I’ve owned the Rogue Echo Bike for about 6 months now, and I’ve put it through its paces. I use it almost every day for a combination of warm-up, HIIT, steady-state cardio, and cool-down / recovery (not all of them every day).
If you’re looking at buying this bike and want an opinion from a hands-on user, then you’re in the right place.
Like a lot of other reviewers, I consider the Echo Bike to be the best air bike you can currently get. It’s built like an absolute tank, it looks fearsome, and like everything Rogue produces, it works exactly the way it’s intended to.
While it has a few minor drawbacks, I’m very certain that 999 out of 1000 people who buy this fan bike will love it (and hate it, because it will make you work hard).
Rogue Fitness Echo Bike Review in Brief
Rogue’s relatively recent foray into the air bike market has been wildly successful. The Echo Bike is a seriously good piece of exercise equipment. It sits in my outdoor garage gym, which is not climate controlled and has a temperature range of 30° – 120°. Despite this, it looks and works as good as it did the day I got it.
It has a fairly standard fan bike design – there aren’t really any bells and whistles – but it is definitely, as Rogue puts it, “overbuilt”. Everything is as solid and well-manufactured as we’ve come to expect from Rogue products.
While assembling it, I just kept thinking how much they must have put into the R&D of the bike. It goes together easily, with great quality hardware. I mean, the screwdriver that it comes with is now the best Phillips head screwdriver I own.
It performs exactly as you’d expect after reading all of that. It’s smooth, relatively quiet, and just a real ass-kicker. While I wish the monitor was a bit more advanced, and had Bluetooth connectivity, it works well enough. Also, the grips on the handles are just a touch too fat, in my opinion.
Although there are air resistance bikes on the market that are fancier than Rogue’s Echo Bike, none of them balance quality and price anywhere near as well.
Rogue Echo Bike In-Depth Review
For those who like to do comprehensive research, we’re going to take a more in-depth look at Rogue Fitness’ lone, branded venture into exercise bikes.
Design and Build Quality of the Rogue Echo Bike
Design-wise, while the Echo is certainly a fearsome looking machine, it’s also a pretty standard air bike that’s not especially different to its main competitors: The Assault Airbike, Xebex Air Bike, or Schwinn Airdyne Pro. Like those others air resistance bikes, the Echo has a step-through frame, large belt-driven steel fan, extra-wide padded saddle, foot pegs, and handles. Like I said, standard. It’s very much the quality of the components and how each work almost seamlessly that sets the Echo Bike apart.
Let’s look at each of those components individually.
The Echo bike’s frame is as beefy as they come. The black powder-coated steel tubing is very solid and is obviously where most of its 127 lbs of weight lies. It’s definitely one of the heavier air bikes on the market. As you’d expect then, no part on it looks, feels or is cheap or weak. The heavy frame really necessitates a few of the additional components.
First, the rubber leveling feet on the bottom of the base. If your home gym has an uneven surface, the feet absolutely come into their own. Without adjusting them properly, the Echo bike wobbles like all hell due to its weight and the fact that it’s a big, rigid hunk of mostly metal. Once leveled out though, it’s extremely stable. And despite its weight, adjusting the leveling feet once it’s assembled is super easy and makes stabilizing the bike very quick and straightforward.
Second, the transport wheels at the front. Picking this thing up by yourself is almost out of the question. Yes, 127 lbs isn’t all that heavy, but its an awkward shape, and that makes it tough to move it by lifting. So, you’ve got to make use of the wheels. Thankfully, they work. And while there’s no dedicated handle at the back of the bike to lift from and engage the transport wheels, there is a triangular section of the frame that is obviously intended to be the point of lift.
Now, I had to move the bike out onto my lawn to take the nice photo at the top of the article. The transport wheels did not make this easy. They dug the s**t out of my lawn. If you’re planning move this thing around on turf regularly, then you’ll want to pick up the turf tire and handle kit. If you’re going to put it on lawn only occasionally, then you could probably get away with just having a second person to help lift and carry.
Like the Airdyne Pro, the Echo bike keeps all of its moving parts completely encased within the frame. This means that the arm that attaches the pedal and handle cranks, as well as the rest of the belt-drive components are inside the center shroud. This gives the frame a clean, minimal feel compared to bikes like the Xebex and Assault bikes, both of which leave those moving parts more open and accessible. On the flipside, it also means that the Echo’s drive system is harder to get to should you need or want to do any repairs or maintenance on it.
Finally, the arms / handles are made from roughly the same tubing as the rest of the frame, and are also quite heavy. This is especially true when compared to the Airdyne or Assault bike, which have more slender arms. The Xebex bike’s arms are comparable in weight and shape, however I think the Echo’s handles look better with their more subtle and less awkward curve. Their weight adds to the overall amount of effort that you need to put in to get the fan moving. And although that just increases the amount of pain this fan bike inflicts on you, it means you get more cardio and conditioning benefit in the long-run.
The 27″ fan
There’s not a huge amount to say on the fan other than that it’s big, and it works exactly as it’s supposed to. At 27″ in diameter, it’s the largest fan on any air bike (that I’m aware of) on the market. There are 10 steel blades inside a wire shroud, with the number of blades obviously influencing how much resistance is created (i.e., more blades = more air to move = more resistance).
By their very nature, air bikes are noisy. Having an oversized steel fan rapidly pushing air around quickly makes a bit of a racket, and the Echo bike is no different. That said, it’s not as noisy as others due to the fact that it is belt-driven. Because the fan blades are so big, they move a lot of air around, particularly back into your face. I don’t mind this because it’s hot at the times of day that I use my garage gym for most of the year. It’s rarely cold (at best I’m working out when it’s cool). So, I welcome the breeze because it cools me down. If, however, you’re in a very cold environment then the air blowing into your face may be uncomfortably cold. In this instance, you may want to get the wind guard.
I have the wind guard, but don’t use it for myself. My wife finds the air blowing in her face to be ‘suffocating’. I’ve heard other people describe the sensation this way, so it seems to be an individual experience. I grabbed the wind guard to prevent this on the occasion that my wife does want to use the bike.
I’ve never found bike seats to be particularly comfortable, especially not the big fat ones that exercise bikes tend to have. I just can’t ever find that sweet spot that’s comfortable for long rides. And so it is with the Rogue Echo Bike. While the seat itself is obviously good quality – wide and well-padded – it too gets uncomfortable for me after a while.
That seems to be a personal thing. My wife said she loves how comfortable the seat is.
Like most of the good air bikes the saddle attachment is standard, which means you can switch the seat out for a different one. If you have a favored bike seat then this is obviously a good thing, however as I said I’ve never had a bike seat I particularly like so I’ve not bothered swapping it out. Similarly, the black, all-metal pedals are just regular bike pedals. They can be swapped out for any other standard bike pedals using a pedal wrench. If you like to ride in cleats you can swap out the stock pedals for some other fancy pedals. Rogue sell a couple of Shimano clip-in pedals (that come with cleats) if you’re interested. I’m not sure why you’d want to use these on an fan bike. They’re probably better on something like the Concept2 BikeErg, which is a great exercise bike and more appropriate for actual cycling training.
Adjusting the seat up and down as well as fore and aft is very straightforward using the adjustment knobs. I’m 6′ exactly, while my wife is 5’6″, and we’ve both been able to find a comfortable seat position. There’s plenty of room to go up and back from my seat position, so I estimate it would accomodate someone up to approximately 6’8″. There isn’t much room forward and down from my wife’s seat position, however. So, I’m guessing that particularly short people (e.g., 5’2″ and under) may find it tougher to find that sweet spot on the Echo bike.
One thing worth mentioning here is that I’ve found that both adjuster knobs needs to be very tight otherwise there’s a bit of play in the saddle post. The same goes for the bolts that fix the actual seat to the vertical post. This isn’t really an issue because, unlike cheaper exercise bikes, you actually can tighten everything on the Echo bike as much as you like without stripping or breaking screws, or cracking plastic, or anything annoying like that. That speaks to just how well-made (i.e., “overbuilt”) this thing is.
Handles and pegs
Like the fan, there’s not a lot to say about the handles and pegs. The handles / arms themselves are heavy, as mentioned. This adds to the weight, the difficulty in getting the fan moving (which is a good thing), and the overall beastliness of the Rogue Echo Bike. While the grips on the handles are a nice hard rubber that feels high-quality, they’re about 1/4″ too fat. At 1.5″ in diameter, I find them just a little too thick for my hands to grip as comfortably as I’d like. There’s a reason that most barbell shafts are 28 – 29mm (~1.12″) in diameter. It’s because that’s a comfortable thickness for gripping, for most people. Even your standard pull up bar is 1.25″. Why Rogue made the grips 1.5″ on the Echo bike is a bit of a mystery. All of that said, it’s only a minor annoyance.
The pegs are free-spinning and knurled for grip. They serve the same function and work exactly the same as all other foot pegs on comparable air bikes. If you want a severe upper-body-only workout, chuck your feet up on these bad boys and push + pull away. That’s really all there is to say about that.
Moving on to assembling the thing…
Assembly: An Easy Air Bike to Put Together
The Rogue Echo Bike comes mostly assembled in a big a** box. All you have to do is attach the console (and the neck it sits on), pedals, pegs, arms, and any attachments you bought with it.
All the hardware is included along with the necessary tools, and it’s all neatly packaged with instructions. All the parts are clearly labelled (the left and right pedals and arms aren’t interchangeable and need to go on their respective sides) and the instructions are easy to follow.
Honestly, the hardest part was moving the box from where the delivery guy left it to my garage gym. That’s a lie. Attaching the console neck was a bit fiddly because you have to feed the wires through the tubing, connect to the console itself, and then tighten the bolts. Nevertheless, all-in-all, assembly took me approximately 30 minutes by myself. Pretty good, I think.
As I mentioned earlier, all the hardware and tools are top-notch quality. The Phillips head screwdriver is probably the best one I own now. And the thing is; they need to be good quality. The reason is that you have to tighten everything up nice and tight on this air bike. I mentioned earlier that the seat post adjuster knobs and fixings need to be tight to eliminate the play you get, especially when going all out.
The same goes for the arms. They wobble slightly if not heavily tightened, and this wobble was something I found infuriating. Do yourself a favor and tighten them up good and proper when you first put it together.
So, after about half an hour, I was ready to see how this baby really performs!
Performance: How Well Does the Rogue Echo Bike Actually Work?
You can probably tell how this section is going to go based on the rest of the review. I really like this bike, and that’s almost entirely because it simply works well and has almost no annoying aspects.
Riding it is effortful but smooth.
Adjusting the seat is quick and easy, so if you’re training with one or more other people you should all be able to adjust to your unique positions without having to break too long.
In the 6 months I’ve had it, it has required absolutely no maintenance. This is because the steel is strong, the black powder-coat is resilient, and the belt-drive system is awesome. While the Echo Bike is a fan bike after all and makes a fair bit of noise when in operation, the belt-drive ensures this is to a minimum. And unlike chains, belts don’t need to be tightened, lubricated, or cared for in really any way. Plus they last significantly longer than chains and are resistant to significant temperature variations (hence why motor vehicles use fan belts).
But, remember that I said there are almost no annoying aspects to this bike. There are a couple.
Things I don’t like about the Rogue Echo Bike
The first annoyance is one I already mentioned. The handle grips are too fat, in my opinion. I would say I have average sized hands, and the grips are probably a 1/4″ too thick. Something more like a standard Olympic barbell shaft (e.g., 28 – 29mm) or pull-up bar (i.e., 1.25″) would be more comfortable, in my opinion.
The second, and most major annoyance is the console’s limitations. These limitations are shared with most of the Echo bike’s main competitors, so I guess it shouldn’t lose too many points, but they’re real and make themselves known regularly (for me anyway). The Echo bike’s console is deliberately basic. And sure, it doesn’t need to be fancy. However, it would be great if:
- It could save your workouts, so that you could track your progress over time.
- You could connect to it via Bluetooth with something other than Polar monitors.
Most exercise machines have monitors with user profiles that allow you to track your exercise over time. This helps you understand if your performance on various metrics is improving, which then allows you to design your workouts more intelligently. The Echo bike’s console wipes each session’s data, meaning you have to use a third party app to track your progress. Not a dealbreaker, but certainly not ideal. To be fair, Rogue have probably recognised this by including as an optional extra a phone holder that mounts below the console. I really only use mine as a place to store my phone while working out.
Also, while there is obviously some means of connectivity embedded in the console, it’s very limited. Where this is most noticeable is the inability to connect to it with any heart rate monitor other than a newer Polar monitor. I personally use the Polar H10 monitor (one of the best HRMs you can get), but most polar chest strap monitors should work. While connecting a polar monitor is seamless (it does it automatically), being restricted to a single brand is not ideal.
That being said, most comparable air bikes have pretty much identical monitors with identical limitations.
Echo Bike vs Competitors
While the Echo bike is probably the best air bike you can get at the moment, it certainly isn’t the only one. And, it wasn’t the first really good quality fan bike to compete with the stalwart Schwinn Airdynes. So, it’s only fair to do a bit of a comparison with the major competitors to the Rogue Echo Bike. Most people will want to do a straight comparison with an Assault Airbike, considering it’s arguably the most well-known air resistance bike. However, I don’t think the Asssault bike is the next best option. In order of best to least best, I think it goes:
|Specs and Dimensions|
|Rogue Echo Bike||Xebex Air bike||Assault Airbike||Airdyne Pro / 7||Vulcan Thrasher|
|Footprint (L x W)||44.5″ x 23.75″||48″ x 26″||50.9″ x 23.3″||42″ x 20″||44″ x 22″|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||350||350||300||350||350|
|Number of blades||10||6||6||26||12|
|Rogue Echo Bike||Xebex Air bike||Assault Airbike||Airdyne Pro / 7||Vulcan Thrasher|
|Pedal / saddle compatibility||Both||Both||Both||Both||Both|
|Heart rate monitor||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Water bottle holder||Optional||Included||Optional||Included||Included|
Rogue Echo Bike Review in Summary
I can’t recommend this fan bike from Rogue Fitness highly enough. It’s arguably the best piece of equipment in my home gym. As with pretty much all Rogue equipment, it is superbly built, there are no manufacturing faults to it, and it looks beastly.
It’s obvious that this entry into the air bike market was very carefully considered, researched, and developed by Rogue. The Echo bike just feels extremely thoughtful. Everything goes together quickly and easily, and after 6 months it still works like new. If you want to do HIIT, warm up or recovery, or just burn some calories with some steady state cardio, then this is a great option. In fact, the calorie counting was extremely accurate as compared to counts from 2 different chest strap monitors in the Garmin HRM Tri, and Polar H10.
Yes, it’s expensive, but still competitively in price against the rest of the market (and less than the Airdyne Pro). In reality, Rogue equipment shows that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to fitness equipment.
Pros and Cons of the Rogue Echo Bike
- Exceptional build quality, from the frame to the pedals and saddle
- Belt-drive is quiet and reliable
- Low maintenance – should last as long as you do
- Heavy and stable, while easy to move around
- Compatible with a heap of accessories
The Not So Good
- Console doesn’t track progress over time
- Heart rate monitoring restricted to Polar HRMs
- Handle grips are too thick