Echelon EX-5s Exercise Bike Review – Pros & Con’s (2021)

Kristen NelsonKristen Nelson

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Last Updated: February 18, 2021

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.

Echelon EX5s Review 2021

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Who It’s For: Fitness enthusiasts who want a bike with a rear flywheel and subscription training app

The Echelon EX-5s offers a few distinct features:

  • This bike is a good option for those who want full integrated functionality and an attached touchscreen for an affordable price
  • Echelon’s app interface is similar to Peloton’s with multiple instructors, class categories and a Leaderboard.
  • The 21.5” HD Touchscreen displays Echelon Fit programs with personal trainers and live classes right on the bike.
  • Echelon places the flywheel in the back, out of the “sweat zone” where there is less possibility of rust or damage to the flywheel
  • The Echelon EX-5s only weighs 124 pounds so it is lightweight and easy to move

Our Video Review


Pros
  • 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
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

echelon ex5s exercise bike


FeaturesSpecifications
  • 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 in 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.

Construction:

  • 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

Console:

  • 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

Functionality:

  • Touchscreen features Echelon Fit app
  • Belt Drive produces quiet flywheel motion
  • Magnetic Resistance with 32 Digital Levels

Accessories:

  • Two 3 Lb. Dumbbells behind saddle

Warranty:

  • Parts and Labor: One Year

Overview of Echelon EX5s


Construction

Echelon EX5s exercise bike review

Frame

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.

FlyWheel

Echelon EX5s flywheel pedal crank
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

Echelon EX5s Handlebars
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.

Saddle

Comfort: This is a comfortable saddle. Exercise bike saddles are notoriously hard and narrow, but the EX5s seat is surprisingly comfortable.
Echelon EX5s seat adjustments

Adjustments: You can adjust saddle height up or down via the seat post and adjust the saddle forward/aft on the carriage post.

Console/Controls

Screen

Echelon EX5s Screen and handlebars

  • 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
    Echelon EX5s Screen tilt

    • 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.

    Echelon EX5s handlebar adjustment

  • Resolution
    • Resolution is adequate. This isn’t the clearest screen we’ve seen, but it’s easy to reach.
  • Touchscreen
    • Yes, this is a touchscreen which is really nice as it reduces the number of buttons and controls on the bike or the bevel.
  • Functionality
    • Overall, functionality is good. The magnetic resistance is displayed on the screen so you know your resistance level, calorie burn, RPM’s, etc.

Accessories

  • 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.

Functionality

Performance

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.

Resistance Levels

Echelon EX5s Adjustment knob
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.

Pre-programmed workouts

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.

Subscription Options

Echelon EX5s app
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!


    echelon ex5s exercise bike

    Recommendation:

    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.

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