Working out at home is the fitness trend we’re all embracing here in the UK, so I’ve been testing out the Echelon bike whilst we’ve been in lockdown. What is the Echelon EX3 Smart Connect bike like? Do you sweat? What are the Echelon classes like? Is the bike comfy? Is the app good? What about the Echelon instructors? Is there a community? Can I join if I’m in the UK? Fear not, I’ve answered all your queries in my Echelon bike review below.
Finding motivation to workout at home can be quite tough if you struggle to push yourself. Workouts might happen but often you don’t really get the same workout you would in a gym or during a group exercise class. So, what about an indoor bike that will push you to sweat more than ever before? Test your fitness? Challenge you daily? Become the ultimate Fitspo (FYI that’s fitness inspiration) in your routine? Introducing the Echelon bike – more specifically, the Echelon EX3 Smart Connect bike. An indoor bike that plays host to numerous live rides and classes a day, alongside thousands of On Demand classes via the Echelon Fit App.
Finding fitness direction at home
As we all know, home workouts have been our only option to get those endorphins flowing and the blood pumping during lockdown! I’ve struggled with motivation especially after my races got cancelled for my epilepsy awareness 12 in 12. I felt lost without a goal. For me, not having a fitness focus is enough to make me stop trying. I know that sounds ridiculous and quite dramatic, but if I have nothing to aim for, I can’t push myself. It’s safe to say lockdown was making me lazy, I’d work, walk the dog and sleep. Not exactly the energetic fitness girl I am normally!
Why the Echelon bike
When asked if I’d like to try out an Echelon bike I was so ready to get myself back on the fitness saddle! I’d been doing Facebook live classes with my gym instructor, and soon realised I was all about virtual group fitness! I knew that’s what an Echelon bike offered, so I was immediately interested. Not only did Echelon offer indoor cycle classes, they also had ‘off the bike’ classes on their FitPass. Perfect for people like me who like to shake up their fitness routine. It’s safe to say I was so excited to give this a go!
Initial thoughts on the Echelon bike
The bike arrived and was quite heavy as I’d expected. My husband used to teach WattBike classes (we always had to move the bikes about), and it was a similar weight and dimension to one of those bikes. Super easy to assemble, popped the main power cable in, turned the power on and that’s it! I decided to put the bike in my office, it’s literally right behind me meaning I can finish work and ride – no excuses! I’ve got a red Echelon bike, but the Echelon EX3 Smart Connect comes in both red and Limited Edition black. The cost of the bike is £1,238.99 via their website with a variety of membership plans available.
The saddle and handle bars adjust allowing you to set the bike up to your height and preference. They also have double sided pedals for riders. One side has toe covers so you can slot in your feet if you’re wearing trainers, and the other side for your spin shoes. I started out in trainers but switched to spin shoes for added support. It’s actually quite comfy to sit on, but if you don’t cycle much and suddenly influx your week with rides, I’d suggest some padded shorts until you get used to riding lots!
Get the Echelon bike Setup
You need an iPad or a tablet to use this device as your tablet will slot into the designated holder. You’ll need to have a tablet which is compatible with the Echelon fit app. My iPad was severely out of date so needed to get a new one. You don’t need to spend lots of money to get an iPad, android tablets are just as good and work via Google Play. I managed to pick up a Huawei tablet for under £100 and it’s been amazing!
The Echelon fit app
After downloading the app, create your user profile. There are different subscriptions available and my review is based upon the subscription which gives you access to all, including the Echelon FitPass. It is here you can connect your bike to the app, but you’ll get prompted to reconnect your bike as you’re about to start a ride as well. Be sure to enter your weight into your profile because if you don’t have a FitBit to connect with, you’ll be relying on this to give you your calories burnt/ride output. The app also connects to Strava and can automatically upload to your profile there if you wish. You’ll also find the option to connect with fellow Echelon community members, which is great to team up on rides together.
The Echelon Fit App
The Echelon Fit App is simple to navigate around and you can find everything you need easily. Along the bottom you’ll find the options; Featured, OnDemand, Schedule and Progress.
Featured – Is the main page of the app, where you’ll find introduction videos and tutorials (ensures you’re using the bike properly and utilising all the features), new Ondemand classes, live classes for that day, recipes, the virtual rides and your favourites.
OnDemand – All the OnDemand classes that you can do on YOUR time. If you miss a class, chances are they’ll appear here! For example, I love Amy and Brian Hager’s classes because they have all the music I LOVE! I missed their class the other day, but it’s OnDemand now so I can take part another time.
Schedule – This is where you need to be going on a daily basis, you’ll find all your live rides here. By setting your profile to the UK, the times of the classes will automatically adjust. You can scroll down and select the classes you want to do, then your app will prompt you to put it into your calendar as a reminder. Normally the classes on here will run from early morning right the way through to 11pm for UK riders. Along the top you’ll find the dates for that week, then options of classes; cycling, strength, tone and stretch. These are some of your FitPass options, everything from Barre, to kickboxing, to yoga, to meditation.
Progress – I love the progress part because it keeps me on track with how many classes I’m actually managing to do, and of course, how well I’m doing. This has been important for me because initially I was struggling with my Output during rides, and I can see I’m actually getting stronger!
The Echelon classes
Let’s say you have your tablet connected, the Echelon fit app open, and there is a Live Ride going on in 2 minutes time. As soon as it pops up with ‘Join Ride’ click it and you’ll be transferred to the live feed. You’ll see on the left a bar the usernames of all the riders actively taking part. Most importantly, where they are ranking on the leaderboard. Yes, that’s right the harder you work, that’ll move you up the leaderboard during your ride. I’ve spent many classes chasing people up that leaderboard…. I think that’s why you sweat so much! Embrace the chase!
Inside an echelon class
On the right hand side of the leaderboard will be the live feed of your Echelon instructor. They film their classes from their studios in Chattanooga and Miami, I hope one day on my US travels to visit one of their studios and take part in a live, live ride. But these instructors will be motivating you and sweating with you all the way!
The Echelon Instructors
Honestly, where do I begin! I think I want to become BFFs with all of them! Sounds crazy, but you actually feel like you know them. Beyond the classes they are all active on social media whether that is via the Echelon Riders Community on Facebook or on Instagram. They are constantly encouraging you, and it’s so good during the rides when they give you a shout out! I remember my first shout out during a class and it made me pedal harder!
My class experience
I kick started my Echelon bike experience with a class from instructor Nicole Griffin. She is incredible and super motivational – to be honest as they all are! This is quite gross, so I do apologise, but after doing that first class with Nicole I was literally dripping with sweat. I don’t sweat, or if I do, not like that!! I had to haul the massive fan in to ensure future classes I had some air! But, every other class, fan or no fan, was just as sweaty! This was working me in a completely different way – it was great!
I’d read a few times that the Echelon fit app had frozen for some people. That hasn’t happened with me. The only thing I found was when I’d gone to turn up my volume on my tablet, I’d hit the turn off screen button by mistake. FYI that boots you out the class and throws the app, so you’ll need to rejoin.
The awesome playlists
The playlists for all the instructors has been top! I’m a fan of Amy and Brian Hager’s classes – it’s all my rock and 80’s hair metal faves! But that’s the beauty of having such a huge selection of classes, there is something for everyone and all abilities. The FitPass classes are fantastic too, it’s always healthy to mix up your training. That’s what I like to do, so I might do some indoor cycling in the morning, but then grab my yoga mat for afternoon yoga outside. That’s the beauty of this membership!
Echelon FitPass Classes
I’m a big fan of group exercise in general, I’ll always favour a fitness class over a solo activity. Having so much available on the Echelon Fit App has allowed me to do as many different classes as I want to. These are some of my favourites that I’ve tried out.
- Barre 30 with Marsha
- Meditation 10 with Casandra
- HIIT 20 with Casandra
- Kickboxing 30 with Amber
- Lower body with Nicole
- Yoga 35 with Ginny
- Pilates 30 with Teresa
Beyond the classes you do have options of free riding and taking a scenic ride if you wanted to.
Overall Echelon opinion
I have loved trying out the Echelon bike and the FitPass classes. It’s tested my fitness especially in the cycle classes, that leaderboard is lethal because I work far harder than I ever would, as I’m always trying to get myself into the top half of the class!
I don’t think I’d want to go back to the gym after this, I’d originally thought these virtual workout programs were quite lonely, but this is the complete opposite. This Echelon community is incredible and I’d personally say, one of the major selling points for me. I’ve made friends with fellow riders from the UK and the US – they all keep trying to get me to do Rilde’s Endurance 75 ride with them on a Sunday… it looks hard but hopefully I will do soon! So is this the best indoor exercise bike? Actually it’s the best fitness experience I’ve had in a while! What’s your thoughts on after reading me Echelon bike review?
*Echelon bike has been sent out for testing but all views and opinions are that of my own