Home exercise bikes have become increasingly popular due to the convenience, motivation, and variety of workouts that they offer.
A wide variety of home exercise bikes are on the market, and they range in terms of special features and price.
However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive options like the Peloton bike, you may be considering the Echelon Connect EX-3.
The Echelon Connect EX-3 bike is the most basic and inexpensive model of the Echelon Connect product line.
While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of higher end bikes, the EX-3 provides access to on-demand and live classes using your tablet or smartphone.
Still, as it isn’t cheap, you may be wondering whether the EX-3 is worth the investment.
This article provides a comprehensive review of the Echelon Connect EX-3 bike to help you decide whether it’s the right fit for you.
- more affordable than similar bikes on the market
- compact design with a heavy duty steel frame
- compatible with the Echelon Fit app for streaming live and on-demand classes
- option to connect to a computer or Smart TV
- 32 levels of magnetic resistance
- 33-pound (15-kg) flywheel
- doesn’t include a touch screen display
- monthly membership required for streaming
- no programmed workouts
- short, 1-year limited warranty
- shipping only available within the continental United States
- poor customer service reputation
Echelon Fitness is a company that’s known for producing studio-quality fitness equipment and accessories at reasonable prices.
In addition to exercise bikes, Echelon manufactures treadmills, fitness mirrors, and rowing machines.
Echelon currently offers a line of Connect bikes, which include the following models:
The Connect is the most affordable and basic option, as it features a tablet holder, rather than a touch screen, for streaming classes.
As with Echelon’s other models, the EX-3 is compatible with the Echelon Fit app, which offers a wide selection of live and on-demand workouts designed to accommodate all fitness levels.
In addition to cycling, other types of classes include endurance, yoga, and strength training.
Available in red, black, or white, the Echelon Connect EX-3 features a sleek, compact design that’s ideal if you’re tight on space.
The bike is also equipped with transport wheels, making it easy to move it out of the way or to another area of your house.
To withstand high intensity workouts, the Connect EX-3 features a durable steel frame and 33-pound (15-kg) flywheel, which provides a smooth, quiet ride with plenty of momentum.
Here’s a quick look at the Echelon Connect EX-3 stats:
48 × 20 × 44 inches (122 × 51 × 112 cm)
105 pounds (48 kg)
Max weight capacity
300 pounds (136 kg)
Recommended user height
4’11” (150 cm) to 6’4” (193 cm)
The Connect EX-3 is equipped with dual-sided aluminum pedals, which include SPD clips on one side and adjustable toe cages on the other.
What’s more, with 32 levels of magnetic resistance, the bike makes it easy to vary the intensity of your ride.
To adjust the resistance level, begin pedaling to activate the bike’s tension system. Next, slowly turn the adjustment knob clockwise to add resistance.
Other notable features include a 6-inch (15-cm) padded competition seat, a narrow design for a full range of motion, and 4-way adjustable handlebars.
Echelon also offers a larger saddle, which can be purchased separately.
The Echelon EX-3 is easy to assemble and only requires one person, though you may need someone to help you carry the box inside.
One thing to note is that while the EX-3 is said to accommodate users between 4’11” (150 cm) and 6’4” (193 cm) tall, Echelon recently reported that the bike can comfortably be used by anyone between 4’5” (135 cm) and 6’8” (203 cm).
Still, to be on the safe side, we recommend trying out the bike in person if your height is outside of the initial range.
One of the main downsides of the EX-3 is that it doesn’t include a touch screen.
Instead, the bike is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and a tablet holder for accessing the Echelon Fit app on your own device.
The built-in tablet holder also rotates, making it easy to take your workout from the bike to the mat. Plus, there’s a USB port for keeping your device charged.
Just keep in mind that because the bike doesn’t come with built-in speakers, you’ll need Bluetooth-enabled headphones or speakers if your tablet doesn’t provide ample volume.
For a larger screen, it’s also possible to stream the app from your computer or a Bluetooth-enabled smart TV.
Echelon Fit app
The Echelon Fit app allows you to access thousands of live and on-demand workouts, which are updated daily.
Class options include:
- hill climbs
- virtual scenic rides
- strength training
During classes, you can view your performance metrics on the display, including your speed, resistance level, and calories burned.
You can also use the optional leaderboard to measure your progress, view your performance ranking, and compete against other users.
According to customer reviews, the Echelon app is fairly easy to use, though it’s not uncommon to occasionally have connection issues.
Additionally, some users complain that the app is overpriced and difficult to navigate.
Still, customers are overall happy with the variety of classes and find the workouts to be motivating.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs included with the purchase of the Echelon EX-3 bike:
- Echelon EX-3 bike: $799.99
- Shipping costs (within the continental United States): $99.99 with monthly Echelon United Membership; free with 1- or 2-year Echelon United Membership
- Shipping details: orders usually ship with 48 hours of purchase and arrive within 1 week
- Financing options: 12-, 24-, and 48-month payment plans for qualified buyers
- Echelon United membership: $39.99 per month, $399.99 for 1 year ($33.33 per month), or $699.99 for 2 years ($29.17 per month)
The Echelon Fit app requires an Echelon United Membership, which allows up to five users to access the full collection of live and on-demand workouts.
The Echelon United Membership works for all Echelon equipment.
Therefore, if you already own an Echelon treadmill, rowing machine, or fitness mirror, there’s no need for another membership.
If the EX-3 bike is your first Echelon purchase, you’ll be required to pay for the initial month of your Echelon United Membership, which costs $39.99.
You can also choose a 1- or 2-year membership plan, which reduces the monthly cost and covers shipping.
Finally, in addition to offering monthly payment plans, Echelon allows you to use Split — an interest-free payment plan for Visa and Mastercard credit-card holders.
Warranty and returns
The Connect EX-3 bike comes with a 1-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
A 1-year extended warranty is also available for $79, and a 3-year extended warranty is available for $199.
Echelon’s return policy is only available for equipment purchased from the company’s website.
To initiate the return process, you must submit a return request within 90 days after delivery. Once your request is approved, Echelon will give you a prepaid shipping label.
However, keep in mind that you won’t be refunded for any shipping or delivery charges that you were charged when you purchased the bike.
Additionally, all returns requested within 30 days of delivery will incur a $100 restocking fee, and returns requested after 30 days — but before 90 days — will incur a $100 restocking fee, plus a $100 return shipping charge.
If you’re shopping for a smart exercise bike, chances are you’ve considered the Peloton Bike+.
Here’s how the Echelon EX-3 stacks up to Peloton, as well as to MYX II — another more affordable Peloton alternative.
|Echelon EX-3||Peloton Bike+||MYX II|
|Display||none||24-inch (61-cm) rotating HD touch screen||21.5-inch (55-cm) interactive swivel touch screen|
|App connectivity||Echelon United||Peloton All-Access||MYXfitness|
|App subscription||$39.99||$39 per month||$29 per month|
|Weight||105 pounds (48 kg)||135 pounds (61 kg)||134 pounds (61 kg)|
|Flywheel||33 pounds (15 kg)||38 pounds (17 kg)||41 pounds (19 kg)|
|Max weight capacity||300 pounds (136 kg)||297 pounds (135 kg)||350 pounds (159 kg)|
|User height range||4’11” (150 cm) to 6’4” (193 cm)||4’11 (150cm) to 6’5″ (195.5 cm)||4’11” (150 cm) to 6’8″ (203 cm)|
The Peloton Bike+ is known for being easy to use and super comfortable.
Plus, its solid, heavy frame offers plenty of stability during intense workouts, all while providing a nearly silent ride.
The Peloton Bike+ also offers a vast range of live and on-demand, studio-style workouts, as well as an auto-follow feature, which automatically adjusts your resistance levels to match your instructor’s.
Based on reviews, customers are much more satisfied with the Peloton app than the Echelon Fit app.
However, as the Peloton Bike+ is around three times the cost of the EX-3, it may not be an option for all budgets.
It’s also slightly larger than the EX-3, which is worth considering if you’re tight on space.
That said, if you can afford it and plan to use the app along with your workouts, the Peloton Bike+ is the best overall option.
The MYX II
The MYX II stationary bike stands out for its affordability, comfortable ergonomic design, and adjustable seat and handlebars.
The bike connects to the MYXfitness app, which provides a large selection of cycling classes and guided workout options, including barre, yoga, and meditation.
MYX doesn’t offer live classes, but the company adds new content weekly, ensuring plenty of variety.
The Echelon EX-3 is about $600 cheaper than the MYX II, which makes the Ex-3 a more affordable option. It’s also about 6 inches (15 cm) shorter than the MYX, making it more compact.
However, the MYX takes the cake for intense workouts thanks to its heavy, 41-pound (18.6-kg) flywheel.
While it doesn’t offer live classes, the MYX II is equipped with a 22-inch (55-cm) display.
Overall, if price or live classes is your main priority, the EX-3 is your best bet. However, the MYX II is the better option if you’re looking for an integrated touch screen and a heavier flywheel.
Overall, online reviews for the Echelon Connect EX-3 are positive.
Customers report being satisfied with the quality, sturdiness, and affordability of the bike.
Reviewers also note that the bike is easy to assemble and use, and that the app offers plenty of variety.
Additionally, unlike many other smart bikes, customers appreciate that they can use the bike regardless of whether they continue their Echelon United membership.
Of course, no product is perfect.
Most of the complaints center around the Echelon Fit app, including connectivity issues, a clunky user interface, and limited music options.
Some reviewers have also had negative experiences dealing with Echelon’s customer service team.
The Echelon Connect EX-3 bike offers a balanced, varied, and challenging workout, regardless of your fitness level.
Furthermore, the bike features a sturdy, durable design to support intense workouts, as well as a rotating tablet holder for off-bike routines.
The EX-3 requires using your own tablet to connect to the Echelon Fit app. While this is a drawback for some, others may find it convenient to use a familiar device.
Especially given that it’s priced under $1,000, the bike is a solid investment, as long as it meets your workout needs.
However, if you’re interested in a bike with more high tech features, it’s worth considering the MYX II or other Echelon Connect models, such as the EX-5s.
Though, if high energy classes are your top priority and you have the budget, it’s hard to go wrong with the Peloton Bike+.
The Echelon Connect EX-3 bike is a great option for expanding your home gym.
Specifically, its budget-friendly price, good quality design, and endless workout options make it ideal if you’re looking for a solid cardio workout without spending more than $1,000.
However, as it doesn’t offer the same high tech features as more expensive models, it’s worth shopping around to find the smart bike that’s best for you.