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Echelon vs. NordicTrack S22i: Which is the Best Exercise Bike Brand?

Echelon vs. NordicTrack S22i Exercise Bikes Comparison

Immersive interactive training has taken the fitness space by storm. Peloton probably springs to mind when you think about exercise bikes with interactive training. Although they amplified the at-home spin class revolution, more and more brands like Echelon and NordicTrack are designing bikes that deliver the Peloton experience without the premium price tag. 

Currently, Echelon offers 4 indoor ‘Connect’ exercise bikes: the EX-1, EX-3, EX-5 and EX-5s. NordicTrack has a range of indoor cycles, with its star indoor spin bike being the S22i.

Here we’ll compare all the Echelon bikes’ main features to the NordicTrack S22i bike to see how they stack up.

 

Ed. Update — Since writing this, a new contender has thrown their hat in the ring, delivering a closer-to-Peloton experience for an affordable sticker price. The MYX Fitness Bike has rapidly become our new favorite affordable alternative—read the full MYX Fitness Bike review here.

NordicTrack S22i vs. Echelon Comparison Table

NordicTrack S22i

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Echelon

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Price

Bike + free 12-month iFit membership + in-home delivery and assembly:

$2,248 (bike is $1,999, delivery and assembly is $249).

Bike + $39.99 monthly pass:

EX-1: $839.98, EX-3:  $1,039.98, EX-5:  $1,239.98, EX-5s: $1,639.98

(Free delivery with annual plans or +$150 delivery if you choose just the bike/ bike+monthly membership).

 

Warranty 

 

10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor.

 

12-month limited parts and labor warranty.

 

Footprint

 

 

55.0″ L x 21.9″ W x 56.9″ H

 

EX-1 & EX-3: 42” L X 22” W, EX-5 & EX-5s: 54” L X 20” W

 

Weight200 lbs. when delivered

EX-1 & EX-3: 105 lbs., EX-5: 112 lbs., EX-5s: 124 lbs.

 

Frame

 

Steel

 

All models: Steel

 

Weight capacity

 

350 lbs.

 

300 lbs.

 

Resistance

 

22 digital resistance levels (SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance)

 

All models: 32 levels of manually controlled magnetic resistance.

 

Incline 

 

-10% – 20% Incline

 

No

 

Display

 

22” Smart HD touchscreen

 

Bring your own tech to all models (attach to tablet holder) except the EX-5s which includes a 21.5″ HD touchscreen.

 

Interactive Training

 

Via iFit

 

Via Echelon Fit

 

Bluetooth

 

 

Compatible with Bluetooth for wireless heart rate monitoring.

 

All compatible with Bluetooth for wireless heart rate monitoring.

 

Pedals

 

Caged pedals, but you can swap these for standard road bike pedals.

 

All models: SPD compatible with fully adjustable toe cages.

 

Dumbbells

 

Two 3 lbs. dumbbells included

 

Not included

Interested in the NordicTrack S22i?

 

Or the Echelon Connect Series?

 

NORDICTRACK S22I

NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle Commercial Studio Cycle Series

The S22i is NordicTrack’s top-of-the-line commercial studio cycle for 2020. As well as providing top-class entertainment features in the form of interactive iFit workouts on an immersive 22” HD touchscreen (free 1-year membership included), the bike rides smooth as butter. 

It scores major points for its 20% incline (and 10% decline!), which literally brings your workouts to new heights. It’s a great feature to use with iFit, and it really brings your Google Maps cycle trails to life.

Highlights include:

  • iFit: Google Maps trails and iFit workouts are free for a whole year.
  • Incline/decline: Move up and down throughout your iFit workouts with the incline/decline feature.
  • Screen: 22” Smart HD touchscreen immerses you in iFit routines.
  • Resistance: 22 digital resistance levels bring new challenges to each workout.
  • Pedals: Universal pedal design comes equipped with caged pedals but can easily be switched for clip-in compatible pedals if that’s your style.
  • Upper body workouts: Set of 3 lbs. dumbbells for arm workouts included.
  • Comfort Features: Dual water bottle holders; ergonomic padded saddle; workout fan; multi-position handlebars.

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ECHELON

Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5S

The Echelon Connect bikes are affordable, easy to set up and cater to basically any cyclist. If you’re a tech-savvy rider on a budget, then Echelon is a great way to go. Whatever your workout style, you can use SPD clips on one side of the pedals and cage clips on the other, allowing you to choose how you ride. 

Although you have to bring your own tech to most of the bikes if you want to train interactively with the Echelon Fit app, this brings the costs down significantly. Want a touchscreen like the S22i’s included? Opt for the EX-5s which has a 21.5″ HD touchscreen. Much like iFit, Echelon Fit gives you unlimited access to Connect rides and Extra Mile classes which include yoga, pilates and more. Each bike’s tablet holder (or the EX-5s’s touchscreen) swivels 180 degrees, so like the S22i, this means you can hop off your bike and try an off-machine routine with ease.

Highlights include:

  • Workout Variety: Live and on-demand workouts via Echelon Fit.
  • Inclusive pedals: Universal pedal design, bikes come equipped with caged pedals that can also be flipped for SPD compatible clips.
  • Resistance Range: Crank up the challenge through 32 levels of resistance.
  • Lightweight: Non-bulky design means easy setup and maneuverability.
  • All abilities: Easy-to-use app with many beginner-friendly rides.
  • BYOT: Bring your own tech to most models which reduces cost; consoles can hold different sized devices.
  • All Bluetooth enabled: Connect to Echelon Fit or link your Facebook, Fitbit, and Strava accounts to track progress.

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So which one is best for you?

 

NordicTrack S22i ProsEchelon Pros

 

  • 360 degrees screen rotation for off-bike iFit workouts
  • Free, 1-year iFit membership included with purchase
  • Real-world Google Maps cycle trails sync with automatic incline changes
  • Very smooth flywheel
  • Large cooling workout fan on console
  • Respectable 10-year frame, 2-year parts and 1-year labor warranty
  • Significantly more affordable than the NordicTrack S22i
  • Lightweight and easy to move around after workouts
  • Inclusive pedals with SPD clip and cage pedal options
  • User-friendly Echelon Fit app catering to all abilities
 

NordicTrack S22i Cons

 

 

Echelon Cons

 

  • Price point is higher than Echelon
  • No integrated tray for personal items
  • Complex assembly (which is why they include delivery and assembly as a separate cost at the checkout)
  • Short 1-year warranty 
  • Older ergonomic setup
  • Less extensive training programs than iFit (but continuously growing)
  • No incline/decline feature like the S22i
  • BYOT to most models (although this also brings costs down)

My Experience

  • The S22i scores major points for its built-in 22” HD display, making it feel more complete than the Echelon’s first 3 bikes in their Connect series. That’s if you don’t opt for the Echelon EX-5s with touchscreen, or you already have your own tablet to dock on the Echelon bikes without a display. If this is the case, the S22i’s screen may not justify the price hike.
  • Although the NordicTrack S22i feels more premium, it’s harder to move around than the Echelon bikes due to the weight differences. Saying that, the S22i feels sturdier due to its heavier overall weight, so riding out of the saddle or pushing sprints feels more comfortable than it does on the Echelon bikes.
  • You get a lot more bang for your buck with the Echelon bikes than the S22i. If cost is your main concern then Echelon is probably your best bet.
  • Echelon bikes include both cages and SPD clips, allowing you to choose your workout style from the get-go. Although the S22i’s pedals come with standard cages, you can easily switch to a different pedal that’s compatible with your own clips if you prefer.
  • A huge plus of the S22i is the incline/ decline feature, which brings a whole new level to iFit workouts. Although the Echelon bikes technically have more resistance levels, the S22i’s incline/decline option is a great way to add even more variety to your workouts.
  • iFit currently has a bigger and better selection when it comes to interactive training, but Echelon Fit is only going to grow as their cycling (and fitness) community continues to grow. 
  • We love that the NordicTrack S22i includes a set of dumbbells for upper body workouts. 

In Conclusion…

Overall, the S22i is a more premium exercise bike, but this does come at a price. When deciding which of these bikes is best for you I would recommend zooming in on the quality of the apps (and how much you think they would help you stay motivated), desire for incline/decline options, and price. It all comes down to your own unique workout needs and budget.

A bike that inspires you to keep exercising is going to be the best value option for you. Whether that’s because of the quality of its interactive training or due to its performance features, if it keeps you on the bike, it’s delivering the best bang for your buck. 

Interactive training is the key focus for both bike brands here. What’s great about the S22i is that it includes a year’s free subscription to iFit with the purchase. iFit is also great for outdoor rides, and it’s really engaging when used alongside the S22i’s incline/decline feature.

Budget is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a new exercise bike. Both the S22i and the Echelon bikes offer great features, so it may just come down to the best price point. If this is your main concern, then Echelon is a great option for you. Just keep in mind that you will need to pay $39.99 per month to use the Echelon Fit app.

Want to see how these exercise bikes stack up against other models? Check out our Peloton VS Echelon and Peloton VS NordicTrack S22i reviews to compare the models.

Interested in the NordicTrack S22i?

 

Or the Echelon Connect Series?

 

4 Comments

  • Carla Espinoza July 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm from Colorado
    I'm 5 feet tall and it is sometimes difficult to find an exercycle that adjusts for my height. Will the Echelon accommodate a small/short frame?
    • FitRated August 10, 2020 at 4:54 pm
      Hi Carla, the Echelon has an adjustable seat and can accommodate a minimum height of 4'11 (149 cm).
  • Stuart July 23, 2020 at 4:48 pm from Silicon Valley
    You continually touted the price of the Echelon as a big advantage. However, if you compare apples to apples (screen & 1 year of online training), then you are comparing the S22i to the EX-5S. Per your links, those two are priced exactly the same. So your real options are the S22i or EX-5S for like set-up, in which case the S22i is the better choice or S221 vs a less comparable Echelon option. I'm not saying one of the lesser Echelon bikes isn't a good option for anyone, but at least be clear on what the options are.
  • Jeff Busch February 16, 2020 at 3:42 pm
    Does it measure heart rate?

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