CrossFit Announces New “Official Airbike”: Assault Bike Out, Rogue Echo Bike In

May 27, 2021 by
Credit: @earlywinefitness:
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 Last week, CrossFit LLC announced the Rogue Echo Bike is now “The Official Air Bike of CrossFit.”

Why this matters: This marks a changing of the guard, as the Assault Bike has had a stronghold on CrossFit competitions since it was introduced at the CrossFit Games in 2015.

  • The Assault Bike has been a feature at the Games every single year since 2015, and it was also used at Regionals from 2016 to 2018. 
  • When asked to comment on the matter, Assault Fitness president Roger Bates said: “It’s all about the mighty dollar. Pay to play is the new CrossFit way apparently…We never lose sight (of) the community…We love the community and will continue to support them in any capacity we can.”

CrossFit responds: “When the world’s best CrossFit athletes collapse in exhaustion next to their gear, the name they see is Rogue. Extending that partnership to the Rogue Echo Bike as the Official Air Bike of CrossFit was a seamless and natural next step, and I’m looking forward to creating some pain and suffering with it in future events,” commented CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport, Dave Castro. 

One big thing: To make matters worse for Assault Fitness, it has allegedly been given a cease and desist order on their treadmills — the AssaultRunner Pro and the AssaultRunner Elite — from Woodway USA, the company that holds patents on self-propelled curved treadmills.

  • When asked about this, Bates declined to comment on the topic, but offered this: “We are moving at light speed on technology that will change the way the community works out together through virtual workouts. That’s all I can say now. (The) Assault team will continue to invent new strategies on helping athletes become better athletes. Assault is a trendsetter and our main focus continues to be best in class,” he said. 
  • In a call with the Morning Chalk Up, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Woodway, Eric Weber, stated “ Woodway USA takes its intellectual property seriously and is actively pursuing that. We cannot comment on specific actions that are currently being taken.”
  • A CrossFit Santional organizer in 2019 and 2020, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that they received a cease and desist letter from Woodway USA several months ago, indicating that Assault Fitness had violated at least one patent and they should no longer use or promote the Assault AirRunner or any variation at their competitions. 

Worth noting: Woodway also took on TrueForm — another company who makes self-propelled curved treadmills that have been featured at Regional competitions — with cease and desist orders in 2015. Despite the years-long legal dispute, Jeff Vernon, a partner with TrueForm, is supportive of Woodway’s alleged actions against Assault Fitness.

  • TrueForm “settled amicably” with Woodway in 2019, Vernon explained. Though there’s a confidentiality agreement in place restricting Vernon from providing additional details, he noted that the agreement was “mutually beneficial,” and TrueForm now has an exclusive license of Woodway’s intellectual property.
  • “It was so expensive to be embroiled in that lawsuit for so long….where every free dollar we had was going against fighting the lawsuit. We were fighting Woodway on the back end, and then (Assault) AirRunner was literally ripping off everything we did…It was a really difficult time,” Vernon said.
  • Today, TrueForm is both the official partner of USA Triathlon and Spartan Race, and they will be featured at the upcoming MACC Semifinals, as well as the Bacon Beatdown, a competition with more than 1,400 participants in Daytona Beach, FL.

The bottom line: After six years of being highly relevant at high-level CrossFit competitions, and at affiliates around the world, the official announcement from the CrossFit Games is not good news for the Assault Bike.

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