The Echelon EX-5s vs NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i – Which Is The Better Buy?

Echelon’s EX-5s and NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i are both hi-tech streaming bikes with a lot in common.

Similarities include rotating 22″ HD consoles, heavy flywheels, and access to virtually unlimited instructor-led workouts.

If you look at the finer details though, you’ll find some subtle differences (as well as some not so subtle differences) between these 2 elite bikes.

It can be hard to decide between such similar bikes like the EX-5s and the S22i, but I’m here to make your job a little easier.

In this article, I’ll go over all the key differences you should be aware of between these 2 models.

We’re talking specs, features, prices, and pretty much everything else you’d want to compare.

After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of what each model brings to the table, as well as a better idea as to which indoor cycle is better suited for your home.

Let’s roll.

Echelon Connect Bike EX-5sNordicTrack Commercial S22i
Resistance29 lb flywheel
32 levels of magnetic resistance
32 lb flywheel
24 levels of magnetic resistance
Frame124 lb assembled weight
300 lb weight capacity
204 lb assembled weight
350 lb weight capacity
Warranty12 month parts
12 month labor
10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
Features22" HD touchscreen console
Fully adjustable handlebars
Fully adjustable seat
Dumbbells holders
Dual compatible pedals
Heart rate monitor compatible
Bluetooth headphone compatible
Water bottle holders
22" HD touchscreen console
Incline/decline (-10% - 20%)
Automatic resistance/incline control
Fully adjustable seat
Pair of 3 lb dumbbells
AutoBreeze workout fan
Bluetooth headphone compatible
Heart rate monitor compatible
Water bottle holders
Toe cage pedals
Price$1,599 (plus streaming subscription)$1,999 (plus streaming subscription)

The Echelon EX-5s vs The NordicTrack Commercial S22i


Wow, talk about a mouthful.

I think it’s safe to say that another similarity these 2 bikes have in common is that they both come with long model numbers.

Anyway, Echelon started out as a direct competitor to Peloton. Their thing was that they were able to offer a significantly more affordable streaming bike by not putting a console on it.

Instead, you used your smart phone or tablet to act as the console.

This was a really cool idea, especially considering so many people already have a tablet. Echelon still carries the EX-3 and the EX-5, which are designed like this, but now they offer bikes with consoles too.

NordicTrack on the other hand, has been around forever and is one of the most popular home fitness brands on the planet.

I’m assuming they saw how the popularity of the Peloton and the whole workout streaming thing was soaring and decided they wanted to get a piece of the action.

Now, pretty much every fitness machine NordicTrack offers comes with streaming capabilities through their fitness app (iFit), but when it comes to spin bikes, they only offer 2: the S15i and the S22i.

Now that the intros are out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this review.

Let’s start with the performance specs and move on to the other features afterwards.


The resistance system is important for any cardio machine, but especially so for a spin bike. After all, these bikes have become popular because they can provide intense, road cycling experiences from the comfort of home.

And having a sophisticated resistance system is how the quality cycles are able to do this.

You’ll hear a lot of talk about flywheel weight, so we might as well start there.

Generally speaking, having a heavier flywheel is an advantage for a home indoor cycle. I say “generally”, because there are a few brands (like Keiser) that design their bikes to perform with light flywheels on purpose.

And in Keiser’s case, they perform quite well.

But for most, the heavier flywheel creates more momentum as it spins, which provides a smoother feel while pedaling.

The Echelon EX-5s comes with a flywheel that weighs 29 lb and the NordicTrack Commercial S22i comes with a flywheel that weighs 32 lb.

I would argue that both are heavy enough to provide a smooth workout, but if heavier is better, then technically speaking the S22i wins here.

Both bikes come with magnetic resistance systems, which is good because I think magnetic is superior to felt brake pads any day (who wants to worry about having to replace ’em?).

The EX-5s comes with 32 resistance levels to work with while the S22i comes with 24.

A word on resistance levels- having more is a good thing because it gives you the ability to make smaller changes in intensity, but it doesn’t mean you have more total resistance to work with.

The EX-5s scores one on the S22i by coming with 8 more resistance levels, but the S22i comes with something the EX-5s doesn’t: automatic trainer control (but more on that in a minute).

Overall, when it comes to the resistance systems, it’s a pretty close race. The NordicTrack bike has a heavier flywheel, but the Echelon comes with more resistance levels to work with.


I think it’s a good idea to consider how heavy-duty each bike is too when deciding.

I’ll admit that us fitness equipment bloggers use the term “heavy-duty” a lot and it doesn’t always mean that much, but when I use it, I’m literally talking about how much the bike weighs.

Having a heavier bike is a plus because it makes for a more stable base to exercise on.

Heavier bikes will be less likely to wobble or shake during your workouts, especially when standing and climbing those steeper hills.

The EX-5s comes with an assembled weight of 124 lb, which is indeed quite heavy (and not too far off from what the Peloton weighs).

The S22i comes with an assembled weight of around 200 lb, which is very heavy-duty for a spin bike.

Both bikes score highly in this category, but the S22i is significantly bulkier than the EX-5s, which I consider a plus (even though it will make it a little more difficult to move).

The EX-5s comes with a 300 lb weight limit, which is pretty standard for any quality indoor cycle.

On the other hand, the S22i comes with a significantly higher weight capacity at 350 lb, which is another indicator of its superior frame integrity.

The S22i is a bit larger than the Echelon too, which is evident when you compare the assembled dimensions of each:

Ex-5s: 52″ x 20″ x 50″ (L x W x H)

S22i: 63″ x 22″ x 60″ (L x W x H)

The NordicTrack model is about a foot longer, so if floor space isa real issue, this could be a deciding factor.

Overall, I would consider both bikes to be fairly heavy-duty, but the S22i easily wins this category.


I’ll admit it, I’m a stickler for a good warranty.

I think the warranty is one of the most important specs to consider for any type of fitness equipment and if I’m stuck between 2 options I always go with the one offering the most generous guarantee.

Let’s compare the warranties for these 2 bikes to see how they compare.

Echelon offers the following warranty for their EX-5s:

  • 12 month parts
  • 12 month labor

And NordicTrack offers the following on their S22i:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year labor

I think these warranties speak for themselves.

There’s really no way of sugar-coating it, the Echelon warranty sucks.

I was curious so I confirmed for myself that the bike’s frame is covered with the same 12 month guarantee. We’ll go over prices in a minute, but for this is a really short warranty for a bike in this price range.

On the other hand, the warranty provided by NordicTrack is very good.

Ten years on the frame is longer than the 5 years many spin bikes are offering and 2 years on parts is par for the course for what we should expect.

A year on labor is pretty standard for any price range.

Overall, NordicTrack blows Echelon out of the water in the warranty category.


Ok, that about does it for the performance side of things. Time to move on to the more interesting features these bikes have to offer.

Let’s start with the Echelon.

I mentioned that the EX-5s comes with a 22″ HD console that can rotate, allowing you to watch any of the non-cycling workouts conveniently as well.

This console is the star of the show for the EX-5s.

Through this console, you can watch unlimited, instructor-led workouts through Echelon’s streaming app. There are both live and on-demand classes, as well as scenic rides you can access too.

With Echelon, subscribing to the app is mandatory- if you don’t sign up, you can’t really access anything on the bike. This subscription costs $39/month (or a little cheaper if you buy in bulk).

Echelon offers strength training, yoga, Pilates, and a bunch of other non-cycling workouts too and you get access to all of them with a single membership.

Besides the large console, the EX-5s comes with the following features:

  • Fully adjustable handlebars
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Dumbbells holders
  • Dual compatible pedals (SPD & toe-cage)
  • Heart rate monitor compatible
  • Bluetooth headphone compatible
  • Water bottle holders

Moving on, the S22i comes with a similar, 22″ HD touchscreen display used for accessing all the streaming workouts through NordicTrack’s app, iFit.

Like Echelon, iFit gives you access to unlimited, instructor-led workouts as well. They too include all kinds of on-demand and live classes to choose from, including a ton of non-cycling options.

NordicTrack includes a free year of iFit with purchase, after the cost will depend on what plan you get (family plan for $39/month or yearly individual plan for $180/year).

The S22i has a few other goodies under its sleeve too though.

Like the ability to incline and decline to mimic the sensation of really riding outdoors. The S22i can incline up to 20% or decline down to -10%.

The S22i is also designed with live resistance/incline control, allowing the instructors to automatically set the resistance/incline levels for ya during your workouts (to ensure you’re really working).

This is a cool feature a lot of users love because they can simply hop on and start pedaling and the workout takes care of itself.

Other features the S22i comes with include:

  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Pair of 3 lb dumbbells
  • AutoBreeze workout fan
  • Bluetooth headphone compatible
  • Heart rate monitor compatible
  • Water bottle holders
  • Toe cage pedals


Time to talk numbers.

Let’s compare the asking prices of each bike (keeping in mind that prices can vary from time to time):

Echelon EX-5s: $1,599

NordicTrack Commercial S22i: $1,999

The above represent the full retail price for each bike, not including any delivery or assembly fees that might accrue as well.

Plus keep in mind you’d be responsible for the streaming subscription for either bike ($399/year vs $396/year).

So, all things considered, there’s basically a $400 difference between these 2 bikes.

Given that the S22i comes with some advanced features, like the incline/decline settings and the automatic resistance control, I think the higher price is warranted (compared to the EX-5s).

Other Considerations

I like to save this section of the article for any additional tidbits of wisdom I wanna throw in the mix.

I don’t have much else to say with regards to Echelon, but I would like to point out that NordicTrack’s customer service doesn’t have a great reputation.

Users have also complained that it can be difficult to get that free year of iFit set up in the first place too- with the biggest issue being reaching customer service in the first place.

I’m not saying Echelon’s customer service is any better, they just haven’t earned the bad reputation yet.

To be fair though, all the big brands tend to have this issue.

Final Thoughts

Ok, that about does it for the EX-5s and the S22i.

These are 2 similar, streaming style indoor cycles that are within the same price range. The question of course, is which bike is the better buy?

Considering all the features, specs, and prices, when it comes down to the Echelon EX-5s vs the NordicTrack Commercial S22i, I’m going with…

The Commercial S22i

Yeah, I think the S22i is a much better buy.

Not only is NordicTrack a more time-tested brand, but this bike just comes with a lot more to offer.

The incline/decline functions and the automatic resistance controls are pretty sweet features, but the S22i also comes with a heavier flywheel and a heavier-duty frame.

And NordicTrack’s warranty is so much better than Echelon’s, I almost felt bad for Echelon when I put those warranties up side by side.


I think the short warranties are definitely one of Echelon’s biggest weaknesses, but that’s a story for another day.

Overall, given all the advantages of the S22i, I think it’s a much better buy than the EX-5s and worth the extra $400 any day.

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