The Bike That Every CrossFit Athlete Loves To Hate: AssaultBike Review
The bike that’s been the ubiquitous cardio machine of CrossFit since it first made an appearance at the CrossFit Games in 2015, the AssaultBike is an air bike that works every single inch of your body.
Unlike some other stationary bikes that let you lollygag during a lower-intensity ride, all three models of the AssaultBike force you to put in sweat and tears into each and every pedal rotation.
Ahead, is a complete AssaultBike review with information about what sets the three models apart from one another (besides price).
TL;DR: AssaultBike Review
What we love: Simple, sturdy, and easy to use, the AssaultBike is a great option for anyone looking to incorporate a no-frills air bike into their workout routine. Because this is a common air bike used in local and global CrossFit comps, it’s a great investment for anyone serious about getting better at the sport of functional fitness.
What we don’t: This bike ain’t quiet, and it’s not that comfortable on your caboose. So, if you have a bony butt or need to monitor your noise levels it may not be the best pick for your home gym. Also, keep in mind that this is no longer the official air bike of CrossFit—that’d be the Rogue Echo Bike, and that’s what you should be training on if you intend to compete at high levels in this sport.
The Chalk Up: There’s a reason the AssaultBike is such a ubiquitous part of the CrossFit world: It’s effective. If you’re looking for a piece of equipment that’ll improve your power output, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular capacity, you really can’t go wrong with the AssaultBike.
CrossFit Cardio Is Our Jam
We won’t admit to loving cardio, but we will admit to a love-hate relationship with it. Our team of product testers, writers, and editors has been using air bikes for more than a decade, collectively, and we have extensive experience with all of the AssaultBike models, plus many other air bikes.
AssaultBike: Pros and Cons
- Offers a full-body workout, both cardio and strength
- Will improve power output and cardiovascular fitness
- Low-impact exercise
- Intuitive, high-contrast LCD screen
- Heavy-duty steel frame and steel fan
- Some models are Bluetooth- and ANT+ enabled
- Assault Fitness app and and Fiit app have many workout options
- Doesn’t need a power outlet
- Low-maintenance piece of fitness equipment
- Easy to move around your gym (features transport wheels and is relatively lightweight)
- The Classic costs a reasonable $750
- Loud (not suitable for most office or living room home gyms)
- Monitor is lower-tech compared to many other stationary bikes
- Not the best option for people navigating upper-body injuries
- The seat on the Classic and Pro aren’t very comfortable
- No Bluetooth connectivity on the Classic model
- Weight capacity on Classic and Pro is 300 lbs versus 350 lbs on AssaultBike Elite and Rogue Echo Bike
|Assembled Dimensions||50.95” L x 23.34” W x 50” H||49.8” L x 24.1” W x 51.1” H||55.08” L x 26.26” W x 55” H|
|Product Weight||95.64 lbs||118.4 lbs||138.89 lbs|
|Max User Weight||300 lbs||300 lbs||350 lbs|
|Seat Height Adjustments||11||11||12|
|Seat Length Adjustments||5||6||Unlimited|
|Warranty||5 years frame, 2 year parts||7 years frame, 3 year parts||10 years frame, 3 years parts, 1 year labor|
The OG CrossFit Bike? The Lowdown on the AssaultBike
The AssaultBike is as quintessentially CrossFit as, well, Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir!
The machine first made its evil intentions known to the CrossFit community at the 2015 CrossFit Games with the workout “Pedal to the Metal,” a nasty combination of pegboards, rowing, assault bike, and squat snatches.
While the pricey fan bike—$749 to $1,299, depending on the model—has yet to make an official appearance in the CrossFit Open, since its 2015 Games Debut, it has made a regular appearance in class WODs and local competitions all over the world.
Why? In short, because it effectively targets every muscle in your body, and also improves your power output and cardiovascular capacity. Impressive.
Box owners don’t just invest in the AssaultBike because it gives their athletes a good workout, however. They invest in it because it’s simply a great machine. Made primarily from steel, an Assault air bike that’s endured years of use has little wear-and-tear compared to one that’s freshly assembled.
All three models of the AssaultBike also have an intuitive monitor with a variety of workout options, adjustable seat, and comfortable handles.
The Three Best Friends: AssaultBike Classic, Pro, and Elite
There are three different AssaultBike models: Classic, Pro, and Elite. All in all, the three models are more similar to each other than they are different.
They are all about the same size and feature steel frames that will last longer than you probably want them to (RIP to your lungs). They all also have easy-to-use displays and track the same metrics: calories, heart rate, RPM, watts, distance, time, and intervals.
As such, most gym owners invest in the Classic, which costs just $749—a smooth $150 cheaper than the Pro and $550 cheaper than the Elite.
However, people might choose to buy the Pro or Elite if they want their bike to be Bluetooth-enabled so it can connect to the Assault Fitness app, Fiit app, or a heart rate monitor.
If money ain’t no thang, you might choose to buy the Elite if you weigh more than 300 pounds. The Elite supports an additional 50 pounds compared to the other two models.
The Elite is also a good option for people who find the seat of the Classic or Pro tough on their tailbone. The seat on the Elite is wider, features more padding, and is overall more ergonomically designed for your rear.
No matter which model you choose, you can rest assured that you’re buying one of the best air bikes on the market.
Footprint And Portability
All three models are about the same size, and thus require about the same amount of space. For the sake of ease, we’ve provided the dimensions of all three models below:
- Classic: 50.95” L × 23.3” W × 50” H
- Pro: 49.8” L × 24.1” W × 51.1” H
- Elite: 55.1” L × 26.3” W × 55” H
What does this mean in terms of space? Well, to comfortably use them, you’re going to at least need a 5-foot-by-5-foot swath of space. If your local affiliate taped out boxes in the middle of the pandemic to accommodate the social distancing recommendations, you have a good understanding of how big that is.
This is certainly not a must, but many people place their AssaultBike on the signature AssaultBike Mat, which is about 69 inches long and 48 inches wide.
Good news: If you have a small home gym, you can easily store this bike to the side when you’re not using it. Equipped with built-in wheels, you can easily roll this heavy-ish (100 to 160 pound) bike wherever you need it.
Pro tip: If your gym has garage doors, cart this machine outside on a sunny day and get your Zone 2 work in while soaking in that Vitamin D.
Construction And Durability
There’s a reason so many CrossFit boxes have so many of these exercise bikes: They’re an incredible investment. Made from heavy-duty steel, these bikes are built to last through thousands of CrossFit WODs and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions.
In order to get years (yes, plural!) of workouts out of them, there are a handful of things you need to do, though.
First, make sure you wipe this baby dry after you sweat all over it. The sweat can, in theory, rust the chain in the front wheel and mess with the leather seat. However, the industrial powder coating on the frame, fan cage, arms, seat post, and other parts will help prevent corrosion—know, however, that these bikes do rust, especially if they aren’t stored in climate-controlled environments.
Second, you need to lubricate the chain every now and then. According to AssaultBike, once a quarter should be adequate.
Finally, you will need to replace the console batteries after a while. Easy.
Bluntly, the monitors of the AssaultBike are nothing to write home about.
These days, with brands like Peloton and NordicTrack getting so much buzz, a lot of exercisers have come to expect large, luxurious, touchscreen monitors that give you the option to stream live and on-demand workouts. The AssaultBike monitor is a small LCD screen with actual push buttons.
However, this simple monitor does exactly what you want to get in a good workout.
You can either simply start riding and gliding and track your calories burned, distance, time, watts, or repetitions per minute (RPM). Or, you can elect to do one of the pre-set workouts.
With the Pro or Elite model, though, you can stream workouts to a third-party smart device such as a tablet or Apple TV thanks to AssaultFitness’s new integration with Fiit, a smart workout streaming platform. You can also connect either of these models to the Assault Fitness app via Bluetooth, where you can access cool features like competition mode and plenty of intense workouts.
If you don’t want the Pro or Elite but you do want workouts, you can sign up for the AssaultFitness newsletter, which sends a series of AssaultBike workouts emailed directly to you every week.
On the whole, AssaultBike customers are thrilled with their purchase. On the AssaultFitness website (at the time of writing), the Classic has earned an average-5 star rating out of 595 total reviews, the Pro has 4.5 stars out of 119 reviews, and the Elite averages 4.7 stars out of 43 reviews. The bikes earned similarly high marks on the Rogue Fitness website and Amazon, too.
Customers who did complain tended to complain about the same handful of things.
Many mentioned that the bike was harder to put together than they were hoping. If you’re not particularly good with tools, you might save yourself the headache and hire a Taskrabbit handyman or suggest a trade offer to your CrossFit bestie: One AssaultBike assembly for one sixer of FITAID.
A few other dissatisfied customers made noise about how, well, noisy the bike is. Respectfully, expecting an air bike to be quiet is like expecting CrossFit fiends to keep their shirts on during workouts…just saying!
Warranty, Financing, and Returns
We’ll start by addressing financing and returns because warranty varies depending on which model of the bike you get.
The good news: There are financing options for this bike. Assault Fitness has partnered with Affirm to offer a convenient three-, six-, and 12-month financing options. Learn more about, and prequalify for, the options here.
Now onto returns. If you purchased on the official Assault Fitness website, you have only 30 days after the order of purchase to return. That’s a pretty tight turnaround, but it’s not at all unusual for this type of product. What concerns us more is that all products must be in original packaging and in new condition. If returned product is not in original packaging, a 20% restocking charge will be deducted from the remaining balance to be credited.
All refunds will also be less shipping, freight, and handling costs incurred in both directions, which is pretty standard, but something to be aware of before handing over your CC info.
If this feels a little tight for you, you might consider purchasing the bike from Rogue Fitness instead, which has a 30-day return policy starting on the day of delivery, not purchase.
Finally, let’s chat about the warranty. Here, the warranties associated with the three different models:
- Classic: 5-year frame, 2-year nonwear parts
- Pro: 7-year frame warranty, 3-year nonwear parts warranty
- Elite: 10 years on frame, 3 years on nonwear parts, 1 year on labor
All around, these warranties are pretty spectacular, and better than most—including that on the Rogue Echo Bike.
Rogue Echo Bike vs. AssaultBike
If you’re a member of an affiliate that hops on the latest trends, you’ve probably gotten the chance to ride the Rogue Echo Bike by now. The Rogue Echo Bike has recently become a staple at many CrossFit gyms. And, if you live-streamed any of this year’s Semifinals, you know the bike makes a frequent appearance on the competition floor.
So, how does the Rogue Echo Bike compare to the AssaultBike? Despite the fact that both are air bikes, they look and feel pretty different.
Structurally, the Rogue Echo Bike is oh-so-thiccc compared to the AssaultBike. The Assault Bike Elite is the biggest of the 3 AssaultBike models, and the Rogue Echo Bike is even beefier than that.
The seat on the Rogue Echo Bike is much wider and softer than the seat on the AssaultBike Classic and Pro, and a smidge wider and softer than the AssaultBike Elite.
The Rogue Echo Bike offers a smoother ride compared to all three versions of the AssaultBike. But it’s generally considered harder than the AssaultBike because you won’t get any carry-over calories on the Rogue Echo Bike. That’s because the Rogue Echo Bike uses a belt-driven drive system that simply doesn’t spin as easily as the chain-driven drive system of the AssaultBike.
There’s one key difference between these two machines that people looking for a bike for their indoor home gym need to know: The Rogue Echo Bike is much quieter. You could ride the Echo Bike in the room next to your housemate while they’re on an important work call, which could not be said about any of the AssaultBike models.
AssaultBike vs. Concept2 BikeErg
Forgive the trite trope, but comparing the AssaultBike and Concept2 BikeErg is like comparing apples and oranges. Sure, they’re both air bikes, but they’re certainly not the same, especially as far as CrossFit is concerned.
The biggest difference: you use your arms to push and pull on the AssaultBike, on the Concept2 BikeErg your hands hold onto fixed handles the way they would on a road bike.
That makes the Concept2 BikeErg a better option for cyclists and triathletes, as well as CrossFitters trying to work around an upper-body injury. The fixed handles also make the Concept2 BikeErg optimal for lower-intensity work.
Two other things that sets the two bikes apart are the seat and handles.
The Concept2 BikeErg doesn’t have a very comfortable seat. People used to riding pro-level bicycles won’t bat an eye. But most everyone else will find it pointy and uncomfortable. The seats on all three models of the AssaultBike are more comfortable.
One big win for the Concept2 BikeErg is the fact that its handlebar is adjustable. That means you’re more likely to get the bike to fit your body shape and size. And fit = comfort.
AssaultBike vs. Schwinn Airdyne AD7
The Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is another air bike on the market with an air flywheel. At first glance, you’ll see that it has a chunkier frame than any of the AssaultBike models. (Though, again, the AssaultBike Elite is the biggest of the three AssaultBike models, so it’s most comparable in size).
Size aside, the biggest difference between the AssaultBike and the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is the drive system. The AssaultBike is chain-driven, while the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is belt-driven. That means two main things for riders. First, the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is quieter than the AssaultBike. Second, you’ll enjoy fewer ghost calories on the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 than you would on the AssaultBike.
Actually, the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is super similar to the Rogue Echo Bike in look, feel, and function. However, at about $1,000 the Schwinn costs about $150 more than the Echo Bike. So truthfully, if you think the Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is a better fit for you than the AssaultBike, you’d be wise to look into the Rogue Echo Bike.
CrossFitters in particular should look into the Rogue Echo Bike given that it’s likely to be the bike used/required for CrossFit-sanctioned events, and it’s definitely the bike you should be training on if you want to compete at high levels in this sport.
AssaultBike Review: The Chalk Up
Ultimately, the AssaultBike is a great investment for your home gym or box. It’s sturdy AF, easy(ish) to assemble, doesn’t require a power outlet, and can make literally any metcon harder. The only downsides of this product is that it’s loud and lacks the higher-tech monitor most other stationary bikes have these days.
Is the AssaultBike a good workout?
Darn right it’s a good workout. The AssaultBike uses air resistance to work your entire body—in particular, the muscles between your midline and Reebok Nanos (AKA your lower body). Thanks to the moving bike arms, it also challenges your actual arms. But this bike doesn’t just work your external muscles, it also works the internal muscles that keep you alive. Yep, your heart and lungs.
Because the bike works all the muscles in your body, your heart has to pump blood to all the muscles in your body at once! That’s a lot of work for your little beating organ. Repeatedly asking your heart to do that degree of work can improve your cardiovascular capacity.
Need proof it’s a good workout? Head to your closest affiliate, sprint your heart out for 20 seconds, then see how you feel. Trust, the way your legs will be trembling and your ticker will be ticking after just 20 seconds of work will leave no doubt in your mind.
What muscles does an air bike work?
So many! The muscles primarily used to pedal the pedals are your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hips, and core. While the muscles primarily used to push the handles include your shoulders, chest, back, triceps, and biceps. In other words, it works all muscles.
Is the AssaultBike Elite worth it?
If you head to the AssaultFitness website and search for bikes, you’ll see that the company makes 3 different models:
- AssaultBike Classic
- AssaultBike Pro
- AssaultBike Elite
Truthfully, the three options are pretty similar and all three will give you a solid workout.
The Elite is designed to be more durable compared to the Classic and Pro. The seat is also larger and there are more seat adjustment options, making it a better option for bony butts and short or tall riders.
However, the most obvious difference between the Elite and other two models is its price— it’s several hundred dollars more expensive than the other models. So in our humble opinion, no, it won’t be worth the price tag for all athletes.
Are AssaultBikes too loud for home gyms?
The answer to that question will depend on whether or not your home gym doubles as your living room, or if you have a separate gym space in your garage. As it goes, this machine is not quiet—on the contrary, it’s quite loud. So, if you need a machine that won’t disturb your roommates if you ride it in the middle of the workday, this isn’t your best option.