NordicTrack S22i vs. Echelon EX5-S: A Comparison From A Spin Instructor

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By Robbie Ferri, Personal Trainer & Group Exercise Instructor.

So you’re in the market for a new spinning bike, and two bikes you have come across you really like are the Nordictrack S22i and the Echelon EX5-S. They look completely different and do a similar job, but which is the right bike for you?

Both the NordicTrack S22i and the Echelon EX5-S are incredible bikes, but a lot sets them apart. In this article, we’ll dive into each bike to give you the lowdown of exactly what to expect when purchasing either. Then we will compare them against each other and finally advise which is the best for you and answer your frequently asked questions. 

EX5-SS22i
Footprint58L x 21.5L x 61H61L x 22W x 58H
Weight124lbs202lbs
Resistance Levels 3224
Incline RangeN/A-10 to +20
Max Weight300lbs350lbs
Height Range4ft 11” – 6ft 4”5ft 1” – 6ft 5”
ConnectivityWifi, BluetoothWifi, Bluetooth
Monitor22” HD Rotational22” HD Rotational
Warranty1 Year10 Frame, 2 Parts, 1 Labor
Price$1500 – $1800 (Roughly)$2000 – $2500 (Roughly)
EX5-S & S22i Comparison Table

NordicTrack S22i Review

Nordictrack S22i (New Model) Nordictrack S22i (New Model)
4.7

The bike itself is an incredible machine and has an incline and decline feature, which means when you ride, a motor will raise and drop the front of the bike. The screen is 22” HD and uses an application called iFit for all your live and pre-recorded classes.

The NordicTrack S22i is a leading bike when it comes to interactive home spinning. It looks incredible with a sleek design and definitely looks the part in a home gym. The bike offers 24 challenging levels of resistance which come from a completely frictionless magnetic system paired up with a belt drive. It’s silky smooth to ride and very quiet even under heavy work. One thing you can count on with the S22i bike is the fact that no matter how hard the sprint, it will feel great and stay solid.

Then you have the screen. The reason they call this the S22i is because of its interactive 22” high definition screen, which has the ability to swivel. It’s linked with the iFit application, which gives you live and on-demand spinning classes and also includes off the bike classes such as strength training. A highlight of the iFit application is the Google maps integration which means you can plonk yourself anywhere in the world and enjoy the views on scenic spins. 

The bike has some excellent features, the main one being the incline and decline motor. This means when riding, the front of the bike can drop and raise itself. This can be controlled by you yourself or by the instructor in classes. You also have automatic resistance, so depending on your workout or if you’re in a live or pre-recorded class, you can just enjoy and let the bike control it for you. 

Pros

  • Bike looks excellent
  • iFit application is probably one of the best
  • Incline Decline feature rocks
  • Large 22” touch screen with swivel
  • Magnetic resistance system with belt drive
  • Google maps integration
  • Weights included

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • No pre-programmed workouts
  • iFit does cost
  • Price

Echelon EX5-S Review

Echelon EX5-S Echelon EX5-S
4.4

New and improved stabilization handles and seat post adjustments including a competition seat with 6' lever-style adjustment, and a precision resistance motor are just a few of the exciting new features you only get with the EX5-S.

Echelon is a huge brand when it comes to indoor cycling and has been a big competitor of the Peloton and the other top brands for many years. The Echelon EX5-S is one of the best looking bikes on the market with its rear-facing flywheel and matt black finish with red detailing. Inside, you get a magnetic resistance system with a belt drive and 32 levels of resistance that will challenge any rider. 

The screen, like the Nordictrack S22i, is a 21.5” high definition touch screen, and it’s on a swivel bracket so it can move around for those off the bike workouts. It comes with the Echelon application, which doesn’t just boast excellent live classes but also has many on-demand classes and other workouts such as strength, yoga, and many more. It also has scenic workouts if you just want to enjoy the scenery and do your own thing, 

The bike doesn’t have an incline or decline or doesn’t have automatic resistance. What makes this bike special is the whole package. It works excellently, and it’s very lightweight and easy to move around. The application is great, and the standard of classes is very high. It’s a no thrills bike that does the job without the bells and whistles. 

Pros

  • Bike looks amazing
  • Echelon is a great app
  • Echelon app can be used on phones too
  • Large 22” touch screen with swivel
  • Magnetic resistance system with belt drive
  • Rear-facing flywheel
  • Weights included
  • Very lightweight and easy to move

Cons

  • Not many special features
  • No auto resistance
NordicTrack S22i vs. Echelon EX5-S

The Bigger Picture

Both these bikes are excellent and well worth every cent, but how do they compare up against each other? In the next section, we’re going to break them down and pitch them against each other. 

Looks

Having a nice looking bike goes a very long way for motivation. When you see a bike you like the look of in the corner of your room, you are much more likely to use it than one that is an eyesore. Both bikes look excellent, but they are completely different from one another. The NordicTrack S22i has a more classic spinning bike look with the flywheel at the front and the oversized tubing. 

Then you have the Echelon, and it’s got a rear-facing flywheel which not only looks very sporty but it keeps the sweat away from the main components. It’s got sleek matt black tubing, and the red detailing gives it a very edgy finish. We love it. Out of the two although it does come down to personal preference, in our opinion we think the Echelon does look the best.

Size and Weight

Both these bikes are full-sized spinning bikes. The NordicTrack is 61L x 22W x 58H and the Echelon is 58L x 21.5L x 61H. There’s very little difference in the size of these bikes. The Echelon does take up slightly less room, but it’s not a noticeable difference in our opinion.

One very large difference is the weight of these bikes though. The NordicTrack is 202lbs which, as far as spinning bikes go pretty heavy, and this is due to the special climbing feature. It may weigh a lot but does move around easily on the front wheels as most of the bike‘s weight sits near the heavy flywheel and climbing gear.

Then we have the Echelon and coming in at only 124lbs, it is an incredibly lightweight bike. If you’re planning on storing the bike in a cupboard and need to wheel it out each time, the Echelon is much easier to move around a house or apartment than most bikes.

Resistance System

Both these bikes run a frictionless magnetic resistance system paired with a belt drive. This means you get silky smooth resistance with a wide range of gears from low for beginners to high for professionals. The Echelon has 32 resistance levels, and the NordicTrack has 24. You get a similar range of gears with just more options on the Echelon.

Adjustability and Height Range

One thing that often gets overlooked when it comes to spinning bikes is adjustability. With some bikes, you can move everything around. Others are fairly fixed to keeping you in certain positions. The Nordictrack S22i has a saddle that will go forward and back and handlebars that will only go up and down.

Then we have the Echelon EX5-S, this bike doesn’t just have the ability to move the saddle four ways, but you can also do the same with the handlebars. Although it might seem like a small feature, this does make a huge difference in getting comfortable for those longer rides and means the bike will work better for more users. Unfortunately, the NordicTrack cannot do this. 

Regarding height ranges, the NordicTrack is estimated at 5ft 1” – 6ft 5” and the Echelon at 4ft 11” – 6ft 4”, which is a decent range on both bikes, the Echelon being better suited to shorter riders and the NordicTrack for taller riders. 

Screens

Technology has advanced heavily in recent years, bringing us excellent entertainment systems on spinning bikes. At the heart of those systems are the screens, and both the NordicTrack and the Echelon don’t disappoint. The NordicTrack has a 22” HD touch screen, and the Echelon has a 21.5” HD touch screen. Realistically there’s very little between them, and they work in a very similar fashion. They even both have the ability to swivel for those off the bike classes.

Applications

Both bikes are locked to certain applications. The NordicTrack has iFit, and the Echelon has the Echelon application. iFit is an incredible application and is regarded as one of the best. It not only has live classes, a huge selection of on-demand classes, and great off the bike workouts. An amazing feature is the scenic rides with Google maps integration. You can pick any google maps driven road in the world and ride on it as the system makes it look real-time. iFit comes in at $39 a month for a family plan or $180 a year for individual plans. 

Then we have the Echelon application. Echelon is known for excellent classes and motivational instructors. The application offers live and on-demand rides alongside many off the bike workouts. The scenic rides are a bit more basic compared to iFit, but it still offers you everything you need for $40 per month. The application can also be used on your phone and tablet too for other workouts. 

Special Features

In modern times, the special features make the difference between the top bikes. We no longer have bikes that just work ok for classes. We have bikes that offer better experiences while in those classes. 

The NordicTrack S22i is an incredible bike that boasts some amazing features, such as the ability to incline and decline. The S22i has a motor at the front, which adjusts the height, so it makes you feel like you are climbing and descending on a real bike outside. Then you have the auto control features. So when in live and pre-recorded classes, the instructor automatically changes the incline, declines, and even controls the resistance to ensure you are working to the correct level.

Then you have the Echelon; unfortunately, this doesn’t come with any features like this. You get a great experience out of the bike, and it will be a lot of fun while striving for those fitness goals, but as far as special features it’s a pretty basic bike

Price

Then we have a very important factor, the price of the bike. We can only give rough figures here as prices change often, and you will find deals come out all the time. The Echelon is the cheaper of the two coming in at roughly $1500 to $1800. For everything you get, it’s a brilliant price, and we feel well worth the money. The Nordictrack comes in at $2000 to $2500 and is roughly $500 – $700 more than the Echelon.

Which is for me, the S22i or the EX5-S?

What it comes down to really more than anything is how much do you value the extra features. The Echelon is cheaper, but it does offer less as far as features go. You need to ask yourself, are you happy to spend an extra $600 on an incline and decline feature and automatic resistance? Because that’s really the only big difference in our opinion. We personally think they are both excellent bikes, and whatever way you choose to go, you’re getting excellent value for money and will have a lot of fun keeping fit. 

What about other bikes on the market?

We feel it’s vital to speak about other bikes on the market as there’s so much competition when it comes to spinning bikes. Here’s how the Echelon EX5-S and NordicTrack S22i compare.

Proform Studio Bike 22

The Proform Studio bike is an excellent alternative compared to the EX5-S and the S22i. It has all the features of the Echelon but comes with the automatic resistance system we feel the Echelon was missing. It can’t incline and decline like the S22i, but it does use the iFit application. One thing we loved about this bike was the price. Coming in at roughly $1500, it’s incredible value for money, and we highly recommend it to many indoor cycling enthusiasts. 

Peloton Plus Bike

Then we have the mighty Peloton. Peloton offers two bikes, and we’re going to be speaking about the legendary Peloton Bike +. When you get a Peloton, you know you’re getting an awesome app and amazing instructors alongside a community like no other. The bike has all the features of the Echelon but comes with that auto resistance and some very comfortable and very unique handlebars. It does come in at a hefty price of around $2400 and doesn’t have a climbing feature, but the class quality and leaderboard are incredible.

Bowflex C6 / Schwinn IC4

The IC4 and C6 are the same bikes, just branded differently. They come in for around $1000, and as a bike, they are very similar to the S22i and EX5-S. What you’re missing is the screen. You can use your own tablet though, and still, connect to applications such as Peloton and Echelon but with limited features. The Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6 cannot be touched for interactive cycling on a budget. 

MYX II Bike

The MYX II bike comes in at a price of roughly $1400, it has a large touch screen, and the application cost is about half compared to applications such as Peloton and Echelon. It’s a great alternative. The only thing we didn’t like was the internals and the fact it runs a friction system making it a bit noisier than most other bikes on the market. You can also read our detailed MYX II vs. S22i comparison.

FAQs

What’s better, the original Peloton or Echelon?

Echelon is an excellent alternative to Peloton, being cheaper and offering a completely different style. We think that there’s very little difference between the original Peloton and the Echelon. 

Does the S22i and EX5-S work without a subscription?

Yes, they both will work but will have very limited features. We don’t recommend getting these bikes if you don’t plan to use the subscriptions, as that adds the value. 

Are the S22i and EX5-S quiet?

Yes, because of the frictionless magnetic resistance systems you get an incredibly quiet workout and they are ok to use even if you live in an apartment to house close to others. 

Verdict

The Echelon EX5-S and the NordicTrack S22i are both great bikes. The Echelon is cheaper but has fewer features. The NordicTrack is more expensive but offers more features. It all comes down to how much you value the incline, decline, and auto resistance. Are they worth an extra $600 to you? 

Robbie Ferri

A Personal Trainer and Ultra Cyclist living in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK. From Ultra Cycling World Records to Bikepacking Races and a huge amount of time on the gym floor training myself and clients my experience when it comes to Health and Fitness is vast.

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