we were always surprised how few minutes had elapsed when we felt winded. The workout can be as hard or easy as you want, but having arms and legs both working puts you into a target heart rate zone quickly. There is no way to set time, distance, or calorie goals; you just look at the screen and see if you've achieved your desired goal.

schwinn airdyne ad6
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


After extensive testing and comparisons, we found the Schwinn AD6 to be incredibly comfortable. Thanks to its belt-driven internals, the machine moves smoothly and without friction, contributing to its overall comfort. The machine operates quietly at low effort but can become loud enough to interrupt a conversation when used at full power. The seat height is adjustable in 1.5cm increments, which we typically dislike on exercise bikes, as cyclists are often particular about saddle height and knee angle. However, we found that it worked just fine on the AD6. The total seat height adjustability is about 25cm, making it suitable for a wide range of users. Our 5'1" tester could have lowered the saddle more, leading us to believe that even shorter users could still enjoy the full scope of this machine's workout. While Schwinn does not specify a recommended height range, we estimate that it should work for people between 4'10" and 6'2" and possibly a few inches on either side of that range, depending on inseam length and personal preferences. The soft, silicone-wrapped handlebars are comfortable and provide a secure grip even when they become sweaty. The machine's upright positioning is almost furniture-like in comfort, and its low 16" stopover height makes mounting and un-mounting the bike effortless, making it an excellent option for seniors or those who may struggle with other fitness equipment.


The seat is incredibly large and supportive; it's not overly soft or ergonomic but feels more appropriate than a traditional bicycle saddle would on this machine. The seat resembles a cross between a cruiser bike saddle and a tractor seat; it's an agreeable shape that should work well for most users. It's large and wide enough to support riders who prefer a more relaxed seated position without being so wide that it impedes one's pedal stroke. The seat has no fore or aft adjustability, but its tilt can be adjusted. The handlebars have no adjustability, and while we've become accustomed to reviewing exercise machines and praising their adjustability, there's not much need to adjust the AD6.

schwinn airdyne ad6 - the tractor-style saddle is perfectly suited for use on the airdyne.
The tractor-style saddle is perfectly suited for use on the Airdyne.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

User Interface


The user interface on the AD6 consists of a 5-inch x 2.5-inch screen with minimal information. However, The data it provides is ideal for the type of workout you get from this machine. The fancy consoles and interactivity we've tested on other exercise bikes wouldn't benefit the AD6. The top of the screen shows an approximate RPM meter, reminiscent of a 1970s Cadillac speedometer. The other data fields are elapsed time, Speed, Distance, Watts, Calories, and Pulse. Elapsed time seems to slow down on this machine, our bodies told us we'd been working out for more than 5 minutes, but the screen doesn't lie; the workout can be laborious. Speed is an interesting metric, but it doesn't feel like it equates to anything in the real world, as we couldn't imagine the motion of this machine actually propelling us. The distance field we found useful for goal setting and tracking our overall output, a few miles on this machine feels like a great workout. Power is measured in watts, and having it on the display allows you to spike your effort and see the instant results or maintain a constant output while trading off effort between arms and legs. The calorie field, like distance, was a good measure of our overall output and another way of setting a workout goal; it also made us realize that this machine could burn calories rapidly. Utilizing the pulse field requires a compatible Polar 4.5kHz - 5.5kHz chest strap transmitter, which is available separately.


The console operates on 2 AA batteries while the fan is entirely human-powered, so there is no need to plug the bike in. Schwinn offers an aftermarket reading rack that will hold a book, tablet, or magazine clear of the handlebars, but no app workouts or fitness classes are available for the Airdyne.

The smooth motions of its levers characterize the workout on the AD6.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Features


The AD6 isn't feature intensive, which isn't a drawback to this machine. A water bottle holder at the top of the console is large enough to hold most types of water bottles; reaching for your bottle through the moving handlebars can be tricky. The bike's base has adjustable feet to level it on uneven surfaces, and wheels on the front allow you to tilt the bike and roll it away for storage easily.


The wide, plastic pedals feature removable and adjustable straps to keep your feet in position while you stride. Additionally, the one-sided pedals are self-leveling, simplifying entry. At the bottom of the arm levers are foot pegs that allow you to rest your feet in a static position while working just your arms.

schwinn airdyne ad6 - the schwinn ad6 pedals are large and comfortable, they're also self...
The Schwinn AD6 pedals are large and comfortable, they're also self leveling which makes getting in to them effortless.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Ease of Setup/Portability


Regarding its setup and storability, the Schwinn AD6 exercise bike received an average rating. Like other budget exercise bikes we tested, it comes in a box and requires assembly. The manufacturer or a third party may offer assembly services. It took us approximately 45 minutes to assemble our test bike, and all necessary tools and hardware were included, along with printed instructions. Our lead tester completed the assembly process alone, as there were no challenging steps or the need for a second person's assistance.


After putting together the AD6, you can roll it on the transport wheels located on the front stabilizer bar by tilting it forward. However, since it weighs 112 pounds, carrying it up or down the stairs is not advisable. The bike has average dimensions, measuring 46" L x 25" W x 51.75" H, and cannot be easily folded for storage, meaning its size cannot be reduced.

Assembling the Schwinn AD6 had quite a few steps but it was very straightforward and the instructions were clear and easy to understand.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Should You Buy the Schwinn 130 Upright Bike?


For a low-impact, high-intensity workout, the AD6 performs incredibly well. It feels high quality, approachable and user-friendly; the ability to step on and start striding makes it also feel incredibly convenient. The lack of connected features might not suit everyone's desire to be entertained while working out, but we found it ideal for quick and casual workouts. If it's a real cycling workout you're after, we've tested the best exercise bikes suited for spin or studio classes. For the price, the Schwinn AD6 impressed us with its function and quality; it absolutely gets our recommendation.

schwinn airdyne ad6 - it might not be easy to store, but it rolls away easily.
It might not be easy to store, but it rolls away easily.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

What Other Exercise Bikes Should You Consider?


If the Airdyne experience interests you, but you want to put out intense interval effort, check out the Assaultfitness Assaultbike Classic; it's bigger, not as smooth or refined but could handle our intervals in excess of 1500 watts. If an app-connected experience appeals to you, the Schwinn IC4 or Pro-form Carbon CX both work quite well while minimizing your upfront costs.

Joshua Hutchens
 

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