Peloton Vs. Nordictrack Vs. Echelon: The Best Indoor Bike Trainer
Spin classes, where a set of stationary bikes are positioned in a room for group exercise led by a trainer, have become extremely popular over the past few years. Being around other people motivates you to work hard, and it helps that the trainer and music are optimized for this.
However, with more people opting to work out from home, you may be wondering what your options are. Many people have heard of industry leader Peloton, but can you compare Peloton vs. Echelon, Peloton vs. NordicTrack, or even Echelon vs. NordicTrack?
Let’s take a look at the best indoor bike trainers available today.
What Is a Spin Class
Indoor cycling, also known as spin or spinning, is a form of exercise using a stationary bicycle. When multiple people come together in one location to practice indoor cycling under an instructor’s guidance, this is called a spin class.
This form of group exercise has been incredibly popular. So much so, that dedicated spin studios have popped up in various locations around the world. Cycling is often a solitary exercise, but spin classes help you achieve a group setting cardio workout.
Although a group of people in a room together may be motivation enough for some, the instructor is often crucial to the experience. They guide the class, gradually changing the speed and resistance of the workout. Music is often an important consideration, too.
However, there are times where it is impractical to visit a physical studio to participate in a class. Services like Peloton, NordicTrack, and Echelon aim to bring the spin class experience to your home.
Once you’ve invested in the service-specific stationary bike, a recurring subscription grants you access to live workout classes over the internet. Some even monitor your progress and compile a performance table, pitting riders against one another.
Peloton is one of the most famous stationary bike brands available today. The company was founded in 2012 thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. They have two main products; the Peloton stationary bicycle and the app-based monthly subscription service.
The Peloton Bike weighs 135lbs and has a floorspace footprint of 48 inches by 24 inches, so you’ll want to find a suitable location for it when the delivery first arrives. The frame is made of steel and magnets provide the adjustable resistance.
There is a digital console that provides your workout metrics and leadership board. The device has a 5MP front-facing camera to interact with the class and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. You can purchase the Peloton bike for $2,245.
However, to make the best use of the service, you’ll need some of the company’s accessories. Packages offering additional equipment cost up to $2,694 for the most premium offering. While the bike is a vital component of the Peloton experience, the on-demand digital offering is the primary feature.
To access that service, you’ll need to pay an additional $39/month. You can access all content using the digital console on your bike, but the Peloton app is available for Android and iOS devices. Importantly, multiple people can use the service, as only one membership is required per bike.
The subscription service allows you to live-stream the company’s spin classes, which are often led by celebrity trainers. These sessions are recorded live in New York and London. Once complete, they are then added to an on-demand library. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the classes were recorded at the instructor’s home instead.
NordicTrack is a manufacturer or fitness and exercise equipment and has been operational since 1975. However, it has been an enthusiastic adopter of digital technologies. The NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle is the company’s Peloton alternative. The bike comes equipped with a 14-inch digital console that connects you to the live and on-demand workouts.
The steel-framed S15i has a total footprint of 55.75 inches by 22 inches. The bike can achieve an incline range of -10 to +20 percent. Magnets also provide the 22-level resistance. The padded saddle and workout fan make your workout more comfortable.
Additionally, the cost of the bike includes a one-year subscription to the iFit digital fitness service. After that, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to access the iFit features. For individuals, memberships cost $15/month, while families of up to five users can subscribe for $33/month.
There is also a higher-specification edition of the NordicTrack bike, the Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, which costs $1,999, still significantly cheaper than the basic Peloton package. You get a 22-inch display, a dedicated incline and decline drive system, and an additional two resistance levels for the increased price.
However, NordicTrack doesn’t operate the digital service. Instead, they have partnered with the interactive fitness brand, iFit. So the bike is by NordicTrack, but your subscription is with iFit. Otherwise, the experience is very similar to that of a Peloton workout.
The built-in console provides access to iFit’s on-demand workout library and live spin classes. Both bike models come with a rotating display to adjust the screen for when you want to use one of the company’s other workouts. If you don’t want to use one of the live workouts, you can enjoy Google Maps-based workouts, which allow you to enjoy a virtual exercise session anywhere in the world.
The previous two indoor bike trainers are available at the higher end of the market. Although both NordicTrack and Peloton offer premium services, they also cost a lot. If you’re after a more affordable Peloton alternative, you should check out the Echelon range of Connect Bikes.
The company offers four bikes with differing features at a range of price points. The most affordable bike, the Connect EX-1, is available at the cost of $1,199.98. This includes the bike and a one-year subscription to the digital workout service. After that period, you’ll need to pay $39.99/month for access.
The bike is ergonomically designed and even includes two seat-mounted dumbbell holders. The EX-1 can support up to 105lbs and has a physical footprint of 42 inches by 22 inches. There are 32 levels of resistance, and the digital console can rotate up to 180 degrees. Echelon membership includes up to 14 live classes per day and a library of on-demand sessions too.
There are four bikes in the Connect range: EX-1, EX-3, EX-5, and EX-5s. Each model features incremental improvements in specifications and peripherals, although the core experience remains the same. The Connect EX-5s is the top-of-the-range model and retails for $1,999.98. This price includes the bike and a one-year membership.
The Best Indoor Bike Trainer for Your Home
There are plenty of options to use an indoor bike trainer to access an online spin class. Although Peloton is the most notable of three listed here, NordicTrack and Echelon offer attractive alternatives at a lower cost.
However, as all models cost at least a few thousand dollars plus an ongoing subscription, they aren’t accessible for every budget. If you like the idea of in the moment exercise sessions, then check out the best free live workout classes you can take at home .