I researched exercise machines for over a month & was unhappy with what I read in regard to problems with the magnetic based bikes (almost all of them). I also was unhappy because most bikes have stationary handlebars, so you get no upper body benefits. I knew I wanted a bike, because I suffer from foot problems, & I felt I needed aerobic exercise. Because I am older, doctors were not recommending elliptical machines of any type. That eliminated almost every machine out there. By total accident I came across an article about the original Schwinn Airdyne series. They were developed in the 60's & many doctors considered them the gold standard. Anyone in any condition can use one, & the resistance level is infinite- it depends on how fast you want (or can) peddle. (No adjustments-trust me this is good.) The "stopper" was the hefty pricetag- $700 & up for choice of two models. Then I saw the Airdyne II at $399. Its superior in may ways to the original (lower in height-easier to get on & off.) Also it is MUCH quieter, using a grooved belt drive instead of a chain. Your pedaling operates a free-rolling flywheel, and that in turn runs a fan in front. The fan puts out a little breeze towards you in the forward direction & a lot in reverse pedaling. There is a large digital readout that tells you time elapsed, speed, calories burned, etc. (But not heart rate- but I didn't want that feature anyway) The seat is OK, (maybe could be padded a bit more- but I'm heavy) but if you don't like it, you can toss a towel on it, or pick up any standard bicycle seat at a cycle shop & pop it on there. My wife is under 5' & it fits her fine and I am 5'10 & very comfortable. I believe this bike could be used by anyone. There are no tension controls, you just get on & pedal at whatever speed you want. When your fitness level goes up, just pedal a little faster, or pedal for a longer time. The handle bars move back & forth & you can use them or not. I'm comfortable just pedaling hands free when I want. You can also put your feet on the footrests & pump the handlebars to spin the wheel to get an upper body workout, too. The machine is so darn flexible in use- that is what impressed me. Its very sturdy & was very easy to assemble in a few minutes. I'm cheap & thought $399 was a bit high, but after using this machine, I could not be happier. The quality is pretty good for Chinese (sigh) manufacture. Everyone says they received their product in a box poked full of holes & that was my experience. But it's packed so well in hard foam, you can see there was no danger of scratching the unit. This is a wonderful product, that does what is promised. Why they are not promoting this model instead of the other "junk" (magnetic repulsion bikes with digital "programs", iPod sound systems & other BS) in the Schwinn line is beyond me. My best advice: Buy the Schwinn Airdyne II at $399. You will be happy.
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