Peloton and Echelon are 2 of the most popular options for streaming indoor cycles these days. And while they may look pretty similar from a distance, up close there’s a world of difference between them.
Simply put- Peloton is a luxury model that offers an elite workout experience, while Echelon is a more budget-friendly brand that offers less expensive alternatives.
That’s my diplomatic way of saying Echelon isn’t on the same level as Peloton.
But that’s ok- Echelon is a more budget-friendly alternative and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, that luxury Peloton cycles comes with luxury prices that aren’t doable for a lot of homes.
The real question then, is how Echelon stacks up to Peloton and whether it makes sense to invest in one over the other (because I don’t think there’s anyone out there that really thinks Echelon is better than Peloton).
And that’s what I’m here to help with.
In this comparative review, I’ll go over all the key differences between the Pelotons and the Echelons so you can decide for yourself which brand makes more sense.
Let’s get started.
Peloton vs Echelon
Above image courtesy of Peloton
Full disclosure- I currently own a Peloton and I love it. I’ve had mine for a few years now and I still use it at least 2x/week.
I also owned an Echelon Connect EX3 for awhile – I was actually sent one to review for another home gym site I own and operate (I won’t provide a link here because I’m not tryin’ to gain traffic to that site or anything, but you may’ve come across it in your searches).
I say this to let you I have first-hand experience with both of these bikes.
Anyway, Peloton was the first bike I’m aware of that was designed to bring the experience of the cycling studio to your home.
They’ve been enormously successful (we’re talking billions, not millions here), so of course of other companies would try to make a go at the whole streaming cycle thing too.
Well, Echelon is one of those brands.
And while Echelon isn’t brining in Peloton money quite yet, the company is doing just fine (I heard they broke the $100 million mark in 2020).
Echelon’s original gimmick was that you could save a lot of money by using your own tablet as the console- I think this is a great idea, especially if you already have a tablet.
Over the years, Echelon expanded on this idea, coming out with several different Connect Bikes, each with slightly different features.
Now, several of their bikes even come with their own HD screen, putting them in direct competition with the Peloton.
Peloton started with a single bike, but now they have 2 bikes to choose from (the Peloton Bike and Peloton Bike+), as well as 2 treadmills.
Let’s go over some of the key specs each brand has to offer to see how they stack up to each other.
I think it’s a smart idea to pay close attention to the performance specs when comparing any exercise bikes you might be interested in.
All other things fairly equal, I would go with the model packing more impressive performance specs.
More specifically for indoor cycles, I’m talking about the flywheel weight, the weight capacity, and the assembled weight.
Most spin bikes are designed so that having a heavy flywheel is advantageous because they build more momentum and provide a smoother workout experience.
It’s difficult to find an exact stat for the Peloton because they don’t seem to openly disclose this spec, but based on what I’ve found is that the Peloton’s flywheel weighs somewhere around 38 lb.
The flywheels on the different Echelon models may vary a little, but I know the EX-3 comes with a 28 lb flywheel and the EX-5s is packing a 29 lb flywheel.
The higher models might be packing a little more weight, not sure.
Even though the Peloton’s flywheel is a bit heavier, the Echelons pack pretty heavy flywheels too. And I will say from my experience with the EX-3, that it felt pretty smooth during operation.
One of the best things about the Peloton is that it comes with 100 levels of resistance, measured as a percentage.
The Echelon EX-3 and EX-5 come with 32 resistance levels, so significantly less.
This doesn’t mean the Peloton can necessarily provide more overall resistance than the Echelons, it just means you can adjust the resistance in smaller increments- which is a plus.
The Peloton comes with an assembled weight of about 135 lb and has a max weight capacity of 297 lb (which is oddly specific).
The Echelon bikes come with assembled weights in the 104 lb to 124 lb range (depending on the model), with weight limits in the 300 lb – 325 lb range.
Both the Peloton and EX-3 feel sturdy under you during use, so no concerns there.
Overall, when it comes to performance specs, the Echelons can hold their own. The Peloton comes with a heavier flywheel and a lot more resistance levels, but the Echelons are pretty heavy duty and feel stable during workouts.
That’s all good and fine, but let’s be real- those huge HD screens sitting on top of these bikes are the real stars of the shows.
The Peloton Bike comes with a 21.5″ HD touchscreen display (the Bike+’s is a little larger) that has built-in speakers and is bluetooth and ANT+ compatible.
Other than the impressive screen, the Peloton comes with a fully adjustable seat and height adjustable handlebars.
The pedals on both Peloton cycles are Delta cleat compatible, meaning you need cleats to ride them (unless you swap ’em out).
The Echelon EX-3 and EX-5 don’t come with monitors, instead you sync your tablet up to them and use that as your console (I didn’t care for this personally).
The EX-5S and EX-7S both come with 21.5″, HD touchscreen displays, similar to the Peloton’s.
All of the Echelons come with a fully adjustable seat and the higher-end models come with fully adjustable handlebars too.
The Echelons come with dual-compatible pedals, meaning you can use cleats or SPD compatible cleats (one advantage they definitely have over the Peloton).
The Echelons are also bluetooth compatible (the EX-3 and EX-5 connect to your tablet via bluetooth).
Overall, the features you get with the Echelons vary greatly depending on whether or not you get a model that comes with its own screen.
If you’re looking to save some cash, you can go with a model that doesn’t have a monitor, but you’re dependent on the quality of your tablet to work as your monitor.
The Pelotons and all of the Echelons are designed for streaming workouts through paid, monthly subscriptions. If you don’t plan on joining their streaming services, you really shouldn’t buy the Peloton or an Echelon.
It just doesn’t make sense.
The Peloton Bike is a very nice indoor cycle, but I would argue it’s the quality of their streaming workouts that sets them as the gold standard in streaming bikes.
Peloton’s workouts are great.
Not only are the instructors very good at what they do, but the production value is really good too- their videos look good.
Peloton offers both live and on-demand workouts that you can access any time you want. When it comes to on-demand workouts to choose from, there are thousands.
You can conveniently choose based on several different factors, including workout length, instructor, type of workout, whether weights are involved or not, etc.
If you purchase a Peloton, you’ll sign up for their full membership, which is required. This gives you access to all of their cycling workouts, as well as all of the other non-cycling workouts they offer.
You can also get the Peloton Digital App, which gives you access to all of the workouts without having to own a Peloton Bike or Tread, but you don’t get access to all of the metric tracking and leaderboards you get access to through the full membership.
Echelon works basically the same way.
They too offer thousands of on-demand and live instructor-led workouts to choose from with a monthly subscription fee.
The quality of the production for Echelon’s workouts seem to have gotten better over the last few years, although I still don’t feel like they’re as good as Peloton’s.
Maybe I’m biased because I’m so used to Peloton’s, but I do prefer Peloton’s workouts and their instructors.
Echelon only offers the single membership plan, which is to be used whether you have an Echelon device or not (although they do have a few different payment options).
Overall, both Peloton and Echelon both use paid subscription streaming services that give you access to basically unlimited workouts to choose from.
I prefer Peloton’s workouts/instructors, but that’s more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
Let’s take a look at the warranty each brand offers to see how they compare.
Peloton back’s their bikes up with the following residential warranty:
- 5 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
Honestly, I think this warranty is a bit short given the price of this system. Given the quality, I’d like to see at least a 10 year frame guarantee (and lifetime would be even better).
A year on parts isn’t great either- I’d like to see 2-3 years given the price.
Moving on, Echelon offers the following residential warranty:
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
Yeah, this warranty isn’t any better is it?
It’s interesting that they offer the same warranty on all their bikes too, considering the EX-7s costs 2x as much as the EX-3.
Needless to say, this warranty sucks. They don’t mention the frame in the warranty, but it looks like they would only cover that for 1 year too.
As short as the warranty on the Peloton seems, it’s a lot better than the guarantees provided for the Echelons.
I should mention that Echelon also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you don’t like it, you can at least get your money back.
Ok, time to talk numbers.
I’ve mentioned a few times that the Peloton comes with a luxury price and that the Echelons are more budget friendly, but let’s get more specific.
At the time of writing this, the Peloton Bike comes with a full retail price of about $2,045- this includes the shoes, dumbbells, and a pair of headphones
The Bike+ costs about $500 more and gives you a few additional features I probably didn’t mention above.
The Echelon bikes vary in price depending on your model:
- EX-3: $999
- EX-5: $1199
- EX-5s: $1599
- EX-7s: $1999
So, you have a lot more options price wise with the Echelons, but there really isn’t that big of a difference in price when you get to the higher-end models here.
I mean there’s only a $50 difference between the EX-7s and the Peloton Bike.
The costs of the memberships for these 2 brands is very similar too, so that’s probably not going to play much of a part in the decision making.
The Echelon membership is $39/month (or $33.33/month when you buy a year in full) vs the Peloton membership which costs $39/month.
Overall, the Echelon EX-3 and EX-5 cost a lot less than the Peloton, but the EX-5s and EX-7s (the models that come with a console) aren’t that much cheaper.
Ok, I know that was kind of a down and dirty comparison between the Peloton and all of the Echelons as a group, but I still hope you found it helpful.
I really don’t think there’s any question that Peloton is a nicer system than Echelon.
From my experience, I found the Peloton software to be easier to navigate and the production value of the workouts to be more to my liking.
That said, I was using an EX-3, which is their lowest-end model.
Personally, I didn’t like having to connect my tablet to use it as the console for the bike.
I often had connection issues, which made my stats unreliable (there were times where I couldn’t see what my resistance level was and that was really tedious).
The Echelons as a group do come with respectable performance specs though and their bikes are fairly heavy-duty too.
I even thought the feel of the EX-3 was pretty good- not quite as smooth as the Peloton, but certainly not bad for a bike that cost half as much.
The warranties on the Echelons are awful though, there’s really no getting around it.
Given the cost of each, I could see going for the EX-3 or EX-5 as a more budget-friendly alternative (even though I think there are better options out there…like Bowflex’s C6 or Schwinn’s IC4).
But I think it makes sense to go all in with the Peloton if you’ve got the budget for the EX-5s or Ex-7s…the price difference just isn’t that big.
Alrighty, that about doe it.
If you have any questions or comments, please share below and I’ll get back to ya soon.