Schwinn is a big name in fitness. Their Airdyne bikes are no exception to their standards of quality. There are three levels of air bikes in their collection; this comparison is going to focus on the Schwinn AD2 vs AD6.
Not all exercise bikes are created equal. That's why you're here, after all, right? To find the best fan bike for your needs?
For those folks with short attention spans, our ultimate winner is the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne. While it's a few hundred dollars more, the features you get for the money more than make it worthwhile.
The AD2 Airdyne is too simple for our taste in home gym fitness machines.
For those folks who want the meat of the article, let's dig in.
Meet The Schwinn AD2 And The Schwinn AD6
As Schwinn's most affordable air bike, the AD2 is a solid choice. Quiet operation and infinite levels of resistance make it an efficient piece of exercise equipment.
The Schwinn Airdyne AD2 also comes with moving handlebars for a total-body workout. As a bonus, people report it's easy to assemble.
The next level up for Schwinn's exercise bikes is the AD6. It's got some similar features as the AD2 but with a few upgrades.
This bike's seat is larger than the AD2, meaning heavier people are likely to get a more comfortable ride. The display is also larger, so it can show you more stats as you're working out.
It comes with a RevMeter RPM gauge to help you track your interval workouts.
The Schwinn AD2 Vs AD6 - Let's Start
Let's continue our AD2 vs AD6 comparison by looking at these exercise bikes’ features face to face.
Footprint, Build, and Sturdiness
Schwinn does not disappoint when it comes to these two bikes' sturdiness. Users report that both bikes are exceptionally stable and don't wobble around. Even if you're pushing hard, these air bikes seem up to the challenge.
Both the AD2 and the AD6 have a single, thick bar down the middle. From this center bar, one crossbar at the front and a second at the back provide stability.
In terms of build, both fan bikes are made from high-quality steel and plastic.
However, this is where we must mention the technical issues people report on both bikes. Some folks have encountered a very loud clanking or banging from the wheel after a few weeks of use. Others have reported that the belt comes loose and frays.
All those who reported issues also confirm that Schwinn's customer service is basically useless. However, the silver lining comes in the warranties. Specifically, the warranty for the Airdyne AD6.
The AD6's warranty covers labor for 6 months and mechanical issues for a full 2 years. In comparison, the AD2's warranty only covers labor and wear on parts for 90 days and mechanical issues for only a single year.
Ultimate Winner: Considering the potential mechanical issues and warranty coverage, the Schwinn Airdyne AD6 takes this category.
Dimensions and User Weight Limit
One of the most essential aspects when comparing air bikes is the space they will take up in your home.
The AD2 comes in at 46" L x 25" W x 50" H with a user weight capacity of 250 lbs. The machine itself weighs 96 lbs.
The AD6 clocks in at 49.7" L x 25.7" W x 50.9" H with a weight capacity of 300 lbs. The bike itself weighs 112 lbs.
The two air bikes are very similar in dimension. However, the lighter weight of the AD2 means it's slightly easier to move around your home (more on portability at the end of the article).
Also, the weight capacity is significantly different between the two bikes. The AD6's weight limit of 300 lbs beats the AD2's weight limit of 250 lbs. That's important if you're a heavier user trying to get serious about their fitness.
Ultimate Winner: The AD6 takes its second prisoner thanks to its heavier weight limit.
The way an air bike works is via its fan (duh). Both bikes' fans are located at the front of the equipment because there really isn't another place to put them.
The fan is what powers the air resistance system. Both bikes claim to have a quiet fan. They also say the fan blows air back to you during your workout for a cooling sensation.
However, if you don't appreciate the cooling breeze, the AD6 has your back. This Airdyne bike comes with an optional Wind Screen. Attach this screen to the bike, and it helps deflect the air away from you.
Ultimate winner: Once again, the Schwinn AD6 breezes into first place with its optional Wind Screen (see what we did there?).
The fan wheel connects to the pedals via a drive system. For both bikes, Schwinn opted for a single-stage belt drive.
That means there's a belt that connects from the pedals to the inside of the bike to the wheel at the front. When you pedal, this belt drive system activates immediately. There's no delay between you beginning to pedal and the belt drive going to work.
This feature is particularly handy for interval training, when precious seconds can be lost to changing resistance levels (more on that below).
There's also an option in exercise bikes to use a chain instead of a belt. This type of exercise machine uses a chain like a regular road bike does. The pro of this is it makes that satisfying chain noise that some exercise bike aficionados miss on their interior versions.
However, that noise can also be a con to folks who choose an air bike, thanks to its quiet nature. Hence both Schwinn's options using a belt.
Ultimate winner: Neither one, as both bikes use the same type of drive system.
Both the Schwinn Airdyne AD2 and the Airdyne AD6 have infinite resistance. That's thanks to the wind resistance created by the fan. The harder you pedal, the harder the fan blades push against the air, and the resistance increases.
People report the resistance levels are more than adequate for getting a thorough workout. Interval training, as we mentioned above, is very easy with these air bikes.
Other pieces of home gym equipment use programmed resistance changes. For example, to boost the resistance, you have to press a button and wait for the level to change. When doing high-intensity intervals, you're pushing hard for a certain amount of seconds, usually very short. Then you're resting for an even shorter amount of seconds.
Not having to take even five precious seconds to use a programmed level change can make or break your workout. With the Schwinns' wind resistance, you just physically push harder on the pedals. Easy peasy.
Ultimate winner: Both bikes use air resistance, so no winner here.
Comparing the Schwinn Airdyne AD2 vs AD6 seats is straightforward. The AD2 has an extra-padded, anatomically correct seat. That means it's very similar to what you'd find on a street bike. The AD6's seat is also padded. In contrast with the AD2, it's oversized.
That means it's wider and a bit longer than the Schwinn AD2. Larger folks will likely find the AD6's seat more comfortable.
Both seats are adjustable up and down to accommodate different user heights. This seat adjustability is handy if you have multiple users.
Ultimate winner: The Schwinn Airdyne AD6 wins this category with its wider, more comfortable seat.
Both air bikes have a console that displays data like your workout intensity, speed, distance, and calories burned. Tracking this data is vital to make sure you're getting an effective cardio workout.
Where the Schwinn Airdyne AD2 and AD6 differ, however, are in the LCD display. The Schwinn AD2 has a single, large console display. That means it only shows you one stat at a time. You have to cycle (pun intended) through the various stats to see them all.
Now, if you only care about seeing a single stat at a time, you're good with the AD2. If you'd prefer to see more than one, the Schwinn AD6 is a better choice for you.
The AD6's LCD display shows you time, speed, distance, watts, calories, pulse, and the RevMeter RPM Gauge all at the same time. Even better, the Schwinn AD6 has the display located higher than the AD4. So the console is closer to eye level and easier to see as you pedal.
Ultimate winner: The convenient console placement and multiple workout stats at once mean the Schwinn Airdyne AD6 wins this round.
One of the most effective ways to get fit is to use workout programs. This is especially true if you struggle to design your own workouts from scratch. Having a built-in body workout to follow can help you stick with your fitness routine.
Unfortunately, this area is where the Schwinn Airdyne AD2 vs AD6 falls flat. Neither bike comes with pre-programmed workouts. If this is a priority for you in an exercise bike, you'll need to look elsewhere, like at a Schwinn recumbent bike.
Ultimate winner: Neither. Both exercise bikes lack this useful feature.
Heart Rate Monitor
Alright, so you don't have pre-set programs to follow. A different highly useful way to track your home fitness is via your heart rate. It's a straightforward and efficient way to keep your finger on the pulse of how hard you're working (we're killing it with the puns today, you're welcome).
Heart rate monitoring is a feature in which the Schwinn AD6 once again stands out. Neither exercise bike has a built-in heart rate monitor. However, the AD6 has the ability to connect to one via telemetry.
That means you should snag a chest strap heart rate monitor to wear during your workouts. The heart rate data from the chest monitor shows up in the "Pulse" section of the LCD display on your AD6 exercise bike. Think of telemetry as a less fancy Bluetooth.
It's important to note that Schwinn requires the heart rate monitor to be an uncoded strap from Polar Electro or other uncoded POLAR™ compatible model.
"Coded" monitors are ones used in gym environments where your frequency is locked to prevent interference from other monitors. Because you're at home, you don't need that lock. So uncoded is the way to go.
Ultimate winner: the Schwinn AD6 does it again. The ability to track your heart rate vastly overshadows the Schwinn AD2.
Both the AD2 and AD6 have moving handlebars. People report no issues in terms of various users' heights and being able to reach these handles.
Having moving handlebars is an excellent way to boost your cardio. Instead of only working your lower body, pumping the handlebars adds upper body work to the time spent on your exercise bike. Plus, you're toning up your arms with a bit of strength training in the process.
Ultimate winner: Neither. Both exercise bikes have the same moveable handles to work your upper and lower body.
One of the most important parts of an exercise bike is its pedals. The foot pedals on each bike have straps to keep your feet securely in place no matter how hard you ride.
Another cool feature on these fan bikes is the addition of stationary footpegs on the fans’ sides. If your legs get tired, but you still want to move your arms, you can rest your feet safely out of the way.
Ultimate winner: We've got another tie here, folks. If something ain't broke on the Schwinn AD2, it looks like they decided to leave it be on the AD6.
Assembly and Portability
Wrapping up our article on these Schwinn Airdyne wind resistance bikes mentions their assembly and portability.
Users report both the AD2 and AD6 are very easy to assemble. The bikes appear to come with most of the frame complete. People report only needing to put together a few extras (arms, seat, etc.)
Portability is another important aspect. Hopefully, you've got the space to leave your Airdyne bike set up 24/7, so you're more likely to use it. If you need to move it around, both bikes are fairly portable. They come with a set of small wheels on the front so you can tip them forward and roll them.
Remember that both exercise bikes are rather heavy. Be careful as you tip and roll, and always ask for a second hand if you need one.
Ultimate winner: Our final comparison is another tie.
The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne bike has the most standout features. These include:
- Better warranty to cover mechanical issues
- Heavier user weight limit
- Optional Wind Screen to block breeze from the fan
- Wider, more comfortable seat
- Showing multiple stats on the console at a time
- Ability to connect a heart rate monitor
- Water bottle holder
The Schwinn AD2 Airdyne's main standout feature is:
- Cheaper than the AD6
Wrapping Up The Schwinn AD2 Vs AD6
Both the AD2 and AD6 have solid features, even though the AD6 won our lineup.
Use the Schwinn AD2 Airdyne if:
- You need a more budget-friendly option
- You don't need a wider seat or a heavier weight limit
- You don't care about a heart rate monitor
Use the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne if:
- You have just a few hundred extra dollars to secure the standout features
- You want to use a heart rate chest strap
- You like seeing all your workout stats at once