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It’s Just Like Riding a Bike

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So long Assault Bike. You’ll be…well, so long.

In May 2021, CrossFit LLC announced that the Rogue Echo Bike is the new official air bike of CrossFit. This ends the Assault Bike’s position as the standard CrossFit Games bike since 2015. Our own gym made the switch around the same time, and no doubt you are accustomed to the bigger and burlier Echo by this point. 

No longer do we hear the chain-driven roar of assault bikes build to a crescendo after the coach calls, “three, two, one…GO!”

The belt-driven system of the Echo Bike is silent – perfect for hearing the audible agony of your fellow athletes. The Echo bike is bigger and beefier, synonymous with Rogue’s “overbuilt” look. With this bulky design, the handle height and width have increased too. The seat adjustment is also expanded to slide backward but has less capacity to move forward. Great news for taller athletes! Smaller athletes, myself included, might feel like they’re riding a chopper verses an exercise bike. 

Y​ou may have also noticed…no more ghost calories. The belt-driven system is quicker to start and stop, thus it doesn’t offer any help on the calorie ticker. When you can get off the bike after reaching a calorie threshold, rest assured that each of those calories was hard-earned. But when you’re three calories away from the goal and about to crumble in fatigue, coasting to the finish line is no longer an option. 

T​he decision to retire the Assault Bike may not have been entirely about superior performance. Dave Castro noted:

“When the world’s best CrossFit athletes collapse in exhaustion next to their gear, the name they see is Rogue. Extending that partnership to the Rogue Echo Bike as the Official Air Bike of CrossFit was a seamless and natural next step, and I’m looking forward to creating some pain and suffering with it in future events.”

But Roger Bates, President of Assault Fitness, makers of the Assault Bike, seems to indicate that the decision was about money and brand name recognition:

“Pay to play is the new CrossFit way apparently…We never lose sight (of) the community…We love the community and will continue to support them in any capacity we can.”

Whatever the true reason, the bike that will be providing pain and suffering at our local box all the way up to the games is the Rogue Echo Bike. As CrossFit competitors, we like to measure ourselves to the same standards as our gym buddies and our favorite CrossFit athletes. If the workout is 21-15-9 snatches and bike, it’s fun to see our most admired professional athletes do the same workout with the same gear and do it in half the time that we could manage. If they’re hopping onto an Echo Bike after the barbell thunders the ground, then that’s the very same apparatus we want to endure in our own workouts.

Farewell Assault Bike. We’ve had both good and bad times; no doubt most of us have a wound from your razor sharp seat somewhere on our thigh. Thanks for the sweat, thanks for the calories burned, and in a quiet belt-driven whoosh, we’ll pedal our way to peak fitness with the Echo from now on.

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