You don’t have to be an elite Crossfit athlete, or a Crossfitter at all to reap the unique benefits of an airbike. While the Assault Bike has held the top spot in the airbike category for several years, the Rogue Echo Bike is predicted to become the new front runner in both the gym and home fitness settings.
I am familiar with Crossfit, though I don’t practice it currently, I have in the past. I have also used several types of airbikes in other more traditional gym settings. I recently purchased the Rogue Echo Bike for home use, and in this post, I will break down why I decided to go with the Echo Bike over various other cardio machines, and my experience with the Echo Bike so far.
Table of Contents
Looking for a Cardio Machine?
With gyms closed and while spending considerably more time at home, I was looking for a cardio machine to help me stay active. I had been doing HIIT style workouts, yoga, body weight training, dumbbells, kettlebells and bands, but I didn’t have the additional cardio component I was looking for.
Jogging unfortunately bothers my knees and back, and high summer temperatures where I live limit strenuous outdoor activities to either early morning or late evening.
When I had access to a gym, I primarily used cardio equipment for warming up, or as part of a burn out circuit I like to do at the end of each workout. For that reason, I was looking for something that supported both slow steady state cardio, as well as high-intensity intervals.
A close friend had suggested that I get a Pelaton Bike, but I wasn’t really looking to spend $2k and didn’t need the online training support. Staying with that train of thought however, I began looking at spin bikes.
After reading review after review about low to mid-priced spin bikes developing noises and other problems after short-term use or falling apart altogether, I realized I was going to need to spend a decent amount of money to avoid these short comings.
After some research I was seriously considering purchasing a Concept 2 BikeERG Stationary Bike, but before I took the leap, I went to a local sporting goods store to try out a spin bike they had on display.
To be honest I hadn’t spent much time on a spin bike before, and had actually stopped riding my mountain bike due to the discomfort that the forward leaning position caused on my lower back and wrists. Not to mention the less than optimal seat.
After a short trial it was clear to me that a spin bike was not the best option for me, so I made a complete shift and began looking at rowers.
My search led me to the Concept 2 Rower, but there were none in stock and the earliest available unit wasn’t expected to arrive for several months. I attempted to locate a used one, but as a result of the increased demand, used models were being listed for nearly double the price of new ones.
Oddly enough, I hadn’t initially considered an airbike, even though I used them quite often when they have been available at a gym. My main concern was how loud they are, and I often prefer to do my workouts before my wife gets out of bed in the morning.
I also assumed that a quality airbike would be expensive, and would require more maintenance due to how hard they are ridden.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a quality airbike is actually less expensive than the spin bike or rower I was initially interested in, and a gym owner friend of mine eased my mind regarding the durability of some top brand airbikes he has had experience with.
A major benefit of the airbike vs. a regular exercise bike is that you can work your full body, not just your legs, but you do have the option to just pedal if you want to.
It also doesn’t require any real technique, just push/pull/pedal, the same can’t be said with respect to rowers or skiers.
I initially looked into 4 types of airbikes including the Schwinn Airdyne Pro, the Xebex Airbike, the Assault Airbike, and the Rogue Echo Bike. There are a few different models within each brand, except for Rogue, but I was comparing the ones I had personally used and/or my friend had recommended.
He hadn’t used the Rogue Echo Bike before, but he had mentioned that he was considering buying one at some point if he needed to replace one of his airbikes or expand his fleet.
After a bit of research, I settled on the Rogue Echo Bike, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
The Rogue Echo Bike vs. The Assault Airbike
Based on my research, experience, and personal preference, I quickly narrowed down my list to just the Rouge Echo Bike and the Assault Airbike. The Echo Bike is larger, heavier and a bit more expensive than the Assault Airbike, but it is quickly gaining a reputation for being a sturdier airbike, and a better fit for both gym and home use.
A fairer comparison function-wise may have been the Echo Bike vs. the Assault Airbike Elite, but the Elite model costs at least $550 more than the Echo Bike, and I still think the Echo Bike is better.
My initial impression once I received the bike was that it was very heavy duty and built to last. The assembly was extremely simple and took less than 30 minutes,. I knew I had made the right choice after the first ride.
Rogue Echo Bike Specs
- Weight: 127lbs
- Weight Limit: 350lbs
- Length: 58.875″ (overall with seat in position furthest from fan cage)
- Width: 29.874″ (at handles – widest point)
- Height: 52.75″ (to top of handles)
- Diameter: 1.5″ diameter rubber gripped handles
- Footprint: 44.5″ x 23.75″
The Echo Bike is belt driven, which sets it apart from most other airbikes that use a chain. According to my gym owner friend, the chain on his Assault Airbikes do require some maintenance but are easy to replace if necessary.
I have not come across anyone yet that has had any issues with the Echo Bike belt, or has attempted to replace it.
The belt-driven system makes the Echo Bike much smoother and quieter than the Assault Airbike. Listening to music or podcasts, or watching a movie on my phone is easy and comfortable.
This was a big selling point for me. The fan blades on the Echo Bike are made of metal and create more wind resistance than the fans on other airbikes which are generally much narrower and made of plastic.
A phone holder and a wind guard are available for the Echo Bike, but sold separately. I strongly recommend both. A wind guard is also available for the Assault Airbike as well, but there is no option for a phone holder.
The Echo Bike is much hardier than the Assault Airbike and feels extremely solid. The seating position and rowing height is a little different between the two bikes, and I find it a little harder to get up over the handles on the Echo Bike, but its not a major difference.
The seat on the Echo Bike is a tad larger and I find it a little more comfortable than the seat on the Assault Bike. Both bikes have pegs for resting, however the pegs on the Echo Bike spin which makes them less useful in my opinion. I don’t use the pegs anyway, but this may be an important element for other people.
Both bikes have wheels on the front, but the Echo Bike is more difficult to move around simply because it is heavier and bulkier. Rogue does offer a turf tire and handle kit, at an additional cost, if you plan on moving the bike around often, or taking it outside.
The LCD screen on the Echo Bike is larger, and cleaner looking than the screen on the Assault Airbike, and the buttons are laid out better in my opinion.
The buttons on the Echo Bike are also of much higher quality. The buttons on an Assault Airbike remind me of an old Atari controller (dating myself a bit), and I recall the lettering being rubbed off on several units I had used previously in various gyms.
The functions on both consoles are pretty similar. Everything is fairly straight forward. The Echo Bike console tracks speed, watts, cadence, distance, time, and calories, and you can set targets for each.
There are buttons that are preprogrammed with interval options, and you can also customize your interval workout. There are two external heart rate monitors (sold separately) that are also compatible with the Echo Bike console.
The Rogue Echo Bike Console
The Assault Airbike Console
Pros & Cons
I have only found a few complaints about the Echo Bike, but none of them really pertain to standard use. For instance, a few people do not like that in interval mode there is a 3-second countdown before starting. Not an issue for personal use, but may be problematic for competition.
I have outlined a few pros and cons from my personal use and from other reviewers.
- Extremely well built and sturdy
- Quiet smooth ride (compared to other airbikes)
- Clear high contrast LCD display with good layout and higher quality buttons.
- Able to do full body workout or just pedal like an upright exercise bike.
- Large comfortable seat
- Lots of extra options available (larger wheels and handle, heart rate monitor, wind guard, phone holder, water bottle holder, pedals with clips), but you only pay for options you want.
- Rest pegs spin
- 3-second countdown timer in interval mode
- Wind guard and phone holder sold separately
- Slightly more difficult to get over the handles
- Slower calorie count than the Assault Airbike
Will the Rogue Echo Bike Replace the Assault Airbike at the Crossfit Games?
There has been some speculation on this topic, and several Crossfit affiliates and athletes do believe this change will eventually take place, especially since Rogue is a major sponsor and equipment supplier for most major Crossfit competitions.
One of the concerns surrounding this issue is the fact that the Echo Bike counts calories a little slower than the Assault Airbike. Target distances, or calorie amounts are staples in the Crossfit airbike events, so competitors will want to train on the same bike used in competition.
This would put some pressure on Crossfit gym owners to also make the switch or offer both types of bikes.
Which Cardio Machine is the Best?
The answer to this is simply whichever one inspires you to train the most. The Rogue Echo Bike fit exactly what I was looking for.
Full body interval or steady state cardio options, standard upright exercise bike when preferred, smooth quiet operation (compared to other air bikes), solid construction and brand, and a reasonable price.
I use my Echo Bike almost daily. I do a little pedaling to warm up the body in the morning, and I check email on my phone, listen to a podcast, or watch videos. I switch to intervals for 4-5 minutes to get my heart rate up and then move onto my resistance workout.
I like to do a conditioning circuit at the end of my workout as well that often includes a 20 calorie Echo Bike sprint, 5 burpees, and 5 kettlebell clean and press (each side), done as many times as possible in 7-minutes.
So far the bike has exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to riding it every day. The packaging was a little damaged when it arrived, but the contents of the box were well protected. The bike fits through doors so you can move it around if needed. I originally had mine in the living room but have since moved it into the spare bedroom without any trouble.
All in all this is a very good unit and I am extremely happy with my purchase.
Have you tried the Rogue Echo Bike? Which cardio machine do you prefer and why? Do you think the Rogue Echo Bike will replace the Assault Airbike at the Crossfit Games? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below.
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