Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike Review (2024): To Screen or Not To Screen?

After Peloton helped kickstart a surge in popularity for connected home fitness equipment, Echelon has emerged as one of its true competitors, having created some of the best exercise bikes on the market. As the entry-level model in Echelon’s Connect series, the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike is the most affordable — but also the most limited in its tech. 

We’ve yet to ride it ourselves, but our team of certified trainers and CrossFit professionals have tested more than 20 different exercise bikes from top brands — including its big brother, the Echelon EX-8s — and rated them on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 across 12 different categories, such as footprint, adjustability, and tech capabilities. After comparing the EX-5’s features against previous models, we feel confident saying that it’s an excellent option for budget-minded bikers in search of a versatile cardio machine that can provide connected programming, but isn’t entirely reliant on it. 

Echelon Connect Ex-5 Bike

Echelon Connect Ex-5 Bike

The Echelon Connect EX-5 features 32 levels of magnetic resistance, along with a four-way adjustable seat and handlebars. With iFIT integration, you can connect your own device to experience immersive rides with auto-adjusting resistance.

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About Our Expert: 

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CF-L1, CES, CSNC a certified personal trainer, certified nutrition coach, and CrossFit Level-1 Trainer. She reviewed the research we cite to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

Main Takeaways

The device holder above the handlebars securely holds devices from 5.5 inches to 12.5 inches, so you can follow cycling workouts, then flip it 180 degrees to do some off-bike training.

When you connect your device using the Echelon Fit app, the bike is compatible with the automatic resistance adjustment feature available in select classes. Access requires a monthly subscription, which ranges from $11.99 to $39.99.

At 106 pounds, the sturdy steel frame is light and compact, making it easy to relocate using the front wheels.

Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike Highlights

Price: $1,299.99

Resistance Levels: 32

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Dimensions: 55” H x 58” L x 20” W

Weight: 106lbs

The Echelon EX-5 checks all the boxes you want to see in a quality studio bike — four-way seat and handle adjustments, 32 levels of magnetic resistance, a hefty flywheel, and a steel frame. Just like the higher-end options in the series — the mid-range EX-5s-22 ($1,799) and the luxury EX-8s ($2,999) — compatibility with the Echelon Fit app comes standard. 

The Premier tier of Echelon Fit, which costs an additional $39.99 a month, offers access to thousands of on-demand workouts both on and off the bike. On the EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s, you can stream those classes on an HD touchscreen mounted on the bike. The EX-5, however, has no touchscreen. Depending on how you want to use the bike, this could be a positive or a negative. 

Our tester adjusting the identical seat stack on the EX-8s.

While the EX-5 does not include a screen, it has a device holder above the handlebars where you can secure phones and tablets between 5.5 and 12.5 inches. That device holder also flips 180 degrees, making it easy for you to hop off the bike for a strength training or yoga class. 

An integrated touchscreen is convenient for those who see themselves taking classes every time they hop on the bike, but for someone who is tight on space, the lack of a huge display may be a positive. 

When trying out the EX-8s, for example, our tester, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer, noted that its 24-inch screen made maneuvering the bike difficult. “Moving the bike around wasn’t too bad on my own, but the 24-inch screen made it a bit unwieldy,” they said. At 106 pounds — 18 pounds less than the EX-8s — the display-less EX-5 can tilt and roll with ease. 

Both the Echelon Connect EX-5 and EX-8s feature a bullhorn handlebar.

On the similar EX-8s that our tester used, they noted how stable it felt, but the screen wobbled a bit. However, unless you have an 18-pound tablet in the device holder, most people should be able to tilt and roll the EX-5 with ease.

[Related: Echelon Connect EX-8s Exercise Bike Review (2024)]


This bike features a steel frame and four-way handlebar and seat adjustments.

Its 32 levels of magnetic resistance can be adjusted by turning the resistance knob.

The compact footprint, built-in wheels, and 106-pound overall make it easy to move.

It can connect with Echelon Fit via Bluetooth to access thousands of live and on-demand classes on or off the bike.


An Echelon Premier membership costs $39.99 per month, but really unlocks the bike’s potential.

Without an Echelon Premier membership, you’ll only get a one-year warranty (five years with an active membership).

Since you’ll need to supply your own device, those looking for a Peloton-Bike-level screen may want to check out the EX-8s.

Our tester noted that customer service can be slow and unreliable.

Training With the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike

With 32 levels of resistance and 15,000 Echelon Fit classes just a tap away, it’s not difficult to work up a decent sweat aboard the EX-5. With its four-way adjustable seat and handlebars, we appreciated that taller and shorter users can reap the benefits of cycling classes on the app. 


Compared to the 16 or 24 levels you’ll find on comparable bikes, the EX-5’s 32 levels of magnetic resistance provide a wide range that can help spike your heart rate or just flush out your legs. When you need to adjust resistance during a ride, you can do so by turning the knob just below the bullhorn handlebars. 

As you turn the resistance knob, the magnets on either side of the 28.6-pound flywheel move closer to the wheel, increasing the effort it takes to turn the pedals. While heavier flywheels require more effort to start pedaling, anything over 20 pounds can be heavy enough to maintain momentum, making for a smoother ride for you. 

Our tester gave the customizations a rating of 4 out of 5, and if you’re concerned about disturbing neighbors, roommates, or your cat, magnetic resistance can provide a quieter workout as opposed to brake pads.

Adjustability and Ergonomics

The Echelon Connect EX-5’s lightweight steel frame can provide stability for users up to 300 pounds, while its seat and handlebar can be adjusted in all directions — up and down, as well as forward and backward — to accommodate riders of varying sizes. The seat’s vented design, meanwhile, aims to provide increased circulation and mimic the feel of road bikes.

[Related: The 9 Best Exercise Bikes For Heavy People of 2024]

The EX-8s has the same seat, and our tester made note of it when rating the bike’s ergonomics 4 out 5. “I thought the seat was just fine,” they said. “Not the most comfortable, but also not the worst.” If you’re similarly ambivalent about it, you can always swap it out with a different one.

The vented seat and dumbbell rack on the Echelon Connect EX-5 is identical to the EX-8s.

The pedals on the EX-5 are reversible, with the option for riders to clip in with SPD-compatible cycling shoes. “I loved that you can clip in your cycling shoes on one side, then flip over to use running or cross-training shoes on the other,” our tester noted. Its toe cages are also adjustable to help you find a snug fit.

The identical pedals on the Echelon Connect EX-8s.

We also like the adjustability of the device holder, which can be flipped 180 degrees so you can access off-bike strength and mobility workouts. 

Echelon Fit Compatibility

Like the EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s, the EX-5 is compatible with Echelon Fit, meaning you can ride along with the app’s vast library of cardio classes and take advantage of its other perks, such as hands-free adjustments to your resistance during classes and virtual rides. For instance, as you approach a hill while cruising through the Japanese countryside, the resistance will automatically adjust to mimic the terrain without you needing to fiddle with the adjustment knob. 

Our tester spent ample time exploring the live and on-demand classes on offer, but thought — for about the same price — the Peloton app may be slightly farther along. “You can tell they’re trying to emulate the Peloton app, and it’s honestly not far off, but it’s just not the same quality production yet,” they explained. “I did enjoy the travel-the-world classes, which were scenic rides similar to JRNY on Bowflex machines or iFIT.” They scored the dynamic programming a 4 out of 5.

Unlike the EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s, the EX-5 has no built-in touchscreen, but you can still take classes using a smartphone or tablet strapped into the bike’s device holder. 

[Related: iFit Review – Is Virtual Coaching The New Normal?]

Echelon Premier costs $39.99 per month, but you can save a bit of cash by paying for a full year subscription, which reduces the monthly cost to $33.33 per month. As part of this membership, active users also get an extended, 5-year warranty, which is quite the upgrade over the one-year warranty for non-members. 

What to Consider Before Buying the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike

App-connected home exercise bikes tend to have a laundry list of features and specifications that can be confusing to sift through. The EX-5 is no exception. Before clicking add to cart, consider what to look for when buying an indoor cycle.


Echelon Smart Connect bikes are pricey. The EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s cost $1,799.99 and $2,999.99, respectively. The $1,299.99 EX-5 shares many of the same features as its big siblings — adjustable seat and handlebars, reversible pedals, and 32 levels of magnetic resistance — but lacks its own touchscreen. If you already have a decent tablet, we think saving the $500 or — gulp — $1,700 with the EX-5 is the way to go. 

If you’re interested in an Echelon Premier membership — you don’t need one to use the bike — you will also want to factor in the monthly cost of an Echelon Premier membership. At $39.99 per month, it’s comparable to some of the best fitness apps in terms of pricing, but we do think it lacks some of the production quality of Peloton or iFIT.

You’ll also need to consider Echelon’s warranty situation, which our tester was — how should I put this? — less than enthused about. “I was shocked to see only a one-year warranty. For an indoor bike in this price range, that’s a rip-off,” they said. 

“Look for at least 5 years on the frame, 2 years on parts, and one year for labor,” says certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto. The one-year warranty from Echelon is certainly lean compared to the 10-year frame warranty offered by ProForm — or even the 5-year warranty offered by Peloton, which is considered by many to be substandard. 

Thankfully, Echelon does include a 5-year warranty for active Echelon Premier members, which is wrapped into the $39.99 monthly charge for app access.

Size and Portability

The EX-5 takes up a footprint of 8.06 square feet, so you’ll want to break out the measuring tape in your home gym to make sure you’ve got ample room for it. That’s about half the floor space the average two-seater sofa would occupy. (1)  This is similar to the size of two of the EX-5’s competitors, the ProForm Studio Bike 22 and the Peloton Bike.

[Related: The 6 Best Folding Exercise Bikes of 2024]

The EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s have similar dimensions to the EX-5, but they also have 22- and 24-inch touchscreens, respectively, which our testers have noted make transport much more difficult. This is another positive of the EX-5’s lack of touchscreen — it’s much more suitable for those living in small spaces. 


If you’re looking for cutting-edge tech, Echelon can certainly deliver. The EX-5s-22 and the EX-8s both feature huge HD touchscreens and Bluetooth resistance controllers. The EX-8s is even outfitted with flywheel lights that flash in concert with the intensity of your ride. 

The EX-5, while still compatible with the Echelon Fit app, is a much more utilitarian machine, which is what allows for its lower price and better portability. You’ll likely be able to save some cash by using what you already have — a phone or tablet.

That said, there are alternative options near this price point that do feature HD touchscreens and fitness app compatibility. We could all maybe use a little slimming down when it comes to the screens in our lives, but if you think you’ll value a built-in display, consider looking elsewhere.

Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike Vs. The Competition

With all the technology on offer in available home studio cycling bikes, it can be difficult to parse what is necessary to support the type of ride you’re after. Check out the chart below to compare the features and specs of the Echelon Connect EX-5 and a few of its top competitors.

In a few areas, the EX-5 and the ProForm Studio Bike 22 have similar or identical features, like their reversible pedals, fitness app integration, and footprints. When you compare other areas, you can start to see who may gravitate to which one. 

The Studio Bike 22 weighs 38 pounds more, but its weight capacity is 50 pounds less and offers 8 fewer levels of resistance. Anyone searching for a high-tech experience, though, may prefer its 22-inch HD touchscreen over securing their own tablet or phone in the device holder on the EX-5. However, as our tester noted, big screens can wobble during intense workouts or throw off the balance of the bike when moving it.

Speaking of tech, all three offer integration with popular fitness apps for roughly the same monthly price. According to our testing team, though, Echelon Fit lags a bit behind Peloton and iFIT. Exercise bikes that we have tested with iFIT integration consistently earn ratings of 5 out of 5 for dynamic programming, and we’re also big fans of Peloton’s classes and instructors. Echelon Fit, however, continues to refine its content, delivering new classes every week.

The HD touchscreen displays may give the EX-5’s competitors a leg up in terms of tech, but given the quality of the actual bike — something else our screens can distract us from — we still think the EX-5 has a lot to offer.

Places to Buy the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike

The Echelon EX-5 is available directly through Echelon’s website, Amazon, and other retailers.

Customer Experience

The Echelon Connect EX-5 comes with a 12-month total warranty, but Echelon Premier members get a 5-year total warranty with their $39.99 per month subscription. Our tester scored Echelon’s customer service a 3.5 out of 5, noting the lack of a live chat option. You can reach the customer care team at or 833-937-2453. You can also text HELP to 818181.

Company Information

Based in Tennessee, Echelon Fitness makes digitally-connected fitness equipment, including exercise bikes, treadmills, rowers, ellipticals, and more. Their machines connect with the Echelon Fit app, providing access to over 15,000 live and on-demand workouts spanning cardio, strength, HIIT, Pilates, and more.

Final Word

The Echelon Connect EX-5 delivers the essentials you want in a connected exercise bike — 32 levels of magnetic resistance, an adjustable seat and handlebars, app integration, and reversible pedals — but jettisons the bulky touchscreens of its competitors for a more utilitarian profile that can also help you save some coin. 

If you are looking for a high-tech experience in this price range, the EX-5 may not be your match made in exercise bike heaven. But for those who value a quality build, tons of adjustability, and a wide range of resistance levels that allow them to just hop on and ride, the relative lack of technology may not be all that important.


How much does the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike cost?

The EX-5 will run you $1,299, and an Echelon Fit subscription is an additional $39.99 per month. This is right in line with the ProForm Studio Bike 22, which is comparable to the EX-5.  Among the three bikes in the Connect Bike Series, the EX-5 is the most affordable.

Can you use the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike without a subscription?

Yep, you can use the EX-5 in “freestyle” mode, but you still need a free Echelon account to get rolling. We’d recommend investing the $39.99 per month in the Echelon Fit app, so you can get the most out of your bike with access to thousands of on-demand and live classes, live leaderboards, metrics tracking, and more.

Does the Echelon Connect EX-5 Bike have a screen?

Instead of a built-in touchscreen — like the pricier Echelon bikes — it features a tablet holder just above the handlebars and water bottle holders. Bluetooth-compatible devices between 5.5 and 12.5 inches can fit securely in the device holder. The device holder can also flip 180 degrees so you can hop off the bike and take on other cardio workouts at home.


Jaramillo, C. (2022, December 29). A guide to sofa dimensions & sizes. SeatUp, LLC. 

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