Echelon’s latest offering in their Smart Connect Series is their top-of-the-line EX5S. As with every bike in the series, interactive training is the key focus. The EX5S takes this a step further with the addition of a touchscreen, making it the only model where you don’t have to bring your own tech. Its 21.5″ HD touchscreen is perfect for enjoying immersive workouts. What’s more, the screen flips 180° for you to try off-machine routines like yoga or pilates. But the addition of a flashy screen comes at a price: about $500 more than the very similar EX5 bike, which is effectively the twin of this bike without a screen. The EX5S’s formal full-retail price is $1,999, but you can often get it on Echelon’s site around the $1,500 mark. If you already have a tablet or smartphone that you could use for interactive training, opting for one of the other Echelon bikes such as the EX5 (which is basically identical in terms of specs and performance features) will be a better value deal. See below for a detailed review of the Echelon EX5S including pros and cons.
|Model||Echelon Connect EX5S Bike|
|Frame||Powder-coated, welded steel frame|
|Seat||Competition seat with 6'' lever-style adjustment|
|Pedals||SPD compatible with fully adjustable toe cages|
|Programs||0, only interactive workouts via Echelon Fit app|
|Heart Rate||Wireless (connect to touchscreen)|
|Display||21.5" HD Touchscreen|
|Max. Weight||300 lbs.|
|Dimensions||20” W x 54” L|
|Warranty||1-year Limited Parts & Labor|
The Echelon EX5S was built for interactive training. Like the EX5, it has the most features and best performance of all the Echelon Connect bikes. Weighing just 124 lbs. (and at just 20” wide and 54” long), the EX5S is just as compact and light as the EX5, and will work in most home gym spaces. If you plan to move it around from room to room after workouts, the EX5S makes this easy with its front-mounted wheels. What we have an issue with is the jump in price from the EX5 to the EX5S. Here, you are basically paying for the addition of the touchscreen. Aside from the minor additions of the kick guards and power ports, the EX5S is really no different to the EX5, which costs around $400 less. If you already have a tablet in your home, then paying nearly half a thousand bucks more for the EX5S doesn’t seem like a smart purchase. That said, if you don’t have a tablet (you can use a smartphone, but this doesn’t provide as immersive an interactive training experience), or instead you want one which you can just leave on the bike for interactive training only, then the EX5S could be a great option for you.
Like the other bikes in the series, it’s a durable spin bike that can handle any workout you throw at it. It features a 13 KG flywheel and 32 levels of magnetic resistance like the other bikes. A competition seat, indexing resistance adjustment knob, and new motor for precise magnetic resistance are also included. Like the EX5, the EX5S features a competition Aero handlebar system. These handlebars allow for a greater range of movement than those on the other Echelon bikes. This new design gives the EX5 and EX5S a more modern, premium feel. The design also accommodates for the addition of dual water bottle holders and the new smart device mount for the touchscreen. Aside from the touchscreen, there aren’t many differences between the EX5 and EX5S. The EX5S just includes kick guards and back and front power ports. It’s also slightly heavier, weighing 124 lbs. (where as the EX5 is 112 lbs.). Paired with the Echelon Fit app, the touchscreen delivers an immersive training experience that will keep you motivated. We do have some issues with the app (the variety and quality of workouts isn’t as polished as some of the other fitness subscription apps on the market), but we suspect this will only improve over time as the Echelon fitness community grows. Get the pros and cons of the EX5S below.
Pros & Cons
- Touchscreen: 21.5″ HD touchscreen is ideal for immersive workouts and flips 180° for off-bike routines.
- Stats Tracking: With the other Echelon bikes, you don’t have access to your stats unless you connect to the app on your own tablet. With the EX5S, you can see your stats while you are riding, whether you have a subscription or not.
- Flywheel: Heavy 13 KG flywheel supports 32 resistance levels, which will be challenging enough for most riders.
- Durable: Heavy-duty steel frame can handle any workout.
- Compact: The EX5S is compact and light enough to suit most home gyms.
- Handlebars: Competition Aero system offers greater movement and adjustability.
- Competition Seat: Comfy seat with 6” lever-style adjustment.
- Storage: Dual water bottle holders on handlebars and weight rack behind seat.
- Diverse Pedals: SPD compatible as well as fully adjustable toe cages.
- Motor: New motor for precise resistance.
- Extras: Kick guards and back & front power ports are featured only on the EX5S.
- Price: We’re not convinced that the addition of the touchscreen and a few extras are worth the $400 price jump from the EX5 model. This is especially true if you already have a tablet at home which you could use with the EX5.
- Limited Functionality: Even though you have the touchscreen, unless you purchase the Echelon Fit subscription, there’s still no built-in entertainment or programming on this bike. We like that you can track your stats on this bike when you’re riding (without a subscription), though.
- No Other Apps: You can’t use any other apps like Spotify or Netflix on the touchscreen. The only app you can access on the screen is Echelon Fit. This is fine if you have a subscription, but if you choose to pause or cancel this, the touchscreen can’t be used for any other form of entertainment while you’re riding.
- Warranty: A 1-year limited parts and labor warranty is not impressive, especially for this price point.
The Echelon EX5S is a durable spin bike that was built for interactive training at home. When the 21.5″ HD touchscreen is paired with the Echelon Fit app, you will be immersed in a variety of live and on-demand virtual workouts, as well as scenic rides across the globe. That said, we aren’t so sure the addition of the HD touchscreen is worth the money. This bike costs nearly half a thousand bucks more than the EX5 model. The EX5 is basically identical in specs, aside from the EX5S’s addition of new kick guards and power ports. If you already have a tablet kicking around the house that you could use with the EX5, then paying $400 more for the EX5S doesn’t seem worth it. Read more about the EX5S’s workouts, features, and buyer protections below.
Even though the EX5S comes with a touchscreen display, it doesn’t offer any preset workouts. Like all the other bikes in the series, interactive training is the name of the game. With Echelon models, this is delivered through the Echelon Fit app. Paying for membership to Echelon Fit will allow you to make the most of the EX5s’s immersive 21.5″ HD touchscreen. Without it, there’s really no point in buying this model, as you can’t use the touchscreen for any other apps such as reading the news or watching Netflix. The only app that you will be able to access on the screen is Echelon Fit. You can’t access any classes on the screen without a subscription. With Echelon Fit, you’ll get access to a variety of on-demand and live workouts, as well as scenic rides in locations across the globe. Although we have found issues with the app in the past, the variety of workouts and user experience continues to improve. We’re pretty sure that it will continue this way as Echelon and their cycling community grows. Monthly and annual subscriptions start at $39.99 per month, and this includes access to FitPass for your off-bike workouts such as yoga, pilates or strength training.
The other bikes in the series are “bring your own tech” models. You have to use own tablet or smartphone to monitor your stats such as speed, calories burned, and distance. The EX5S has an advantage here. If for some reason you choose to pause or cancel your subscription, you will still be able to see your stats while you are riding. Once you stop riding, you will lose your stats. This however, is all you will be able to see. As mentioned, you can’t use any other apps on the screen, or access classes without a subscription. For wireless heart-rate monitoring, just connect your wireless device to the touchscreen, and the app can track this.
Much like equipment from NordicTrack and Proform, the fact that echelon offers their own streaming workout programming means that you don’t really need to look elsewhere for additional training apps to help broaden your workout options. That said, Echelon does have the ability to connect to a handful of additional apps that will help you monitor your training progress in greater detail. As it stands, the Echelon Fit app will pair with Strava, Fitbit, and the Apple Health app.
Echelon EX5S Features
The EX5S has a built-in 21.5″ HD touchscreen for you to enjoy interactive workouts on. The touchscreen has speakers (just as a tablet would have) so you can hear the workout classes, but there are no external speakers for you to play your own music through. It’s a solid bike, featuring a sturdy steel frame and sleek design. Even though it’s the heaviest model in the series, it’s still light and compact enough for most home gyms. The bike is 20” wide and 54” long, and weighs 124 lbs. If you want to move it to another room after your workout, just use the front-mounted transport wheels.
Like the other bikes in the series, the EX5S features a heavy 13 KG flywheel and 32 levels of resistance, offering a smooth ride and enough challenge for most riders. The EX5S also features a new motor for precise magnetic resistance, which you can adjust with the easy-to-use indexing resistance adjustment knob. As for comfort, the EX5S features a competition-style seat which can be moved forward, backwards, up and down with 6” lever-style adjustment. As mentioned, the EX5S’s competition Aero handlebar system (also found on the EX5 model) is different to the ergonomic handlebars found on the EX1 and EX3. They allow for a greater range of movement, for either performance or comfort setup. They also feature Echelon’s new smart device mount for the touchscreen, and dual water bottle holders. We love that all the bikes have a tablet holder (and in this case a touchscreen mount) that you can flip 180°. Just hop off, swivel your touchscreen 180°, and try an off-machine workout like Zumba or meditation. It’s a great way to mix up your cycling routine and diversify your training. Like the EX5, the EX5S also has a weight rack behind the seat which can hold a set of 2 lb. dumbbells (not included with purchase). Like all the Echelon Connect bikes, the EX5S’s pedals are SPD compatible with fully adjustable toe cages.
Warranty & Guarantee
Like the other Echelon Connect bikes, the EX5S is shipped with a one-year limited parts and labor warranty. Extended warranties are available for purchase. Additionally, Echelon gives a 30-day money-back guarantee, but keep in mind that refunds exclude shipping and restocking.
Overall, the EX5S is a durable spin bike that supports immersive interactive training with the help of its HD touchscreen. Like the other bikes in the series, its heavy flywheel and 32 resistance levels used alongside the variety of Echelon Fit workouts will keep you challenged and motivated for years to come. That said, we do have an issue with the price jump from the EX5 to the EX5S. If you’re set on having a built-in screen dedicated to your fitness machine, the EX5S could be a great option for you. Just keep in mind that you still have to pay for the subscription to Echelon Fit to get the most out of this bike. You won’t be able to use any other apps on the screen, such as playing music from Spotify or catching up on shows on Netflix. We like that you can view your stats when you’re riding, but this is really all there is to the touchscreen without a subscription, which seems pretty pointless if you’re investing the $400 extra for the screen to start with. If you want the best value machine from the series, we would say to opt for the EX5 model. You’re basically getting the same bike without the touchscreen. If you have a tablet around the house, this is really the best value option.