Should I replace an arm lever on my exercise bike?

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Q: How do I replace a right-arm lever on a Schwinn Airdyne (AD4) exercise bike? The bike is 4 years old, with pretty heavy use. In your opinion, is the repair worth the price to replace the broken part?

A: I rarely encounter a broken arm on an AD4, so I would say your use might be beyond what the equipment was designed for. The AD4 is a very lightweight upright bike. And I suspect that if the right arm is broken, the left arm will be soon as well.

When I originally read your question I had assumed that it was an acute failure (like kids hanging off of it). But if it broke in the course of your normal use, it might be best to look at upgrading to a more sturdy design, like the AD6. It might provide you some additional comfort as well.

The way I look at it is this -- you will end up buying two arms -- that's $150, plus a few hours to fix them, and then you still have a heavily used piece of equipment with no warranty. While the AD6 isn't cheap -- it's about $600 -- it's around $450 more than what you will pay for both arms on the AD4. If you get four years out of the AD6 (and you will get more than you did, but I'm trying to be objective), that AD6 amortizes to $9.38/month. If you are a heavy user of the bike, then IMO, it is easily justifiable for the peace of mind and the additional comfort of a much heavier bike to go ahead and upgrade. Besides, the AD6 doesn't hurt the eyes any.

In full disclosure, I'll often go through the math to justify purchasing things that I want. I think it makes sense, but it depends on your own taste. I know some people that would keep their ad4 until they couldn't hold it together with duct tape anymore and they would get more satisfaction out of that. For example, after four years of heavily using the AD4, would a change to something slightly different be a difficult adjustment? Only you can decide that. But you can at least look.... Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike (Black).

-- Answer by Michael Hannigan, consumer electronics specialist on JustAnswer.

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