With indoor fitness booming, even more so during winter, Top Santé editor Katy Sunnassee shares her review of the new Echelon bike…

Not only did working from home become the norm in 2020 and most of 2021, but working out at home was just as popular – and has continued to be. At one point last year, you couldn’t even buy dumbbells online as sales of home fitness equipment went through the roof, with everyone clamouring to kit out their homes, garages and even sheds.

Turning to indoor cycling during lockdown

But one piece of kit has undoubtedly rocketed in popularity: the stationary bike. Often taking up less space than other cardio machines, such as treadmills, steppers and cross trainers, a bike can fit into most people’s homes, providing a convenient way to exercise – I know the editor of Women’s Fitness has one in her office! (Now there’s a thought…)

However, I have to confess up front that I’m not a fan of cycling – either on road or off. The traffic on roads makes me too nervous, while the lumps and bumps of the countryside make me fear toppling off. This may be because I only learned to ride aged 12, and then pretty much left the two-wheel experience behind not long after that!


TS editor Katy reviews the Echelon Smart Connect EX-3 Max Bike

But when asked whether I wanted to try out and review the Echelon Smart Connect EX-3 Max Bike I said why not – after all, there’s no worrying about falling off!

Fortunately, I now have a fully kitted out home gym, or rather garage gym thanks to my personal trainer husband who had it converted during one of the lockdowns in order to train clients once restrictions were lifted. And at 3ft 4in by 1ft 8in, the Echelon fitted in nicely for a couple of weeks, while I took it for a spin – pun intended.

Echelon offers a huge range of workouts – both on and off-bike

I was amazed at the number of workouts: 3,500 on-demand classes as well as a line-up of live classes all day, every day. Many of these were off-bike, too, meaning you can not only cycle but do kickboxing, yoga, stretching, Pilates, HIIT, strength sessions and even Zumba.

And if you’ve been missing travelling, numerous scenic rides allow you to explore multiple countries and terrains, from the French countryside and Australian deserts to the streets of Singapore.

Having not really been anywhere for the best part of two years, other than to my son’s nursery and back, or for a walk along the beach, it was nice seeing different views and skylines – I preferred these scenic cycles over the upbeat, instructor-led classes, mainly because the latter reminded me of how unfit I’ve become (the instructors are super honed and hyped!).

The Echelon community means you never ride alone

The bike connects to your smart devices via Bluetooth to monitor speed, cadence, calories burned and heart rate. Post-workout, the Echelon Fit app gives you a personalised performance report so you can track your progress as well as link to your Facebook, Fitbit and Strava accounts to compete with friends and family.

This is another big benefit – although you may be cycling alone, you feel like you’re connected to others. The Echelon community is as much about mental health as it is physical health, and its hashtag “manifesto” is #nevertrainalone.

Echelon review: ‘Post-workout, the Echelon Fit app gives you a personalised performance report so you can track your progress as well as link to your Facebook, Fitbit and Strava accounts.’

Super quiet but lacking in responsiveness

The “silent magnetic flywheel” makes the bike super quiet, which is a plus if you’re using it in the same living space as others or have thin walls. The pedalling action is super smooth, too, and there are 32 levels of resistance.

During my review of the Echelon bike, I did think it could have been more responsive when it came to turning up or down the resistance, as I felt I had to turn the dial so many rotations just to get a little increase, unlike the old exercise bike I used to have that only required a tiny touch of the lever to make pedalling much harder.

However, I did like the ‘stop’ button, which allows the pedals to instantly disengage from the wheels, as it were, so you can stop right away if needed, rather than carry on pedalling to slow down.

The seat could be comfier

I wasn’t keen on the competition-style seat, which I found too firm for rides any longer than 15 minutes, after which my bony backside went numb! I’m sure this is partly a case of conditioning and getting used to it – after all, this was my first time cycling since I can’t remember when. Still, it would be good if there was a softer seat option.

The bike also doesn’t come with its own in-built screen – you have to use your own phone, tablet or Smart TV. However, the 21.5 inch display mount flips 180 degrees so you can see it for the off-bike training routines, without having to physically take off the screen and perch it somewhere else mid-workout.

At Home Indoor Exercise Bike with On Demand & Live Classes | Echelon

Echelon review: ‘I was amazed at the number of workouts: 3,500 on-demand classes as well as a line-up of live classes all day, every day.’

Echelon review: the verdict?

All in all, if you’re tight on space, want to work out at home and are keen for some variety, the Echelon bike is a great bit of kit as you’ll have plenty of workout choice and can feel part of a group, too.

The Echelon Smart Connect EX-3 Max Bike is £1,199 with app membership options from £24.99 per month. The app is downloadable from the Apple Store and Google Play with various memberships available.


Echelon Fitness is offering huge discounts for Black Friday 2021. We’re talking savings of up to £400!

The sale will see the best-selling Echelon Smart Connect EX3 Max Bike AND their innovative Echelon Smart Rower drop in price by £250 (£1199 down to £949).

Add to that free shipping plus 30 days free membership, and the total saving on each product comes to a massive £389 off. If you’re looking to try indoor cycling this winter, this deal is definitely one you won’t want to miss!