Assault Bike vs. Rowing Machine: How Do They Compare?

Now that I’ve added an Assault AirBike to my home gym arsenal, I’m thinking about how best to incorporate it into workouts. One of the big reasons that I got the bike it is that it gives me a cardio alternative that is easier on my back than rowing.

But how can I compare Assault bike workouts to those done on a rowing machine (erg)? They’re pretty different, but I’d like to have a common metric of some sort so I can have a rough idea as to the relative amounts of work that I’m doing on each.

Comparing distances

To this end, I ran a quick little experiment. I started by figuring the power output required to maintain a steady state pace of 2:05/500 on the erg. As it turns out, that’s just shy of 180 watts (it’s 179.2W to be exact).

I then jumped on the bike and proceeded to ride it at ~180W (roughly 50 rpm) for 30 min. This corresponds to an estimated pace of 19.1 mph. The numbers drifted around a little while I rode, but I tried to keep the pace as steady as possible.

Related: Read more about my decision to buy an Assault bike.

I’m really not sure how an AirDyne would compare. I know they’re pretty different from Assault bikes in how they calculate calories. I’m also not sure how my 2:1 rule of thumb holds up at higher or lower splits.

To help establish the equivalency of this workout to a steady state row at 2:05/500, I also tracked my heart rate. As the minutes ticked by, my heart rate settled into the 150-155 range, which is right about what I’d expect for a 30 min row at 2:05/500. So far so good…

At the end of the ride, I had covered an estimated 9.6 miles, which is right about what I’d expect if I’d stuck to the right (average) pace — i.e., at 50 rpm (19.1 mph), I should cover 9.55 miles in 30 min. So, how does that compare (distance-wise) to the hypothetical erg workout?

Well, at 2:05/500, I would cover 7,200 meters in 30 min. As a similar power output on the bike, I covered 9.6 miles (15,450m). Comparing the two, you can see that every meter on the rowing machine corresponds to a little over 2.1 meters on the Assault AirBike.

So, as a quick and dirty estimate, you can say that distances on the Assault bike are roughly equivalent to twice the distance rowed on a Concept2 erg. If you want to be more precise, you could say that a meter rowed equals 2.135 meters ridden (i.e., 9.55 miles divided by 7,200 meters).

Note: I’m really not sure how an AirDyne would compare. I know they’re pretty different from Assault bikes in how they calculate calories. I’m also not sure how my 2:1 rule of thumb holds up at higher or lower splits.

What about calories?

Unfortunately, I don’t (currently) know how calories compare between the Assault bike and the Concept2 erg. Yet. I’m hoping to sort that out sometime soon. But, until then, at least you now have a rough idea how distances compare between the two platforms.

Home Gym Equipment, Workouts & Training
1 comment… add one
  • ed martin Apr 11, 2018

    Great. Thank you. This helps; yesterday I did 25cal on bike instead of 400m row. wasnt sure if the conversion was right 😉

Leave a Comment