The growing miniaturization demand of magnetic devices is fuelling the recent interest in bi-magnetic nanoparticles as ultimate small components. One of the main goals has been to reproduce practical magnetic properties observed so far in layered systems. In this context, although useful effects such as exchange bias or spring magnets have been demonstrated in core/shell nanoparticles, other interesting key properties for devices remain elusive. Here we show a robust antiferromagnetic (AFM) coupling in core/shell nanoparticles which, in turn, leads to the foremost elucidation of positive exchange bias in bi-magnetic hard-soft systems and the remarkable regulation of the resonance field and amplitude. The AFM coupling in iron oxide-manganese oxide based, soft/hard and hard/soft, core/shell nanoparticles is demonstrated by magnetometry, ferromagnetic resonance and X-ray magnetic circular dichroism. Monte Carlo simulations prove the consistency of the AFM coupling. This unique coupling could give rise to more advanced applications of bi-magnetic core/shell nanoparticles. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.