The Assault Airbike and Rogue Echo Bike have a knack for wrecking your legs and leaving you in a puddle of sweat as you fall off the saddle after a HIIT workout. Both are among the most popular air bikes around, particularly in CrossFit circles. But, which of these brutes is more deserving of your sweat?
In this Assault Bike vs Rogue Echo contest, we’ll take an in-depth look at the two beasts dominating the air bike market right now, arming you with the information you need to decide which is best for you.
An Overview Of These Two Popular Air Bikes
Rogue Echo Bike
Rogue’s first crack at the competition in the air bike market has been nothing short of a sensation. Intimidating, formidable, and grueling are just a few of the adjectives used to describe this bike. Once you do work up the courage to jump on this machine though, you won’t regret it.
Rogue is known for its ability to deliver well-researched, long-lasting equipment. They’re particularly popular within powerlifting circles thanks to their high-quality power racks and lifting equipment.
Much like their power racks, the Echo is overbuilt. With its solid metal frame, heavy-duty handlebars, and hefty footprint, the Echo will live up to the build quality and durability we’ve come to expect from Rogue.
The beefiness of the Echo means it’s stable on those flat-out sprints. In fact, there’s barely even a wobble. Alongside the stability comes a supreme belt-driven system, absorbing everything you can throw at it, and slightly stiff handlebars which up the intensity of your workout.
Whether it’s a HIIT blast or long endurance run, the Rogue Echo Bike will challenge you.
There are very few faults to be found with the Echo Bike. Whatever your fitness level, it will deliver a vicious workout that will leave your arms and legs in bits, and your heart and lungs working overtime.
Its fantastic value, smooth ride, and sturdy frame rank the Echo as one of the best air bikes on the market right now.
Mention an air bike and thoughts will immediately go to the Assault offering. It’s so popular that it’s common for people to refer to air bikes as assault bikes.
Assault Fitness was a relatively well-thought-of brand that developed a range of fitness equipment, but it was the Assault air bike that shot them to fame across the home fitness world.
At a time when Schwinn was dominating the air bike market with some pretty lousy efforts, Assault fitness spotted a gap in the market and launched their own version of the air bike. Their efforts not only kicked Schwinn into gear as they released the AD range (a considerable improvement on their existing offers) but also cranked up the battle to develop the best air bike on the market.
Xebex, Marcy, Vulcan and, more recently, Rogue, have all gotten involved in developing cardio machines for the CrossFit crowd, leading to a conveyor belt of first-rate air bikes.
Well-priced, well-built, and very popular, the Assault air bike has been a raging success.
|Rogue Echo Bike||Assault AirBike|
|Footprint||29.875″ W x 58.875″ L||23.3″ W x 50.39″ L|
|Max User Weight||350lbs||350lbs|
|Drive System||Belt drive||Chain drive|
|Where to Buy?||Rogue Fitness||Rogue Fitness|
Echo Bike vs Assault Bike: Key Similarities and Differences
On the face of it, both bikes are pretty similar. They both use fan resistance, they both work a full range of muscles, and they both deliver a hellish workout. They provide all the benefits you’d expect of an air bike and more.
A quick look at these two bikes though and straightaway the heftiness and bulk of the Rogue stands out. Its size and general beastly nature help it deliver a tougher workout than the Assault.
There are other, more subtle differences too. The belt drive on the Rogue is awesome. It’s smooth, durable, and requires much less maintenance than the chain drive on the Assault Bike.
There are also differences in value, comfort, and even in the purchased add-ons. So, let’s get into our in-depth comparison of these two impressive air bikes.
Both are built with entirely metal frames, yet the way the components on each bike come together differs completely. Overall, the Rogue is beefier and built better.
Ultimately, beefiness impacts the stability of the bike. The Rogue feels more stable when maxing out on those sprints. There is pretty much no wobble as the bike soaks up your power leaving you to focus on pushing through the pain barrier and burning a load of calories.
That’s not to say the Assault isn’t stable. If the only air bike you ever used was the Assault, then you wouldn’t think anything of stability. The frame can stand up to your fast-pedaling (the drive system may not though, we’ll come onto this) and easily stand up to heavy users putting the power down.
But if you were to use the Assault, then step on the Rogue you’d be in a different world. The stability isn’t just about the reduced wobble. It provides a smoother ride beyond sprinting. Everything feels stiffer, sturdier, and smoother on the Rogue thanks largely to the overbuilt frame.
The Rogue is more durable too. It feels like it’s been built with more care compared to the Assault. A lot of customers report design flaws with the Assault such as a wobbly seat, drive failures, and loose bolts.
Whilst some of the issues are minor problems, the fact they don’t happen on the Rogue suggests more care and thought has gone into the build quality. As Rogue themselves put it, the Echo is built to last.
The second major difference between these two bikes is the drive system they use. The Rogue is one of few air bikes to use the belt-drive system (the only other one I’m aware of is the Schwinn AD Pro). The Assault, like most air bikes on the market, uses a chain-driven system.
“So what?” I hear you say.
Well, the drive system on the bike has a huge influence on the workout it can deliver, as well as its performance over time and how much attention you have to give it.
Belt drives are easier to maintain. They are generally more durable, require a lot less maintenance over time, and are more capable of standing up to heavy sprints. A chain drive sometimes feels like it can snap at any moment if you max out on the pedals, a problem if you’re looking to do regular HIIT sessions.
They’re so much quieter too. Don’t bother trying to watch TV on the Assault Bike. Even listening to music can be distressing because it’s just so damn loud.
Air bikes by their nature are loud. The air rushing over the fan is always going to make a racket, however, add in the chain drive and it’s a recipe for angry neighbors and furious housemates.
So far, you’re probably wondering why modern air bikes use a chain drive at all. They do have their benefits. Many people prefer a chain drive because it’s a little easier to get going.
A good analogy I saw of the Echo was that it’s like “riding a bike with the brakes on”. This frustrating feeling is a result of the belt drive being a bit stiffer and a bit tougher to get moving. And once you are moving the increase in resistance means it never gets any easier.
Once you are going the ride is a bit smoother but, the workout you get from a belt drive is relentlessly intense and difficult. For some, this can drive (pun intended) them to getting a bike with a chain-driven system as it’s slightly easier to get going.
I prefer the intensity of the Rogue’s belt drive, but it’s a question of preference in the end. For a tougher but at times frustrating workout, the Rogue is better. But if you want the instant satisfaction of moving fast straightaway, the Assaults chain-drive is more suitable.
I’m always a bit frustrated by the simplicity of the consoles on air bikes. They never give enough information, look a bit crap, and generally feel like an afterthought on the bike. Compared to the high-quality consoles you find on spin bikes or ergometers they are considerably inferior.
The LCD consoles on the Assault and the Rogue continue this depressing trend. Both have no backlight meaning in certain lighting conditions you can barely see the screen.
Not that there is much to look at when you can see the screen. The Rogues console only gives important metrics such as calories burnt after the workout, which is extremely frustrating as during the workout you don’t know if or when you need to push harder.
The Assault isn’t much better, offering a little more data than the Rogue with info on overall time, segment time, distance, speed, rpm, and heart rate. It still feels like they’ve done the bare minimum though. It’s also far too small.
Both consoles can connect to Polar HRM’s which gives you one way of tracking your stats during the workout on the Rogue. If you don’t own a Polar HRM though, you can’t connect to the console.
Assault has provided two upgraded models, the Assaultbike Pro and Assaultbike Elite which come with upgraded consoles.
You notice it straight away. A quick look at the Echo and you can see it has a burlier look about it. In terms of footprint, the Echo isn’t that much bigger than the Assault, but on closer inspection, you can see that every item is just that bit bulkier.
Whilst this has performance benefits, it’s down to preference as to whether it looks better. Personally, I prefer the sleeker, lightweight look of the Assault bike. However, I’ve come across countless people and reviews who just love the solid, intimidating look of the Echo.
There are situations where the Rogues’ overbuilt nature is taken a bit too far. The handlebars don’t need to be as fat as they are. This just makes them difficult to hold, something which is particularly annoying when maxing out in a HIIT session.
The Rogue comes with a few attachments that you didn’t know you needed until you see them advertised as you place your order.
I know a lot of people find the wind guard useful as the placement and size of the fan mean it has a tendency to chuck loads of air in your face. If you are in a hot location or a stuffy garage/home gym then this is probably refreshing but if not, the wind guard might be a blessing.
Rogue also offers other useful add-ons:
- Phone holder
- Bottle Cage
The Assault offers a wind guard too, although the wind is not as blatant as it is on the Echo.
Alongside the wind guard, Assault offer:
- Floor mat
- Water bottle holder
The attachments on the Rogue are slightly better quality and don’t feel like they exist for the sake of it. I do like the floor mat offered by Assault though to protect your floor from any scrapes and dents these hefty bikes might cause.
Pros and Cons of the Rogue Echo Bike
- Overbuilt, sturdy, and stable
- Belt-drive system is smooth, durable, and quiet
- High build quality
- Useful attachments
- Delivers intense, brutal workout
- Console is poor
- Belt-drive can be hard to get going
Pros and Cons of the Assault Bike
- Chain-drive replicates normal road bike
- Steel frame is durable and stable
- Previously used and tested for CrossFit Games
- Lightweight for an air bike
- Chain drive is loud and requires maintenance over-time
- Parts tend to come loose or (less frequently) fail
Which is Better for CrossFit: Assault Bike or Echo Bike?
One aspect that keeps popping up in the Rogue bike vs Assault bike discussion is which is best for CrossFit.
It’s worth noting that the CrossFit Games organizers have had their say in the Echo vs Assault bike debate. The Echo has very recently been chosen for the CrossFit Games, taking over from the previous incumbent, the Assault bike.
A common gripe amongst CrossFitters is ghost calories. When you stop riding on the Assault it does have a tendency to continue moving meaning it puts away calories on the console that you didn’t actually burn.
The Rogue on the other hand comes to a more abrupt stop, so the calorie count stops when you stop. For perfectionists (such as CrossFitters) the increased accuracy of the Rogue is crucial.
The Rogues’ ability to provide a more intense and relentless workout is a big draw too. The Assault is an “easier” option thanks to the more forgiving chain drive which makes setting off and maintaining speed a little simpler.
Rogue Echo Bike vs Assault Airbike: Which Deserves Your Sweat More?
The brutality, sturdiness, and build quality of the Echo puts it above the Assault for me. When you buy an air bike, you want it to give you hell. The Rogue certainly delivers on this front and when you add in better value and a more durable drive system it beats the Assault to the crown of best air bike.