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From Echelon’s well-established line of “Smart Connect” bikes, Echelon Connect EX-5 is a Peloton alternative that combines a quality bike with thoughtful interactive programming.

The bike features 32 resistance levels, and a seat, handlebars, and a toe cage that can all be adjusted, with some other nice add-ons I’ll get into later.

These surface specs are great, but is the EX-5 the right exercise bike for your home gym? That’s what GGR is here for, and this Echelon Connect EX-5 bike review will guide you through all the considerations you need to make before adding this machine to your home gym.

Dozens of Exercise Bikes Tested

We’re a bundle of fitness lovers here at Garage Gym Reviews, plain and simple. We’ve spent hundreds of hours personally testing out popular fitness products so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into if you choose to buy.

RELATED: How to Choose an Exercise Bike

Our team of testers has personally tested more than 20 exercise bikes across a variety of brands like NordicTrack, Peloton, and Bowflex. Our experience and opinions are an asset to you as you look to make the best choices for you and your fitness goals.

Echelon Connect EX-5

Echelon Smart Connect EX-5

Product Highlights

  • 32 levels of digital resistance
  • Hybrid pedals
  • Device holder turns 180 degrees
  • Ventilated bicycle seat

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Costs around $850
  • 32 levels of digital resistance
  • Available in three colors (black, red, and white)
  • Device holder turns 180 degrees
  • Ventilated bicycle seat

Cons

  • No built-in monitor
  • Flywheel is only 28 pounds
  • 12-month warranty only applies to parts and labor

Bottom Line

A high-quality exercise bike with plenty of tech features, though it lacks a built-in monitor.

A Quick Look at the Echelon Connect EX-5

Echelon has the reputation of producing quality fitness equipment of all kinds. They list treadmills, rowers, and fitness mirrors on their website, and they have a line of five “Echelon Smart Connect Bikes,” which is where you’ll find the EX-5.

As of this writing, the EX-5 is the second-most affordable Echelon bike listed on the site and has the second-smallest footprint as well. This model’s compact nature makes it a solid option for anyone looking for a quality bike that doesn’t eat up a ton of room in your home gym.

While this bike might not boast the same tech add-ons as some of Echelon’s pricier models, it’s far from a minimalist option. There’s plenty to love, but also a few callouts we think you should be aware of.

An image of the flywheel and pedals on the Echelon EX-5 bike

Before You Buy:

  • The Echelon Premier membership is required if you buy through the Echelon brand site. However, Amazon let me get all the way to the “place order” screen without selecting a membership plan, and you get a 30-day free trial of the membership if you buy through Amazon.
  • The bike comes with a smartphone and tablet holder that flips 180 degrees if you want to switch things up with an off-bike workout.
  • This model DOES NOT come with a touchscreen monitor. You’ll have to connect your own tablet or phone via Bluetooth and use the Echelon Fitness app (similar to the Peloton app, can be used to track metrics like heart rate) to access the interactive programming. 

Is the Echelon Connect EX-5 Worth It?

I think there’s a lot to like about this product. It’s sleek, highly adjustable, and comes with all the downloadable workout content you could possibly ask for. However, most of the extra workout content is behind a paywall, and customer service left a lot to be desired for some users.

Great for: 

  • Small spaces
  • Those who like the boutique cycling experience
  • A more affordable Peloton alternative

Not recommended for:

  • Those who want a touchscreen
  • Someone on a budget
  • People who prefer a long warranty

Echelon EX-5 Specs

Footprint58” L x 20” W x 55” H
Weight106 lbs
Weight capacity300 lbs
Resistance32 levels of magnetic resistance
PedalsSPD compatible clips + adjustable toe cage that works for both regular sneakers and cycling shoes
Dumbbell Holders2 Included, hold 2 lb each (weights sold separately)
AdjustabilitySeat up/down, handlebars fore/aft + up/down
Interactive ProgrammingLive and on-demand classes available through Echelon Premier membership. Accessed by connecting your device to the machine via Bluetooth and using the Echelon Fitness app.
FlywheelMagnetic

Workout Experience on the Echelon EX-5

Our expert tester, Lindsay Scheele, is an ISSA CPT and the lead reviewer on Garage Gym Reviews Everything. She’s been on her fair share of exercise bikes, and gives the Echelon EX-5 a 4 out of 5 rating for overall experience. The bike feels very durable, provides a smooth ride, and the accompanying app was easy to use. Let’s dive into the specifics.

Footprint and Durability

Regarding footprint, the EX-5 is pretty comparable to the other bikes in the Echelon Smart Connect line. There are differences of a few inches here or there in the length and width dimensions, and the EX-5 is slightly shorter than models like the EX 5s-10 and the EX-8s because it doesn’t come with a touchscreen monitor.

I encountered positive customer reviews that said the bike was quiet and didn’t take up much space, and that the assembly wasn’t all that daunting. Our expert tester, Lindsay, agreed.

“I never felt unstable while riding out of the saddle or at high speeds,” Lindsay says. “The floor stabilizers are a key aspect to this machine when it come to the smoothness of the ride.” Lindsay rated durability a 5 out of 5.

An image of a woman moving the Echelon EX-5 bike

Related to the stability, Lindsay says this bike isn’t the easiest to move, but that adds to how stable it feels while in use. “The wheels are smooth and I do think the average person could move this on their own, but it’s heavy, that’s for sure.” The EX-5 scored a 4 out of 5 for portability.

The Ergonomics

Lindsay rated the ergonomics of the EX-5 a 3.5 out of 5. There are 32 different resistance adjustments available for the model, which allows you to change up the intensity of your workout just by turning the resistance knob. This can be incredibly valuable for HIIT bike workouts and other forms of cardio.

Lindsay says that the adjustable seat is not the most uncomfortable thing she’s ever sat on, and that is has some good padding and “squish.” She also says that the toe cages are easy to get in to. “I like that you have the option to use SPD clips as well,” she says.

An image of a woman adjusting the seat on the Echelon EX-5

This model also has adjustable handlebars, allowing you to position yourself comfortably during use.

An image of hands on the handlebars of the Echelon EX-5

“The grip placements make the ergonomics of this bike really nice,” Lindsay says. “The grip is great with a nice textured finish, and the different positions you can place your hands provide for an enjoyable ride.”

Technology Benefits and Conveniences

Though the EX-5 does not come with a touchscreen feature like the Peloton Bike, it does feature a holder for your smartphone or tablet so you can utilize the Echelon workout classes. The holder can also be turned up to 180 degrees which allows you to complete workouts that require you to stop off the bike itself.

An image of a phone in the Echelon EX-5 phone holder

If you buy the EX-5, you’re also required to purchase an Echelon Fit premier membership which gives you access to the brand’s live and on-demand workouts and classes. There are three membership options available: monthly subscription for $34.99 per month, the 1-year subscription at $33.99 per month, and the 2-year plan at $29.16 per month.

The Echelon app offers a lot, including 60-plus instructors, 40-plus daily live classes and a multitude of off-bike workouts. Lindsay rated the programming a 4 out of 5 and thought the app was very user-friendly. She liked that she could filter her preferences by instructor, duration of the workout, or even type of workout. She did a fusion ride with Michael Brown and she had a great time, saying “The objective of the workout was clear from the start and Michael was upbeat and engaging throughout.”

Echelon EX-5 vs Echelon EX-8s

Echelon EX-8s

Echelon EX-8s

Product Highlights

  • 24-inch curved HD touchscreen
  • Monitor pivots 180-degrees
  • Dual-ring rear flywheel design
  • 15 LED lights to indicate workout metrics
  • Dual speakers
  • 32 magnetic e-drive levels
  • Bluetooth resistance controls
  • Dual water bottle holders

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Immersive experience
  • 32 levels of resistance
  • Dual-sided, SPD-compatible pedals
  • Large, interactive HD touchscreen
  • Multiple position handlebars
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • 1.8 GHz processing speed is fast

Cons

  • Required paid membership required for use
  • Disappointing warranty
  • Uncomfortable seat

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a fully immersive riding experience on a high-quality bike, the Echelon EX-8s is a solid choice. It is costly and does require a membership, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.

The easiest comparison to make here is to the Echelon EX-8s, which comes from the same product line as the EX-5. Both bikes have similar fundamental features and add-ons: 32 magnetic resistance adjustments, dual water bottle holders, two dumbbell holders, and access to the same Echelon workout programming. In other words, you can clearly tell the products come from the same brand and series.

However, the EX-5 is shorter than the 8s since it doesn’t come with a 24” LED HD touchscreen (the length and width specs are nearly identical). As a result, the two are priced differently, with the 8s setting you back over $2,000 on the Echelon website. Think of the EX-5 as a budget version of the 8s; you’ll get most of the same basic functionality while sacrificing some of the more glamorous features.

Read our full Echelon EX-8s review for more information.

Ordering and Assembling the Echelon EX-5

The Echelon Connect EX-5 can be ordered on Amazon and through the Echelon website. If you ship through Amazon, the product is advertised as set to arrive within three business days with free shipping if you’re a Prime member. The timetable is less clear for buying through the brand site.

Financing options are available on both sites: five monthly installments of around $190 on Amazon, and 12, 24, and 39-month payment plans through the Echelon website.

Upon examining the “By Feature” portion of the Amazon reviews, I found that the EX-5 was rated 4.4 stars out of 5 based on easy assembly, and I found little testimony that would indicate otherwise, even in the critical reviews for the product.

Our assembly expert said the instructions were clear and the bike was straightforward to assemble, despite just one small issue with the handlebar assembly. We rated the assembly process a 4 out of 5.

In other words, you should be able to get right to your indoor cycling workout without too much trouble.

RELATED: Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Customer Experience 

Some of the EX-5’s biggest callouts reside within the customer experience department. Several Amazon users in particular took issue with the customer service associated with the product, saying that replacing parts was very complicated due to delayed email and phone responses.  Some found it difficult to cancel the free trial of Echelon Premium you get when buying through Amazon for the same reason.

Another point of concern for this model is the warranty. If you want an “Extended Warranty Plan”, you either have to pay $109 for 1 year of coverage or $169 for 2 years. To me, this is absurd and it feels like Echelon is trying to sneak another expense into your purchase.

I’ll mention again, though, that the users who had complaints represent a very small percentage of the product’s reviews. Most customers seem satisfied with their EX-5s, praising its durability, surplus of interactive content, low noise level, resistance adjustments, and easy assembly, among other things.

Customer Reviews

There are over 100 customer reviews covering the EX-5 on the Echelon site, averaging a 4.5 out of 5.

“As advertised,” user Michael H. says. “Easy to set up, operates very smoothly and the quality and variety of available rides is great. Instructors are passionate and motivating. A great buy!”

The EX-5 is also highly rated on Amazon, clocking in with a composite score of 4.2 out of 5 stars with 876 ratings at the time of this writing.

A customer review of the Echelon EX-5 Bike

The negative reviews for this model cite durability issues as well as poor customer service. One user said that the bike broke soon after she bought it and that she received little help from the brand during the repair process.

A critical customer review of the Echelon EX5 bike

Other notable callouts (from the EX5 and the Echelon line in general) included:

  • Some said they found it difficult to connect to the Echelon Fitness App
  • General discomfort from the seat
  • A lack of compatibility between the Echelon Fitness app and Android devices

Final Verdict of Our Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike Review

It seems like the Echelon Connect EX-5 effectively finds the middle ground between luxury bike and ultra-budget option and functions as a solid Peloton alternative. The included tech won’t necessarily blow you away, but you can easily access the interactive programming via Bluetooth connection and the Echelon Fitness app.

With 32 resistance levels and a number of useful add-ons, the EX-5 can be a solid mid-range choice. Just beware of the paywall for interactive programming, and maybe don’t rely too heavily on the customer service if you can manage it.

Echelon EX-5 Rating

Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike

The Echelon Connect EX-5 is a great option for those looking for a compact bike with access to extensive interactive programming features.

Product Brand: Echelon

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 999.00

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.8

Echelon Connect EX-5

Footprint and Portability – 4.5
Delivery and Setup – 4
Durability – 4
Customizations – 4
Adjustability and Ergonomics – 5
Workout Experiences – 4
Tech Capabilities – 3.5
Conveniences – 4
Dynamic Programming – 4
Customer Reviews – 4.5
Value – 3.5
Warranty, Financing, Returns – 2
Customer Service – 2
Buy Now

Echelon Connect EX-5 FAQs

Is Echelon Connect a good bike?

The Echelon Connect EX-5 is very highly rated on both Amazon and the Echelon website, netting composite reviews over 4 stars in both places.

Is Echelon as good as Peloton?

Neither is inherently better than the other. When comparing Echelon vs Peloton, both produce quality bikes and other fitness equipment with interactive workout content available. The Peloton app is widely known as the best for interactive programming, where as Echelon is known for being more affordable.

Is the Echelon EX-5s worth it?

The Echelon EX-5 is a great option for people looking for a compact, relatively budget-friendly bike with access to a plethora of interactive programming.

Can I use Echelon Connect without subscription?

If you buy through the Echelon website, then you’ll be required to purchase an Echelon Premium subscription with your Echelon Connect bike. However, if you purchase the EX-5 on Amazon, the product comes with a 30-day free trial to Echelon Premium.

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