In 2020 we found ourselves isolated and left to our own devices to work, entertain and stay in shape. Many of us relied on YouTube videos to follow guided workouts while plenty of people flocked to buy workout equipment. None of these really replaced the benefits of a gym class. Instructor led training which engages you. Echelon has been on the front foot of this and has a product, and service, to keep you at home while still having the gym class experience. And it is not just spin.
Echelon sells connected fitness equipment which includes a rower, treadmill, smart mirror and exercise bike. Their first product available in Australia is the EX-3, it’s a connected smart bike that takes the home workout to another level.
The bike itself looks like a standard exercise bike you’d find in a gym. Pedals with cleats on one side and hoops on the other, bullhorn style handlebars, adjustable heights and seat and a slot for a tablet. Like many exercise bikes resistance is also controlled with a central dial. Where this bike really comes to life though is the Echelon Fit app which connects the bike, and you, to trainers for live and on-demand classes.
The Echelon Fit service provides you with around 30 live classes per day with over 4000 on demand. Classes vary between 5 minutes and 2 hours to ensure you find one that fits your schedule. Each class is named with the style, duration and music variety. Music is all licensed so you’ll know the songs you hear, and if you love a particular song or playlist you can immediately add it to your Spotify playlist.
When you join a class you’ll see a live leaderboard which will ignite the competitive streak in you. You’ll see your cadence, resistance, heart rate, calories burned and more. All of this can be hidden if you find it distracting. We ran our classes through an iPad Pro but it does work on any Apple or Android device. We also loved using AirPlay or Chromecast to mirror the class onto our TV for a big screen experience. The trainers Echelon use are professional and more excited than anyone should be for a sweaty session. In live sessions you may hear your name being called out to push harder or hear words of encouragement as they actively see all participants. Nothing makes you push harder when you hear “C’mon Geoff from Australia!”.
As someone who likes a spin class but really needs variety it was good to see the option of scenic rides where you can play virtual tourist to hundreds of locations in the world. But the real variety was the exercises off the bike that we loved. Yoga, meditation, HIT classes, stretching and even Zumba is all included in the app making this a home gym service.
The bike is available for $2,598.98 with a 12 month subscription to the service. This is an expensive exercise bike but with a gym membership cancelled for you and your partner plus the time saved commuting to a gym, you’ll realise some of the key benefits here. We set up the Echelon in our home office and when there was a 30 minute gap between meetings we found ourselves on the bike instead of scrolling endlessly on Instagram. Sure we were a little red faced and sweaty for our next meeting but in 2021 that is the new norm and we’re embracing it.