It is no surprise that Covid has sent home workout machine sales into overdrive. With people buying up cardio and strength training devices by the Amazon cart full. However, not all are created equal and some, in fact, are quite expensive. One only needs to look at a brand like Peloton to truly see what we are talking about! Here in Canada, the bike alone costs almost $3000 for the basic package and then an extra $76 per month ($912 a year) for the subscription, it is just not worth that kind of money! So today, we wanted to offer you an alternative, one that we ourselves have been exclusively reviewing for the past 6 weeks, it’s a direct competitor to Peloton, it’s the EX5-s by Echelon Fit and we think it is the better buy!
Echelon happens to be one of the many companies getting into this new niche called “connected fitness”. They know it’s hard to find a workout that consistently fits your schedule, and home workout programs never seem to live up to their promises. Echelon Fitness set out to do something a little different, to create a professional, studio quality fitness experience that you can do on your time, and in the comfort of your own home, live and available on demand. Their programs include studio level cycle classes, yoga and other core strengthening programs. They originally made a splash on the market with their popular Reflect smart mirror, that essentially brought home fitness into your living room. They have also had quite the success with their latest product – the smart rower. However, if we are going to compare apples to apples, it is their connect bikes that have people’s tongues wagging!
Coming in 4 different styles, the EX5-s we reviewed is suitably titled because of its impressive 21 inch full HD screen that is attached to the bike. Costing almost $1000 less than the basic Peloton offering with monthly subscription to all their live and on demand classes by certified personal trainers starting at $39.99 month, it is significantly more pocketable for those would be home gym goers. Additionally, Echelon’s FitPass studio app, too, is very intuitive and easy to use for the most novice users and provides host of additional classes using the trainer of choice, making this an incredibly versatile experience.
Setting up the bike initially was also a breeze, the instructions and associated installation video on YouTube is very straightforward and easy to follow and takes about an hour. Once up and running, the bike is very stable and quiet thanks to the adjustable feet that turn and lock securely in place (best used on a flat surface). The EX5-s also comes with some of the best pedals on the market, they have toe clips on one side, and conventional cages on the other, giving riders ample choice for how they want to strap into their workout. You also get an incredibly comfortable seat, which from what we understand, can’t be said about Peloton. The seat of the EX5-s has better padding/support (but can still be swapped out for a conventional bike seat should one desire), we recommend a cushioned seat cover for those sore tushies after the first week. Lastly, and it may seem minor, but we absolutely appreciate the included water bottle and dumbbell holder that comes standard in the box, it just makes the initial experience that much more rewarding when you don’t have to purchase “other” accessories to have the bike you want.
Using the bike has also been a treat, we have already talked about our love for the FitPass Studio app, but we have become quite fond of their live classes and scenic rides. Every day, every hour, there is a live class that you can participate in with other Echelon users, you can also be notified when classes are scheduled to begin and the whole experience has been kind of like a connected spin bike community led by a personal trainer. It is a truly great way to get your sweat on! For me personally, I am quite fond of the scenic rides that take me on journeys through Spain; Australia; up mountains and to the base of volcanoes, it makes me long for the days when we can travel again. If I am to nit pick a little, I would love to see more scenic routes offered, there are about 25 available now but I feel there should be more choice of offering here, especially compared to the 3000 plus on demand classes you can take. Some other things to note, in the spirit of transparency, we did have a few issues with some of the pedal hardware, especially nuts not securing the pedals to our liking but Echelon’s 5 star customer service team were quick to deal with any issue we had and they have not been a problem since.
To sum up, we can’t with good conscience recommend you go and spend $3000 on a stationary bike when this one is so good! What you are really paying for is access to the app as Echelon’s classes and offerings are second to none. FitPass, allows users to take advantage of a host of training options, their programming is well-led by quality instructors and you can also access classes via your smart TV, mobile device and tablet too! So, if you are serious about staying fit during this strange time in history and want a premium bike with all the trimmings, the smart connect bikes and the EX5-s should be at the top of your list.
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