Echelon Indoor Cycling Bikes Reviews and Comparisons
Echelon Smart Connect Bikes Overview
Of the many different types of indoor spin bikes that now dominate the realm of at-home fitness, Echelon is one that has burst onto the scene somewhat unexpectedly. They have released a series of spin bikes over time that will easily match up to some other competitors like Peloton. What we’re here to do is compare some of Echelon’s models in order to figure out just which one is the best for the price.
We’re going to cover all sorts of different elements of these bikes, such as the technical elements, handlebars, saddles, the drivetrain, monitors (or lack thereof), and finally the price. These elements will be compared directly to our charts, while we will give our opinions and a general summary of the features. At the end of the article, we’ll go over any other features that didn’t fit in with the general categories and give our closing thoughts on the different spin bikes.
- Echelon EX5s Indoor Cycling Bike Review
- Echelon EX5 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
- Echelon EX3 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
- Echelon EX1 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
- Echelon EX15 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
Compared the Echelon Indoor Cycles
|Echelon EX5s Indoor Bike||Overpriced at $1900||Not compatible with other apps and requires constant paid subscriptions to fully function||Estimated based on RPM and Resistance (not accurate)||1-Year limited parts (not impressive)||NordicTrack S22i|
|Echelon EX5 Indoor Bike||Overpriced at $1200||No monitor, not compatible with other apps and requires constant paid subscriptions to fully function||Estimated based on RPM and Resistance (not accurate)||1-Year limited parts (not impressive)||Bowflex C7|
|Echelon EX3 Indoor Bike||Overpriced at $1000||No monitor, not compatible with other apps and requires constant paid subscriptions to fully function||Estimated based on RPM and Resistance (not accurate)||1-Year limited parts (not impressive)||Schwinn IC4|
|Echelon EX1 Indoor Bike||Overpriced at $800||No monitor, not compatible with other apps and requires constant paid subscriptions to fully function||Estimated based on RPM and Resistance (not accurate)||1-Year limited parts (not impressive)||Sunny SF-B1986|
|Echelon EX-15 Indoor Bike||Overpriced at $400||No Watt||1-Year limited parts (not impressive)||HMC 5006|
Echelon Bikes Technical Information
One of the most notable aspects about all of the different Echelon EX spin bikes is just how similar they are in regards to their actual build and technical information. Each one of them (from the Echelon EX1 to the Echelon EX5s) has a max user weight of 300 lbs (136 kg) and has a steel frame. This is pretty convenient, as it means that users don’t have to worry about one bike supporting a certain weight, while the others would not.
The first noticeable difference starts to appear once you look at the weights and dimensions of the various bikes. The smallest of the bikes is the Echelon EX1, which weighs in at 105 lbs (47 kg). The biggest difference in terms of size for the EX1 is its length, which falls 10 inches below the next closest Echelon bike. The EX1 is a tad bit wider than the others, but is also slightly shorter.
The Echelon EX3 and EX5 are nearly identical as far as the technical information goes. The EX5 weighs slightly more, though the weight certainly doesn’t come from the physical build of the bike. In fact, the Echelon EX5 is smaller in terms of length than the EX3. As mentioned before, both are made with a steel frame and have 300 lbs as the weight limit.
Finally, there’s the Echelon EX5s. This is the heaviest of the Echelon bikes. Though again, there is very little difference in terms of the technical information compared to the rest of the Echelon bikes. It weighs 124 lbs (56 kg) and is the tallest of the bikes by a single inch. It is a quarter of an inch smaller in terms of width compared to the Echelon EX1, while it is 2 inches shorter in length compared to the EX3.
Echelon Bikes Drivetrain and Frame
Up next are the elements in and around the drivetrains and resistance of the Echelon bikes. Again, there are almost no differences here, as Echelon has made sure that each of the bikes are built well enough to function on their own. There are no instances of corner cutting or stripped features here, which is nice to see.
Starting with the drivetrain, each of the Echelon bikes has a belt drivetrain. It isn’t specified, but it is likely the Poly-V belt that is used on most modern belt-driven spin bikes. Regardless, it does make the workouts on the Echelon bikes much quieter and smoother than it would if it had a chain for the drivetrain.
There is a bit of a difference when it comes to the resistance systems of the bikes. All of the Echelon bikes have 32 different levels of magnetic resistance. This means that they last longer and are quieter than a friction system of resistance. The difference here is that the Echelon EX1 does NOT have a specific knob that makes changing these levels of resistance much easier. You can still change the levels of resistance, obviously. However, on the Echelon EX3, EX5 and EX5s, this process is much more streamlined.
The Q-Factor of every bike measures in at 202 mm. This is a bit bulkier than many other modern spin bikes, but not quite so much that it becomes actively uncomfortable. For those who might not know, the Q-Factor of a bike is the distance between your feet while sitting on the bike. It is a generally accepted fact that the narrower the Q-Factor, the better. However, it can get to the point where it is so narrow that the legs bend inwards and that becomes uncomfortable as well. Fortunately, that is much rarer and will not be a problem with the Echelon EX bikes.
Finally, there’s the aspect of the Echelon bikes that we haven’t covered yet; the pedals. Many experienced indoor cyclists these days like to use SPD cleats with their bikes thanks to their ability to raise the level of the workout. That has led to many of the indoor bikes being produced to have SPD-compatible pedals. The Echelon EX1, EX3, EX5 and EX5s are no exception to this pattern, with all of them having such pedals. The pedals also have toe cages in order to allow those cyclists who don’t have SPD cleats or just want to exercise in regular athletic shoes to be able to do just that. Echelon should certainly be praised for having both options available to those who choose to use them.
Echelon Bikes Handlebars and Saddles
The handlebars and additional bits that come in and around the saddle are where some differences can also be spotted amidst the uniformity of the Echelon bikes. Starting with the handlebars themselves, there are a couple of differences between those on the Echelon EX1/EX3 and those of the EX5 and EX5s. The EX1 and EX3 have ergonomic handlebars with an adjustable console that can hold any tablet or entertainment device and rotate around 180 degrees. The handlebars of the EX1 can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically. Curiously, the handlebars of the Echelon EX3 is only adjustable vertically. Why there is this difference between the two, we cannot fathom, but it should be pointed out.
The handlebars of the Echelon EX5 and EX5s are described somewhat differently than their comrades. They each have a “Competition Aero handlebar system” that provides both vertical and horizontal adjustment “for either performance or comfort set up”. We’re not sure about how much more comfortable they are than the ergonomic handlebars of the EX1 and EX3, but it is nice that they are both highly adjustable.
The saddles of the Echelon bikes are pretty comfortable and easily adjustable based on who is using the bike at the time. The Echelon EX1 doesn’t particularly have anything of note about the saddle. It can be adjusted horizontally and vertically, but that’s about it. The Echelon EX3, EX5 and EX5s all have a somewhat more fluid ability to adjust their seats. They define it as “a competition style seat” that has a 6 inch lever-style adjustment mechanism. This method works pretty well, though there’s not some mystical, “cannot miss out on” feature here that you absolutely need to have. It’s just a different method of adjustment that makes it slightly quicker and easier to use. We’re going to praise them for that, but they might be overselling its importance a tad bit.
Staying hydrated is always important during these exercise sessions, which means that water bottle holders are nice to have. The Echelon EX3, EX5 and EX5s are all quite nice in this regard, as they have 2 water bottle holders integrated underneath the handlebars. The EX1 falls slightly shorter, only having one water bottle holder that is integrated above the flywheel.
Finally, there are a series of bonus additions that each of these bikes comes with. The Echelon EX1 is fairly straightforward, as it comes with a couple of seat-mounted dumbbell holders. This is nice for anyone who wants to get some upper body work done while they cycle. The Echelon EX3 has a handheld rack on the seat slide alongside some lightweight triangular tubing. This seems fairly different to the additions the EX1 offers, but it is what it is. The Echelon EX5 also has a weight rack behind the seat that holds two dumbbells, though the dumbbells are sold separately. Interestingly, that’s the only addition of note. The Echelon EX5s gets all of the little bonuses. It has the weight rack of the EX5, but it also has power ports at the front and back of the bike. The EX5s also has kick guards on the frame stabilizer weldments.
Echelon Bikes Monitors and Connections
Now we’re coming to one of the slightly confusing parts about the Echelon EX bikes. We just said that the handlebars would allow for the monitors on all of the bikes to be rotated 180 degrees. What wasn’t mentioned was that when referring to a “monitor” with these bikes, it simply means a place to put a tablet such as an iPad. There is no actual computer built into the Echelon bikes. Instead, they take the approach of having a Bluetooth connection to their Echelon Fit App and using that as their “console”.
The app itself is an attempt by Echelon to allow users to either start or continue going to cycling classes that they have set up through the app. There are on-demand classes, live classes and virtual bike rides that can offer scenic routes through a variety of beautiful outdoor locations. There are different instructors, biking styles, music choices and more. The app also tracks a variety of statistics while you exercise, such as the distance traveled, RPM, heart rate and resistance that was used. Overall, the Echelon Fit app offers a pretty solid amount of content for what is normally expected through built-in bike monitors. The only potential downside is that you’ll need a tablet with Bluetooth connection capabilities in order to experience all of this. The Bluetooth connection can also occasionally be suspect, which breaks up the flow of the workout. Admittedly, this is rather uncommon, but it should still be noted.
The problem with this approach is that all of the Echelon EX1, EX3, EX5 and EX5s are all incompatible with other apps. If you are a user of MyFitnessPal, Zwift, Wahoo Fitness or some other fitness apps, there’s no option to connect your accounts there. Some will be disappointed about this, but at least the Echelon Fit app actually does a good job of offering alternatives. Echelon also offers a subscription to FitPass, which offers even more workouts, post-workout stretches, strength exercises and other benefits. It’ll cost you, but you’ll still get something in return.
Echelon Bike Prices and Warranties
Now we get to the part that many people are interested in. How much do these bikes cost and how long are they guaranteed to last? The former part is pretty decent, at least if you plan on buying the bikes alone. The Echelon EX1 costs an extremely fair $840 for just the bike. For the bike plus a one year subscription to the Echelon fitness membership (which is needed to access any of the features mentioned above), it costs around $1,200. For two years, it costs $200 more. This is a pretty fair price for the bike, as even with the subscriptions, it is still cheaper than many modern spin bikes.
The Echelon EX3 costs slightly more, but still offers good value. For just the bike, it’s $1,000. For the 1-years subscription, it costs $400 more and $200 on top of that for a 2-year subscription. Still in the “fair enough” region, though it’s tilting more towards the pricey side.
The Echelon EX5 really starts to lean to the expensive side if you intend to get the package deal with the subscriptions. The EX5 costs $1,200 for the base bike, $1,600 with a 1-year subscription and $1,800 for a 2-year subscription. This gets slightly harder to recommend, as there are other spin bikes that have more features for about the same price.
The Echelon EX5s is much harder to recommend based on its $1,900 price point. For $2,000, it gets a 1-year subscription and for $2,200 you get a 2-year subscription. While the subscriptions make less of an impact on the price here, the basic bike alone costs less than some other high-quality spin bikes. This makes it harder to recommend, especially when considering how long these bikes are guaranteed to last.
Which leads us to the most egregious part of these Echelon bikes. All of them have the exact same warranty. You will get a single year limited warranty that covers the mechanical parts and labour. That’s it. Nothing on the frame at all. No other guarantees besides the fact that you can return the bike for 30 days with no questions asked. Compared to many other bikes at this sort of price range, this is awful. It is by far the biggest issue with these Echelon bikes and should be noted by anyone who might think of buying one. Once you do, you have a year until Echelon takes their hands away and tells you that you’re on your own.
|Name||Image||Bike only Price||One Year + Bike||2 Year + Bike||Warranty on Mechanical Parts||Warranty on Labour|
|Echelon EX5s Indoor Bike||$1,900||$2,000||$2,200||1 Year||1 Year|
|Echelon EX5 Indoor Bike||$1,200||$1,600||$1,800||1 Year||1 Year|
|Echelon EX3 Indoor Bike||$1,000||$1,400||$1,600||1 Year||1 Year|
|Echelon EX1 Indoor Bike||$840||$1,200||$1,400||1 Year||1 Year|
|Echelon EX-15 Indoor Bike||$450||$750||$900||1 Year||1 Year|
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Other Notable Parts
One of the major criticisms about the Echelon bikes is not actually about the bikes themselves. It is about the app that is seen as necessary. Many reviews speak about how unreliable the app itself is, with constant crashing, disconnecting, and slow responses from the customer service team when these issues were brought up. If these issues don’t pop up, then that’s great. If they do, that can very quickly ruin the experience overall.
What We Think of Echelon Bikes (Conclusion)
It seems that Echelon have gone for a very uniform build amidst all of their EX bikes. The benefit of this is that no matter which bike you pick, you don’t get a radically different experience to any other. On the flip side, this means that there is no great reason to go for the bikes that are priced higher (the Echelon EX5s and maybe even the EX5). Considering how much of the value of these bikes comes from their subscription, the lower the initial price, the better. Which brings us to one of the major complaints about these bikes; you will never stop paying for it if you decide to buy it. The app controls so much, from resistance settings and the statistics that you see. Not to mention that Echelon also offers (and clearly desires) an additional subscription to their FitPass program. Just be wary of how these costs can build up over time.
In addition, warranties. Compared to what many other spin bike brands offer, they are just so bad that it seems unreal. It looks as though that Echelon has either so little confidence in the durability of their product or are simply unwilling to back up the confidence that they do have. Either way, it’s a bad look for the company and brings into question every single one of the EX bikes. Once again, it takes away incentives to go for the more expensive bikes because you don’t know if in month 13, the bike will suddenly break due to some unforeseen accident. It’s just not good enough for a modern spin bike.
While it might sound like we’re bashing on the Echelon bikes, we are simply pointing out weaknesses. The bikes themselves are well-built, feel comfortable and provide many of the aspects that are desired by cyclists. The EX1, EX3, EX5 and EX5s are all good bikes. How much they are worth in terms of value-for-money can only be decided by the buyer.