Echelon is an affordable, tech-savvy fitness company launched by Viatek Consumer Products Group in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They released the first member of the Echelon family, the Flex Bike, in early 2018.
Echelon has become a major player in the connected fitness space, offering high-tech cycling equipment, interactive workouts, and an online community at a reasonable cost, rivaling more expensive brands like Peloton. On-demand workouts and affordable equipment are the name of the game here, so cost-conscious shoppers who want interactive bike training in their home without the high price tag should look to Echelon. Cost is brought down as most of the Echelon bikes do not come with a screen; members can use their own screens (mobile phones, tablets or TVs) to stream their workouts.
One of Echelon’s main draws is the capability for interactive training through their Echelon Fit app. Available on Google Play and the Apple App store, the Echelon Fit app brings immersive fitness into your home and allows you to take your bike workouts to the next level with scenic rides and hundreds of live and on-demand classes. There are different packages available, some of which include the addition of FitPass which allows you to wirelessly cast Echelon Studio fitness classes to your TV.
In addition to the bikes, the company also offers other fitness accessories from clothing to heart rate monitors to branded tablets, and recently launched two generations of interactive Smart mirrors that display Echelon fitness classes while tracking your workout stats.
Below is our Echelon Fitness review including the key pros and cons of choosing an Echelon exercise bike.
- Sturdy Steel Frames: Echelon bikes are built to last with strong steel frames which can hold up to 300 lbs.
- Heavy Flywheels: These bikes offer a smooth resistance, with flywheels on each model weighing 13 kgs; this is nearly a 30 lb. drive. Magnetic resistance ranges from 1-32 levels on all models, and makes for a quiet and stable ride.
- Personal Training Experience: Whatever the model, using your Echelon bike with the Echelon Fit App will make you feel like you have a personal trainer at your fingertips or that you’re part of a live boutique fitness class from the comfort of your living room.
- Use Your Own Tech: Except for the EX5S model (which has a 21.5” HD touchscreen included), Echelon bikes allow you to use your own tablet or smartphone to stream workouts. This not only brings the cost down, but allows you to use the technology you already have.
- Adjustable Handlebars: Handlebars on these bikes are either ergonomic or ‘Competition Aero’, both styles allowing for different riding positions.
- Compact size: All of the models on the Echelon roster are reasonably compact, ranging from 22” W by 42” L to 20” W by 54” L.
- Clip-in and Cage Pedals: The sturdy aluminum pedals allow for regular shoes or clip-in cycling shoes for the serious cyclist.
- Comfortable Seats: Minus the EX1 (which still has a comfortable and adjustable padded seat), the other Echelon models including the EX3 offer competition seats with 6’’ lever-style adjustment, which is larger than average and padded for extra comfort during longer rides.
- Bluetooth Capability: This is available on all models.
- Heart Rate Monitors: Echelon bikes don’t offer built-in contact grips on their handlebars like some other bikes on the market do. That said, wireless heart rate receivers can be purchased separately and you can connect any standard Bluetooth heart rate monitor or FitBit.
- Warranty: The warranty coverage on Echelon bikes is just 1 year. This is a bit light for our liking, especially considering you’ll be paying a monthly subscription to Echelon if you continue their interactive training membership in the long term.
- Pricey Higher End models: The top-of-the-range EX5S bike is a bit short on features for the price when compared to a close competitor like the NordicTrack S22i.
- Lacking Key Premium Features: If you go for a high-end model like the EX5S, be aware that some of the premium features such as an incline/decline function or built-in fan are not found on the EX5S like they are on the S22i.
- Lack of Programs: The bikes don’t include any pre-programmed workouts and only the EX5S includes a console (on the other models, use of the Echelon Fit App requires your own smartphone or tablet). When your personal device is linked to the app, you can ride and monitor your stats. Without an app subscription, you can ride and manually change resistance but you won’t be able to track your performance stats such as calories burned and distance, so functionality is limited without this added membership cost.
Who Should Choose Echelon Exercise Bikes?
The Bottom Line
Echelon has become a major player in the spin bike space and we recommend the brand for users who want the Peloton experience without the high sticker price. It really comes down to whether you’re willing to pay the cost of the bike as well as the ongoing monthly subscription for interactive training.