Of all the great debates going on in the fitness world right now—light vs heavy weights, cycling vs running, cardio before or after lifting—the one with the most buzz might just be: Echelon vs Peloton, a.k.a. the David and Goliath of at-home spin bikes.
While Peloton was a pioneer in the connected fitness space and has long been dubbed the front runner when it comes to on-demand spinning workouts, it’s always prized itself on being a luxury product. That’s made it covetable, but not necessarily economical for everyone.
Seeing an open lane, Echelon has quickly caught up thanks to its focus on bringing budget-friendly exercise bikes to the sweaty masses. Its top-end model, the EX-5S offers all the same features as Peloton’s—but costs $600 less.
It’s worth noting that, because of this, Peloton’s filed a lawsuit against Echelon, per Bloomberg, claiming that the more economical brand has basically ripped off its experience. They are so similar in fact, that it’s tough to tell the differences between the two at face value. Which is where this handy guide can help by breaking down the pros and cons of each bike into bite-size pieces of intel.
Should you spring for a world-famous Peloton or opt for a more budget-friendly Echelon? Here’s what to consider before clipping in your spin shoes.
Echelon vs Peloton Bike: How The Two Compare
Not sure which spin bike is right for you? Here are the major considerations to keep in mind.
- The Echelon EX-5S costs $1,639, plus a $39-per-month membership for classes.
- A Peloton bike costs $2,245, plus a $39-per-month membership for classes.
That’s what you’d pay if you bought the bikes outright, though financing options are also available. Echelon’s starts at $65 per month for 36 months, which includes your annual membership fee. By comparison, Peloton’s is $58 per month for 39 months and include an annual membership fee. (Just FYI: each company requires you to prequalify for monthly financing should you decide to go that route.) Similarly, both bikes come with 30-day free return policies and one-year warrantees.
Bike Size, Setup, And Hardware
- Peloton’s bike measures 48″ x 24″ and comes with home delivery and set-up.
- Echelon’s bike measures 54″ x 20″, arrives via mail, and requires self-assembly.
Peloton’s sleek, compact, and super quiet machine has been its calling card from the get-go. The sophisticated piece of equipment fits pretty much anywhere, while the near-silent belt drive keeps early-morning rides from disrupting sleeping loved ones. In addition of home delivery, they’ll also pick it up if you decide you don’t want it, after all.
Unlike Peloton, Echelon’s bikes don’t come with a set-up crew, and you’re responsible for mailing yours back in the original box (and paying a $100 restocking fee) if you don’t love it.
- Peloton requires Delta-compatible spin shoes, which it sells for $125, or spin shoe converters, which cost $25.
- You can use any SPD spin shoes with Echelon’s bike, or wear sneakers and use its toe cages instead.
Peloton’s Delta-compatible clip-in pedals ensure you’re truly connected to your bike throughout your ride. But they require you to have the right pair of spin shoes, which Peloton sells for another $125. (You can buy just the cleats, which attach to the bottom of any cycling shoe, for $25).
Echelon’s pedals, meanwhile, are compatible with SPD cleats. (Echelon sells shoes for $99.) One perk here: Echelon’s pedals also feature adjustable toe cages if you prefer to skip the spin shoes altogether and ride in your regular sneaks.
- Peloton bikes come with a 22-inch HD touchscreen monitor
- Echelon’s EX-5S features a 21.5-inch touchscreen that flips 180-degrees for off-bike workouts.
Peloton’s massive touchscreen creates a truly immersive experience—and sets the bar high for competitors. In the 4,000-plus reviews on Peloton’s site, riders often call out the in-studio experience, supported by the bike’s huge display, as one of their favorite features.
Peloton is also famous for its live leaderboard, which provides real-time metrics and stacks you up against other riders, without distracting from the class experience.
For Echelon, the EX-5S is the brand’s first foray into a touchscreen-equipped spin experience. It also has a display that includes a live leaderboard and real-time metrics in a format quite similar to Peloton’s.
- Peloton uses a gradual resistance system.
- Echelon operates on 32 levels of magnetic resistance.
The two bikes don’t differ too much here. Though, Peloton’s gradual resistance has a rep for being impeccably smooth, Echelon’s 32 levels of magnetic resistance get the job done, too.
- Neither bike comes stock with dumbbells, but they are available to purchase separately.
Here, again, Peloton and Echelon EX-5S break about even. Both bikes include a weight rack behind the seat but neither base package includes dumbbells for it. You can buy one-, two-, or three-pound dumbbells from Peloton for $25 a set, while Echelon sells a two-pound set for $19.99.
The Class Experience
- Peloton offers up to 14 live spin classes per day, plus a library stocked with on-demand options.
- Echelon, similarly offers daily live classes and on-demand workouts, but reviewers warn of glitchy connections and app crashes.
Perhaps Peloton’s most appealing asset is its pretty much bottomless selection of classes (both on and off the bike). Plus, Peloton’s classes are lead by some of the best instructors in the game and are set to motivating playlists. With up to 14 live rides per day and the ability to filter through thousands of on-demand rides based on length, theme, music genre, difficulty level, and more, there is truly a class for every rider and every mood—all filmed in Peloton’s sleek New York City studio. TBH, the brand’s classes (and overall user experience) can’t be beat.
Frankly, Echelon struggles to compare. Though the brand also promises daily live rides and a deep pool of on-demand classes (both on and off the bike) that you can filter by time and instructor (and an interface that looks much like Peloton’s), reviewers complain of glitchy software like app crashes and Bluetooth connectivity issues.
The bottom line: If you want the best-of-the-best home spin experience and have cash to spare, the Peloton is worth every penny. However, if you’re looking for a more economical option for your cardio and endorphins boost, the Echelon EX-5S gets the job done.
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