Echelon EX3 Review: What You Should Know
Echelon EX3 Overview
Echelon is a huge name in the indoor cycling spinning world. They have made an amazing brand and community around these bikes second only to Peloton. I was lucky enough to be able to review the Echelon EX3. The EX3 is one of the main Echelon models and currently the second most basic in its range. It sits alongside the EX1, EX5, EX5s, EX7s and the Connect Sport. Though on the Website they currently only offer EX5s, EX3, and Connect Sport. Although considered basic to Echelon, this Spinning bike is pretty advanced in the Spin bike world.
The bike is beautiful. The first thing to mention is that it comes in three colours which I thought was really cool. Black, Red and Black and White. It has a rear flywheel, feels really high quality and really looks something special in my opinion. It’s $1000 currently making it a mid range bike. Mid range is where you will find the majority of spinning bikes so it has a lot of competition. Assembly is not challenging at all. The tools are all provided and it’s really straightforward. The warranty is a year, which isn’t the shortest i’ve seen but definitely not the longest. Echelon has always been known as a heavy hitter in the Indoor cycle market, we know they can punch at the top but can they make a fight off some of the mid range spinning bikes?
The Echelon EX3 doesn’t come with a screen unfortunately, but don’t let that disappoint you. The indoor cycling bike is actually designed to be used with your own tablet or phone. You have a lovely high quality holder on the front of the bike along with a USB port on the side for changing a device. After you link up with the Echelon App on your tablet via Bluetooth and you’re ready to go. The bike does have Bluetooth but not Ant+. The cost of the App is $39.99 a month. When you have it loaded you will have access to thousands of classes. The last time I checked it was 3500 and some more. They offer live classes and it’s not just spinning. You have Boxing, Pilates, HIIT, Strength and Conditioning. I appreciate it’s not cheap but it is an amazing community and completely opens your world of fitness.
One thing I loved about this bike was being able to join a live class with a friend then chat about it after we had both done it and compared figures. When you’re in the classes you get all the data you need, time, distance, heart rate, calories, rpm, resistance level and even watts. For the Heart Rate you will require a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. The power reading will come in watts and on this bike is an estimate, but for $1000 I wouldn’t expect a direct power meter. A question asked by many is can this bike link with apps such as Peloton and Zwift, unfortunately it cannot and the bike is pretty much locked to Echelon only. This is understandable as it’s a subscription platform they are running.
The transmission system on the bike is good and I can see they have put a lot of time in making it really user friendly. The first thing to mention is it is a belt drive, from the information I can find from Echelon it is polymer and made to last a long time and to be very durable. It’s a flat belt and not notched, so it’s a good belt but cannot compete with a very high end bike such as the Stages SC which uses a carbon notched belt. That aside it will require no lubrication or maintenance. The next thing to mention is that it is a magnetic frictionless system making the bike resistance change effortlessly and smoothly. I have to mention that the bike is one of the quietest bikes on the market. It’s so silent, this system they have produced is perfect if you live in a flat or spin at an awkward time of the day. I was so impressed when hearing it just how little noise it made. The bike produces 32 resistance levels and these are displayed on screen when you’re working out and feel really easy to adjust via the dial at the front. It will cater for a new spinner to a seasoned pro cyclist and its nice to see yourself work up the levels as you get fitter.
The pedals are of a great quality and have not just toe clips but also SPD clip in options. On a bike at this price I would expect that. The pedal thread is standard so they can also be swapped out for other options if you wanted to. The Q Factor, this is the distance between the cranks arms at the bottom bracket, is very large. Road bikes would be 150mm, mountain bikes would be 170mm and spin bikes are normally around this or slightly larger. This bike is 202mm, which is very large. To you standard spinner you wouldn’t notice this. If you are an avid road cyclist you will notice this and might find it might take a few rides to get used to it as you will power more from your hips. The flywheel is 28lbs which is fairly light but on a magnetic system will work just as effectively as a heavy flywheel on a friction system. Something to mention the flywheel as you can see in the pictures points to the rear. This is all well and good but it might not be the bike for you if you live in a house with kids or a pet around as it’s not protected.
The frame is of a very high quality and as mentioned before has a great design with that rear facing flywheel. The bike itself weighs 110lbs and as far as bikes in this range go it’s heavy. It’s 54” in length, 54” tall and 19” width. It’s quite a long bike but very small in width. It can accommodate riders from 4ft 6” to 6ft 6” and this is a huge range so definitely a bike for the whole family.The max user weight is 300lbs and the bike is easy to move about on transportation wheels which is a blessing as it’s not a light bike. The handlebars are fairly basic and have a nice feel to them. They come with the tablet mount in front and everything feels secure and they do the job. The saddle is actually of a very high quality and most people find it very comfortable and easy to get used to. The saddle can move horizontally and vertically and the handlebars just move vertically. This model does not come with bottle holders but the higher models do.
Echelon EX3 Indoor Bike Features:
- Q-Factor: 202mm
- Pedals: Dual-sided Toe clip Spd
- Flywheel: 28 Pounds
- Resistance: Magnetic
- Transmission: Belt
- Weight capacity: 300 Pounds
- Height capacity: 4’6″ – 6’6″
- Bike weight: 110 Pounds
- Bike dimension: 19″W x 54″H x 54″L
- Monitor: None
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Applications: Echelon
- RPM tracking: Yes
- Speed tracking: Yes
- Watt tracking: Estimation
- Resistance tracking: Yes
Echelon EX3 Indoor Bike Pros:
Quiet Belt Drive
Dual-Sided Pedals with SPD and cages
Echelon EX3 Indoor Bike Cons:
- Limited Bluetooth Connectivity
- Without Echelon App very basic
- No power meter (power is estimated)
- No armrests on the handlebars
- There is no built-in screen/monitor on the bike
The Final Verdict
I really like this exercise bike. It’s well built, it’s a lot of fun to ride and the community around Echelon is amazing. If you already have a tablet and are looking to upgrade your spinning bike game this is perfect and is great value for money. It’s a very cost-effective way to get into the interactive spinning world at a much cheaper price than a fully interactive bike. If you are looking for an intense training machine to become a Tour De France Cyclist then this isn’t the bike for you as that Q factor and the Estimated watts might make it challenging. The value in this bike is having the Echelon application, in my opinion, if you were buying this just for the bike the value wouldn’t be there and I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, I highly suggest you to check out the Bowflex C7 as it has everything this offers, plus, a 7″ touchscreen monitor. With the application though, this bike is incredible and I highly recommend it.