If you fancy getting your ass kicked and legs battered on a regular basis, then sticking an air bike in your garage gym might be for you.
Notorious for delivering brutal, no-nonsense, full-body workouts, air bikes are becoming a staple part of home gyms everywhere. Unlimited levels of resistance, exhilarating workouts, and unrivaled intensity are just a few of the benefits air bikes can provide.
Popular air bikes like the Rogue Echo and Schwinn AD Pro deliver these benefits in spades, but sometimes we just want that little bit more from our workout. That’s where the Assault Bike Elite comes in.
The newer, tougher, and more expensive brother of the popular Assault Bike Classic, the Assault Bike Elite comes equipped with an array of hi-tech features not found on your everyday air bike.
So can the quality match the increased price tag, or are we better off sticking to the lower spec models? Our in-depth Assault Bike Elite Review is here to help you decide.
Assault AirBike Elite Design & Build Quality
Lots of things matter when purchasing a good air bike. The most important elements, we feel, when buying something that you’ll be using often and that will take a chunk out of your bank account are the design and quality of the frame, the aesthetics (how badass it looks), and how well it rides.
With thick steel structures making up the majority of the frame, you won’t be damaging this superbly built machine anytime soon. Evidently, Assault agrees, providing a 10-year warranty on the frame which tells you all you need to know about how well-built it is.
The heavy-duty steel is complemented by reinforced bearings in every crack and orifice, meaning any moving parts just glide seamlessly and smoothly as you cycle. Powder coating keeps the frame corrosion-resistant, emphasizing the durability of the bike.
Everything about the Elite feels durable and hard-wearing. It’s these qualities that help it deliver one of the smoothest workouts you can find on an air bike. Extra weight and added bulk in almost every area mean the bike is rock-solid no matter how much power you put into the pedals.
The seat is an upgrade from the one found on the Classic with a wider base and extra padding for increased support, but it’s far from perfect. Its supposedly ergonomic design can become quite unpleasant on a long ride and you might find yourself slipping off the front when sprinting if you’re not careful which is a bit annoying too.
Positioned on top of a robust aluminum post, the seat has easy adjustments, going forward and aft or up and down so whatever your size or preferences, you’ll find a comfortable stride on the Elite.
Even the handles are slightly adjustable, twisting to provide a little less strain on your wrists and helping you find that perfect riding position. Built entirely from steel, the handlebars are nice and heavy ensuring the upper body gets its fair share of the workout.
It’s one of the slickest-looking air bikes around combining stylish curves with elegant colorways. I’ve criticized black and grey in the past as it can look a bit bland on exercise equipment (not to mention everyone uses it), but on the Elite, Assault has got the combination just right.
Different shades of grey across the frame are nicely contrasted by black trim on the seat, drivetrain, and handlebars. The red lettering and fan blades are an attractive touch too, adding color to an otherwise greyscale bike.
The pedals feature small cleats around the edges which provide extra grip on flat-out sprints whilst wide levelers help keep the bike stable. If you just want to work the upper body, then footpegs are provided to give your legs a rest.
The integrated wind guard presents another useful aesthetic attachment stopping the air from the fan blowing in your face. Feeling a bit hot? No worries, it’s removable for those who like the cooling blast of air as you ride.
Moving this bike around can feel like a workout in itself. Weighing nearly 140lbs, transporting the bike from one side of the room to the other is a strenuous task. Transport wheels help with shifting the bike, although their small size makes things a little awkward.
There are some extra attachments it could do with. The lack of a phone holder is frustrating, especially as the console is so limited, tempting you to use a third-party app to track your workout.
Another problem is that there’s nowhere to stick your water bottle, which considering how much you’re paying for the bike seems a bit ridiculous. There’s no obvious place to put one either if you choose to buy the aftermarket attachment from Assault.
Chain drives are often fraught with noise, durability, and ride problems, yet the upgraded chain on the Assault Elite challenges these issues.
A wider, tougher chain compared to what’s found on cheaper air bikes stands up better to punishing sprints and provides a slightly smoother feel when pedaling. It’s brutal too. Being bigger means it has a slightly stiffer feel delivering a little more pain to your legs as you pedal. Noise is still an issue on the Elite so don’t forget your earplugs.
The upgraded console helps you get a bit more out of your workout too. I have a long-standing issue with air bike consoles and whilst this one is still basic compared to the ones found on rowers and spin bikes, it’s at least a step in the right direction.
The LCD console includes several pre-loaded workouts including Tabata intervals, inverted Tabata intervals (not as easy you might think), and custom intervals for when you get bored of Tabata. Throughout your workout, it can track watts, RPM, calories, heart rate, distance, and time.
Improved connectivity is the big selling point for this console with Bluetooth and ANT connectivity. You can connect to the brand-new Assault app as well to get even more out of your workout.
My biggest gripe? No backlight, again. Seriously, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for air bike manufacturers to stick a backlight on their consoles.
The workout the Assault Elite Bike provides really is top-end. It’s designed with the hard-core athlete in mind and specializes in destroying legs during interval training. Smooth ride, soul-destroying chain drive, and heavy handlebars make up a truly awesome cardio machine that can test even the most resilient athlete.
Heck, you can even cycle backward if you want a bit of extra variation.
Assembly: Is the Elite Assault Bike Easy to Put Together?
For those of us who were looking forward to seeing the delivery man attempt to carry a fully assembled air bike down our driveway, I have bad news. The Assault Elite doesn’t arrive fully assembled (I can hear the delivery drivers sigh in relief). Instead, the user gets the joy of self-assembly.
A quick scan of reviews suggests the weight of the parts can make this somewhat strenuous, however, most of the fittings and screws are fairly straightforward and the provided instructions are easy to follow.
Assault does offer a handy 8-minute video to guide you through the assembly of the Assault Bike Classic. I did a quick check online and was unable to find one for the Elite which is a shame. There are however other, unofficial videos that can help guide you through the assembly process.
Does the Workout Justify the Price Tag?
For a home gym athlete looking to level up their workouts? Yes. For a CrossFit athlete looking to train for competition? No
If you’re looking to pay this much on an air bike then chances are it’s to train for competitions such as the CrossFit Games. As we discussed earlier, the Elite uses a chain drive system, and whilst it is a much-upgraded system compared to chain drives seen on lower-spec air bikes, it still feels very different from a belt drive system.
As the CrossFit Games bike of choice is now the Rogue Echo (which features a belt drive), you’re better off spending the money on an air bike with a belt drive if you’re goal is to compete.
The Elite won’t be detrimental to your fitness. Not even close. It delivers one heck of a workout and its stability and durability mean it stands up to hardest sprints for a long time.
For the everyday athlete looking to step up their training, I couldn’t recommend this bike more. You definitely get bang for your buck in terms of performance.
For CrossFit athletes though, you’re better off training with a drive system that better replicates what you will be riding in the Games.
Other Assault Bike Models?
Assault currently offers two other models of a slightly lower spec compared to the Elite.
The hugely popular Assault Bike Classic offers the budget option for home gym-ers who just want to jump on and burn calories. Whilst it is comparable to the Assault Bike Elite, the lower price point means you get fewer features and a slightly clunkier ride.
The Assault Bike Pro is something of a crossover bike, upgrading parts of the Classic that needed upgrading without spending the extra cash on the heavy-duty features of the Elite.
Are there better alternatives?
There are plenty of quality air bikes that offer fantastic bang for your buck at a lower price point.
However, when it comes to other top-of-the-range air bikes, the most comparable to the Elite is the Schwinn AD8 and Xebex Air Plus. Both come in at a higher price point but crucially offer quieter and more durable belt drives.
The Xebex brings with it added levels of magnetic resistance too which gives it the edge in performance and helps it deliver the ultimate air bike workout. It’s pricey but well worth the extra dollar.
The belt drive is the biggest selling point on the AD8 however despite the high price it lacks the extreme sturdiness offered by the Assault. The bike doesn’t justify its high price tag, but you can find it at lower price points at various points in the year if you look carefully.
|Assault Airbike Elite||Assault Bike Pro||Assault Airbike Classic||Xebex Air Plus Expert Bike 3.0||Schwinn Airdyne AD Pro|
|Footprint||55”L x 26”W||50”L x 24”W||51”L x 23”W||57”L x 26”W||53”L x 27”W|
|Drive System||Chain drive||Chain drive||Chain drive||Belt drive||Belt drive|
|Where to Buy?||Rogue Fitness||Rogue Fitness||Rogue Fitness||Get RX’d||Rogue Fitness|
Assault Air Bike Elite in Summary: The Best of the Bunch?
It’s the best Assault Fitness bike you can buy. It will blow a hole in your wallet, but this higher price tag is justified by the quality of the ride and added features on the bike.
It can handle some serious torque from your sprints and the steel frame will last you a lifetime. Just remember if you’re buying it to train for CrossFit, you might want to check higher spec bikes with a belt drive first to better replicate what you’ll be using in the Games.
Is it the best air bike period? No, but to get better you will have to raise your budget. The Xebex Air Plus is a step up, but comes at a significantly higher price point (when it’s not on sale).
Overall, the Assault Bike Elite offers great value and exceptional quality for athletes looking to level up their home workouts.
- Sturdy, stable and durable frame
- Adjustable handle grips
- Bluetooth & ANT connectivity
- Reverse pedal capability
- High weight capacity
- Removable windshield
- Seat is slippery and uncomfortable
- High price
- Transport wheels are small