The Assault fitness brand has become a household name in high-performance gym equipment, particularly among the CrossFit community. This powerful machine is so popular that many athletes use the term "Assault Bike" when referring to air bikes in general.
This particular air bike has been a staple in the CrossFit Games and continues to promise quality and durability with each iteration. However, big names like Rogue are challenging the Assault Airbike for a share of the competitive gym equipment market. This has a lot of athletes asking, "is the Assault Airbike worth the money?"
Here's everything you need to know about the Assault Airbike is a full, in-depth review.
An In-depth Review of the Assault Airbike
Classic vs. Elite
The Assault Airbike comes in two powerful models: the Classic and the Elite. While the two models are similar in build and quality, there are a few overarching differences to consider when deciding which one is right for your needs.
The core elements of the two Assault Airbike models are the same. The display readouts and programs are unchanged from one iteration to the next, and both offer similar accessories. The drive on both bikes is identical, and both bikes have a 25" steel fan. The key differences pertain to the sizing and durability.
The Classic is lighter and more portable, with a lower weight capacity. Unlike the Elite, it does not have adjustable handlebars. The Elite is a bit larger and bulkier with a heavier weight capacity. While both models offer durable steel construction, the Elite takes this to the next level. Additionally, the Assault Airbike Elite has a better warranty, Bluetooth connectivity, and a built-in windscreen.
Essentially, the Classic Assault Airbike is ideal as a piece of home gym equipment that you don't plan on using every day. Conversely, the Assault Airbike Elite is a must-have if you're using this machine as an integral part of your overall training.
Read Also: Top 6 Best Air Bikes for CrossFit
The Assault Bike Pro
The Assault Pro Airbike is a brand new model, released by LifeCORE at the end of 2020. It weighs in at 118lbs, with a height of 51", length of 50", and width of 24", and has a user weight capacity of 300lbs.
The theory behind the Assault Bike Pro is that it feels and operates like the Classic with the Elite's durability and stability. In essence, it's a new hybrid model that addresses some of the negative comments athletes have made in the past and targets a new price point.
LCD Display Screen
Both the Classic and Elite Assault Airbikes offer a clear, high-quality LCD display screen to help you navigate your workout. The Pro boasts a newer, clearer screen, without any notable differences in setup. Unlike some clunkier exercise bike models, the screen navigation is straightforward and intuitive.
The quick program buttons let you set your intention and get started without wasting time clicking through various menus. The display showcases everything you need to know, including your RPM, calorie burn, distance, time, watts, and intervals.
While the Assault Bike doesn't have a built-in heart rate monitor, the Bluetooth function on the Elite allows you to sync your monitor with the machine and will showcase it on the screen.
The Assault Airbike Classic stands at 48" tall, 23" wide, and 51" long. It weighs 96lbs, making it one of the lighter fan bike options on the market. As mentioned before, the Assault Airbike Elite is larger, at 55" tall, 26" wide, and 55" long. The Elite weighs a sturdy 139lbs to mitigate any shaking during an intense workout.
While the Elite is larger, the size variance isn't so much that it would sway your decision when considering which bike will fit better in your gym. Both bikes need a bit of space to maneuver and are built for portability.
Quality of Construction
The Classic, Pro, and Elite all offer high-quality materials and construction— it's these features that have made the Assault Airbike a go-to for pro athletes. Each model is constructed with a chro-moly steel frame with sealed cartridge bearings at each pivot point, keeping everything from the flywheel to the pedal in ship shape. The goal is to minimize shaking for a smooth workout and less degradation or loosening over time.
The Assault Air Bike Elite has the same base features with a sturdier, bulkier frame. The cranks are solid steel, and the seat post boasts a beefed-up aluminum slider that allows athletes of all sizes to put this fan bike through its paces.
Many athletes have reported that they find the design of the Assault bike— the ergonomic adjustable seat and handle positioning, in particular— to be far more comfortable than other fan bike options. The seat height and positioning are both adjustable for simple customization, making the Assault Airbike ideal for athletes of all heights.
The handles also have texturized rubber grips on the handles to reduce slippage and provide cushioning during an intense full body workout. All in all, the Assault bike offers as much comfort as possible during an entirely uncomfortable training session.
Portability and Weight
As mentioned before, the Assault Airbike Classic is on the lighter side, while the Elite is beefier and heavier, with the Pro falling somewhere in between. However, all three models have transport wheels on the footings so that you can tilt and roll the bike anywhere you like. This feature makes the Airbike ideal for small garage gyms and storage.
The Assault Airbike has a traditional chain drive mechanism that many athletes prefer over the newer belt drive alternative. The chain drive is comparable to an older spin bike or stationary exercise bike that's built to emulate how a bicycle works.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to using a fan bike with a chain drive. Using a bike with a chain drive often requires more maintenance over time, such as oiling and adjusting the chains. Additionally, the chain tends to rattle more, adding movement and noise to the workout. However, it's important to note that LifeCORE promises the utmost quality with the Assault line, and the maintenance needs will vary depending on how often you use the bike.
Some athletes prefer the chain drive setup over the belt drive alternative. One of the key considerations is that the momentum from the chain drive will keep the bike moving once you've decreased your efforts. If you're doing a calorie burn WOD, you can save some energy and still hit your goal.
Another benefit of the chain drive is that cyclists who use a fan bike in the off-season enjoy the similarities of this machinery.
Finally, many athletes prefer to use the same bike that's featured in the CrossFit Games.
Accessories and Attachments
When it comes to accessories and attachments, the Assault Airbike doesn't have much going for it. The Elite model has a built-in windshield, whereas the Classic and Pro do not. Otherwise, there's no bottle holder and no tablet or phone holder, although you can purchase a bottle holder kit.
Keep in mind that training on a fan bike isn't like sitting passively and pedaling gently on a stationary bike. While you can split your training into separate lower body and upper body workouts, you'll be preoccupied with trying to hit the end of your interval training while still breathing. In other words, your time on the Assault Bike isn't ideal for scrolling through Instagram.
Read Also: Rogue Echo Air Bike Review
What to Consider Before Buying the Assault Airbike
There are a few overarching considerations when determining whether or not to purchase the Assault Airbike. The first consideration is how you feel about the chain drive. If having a consistent feel with cycling or the same experience as the Games athletes is important to you, the Airbike is a good option.
Conversely, if you have no interest in doing maintenance over the lifespan of your fan bike, the Assault bike isn't for you.
Alternatives to the Assault Airbike
If you're not sold on the Assault Airbike, there are other high-quality air resistance exercise bike options to consider. The top two contenders in competition with the Assault name are Schwinn and Rogue.
The Schwinn brand name has been making exercise bikes seemingly since the beginning of time. They're an innovative company that makes high-quality products and knows their stuff.
The Schwinn Airdyne fan bike is a belt-driven bike. The largest model is the AD7, measuring 55" long, 26" wide, and 53" tall. It weighs 118lbs, has a maximum user weight of 350lbs, and offers a ten-year warranty on parts. The other Schwinn Airdyne models include the AD6 and AD2, both of which are smaller.
One of the best features of the Schwinn Airdyne is the versatility and options for customization. There are a variety of accessories and additional parts that you can swap out to improve your comfort level and training experience.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of complaints about how the Airdyne feels during use. There's a lot of motion transfer and creaking, which adds a sense of instability. While no one has complained that the bike fell apart during intense HIIT workouts, the shakiness has caused a degree of discomfort and concern, which can be distracting.
When it comes to price, the Schwinn Airdyne AD7— the top model— is comparable with the midline Assault Airbike.
If ever there was an air resistance bike to swoop in and steal the Assault bike's thunder, it's the Rogue Echo Bike. This beauty is a little more compact and streamlined than the Assault Airbike, though the measurements are similar. Weighing 127lbs with a 350lb weight limit, the Rogue Echo Bike is 59" long, 30" wide, and 53" tall.
Like the Schwinn Airdyne, the Echo Bike has a belt drive for a smooth, quiet ride and minimal maintenance over time. The Echo Bike also has a built-in water bottle holder, and you can purchase an additional windshield and phone holder.
The high-contrast LCD screen is well-organized and easy to navigate via the side panel buttons.
One pitfall of the Rogue Echo Bike that will hopefully be addressed in newer models is the degradation of the foot pedals. Many users have reported this issue. Additionally, you'll pay more for the Rogue name.
How Does the Assault Airbike Measure Up?
The Assault Airbike is bar-none the best chain drive air resistance bike you can purchase. However, many athletes are moving toward belt-driven bikes to get a better lifespan and lower maintenance for their purchase.
The Assault bike is a versatile training tool that can help build cardio and endurance, and aid with cross-training efforts. If you're looking for a solid piece of fitness equipment for your home gym, you can't go wrong with this fan bike.