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Schwinn Airdyne History

By Timothy Burns

The Schwinn Airdyne entered the exercise bike market at a time when many manufacturers were producing economically designed products for the home gym or exercise room. The problem with them was the lack of quality, frequency of mechanical failure and difficulty in finding reliable repair. Schwinn answered all of these issues by designing the rugged and reliable Airdyne. This exer-cycle was, and is, true to the Schwinn reputation of quality, reliability and durability.

Uniqueness of the Airdyne

Against the backdrop of exercise cycles that used mechanical resistance, typically applied against a heavy flywheel, the Schwinn Airdyne utilized friction-free air resistance. The resistance mechanism of the original Airdyne was a large fan, safely enclosed in a metal mesh cage. The Airdyne also engaged a person's upper body in the exercise with attached moving grip arms. The results: The rider was able to sit comfortably on a large padded seat, using large comfortable pedals against a steady resistance that engaged the arms and upper body and legs in a total cardio workout previously only available on higher-priced commercial gym equipment.

Benefits of the Air Resistance Design

By using a large fan as the source of resistance, the Airdyne is smooth and comfortable. Exercise bikes that use mechanical methods often deliver an unpredictable level of resistance, and it can be inconsistent, depending on the speed at which the rider works. A second advantage to fan-based air resistance is the cooling breeze the device creates. The Airdyne creates a significant wind, keeping the rider cool and making the exercise more enjoyable.

Variable Resistance

The Airdyne provides a variable resistance that is naturally similar to riding a bicycle. Pedaling slowly results in a slow moving fan, and low resistance. When the rider pedals faster, the fan must move air more quickly. The result is increased resistance, as if a rider were pedaling uphill.

The Airdyne Evolution

Schwinn's latest release of the Airdyne is the redesigned Evolution. The only disadvantage of the original Airdyne revolved around the size of the fan, the noise created by the air movement and the noise of the chain drive. The original Airdyne's large fan created the sound of rushing wind when in full operation. The Airdyne Evolution utilizes a smaller fan that has been redesigned to not lose the resistance needed for a complete workout but is less than 1/2 the size of the original. In addition, the chain drive has been replaced by a belt drive to minimize the noise of the drive mechanism. The result is a more compact Airdyne that doesn't lose any of the quality, reliability of effectiveness of the original.

Repair and Maintenance.

Because the machine uses wind resistance as opposed to mechanical resistance, the Airdyne has proven to be reliable and less likely to break down than other exercise bicycles. The wind resistance is zero friction and creates no dust to contribute to mechanical bearing failure. Furthermore, keeping with Schwinn's commitment to service and quality, the company has a complete inventory of replacement parts in the event of a failure.


The Schwinn Airdyne is a competitively priced home exercise machine that gives the rider a full-body cardio and resistance workout. Some machines have been in use for more than 30 years and are still going strong. With the recent design changes in the Evolution, this exer-cycle will undoubtedly remain a strong favorite for the home exercise enthusiast.

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