The Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike is one of the most heavy-duty air bikes on the market. It has a 350 lb weight capacity and weighs 137 lbs, providing an ultra-stable ride. The belt drive reduces noise and maintenance, and it has several other notable features, including premium pedals, multiple hand positions, etc.
Who It’s Right For
- Someone looking for a heavy-duty air bike
- Anyone who wants a compact cardio piece
- Those looking for minimal maintenance
Things to Consider
- Some may find the heavier frame harder to move around
- It doesn’t offer a wind guard option
- The pedals are slightly wider than most
I’ve tested numerous air bikes at Garage Gym Lab – they’re an excellent option for home gym owners because they’re compact, affordable, and downright effective.
The Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike may be the most underrated I’ve come across.
It stacks up well against the Rogue Echo Bike, Bells of Steel Blitz Bike, Assault AirBike, and others.
It’s stable, highly adjustable, and offers some nice features you won’t find on other models.
However, there are some downsides to consider.
In this review, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare it to the popular Echo Bike.
Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike
I’ve been a longtime fan of Vulcan Strength. I first started using their equipment in 2017 and have always felt they’re one of the most under-the-radar companies making great products.
The Thrasher is no exception.
I love the overbuilt design, premium pedals, and multiple hand positions on the arms.
The monitor displays everything you need, and the seat is highly adjustable for nearly every rider.
However, it’s missing some premium accessories you may find on other bikes, including a wind guard, turf tires, etc.
Let’s have a look at the specs and jump into the review.
- Footprint: 44″ L x 24″ W x 55″ H
- Weight: 137 lbs
- Seat Dimensions: 12″ L x 31″-43″ H
- Drivetrain: Belt Drive
- Pedals: Metal w/ Toe Cage
- Fan Diameter: 23″
- Display: LCD
- Stats: RPM, Speed, Intervals, Distance, Calories, Watts, & Heart Rate
- Extras: Water Bottle Holder
- Wheels: Yes
- Weight Limit: 350 lbs
- Warranty: 2 Years
Overall Build Quality
The Vulcan Thrasher Bike uniquely blends a compact footprint with a heavy build. At 137 lbs, it’s one of the heaviest air bikes you’ll find. At this weight, it has a max capacity of 350 lbs, putting it at the top of the list.
You might expect a heavy bike to be large, but this one is surprisingly smaller than many lighter options. For example, the Rogue Echo Bike is 11″ longer and over 5″ wider than the Vulcan Thrasher.
The rear support base measures ~24″ wide and provides excellent lateral stability. Even when exaggerating an aggressive stride, I wasn’t able to produce much side-to-side movement.
I like that the rear base has threaded caps underneath to accommodate unlevel floors, but I was disappointed that the front base only has fixed rubber caps. I’d like to see similar caps on the front to ensure the bike is fully level on any floor.
Most of the Thrasher Bike is built with steel. The thick arched piece that serves as the bike’s backbone is a unique feature that contributes to its overall rigidity. Plastic is mostly limited to the crank surround, which is common among air bikes, but you’ll also find plastic on the foot pegs.
Operation & Mechanics
I’m impressed with how smooth the Vulcan Thrasher is while riding. At lower-intensity riding or maximum-effort sprints, it’s one of the smoothest I’ve tried. That’s because this bike is belt-driven, which has a few primary advantages.
First, belts are naturally smoother than chains because the flat surface glides more efficiently. Second, belts require less maintenance than chains and are easier to replace should you ever need to. And last, belts are much quieter than chains, making them a better choice for most home gym owners.
The cranks on both sides also operate smoothly, but they’re wider than most air bikes. Even as a shorter rider, I haven’t noticed a meaningful difference in my stride, but riders with more narrow hips may experience a more outward knee angle.
The Fan & Blades
The Thrasher Bike has a 23″ fan, which is on the smaller side compared to some. Because a smaller fan has smaller blades, the resistance is typically lower than a bike with larger fans. While I’ve found the Vulcan bike has slightly lower resistance, they smartly increased the number of blades to offset the impact.
Most fan bikes have 6-7 blades, although some (e.g., the Rogue Echo Bike) have up to 10. The Vulcan Thrasher Bike has 12 blades, which I’ve found puts the overall resistance on a similar level as larger fans with fewer blades. That said, I’d like to see blades with 90-degree edges to trap air and create more resistance.
One benefit of the smaller fan is that it makes it easier to move the bike around since the fan doesn’t hit the ground. Considering the weight of the Vulcan, I think it’s a fair tradeoff.
The seat on the Vulcan Thrasher offers outstanding adjustability, making it great for users of nearly every height. Like other bikes, you can adjust the seat’s height and distance from the handles. However, the way it adjusts makes it more versatile than most.
The seat’s height ranges from 31″ to 43″ (measured from the ground), but instead of having dedicated holes for the adjustment, Vulcan uses a series of notches. It’s very similar to the Concept 2 BikeErg, another favorite of mine. While bikes like the Rogue Echo Bike offer up to 11 vertical positions, the Thrasher Bike has a staggering 75. With a simple chrome lever, you can find the perfect height for your body.
Additionally, you can move the seat forward or back from 0″ to 8.25″. I would like to see similar notches here for consistency, but the full range is highly versatile.
The seat itself is on the larger side, measuring 12″ long and 11.5″ wide. It has a fairly firm foam but is quite comfortable. I still prefer a saddle-style seat, but the wide profile is great for longer rides.
The Thrasher Bike’s pedals are another one of my favorite features. They’re made of metal and measure 4″x3″, providing plenty of foot space. The raised nodules on top reduce slippage, but the real standout is the toe cage, which other air bikes don’t offer as standard. During maximum-effort sprints, the toe cage keeps your feet firmly in place, and you can adjust them to fit your foot size.
Another thing I like about these pedals is how they mount. Many air bike pedals are mounted to a thick L-bracket, which can sometimes interfere with your heel. The Thrasher pedals are mounted to a thinner plate, which greatly reduces the chances of your heel clipping during your ride.
The handles on the Thrasher Bike are also more versatile than other air bikes. Most air bike arms have a single horizontal handle, allowing you to push and pull for a full-body workout. However, the Vulcan Bike has three handle options, giving you better variety and comfort.
You can pick between two horizontal heights or a vertical position on the outer edge. I use the higher horizontal handle the most, but I’ll switch it up frequently for a different upper-body stimulus. This is especially great when using the bike with only the arms.
The monitor on the Vulcan Thrasher has a clean button layout and is easy to operate. It has several modes, including intervals, target time, target distance, target calories, and target heart rate. You can also get on the bike and start pedaling for a traditional workout that tracks your stats.
One feature I like about this monitor is its longer shutoff period. It automatically shuts off after 60 seconds (most are 30) in standby mode and after 90 seconds during a workout (except for interval programs). This allows you time to superset exercises without losing your stats.
Otherwise, it’s a fairly basic monitor. The screen is easy to read, but I wish it was backlit for better visibility. I’d also prefer text instead of the icons it uses for time, distance, and calories, but that’s minor.
Here are all of the monitor stats/programs:
- RPM (rotations per minute)
- Speed (measured in mph)
- Heart Rate (requires heart rate straps – not included)
- Intervals (10/20, 20/10, or custom)
- Target Programs (time, distance, calories, or heart rate)
Portability & Aesthetics
Moving the Vulcan Thrasher Bike around the gym has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it has front wheels and a rear handle, making it much easier to lift. The handle is my favorite of all the air bikes I’ve reviewed. It’s oversized and has a nice center section with knurling, although it’s very passive.
On the downside, its heavier construction makes it slightly harder to move around. It’s not an issue if you have a permanent location, but those planning to move it frequently may prefer a lighter bike. However, the smaller fan allows for more ground clearance.
Aesthetically, I’m a fan (no pun intended) of the Thrasher Bike. It has a unique shape, and I like the colorway. If I could change one thing, I would eliminate the orange seat lever. It clashes with the red and somewhat detracts from the overall look.
Assembling the Thrasher Bike
Assembling the Thrasher Bike is straightforward and consistent with other air bikes. Because it’s a heavier bike, it ships in two boxes, which is different than most. However, it all arrived in good condition, and I was impressed with the packaging.
I assembled the bike in 35 minutes by myself. Vulcan includes all the tools you’ll need, including wrenches, allen keys, and a screwdriver. They also include two AA batteries for the monitor.
The Vulcan Thrasher receives very positive feedback from users, although reviews on their website are limited. Owners love the heavy-duty construction, belt drive, and easy assembly. However, one user pointed out the upgrade potential with the monitor, specifically suggesting a “sleeker looking screen.”
Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike vs. Rogue Echo Bike
The Rogue Echo Bike is arguably the most popular and respected air bike on the market. It’s the official bike of the CrossFit games and has several thousand positive reviews behind it. In my opinion, it’s the gold standard of air bikes. So, how does it stack up against the Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike?
Firstly, both bikes are priced the same and include free shipping. They also both offer two-year warranties, though Vulcan provides an extended warranty option through CPS.
In terms of construction, both bikes are heavy, durable, and stable. The Thrasher Bike weighs 14 lbs more than the Echo Bike and has a higher weight capacity. And although it’s 5″ narrower, I found it offered slightly more stability. The smaller footprint also makes the Thrasher Bike a better option for tight spaces and small gyms. Despite being heavier, I also found the Thrasher easier to move around because of its handle design.
The Echo Bike has one of the best and most feature-rich monitors in this class. It has a better layout than the Trasher, includes premium buttons, and offers simple Bluetooth/ANT+ connectivity. The screen is also easier to read, especially in bright settings.
Regarding performance, the Echo Bike has a larger fan with bigger blades, creating more resistance. That doesn’t mean the Thrasher is easy (not at all), but comparatively, it doesn’t offer the same intensity. However, I prefer the pedals on the Thrasher and appreciate that my heels are less likely to clip.
The Thrasher Bike technically comes with more standard options since it includes a water bottle holder, which you can also use to hold your cell phone. However, you can purchase premium accessories for the Echo Bike, including turf tires, a wind guard, and dedicated water bottle and cell phone holders.
Overall, both are great air bikes. If you want a more compact design with the best stability, the Vulcan Thrasher is a better option. However, the Echo Bike’s stellar reputation is hard to beat in other categories, including resistance and technology.
Further reading: Rogue Echo Bike Review
Pros and Cons
The Vulcan Thrasher Air Bike is the most underrated air bike I’ve tested. I love its durability, stability, and smaller frame. It’s a comfortable bike with great adjustability and a smooth belt system.
While the fan is smaller than some, I’m pleased with the overall performance.
I would love to see a more visually-appealing monitor and better connectivity. However, I appreciate the slower automatic shutoff for super-setting my workouts. I’d also like to see options for other accessories, like turf tires and a wind guard.
Overall, I recommend the Vulcan Thrasher to any home gym owner looking for a solid cardio option with maximum durability/stability in a compact footprint.