Echelon EX1 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
For fitness enthusiasts looking to elevate their spin experience, the Echelon EX1 indoor cycling bike is an innovative and ergonomic model which brings out all the best qualities of indoor cycling. Part of Echelon’s “Connect” line of Echelon indoor cycling bikes, the EX1 is a high-quality model which can easily hold its own in comparison with their competitors, and as the EX1 is one of the cheaper options among the Connect line, it will not be breaking the bank. Suitable for both the novice and the seasoned cycler, the Echelon EX1 combines ease of use with excellent technology which will stand up to the needs of most all spinners.
The second smallest of Echelon’s Connect line, the EX1 is space-efficient and will easily accommodate whatever space restrictions you may be taking into account. Combine this with the sturdy, streamlined design and you will be able to reap the benefits of your EX1 for many years. With these features, the Echelon EX1 presents the best that indoor cycling bikes have to offer, allowing for an approachable and high-quality workout within the comfort of your own home.
For those unable to or uncomfortable with going to the gym to workout, the importance of having your own studio-quality exercise bike within your home cannot be overstated, and in order to perfect your home workout regimen you need the right equipment to get the job done. The Echelon EX1 is a decent combination of accessibility, high quality, and best of all, affordability. Priced at $840, and offering payment plans to make purchasing even easier, the EX1 is a significantly cheaper option for your home gym than many competing spin bikes.
Echelon EX1 Review and Specifications:
EX1 Cycle Specifications:
- Width: 22”
- Length: 42″
- Height: 53”
- Bike Weight: 105 Pounds
- Max User Weight: 300 Pounds
- Transportation Wheels
If the attractive and modern build of the Echelon EX1 weren’t enough to sell you, Echelon has also certainly not skimped when it comes to providing the best in stationary bike technology, even at lower prices. The EX1 features a 28.6 lb fixed flywheel in conjunction with magnetic resistance which allows for 32 different levels of resistance to choose from. Along with the fact that Echelon’s spin bikes feature belt drivetrains, the EX1 gives you a smooth and quiet workout experience.
Offering a water bottle holder above the flywheel, ergonomic handlebars, SPD compatible foot pedals, and a horizontally and vertically adjustable saddle and handlebars, the EX1 is built to provide the perfect workout with minimum strain. As an additional bonus, the EX1 features two seat mounted dumbbell holders in case you want to integrate an upper body workout with your cycling. The Echelon EX1 comes with many of the high-quality features demanded from the best indoor cycling bikes today while at an average, if not lower, price than most, making it an excellent addition to any home, workout space, personal gym, or studio.
Lack of Monitor:
One of the biggest flaws of the EX1 is its noticeable lack of a monitor, a common feature of most other top-of-the-line magnetic indoor bikes. In place of a built-in monitor, the EX1 features a mounting plate for a tablet. This mount allows for 180 degrees of rotation, so if you would like to use it while doing exercises off the bike you may, which is a nice touch. Rather than having functions typical of a built-in monitor, the Echelon EX1 is able to connect to tablets via Bluetooth, where their Echelon Fit App can be used to access all of the features you would expect of a traditional monitor.
The Echelon Fit App offers a wide variety of on-demand classes, live classes, and scenic virtual biking routes, enough to satisfy the needs of most any spin bike user. Various statistics are also tracked by the app, such as heart rate, distance, RPM’s, and resistance level. It must be noted that the EX1 is only compatible with Echelon’s app, and does not feature support for any other indoor cycling apps, so if you are a user of different apps such as MyFitnessPal or Zwift you are out of luck. Echelon’s Fit App also requires a subscription to be used, so if you plan on purchasing the EX1 along with a one year subscription to the Echelon Fit App the price jumps from $840 to $1200 and a two year subscription raises the price further to $1500. These added costs cannot be avoided, as for all intents and purposes the Echelon Fit App is necessary to use the bike, as it is not only the sole way to track your workout statistics, but is also the only way to know precisely how high or low your resistance is currently set, a major con to the bike’s overall functionality.
- SPD-equipped pedals have toe cages
- Dual-sided pedals are compatible with both high-performance SPD cleats and traditional fitness shoes
- Q-factor of 202 mm
Recently, “clipping in” through the use of SPD cleats has become a popular trend among those seeking the most efficient workout from their stationary bike. As a result, more and more indoor cycle manufacturers are offering SPD-compatible pedals as part of their product. Echelon is no different; the EX1 features SPD-compatible pedals on one side of the pedal and toe cages on the other, allowing maximum flexibility based upon the user’s personal preferences. This makes the Echelon suitable for both those who would never cycle without SPD cleats and more casual riders who simply want to ride in their usual athletic shoes. The cage has an adjustable strap, so that the cage can be tightened or loosened to your own specifications.
The Q-factor on the Echelon EX1 spin bike is 202mm, which places the EX1 among the wider stance exercise bikes on the market currently. Typically a narrower stance is preferred, as it permits ergonomic positioning of the feet and knees, allowing for a more comfortable and productive workout by reducing strain on your muscles and joints and through more efficient power transfer throughout your pedal strokes. As stated previously, 202mm is on the wider side of spin bikes currently available, but some riders with longer legs might still be able to find it comfortable.
Echelon EX1 Flywheel:
- 28.6 lb fixed flywheel
- Rear-mounted fixed flywheel
- Magnetic resistance works with belt transmission to provide smooth and quiet riding experience
Flywheels are one of the most important aspects that need to be considered when looking to purchase an indoor cycling bike, and the Echelon EX1 has not certainly not held back on this feature. The EX1 features a 28.6 lb magnetic flywheel. An inertia-weighted flywheel, such as the one present in the EX1, provides the rider with a smoother motion while they cycle, preventing any jerking and straining. Magnetic resistance also has the added benefit of contactless braking, which will prevent wear caused by friction over the years. The location of the EX1’s flywheel is a little unorthodox, being fixed under and behind the saddle, but this placement actually has two benefits: it keeps the exposed flywheel out of the sweat zone, helping prevent rust damage, and it helps balance the bike, further increasing the stability of your ride.
The Echelon EX1 features a belt drivetrain, and, although Echelon does not specify the exact variety, it is likely a poly-v belt, which is the industry standard and features on most bikes which use a belt instead of a chain. Combining their magnetic flywheel with the belt drivetrain means the EX1 offers a smooth, quiet riding experience for the user. However, we do caution prospective buyers to be aware that as the flywheel is uncovered, and located where it is, it is important to be watchful if the spin bike is likely to be used around small children or pets in order to prevent any accidents from happening during use.
Echelon EX1 Resistance:
- The Echelon EX1 indoor spin bike features a hefty magnetic resistance system, which allows the user to choose between 32 different resistance levels.
- The resistance knob can be used before or during rides, allowing riders to train with their desired resistance levels at all times.
The Echelon EX1 spin bike uses high-quality magnetic technology for their flywheel, which allows users to select between 32 different resistance levels, meaning you can always push yourself just as much or little as you would like to during your workout. The resistance knob is on the EX1’s down tube, making it easy to reach, and it adjusts easily so that switching resistance levels during a ride is not a hassle.
The Echelon EX1’s magnetic flywheel means that switching between resistance levels during your ride is a simple and smooth process, not interrupting the flow of your exercise. This allows for a myriad of different uses, replicating hills or various other terrains and allowing for HIIT workouts, letting you personalize your workout.
Handlebars and Seat
- Two-way adjustable, multi-positional handlebars.
- Vertically and horizontally adjustable saddle.
- Adjustable media shelf on the handlebars.
The Echelon EX1’s handlebars are constructed with an ergonomic design and are able to be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. This functionality means that different riders can choose various styles depending on their needs. Similar knobs to the one used to adjust resistance are also used to adjust the positioning of the handlebar. Positioned in the middle of the handlebars is the main console, which is equipped with a tablet mount to be used with their Echelon Fit App, which is required to utilize all the features of the EX1. Overall, while the handlebars do not offer anything particularly unique or special, their range of adjustment makes them adequate for people of many different body types, providing valuable flexibility for all riders.
The EX1’s saddle features similar adjustability to the handlebars, letting users adjust both the vertical and horizontal positioning in order to be accommodating for many different heights and body types. The saddle is wider than one you would find on a typical road cycle which will make it a comfortable fit for most riders. The high degree of maneuverability which can be seen in both the handlebars and the saddle make the EX1 an excellent choice for buyers who are entertaining the possibility of multiple riders using the same bike, and while not particularly streamlined, the EX1 does not make it difficult to adjust either.
EX1 Belt Drivetrain:
- With the EX1 and other bikes in the series, Echelon has decided to incorporate a belt drivetrain as opposed to a chain.
- The belt on this model (and other Echelon indoor bikes) is Poly-V (not Timing/Toothed) which is good but not great.
Echelon does not specify the variety of belts that are used in their bikes, however it’s a good bet that they feature the standard Poly-V belt which is found on many modern indoor bikes which use belts. Spin bikes that opt for belts instead of chains will have a smoother and quieter riding experience, as they eliminate the need for clunky chains. In combination with the heavier flywheel, the belt drivetrain provides riders of the EX1 with an incredibly smooth riding experience, free from any jerking or catching. Belts also require less maintenance than chains, not having any needs such as oiling, adjusting, or tightening.
The greatest advantage presented by the Echelon EX1’s belt transmission is that it makes the bike’s performance nearly silent. This is aided by the EX1’s sturdy, all-steel build, which allows it to stand up to even the most intense workouts without creaking or groaning. Take those two facts along with the EX1’s magnetic resistance system and the EX1 will provide you with a quiet riding experience if that is what you desire. This is ideal for anyone who may have limited time and can only ride at times where the noise may disturb others, such as very early in the morning or late at night.
Echelon EX1 Price and Warranty:
- The Echelon EX1 spin bike is currently priced at $840
- The Echelon EX1 spin bike’s warranty includes only one year of coverage on mechanical parts and labour
- Extended warranty can be purchased for 1 or 3 years for an additional fee
- If you are having troubles with your EX1 bike while it is under warranty, you can visit https://echelonfit.com/pages/register-warranty and fill out a claim there for whatever issue you are having.
Since the meager 1 year warranty which the bike comes with is likely not going to satisfy any prospective purchasers of the EX1, you will be forced to either purchase an 1 year extended warranty for $79 or a 3 year extended warranty for $199. The 1 year warranty is the major weakness of Echelon’s EX1 bike.
While the price of the EX1 initially seems to be quite reasonable, after factoring in additional necessary purchases, such as a subscription to their Echelon Fit App and an extended warranty, the Echelon quickly jumps up in price, making it quite a bit overpriced for the mid-range features that it offers. This is not to say that the Echelon EX1 is a bad bike, it is a well crafted piece of machinery with many great qualities that would stand up to whatever you may ask of it. Nonetheless, there are simply better offerings on the market which will offer you more bang for buck.
Assembly and Shipping:
- When purchased without a subscription plan to Echelon Fit App, premium shipping costs $199.
- If purchased with a 1 or 2 year subscription plan, premium shipping is free to contiguous US.
- All the required assembly tools are included in the Echlon EX1 box.
- The EX1 parts that require assembly are; pedals, front/rear feet, seat, and handlebars.
The assembly required for the Echelon EX1 spin bike is not particularly demanding, and if you follow the instructions included in the package it is likely that you can have your EX1 put together in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the parts, such as the flywheel and the handlebars, come pre-assembled, however separately packed.
Putting these larger parts together will make up most of the construction process of the EX1. You will need a few tools, but nothing that is not commonly found in a household, and a little elbow grease, but if you stick to the instruction booklet constructing your EX1 spin bike should be a cinch.
Echelon EX1 Indoor Bike Pros:
Ergonomic and intuitive:
The Echelon EX1 indoor bike is a highly attractive combination of both a very sleek build and one that is well-constructed and able to stand up to the needs of any spin cyclist. The EX1 is a highly flexible spin bike, which can be customized to your individual needs with every use. Combine this with the EX1’s snug design and relative ease of use and the EX1 is perfectly capable of fitting into any user’s schedule, not requiring any sort of expertise or space/time commitment.
Silent Belt Drivetrain and Rear Magnetic Flywheel:
The combination of the belt drivetrain and the magnetic resistance flywheel means that the Echelon EX1 offers a nearly silent riding experience. Smooth no-contact braking and the belt instead of a chain makes for an intensely fluid ride every time. The magnetic flywheel also offers 32 different levels of resistance, just another way in which the EX1 allows its rider to customize their workout so that it can better fit their needs.
Well-Constructed Steel Frame:
The Echelon EX1 is a testament to good craftsmanship, with a sturdy steel frame that is built to last the test of time. The EX1’s stalwart build means that you can really put the magnetic resistance to the test without having to worry about the bike jostling too much. Flexibility seems to be a staple of the EX1, and the handlebars and saddle are no exception. Both able to be vertically and horizontally adjusted, the EX1 is built to ensure that any rider will be able to exercise in comfort.
Echelon EX1 Indoor Bike Cons:
Lack of Digital Monitor or Other App Support:
A standout issue with Echelon’s EX1 is the lack of an integrated monitor, opting instead to have a simple mount for a tablet. This wouldn’t necessarily be problematic on its own, but Echelon only allows their bike to be used with the Echelon Fit App, which not only increases the cost of the bike, as you must pay for a subscription to their service, but the bike also lacks several features if you do not do so, such as tracking statistics and even being able to see what resistance level the EX1 is currently set at.
The biggest drawback to the Echelon EX1 has to be the weak warranty that the EX1 comes with. Without purchasing an extended warranty the EX1 comes with only 1 year of warranty for both mechanical parts and labour.
Final Thoughts on the Echelon EX1:
The Echelon EX1 is a high-quality offering in the mid-range tier of spin bikes, which is suitable for any home gym, studio, workout room, or otherwise. The EX1 has a high quality steel build which ensures that it will last, and the sturdy construction of the magnetic flywheel and belt drivetrain ensure that the EX1 can take on whatever challenges come its way. Flexibility and comfort are also at the forefront of the EX1’s strengths, allowing for vertical and horizontal adjustment of both the saddle and handlebars, featuring SPD compatible pedals with an optional toe cage on the other side, and offering 32 levels of magnetic resistance, making it a fitting choice for most indoor cyclists. However, the EX1 is held back by a couple major problems, including no integrated monitor, forcing you to not only use your own tablet, but specifically a tablet with Echelon’s own paid service means that you don’t only pay once for this EX1, at least if you want full functionality from your product, and a limited warranty.
The Echelon EX1 has many desirable features of a great option for those looking for an indoor bike more in the middle-range of pricing. The EX1’s high quality build, ease of use, and flexibility are all highly desirable traits, but when you take into account the additional costs incurred by a subscription to the Echelon Fit App and the extended warranty, the EX1 simply ceases to be worth its deceptively hefty price tag. These limitations place the EX1 behind its competitors, so if you’re looking for a good mid-range indoor bike, it may be best to skip the EX1.