Spanish sports and fitness equipment brand BH Fitness has teamed up with BH Bikes, the sports bike brand of the same group, to develop the new Exercycle EC-01, an indoor bike-connected offering that, on paper, has the same geometry as a road bike.
A product that positions itself as an alternative to an expensive home trainer that you might use with your bike.
On reception, the Exercycle EC-01 is impressive. With its dimensions (length 144 cm, width 61 cm) but also its weight of more than 48 kg. So be careful if you live in a one-story apartment!
This bike has a very wide 4 feet which should ensure good stability. There are two wheels under the front foot for easy movement. But still think carefully before moving it to where you are going to put it to avoid unnecessary handling.
Construction-wise, the EC-01 is made from relatively simple tubing.
The cockpit is very impressive, with an imposing control panel that lets you see essential information on the LCD screen, as well as a support at the top, allowing either a smartphone or tablet to be attached. On the other hand, the buttons in the cockpit are completely “cheap”.
Standard phone/tablet holder. It makes it very easy to connect multiple phones or tablets without any hassle.
The multi-display LCD counter has all the necessary functions for a complete workout. It contains an FTP tester, Polar 5KHz receiver, and FTMS Bluetooth module that allows for full compatibility with major cycling simulators.
Two knobs represent casseroles and are equipped with + and – buttons to allow the resistance to be changed at 24 levels.
EMS resistance system
The electromagnetic resistance system allows for very precise and gradual intensity regulation, while generating a pedal feel very similar to the resistance offered by wheels on asphalt. This is a widely used system in the field of sports medicine.
Let’s see what happens, because most modern home trainers have made tremendous progress at this level in a few years.
The flywheel weighs 11 kg. BH Fitness advertises a maximum resistance of 1500 watts, which makes it possible to simulate slopes of up to 25%, which will be more than enough for 98% of cyclists.
Extremely limited position settings
Side mode settings, they are very limited. Even very limited. If adjusting the saddle height is too easy with a simple quick release, it will still be necessary to find the middle of the crankshaft – which is the axle – to ensure that the exact height is present. Because this mid pedal is not spotted.
As for the length of the bike, there’s not much to put your teeth into, because you are entitled to simply adjust the cockpit on one axis at about 45 degrees. To move the hanger away, it is installed. The capacity in height is large, as it ranges from 94 cm from the floor to 114 cm in the top position.
The distance between the saddle and handlebar varies from 50 to 71 cm maximum. But for a saddle height of 74cm, we have a maximum distance of 67cm between the saddle and the handlebar…with the handlebars much higher than the saddle.
If you want to stay in a similar position to that on the road, you lower the handlebar merrily and in this case, you end up with just 53.5cm of space between the handlebar and the saddle. I’m usually 56cm, to reach this measurement I ended up with a handlebar a little higher than the saddle. Not harmful to the aerodynamic plane on an indoor bike, but you lose your bearings.
Another limit, the 170mm cranks, couldn’t get any more. We’ll weigh ourselves in with the Q-Factor of just 152mm, which makes it a fairly realistic model compared to a road bike.
As standard, the Exercycle EC-01 comes with hybrid pedals, toe clips on one side, and automatic pedaling on the other, but instead MTB cleats.
If you want to replace it, you will need a wrench, the thread is standard.
But things get complicated when you put on your pedals, most are now tightened with an Allen 8 wrench. Because it’s impossible to get to the entire circumference of the crankshaft. You can see it below, it is impossible to scroll the switch, even at an angle.
So I had to resolve to do the tightening by hand only. There is no problem with the Asioma which guarantees good grip thanks to the capsule and a good power meter even without precise torque tightening. But this is not the case with all pedals. With some pedals without sensors, it is impossible to tighten by hand.
And after a few pedaling sessions….good luck loosening the pedals, which will end up tightening a little more!
As I understand, if the build looks serious and solid, we’re not really into a very sharp work tool like the Wahoo Kickr Bike. It remains to be seen if these few concessions can be passed at the €2190 price tag.
Test in real conditions
As you can see in the pictures, I already talked about it above, you have to adapt to a very upright position, quite far from what many experienced cyclists are accustomed to riding their own bike.
After these details, we quickly find ourselves in fairly good condition with a handlebar matching the handlebars of a road bike. Only the casseroles are a little thin for my taste, but they have the distinction of being suitable even for small hands. The saddle is also highly performance oriented and combined with a 152mm Q-factor, the legs fall very naturally onto the pedals.
One can use the bike without any additional software. By default, it displays the tempo and strength developed, so it is quite possible to train without anything. But the benefit of this connected Exercycle EC-01 is that you will be able to use it on third party applications like Zwift, BKool, RGT or even Kinomap for more realism and less boredom.
For Zwift, no problem, EC-01 is quickly recognized, here under the sign B01_21AC8. It is a pity that this reference is not mentioned anywhere else. Once everything is connected, all you have to do is drive.
What’s surprising once you’ve pedaled is the silent operation. However, the pedal is placed on the tile in a relatively faint noise, without vibrations and there is no need to raise your voice, for example, to speak.
It’s the same for changes in “velocities” which are actually changes in resistance that are not audible at all. Of course, the faster you pedal, the more noise it makes, but even after 400 watts, it’s perfectly quiet.
You can see below with this video produced at around 200 watts the noise generated by the EC-01 is pretty much contained, which is appreciable to both those around and those pedaling.
At Zwift, it’s no surprise that we end up with a good interaction and the Exercycle EC-01 works like any modern, connected home trainer. When pedaling, the only thing that bothered me was not being able to stop pedaling to a freewheel all of a sudden, like a bike with fixed gears.
The flywheel forces on the boom remain in the gear position, so you either have to keep turning your legs quietly until a stop, or force to counteract inertia. It’s not normal compared to the road. Too bad, because the display in pedal stages is rather convincing. Even the 170mm crank arms (versus the usual 172.5mm) didn’t bother me.
With ERG mode, the Exercycle EC-01 constantly adapts to the slope with great fluidity. No vibrations and a feel very close to what you would feel on your bike at the same incline.
If BH Fitness didn’t provide any numbers regarding the accuracy of its power sensor, I was able to measure it against my Assioma Duo and as you can see from the screenshots below, we’re still within the 8-12W error overall, the cycle being pessimistic compared to the Assioma of about 5/8%. This deviation is quite stable regardless of power levels, but it’s best to rely on your own power meter if possible….if not, apply at least 10% of the
The stability is excellent and you can easily stand on the pedals, the bike does not move an inch sideways and you can run more than 1000W without any fear.
It is difficult to index this course EC-01. Not really a courier-connected bike, but an excellent fitness bike with sharply higher claims compared to what we usually know.
For an uninformed cyclist, this model will undoubtedly be able to supplement his regular practice of the long winter months. But at a price of 2,190 euros, this will undoubtedly still be a brake.
For cyclists, Zwift followers, and other apps for real, intense, picky sessions, they will undoubtedly stay hungry. Because at a price of 2190 euros you can already buy an excellent home trainer, for example, a slope simulator like Elite Rizer for more realism.
In conclusion, while the Exercycle EC-01 may be suitable for beginners, experienced cyclists will go out of their way and stay on connected home trainer solutions or skip the line for a solution that is certainly more expensive, but more accomplished and advanced like the KickR bike that asks for €1,000 More but more realistic and adaptable.