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Is The Assault AirRunner Treadmill A Smart Buy? [A Review]

assault airrunner treadmill review

Assault Fitness, makers of the famous Assault AirBike, seem to have struck gold again with their take on the manual treadmill. Designed with running in mind, the AirRunner isn’t your typical manual treadmill- and I mean that in the best way possible.

Unlike traditional manual treadmills that are designed to mimic motorized machines (minus the motor), the AirRunner comes with a unique design that actually makes it a competent running treadmill.

With a curved track and a slatted belt, the AirRunner makes running on a manual treadmill more comfortable than the fixed incline models we’ve seen in the past.

The powder-coated, solid steel frame gives it a durable base and the fact that you don’t need electricity gives you more flexibility when it comes to figuring out where to put it in your home.

If you’re looking for a serious running treadmill, the AirRunner is worth considering, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

In this review, we’ll take a close look at everything this treadmill has to offer. We’ll also discuss who should (and who probably shouldn’t) make this investment.

The Assault AirRunner Treadmill

assault AirRunner treadmill review

Photo courtesy of Rogue Fitness

Assault Fitness achieved stardom with the release of their impressive AirBike and AirBike Elite (one of the toughest fan bikes in the world).

Although the brand has been around for 20 years or so, up until the release of the treadmill we’re here to discuss these bikes were really the only products they offered.

They’ve recently also added a rower to their lineup, but that’s it.

Hey, if you’re good at what you do, there’s no need to complicate things, I get it.

Anyway, now that the AirRunner is on the market, Assault Fitness has treadmills, bikes, and rowing machines covered. I wonder if they’ll come up with an air based elliptical or strength training device in the future? Time will tell.

Currently, there’s only one version of the AirRunner available, so you don’t have to worry about comparing models or anything. At well over $3000, the AirRunner is priced as a luxury treadmill.

Pros

  • 62″ long running surface
  • Curved deck makes propelling the belt easier
  • Steel frame
  • 350 lb weight capacity
  • Heavy-duty slatted belt
  • Instantly change speed without pushing buttons
  • Burns more calories than motorized treadmills
  • No max speed
  • High contrast LCD console
  • Workout programs
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • 17″ wide running surface
  • Warranty a bit short
  • No water bottle holder

Running Surface

I tried to organize this review like all my other treadmill reviews, but this may be a little difficult since this treadmill is unlike anything I’ve ever discussed before.

Regardless, I think it’s a good idea to start with the running surface.

The running surface is the usable belt area a treadmill comes with- this measurement tells you how much room you’re going to have during your workouts.

For traditional motorized and manual treadmills, larger running surfaces are preferred because they provide a roomier, more comfortable experience.

Most high-end motorized treadmills come with at least a 20″ x 60″ running surface because it’s been shown that this is large enough to accommodate users of most heights comfortably.

The AirRunner is a little different with its curved deck, but I still think it’s helpful to think about the running surface here. I wasn’t able to find this info at first, but I spoke to a very helpful sales rep that sent me all the technical specs and it was super helpful.

Based on the info he sent me, the AirRunner has a running surface of 17.1″ x 62.2″.

The 62″ length is great, allowing this treadmill to fit even the tallest runners out there. The 17″ width is a little disappointing though because it falls significantly short of the 20″ we’re usually looking for.

At 17″, the AirRunner is likely going to feel a little narrow for many users. You won’t have a lot of wiggle room from side to side during your runs, but this might be ok if you don’t tend to sway much.

It could also just be a case of getting used to the feel of the AirRunner. That said, some users have complained about the narrow width.

Let’s get back to that curved deck for a sec. This is really the key to how this treadmill functions and why folks seem to be so happy with this model.

The curved deck makes it more efficient for you to propel the belt down the deck. Remember, there’s no motor here doing that for you.

And if you’ve ever used a manual treadmill before, you may know that it can be kinda difficult to get that belt moving.

Most manual treadmills back in the day accomplished this by designing the deck on a bit of a fixed incline- this means you were always exercising uphill, but the inclined angle make it easier to get the belt moving.

The AirRunner’s curved deck accomplishes the same thing, but without keeping you on a fixed incline. The curved shape is also supposed to help promote a more proper running pattern that is less impactful with each stride.

What we’re hearing from users is that the AirRunner takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it’s just as (if not more) comfortable as any motorized treadmill.

When it comes to the frame, the AirRunner comes with a solid steel, powder coated frame with a max weight capacity of 350 lb. Simply put, this treadmill is built like a tank.

Keep in mind this thing weighs 280 lb when it comes to moving it. There are built in transport wheels that make it easier, but this is still a very substantial treadmill.

You’ll also notice that the belt is slatted- something you don’t find on typical treadmills. This design makes for a more durable belt that doesn’t require lubrication or tightening.

This belt is designed to last for 150,000 miles…yeah, I know, crazy.

Overall, the running surface length is great, but the width is a little narrow. The curved shape of the deck is paramount for smooth operation and the frame is rock solid.

Motor (less)

This is gonna be a short section because there is no motor on this treadmill. The only thing powering the belt is you (that’s why they call these motor-less machines “manual” treadmills).

Since there isn’t anything powering this belt, that means it’s up to provide the acceleration and deceleration. This takes a little more effort on your part than using a standard motorized unit.

But since you’re stepping on this treadmill for a workout anyway, most people will probably like the idea of burning a few more calories than they otherwise would.

Not having a motor to deal with does have its advantages.

For one, those looking to keep as small a carbon footprint as possible will appreciate that this machine doesn’t have to be plugged in to operate (the small console is powered by batteries).

Not having a motor also means that you don’t have to make any adjustments to change the speed or incline during your workouts. If you want to run faster, start running faster. Want to slow down? Great, run slower.

The last obvious advantage I can think of with this setup is that the AirRunner doesn’t have a max speed. The faster you run, the faster it goes.

This is a great feature for advanced runners looking for a treadmill that can keep up with at higher sprinting speeds.

While it’s true walkers and runners of all skill levels can technically use this treadmill, I have a feeling it’s the more advanced users that will feel more at ease on it.

Folks that are comfortable with keeping their own pace may appreciate this machine, but people who like the idea of having the treadmill keep the pace won’t (I’ll be honest, I fall into the second category).

And this is an expensive treadmill to invest in and then end up not using.

Overall, there’s no motor or incline settings on the AirRunner because you are the only thing powering it. This has it’s advantages, but make sure you’re ok with setting your own pace before purchasing.

Features

The Assault AirRunner comes with the following features:

High contrast LCD monitor- the monitor is small, but easy to read. It’s cleverly designed to make it easy to track all your workout metrics at the same time during your workouts without having to scan or wait for your desired metric to pop up.

Heart rate monitoring- you can track your heart rate using a chest strap monitor for accurate readings. The console is bluetooth and ANT+ compatible.

Workout programs- this treadmill comes with a few workout programs to choose from, including a couple of interval programs (designed for HIIT and Tabata), a few target workouts (time, distance, etc), and heart rate programs (target heart rate and zone).

Transport wheels- the built-in transport wheels make this heavy treadmill movable once assembled.

Assembly

There’s isn’t much assembly necessary for the AirRunner. The entire deck comes pre-assembled, so all you have to do is attach the handlebars and console.

All of the necessary hardware and tools are provided. All it takes to get the job done is an Allen wrench and a screwdriver.

Most folks should be able to have this treadmill out of the box and running in 20 min or so.

The hardest part of assembly will probably be getting the box to its final destination before assembly begins (this bad boy weighs 280 lb).

Warranty

Assault Fitness backs the AirRunner with the following warranty:

  • 5 year frame
  • 3 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Given the price of the AirRunner (and its quality), I’m a little disappointed this treadmill doesn’t come with a lifetime frame warranty (like the TrueForm Runner does). After all, there are a lot of significantly cheaper treadmills that offer this.

Otherwise, the guarantee on this treadmill isn’t bad. Three years on parts is ok, although 5 would be much better.

A year on labor is pretty standard.

Final Thoughts

Assault Fitness is a great fitness brand known for providing great gear that is used by some of the most elite athletes on the planet- and I think their AirRunner fits in nicely with the rest of their lineup.

What impresses me most about this manual treadmill is how heavy-duty the frame and belt are. I mean this treadmill is designed to withstand the forces of a 350 lb user walking or running for 150,000 miles.

The curved deck makes it easier to get the belt moving without having to use the same awkward fixed incline design many cheaper manual treadmills use.

And the ability to instantly accelerate or decelerate makes the AirRunner a smart choice for CrossFit athletes or other folks utilizing interval or HIIT style workouts.

The biggest downfall I see is that the running surface is only 17″ wide, which may feel a bit narrow during use. The warranty could also be longer.

But if you’re looking for one of the finest manual treadmills on the market, the AirRunner is indeed a smart buy.

Like I said before, just make sure you’re ok with pacing yourself on a treadmill before you purchase- it would be a shame to have such a nice treadmill sitting around collecting dust.

P.S.- the AirRunner is on sale at Rogue from time to time, checking there might save ya a little cash.

 

 

 

Will

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