The Assault Air Bike is an impressive looking fan bike that certainly looks like it can do the business for those wanting an all body low impact cardio and conditioning from moderate to high intense interval training.
It is the air resistance that allows it to be used by a wide range of abilities – the workout can be as intense as you want depending on how fast you want to pedal with resistance increasing the faster you pedal. You get the level of workout you want.
According to the company it is used by CrossFit and the military for their training. It looks like it can stand up to the punishment as they promise. They certainly appear to have got this part of the job right. As well as looking at its toughness in our review we look at all the areas that go into making a fan bike right for home use as well as in the gym.
The company say they have built Assault Air Bike to take the rigorous punishment by elite athletes in a gym setting as well as the military for many years of use. This is going to be much more than enough for the home gym setting.
To achieve this the handlebars are made from 12 gauge steel, the frame from high tensile steel coated to prevent rust, metal blades on the fan wheel and twenty Sealed Ball Bearings (to prevent contaminants getting in and more hard-wearing than bushes). These all make it a very tough bike that from reports stands up to tough intense workouts.
There is no shaking or flexing as you workout. It can be used sitting or standing and it holds you steady leaving you to just to get the workout that you want.
There can be a little play in the seat pole and seat can roll a little too, however, this can be normally be solved by tightening the knobs and nuts.
To stop any rocking on an uneven floor you can adjust the 4 levelers under the stabilizers bars to balance up the bike. With all that the frame warranty is a shorter than I was expecting but it is reasonable at 5 years. This seems like the engineering they’ve put in to the Assault Air Bike is well worth it for a smooth, durable and stable ride at any level of intensity.
Making adjustments for various heights between 4 ft 10 ins and 6 ft 10 ins tall is easy to do.
You simply undo the adjustment knob on the seat pole and slide to where you want it and insert the pull-pin and tighten into place.
As well moving the seat up and down you can also adjust the seat horizontally to get a better fit. This adjustment is done in the same manner.
The horizontal adjustment makes it possible for people to get the right distance from the handlebars to prevent being cramped up or having to lean and possibly over stretch when the handlebars are farthest from the seat.
Getting the Assault Air Bike to fit for each person’s body size and type is quick to do. It means it can be used by multiple users – it takes less than a 30 seconds to do this. It doesn’t really get in the way of getting on with your workout – you don’t really have an annoying delay to contend with.
There are makings on the pole that can help you return to your setting if someone has moved it since you last used, although they do tend to rub off over time.
Resistance is only provided by the 27 inch fan moving through the air as you pedal. The faster you pedal the more resistance you are pushing against due to the fan pushing more air out of the way.
There is no other way to increase or decrease the amount of resistance manually, there is no damper like you have on a rowing machine.
It does mean you don’t get the hill training that you get on an outdoor bike as you can’t regulate the resistance but you do get a very tough workout all the same. If you are looking for something that provides training for a road bike then spin bikes or indoor cycles provide this type of training.
The fan does blow air around but most of it does go forward rather than back towards you on the bike – so you only end up with only a little on your face.
The drive is a chain drive and gives as similar experience to an outdoor bike you get a slight vibration and quiet clinking sound as the chain moves over the sprockets.
It isn’t smooth or as quiet as a belt drive. It also will require more maintenance. This is not to say it requires a lot of maintenance or the drive is noisy.
The maintenance is lubricating and tightening the chain as required which shouldn’t happen that often at all. Overall it may last longer than a belt drive due to the ability to adjust it, whereas when a belt drive stretches it needs to be replaced – but both can give many years of trouble free workouts
You place your feet on the pedals which provide a reasonable grip. There is no basket or strap to keep your feet in place just like you find on most indoor bikes. If you want more security you can buy other standard thread bike pedals to fit to the bike. The company itself sells SPD pedals on their website for the Assault Air Bike.
The pedals, handlebars and fan wheel are all tied together – so when one of them is moving the others are moving too.
When you want to concentrate on a upper body workout only there are footrests that you put your feet on. They are at the bottom of the handlebars so they do move slightly but your feet shouldn’t slip off them.
When you want to do a workout just the legs you either put your hands at your side or rest them lightly on the handlebars, however, the handlebars do continue to move their full range.
Noise. The loudest part of the Assault Air Bike is the fan wheel. The metal blades make more noise than plastic but are durable. When you get going at high speeds it sounds like an electric fan on high or a hair dryer. It probably won’t disturb your neighbors but could disturb others in your home especially at night or first thing in the morning. To watch TV you are going to need to turn up the volume a bit.
Dust and Dirt. The bike itself isn’t dirty but will blow dust around due to the fan. The biggest source of dirt is likely to be sweat dropping on the bike and floor. Sweat is very corrosive so the bike should be cleaned regularly. It can also damage your floor and to stop this happening it is a good idea to put the bike on a rubber exercise mat.
Seat. Like any bike seat a lot of people aren’t going to find it to their liking. This seat gets a lot of negative comment as being uncomfortable and hard. But this is not unusual for bike seats of any type. You can cover it with a gel seat cover or try padded bike shorts.
Handlebars. The handlebars can’t be fixed in place so you can’t rest on them as you would a spin bike or road bike. The top of them is covered in a hard rubber that gives you a good grip when your hands are wet and prevents blisters. The grips aren’t soft but are comfortable and withstand the rigors of hard workouts.
Assault Air Bike needs an area of 50.9 by 23.3 inches when not in use for storage so it can be stored in large closets out of the way. However, when moving the bike through doors you need a clearance of at least 24.5 inches.
If you can’t store it out of the way or don’t have a home gym it is a good looking piece of equipment – although you probably will develop a love/hate relationship with it, which may then change your opinion of how good it looks for the worse! The bike weighs 98.1 lbs but has transport wheels at the front that you tip the bike onto by lifting the back. They hold most of the weight making it much easier to move the bike around.
The wheels are partly covered which can get in the way when moving the bike over carpet (as sometimes as deep pile can jam them up) with it being more of a drag than a roll. In this case they help a little but not as much as you want.
On hard surfaces the wheels work fine. On wood floors you may want to test them out first to check if they scratch or dent the floor.
Assault Air Bike does come partly assembled (it is estimated that it is 75% complete). Everything needed to complete the assembly are included in the package. The process should take around 35 – 45 minutes.
The box weight of 109.1 lbs can often cause the biggest problem with assembly. This can make moving the box to where you want to assemble the bike and removing the parts from its packaging hard for one person to manage on their own.
There are good instructions and serviceable tools included. There is also a good video on YouTube that runs through the process. The bolts and nuts are now already in their holes and not in a bag (as shown in the video) taking away the problem of having to find the right bolt to fit the pieces together.
Assault Air Bike Console
This is one of the best consoles available for an air bike. It is large enough do that it displays all the measures at one time. They are for the most part large enough to see although it isn’t backlit which can make them hard to see when the lighting is not at its best.
It shows you the interval, time, calories, distance, watts, speed, rpm and heart rate (if strap being worn). Underneath the display under start. stop and enter button for programming.
The interval section of the display shows you the type of interval you are doing, the number of intervals completed, the total number of intervals, total time elapsed, whether it is a work or rest segment and count up the segment time.
The time, calories and distance shows you how many you’ve completed with the time swapping between elapsed time and time left when you’ve set a target time.
I’d like to see the same with the calories and distance but I guess you can work that out – just difficult when you’re pushing yourself – I always find it a good way to trick yourself to continue once you’re over halfway or getting close to the end to use that to get a little more effort out of yourself. Calories are now calculated in a similar way as the Airdynes but it is still a little harder but nowhere like it was originally.
The next section RPM, Watts and speed records your current effort. Watts is a measure of power and the company says they’ve done a lot of work to get this accurate to make it easier to compare with other pieces of equipment such as a road bike. There is also a lip that you can use for placing your phone or tablet on. This does cover the display and you can’t integrate it with the console.
To the right hand side is where you can set up 7 keys for setting up workout programs. At the top of this is the tabata program where you press it and it gives you time of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for 4 minutes. Next down is a “reverse tabata” where it is 10 seconds on and 20 seconds recovery for an easier workout.
The next button down is the interval programming which is similar to the tabata but you can set your own total length of workout as well as specify length of interval and recovery.
The next 3 buttons are for setting targets for your training using time, distance or calories. The last button allows you to target a beats per minute when you are using a heart rate monitor.
After 5 minutes of no activity the console will go into sleep mode but all your previous settings will be saved for the next time you workout.
There are a couple of niggles with the console. The countdown on the recovery period beeps every second so doesn’t give you a countdown to warn you that you are coming to the end of period and need to get ready to start working again.
When you start out you can’t see what the customized interval is which is an issue if it has been changed since you last set it – it can take some time to determine what it has been changed to so you are part way through a training session before you realize it is not interval session you want to be doing..
At the end of your workout you get a very brief workout summary, you do need to be quick to see the results.. You can’t upload the results of your workout to a fitness account or to a spreadsheet. This all needs to be done manually in your workout journal or spreadsheet.
To use the heart rate monitoring you have to supply your own strap. Non-coded Polar T31 and T34 heart rate straps work with it. These are available on Amazon or you can buy direct from Assault.
The console requires 2 AA batteries that are installed at the back of it. These need to be bought separately.
The bike’s default setting for distance is miles but this can be changed to kilometers.
When you want to pause a workout you press the start button and it will be in this mode for 5 minutes before switching off which gives you a good time to get a drink or anything else you may want to do.
Overall the console is easy to see and straightforward to set up and use and with the interval training it provides a great tool for motivation and tracking performance.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are:
- Height 49 ins
- Width 24 ins
- Length 51 ins
- Bike Weight 98 lbs
- Max User Weight 350 lbs
- Made to commercial grade specifications to provide a robust and durable air bike
- Assembly is easy and can be completed in less than an hour
- A good sized console with 8 different programmable workouts
- The bike can be used by people of all ages and abilities as resistance and intensity changes dependent on how fast they pedal
- Easy to use and adjust for people of different heights and body shapes with horizontal seat adjustment
- Can get an upper and lower body conditioning workouts or just one or the other
- You can get a killer cardio full body workout that is low impact
- Bike is stable at all levels of intensity
- Used at the CrossFit Games
- Seat is uncomfortable for a number of people
- Heart rate strap not included for use with console
- Console not backlit which can make it hard to see in poor lighting
- There is little specific direction for beginners on how to get the best out of the bike including where to position the seat
- Resistance can’t be adjusted manually to increase or decrease
- Pedals are standard, they don’t fit specialist shoes and don’t have baskets or straps to keep feet in place
- It is an expensive bike but it is likely to last you for many years
Assault Air Bike Consumer Ratings
Customer reviews are positive for the bike. They love the feel and durability of the bike. The customers range from the elite to those out of shape, recovering from surgery and all ages up to senior citizens. They like the all over workout they get that they can modify to suit their ability. They can push themselves as hard as they want and the bike more than keeps up with them holoding them firmly in place. There have been one or 2 people with concerns over the build but those are definitely in the minority. The vast majority of reviews (over 80) state how well built and solid the bike is and expecting to get many years of training and workouts from the bike.