Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0 Review

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Introduction

Over the past few years airbikes have grown in popularity – thanks in no small part to CrossFit! They are easy to learn, simple to use and massively capable of building a crazy strong cardio engine!

Today I’m looking at one the UK manufacturers latest offering – the Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0.

Airbike Review Image

At a glance…

  • An airbike is a simple to use yet versatile cardio fitness tool
  • They can be used for HIIT or LISS training
  • Bulldog are a UK company that have a great bike for sale
  • Owning both a Rogue and Bulldog bike I prefer the ride of the Bulldog
  • Check it out right now here

What is an airbike?

An airbike is a cardio tool modelled on a stationary bike but with the addition of handles that can be cranked back and fourth to assist with the movement. Both the pedals and handles drive a huge fan which sits where a front wheel would normally be.

Having handles to crank means an airbike gives a much more involved full body cardio workout than a stationary bike, or turbo trainer.

By driving a fan a couple of cool things happen –

  1. Infinite resistance without having gears – as your crank away the resistance increases naturally with the physics of air resistance. There is no distraction of gears – just pure focus on working that cardio engine.
  2. Fan creates airflow – by spinning up the fan you create some wind in your training environment. If you use (or have used) a turbo trainer indoors you will know it gets pretty stale in a garage gym when spinning away! A fan bike creates a fresh flow of air which is awesome when pushing it!
Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0 - front angled view
My Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0 – sturdy as anything, and manoeuvrable enough to wheel in to the garden!

Can I use an airbike for LISS, as well as HIIT?

An airbike offers a great way to build your cardio fitness regardless of how you train. They have been around for decades – in fact doctors would often recommend them as a low impact was to perform light intensity training for older people!

A far cry from the crazy high intensity interval training they are commonly used for today! The rise in HIIT training on air bikes has been driven by CrossFit and the ‘box’ gym environment where circuit training is really popular.

What this means is that an airbike is an awesome way to get your LISS training as well as HIIT.

Personally I use my bike roughly half and half for high and low intensity work. This might seem like a cop out, but my general fitness training approach at the moment prescribes 1x HIIT and 1x LISS session per week.

Over the years I have done numerous LISS and HIIT sessions and I love the bike for either approach to training.

Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0

Bulldog, as you likely know, are a pretty awesome company in the UK that create decent gym equipment for commercial or home gym use. Think of a UK based equivalent of Rogue and you are not too far from the truth!

Bulldog have had an airbike in their range for some time, but truth be told the specification wasn’t quite what I was looking for

That is, until the 3.0 was announced.

Following the Rogue Echo bike and the surge of interest in this modality of training Bulldog have really sharpened their pencils (and possibly found the tracing paper…) and taken a quantum leap forward with their latest bike.

What got me excited:

  1. Belt drive – older bikes are usually chain drive. While this is perfectly fine, it is old technology these days. Belts are much quieter (hint – amazing for home use!), offer a more intuitive drive with instant acceleration / deceleration vs the inherent lag in a chain system and virtually maintenance free.
  2. Weight – at 57kg the new air bike is a beefcake! For something that we thrash around on pretty aggressively I feel much better on a stout, heavy piece of equipment than some of the older designs which are more fragile. This really pushed me towards a new device over something second hand.
  3. Looks – Just look at it. While it obviously looks very similar to the Rogue Echo bike, having something look similar to something that is gorgeous is no bad thing…
  4. Price – the pricing is competitive. Bulldog kindly include all accessories in the price so it’s a single hit to your pocket.

Bulldog Gear vs Rogue Echo Bike

The Bulldog and the Rogue have a remarkable amount in common – they are more similar than they are different, in fact.

I’ve pulled a quick comparison together here:

Bulldog Gear Airbike 3.0Rogue Echo Bike
Weight57kg58kg
DriveBeltBelt
Compatible with heart rate monitorYesYes (if T31C coded)
Console functionsDistance
Speed
Pace
Calories
Watts
RPM
Heart Rate
Programmable intervals & time
Distance
Speed
Pace
Calories
Watts
RPM
Heart Rate
Programmable intervals & time
Adjustment8x height settings
5x lateral settings
8x height settings
5x lateral settings
Handle & wheelsYesWheels
No dedicated handle
Wind guardIncludedAdditional cost (around £25)
Water bottleIncludedAdditional cost (around £8)
WarrantyFrame for 5 years
Parts for 1 year
2 years
Ships fromUKBelgium
Best forUK purchasers conscious of potential Brexit issues for shipping / returns

Those who want the smoothest bike
Crossfit Games competitors who need the competition equipment

Those who value to Rogue brand
Check them out nowClick here to get the latest priceClick here to get the latest price

Having both bikes side by side for a while now has given me the opportunity to compare and contrast the Echo and the 3.0 in real world garage gym. The Bulldog Gear bike is the one I’m using the most – here’s why:

  • Handle girth – one of the main criticisms of the Rogue Echo is the overly thick handles. They look great, but they’re simply not that comfortable or ergonomic in use. I do a lot of LISS on an air bike so over time I really noticed the difference moving to the slightly thinner Bulldog handle. I can change my grip position a ton more whereas on the Rogue I am forced to go “thumbs over” to get the most power through them.
  • Arm connection – over time the Rogue handles work themselves a little loose – Rogue know this and have support pages dedicated to help. After several months of heavy use I’ve not had the same slack appear on the Bulldog 3.0. While not “life or death” this lack of slack creates a more dialled in, positive feel when cranking the arms on the Bulldog vs the Rogue
  • Wind guard – having this included in the price is quite nice. I wouldn’t have tried it out on my Rogue given the cost but having the option is pretty cool and I’ve enjoyed using it for some longer LISS sessions when the weather is decent. Far from an essential item though and at times I do enjoy taking it off and letting the wind blow around the garage!
  • Phone shelf – I’ve got the phone holder on my Echo but I prefer the higher up shelf on the 3.0. When doing LISS I like to track heart rate zones using a Wahoo Tickr and the supporting phone app and having the screen up in my natural line of sight is more ergonomic when riding for 30 – 40 minutes compared to looking down

It’s not all perfect however, a couple of bits I would like to see improved:

  • Monitor graphics – the screen graphics on the Rogue are a little easier on the eye, although I prefer the actual data on the Bulldog monitor which shows both elapsed and remaining times
  • Feet width – the feet on the Bulldog are a bit wider than the Rogue Echo bike. Bulldog could narrow the unit without impacting stability.

Both the Rogue and the Bulldog could improve their monitors by adding Bluetooth or ANT+ compatibility. Being able to store workouts, save various interval set ups, upload times to leaderboards and pair different heart rate monitors (such as my Wahoo Tickr, or an Apple / Garmin Watch). I think this is the ‘next step’ and it would be great to see air bikes become as connected and universal as the likes of the Concept2 rower or SkiERG.

Final thoughts

To conclude my Bulldog Airbike 3.0 review I would say that they have really pulled it out of the bag and delivered an awesome product! 

The prior bike was just not quite up there with the Rogue, but this latest version has surpassed the Echo in my opinion and is the one I find myself riding the most mainly due to the smoother handle motion with a more ‘connected’ feeling in use, as well as the thinner handle girth which makes using the bike for longer rides far more comfortable . This is great to see from a UK manufacturer and long may it continue.

What’s not to like?

Check out the Bulldog bike here.

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