Echelon Connect Bike leverages iPad as the center of the at home fitness experience

The Apple Watch has, rightfully so, has been at the center of Apple’s health story. We’ve seen countless stories of people getting healthy or being notified of health conditions thanks to the product. One company is taking an innovative approach to wellness thanks to a product most people haven’t considered: iPad. Echelon, located in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is offering a similar product to Peloton, but at a much lower entry price with its Echelon Connect Bikes. One of the ways they are doing that is by letting users leverage an iPad for the display instead of requiring them to use one built into the bike. In learning more about the product, I took a class on location at their studio using the EX3 bike.

Why cycling?

I’ve been running for the past ten years, but after doing a marathon last fall, my body was completely wrecked. After talking with my doctor, he suggested I take six weeks off from running. During that time, I started thinking through what I wanted my fitness routine to look like long term. I have dumbells at home that I use for strength training, and I love the flexibility of being able to work out whenever it’s convenient. Although I can run anywhere, the heat of summer and cold of winter can often make it less convenient. By having a fitness bike at home, I can workout anytime regardless of the weather or time of day.

How does Echelon use the iPad?

Echelon Connect Bike iPad app

On all but the highest-end model of the Echelon Connect bike lineup, they use an iPad for the display. Once you launch the app, it becomes command central for your bike. You can take live and on-demand classes, see your leaderboard for the class, and monitor your performance.

The iPad connects to the devices over a Lightning to USB A cable (to charge) and Bluetooth to interact with the bike. In the studio, Echelon uses the Guided Access API to prevent users from launch any of the other apps, but this obviously wouldn’t matter in your home. In taking the class, I never felt like I was using an iPad as I was zoned into my performance and trying to stay at the top of the leaderboard.

Some of the information the bike reports to the iPad is cadence, resistance (controlled on the bike), calories burned, and overall output. There was almost no delay in seeing statistics update as I increased my speed. As soon as the class was finished, I got an email showing me how I performed.

Echelon Connect Bike vs. Peloton

I’ve not used the Peloton bike, but I am intrigued by being able to use an iPad as my central fitness hub. When looking at the Peloton bike, I love the idea of a large screen that is built-in, but I also see something that could easily be broken in the future or become quickly out of date. By using the iPad, I know that I can upgrade the central hub of my fitness experience in the future.

Both bikes require a monthly subscription for the live classes, but most at home fitness products do these days. A recent episode of the Business Casual podcast looked at the growth of the “at home” fitness boom.

Wrap-up on Echelon Connect Bike

I am considering purchasing an Echelon Connect Bike for my home. They are much more affordable than the Peloton bikes but offer the same convenience of at-home workouts. You can use any modern iPad with the bikes, but I think the screen size of the 11-inch Pro or the 10.2-inch iPad would be ideal, but I am sure even an iPad mini would work just fine.

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