Echelon vs. NordicTrack: Smart Connect or Commercial Studio Cycle?

A stationary exercise bike is one of the best ways to get in a full-body workout without leaving your home. Cycling provides a low-impact workout that can still get your heart pumping.

While any type of exercise bike can be beneficial, bikes that offer live and on-demand workouts are an especially great choice. With guided workouts, it’s easy to stay motivated and hit your fitness goals.

There are many different exercise bikes with these features on the market, and the Echelon and Nordictrack bikes.

Which of these bikes are right for you? Read on to learn more about what both bikes have to offer.

Echelon Smart Connect: EX1, EX3, EX5 & EX5s

echelon smart connect

The Echelon Smart Connect (read our Echleon bike review) offers a series of bikes that provide you with everything you need for exercise at home.

Their stationary cycles are designed to mimic the experience you’d get at a studio. With a membership, you’ll have access to hundreds of live and on-demand classes, with new classes being added each week.

All of Echelon’s bike models offer Bluetooth connectivity, adjustable magnetic resistance levels, and a motor for additional resistance.

They also offer SPD compatible pedals. All of the exercises bikes are ergonomically designed and are made from durable materials.

What is the Echelon Smart Connect?

The purpose of the Echelon Smart Connect is to give uses the experience of a studio cycling class at home. Echelon provides an incredible variety of workouts guided by expert instructors.

Once users are connected to the Echelon Fit App, they’ll be able to schedule and participate in classes, climb online leaderboards, and track progress.

The Echelon app can be linked to your Facebook, Stravia, and Fitbit accounts, which will make it even easier for you to track and share your progress with others. The ultimate goal of the Echelon Smart Connect is to elevate your fitness, even when you’re staying at home.

Models and Features

Currently, Echelon offers four different models: the EX-1, EX-3, EX-5, and, EX-5s. The EX-1 and EX-3 models offer several different color options.

While all of these bikes provide a studio cycling experience, features vary from one model to the next. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of the features offered by each model:

EX-1

  • Ergonomic handlebars
  • Adjustable console that can hold a smart device
  • Mounted dumbbell holders
  • 32 levels of magnetic resistance

EX-3

  • Ergonomic handlebars
  • Adjustable competition seat
  • Indexing resistance adjustment knob with 32 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Handheld rack on seat slide

EX-5

  • Competition Aero handlebar system
  • Adjustable competition seat
  • Indexing resistance adjustment knob
  • Smart device mount that flips 180 degrees
  • Handlebar-mounted bottle holders
  • Weight rack behind the seat

EX-5s

  • Competition Aero handlebar system
  • Adjustable competition seat
  • 21.5″ HD touchscreen
  • Indexing resistance adjustment knob
  • Handlebar-mounted bottle holders
  • Weight rack behind the seat
  • Kickguards
  • Power ports and the front and back of the bike

As mentioned above, all of Echelon’s cycles are Bluetooth compatible and designed to be used with Echelon’s FitPass classes.

Every bike also comes with SPD compatible pedals with adjustable toe cages. No matter which model you choose, you’ll be getting a great exercise bike.

The EX-5s is the only model that comes with its own touchscreen. However, every other model has an adjustable mount that can be used with the tablet or smart device of your choosing.

If you finance your exercise bike, you could even receive a free tablet with your purchase.

Live and On-Demand Workout Options

available workouts

With a membership, you’ll have access to an incredible selection of studio workout classes. Live classes are scheduled every day of the week, and all of these classes are taught by certified cycle instructors.

When you’re a part of the live class, you’ll have the chance to compete against other users and work your way up the Echelon leaderboards.

Of course, you won’t just get access to cycling classes. You’ll also be able to enjoy many other types of classes via FitPass, including:

  • Pre and post-workout sessions
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Meditation
  • Kickboxing
  • Zumba

Whether you’re working out on your exercise bike or on your mat, you’ll have access to the classes you need. There are beginner-friendly classes, intermediate classes, and intense classes for people looking to push their limits.

Where to Buy

All of Echelon’s exercise bikes can be purchased directly from the Echelon website. Echelon offers a risk-free 30 day trial period.

NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle

nordictrack commercial studio cycle

The NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle allows you to bring a fitness studio into your own home. The bikes are designed for highly interactive training sessions.

Instructors are able to digitally control the incline and resistance of your bike, which means your workouts will be guided by experts.

NordicTrack’s cycles include a touchscreen, which means you don’t have to use a separate device for your workout sessions. The bikes have a flex frame that’s designed to mimic the movement of an indoor cycle.

What is the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle?

As the name suggests, these bikes are designed to be studio cycles. While you can workout on these stationary bikes independently, they’re specifically designed for cycling classes.

What sets these exercise bikes apart from other options on the market is that trainers have more control over workouts. Users aren’t just following along with the class. When you participate in a live class, your instructor can actually adjust your cycle over the course of your workout.

Models and Features

NordicTrack currently offers two models

  • s15i
  • s22i

The primary difference between these two models is the size of the touchscreen. The S15i has a 15″ screen, while the S22i has a 22″ screen.

Other features include:

  • SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance for a silent ride
  • 22 digital resistance levels
  • Autobreeze workout fan
  • Two digitally amplified speakers
  • Two 3lb mounted dumbbells
  • 1-year NordicTrack iFit membership included with purchase

On-Demand Workouts via iFit

ifit workouts

NordicTrack’s revolutionary iFit system is designed to provide a personalized and interactive training experience in the comforts of your own home. Classes are taught by expert trainers who each have their own styles. When you have an iFit membership, you’ll also be a part of their thriving fitness community.

iFit offers an incredible selection of classes, including:

  • Globetreck workouts
  • Livecast studio classes
  • Fusion training
  • Running
  • General fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Event training

In addition to the classes listed above, iFit has an impressive selection of cycling classes. New classes are added every week.

Where to Buy

NordicTrack’s Studio Cycles can be purchased at Amazon. At last check they were even offering a 1-year iFit membership with the purchase of a bike.

Price Comparison: Which Bike is Cheaper?

Because both Echelon and NordicTrack offer multiple models, your total costs will vary based on the model you choose. Echelon’s most affordable option is the EX-1, which is priced at $839.98. This purchase does not include a membership, which costs $39 a month.

NordicTrack’s cheapest option is its S15i model, which costs $ 1,599. While this is the more expensive option, the exercise bike does include a 1-year iFit membership. The S15i also comes with a 15″ tablet. The EX-1 requires you to provide your own tablet.

Both Echelon and NordicTrack offer $0 down financing. If approved, you’ll pay 0% APR for 36 months. Monthly payments will vary based on the model you choose.

Workout Comparison: Live + On-Demand Workout Options

Both Echelon and NordicTrack have an impressive selection of classes. You won’t just be able to participate in cycling classes; you can enjoy all kinds of live and on-demand workouts.

At the time of writing, Echelon offers more live classes, but that could change in the future. NordicTrack’s interactive live classes are what really sets its bikes apart from the competition.

If you purchase an Echelon cycle, you’ll need a membership in order to access its class library. While NordicTrack also requires users to have an iFit membership, a year-long free membership is included with your purchase.

Comparison Summary: How to Pick the Right Bike for You

If you already have access to a tablet, and you’re not interested in interactive classes, you may find that Echelon bikes are the best option for you. The Echelon EX-1 has a very reasonable price tag, and Echelon’s impressive app will give you the tools you need to get into shape.

If you want a bike that comes with its own touchscreen, however, and you want to take advantage of interactive classes, the Nordictrack Studio Cycle is the best choice for you. What’s great about the Studio Cycle is that you won’t have to pay an additional subscription fee; your membership will be free for its first year.

Both Echelon and NordicTrack offer impressive exercise bikes that allow you to enjoy studio classes at home.

Take a closer look at both brands and the different models that they offer. No matter which brand or model you choose, you’ll have the resources you need to whip yourself into shape.

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