According to a recent study, 59% of Amercians have no plans of renewing their gym memberships after the COVID-19 pandemic is gone. Why? Because this situation has forced people to find alternative ways to get healthy and stay in shape and they’re loving it!
A major factor that’s swaying their decision to continue to workout from the comfort of their own homes is the influx of “smart” fitness equipment to the market. Today, running or walking on the treadmill isn’t the painfully boring drone that it used to be. Smart treadmills allow you to take live and pre-recorded classes led by expert instructors.
There have been a lot of great fitness equipment brands that have benefited from COVID-19. One of the new treadmills in the game is the Mobvoi home treadmill. You can check their website here or read our review of the Mobvoi Treadmill now. And, of course, Echelon has been making a huge splash in the market lately.
Echelon Fit has positioned itself as a major contender in the smart fitness space, releasing competitive products at a lower price point. They have everything from connected bikes to their mega-popular Reflect smart mirror. Recently, they just released their newest addition, the Echelon Stride 5s smart treadmill, which I have had the pleasure of using!
Is the Stride a good investment? Can it stand toe to toe with some of the bigger names in the fitness space? I’m reviewing the Stride so that you can find out for yourself if this is the right piece of equipment to add to your home gym.
What is the Echelon Stride Smart Treadmill?
The Echelon Stride is a compact, foldable treadmill that’s compatible with Echelon’s streaming app, giving you access to thousands of live and on-demand classes. There is no screen included with this product, you must use your own tablet or smartphone on the included holder to stream your workouts. This is how the brand is able to keep their costs low when compared to names like Peloton and Nordictrack.
The biggest and most unique draw and differentiator from their competitors is its ability to fold up and be tucked away, which is very appealing for those who live in small homes or apartments or who have limited space to dedicate to workout equipment.
While this tread is designed to take aim at the likes of Peloton and Nordictrack, does it hold up? Let’s explore the pros, cons, and features to get a better sense of this new Echelon release.
Pros and Cons
- Moderately priced at $1338.98
- Compact size
- Automatic fold
- Lightweight and easy to move thanks to transport wheels
- Stores vertically and is only 10” deep when folded
- Integrated touchscreen display monitor
- Max speed of 12 mph
- Easy incline and speed adjustment (located on handlebars)
- Heart rate monitoring
- Bluetooth compatible
- 8 built-in workouts
- Pairs with the Echelon Fit app which offers 1,000’s of live and on-demand workouts
- Incline only goes to 10% (competitors go to 15%)
- The running surface is smaller
- The motor is a bit weaker than competitors
- No included screen
What I Love - My personal evaluation
As with any piece of workout equipment, there are things that are great and things that could use some improvement. I’ll start with the things that I love about the Echelon Stride:
It’s foldable - If you’re short on space, then you’re going to love the fact that the Stride features easy-fold technology that allows you to fold it up and stow it away with the touch of a button. Other treadmills are quite intrusive and take up a lot of space, which is perfectly fine if you have the space, but can be a nuisance when you don’t.
Echelon Fit App access - This is their all-inclusive app that features thousands of live and on-demand classes. This is the same app they use for all their equipment, so it can be used for cycling workouts and rowers, too. They also have a giant selection of floor or mat workouts and many of which don’t require any equipment at all. The cost is $39 monthly (same as Peloton), or $399 for the year.
Touch screen monitor - Don’t mistake this for a screen that will stream your workouts, but this is a sleek, easy to use monitor that displays all your metrics for you and allows you to make quick adjustments. It’s very minimal in styling and design, which is right on par for the sleek, minimalist Echelon went for in their overall design of this treadmill.
Bluetooth connectivity - In order to stream the Echelon Fit app, you’ll need to use the built-in Bluetooth to sync your workouts with the tread. You can also use the Bluetooth to sync a wireless heart rate monitor.
Quick-select speed and incline buttons - This feature reminds me of the Peloton Tread and their speed and incline controls that are located on the handrails. The Stride allows you to instantly set your speed and/or incline with the push of a button.
Water bottle holders - There are two conveniently placed water bottle holders on the console for keeping you hydrated. I love that these are deep pockets that cradle your bottles, keeping them secure and free from bouncing and clattering around.
Built-in workouts - With 8 built-in workouts that you can access anytime, you can get away with not connecting the Echelon App, although I would still recommend the app for the majority of your workouts because they’re fun, challenging, and give you something to look at!
What I Think Could Be Improved - My personal critique
While there are many benefits and things I love about the Stride, there are also a few things that you should consider before deciding if this is the right fit for you. Keep in mind that this is their first release of this product, so they will likely receive some feedback and then make improvements.
Running surface - If you’re on the taller end, you may be disappointed with the running surface of the Stride. The running surface is the space you have on the belt. The Stride’s running surface is 55”, which is about 5” shorter than most of its competitors. This is likely a non-issue for shorter or average height folks, but could get constricting when you’re 6’ or taller. The width is 20”, which is industry standard and very accommodating. Echelon uses a shortened belt to help keep the size compact for folding.
Motor Horsepower - The motor on this treadmill is pretty weak, there’s no way to get around that. At just 1.75 HP, it’s significantly weaker than its competitors who generally have 3.0 HP motors. This is an indication that this treadmill is best suited for slower, less intense workouts like walking and jogging as opposed to running and sprinting. That said, you certainly can use this treadmill to go faster, but it may not be as smooth as an option that features a bigger motor.
Warranty - The last consideration I want to mention is the fact that the warranty feels a little lacking. Currently, they cover 12 months for parts and labor as well as offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
While that may seem like a decent deal, it’s important to know that some competitors offer more extensive warranties that cover lifetime frame and motor warranties and 5 years of parts. As with any piece of gym equipment, things can go wrong at any time, so being covered under warranty is a nice safety net, especially when it’s a considerable investment.
Who is This Treadmill Best For?
As I mentioned, not every piece of equipment is right for every person or situation. So when it comes to the Stride, the same sentiment applies.
Being that this treadmill is lightweight, foldable, and comes on wheels, it’s the perfect solution for those who don’t have a lot of space to dedicate for their fitness. Let’s face it, unless you have a home gym, decent garage or basement space, or an unused spare bedroom, you’re likely relying on your bedroom, office, or living room for your home workout sessions. When you have large machines, things can feel tight and cramped quickly. The biggest audience that this treadmill will appeal to is those with limited space.
It’s also a great option for those who don’t plan on using it excessively or overly fast. Considering the fact that the motor is a little weaker than its competitors, it can feel a little rocky at higher speeds for prolonged periods. If you’re planning to use it for walking, jogging, and the occasional run, you should be completely fine!
Lastly, this piece of home gym equipment is ideal for anyone who wants to experience live workouts from expert training and have the opportunity to compete with and connect with others. This style of training has taken the world by storm and is changing the way we workout from home, and Echelon delivers a stellar experience with their app.
Final Thoughts: Is This Budget Smart Treadmill Worth It?
At the risk of sounding redundant, I’ll say again that the main draw to this machine is the fact that it folds up quickly and easily. No more trying to hide your treadmill in the corner or stumbling over a clunky machine. You can easily fold up the Stride and place it anywhere in your home. This is a unique feature that you don’t see on many other smart treadmills.
Overall, Echelon kept the design very simplistic and sleek, which I love. Some treadmills are a major presence and if you don’t have the space, you’ll soon tire of looking at it all the time.
I think it’s a great product that’s really going to give other smart treadmills like the Pelton Tread a run for their money thanks to its much lower price point and its ease of use. If you’re an experienced or advanced runner and/or you’re over 6’ tall, you may want to consider some other options as this treadmill isn’t really meant to cater to these demographics, in my opinion.
Otherwise, I highly recommend checking this treadmill out as well as the rest of Echelon’s line of smart home gym equipment!