Updated 09/23/20 at 8:45am ET: The massive online retailer will not be entering the home gym equipment market. While it’s still unknown as to why Echelon marketed the affordable bike release as part of a partnership with Amazon, an Amazon spokesperson contacted us to clarify that the company has no involvement with Echelon at this time.
“This bike is not an Amazon product or related to Amazon Prime,” said an Amazon spokesperson via email. “Echelon does not have a formal partnership with Amazon. We are working with Echelon to clarify this in its communications, stop the sale of the product, and change the product branding.”
While no more information has been released at this time, the Echelon Ex-Prime Bike has been removed from Amazon, along with all language regarding a partnership between Amazon and Echelon.
Even the most die-hard Peloton fan has to admit: its connected spin bikes are pricey. They may be the top-of-the-line choice for dedicated home gym fanatics (as our Fitness Director Ebenzer Samuel argued in his review of the newly released, $2,495 Peloton Bike+), but not everyone is ready to drop nearly two grand on an exercise bike, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.
In other words, there’s a market opportunity here. And if there’s thing world-conquering retail behemoth Amazon is good at, it’s capitalizing on market opportunities. That explains why the company has partnered with Echelon Fitness to develop its own connected exercise bike—and sell it for just $500.
Okay—looking at that nearly $2000 price difference, the first question has to be what kind of trade-offs Amazon and Echelon have made. Presumably even Amazon’s corporate might can’t squeeze that kind of money out of its suppliers. The most obvious difference between a Peloton bike and the Echelon Ex-Prime, as its called, is the latter’s lack of a built-in screen. That means the “connected” part of “connected bike” will have to be supplied by the rider’s phone or tablet.
That’s probably not a big deal for most of us, who probably have more connected devices than we can count. Just get a screen that can access Echelon’s live and on-demand online classes, which run $39 a month, the same as with the Peloton app.
Harder to compare is the overall build quality. As Samuel pointed out in his review, the Peloton feels like a $2000 gym bike. When you’re pushing yourself to your limits, the bike is right there with you—it’s not going to crumble under the pressure. The Ex-Prime has many of the same features of a Peloton, but, for example, replaces toe clips with straps that tie the rider’s feet to the pedals. And it weighs in at 80 pounds, compared to 135 for a Peloton, suggesting it’s a less robust design.
So the Echelon Ex-Prime may not be a perfect substitute for a Peloton. We don’t really know—yet. But given the price tag, it’s certainly worth a look.