Today I compare the longstanding CrossFit air bike, the Assault air bike vs Rogue Echo bike, the newcomer, to help you decide which is the best air bike is for you.
I cover and compare 7 key features including:
- build quality
- computer console
- rider height and weight
- noise level
- belt vs chain drive
I have experience with both bikes, and I also draw on the experience of others to give you the relevant details, facts and opinions I present here.
Ready to get down to business? Let’s go!
- Build Quality
- Rider Height, Weight and Ergonomics
- Belt Drive vs Chain Drive
- On-Board Electronics
- Article Summary
The first thing you need to understand about air bikes in general, is that they are not meant to replicate road bikes.
Air bikes are a different beast. They are different than road bikes, stationary upright bikes, and spinning bikes.
Air bikes use fan or wind resistance, which amps up real fast and means the resistance depends on how fast you pedal, unlike a real bike where resistance comes from hills, wind and in part, how fast you are going.
So, since both the Assault and Echo are air bikes, what is the difference in workout for Echo bike vs assault bike?
Glad you asked!
The Rogue bike is heavier, and just meatier in general. It is belt driven and harder to get started and get going, which means it uses more energy – YOUR energy, to make it go. It will kick your butt.
The Rogue Echo is harder to get started, and harder to keep going once you are moving, than the Assault bike. On the Rogue Echo, it is hard to get a lower intensity workout because it does take so much effort just to get the bike going, so be aware of that.
Josh Bridges makes some very astute points regarding the workout that the Rogue Echo provides.
Riding Out the Calories…What Does That Mean?
The Rogue bike will not allow the calorie count to continue if you are not pedaling because it stops moving pretty quickly after you stop pedaling.
The Assault bike will continue spinning for a bit, racking up calories burned on the console, that you technically did not burn.
Granted, it does not amount to too many extra calories, but it annoys perfectionists. And let me tell you, as a perfectionist and CrossFitter myself, CrossFitters can be quite the group of perfectionists.
On the other hand…
Some athletes prefer the way the Assault bike feels just a little more like a road bike than the Echo, and is just less abrupt when it stops.
To see an example of “riding out the calories”, check out this clip where the athletes get off the Assault bike and the handles are still moving.
The Bottom Line on the Workout
The Rogue Echo feels harder, it is harder to get and maintain a high RPM and stops faster when you stop.
The Assault bike is smoother, and maybe a tiny bit easier at first, but honestly, both deliver a kick-ass workout you will feel later.
Rogue Echo Air Bike Quality
You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who has problems with the quality of the Rogue Echo air bike.
The same cannot be said of the Assault air bike.
The Rogue Echo air bike is built like a tank. Everyone says that because it is true.
The Rogue Echo air bike also weighs about 50 lbs more than the Assault bike, but it has transport rollers so it is somewhat easy to move around.
You can feel secure cranking up the RPM and getting crazy of the Echo bike, it can stand the abuse of sprinting and Max Effort, and since it is so heavy, you don’t feel like it will tip or wobble. I really love that about the Echo.
FWIW, some people say the seat of the Echo bike is more comfortable, but that is a relative term. IMO, the seat of the Echo is uncomfortable and so it the seat of the Assault bike. But these things are not meant for cushy leisure rides, right?
Assault Air Bike Quality
The Assault air bike needs more maintenance than the Echo.
I am sad to say that many people, especially those that have Assault bike that get a lot of use, say that problems crop up with these bikes.
Sometimes its loose pedals, loose chain or handle wobble.
These bikes are chain driven, which I will talk about in a minute, but if you remember your bike from childhood, you know the chain needs maintenance – or else!
However, the assault bike has a few design features that make the bike more comfortable than the Echo, which I will discuss in the next section.
Bottom Line when Talking Build Quality
For home gym use, the Assault bike is fine. It needs a little chain maintenance and it should be OK.
The Rogue Echo is the better-built bike of the two. It is designed to handle rough riding without loosening up or breaking down and it has a solid reputation in this department.
While you are looking for an air bike for your garage gym, why not take a look at these other CrossFit garage gym essential pieces of equipment to complete your home gym?
Rider Height, Weight and Ergonomics
Rogue Echo Height, Weight and Ergonomics
The biggest complaint against the Echo is that it is not great for riders under 5’3”.
The arms are the biggest problem. The Echo handles are wider and higher set, plus they have too much sweep and can get in your way on their travel back, and the grips themselves are big.
The Q factor, meaning the distance the pedals create between your knees, is larger on the Echo than the Assault bike. This can be quite uncomfortable for smaller riders and even cause hip and joint strain.
Just as a side note, the Echo holds riders up to 350 lbs, the same max weight as the Assault bike.
Assault Bike Height, Weight and Ergonomics
The Assault bike is a better fit for lighter and shorter riders.
As I said, the Q factor is better on the Assault bike, so the legs and knees sit in a more natural position, for a more comfortable ride.
The handles are in a better position, the range of motion or travel of the arms on the Assault bike is not exaggerated like it is on the Echo bike.
For some great tips on how to use the assault bike, including how to adjust the seat, check out this quick video by Constantly Varied Fitness, and get the most out of your Assault bike.
Bottom Line Regarding Size, Weight and Ergonomics
The Assault bike is a better fit for shorter and lighter riders. It has better proportions and is easier to get going which can be hard to do on the Echo, especially if you only weight 100 lbs.
On the other hand, the Echo is easily the best choice for big guys and average size folks, especially those that want to use the bike for HIIT, Max Rate, speed intervals and other intense, ferocious workouts.
Price should not be the deciding factor between these two bikes because the difference is not enough to justify choosing one over the other.
Online you can find the Echo cheaper some days, while other days the Assault is a lower price, and if there is a price difference, it is usually just within a hundred dollars of each other.
Plus both options can often be found with free shipping if you look at the right place and time.
If you want to see more air bikes, I wrote reviews of the best air bikes here.
How Noisy is the Rogue Echo?
I’m just gonna’ say it: the Rogue Echo is quieter than the Assault bike.
The Echo makes about as much noise as a rower like the Concept 3 Rower you see in many CrossFit boxes. The Assault bike makes it hard to watch TV, even if the TV is turned up loud.
How Noisy is the Assault Air Bike?
It’s noisy. It might wake up housemates if you exercise really early, or disturb neighbors if you live in an apartment.
While the Echo is certainly not silent, it is the quieter of the two.
Bottom Line: How Noisy is Echo Bike vs Assault Bike?
You could watch TV, at a high volume, and use the Echo. With the assault bike, it will be hard to watch TV, even if it’s turned up.
That’s the difference.
Belt Drive vs Chain Drive
Rogue Echo Belt Drive
The Echo has a belt drive, which requires less maintenance. It is also quieter, smoother and less likely to break.
Opinions are mixed as to the belt drives “likability factor”.
I already mentioned the Echo is hard to get started and stay started.
Some compare the Echo to a “bike with the brakes stuck on so you cannot generate the “snowball” power output effect.” And I have to say, I agree.
It’s hard to get started and keep going, which does make the workout more intense and difficult, which is the point of an air bike.
Assault Chain Drive
The assault bike is chain driven and needs maintenance, just like all bikes. Oil it regularly and tighten when loose. It’s a bit more work.
The feedback from the chain is similar to a road bike. Once you get going, it’s a little easier to keep going. That’s not to say the assault bike is wimpy, it still gives a tough workout.
Some proponents of the Assault chain bike say the feel of the bike is more satisfying, like you are getting somewhere, but the belt on the Echo is an energy suck and it feels like you are hardly moving at all.
Bottom Line Chain Drive vs Belt Drive Air Bike
At the end of the day it’s a matter of preference. I concede that in terms of maintenance the belt is better than the chain. But, in terms of workout and feel, it’s what you prefer.
The Echo belt is tougher and you may feel frustrated by the inertia, but satisfied by the tougher workout.
The Assault allows you to feel like you are getting somewhere, so it has more instant gratification and is a little less intense.
Rogue Echo Console Computer
The Rogue console has one flaw many despise. It has a 3-2-1 countdown each time you start up. That means you need to countdown each time you reset it. You lose time on AMRAPS and Metcons for time.
Plus the calorie countdown setting only goes in increments of 10, and the info on how to use or install the heart rate monitor is not included. The screen is not backlit so it can be hard to read.
On the positive side, the numbers on the Rogue monitor are bigger than the numbers on the Assault monitor.
To see the monitor real quick, and get a few tips on how to use the Rogue Echo bike, check out this brief video. Hint, the best view of the monitor is at 37 seconds.
Assault Air Bike Console and Computer
The monitor on the assault bike is just OK. The numbers are small and it is not backlit so it can be challenging to read.
The console is compatible with a heart rate sensor, but that’s not included. The console covers the standard time, calories, distance, and heart rate, if you get the HR strap.
On the plus side, it does not have the 3-2-1 countdown that the Rogue Echo does and you can put in the exact amount of calories you want to burn, which is a small thing, but still something.
Bottom Line on the Air Bike Console and Computer
I am going to be real here, the on-board computers on both of these machines are not impressive.
I would not base a decision for Echo bike vs Assault bike based on the computers.
Both are really great bikes, but their best feature is their performance and the kick-butt workout they give, not the frills they offer.
By now you should be armed with the info you need to decide between the Echo bike vs Assault bike.
IMO the Echo bike is ideal for bigger, taller athletes who want a workout that will try and kill them on a bike that could withstand the fires of Mordor.
The Assault bike also puts up a fair fight, and can give you a strenuous workout, and its design works well for medium to petite riders or those who like a bike that feels a little more like a road bike.
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While I have you here, if you have ever been interested in an all in one home gym, I created this comprehensive list of the best all-in-one home gyms 2020.