The $899 Echelon GT+ Connect Bike is packed with features that we don’t typically see on a bike at this price. Being one of the most colorful home bikes I have ever seen, Echelon’s newest bike design seems to have hit a really nice mix of style, function, and affordability.
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Echelon GT+ video review
Echelon GT+ design
The vast majority of connected fitness bikes currently available all come in black (and sometimes white). While I generally like the look of the black bikes, there is something very refreshing and fun about the Echelon GT+’s more colorful design. Not only is it this the most vibrant bike I have seen, Echelon also allows you to customize the colors. Current color options for the spin wheel area and resistance knob are blue, purple, orange, and for a limited time, pink.
Also unique to the Echelon GT+ is the completely enclosed spin wheel. I have a three year old daughter who loves to run around, so I always have a kid barrier surrounding the wheel to prevent her from running into it. With the spin wheel already covered here, I felt no need to set up the barrier.
Echelon GT+ features
The spin wheel on the Echelon GT+ utilizes magnetic resistance to deliver a smooth, consistent experience. It feels great to ride on, both in and out of the saddle. While the max resistance is pretty strong, it does not go quite as high as other bikes like Peloton. In order to go up or down a level, it takes almost a full turn of the resistance knob, so if you like taking big jumps in resistance like I do, it can be a little cumbersome.
On the front of the bike is where the tablet and phone holder are. This fits pretty much all sizes of phone and tablets (including the large 12.9″ iPad Pro). There is a USB outlet on the holder as well, which is convenient so that you do not have to worry about draining your battery while you ride. The Echelon GT+ connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, which allows you to see all of your metrics like cadence, resistance, power output, and more while you ride.
The Echelon GT+ bike has a very easy to use four-way adjustment system. Most bikes only have a three-way adjustment system, which do not allow you to adjust the handlebars closer or farther away. But here, they have included it, which is very important for shorter and taller riders.
Finally, the pedals included are a combo SPD clips paired with a toe cage. While the toe cage can be a bit difficult to tighten and loosen up, it is a nice option so that anyone can use the bike, whether or not they have cycling shoes.
Big seat, small wheels
There are two parts of the Echelon GT+ bike design which I did not like. First is the oversized seat, which to be fair, may be preferred by some. It is much larger and has more cushion than you see with other bikes. While this may relieve new riders of sore butts, it makes the bike harder to ride for those who don’t need it.
The second thing I didn’t care for are the small moving wheels in the front – these are much smaller than the skateboard sized wheels you generally see on indoor bikes. This makes moving the GT+ harder, and it can be pretty rough going over any carpet or rugs.
Echelon app and classes
So what about the Echelon classes?
This is where things get a bit more subjective. For me, the Echelon app and classes somehow ended up being both worse and better than I was anticipating.
First the positives.
I was not expecting to see so many classes to choose from, dozens of which are added every single day – I also wasn’t expecting the cycling studio classes to be as good as they are. The classes are not as polished or have as much production value as Peloton’s, but Echelon might be closer than anyone else.
A large reason for this is the music. Having a good, specific music selection is a huge component to providing a great experience for indoor studio classes. And fortunately, this is where Echelon is their strongest.
I also liked that it was easy to pair my heart rate band or Apple watch to the app and that I could see a ton metrics on the screen while I took classes. The metrics and leaderboard are best seen with a larger tablet, as with the phone it can end up taking up the majority of the screen.
That is not to say everything is great here. The class filter is poorly designed with way too many categories to filter through (many categories have 0 classes, and I’m not sure why they are there). There are also close to 100 coaches to sort through, and they are not arranged alphabetically.
I tried some Echelon strength classes that you can take off of the bike. While functional, these are less impressive. Since the quality of strength classes relies a lot less on music than cycling, here is where you can more easily notice a drop off in quality when compared to other programs.
Overall the Echelon app seems to be in an okay place, especially if you plan on sticking with the indoor studio cycling classes. While the membership provides a decent amount of value, it is a bit of a stretch to justify a $39 per month price point.
Overall, the design of the Echelon GT+ Bike is very impressive for this low of a price. I really like how it looks, how it rides, and that it is very family friendly with the enclosed spin wheel. While I would like to see the Echelon app improve in several ways, this is still my new favorite bike to take classes on with my iPad.
And if you want to compare this bike to the MYX or Peloton, make sure to check out my comparison of those two bikes here.
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