Using the Assault Air Bike

Jun 22, 2022

Last year we switched from the Schwinn AirDyne to the Assault Air Bike. The Assault is basically a redesigned AirDyne with the areas that break down most frequently beefed up. This means that maintenance, the biggest issue with the AirDyne, is drastically reduced with the Assault.

I have always been a fan of these fan bikes (pun intended) because they allow work in a directly accommodating resistance format. Pedal harder, the task gets harder. It can't get simpler. No knobs to turn, or buttons to push, just push the pedals.

I am also a fan of conditioning on stationary bikes, particularly with our hockey athletes and for our adult clients. Although I love for my athletes to run in the off-season we have had to curtail our running because the vast majority of our players now skate year round. When the season ends there is a short time off and then power skating begins. A large number of our players will do some sort of skating program in conjunction with our summer program. Stationary bike work allows us to get energy system work without additional groin stress and that means athletes stay healthier.

For our hockey clients and adult clients the Assault allows us to get great energy system work without the forward lean and resultant muscle shortening of a spin bike and without the overuse injuries so much a part of jogging. In addition the dual action of the bike ( arms and legs) elevates the heartrate higher than a conventional bike.

The major problem we encountered when switching was getting our athletes to understand new numbers and new times. Everyone was very familiar with the AirDyne and had an idea about their times for certain distances and their workloads for intervals.

Unfortunately as the AirDyne went through “improvements” we had different size fans ( big and small ) and different styles of computers. Although you would think this didn't matter, it did. The chart below shows the difference we found with the two different fans sizes and the two different computers.


Time Expectations for Well Conditioned Athletes



          Big Fan-
Old Head

Big Fan- New Head

   Small Fan-
Old Head

 Small Fan-
New head         



1 mi






10 sec per mile

3 mi






30 sec per 3 mi.

5 mi






50 sec per 5 mi.


We then had to adjust for the differences in the Assault. To make matters worse, Assault delivered our first batch of bikes with what I now call the “old heads” or, the old computers. With the original head a mile suddenly took 4 minutes to ride instead of less than 3 minutes on the Airdyne. This drastically changed how we would use the bikes from a time and distance standpoint. The early Assault bikes were in effect 40% harder than the AirDyne.

 Assault has since gone to a new computer head that produce times more in line with the old AirDyne times but we still have the old computers on ours.

Confused yet?

Well, as illustrated above in the chart a mile on the Airdyne, depending on model, took 2:30-2:45 sec. A mile on the original Assault is more 3:30-4 min range, the new ones have been adjusted down to be similar to the big fan AirDyne.

Either way, how do we now use the Assault Bikes?

First we get an MAS estimate. MAS is the abbreviation for maximum aerobic speed, basically the speed you can maintain for about 6 min. We now use a 2 mile on the new computer Assault Bike. This takes between five and six minutes. From there we get an average RPM that corresponds to the Max Aerobic Speed.

We will then program our intervals at 110 or 120 percent of the Maximum Aerobic Speed. I love the 20/10 and 10/20 built- ins on the Assault for these types of intervals.   We do 20/10 at 110%  of MAS and 10/20 at 120% of MAS.

To give you some numbers, if you averaged 60 RPM for your 2 mi test ( that would be exactly 5 min 30 sec) you would do 20/10's trying to hit 66 RPM's  ( 110% of 60) or better on each interval and for 10/20 you would shoot for 72 RPM's. ( 120% of 60).

I took these numbers from some Dan Baker stuff.

We also will do .3 and .4 mile repeats for our hockey players ( 50-60 sec) again at 110-120% of MAS.

Does any of this make sense?

Hope so.