Can this low-cost, flat folding treadmill compete with the big guns? Lucy Miller jumps on to find out.

While an exercise bike might be your first choice of home cardio kit, treadmills can also offer killer cardio workouts. However their footprint is substantially larger and folding versions either feel flimsy or are hugely expensive. Enter the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Treadmill – is it up there with the best treadmills for home use?

Men’s Fitness verdict

You’ll need your own screen, the Echelon app and subscription if you want live content but overall it’s a good value folding treadmill ideal for those with limited space.
  • Good value
  • Folds flat
  • Quick adjustment
  • No screen
  • £29.99 subscription fee
  • Limited top speed

If lack of space puts you off getting a home treadmill, folding options make a lot of sense – but quality, rigidity and stability can vary considerably. The Echelon Stride falls into this folding bracket, but its quality design means the user experience isn’t compromised.

Packing the Echelon Stride away is surprisingly straightforward thanks to its motorised auto-fold feature. The handlebars automatically fold down flat which allows you to slide the treadmill under your bed or push it vertically against a wall. So you can free up space for free weights or mobility work almost instantly. 

A view of the controls on the Echelon Stride treadmill
Speed controls are well placed and immediate on the Echelon Stride

Benefits of the Echelon Stride 

The Echelon Slide is a decent-sized treadmill. Measuring 176cm long x 78.7cm wide x 125cm tall (69.3 x 31 x 49.2in), it has a relatively generous running surface despite being around 12cm (5in) shorter and 5cm (2in) narrower than most home treadmills on the market.  

The Stride can hit speeds of 19kmph (12mph), so is suitable for everything from walking and jogging to sprint workouts. The deck feels cushioned and springy which lessens impact on the joints and avoids noisy pounding.  

The incline is quick to hit its maximum 10% gradient. While that’s decent given the folding nature of the Stride, it can’t match other popular models. The JTX Club-Pro Professional Treadmill (£2,449) and the much cheaper Mobvoi Home Treadmill Incline can reach 15% while the NordicTrack Commercial X32i (£4,799) maxes out at an impressive 40%. Still, it’s enough of a gradient to get a taste of hill training.

The standout feature of the Stride, of course, is its slim, folding design. At just 25cm (10in) thick, it’s easy to fold and move thanks to the large steel handle at the rear. The two sets of transport wheels allow it to be rolled in any direction too.

To fold the treadmill, you simply release the console by pushing it flat, then allow the arms to fold flat by releasing a button under the handlebars. Then just step on a pedal lever on the left side of the treadmill to collapse the frame.  

The Echelon Stride comes with a safety stop lanyard and is equipped with a metal safety bar underneath the treadmill that Echelon claims protects objects from being pulled under. There’s also a mesh cup holder on either side and a USB charging port. 

Safety and speed controls on the Echelon Stride
Programme controls and the safety lanyard sit just below the main console

Potential problems with the Echelon Stride 

This might not be the treadmill for you if you like to see your running stats or prefer an integrated touchscreen, like the one on the Peloton Tread, for your treadmill distractions. Instead, it has a 52 x 15cm (20.5 x 6in) console screen that shows your basic workout metrics such as distance, altitude, elapsed time, pace and estimated calories burned (pace and calories switch to a step counter and tread speed respectively).

You do have the option to tap into the Echelon app where you can access a spectrum of live and on-demand classes but you’ll need to connect to a tablet via Bluetooth for that – and pay a monthly £29.99 subscription.  

The variety of personal trainers and live studio classes on offer certainly adds to the experience. But placing a tablet on the designated shelf covers up some of the workout stats on the control panel beneath, which can be annoying. Using a phone will help but that won’t give you the same workout experience. 

A useful feature is the quick jump buttons – with instant speed buttons for 3, 6 and 9mph on the right, and incline buttons for 3,6 and 9% on the left. You also have access to the speed and incline adjustment buttons located on the right and left handrails, which are convenient to reach and control when running. 

Should you buy an Echelon Stride?

While the Stride makes some minor compromises to achieve its folding design, it still provides a quality exercise experience that’s suitable for all fitness levels and running goals. Its 1.75HP motor in surprisingly quiet, too, making it suitable for use in any room in the house. 

The console does feel basic, but if that doesn’t offer enough feedback that’s where the Echelon app comes in. Paying your monthly subscription means you can look forward to the daily live runs or cross-training classes like the Stride Bootcamp. That splits class time between the treadmill and strength training. Or you can go for race runs, which place you on a live community leaderboard based on your effort.