Echelon Sport Smart Connect Bike Review

Combining a more affordable bike and an extensive variety of classes, Echelon gives other home spinning options a run for their money – with just a few drawbacks

Echelon Sport Smart Connect indoor bike
(Image: © Sarah Lienard / Future)

Our Verdict

The Echelon Sport Smart Connect bike is a sturdy piece of kit that pairs with a subscription app packed with live and on-demand classes. It’s a worthy alternative to Peloton if you’re on a budget, but lacks the screen, home set-up assistance and overall slickness you’ll find on others.


  • Smooth, quiet ride
  • Variety of live and on-demand classes
  • Lively riding community and Facebook group


  • No built-in screen
  • You have to assemble the bike yourself
  • Requires a monthly subscription to take full advantage

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With a dizzying array of home spin bikes now available, it can be difficult to determine what’s good value for money. If you’re after a bike-and-subscription package to stream live classes but you’re not ready to make the hefty investment that Peloton demands, Echelon offers a more affordable option in the form of its entry-level Sport Smart Connect Bike. So can it match the best spin bikes?

Echelon Sport Smart Connect Bike: Price & Availability

For what you’re getting, the initial outlay is very reasonable. The bike costs £799 (excluding delivery) in the UK and comes with a one-year warranty. It’s also available from a range of third-party retailers such as Wiggle, Argos, Currys and Amazon so it’s worth shopping around to see if any retailers are offering a discount.  

The Sport Smart Connect is no longer available from Echelon in the US, but is available from third-party retailers like Walmart for less than $500.

The Unlimited Fit App costs $34.99/£29.99 per month for a rolling membership (with the first 30 days free). If you’re able to pay a lump sum up front, you can lock in a rate of $33.33/£24.99 or $29.16/£19.99 a month (plus free delivery) by paying for one ($399.99/£299.90) or two years ($699/£479.76), respectively. You can add up to four family members on one membership, each with their own profile.

You can use the Freestyle area of the app without paying for a subscription, so if you choose to cancel the monthly payments after a time, you can still use the bike. You’ll be able to see your stats during and after your ride, but they won’t be saved in the Progress area – and you won’t have access to the live or on-demand content.

The Set-up

The box is heavy and while the delivery team did kindly carry it up my stairs and into my living room, you have to assemble it yourself. It was a little tricky to put together, but I was up and running in about 40 minutes (admittedly with the help of my partner who was as keen to try the bike as I was).

The bike is black, with a minimalist look, and doesn’t take up too much space. It is, however, very heavy and needs to be plugged in to use, so it’s worth assembling it where you want the bike to be stationed.

Once switched on, the bike connected with the app without issue, and I never struggled to get them to pair. There’s no built-in screen (one reason it’s much cheaper than a Peloton), but there is space to slot in your phone or tablet, connected via Bluetooth to the bike.

Echelon Sport Smart Connect indoor bike, close-up of handlebars

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

The bike is impressively quiet to use, and feels sturdy and stable. The magnetic flywheel is on the lighter side at 7kg but still produces a smooth ride.

There are 32 resistance levels, controlled by a dial below the handlebars. Your resistance and cadence are displayed during classes, and the instructor uses these to advise you how hard to work and when. There’s also an emergency stop button.

As with all spin bikes the saddle is hard, although Echelon does offer a comfort seat ($29.99/£34.99) or a gel seat cover ($19.99/£19.99) if you prefer. 

Echelon Sport Smart Connect indoor bike, close-up of seat

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

The handles are non-slip and offer a range of grip positions, making it easy to transition from seated to standing or to shift mid-ride. The seat and handlebars are adjustable, so you should have no difficulties finding a comfortable position regardless of height or build.

I tested it wearing trainers, but you can use cycling cleats if you’d rather clip in.

The water bottle holder is in the middle of the bike, rather than by the handles. It’s somewhat flimsy and on the slim side – not a major issue by any means, but it's worth using a smaller bottle that’s easy to get in and out.

Echelon Sport Smart Connect indoor bike, close-up of resistance dial and water bottle holder

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

The Experience

While you ride you can see all the stats you’d expect from a spinning bike, such as resistance, cadence, output, distance, speed and calories burned.

There’s a good variety of instructors and workouts to choose from and the app is easy to navigate, with upcoming live classes highlighted on the homepage. You can filter the on-demand options by type, length, genre or instructor, making it easy to tailor to your preferences, and add scheduled live classes to your calendar.

The app also offers “scenic” tours set to music, in locations from Cleveland to Bali, which offers a change from instructor-led classes. I didn’t try many of these because I was viewing them on my small phone screen, but I imagine they’re more appealing on a tablet.

There’s nothing to secure your device to the bike – just a ledge for it to rest on – although I didn’t have any issues with my mobile phone moving during use. Since you’re looking down rather than forwards, the viewing angle isn’t quite as comfortable or immersive as a built-in screen would be.

Echelon Sport Smart Connect indoor bike

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

There’s a lot of motivational patter to keep you engaged and I got a call out in my very first live class. There are clearly a lot of really, really fit people using Echelon as evidenced by the on-screen leaderboard. You may find this offers inspiration (along with a degree of awe), but if you’d rather not know how you score against others, you can easily hide it.

The on-demand classes are taped versions of live ones, rather than classes specifically created for on-demand use, so they don’t have the same slick feel that some competitors offer – and they include all the chat from the original live class. That said, there is a lot of variety in the classes so you wouldn’t have to repeat the same one again and again.

Naturally, spin classes are Echelon’s forte, but in the Fitpass section you can also access a wide variety of other workouts, including yoga, Pilates, stretch, HIIT, strength training, barre, boxing and more.

There’s also a very active UK Facebook group, featuring a lot of sweaty, smiling selfies and personal progress updates, so if you’re looking for a fun and engaged spin community, you’ll find it here.

Is The Echelon Sport Smart Connect Bike Worth It?

I really enjoyed using the Echelon bike. It’s a quiet, sturdy bike that rides well, and connects easily with the variety of live and on-demand classes on the app. The community is active and engaged, the instructors are upbeat and motivational, and the extra workouts and scenic routes included in the app are a welcome addition.

Echelon may not have the cult following or polished feel of Peloton, but it doesn’t have the hefty cost, either. Committed spinners looking for convenience on a budget will find a lot to like here.

Sarah Lienard

Sarah is an experienced health, fitness, nutrition and beauty writer, and was previously health editor at BBC Good Food. She has contributed reviews, interviews and features to Coach since 2019, covering exercise bikes, fitness trackers and apps, among other topics. In her free time, she can be found hiking, swimming, cycling or trying (and failing) to do a headstand on a yoga mat.