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The Assault Air Bike was the most popular air bike on the market just a couple of years ago. Now called the Assault AirBike Classic, it was seen in every CrossFit Box, most home gyms, as well as the CrossFit Games. It was essentially a reworked Schwinn Airdyne with a new paint job and a better screen.
Schwinn had been resting on their laurels for some time and Assault Fitness came in and stole most of their market share with one product, the Assault Air Bike.
Like other air bikes, The Assault Air Bike uses a fan to provide resistance and both pedals and arm handles for the user to get a full-body conditioning workout. It’s a great air bike that is still very popular despite many competitors coming to market since its creation.
The Rogue Echo Bike is quite possibly the best-selling air bike today, and, for good reason. Rogue Fitness took the Assault Air Bike design (which is pretty much the Schwinn Airdyne design) and beefed it up tremendously. The best way I can think to describe it is that Rogue deconstructed one of their squat racks and made it into a stationary bike.
Although the Rogue Echo Bike certainly has a beefy frame, what really makes it superior to the Assault AirBike is that its drivetrain uses belts instead of chains. A chain drive requires constant maintenance, oiling, aligning, and other things no one wants to do. The belt drive on the Rogue Echo Bike uses self-tensioning belts that require zero maintenance. I know this because as illustrated later in this review, I’ve used the Echo Bike an insane amount over the past two to three years.
The Rogue Echo Bike is essentially the new standard by which all other air bikes are measured.
I've had the Rogue Echo Bike for about two years and this is probably one of the best-selling products from one of the best-selling strength equipment companies. I've had it in many places, and a lot of people ask, if I recommend it for their home gym, well, I want to talk about how long I've had it, what's gone wrong with it, what works with it, and if I'd recommend it. We’ve reviewed the Echo Bike in-depth in the past (and even named it our Top Pick for the Best Air Bike,) and this is an update after 2-years of consistent use and abuse.
In addition to owning the Echo Bike, I’ve had an Assault Air Bike for a similar amount of time. Although the Assault AirBike hasn’t been used nearly as much as the Echo Bike (simply because I don’t enjoy it as muhc) it still has many meters put on the bike.
One of the questions we get at Garage Gym Reviews quite often is if you should get the Assault Airbike or should you get the Echo Bike. Or, to make things even more complicated, if you should get the Schwinn Airdyne 7 or the Xebex Air Plus, Assault AirBike Elite or the Xebex AirMill or the Schwinn AD Pro. There's a lot of them as you can tell and we’ve reviewed all of them which you can find in The Best Air Bike Guide here. There used to just be Schwinn and they just had that crappy AD-4, but now there's like hundreds of these things. So, why should you buy this one versus the others? First, I want to tell you what the Echo Bike has been through. The first place it's been, is in my garage and it's been in my garage in fluctuating temperatures, extreme heat and extreme cold, as well as all sorts of negative elements placed on it like blood, sweat, and chalk.
Secondly, it's been in my friend's garage because my friend decided he wanted to use it to lose some weight.
Well, two weeks later he gives me a call and says he hasn't used it once. So I went and picked it up again. Then I took it to my gym and it's been used in my gym for the past two years with ranging people. We actually had a CrossFit Games Athlete, Jessica Griffith come and use it as well as various people at our gym. So it's been used by a wide population in a lot of settings and a lot of places. Despite having it for as long as I have, there's little we've done to it. The seat gets loose every once in a while, other than that though, there’s not been any maintenance done to it. This is what we have today. Two years, folks.
Here's the big reason why this still works like it did on day one. One is its stability. You get on an Assault Air Bike and you try to put all-out effort from somebody with crazy power output, it's going to topple over. But, because the feet on the Echo Bike are wider and also because this is about double the weight at 128 pounds. It's a heavy freaking bike. So, it's going to stay stable and do so no matter who's using it.
The next reason that it's still in the same great shape it has been, despite air bikes being known to be some of the worst maintenance equipment out there, is because of the belt drive system. What that means is rather than a chain drive like what's seen on bicycles traditionally, the Echo Bike uses a belt drive that's similar to what's used in your car.
Not only does a belt drive last longer, but it's also much more responsive. So as soon as you start stepping on the pedal, as soon as you start going, the fan starts going and as soon as you stop, it stops. So, there's very little play in the system. And, best of all, because it's a belt-driven system, you don't have to deal with the maintenance of a chain. Chain's, like what is used on the Assault AirBike Classic and the original Schwinn Airdynes require constant tensioning, oiling, and the like. The Echo Bike uses a self-tensioning belt chain and despite having it for two years, we haven't done any maintenance to it.
So, it still runs like day one. Now onto some of the features. One that separates it is the fan on the front that uses fully metal fan blades that are quite thick. This is the only air bike that I've seen that has a fully metal air blade. I once had somebody describe the Echo Bike as Rogue just decided to take apart one of their squat racks and make it into an air bike. It's that beefy. It's that big. And this is one reason why a lot of garage gym owners like it is because it lasts long time. But I think even more so, is the CrossFit affiliate owner who has like 20 to 30 of these in their gym. You don't want to be having to do all that maintenance on the bike.
Now I will say in comparison to the Schwinn Airdyne AD Pro, they are very similar. I also have an AD Pro that I've had for about three years and I haven't had to do any maintenance on it either. So both those bikes last a long time, much longer than many would expect. I will say though, some people dislike the belt drive in comparison to a chain drive, and the reason is that it's a harder bike to use. So, on the Echo bike, when you start going, you have to push harder overall to start using it. Whereas with an Assault AirBike it spins a little bit quicker and then as soon as you let off an Assault Air Bike, it'll keep going.
They call this ghost riding and it was from Jason Khalipa who came up with the idea at a CrossFit Games Event. As soon as you let go, it doesn't go much further so you're not going to be able to get a bunch of extra calories. It's a harder bike to use, but as I’ve illustrated, it lasts longer. I've used pretty much every air bike out there and if I was going to recommend a bike based on price, value, and features, I would recommend the Rogue Echo Bike. I do really like the Concept 2 BikeErg, but that's a bit of a different bike as it's more like a traditional spin bike. So, if you're wanting an air bike for your home gym or for your CrossFit Box or commercial gym, this is the one I would suggest.
So, when considering either a Rogue Echo Bike Vs. Assault AirBike, I suggest the Echo Bike for most people. The Assault AirBike is still a good bike, but not as good as the Echo.
Is the Echo Bike harder than the Assault Bike?
Overall, the Rogue Echo feels more difficult to use than the Assault Bike. It's harder to rev up and it stops more quickly than the Assault Bike. This is due to the belt drive system on the Echo versus the chain-drive on the Assault Bike. Is it really "harder" to achieve distance or calorie counts once you get moving though? Not significantly.
What's the difference between the Assault Bike and Echo Bike?
The main differences between the Assault Bike and Echo Bike is the frame on the Echo Bike being larger, beefier, and more stable than the Echo Bike as well as the drivetrain on the Echo Bike being powered by self-tensioning belts instead of a chain wich is more reliable.
Is the Rogue Echo Bike worth it?
In my opinion, yes, if you will actually use it. Although it's a little bit more expensive than the Assault Bike depending on the time of the year, it is by far a better bike.
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