Offering a wide range of benefits, it’s no surprise that more and more home gym owners are turning to air bikes as their go-to cardio machine. Air bikes are notorious for the ass-kicking they can deliver and Assault has more or less led the charge with their popularization.
While the Assault Classic certainly gets the job done, more advanced practitioners may be looking to level up their air bike workout. In that case, Assault’s Elite bike may have caught your eye.
Striking design, high specs, and an eye-watering price tag, the Classic’s big brother certainly meets all the criteria for “top-of-the-range”.
But how do the two bikes actually compare?
We’ve already taken an in-depth look at the Assault Classic and Assault Elite air bikes in isolation so check these out if you want more info on each. Now it’s time to pit the two against each other and see how they stack up.
Our in-depth Assault Airbike Classic vs Elite comparison is here to help you decide whether it’s worth paying the extra dollar for the Elite, or whether the Classic will more than provide the unforgiving workout you desire.
Assault Bike Classic vs Elite: What Matters?
Put simply, the Assault Elite is a souped-up version of the Assault Classic. Everything from the drive to the frame to the console is bigger and better making for a smoother, sturdier, and higher quality ride.
It goes without saying that the Elite is a better bike, but whether it’s worth blowing a hole in your wallet for is up for debate.
When choosing between the two bikes you should consider:
- Which has the features that matter to you
- Which will provide the most suitable workout for your needs
- Which will be a better fit for your home/garage gym
Classic vs Elite: Commonalities and Differences
Many top-of-the-range models in a company’s product line are simply the base model with a few better components. Not so with the Airbike Elite. While Assault Fitness have used the same basic design, the Elite is a significant upgrade over the Airbike Classic.
|Assault Bike Classic||Assault Bike Elite|
|Footprint||55”L x 26”W||51”L x 23”W|
|User weight limit||300lbs||350lbs|
|Console||LCD high-contrast||LCD high-contrast|
|Console readouts||Watts, RPM, calories, heart rate, distance, time, odometer, HIIT programs||Watts, RPM, calories, heart rate, distance, time, odometer, HIIT programs|
|Preset programs||Manual, 20/10 interval, 10/20 interval, custom interval, total time, total distance, total calories, heart rate target||Manual, 20/10 interval, 10/20 interval, custom interval, total time, total distance, total calories, heart rate target|
|Console connectivity||Heart rate monitor||Bluetooth, ANT, Assault Fitness app, heart rate monitor|
|Adjustability||Seat (fore, aft, up, down)||Seat (fore, aft, up, down), Handlebars|
|Saddle||Sports seat||Large ergonomic sports seat|
|Wind guard||Aftermarket attachment||Integrated (removable)|
|Water bottle holder||Aftermarket attachment||None|
|Where to Buy?||Rogue Fitness||Rogue Fitness|
Design and build quality
Both bikes are built with solid, corrosion-resistant frames designed to withstand flat-out sprints, heavy sweating, and anything else you can throw at them. With sealed cartridge-bearings in every possible place, you won’t be calling Assault customer service with a frame issue anytime soon.
The Elite is undoubtedly beefier. Every aspect of its frame is sturdier, wider, and heavier allowing it to comfortably support an extra 50lbs of human, meaning anyone can put the power down on this bike without worrying about it toppling over.
The Classic has a bit of history with loose bolts creating plenty of frustration for users, as well as a seat that doesn’t seem to be properly attached to the steel tube it’s placed on. The Elite has no such problems placing the seat on a more durable aluminum support, whilst also securing bolts more tightly throughout the frame.
Both bikes come equipped with a chain drive, 27” steel fan, and durable metal pedals. The chain drive on the Elite is a bit heftier making it more durable and a little stiffer.
What does it mean for the user?
Essentially, the Elite delivers a smoother and sturdier ride thanks to its increased beefiness and extra weight. It can also carry heavier users than the Classic.
The stiffer chain drive means the Elite can torch your legs a little bit quicker than the Classic. It also requires less maintenance over time and can sustain aggressive sprints much better.
Being lighter and not quite as well built, the Classic is much easier to put together. Assembling the Elite can be quite a strenuous task as a few furious reviewers will tell you, mainly because the parts are so heavy. The high-spec parts such as pedals and handlebars also require more intricate fittings.
The instructions for both are fairly straightforward, but if like me your DIY skills leave a lot to be desired, Assault provides a useful 8-minute video guide to talk you through the assembly of your AirBike Classic. A quick scan of YouTube and you’ll find plenty of useful guides to help you put together the Elite as well.
What does it mean for the user?
If you do go for the Elite you might want to recruit a second person to help you build it, preferably someone capable of lifting heavy stuff. You should be able to put the Classic together alone but if you’re worried check out the assembly video first to double-check.
Console and programs
Assault claims the Elite has an upgraded console compared to what’s on the Classic.
Upon inspection, the console provided on the Elite is still basic relative to what you’d find on a Concept2 rower or even your standard spin bike. It doesn’t provide any extra tracking compared to the Classic, has no extra workouts, and still can’t be seen in the dark as there’s no backlight.
So, where is the supposed upgrade? Well, it does have much-improved connectivity including Bluetooth, ANT, and connecting to the Assault Fitness app.
All well and good, especially if you want to use third-party apps to track your workout, that is until you realize there’s nowhere to put your smartphone.
What does it mean for the user?
Neither bike offers more than the other in terms of providing preset workouts or extra tracking. The connectivity of the Elite gives it the edge if you want to use third-party apps or track your workout via your phone. It just doesn’t provide a place to put that phone.
Both bikes have their pros and cons here. Let’s start with the seat.
Both seats provide 4-way adjustments (fore, aft, up, down) which is more than found on some air bikes and ideal for finding your perfect stride length. The actual saddle is slightly upgraded on the Elite from the standard sports seat to the “Sports Seat Elite”.
It’s not as fancy as it sounds and is basically just a bigger, more cushioned version of the seat found on the Classic. There are some murmurings of users slipping and sliding off the saddle on the Elite which isn’t ideal if your midway through a hard sprint.
If the seat on either bike does cause you problems or discomfort, it’s easy to switch it out for a better one, just be prepared to part with extra money.
The Elite has fancier handlebars that offer adjustable grips for a more comfortable ride. Upgraded pedals are slightly more complicated to put on but with cleats that provide extra grip, they’re more rider-friendly than the ones found on the Classic. Both bike pedals are easily swapped out for pedals of your choice.
There are a couple of small things I have noticed regarding functionality. First, neither has a water bottle holder although this is an optional extra on the Classic model.
Secondly, the chain drive has much better protection from the elements on the Elite thanks to the plastic shrouding surrounding it. The Classic comes with basic chain covers for its less durable chain drive.
Finally, if you hate the wind being thrown at your face as you cycle, you’ll be happy to know the Elite comes with an integrated windshield. If you like the wind on your face, the windshield is removable. A wind guard is an optional extra on the Classic.
What does it mean for the user?
It’s all about personal preference here. If you’re a comfort buff you may prefer the adjustable handles, grippy pedals, and cushioned seat provided on the Elite. The integrated wind guard is a nice touch on the Elite, but it really shouldn’t be the deciding factor between which bike you get.
Assault AirBike Classic, Elite, or Neither? What Are the Alternatives?
So which bike should you go with? All said and done, I don’t know if a sturdier frame and some ergonomic features are worth paying nearly twice as much.
If you are willing to pay for comfort, then by all means go for the Elite. But if you’re looking for some bang for your buck, perhaps consider another option. That being said, users have legitimate gripes with the Classic, and advanced air bike riders might want something that better suits their needs.
One solid alternative is actually the middle brother of the Assault series, the Pro.
Essentially a hybrid of the Elite and the Classic, the Pro takes some of the best bits of the Elite and removes some of the issues with the Classic. It’s the best of both worlds and offers great value on top of this.
It lacks the heavy-duty features of the Elite, but if you’re stuck deciding between the Classic and Elite then it’s likely you don’t need the heavy-duty features. The Pro is sturdier and more durable than the Classic and will certainly provide a brutal workout and sustain your flat-out sprints.
There are other brands out there of course. Rogue’s Echo Air Bike offers extreme levels of stability and durability (I mean, what else would you expect from Rogue) as well as a supremely impressive belt drive, all for a great value.
Schwinn’s Airdyne Pro comes with the same high-end belt drive and decent stability on a sleeker, better-looking frame, but for less of a value.
Xebex Fitness’s effort has its place on the list of best air bikes too. It comes with a chain drive similar to the one found on the Assault Classic but does feel better built and comes in at a lower price point.
Final Thoughts on the Assault Air Bike Classic vs Elite: Is the Elite Worth the Money?
If you’re looking to level up your air bike workouts and the features on the Classic and Pro just don’t do enough for you, then yes, the Elite is worth its price tag. Compared to other top-of-the-range bikes, it offers solid value whilst delivering a kick-ass workout.
If you want better than the Classic but don’t want to break the bank on the Elite, the Assault Bike Pro might be for you.