Echelon Smart Connect EX5s Indoor Bike Review
A practical and cheaper alternative to power-house bikes like Peloton, the Echelon EX5s bike is one to watch out for. It is the gem of Echelon’s Smart Connect bike series consisting (in descending order of superiority) of the EX5, EX3, EX1, and EX15 indoor cycling bikes. The top-tier EX5s model is the shining star and latest addition to the series. It brings premium and body-beneficial spinning classes to your home, along with other refreshing offerings. Priced at $1,639.98 with additional class membership and delivery fees attached, the Echelon EX5s is a bank-breaking investment; nonetheless, it spares your budget about $600 when compared to the $2,245 price tag of the prestigious Peloton bike.
Echelon typically combines shipping with assembly, which costs $199. However, if your purchase includes an annual or two-year subscription plan, your bike will be delivered free of charge. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the company has suspended assembly services, so you have to set up the bike yourself. But good news, the EX5s assembly isn’t a complicated task, what with a colorful, step-by-step instruction manual in tow.
The EX5s warranty is a paltry one year on the bike’s frame and parts, and a 1-3 year extension is available for a fee; this warranty can and should do better. The scant warranty aside, the Echelon EX5s bike is an indoor spinning treasure that deserves to grace your home. Think real-time spinning classes, expansive library of on-demand workouts, and other perks that are highlighted in this tell-it-all Echelon EX5s review.
Echelon Smart Connect EX5s Indoor Bike Review And Technical Information
- Q-factor: 202 mm
- Pedals: Dual-sided pedals
- Flywheel: 28Ibs
- Resistance: Magnetic resistance
- Transmission: Poly-v belt
- Weight capacity: 300Ibs
- Height capacity: 4’11”- 6’4”
- Bike weight: 124Ibs
- Bike dimensions: 52.36 (L) × 21.25 (W) × 56.29 (H)
- Monitor: 21.5” HD Touchscreen
- Connectivity: WIFI and USB
- Applications: Echelon Fit app
- RPM Tracking: Yes
- Watt Tracking: Yes
For most spinning enthusiasts, a spin bike’s monitor is an all-important feature. Shoppers won’t look twice at a spin bike that has poor monitor capabilities. Given this, it was such a relief to find that the Echelon EX5s indoor bike passes the “monitor” test in flying colors. The Echelon EX5s’s monitor is a monster 21.5″ HD screen that rivals Peloton and NordicTrack’s bikes. The screen tilts to an impressive 180 degrees, but it doesn’t move side to side on the flip side. A 2.4 volt USB is included to facilitate easy and efficient device charging.
The EX5s monitor lacks built-in programming; instead, it is built to work with the Echelon fit app, which requires a monthly subscription. Its lack of in-built programming is not exactly satisfactory. If you can’t afford the subscription fees, you will be left with a dead and empty blank screen ─ which invariably limits your performance output. Speaking of subscription, the Echelon fit app is activated at $39 per month. The fit app is crammed full of on-demand and live classes, scenic outdoor cycling routes ( drone videos of worldwide locations), and a vast range of off-the-bike classes such as yoga, Pilates, boxing, strength training, stretching, Zumba, and a host of other engaging workouts.
The live classes are anchored by experienced and engaging instructors who encourage and motivate you to reach your fitness goals. During classes, the screen gives a metric display of your cadence, resistance level, watts, average watts, distance, speed, calorie consumption, and heart rate (when a heart rate tracker is connected to the bike). Can’t keep up with live classes or not a fan? The app has an archive of over 1000 workout programs that you can stream and follow at your convenience.
Resistance and Transmission
Among the many attractive perks of the Echelon EX5s spin bike is its magnetic resistance system ─ magnetic resistance is one of the best and most preferred resistance mechanisms. It offers 32 levels of resistance via a knob. You can customize the resistance for each ride by making micro-adjustments (to your desired intensity level).
The ability to dictate your resistance at will is flexibility at its best! However, you should know that the Echelon fit app is not programmed to change resistance in uphill/downhill simulations automatically, so you will have to manually use the knob and alter your resistance level (a small price to pay for a fantastic resistance technology).
Like most magnetic resistance bikes, the Echelon EX5s indoor cycling bike employs a Poly-v belt-driven transmission. Poly-V belts are known to be miles ahead of chain belts but inferior to toothed belts. Belt-driven transmissions lord over chain transmissions because they are less prone to noise and can survive without grease. Thus, they last longer and work better! The belt on the EX5s is simple, functional, and completely low-maintenance. The material the belt is made of is unspecified, but it is a quality one for sure.
Pedals, Q-factor and Flywheel
The dual-sided pedals on the EX5s exercise bike are SPD-compatible, which enhances pedaling quality and experience. Its dual-side engineering equals the freedom to alternate pedaling styles on the fly; the cleats on your shoes can easily clip onto either side of the pedals. The EX5s’ crank arms also easily merge with the dual-sided pedals, making them secure and firm. There is also a fully adjustable toe cage that you can switch with either cycling cleats or regular gym shoes. This means you have the flexibility to decide the pedaling comfort and foothold of your ride. How interesting!
The EX5s spinning bike has a 202mm Q-factor range which is too wide for comfort. This range separates the pedals and the crank arms to an extensive degree, much to the discomfort of petite cyclists who have short legs or torsos. This set of cyclists may have to strain their body to an uncomfortable stance when using the wide pedals. So if you think or know that the EX5s’s Q-factor is a no-no for you, you should consider other spin bikes with a narrower Q-factor stance. Narrower pedals are typically the best type of pedals because they ergonomically maintain a good knee and foot posture, preventing strain and injury and enhancing optimum pedal drive.
The EX5s features a 28lbs rear-mounted flywheel that is good at relieving weight from the rider’s back and ensuring stability. The flywheel is quite heavy with a smooth-feeling motion. It allows for bi-directional pedaling and produces sufficient resistance that compels hard work and effective fitness results. Coupled with the belt drive train, it makes for a fluid and stable ride that outlasts the effects of wear and tear. But a caveat abounds; the flywheel is unguarded and unsafe for kids or even adults to play around with!
Specifications and Accessories
With a powder-coated steel frame and four stabilizing points, the EX5s indoor bike is as sturdy as they come. So when Echelon spelled its maximum weight capacity as 300 pounds, we had no reason to dispute or doubt the fact. It also weighs about 124 pounds, which lends further credibility to the bike’s stability and sturdiness. The EX5s’s footprint measures 52.36 (L) × 21.25 (W) × 56.29 (H). Given this dimension, it is pretty easy to find space for the bike in your home, even while sporting an unfoldable frame. For height capacity, it is recommended for riders between 4’11”- 6’4” tall.
The EX5s handlebars are sweat-proof and have multiple grip positions with an aero loop in the middle. The aero handles are designed to adapt to grip comfort and convenience at any given time. That they are four-way adjustable is the cherry on top! You can adjust the handles in any four directions for a custom grip. They are attached to the HD screen as well, so they lift simultaneously with the screen. This means you have to adjust the handlebars to get your preferred screen position.
An upholstered and comfortable spin bike saddle is another hallmark of the Echelon EX5s indoor cycle. The seat design is reminiscent of a race bike seat and adjusts in four directions (vertically and horizontally). Hence, it can accommodate a wide range of user heights and leg lengths. A rear-equipped dumbbell rack offers extra support. While the EX5s lack a tablet/phone rack, you can secure your mobile device in the two bottle holders positioned beneath the handlebars. Nevertheless, a tablet/phone mount would have been a pleasant and convenient addition to the bike.
Echelon EX5s indoor Cycling Bike Pros
- It is equipped with a large, 21.5” HD touchscreen with good visibility and readability functions.
- The monitor syncs to the Echelon Fit app, which provides a broad and extensive retinue of on-demand and live workout options and other fitness-optimizing features
- Offers 32-levels of quiet and micro-adjustable resistance that meets users’ intensity requirements
- Its resistance control is located directly beneath the handlebars for easy reach.
- Features a belt-driven transmission that minimizes noise output and maintenance requirements
- Its dual-sided pedals allow riders to clip in with either SPD cleats or regular athletic shoes.
- The fully adjustable toe cages grant a secure and firm foothold, minimizing the risk of slippage and injury.
- Its seat and handlebars are four-way adjustable, making for a custom fit and maximum grip and saddle comfort.
Echelon EX5s indoor Cycling Bike Cons
- The monitor lacks in-built workout programming and syncs only with the subscription-based Echelon fit app, so you cannot use the monitor without paying the stated subscription fee.
- The one-year warranty is meager and portrays little confidence
- Resistance is not automated; users have to adjust resist with a knob manually
- Its Q-factor is too wide for comfort
The Echelon EX5s indoor cycling bike redefines the indoor cycling experience with practical high-tech features. It gives a near-similar Peloton experience but at a lower price. Though it is not close to being wallet-friendly, the benefit it brings to the table is worth the extra dollars. We love its many customizable options featured on its resistance, seat, and handlebar settings. This makes it highly accessible to different riders with different body specifications and fitness needs. While the same can’t be said for its unusually wide pedals, the bike does have its good sides. The Echelon fit app takes the EX5s cycling experience to a pleasurable level with an extensive collection of workout programs in different varieties. No doubt, the Echelon EX5s is a good-quality indoor cycling bike that leaves a few shortcomings in its wake. We believe that our detailed EX5s review has shown you nothing of the contrary!