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Last Updated: January 3, 2023
Echelon has emerged as a viable contender in a field dominated by powerhouses Peloton and NordicTrack. The Echelon EX-5s features a 21.5” full-color interactive touchscreen which is roughly the same size screen as the NordicTrack s22i and Peloton bike. Echelon’s FitPass app also offers similar content with classes for both on and off the bike. The V-shaped frame design offers more expanse between handlebars and saddle, which works well for taller riders. In this review, we’ll take a look at the Echelon EX-5s bike to see some of the features and tech.
Awards: Best Rear Flywheel Exercise Bike
Rear flywheels are appealing because they are placed conveniently out of the way so you don’t drip sweat and water on them while you ride. If not wiped down after your workout, this can lead to damage and corrosion on the time to bikes with front flywheels. The flywheel is heavy and smooth on the Echelon EX-5s. We’ve awarded it as the best rear flywheel exercise bike among our other top recommended exercise bikes.
Why Trust Our Review Of The Echelon EX-5s
When it comes to testing exercise bikes with touch screens, it’s important to consider the overall construction, noise level, and bike adjustability, as well as the screen and content. We believe that users should enjoy and know what they’re getting into when they purchase a bike and subscribe to workout content with a membership. Our thorough review of the Echelon EX-5s delves into everything you need to know about this exercise bike.
During our testing, we compared the Echelon EX-5s to comparable bikes on the market. These included the Peloton Bike, Peloton Bike+, NordicTrack S22i, and BowFlex Velocore.
Our Video Review
- EX-5s bike and Echelon Fit app offer a competitively priced option in a field of expensive subscriptions
- 32 Levels of magnetic resistance are precise and quiet
- Wide, ergonomic seat is more comfortable than most
- Weight racks are positioned behind the saddle out of the way
- 21.5” Touchscreen is large, easy to see and reach
- The Fit app offers Daily classes and off-the-bike training options that can be watched from any phone, tablet, TV, or device
- Dual pedal options allow riders to clip in or just use athletic shoes
- Four points of adjustment
- Cages hold your feet securely when using the flat pedal
- Tension knob is directly below the handlebars
- Rear flywheel design is unfamiliar to some riders and may take getting used to
- Uses a resistance knob rather than preset buttons
- Screen graphics are not as crisp as on comparable bike screens
- The one year warranty is a bit limited
- Magnetic Resistance
- Magnetic resistance is silent and easily regulated electronically through preset resistance levels. Magnets oppose the motion of the flywheel to create frictionless resistance. A belt connects the flywheel to the pedal crank, so the pedal motion is smooth. Magnetic resistance does not cause wear on the flywheel and is quieter while riding and braking.
- 32 Resistance Levels
- Abundant resistance options are built into the EX-5s so you can incorporate hills, sprints, and intervals into your workout.
- 22” Touchscreen with 180 Swivel
- The 21.5” touchscreen is large and easy to see. You select your Fit program via the touchscreen, which reduces clutter on the console. Display metrics are also adjusted on the touchscreen.
- Dual pedal options
- The pedals feature SPD cleats on one side with a flat pedal and cage option on the other side. This way you can clip in if desired or ride with any pair of athletic shoes. SPD cleats are those typically found on indoor bikes and mountain bikes. By comparison, the Peloton bike uses Delta LOOK cleats which are compatible with road bike pedals.
- Bike only weighs 124 pounds
- This is surprisingly light for a piece of workout equipment which makes it easy to move and roll when needed.
- Steel Frame with solid uprights and comfortable saddle
- Flywheel is in the rear of the bike, out of the “sweat zone”
- Handlebars adjust both up/down and forward/aft
- Hybrid pedals feature SPD Clip-in cleats on one side and a flat surface with cage on the other
- Resistance is Magnetically generated to be silent and smooth
- Adjustable seat moves up/down and forward/aft
- Bike weighs 124 pounds
- Weight capacity is 300 pounds
- 21.5” Full-color display with touchscreen functionality
- Screen rotates 180° for good visibility on or off the bike
- No buttons or controls on bevel, all navigation is integrated in screen
- Touchscreen features Echelon Fit app
- Belt Drive produces quiet flywheel motion
- Magnetic Resistance with 32 Digital Levels
- Two 3 Lb. Dumbbells behind saddle (Weights sold separately)
- Parts and Labor: One Year
Overview of Echelon EX5s
Frame is powder-coated steel with four points of adjustment. The bike feels sturdy when riding and doesn’t wobble or rock when riding in or out of the saddle. The rear flywheel design is a little different than traditional exercise bikes. The seat post and handlebar post angle outward slightly, which increases the span between handlebars and seat as you increase the height. Frame should fit most sized riders, although those over 6 feet tall may want to try out the bike to verify sufficient leg range.
The 29 pound, rear-mounted flywheel pulls the weight back, under the rider, which may provide more stability. The flywheel is nice and heavy with good motion in the drive which feels smooth underfoot. There’s no drag on the wheel from brake resistance so the feeling is fluid as you pedal along.
Handlebars are coated to repel sweat. There are multiple hand positions and an aero loop in the center. I find these handlebars to be comfortable. The upward angle helps and the widened area at the base of the horizontal bar provides a soft rest for forearms if you ride in an aero position. The handlebars do not impede the screen.
Comfort: This is a comfortable saddle. Exercise bike saddles are notoriously hard and narrow, but the EX5s seat is surprisingly comfortable.
Adjustments: You can adjust saddle height up or down via the seat post and adjust the saddle forward/aft on the carriage post.
- Size: 21.5”
- The screen was clearly designed to rival Peloton and NordicTrack’s bikes with a screen that’s nearly the same size. Lower Echelon models only offer a tablet holder. The EX5-s and EX7-s are the only Echelon bikes with a screen.
- Screen Movement
- The screen tilts up and down. It does not rotate side to side.
- The screen is stable and doesn’t wobble when you ride.
- The screen is attached to the handlebars, so when you raise the handlebars, the screen lifts too. This isn’t often a problem, but you might have to adjust handlebars slightly to get the right screen position.
- Screen Height
- You can raise and lower the screen but you cannot move it forward or aft.
- Resolution is adequate. This isn’t the clearest screen we’ve seen, but it’s easy to reach.
- Yes, this is a touchscreen which is really nice as it reduces the number of buttons and controls on the bike or the bevel.
- Overall, functionality is good. The magnetic resistance is displayed on the screen so you know your resistance level, calorie burn, RPM’s, etc.
- Water Bottle Holder
- Weight Cages behind the saddle for two, 3lb weights
- There is no tablet holder or anywhere to set a phone. You could set a phone in the water bottle trays below the screen but it may slide out.
The Echelon EX5s has a nice feel to it. There are a few geometric issues that could present a problem if you are tall or have really long legs, but for most people the fit and feel of the bike is comfortable. Resistance is quiet and the programming keeps you engaged.
Incline / Decline range
There is no incline or decline on Echelon bikes.
32 Resistance levels are adjusted via a tension knob on the down tube. I love the feel of a knob in my hand, but it isn’t as precise as preset numbers. I’m not opposed to it though, and it doesn’t negatively impact the experience, but it does make jumping between levels or finding a specific level a little more challenging. The dial is not overly sensitive. I gave it a big turn and only jumped two levels. This keeps you from increasing resistance inadvertently — but it also makes it so you have to turn it quite a bit to feel a difference.
There are no pre-programmed workouts on the EX5s. All functionality is integrated through the app. If you aren’t interested in Echelon’s programming, we recommend looking at a different bike.
The Echelon Fit app is $39/month, which is the same cost as the Peloton app. However, Echelon frequently runs discounts, especially if you are buying the bike at the same time. The Fit app has:
- Live Classes
- On-Demand Classes
- Outdoor Routes (silent drone-videos – no instructor or format)
- Leaderboard with several filters to adjust the rankings
- Other classes off the bike such as stretching, weight training, yoga, etc.
In general, I found this app to be very similar to the Peloton app. The instructors give shout-outs to various riders during the class, there is a Leaderboard and the metric display on the bottom of the screen is almost identical. The instructors are not quite Peloton celebrities, but they are engaging enough. The music is fun. You can join different challenges and the class library is extensive.
The only element I could find that is different from what other companies offer is the wide variety of outdoor rides. These are not led by an instructor so there’s no formatting in them. They are simply drone videos of locations all over the world that you can watch while you ride. I personally liked this option.
Storage / Folding
The bike does not fold, but it has wheels on the bottom, so you can roll it out of the way when needed. It only weighs 124 pounds, so it is noticeably lighter than comparable models. Be sure to remove any weights before you tilt the bike!
The Echelon EX-5s is a solid contender in the crowded spin bike market. It competes well with other high-end brands and offers similar features and content. It also includes 4 adjustment points, which is an unusual benefit on an in-home exercise bike. If you are in the market for a fun, quiet spin experience, the EX5-s could be perfect. It’s also more affordable than many competitors which is a nice benefit as well.
Great review thank you for taking the time to detail the EX5S. Does the bike have an auto follow feature as the Peleton does for live classes? Can the instructor change your resistance? Also, does the EX5S have casting ability so I can use the TV versus the swivel screen?
The Echelon EX5s does not have automated resistance. You have to adjust the resistance yourself. It doesn’t have casting ability either. You can tilt the screen up and down, but it won’t rotate side to side.
Hi Kristen, I am torn between the EX5s and EX3. I’m seeing a lot of complaints about the app and connectivity with devices.
1. Are there any similar issues with the built in screen app on the EX5s? I imagine it connects to wifi rather than connecting via bluetooth in the case of the EX3 bike from your device? It’s just a little unclear the specific difference between the 2 in terms of the connectivity options.
2. Are there any other connectivity options with the EX5s e.g. charging ports, Ethernet, USB etc
3. I’m in UK – are there UK integration e.g. time zone for classes etc?
Those are good questions. We have only tested the EX5s, but we don’t have the EX3 in our studio to compare. However, my sister owns an EX3 that I have ridden quite a bit, so I have some personal experience on that bike. The functionality of the app is much more streamlined in the EX5s. There’s no issue with Bluetooth connectivity or app response time since it is all integrated. And, yes, the EX5s connects via wifi (or ethernet) rather than Bluetooth. One complaint I had with the EX3 is unless you use your tablet, there’s no console with data. You don’t know your wattage, cadence or resistance. You can turn the resistance knob up, but there’s no console with information if you aren’t synched with a device.
There is an ethernet port on the back of the bike and a USB port on the bottom of the screen to charge a device. I’m not sure about UK class times. Most of the classes are on-demand, so you can watch them anytime. The live classes are listed daily with a week’s view of what’s coming up. You’d have to select a live class that worked with your time zone.
Hope this helps.
Hi Kristen, I just purchased The EX5S and I was wondering how you determine what seat height is good for me as well as distance for the handles. Is there any way to determine this other than trial and error. Im only 5’4, Thank you …..
The top of the seat should be roughly as high as your hip bone. Stand next to the bike, feel for your hip bone, and raise the seat that high. The handles should be a forearm’s length from the nose of the saddle. Place your fingertips against the horizontal handlebar and adjust the seat until it touches your elbow. For a good bike fit, you should have a gentle 25-35 degree bend at your knee when your lower foot is at the lowest point in the pedal stroke. You can adjust for comfort from this point, but hopefully these measurements are helpful!
If I don’t want to use the echelon app can I use another companies app like bodi (beachbody)? Will the bike just show my levels and info without actually having to subscribe to their app??
We haven’t used that app on the Echelon, so we can’t confirm if it will sync or not. If you don’t use the Echelon app, you are provided a basic overview of ride metrics but not the full display.