With exercise equipment, you usually get what you pay for. Low-price equipment generally means you’re dealing with cheap components or second-rate build quality. Fan-powered exercise bikes are an exception. Thanks to their simple design and construction, fan-powered bikes typically rank at the low end of the price range. A well-made fan exercise bike, however, can endure years of regular use, despite the low price.
One of the biggest benefits, and downsides, of fan exercise bikes is that the resistance adjusts automatically. The faster you pedal, the faster the fan blades spin and the more resistance they generate. Slow down and the fan blades automatically slow down too, easing off on the resistance. Although having a bike adjust to you automatically makes your workout simple, the lack of push-button resistance also means that fan exercise bikes don’t come with preprogrammed workouts; you’re entirely on your own.
Loud, Built-In Cooling Fan
Fan exercise bikes aren’t very loud when you pedal slowly, but you must still deal with a constant low noise level. As you pedal faster, the fan gets progressively louder too, which might interfere with your ability to watch television or listen to music as you work out. The upside is that the air from the fan often blows back onto you, acting as a built-in cooling fan to keep you comfortable.
Most fan bikes are relatively simple, with only a few moving parts to link the pedals to the resistance fan. This makes identifying equipment problems, and repairing them, relatively simple. You might even be able to repair the bike yourself once it’s out of warranty. The biggest danger is the risk of getting clothes, little fingers or hair caught in the spinning fan blades, but most manufacturers remedy this with a shroud over the fan blades and any other moving parts.
Decent low-tech fan bikes are easily available for several hundred dollars or less, putting them on the low end of the exercise bike price spectrum. The low price and simple design mean that fan bikes usually don’t have any of the electrically powered frills you’ll find on high-tech bikes, like heart rate monitors or built-in sound systems. Fewer repair costs also mean that a fan exercise bike typically costs less to maintain over time, and since you don’t need to plug in the bike, you won’t pay any hidden operation costs.