AssaultBike Classic review: Assault Fitness is the number-one name in air bikes, and with many gyms choosing its original AssaultBike, it’s easy to see why…
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$699 / £749, assault-fitness.co.uk
- Robust design
- Easy-to-programme workouts
- Upgradeable parts
- Console can be hard to read
Assault Fitness is a name that’s become synonymous with calorie-torching cardio equipment. That reputation is almost singlehandedly due to its AssaultBike. Pro athletes, CrossFitters and regular gym-goers alike test their stamina on this no-nonsense machine, which has come to be seen as industry standard in both enthusiast and elite fitness spaces.
This version, the Classic, is the cheapest of Assault Fitness’s three models. The AssaultBike Pro and Elite models cost $899 (£899) and $1,299 (£1,499) respectively and feature incremental upgrades. These include a more robust frame and bottom bracket design, longer warranties, ANT+ and Bluetooth wireless connectivity and improved saddle set-ups.
Setting up the AssaultBike Classic
There is some basic assembly to be done when the bike first arrives. You’ll need to connect the pedals to the arms via metal linking rods, install sturdy baseplates to the front and rear, and mount the display column and saddle.
However, instructions are easy to follow and you won’t need to be a qualified bike mechanic to get the AssaultBike Classic get up and running.
There are plenty of increments in saddle height and depth for most people to find their comfort zone, and its quick-release knobs make adjustment a breeze.
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The saddles on most air bikes tend to be wider and plusher than on road bikes, where weight is more important, and the AirBike Classic is no exception. We found the narrow nose took a little getting used to, however, and angling it upwards slightly created a more comfortable riding position.
The high-contrast display is a no-frills affair, and without backlighting can be hard to read in gloomier rooms. However, programming is straightforward and immediate. Simply punch in a target time, distance, calorie count or heart rate and get pedalling.
You’ll have to listen pretty intently for the alarm when you reach you target, however, as it’s barely audible above the whirring of the fan. There are interval options on the console, too, as well as Polar HR connectivity.
AssaultBike Classic design
If there’s any instability when you first get riding it’s easy to level the bike up with its adjustable feet. Our model’s fan rattled at higher revs but by that point you’ve got more important things to worry about (such as breathing, heart rate and arm fatigue).
The arms are nicely shaped and allow plenty of leverage. The grips feel solid and not particularly tactile at first. However, they are surprisingly comfortable, and don’t get slippery however sweaty your palms become.
Overall, we were impressed with the build quality. The powdercoat finish on the AssaultBike Classic will withstand knocks and scrapes. Its 20 sealed bearings will keep everything running smoothly, too.
As you’d expect, metal guards keep the fan and chains well out of harm’s way, though we’d have liked to have seen a water bottle or phone holder.
AssaultBike Classic verdict
If you want more app connectivity then the Bluetooth and ANT+ equipped Pro and Elite models might be the way to go. (You can also upgrade the console, which is available separately, along with dozens of other accessories. In fact almost all moving parts are available as aftermarket spares, as well as a useful saddle upgrade and floor mat.)
But for most home users, the AssaultBike Classic has everything you need. Assault Fitness has got all the basics right: a robust design, good ergonomics, easy-to-access workouts and comfortable and adjustable contact points. It’s also protected by a five-year warrant, for extra peace of mind.