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I’m around 5’7” with my wife a bit shorter at 5’2”, therefore when I’m buying home gym equipment I always need to ask: Will it work for short people?!
Specifically, today I’m sharing a few measurements and guides on whether the Rogue Echo bike fits a short person, and what to look out for if you’re worried it will be too big for you.
At a glance…
- The Rogue Echo Bike can be used by MOST people
- Some issues MIGHT arise if you are 5’2” or below depending on bodyshape
- Anecdotal evidence suggests as short as 4’11” can use the bike
- The handles on air bikes are NOT adjustable so make sure you can reach the handles through full ROM
So is the Rogue Echo bike suitable for short people?
Yes it is. I cover each area of the bike in detail below, but my guidance on how this bike fits shorter folks would be as follows:
- Anyone 5’2” and above: almost certainly
- Anyone between 5’ and 5’2” I would suggest some heightened diligence around body shape and fit, particularly around reach on the arms
- Anyone below 5’ should pay extra attention to the measurements and their body shape
As ever please measure up and get yourself comfortable it will work for YOU. We are all different after all and what I find comfortable or tolerable WILL be different to what you are happy with. The above is based on my own experience and hours of research online trying to find out if my wife could use my Echo!
How adjustable is the Rogue Echo bike?
There are only two ways to adjust the Rogue bike – seat height and reach (front to back).
What does this mean for us shorter folk? These adjustments are great, but not perfect. For example we CANNOT adjust the reach of the arms which travel around 50cm front to back.
This is OK for me, but some users below 5’2” MIGHT find this pulls them off their seat or causes them to reach forward uncomfortably depending on your body geometry (long arms, short torso, etc.)
Rogue advertise the bike as having 8 height increments – mine has 10 so I will be giving measurements from it, but there may be slight deviations.
The top of the seat is approximately 85cm from the floor in the lowest setting, and 107cm in the highest. At around 5’7” I use it at 96cm (setting 6 of 10). There is evidence online of users from around 5’ up to well over 6’ using an air bike fine, with SOME issues surfacing for users around 5’2” and shorter depending on body shape (manly reach for the arms).
The pedal is 10cm from the floor at the lowest point in the rotation and 45cm at the high point, therefore the effective seat height is 75cm from bottom of pedal to top of the seat in the lowest setting.
How high to set my seat?
You want to have your seat set so that your leg is almost straight when the pedal is at the lowest point. A very slight kink in the knee is ideal.
At 5’7” tall I set the seat to position 6 (out of 10) and find it very comfortable. My 5’2” wife (and a few other users online of similar height) likes the seat in position 3 showing that the Rogue Echo bike DOES work for SOME shorter users!
Seat reach adjustment
My Rogue Echo has 6 reach adjustment settings while Rogue currently advertise only 5 increments. Again, as per the height commentary above, from pictures it looks like the range is similar just with fewer steps between.
In the furthest forward setting the reach from the seat to the handle is roughly 15-20cm (depending on how far back you sit on the saddle) when the handle is nearest you and the seat is in the furthest forward setting (number 1). This extends to around 65-70cm (again depending on how you perch on the seat) when the arm is furthest away.
The seat can be moved further away from the handles extending the reach above by up to 13cm.
The design of the bike means as the seat height goes up the seat moves further away. This is relatively minor adding 5 – 10cm in reach as the seat goes up.
At 5’7” I have the seat in the furthest forward setting, but at height 6 (of 10).
How far forward to set my seat?
Personally I like to be as far forward as I can be to get my body over the pedals. This likely descends from my history road cycling where a bike fit and geometry is very important to optimise outputs over long rides.
My recommendation is to move the seat as far forward as you can then simply work backwards one workout at a time to find the most comfortable setting. I found as I moved my seat forwards I also lifted it UP, so remember to try a few combo’s! I found it much easier to get the power down with this set up so I would say it is worth playing around to get the most efficient combination for you.
The perfect geo won’t happen on a Rogue Echo simply because the handles move and are not adjustable, compared to a bicycle where the handles are fixed and very adjustable!
Does it matter? Probably NOT given the comparatively shorter duration we use the airbike for compared to road bikes. We do need to be able to work the thing though so I would make sure the reach measurements I’ve laid out above seem like they will fit you.
Are the arms adjustable on the Echo?
No. Probably the biggest weakness in the design of an airbike designed for heavy use is that the arms are not adjustable for height or reach. You just have to take what you get.
This makes SOME sense though given the abuse these bikes take having weaknesses for adjustments might undermine their integrity or longevity.
Height of the arms is something to consider as the back and fourth motion raises them up and away from you when extended, then down and closer to you. Again the change in range should be considered with the other measurements above to decide if the bike has a good chance of being a good fit for you.
In the lowest and nearest position the arms are 120cm from the floor, and in the furthest and highest they are 134cm. This means they arc up and away from you rising 14cm upwards and 50cm further away.
As the height doesn’t change you might find yourself leaning down if you’re tall – or leaning forwards if you’re short. Again for short sharp workouts that we usually buy these things for it’s acceptable for MOST people in the 5’ / 5’2” and upwards height bracket.
What about the handles?
A quick comment on the handles – they are quite thick (3.5cm diameter, roughly) so I often find myself pushing on the metal join rather than gripping the form covered handle. In part driven by diameter, and in part driven by how far apart they are set compared to my relatively compact (I’d say streamlined!) shape when powering HIIT workouts.
I’ve not got particularly small hands, but if you’ve got similar size or smaller you may have similar thoughts.
Has the Rogue Echo bike been redesigned?
There is an internet legend (maybe overstating this…) that the Rogue Echo airbike went through a redesign that made it better for shorter users.
Maybe it is different in the USA, but I bought an early Rogue Echo bike here in the UK and then it was replaced around 18months later and both units were virtually identical.
So, all I can say to that is that I am NOT aware of any significant changes – comparing both Echo bikes I’ve owned, they both had the same fundamental design.
A few bits were tweaked between them – like metal pedals on the newer version – but ultimately the style, motion and build were very similar.
Per above Rogue now advertise the Echo as having 8 heigh adjustment increments and 5 fore/aft seat adjustments where mine have 10 and 6 adjustments respectively. Without measuring myself I can’t say if this is any better suited for short users, but from pictures it looks like the overall adjustments are similar just with few steps between them.
So my short friends – there is NO need to look for a specific model, all Echo bikes will likely fit you equally well.
Height hack: Use your SPD/clipless pedals
A little trick if you’re struggling to get comfortable on your Echo bike is to use your cycling clipless pedals and shoes to effectively reduce the effective distance from your saddle to the pedal.
If you’re not familiar with clipless pedal set ups you wear a special shoe with a thick plastic cleat on the sole that snaps in to a specially designed pedal.
The cleat and cycling shoe serve as a little platform making the distance between the sole of your foot and the saddle a little shorter.
One further benefit (that’s not just for shorter people) is that a cycle shoe and pedal set up is the most efficient way to transfer your power to the bike – the stiff sole of the shoe means all your energy is transferred through the pedal and not lost to squishing a training shoe or anything like that. As you’re locked in with the cleat there is limited slip or lateral movement and it does make a difference to power delivery in my experience.
Personally I have Keo Look pedals and cleats from my road bike and – despite the benefits above – I opt NOT to do this anymore. This is because the shoe and cleat is not great for doing anything other than the bike – so doing EMOM circuits or alternative games bike with anything else is a pain with these shoes on.
This is something to consider if you are thinking of using them to make the bike more suitable for shorter users. It works better for more LISS style workouts where we’re in the saddle for a long time but if doing CrossFit / WOD style training it gets a bit more awkward.
Short people wanting to use an airbike: Do we have a choice?
Not really – the majority of the credible, belt-driven alternatives to the Rogue are of similar design, principally limited by the adjustability of the arms. If we want a robust, heavy duty airbike suitable for CrossFit style workouts or general heavy use then this is the downside.
Fortunately there is no real perfect ‘form’ for thrashing an air bike so MOST of us who are shorter can make a Rogue Echo bike fit us comfortably enough.
If you are truly struggling – so those well below 5’ tall – then the Rogue Assault bike is known to be a LITTLE more friendly for us shorter folks, BUT this comes at a cost of being CHAIN rather than BELT driven.
Personally I would try the Echo first out of those two.
At 5’7” tall I am slap bang in the middle of the range of adjustability on my Rogue Echo so it will have PLENTY of scope to fit people quite a bit shorter than me.
So there we have it – the Rogue Echo bike DOES fit short people… As long as you’re over 5’ it is LIKELY you will be able to use the Echo, and some folks shorter than this will still manage to make it work. Just be careful with your measurements!
The main area for ‘criticism’ on the Rogue Echo bike for us shorter people is that the arms are NOT adjustable. This maybe can’t be done without wrecking the integrity of the handle so Rogue opt not to, but it is likely the reach and height of the arms that will cause you issues if you’re below 5’.
Hopefully the above measurements and experiences will help guide you to a satisfactory outcome either way!