Air bikes have exploded in popularity recently in part due to their use in Crossfit competitions. There are many different options of air bikes available, but the best overall has got to be the Rogue Echo, the official air bike of Crossfit.
It’s the standard for a reason, with a smooth belt-drive system that replaces the older, noisier chain system and a high quality fan, everything about the model is designed to withstand the rigors of competition.
What is an Air Bike?
Before diving into our Rogue Echo review, here’s a quick explainer on what an air bike is for those who don’t know.
An air bike works similarly to a stationary bicycle but with two key differences:
- There are handlebars that your push and pull in an alternating pattern, making the bike more of a full-body workout.
- The front wheel is a giant fan that you are pulling through the air, adding air resistance to your workout. This resistance is proportional to the effort and speed you provide, meaning that you get a heavier workout the faster you go.
Therefore, working out on an air bike can provide quite a different overall experience than working out on a regular stationary bicycle.
One of the big reasons for air bikes’ increase in popularity is their use in Crossfit, which uses them because they are great for high-intensity interval training. This is a style of exercise where you work out intensely for a short burst of time then rest instead of working out at a steady pace throughout the whole workout.
The Rogue Echo Bike In Depth
Overall Build and Quality
Rogue has some of the highest standards for build quality, and the Echo is no exception. It’s built from thick and durable steel tubing with a black powder-coat finish, ensuring that it will last a long time with minimal corrosion.
The Echo is also built to be very heavy, providing the maximum amount of stability. A stable air bike means providing a smooth ride even in the highest intensity conditions while working out. This is crucial as far as air bike workouts go, as you don’t slow down because you feel like the bike will fly across the room.
The fan on the Echo is one of the most firm and reliable you can find, with a powerful belt drive system that feels like you are directly connected to the fan while riding. The belt drive is an upgrade from most bikes’ classic chain system, which can be louder and feel clunkier to use.
The adjustable seat on the Echo is comfortable and has eight different heights and five different front-to-back settings. The 1.5” diameter rubber grips on the handlebars feel comfortable and easy to hold onto. They are also welded directly into the bike arms for greater rigidity. Finally, the pedals are supported by a steel step plate and grip one’s feet well. All in all, each aspect of the frame works well together, providing a smartly designed build.
Overall, there’s nothing to complain about, the complete outfit just feels top-quality. The one potential complaint is the lack of a wind guard out of the box. But this can be remedied by purchasing one as an accessory.
- Height: 52.75″ (to top of handles)
- Length: 58.875″ (overall with seat in position furthest from fan cage)
- Width: 29.875″ (at handles – widest point)
- Footprint: 44.5″ x 23.75″
- 1.5” diameter rubber grip handles
Adjustability and Comfort
The Echo is designed with larger persons in mind, providing complete comfort and support. It might be more difficult to use if you are shorter (under 5’6”), but it is doable with the adjustable seat and settings. The chair has five positions back to front and the height goes up and down in eight increments. However, the shortest and closest settings don’t work well together, and so that’s why we caution shorter users for this bike.
The handles must also be comfortable on an air bike as you’ll be pushing them back and forth throughout the whole ride. For the Echo, the grips are great, which is a thick but comfortable design.
The LCD monitor is Rogue standard, featuring a large 6.375” x 6.375” high contrast display. There is a wide range of modes available, including various intervals, time target, distance target, and calorie target.
It is also heart rate tracking compatible – including the H10 or T31C chest strap monitors. The monitor itself runs on two AA batteries.
The Echo can also accommodate a few more accessories and comes with a phone holder. In addition, you can add a wind guard to protect yourself from some of the wind coming from the fan.
The workout presets are: 20/10 intervals, 10/20 intervals, custom work/rest intervals, time target, distance target, and calories burned target. These will count down based on your custom selection.
Stability is crucial to any air bike design, as bikes can become wobbly and difficult to use at higher intensities.
At 127 lbs., the Echo is a heavy, fully-stabilized air bike that’s built to last. It has a huge, stabilizing footprint and is made with taller and bigger people in mind. The overall weight limit on the machine is 350 lbs. The reinforced steel construction eliminates swaying back and forth, including bumps during heavy sprints. Rubber tubing at the bottom of the base adds extra support.
Older bikes used a chain system for the pedal to wheel mechanism. The Echo features a belt-drive system instead.
The advantage of the belt system is that it provides a much smoother overall feel and resistance. In addition, it almost gives the illusion that the pedals are directly connected to the fan. Chains are also noisier.
Finally, a belt drive allows for faster overall starts and stops. As a result, you can accelerate faster from the get-go and more quickly finish the session.
All in all, the design is great from top to bottom. Your main advantages are the highly stable design and belt system, which are serious upgrades from other models.
The Echo Bike warranty covers material and work defects for two years. However, Rogue is an excellent manufacturer and you are unlikely to get any problems.
Assembly (Setup process)
The Echo’s assembly process is relatively simple out of the box. Of course, you will need to work with some nuts and bolts, but it’s very well-explained with the instructions. With a friend, you can finish the whole assembly in a matter of minutes.
Now, some of the parts are heavy, so it might not be doable alone. Overall, it is recommended you get a partner to help you.
Out of the box, the only parts needing assembly are attaching the console, the front and rear stabilizers, the handles, and the pedals.
All the hardware and tools you’ll need is included in the box, with easy-to-use instructions. Moving the air bike around is also easy, as it comes with a set of 1” wide wheels to help move it around and place it into storage when required.
Price And Value
The Rogue Echo’s base price is $795 USD. You can purchase a few add-ons and accessories with your order, but most don’t add too much to the price – including the wind guard and heart rate monitor.
As a value proposition, you are getting a top of the line air bike from one of the most consistent and trusted fitness manufacturers in the U.S. The value is great from that perspective.
There are a lot of budget options out there that lack the stability and build quality of the Echo, which you can look at if you are on a budget.
Official Crossfit Air Bike
Rogue Echo Bike
How To Use The Rogue Echo
It is crucial to understand how it feels to ride on an air bike before investing in one. Air bikes are not the same as ellipticals and provide a unique experience. Try them out at your local gym to get a feel for how they run before picking up an Echo.
Ok, onto the instructions.
With an air bike, the harder you work out, the greater the resistance you’ll feel. That’s the big difference from other types of machinery, and it’s not unlike a rowing machine in this way.
The big advantage to this type of resistance system is that your workouts will continue to hit your anaerobic system even as you go into high-intensity cardio. This improves muscle mass and general fitness overall.
First, you have to establish a baseline of resistance. To do this, you ride at a steady, somewhat challenging pace that you can keep up for five minutes. Once you do that, the display will provide you with your average RPM (rotations per minute) during those five minutes. This RPM will establish your baseline for a medium-intensity workout.
Now, you can choose either intervals (recommended) or a target to decide what kind of workout you want to have. Intervals have been shown time and again to provide some of the best quality workouts. They work by pushing you to do a higher intensity workout for a period of time than a rest period in repeated cycles.
You can also use your air bike for lighter, easier workouts if you are just looking to drift off while riding. It’s possible to get light chores done that require you to scroll on your phone during this kind of setting. It doesn’t work as well for this type of workout, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible if there are some days you’re looking for a rest while still burning a few calories.
An air bike also has moving handlebars involving your arms in the workouts. This makes riding them a total body workout. If you wanted to go all out, you could also engage your core more with a weighted vest.
For the handlebars, your arms will alternate their push and pull motions as you pedal, really providing the full body with a workout.
Rogue Echo Alternatives
If the Echo isn’t speaking to you or is sold out at the time, you can check out these two alternatives.
Assault AirBike Classic
Great Cheaper alternative
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The Assault AirBike Classic is a chain-driven model rather than the Echo’s belt system. The Assualt’s chain is less noisy and smoother than most chains, but it still differentiates the two machines.
The Assault was the standard before the Echo came along and is still viable for that reason, but unless you are getting a great deal on it, it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it to save just a bit of money.
The Assault weighs in at 98 lbs. making it quite a bit lighter overall. It does feel slightly less stable for it. Still, it is still highly unlikely to get really shaky, but it is a bit less of a workout beast than the echo.
Otherwise, we’re looking at much similar specs.
The monitor is longer and different than the Echo’s but provides much of the same function. One does wish the console was backlit for greater visibility, especially in heavy sunlight conditions or when it’s dim.
One of the other big differences between the two is the speed at which you accelerate and brake. With the chain belt, it takes quite a bit more effort to get started with the machine. Braking also takes more effort, and the stars tend to keep running as you are slowing down but not really pedaling anymore.
Finally, and this is a specific complaint just about the Classic, the seat just isn’t all that comfortable. The Echo’s is a big improvement and comfort can be a make or break feeling for long sessions.
Schwinn AirDyne Pro
Another Good option
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The Schwinn AirDyne Pro is the more expensive alternative to the Echo, going for even higher quality design and features.
Schwinn has been making high-quality bicycles for over a century and has helped pioneer air resistance technology. They are a highly reputable brand that doesn’t always get the attention they deserve.
The Schwinn AirDyne Pro uses a belt-drive system, just like the Echo. This means that if you are looking for an alternative to the Echo with that same quiet and smooth feeling, this is a great choice. Remember, the classic and most budget models will use a chain belt system, which is noisy, less smooth, and harder to accelerate with.
The AirDyne’s LCD monitor is top of the line, with large numbers displayed. It’s placed front and center while you ride, providing a great and easy to interact with experience between your handlebars. I quite like the design and find it very easy to use.
At 113 lbs, it is almost as heavy as the Echo and has just as strong stability. The max user weight is the same at 350 lbs. This is about the most you could really need for most people.
Although subjective, one of the potential advantages of the Schwinn is the design, which looks chic and luxurious. If you like your gym equipment to have a bit more design to them, you can’t beat the AirDyne Pro.
It also comes with a 10-year warranty, showing you that they know this is a great quality bike.
Finally, one of the biggest selling points is the 26 air blade wheel, which is one of the largest in the market. This makes for the smoothest accelerations and brakes, making it easy to get started and stop, always at the perfect amount of resistance for the power provided. For most people, this will be overkill, but for those looking for the highest quality experience, it’s a great feature from Schwinn.
How long does it take to assemble a rogue echo bike?
It takes from 15 to 30 minutes to build the Rogue Echo Air Bike from out of the box. All the tools and hardware come in the box and are easy to use. However, some of the equipment is quite heavy, so it might be prudent to have a partner at the ready to help.
Which is best: the rogue echo bike or the assault bike?
Both the Echo and the Assault AirBike are excellent choices with just a few key differences. The Echo is a bit heavier, with a sturdier frame. It uses a belt-drive system that feels smoother than the Assualt’s chain drive. However, the Echo is slightly more expensive.
Where to buy the rogue echo bike?
You can buy the Rogue Echo directly on the Rogue website with great shipping options for the U.S. You can also look around for other options and wait for deals when they occur.
Reviewing everything we now know, it’s easy to see why the Rogue Echo is the official Crossfit air bike. Everything from its build-quality, display, and belt-drive to its weight and fan is built with quality, durability, and stability in mind.
The experience of using it is as smooth as can be, with no risk of big bumps or wobbles. The resistance provided is also proportional, making for an excellent air biking experience.
The caveats when it comes to the alternatives is that you can find budget models of air bikes that work well but use a chain system and lack the level of stability the Echo provides. One such model is the classic Assault AirBike, which is slightly less expensive but uses a chain system. Otherwise, it is also a quality piece of machinery.
Suppose you are looking for the absolute top-of-the-line experience. In that case, you can go for the Schwinn AirDyne Pro, which has a more elegant overall design and even smoother proportional resistance. It is quite a bit more expensive, though, as an alternative.