Exercise bikes are understandably popular, both for use at the gym and for building your own home gym around. They deliver fantastic cardiovascular training, are easy to use and will help to build up your legs and burn plenty of calories.
However, they are slightly limited. If you only have room for one piece of equipment, and you go for an exercise bike, you will be foregoing any upper body and torso work in your training.
This is where something like the JTX Mission Air Bike comes into its own. It will allow you as good a workout as any upright cycle, whilst also delivering a fantastic upper body workout via moving handlebars linked to the pedals. It combines the best of an exercise bike and elliptical trainer all in one neat package – and we were lucky enough to get our hands (and legs) on one to allow us to bring you our full JTX Mission Air Bike review.
Combining upper and lower body as part of a cardio workout provides a full-body training method that will both halt any muscular imbalance from occurring whilst also increasing the amount of energy output possible in any given time – you will burn more calories, build more muscle and tax your cardiovascular system harder using it than you would a conventional cycle.
The Mission Air Bike by leading UK fitness manufacturer JTX is a new offering to the market, designed to give big brand rivals like the Schwinn Airdyne series and the Rogue Assault Bike a run for their money. It does this superbly. Though it is slightly noisier and slightly heavier than its higher priced rivals, it delivers where it should, giving one hell of a hard workout.
JTX Mission Air Bike – First Impressions
As mentioned above, the Air Bike is a heavy beast. It’s also quite tall. Nonetheless, the JTX Mission Air Bike is very easy to handle. It manoeuvres well, with a sturdy handle at the back of the machine and a set of castor wheels at the front giving you the ability to trundle it around like it weighs nothing. It also has quite a small footprint, especially compared to some of its rivals, especially given that it isn’t a foldable bike.
All in all, as a piece of home fitness equipment, it slots into domestic life quite nicely.
It also doesn’t need any kind of external power supply. This will save you money in the long run, of course, as you won’t need to plug it in. It also adds an extra degree of portability: you can set it up anywhere, without having to worry about a power source, and you don’t need to cart around any extra wires or cables.
Everything is adjustable that needs to be – the handles allow for different placements and the seat height and position can all be customised. So far, so good. Very good, in fact, for quite a reasonable price.
It is noisy, however, which can spoil the domestic bliss somewhat. The air resistance is a bit of a racket. You may need to set it up far away from your cohabitees or use it when nobody else is about, which sucks a little bit.
However, this is a minor grievance and is kind of par for the course with this style of machine.
JTX Air Bike Specs
The specs and price don’t quite seem to add up with the Mission Air Bike. There are older, more established machines on the market, like the Assault Air Bike Classic, that are pretty much the same as the JTX model, or in some respects worse, yet come in more expensive. Comparing it to its rivals, the JTX Mission Air Bike soon begins to look like a bit of a bargain.
Its build quality is fantastic. You get a heavy gauge steel frame and a large, steel bladed fan. As with all air bikes, the main working mechanism of the JTX bike takes its cue from the large frontal fan. This generates the resistance you need for your workout, rather than the flywheel, brake and motor set up of other, more typical exercise bikes.
This is also where most of its significant weight comes from, of course. However, it is also where its longevity and usability come from – you can spend session after punishing session putting it through its paces without the JTX Mission Air Bike degrading in any way.
The Mission Air Bike’s matte black finish with black sweat-resistant paint complements and goes a long way to ensuring this durability.
As mentioned above, it is heavy but is also relatively compact, making it perfect for home use. It is also very portable and needs no external power source, so you really can take it to any part of the house you want, whenever you want.
The JTX Mission Air Bike has a somewhat oversized, fully adjustable seat for maximum comfort and performance. You can move it up, down, forwards and back to suit any body shape and limb length. You will therefore be able to fully and optimally push down through the handlebars and pedals, giving you a real chance to bring some power to bear.
As a brief overview, the JTX Mission Air Bike has:
- The perfect build for CrossFit, HIIT + Cardio Training
- Belt-driven Fan + Infinity Resistance
- 6 Core Stats Computer
- 8 Training Programs
- Heavy Duty Steel Frame
- Large Cushioned Seat + Non-slip Handles
- Fully Adjustable Seat
- Dimensions: 122.5cm (l) x 55cm (w) x 120cm(h)
- 2 Year in Home Repair Warranty
Using the JTX Mission Air Bike
Any commentary on using the JTX Mission Air Bike needs to begin with a brief bit about when you’re not using it. As mentioned above, it is self-powered, has a small footprint and, despite its weight, is very portable thanks to its handle and wheels. So, when you’re not using it, it can be out of sight and mind, tucked away in the corner of a cupboard or garage until needed.
Using it is also easy and straightforward.
The computer will come on if you move either the handles or the pedals, so you can get it going as soon as you’re in position to train. It can also be switched on using buttons under the LCD screen monitor. The preloaded programs that the onboard computer delivers each offer a good workout and all represent a good variety of training styles, goals and difficulty levels. They include a couple of pre-set interval sessions, including options for Tabata training.
There is also a little spot for your phone to sit just below the monitor, so you can follow along any workout using your phone.
Alternatively, you can set up your own interval workout structures using the LCD monitor and in-built, adjustable timer. You can schedule work, rest and repetitions quite easily. You can also set yourself targets on the monitor, such as distance travelled, calories burned, heart rate reached, and so forth.
It’s all pretty basic but very useful and incredibly simple to use.
The machine itself is also challenging (in the way you want it to be). The push/pull action of the handles gives your arms and core a real challenge, working both the biceps and the triceps, along with the anterior and posterior deltoids, upper back, chest and obliques. Add this into the cycling component for the legs and you will find yourself being very much tested.
In fact, you can burn up to 80 calories a minute, depending on your own biometrics and the effort level involved. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to a weight loss regime, allowing you to create the caloric deficit needed to shed body fat efficiently, in the (relative) comfort of your own home.
This is also where the heavy base comes in to play. At 63.5 kg, it weighs the same as many athletes. This ensures a very stable ride and user experience. You can generate whatever force you want, pushing, pulling and cycling with abandon, knowing that you’re scarcely going to budge the machine by so much as an inch. It can stand up to pretty much anything you can throw at it!
There are, inevitably, some minor niggles with the JTX Mission Air Bike, aside from the noise.
The first is the display lighting – or, rather, the lack of it. The display isn’t backlit. This is OK for the most part, as the JTX Mission Air Bike will mostly be used at home, where your lighting is pretty much in your control. However, if your home gym isn’t particularly well lit, this is an issue. The text itself is also quite small, further impeding readability.
One of the great things about the JTX Mission Air Bike is that you can move it about unencumbered. This is undercut by the fact that you need to bear lighting in mind.
The workout breakdowns at the end of each session are also a little sparse. This isn’t a big deal. You will have burned what you burned, and as long as you’re drenched in sweat and your heart is racing, you’ve done something right. However, for those of us who like to get geeky about numbers, it’s a shame and you might need to turn to a third party fitness stat tracker if you really want to delve in to the stats.
Don’t take these gripes too seriously, however. They don’t really diminish the final product and as a tool for taking on hardcore cardio workouts the Mission Air Bike more than stands up to the task.
So what is the final verdict on the Mission Air Bike?
Quite simply, it’s a sturdy, usable, very effective piece of workout machinery that costs a lot less than some of its less well-made direct competitors. In fact, it toes the line between build quality, design quality, added features and price incredibly well, and all somewhat in the consumer’s favour.
It is loud, of course. All fan powered machines are – and the JTX Mission Air Bike may be particularly so. It is not suitable for communal areas – you won’t be able to jump on it in the living room, watching the telly with your family. However, it’s tough going enough that you wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the TV anyway, and if the fan wasn’t so loud then your grunting and heaving would make up for it.
Don’t go thinking that the JTX Mission Air Bike is cheap, either. It isn’t. It will still set you back a good few hundred pounds, even with a deal on, so it’s not to be taken lightly. However, with a two year warranty, a fantastic degree of solidity and the sheer power output you’ll feel with each workout, it is worth every penny.