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.
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.