Calibrating the Schwinn Airdyne Bike – How Consistent are they ?

Schwinn Airdynes ready to work

Schwinn Airdynes ready to work

It’s no secret that we really like the Airdyne bikes. We recently purchased another one and the monitor seemed to be a little out of sync with the other bikes. I checked online trying to find if there is any computer way to check the calibration of the monitors, but I was unable to find anything. I think you get what you get

when it comes to these monitors.


If we are using these pieces of equipment as a training tool then we need to know if we are getting consistent readings for work output. Otherwise we would be essentially be putting on a glorified spin class.

airdyne computer monitor ad4

I set out to test each bike to determine the accuracy of the computer monitors and if there is a discrepancy between them, if any. It should be noted that all of my bikes are AD4 large fan models and they have the exact same computer monitor.

The test:

I figured the best way to calibrate them would be a set time trial over a 5 minute period using revolutions per minute on the screen setting. I am going to hold 70 RPM while the clock on the Airdyne counts down from 5:00 minutes. After the 5 minutes are up I will switch the monitor to Calories and see what the total work output is.

Bike 1:  Calorie output 94

Bike 2:  Calorie output 95

Bike 3:  Calorie output 93


I’d say they are pretty consistent, accurate and reliable.


For more Airdyne workouts Click here



17 comments for “Calibrating the Schwinn Airdyne Bike – How Consistent are they ?

  1. Karl
    March 3, 2014 at 3:39 am

    I recently bought a new Airdyne. Actually it’s an old school non digital speedometer model. The previous one I owned had the digital read out and probably wasn’t more than 10 years old. Anyways I’m finding this ancient model a lot harder to ride. Typically I’d ride 65 rpm’s for 30 minutes or so, but on the one I recently purchased, 60 rpms feels maybe even harder than 65. Hadn’t considered it could be calibration issues. Have you ever noticed a difference between old and new airdynes? I noticed the chain apparatus is smaller on the older bike, maybe that has something to do with it. I almost feel like buying another one to compare.

    • March 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      It’s interesting that there seems to be difference between models. I only own AD4 models (big fan) with a digital monitor. Although I have heard that the small fan models like the AD6 or evo will get up to speed faster when doing sprint intervals.

    • Also the new Air Assault bikes are apparently more difficult in terms of calorie output than the Airdynes

    • . I guess if you are looking to quantify power output or have a consistent measuring tool then using your machine is fine even though it’s an older model. The chain apparatus might be the culprit, as it is all about gearing and the number of teeth on the sprockets and the gear ratio.
  • October 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Hey Mark,
    I recently got an Assault Airbike, and I love it. I’ve used the AD6 before and I can definitely say that the calorie output on the airbike is a lot harder/slower. I usually do 30 calories at a time with a 60-90 second rest in between sets, and I can tell you the airbike takes almost much longer to get to 30 calories. I was wondering if I am trying to get my cardio stamina up would a mix of the airdyne workouts that you posted be a sufficient program to follow over the next few weeks?

  • John
    December 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Mark, great stuff on these machines. Do you have a manual for those monitors or have you found one online? I can’t figure out how to set mine for metric readout and everything I can find is for the newer single-screen display.

  • Quinton
    February 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I have a white model with old style cable driven gauges,ad3,I need a copy of manual on setting up and learn how to use the Gauge setup.

  • ArtL
    February 4, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I have an older Air-Dyne (white frame) with a mechanical readout. In Schwinn literature, they said each level (0.5 to 10 scale) the Load Indicator corresponded to 49 watts. At a cadence of 59rpm the load indicator is 5 and at 49w/load level this corresponds to a power of 245 watts. At a cadence of 70 the load indicator is 8, corresponding to 392 watts. 5 minutes at 392 watts is 117.6 kw-sec, corresponding to approximately 28kcal. In the test above, the readout on the newer Air-dyne showed 94 kcal corresponding to an energy of 393kw-sec for a 5 minute session this corresponds to a power level of 1310watts. this power is considerably higher, indicating the newer Air-dynes give a higher reading, in this case about 3.3 times higher. this is a very big difference. at a cadence of 70 on the newer air-dyne you are doing 3.3 times more work than 70 rpm on the older mechanical readout air-dyne. To compare the older air-dyne with the newer it is necessary to have a conversion table to compare the results. If you want to humble a braggart who gets big numbers on the newer model with the inflated power readout levels, put him on the older model and he will find out he is actually putting out a considerably lower level of power. as read by the older mechanical load indicator. If you only have one model, then you can track your progress, you just can’t compare your results with other’s results using the newer or older model to your results.

  • Pingback: Comparing the Airdyne to the Air Assault Bike - Mark's Gym
  • Phillip
    January 13, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Mark! I just bought a used airdyne like the model in your picture. It worked fine when I tested it. Put it in the back of my truck and took it to the gym. Tried it out once at the gym and now the cal/rpm isn’t working. Any thoughts?

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *