Echelon vs Peloton

Echelon vs Peloton: Which Offers Better At-Home Workout?

Main Differences Between Echelon vs Peloton

The main differences between Echelon vs Peloton are:

  • Echelon offers a few hundred classes, whereas Peloton offers over 1,000 classes with All Access.
  • Echelon sells indoor rowing machines, whereas Peloton also sells treadmills
  • Echelon offers a free app, whereas Peloton begins at $12.99/month
  • Echelon offers more courses for beginners, whereas Peloton offers more advanced workouts

Fitness classes led by professional instructors; a community of others challenging you; and a vigorous full-body workout–all in your living room? In 2012 when Peloton hit the fitness industry scene, the “Netflix of Fitness” seemed like an almost daring idea–one that eventually led to way for competitors like Echelon.

Though the idea did not immediately provide success, a few years later and Peloton had given home gym gurus a new way to get in workouts that were interactive, immersive, and gave many the advantages of the support of the community of going to a gym, all at home.

Fast forward over 8 years later, and now Peloton has competition–and at a time where many gyms are only partially open, at-home workouts with community support seems like a great way to spend what can feel like isolating days.

But times aside, I wanted to see, in 2020, which company offers the better at home workout: Peloton or Echelon?

In this review, I’ll compare Peloton vs Echelon on a variety of equipment, services, and overall value–so you know which company to go with to build your gym at home.

What makes Peloton vs Echelon different from indoor exercise bikes?

Echelon vs Peloton

If you’re like me and were late to the scene, you may have wondered what was so special about Peloton and Echelon. Chances are if you’ve ever shopped for fitness equipment, whether that’s rowing machines or bar presses or even full home gym machines, you’ve probably at least heard of the two companies.

But when you’re buying Peloton or Echelon, it isn’t all about the equipment itself, but the live streaming fitness classes and “community” so to speak that come with their products. And while Peloton may especially be known for its indoor bikes, it, as well as Echelon, does sell a wide range of products.

Both Echelon and Peloton work as a mix of exercise equipment and live streaming workout support, with monthly subscriptions, and are meant to replicate the kind of workout you might get at a traditional gym.

I was intrigued to see if this extra support was worthwhile–and which company, Peloton or Echelon, delivered better.

What are the pros and cons of live streaming workouts?

While the idea of live streaming workouts at home is immediately appealing, I always like to caution that they have pros and cons. Live streaming fitness workouts and subscriptions come in many forms.

Some of the most popular ones I’ve reviewed come from BeachBody, which are largely workouts you complete with fitness instructions with little to no equipment.

Pros

Live Streaming workouts, whether they’re from the minimalist kind, or from companies like Peloton and Echelon, meant to be used with high-end bikes and other equipment, quite simply provide motivational support.

I love the sense of community you get, as working at home alone for many can feel isolating. I’d argue that these workouts, at their best, can also make your routine more interesting. Plus, most come with goals or different types of workouts to meet new fitness goals.

Cons

My biggest complaint with live-streamed workouts is that they don’t always take other fitness levels into consideration, though this is by no means universally true.

But the main drawback is simply that they cost money, normally monthly fees. If you’re using them to replace a gym membership, that’s probably fine. But for others, it may not be worth the cost. They’re sort of a medium between personalized attention and working out completely on your own.

Is Peloton or Echelon the better option?

Now let’s get into my review of Peloton vs Echelon. In order to determine which company is the better bet, I’ll go over several categories, from fitness equipment to workouts to customer service. Here are my impressions, and my advice.

Company Marketing/ Ethos

It may not seem like the most immediately important facet, but the website, company mission and marketing says a lot about what values and services that Peloton and Echelon want to project–and while similar, there is a difference in emphasis.

Peloton

Peloton heavily features its signature bike, but even more so, positions itself as a company meant to motivate people to work out, with exercise that can be catered to different levels and lengths to ‘fit your life’. Overall, the marketing focuses on pushing yourself to your limit, with the support of workouts and fitness trainers.

Echelon

Echelon focuses on a sense of community, explaining how a gallery of workouts can connect you with a fitness community from home.

Compared with Peloton, I did notice a bigger focus on the equipment itself, though, promising full body workouts through ‘innovative technology’ and showing how seamlessly you can build a home gym.

My Takeaway

I was not immediately drawn to one company over the other, but I did feel that Peloton was placing more emphasis on the workout and live streaming services, while Echelon struck me as a bit more focused on unique exercise equipment.

Signature Bike

I went into this review interested in seeing how the signature Peloton bike compared to Echelon’s alternative–and which provided the better value for a stationary bike workout at home.

Peloton

Peloton’s Original Bike retails for $1895 to $2,245 (for the upgraded Bike+), or a financing option of $49/month for 39 months and 0% APR financing. With the bike comes an adjustable 21-inch touch screen for live-streaming classes in HD; headphone and USB ports; and a microphone.

The frame is constructed out of welded steel, with resistance magnetics, and an ergonomic seat for back support. The price point struck me as on the higher end, but I did love the quality construction and little technical details that go into the original design. And unlike some other bikes, the price does include class access.

Echelon

Echelon has several bike options, but comparisons’ sake I decided to take a look at their most standard and affordable model, the EX1 Bike. It’s hard to not see the immediate price discrepancy: this bike retails currently for $839, a full thousand dollars less than Peloton.

It comes with adjustable height capability and ergonomic handles; 32 levels of magnetic resistance; and adjustable toe cages. You also get access to classes, though it’s around 30 vs Peleton’s gallery of several thousand plus.

The Winner: Echelon

This was a hard decision for me–if you are going for full overall value, you could easily argue that Peleton gives you more–and if we factor the array of different classes and tech, that’s a fair argument. But in comparing equipment, I wanted to compare the equipment on its own merit.

In this case, Echelon’s base bike is not only cheaper, but offers more detailed magnetic resistance, more features to keep you comfortable, and gives you the essentials for a good workout. Tech-savvy workout gurus may prefer the Peloton, but for me, Echelon’s EX1 gives more bang for your buck.

Other Equipment

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Both Peloton and Echelon offer exercise equipment beyond indoor bikes, but what they offer is different. Peloton offers treadmills, while Echelon offers indoor rowing machines.

Peloton

Peleton’s treadmills have jaw-dropping prices: the Peloton Tread (standard) retails for just under $2,500 or $64/month. The upgraded version, though, costs nearly $5,000.

I noticed that Peloton emphasized all the classes you’ll get with your treadmill, with fresh daily options and a large variety of workout options, but I’ll discuss that separately.

Apart from the workouts, the treadmill itself includes a 23.8” HD touchscreen; a traditional, 59-inch running belt (the upgraded version includes shock absorption); easy control knobs for incline and speed settings and pleasing, if not revolutionary, design.

Echelon

Echelon, instead, offers an indoor rowing machine. The Smart Rower retails for just over $1,000 for the base price and also includes daily live-streaming classes.

As for the machine itself, you get the same 32 levels of magnetic resistance as you do with their bikes, plus handlebar controls and a compact design that can be folded and tucked away.

Overall, it didn’t blow me away–I would have liked to see more features for a true full-body workout, and especially for ways to adjust your ride and make it more comfortable.

The Winner: Draw

Since indoor rowing machines, in general, are going to run more affordable than treadmills, I decided to focus on features and construction instead.

Make no mistake: both the Peloton Tread and the Echelon Smart Rower are solid machines, but, for their price points, I was hoping to see more features and more support for a comfortable and customized ride.

The Workouts

Now here’s a big factor: both Peloton and Echelon distinguish themselves with live streaming workouts, which are daily; varied, and led by fitness professionals.

In fact, if you aren’t interested in this aspect at all, it might be better to shop around for home gym equipment, as a chunk of the price you’re paying is not just for the equipment itself, but the workouts that come with it.

Peloton

Peloton without a doubt has a wide range of classes, so I can hardly imagine anyone feeling there is a shortage of options. A Peloton membership gives you access to live daily and on-demand classes; training programs; milestone badges and challenges; real-time metrics; and the ability to connect with a larger fitness community (though physical meetups may be limited right now). While you can buy family memberships, you can only stream on a device at a time.

The workouts themselves range from stretching to walking, cycling, cardio, Bootcamp, strength, running, and even meditation. All told, there are far too many classes, over a thousand, to even ever get close to going through.

While some claim to be full-body, there does seem to be a heavier emphasis on high intensity and long-distance cardio. For the most part, Peloton classes are immersive but can come off as intimidating for those new to fitness–great for hard workouts, but I’d like to see more options for beginners.

You can view a full list of Peloton Instructors and their credentials. I love the transparency, and it provides more assurance, at least for me, that I’ll actually have training from professionals.

Echelon

Echelon instruction also has its pros and cons. It’s a little different in that, rather than general memberships, it’s easier to peruse either by equipment type, or the unique Echelon Reflects.

The Echelon Reflects actually is a wall, mirror-like device that retails for around $1,000 starting price and allows you to stream cardio, yoga, strength, pilates, and boxing workouts with a personal trainer–but on further inspection, it’s more or less the same as live streaming features, just performing workouts with a ‘low footprint,’ minimalist approach.

That aside, Echelon classes offer much of what Peloton classes do: the ability to live stream or go to on-demand classes, with toning classes as well. You also have the ability to compete with others with a membership, set goals, and more through their app. Like Peloton, you can take a look at the credentials for Echelon Instructors.

The difficulty level is a little bit more accessible–while there aren’t as many workouts, there is a bit more focus on offering a few more beginner classes.

Winner: Echelon for Beginners; Peloton for Others

Peloton just has a bit more in terms of variety and intensity level for its workouts, but I like Echelon for anyone who isn’t already in good shape or may be new to the concept of live streaming classes.

Subscription Plans

I’ve already discussed the price differences for Peloton vs Echelon equipment, but subscription details for continuing live streaming workouts matter, too.

Peloton

Peloton Memberships start at $12.99/ month for digital and go up to $39/month for All Access. The digital membership includes an app that allows you to stream, courses on your smartphone, TV, tablet, or computer. If you upgrade to the All Access, you get access to the full litany of classes, family memberships, and those real-time metrics.

Echelon

Echelon Fitness Pass costs $39.99/ month, which includes additional FitPass yoga, pilates, stretching, and more classes. In fact, they have multiple membership options, but the basic app is free.

The free app provides the bulk of their live stream, on-demand classes, and memberships are mostly useful if you’re interested in certain specialties.

Winner: Echelon, for most

On the surface, some Echelon memberships can be quite pricey. But I think the best value, for most people, will be going for the free app option, which still provides a variety of workout classes.

My caveat is that, if you really want special features, or community challenges are very important to you, then paying the extra bit for an All Access (Peloton) could be worthwhile.

FAQs about Echelon vs Peloton

Can you use Peloton without a subscription?

Peloton is meant to be used with a subscription– that’s arguably the appeal to their signature stationary bike and treadmill machines. The machine itself works without it, but the $12.99/ month membership is the basic level you’ll be expected to pay for workouts.

Can Peleton instructors see you?

If privacy is a concern, rest assured that when you ride with Peloton, your instructors won’t be looking at your workout gear or how sweaty you are. While you can use the camera to ride with friends, your instructor doesn’t have access to watching you ride.

Where are Echelon bikes made?

Echelon bikes are assembled in Tennessee.

Can you watch Netflix on Echelon/ Peloton apps?

No, you can’t watch Netflix through either the Echelon or Peloton app–the apps are meant for catered workouts and don’t work with other live streaming services.

Are Echelon and Peloton bikes quiet?

One thing I admire about both Echelon and Peloton bikes is that they’re both relatively quiet, due to their use of a magnetic resistance system and quality construction.

Final Echelon vs Peloton Buying Decision: Go with Echelon.

My final buying decision is that, if we’re looking at overall value, I do think that Echelon is the better choice for most. There may be less bells and whistles for tech and fewer classes, but for most, Echelon provides a much more affordable way to get a unique, at-home workout with support and a great variety of classes.

If you have extra money to spend that isn’t to say that Peloton is a bad choice; it just might not be a necessary one.

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