Nautilus R618 Review: Best Value Recumbent Exercise Bike!
Recumbent exercise bikes are becoming increasingly more popular all over thanks to their ability to provide workouts at home while sitting down in a nice position. However, some people are finding out that their exercise bikes are not quite up to the price that they paid for them. So we’re trying to help with that.
We’re going through and trying the various stationary recumbent bikes available on the market and seeing just which ones are worth your money and which ones quite simply aren’t.
Today’s pick is the Nautilus R618 Recumbent bike which is an improved version of the R616 with built-in resistance controls on the handlebars, a gel seat, more programs, and a better-looking design.
We’re going to go through and look at the various elements of this recumbent exercise bike (the resistance, monitor, etc.) and see just how it matches up to its price and other recumbent machines on the market. So with all of that out of the way, let’s hop into our comparison, alternatives, and review of the Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike.
How Nautilus R618 Evolved From Nautilus R616
Nautilus is a trusted name in exercise equipment, and the R618 and R616 recumbent bikes are two of their most popular models. They are both known for the best recumbent bikes for tall person as well as short users because of their range of adjustability.
The R616 is the older model, but it still has many features that users love. It’s less expensive than the R618, but it doesn’t have some of the added features that come with the newer model.
Some of the added features on the R618 include resistance controls/buttons on the handlebars, a gel seat, and an accessory holder below the console.
Despite being the older model, the Nautilus R616 is still a great choice for those looking for a quality recumbent bike without breaking the bank.
Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike Review
We’ve mentioned price a couple of times now, so it only makes sense to start there. The Nautilus R618 recumbent bike costs right around $800. This is a fairly large price for a lot of people, although it is actually more affordable than some of the other recumbent bikes you’re likely to find out there.
Fortunately, Nautilus is also one of those companies that attaches some pretty hefty warranties to their products. There is a 15 year warranty with the frame of the bike, a 3 year warranty on the parts, a 3 year warranty on the electronics and a 1 year warranty on the labour.
The Nautilus R618 recumbent bike’s official shipping policy says that it should arrive within 3 months, though you would generally hope that it gets there quicker than that. This is supposedly due to it being high demand (at the time of writing).
There are a few user reviews of the bike arriving damaged, but the warranties should help offset these potential damages somewhat. Once it does arrive, the assembly process might be a bit challenging. Because of the weight and size of the bike (more on that later), the assembly process is a two-person job.
However, once the process is underway, it shouldn’t take too long thanks to the clear and concise instructions that come with the bike. Even those who aren’t skilled at such building processes are going to find a fairly easy time putting the R618 together.
The monitor and electronic abilities are another major aspect of recumbent bikes today. The Nautilus R618 recumbent exercise bike is no different. It actually has a pretty good monitor for this price in regards to other recumbent exercise bikes. As for its specific features, you can expect to see 2 backlit LCD displays.
The one on bottom will display statistics like your time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate. These stats can be seen in both metric and English measurements.
On the top screen you shall see the current workout program, selected resistance and the profile name that you’re using. You can set up 4 different user profiles and access 12 different preset workout programs.
These include Rolling Hills, Interval Training and so on. You then have another 17 different workout programs to choose from, totaling a mighty 29. Another aspect that sets the Nautilus R618’s monitor apart is the Bluetooth connectivity that it has.
You can sync it with fitness apps like NautilusConnect or MyFitnessPal to transfer statistics, as well as being able to connect to the RideSocial app. If you want to ride alongside your friends and schedule regular rides along Google Maps trails, this is how you do it.
You even get a chest strap with the bike in order to trace your heart rate more accurately than simple pulse sensors. What’s on offer here is more than the monitor on the more expensive 3G Cardio Elite offers by quite some distance, which is most certainly a positive. In general, this is just a great monitor for this level of stationary recumbent bike.
Then there is the resistance of these exercise bikes. You want them to provide a good enough challenge to get fit and a wide variety to set up some customization. Thankfully, there are plenty to choose from here. You have 25 different resistance levels available on the Nautilus R618 recumbent bike.
The upper levels certainly provide a challenge, while there are enough levels to allow for some fine-tuning while you workout. The actual system in play is an eddy current brake, which is a magnetic system assisted by a motor.
The belt drive mixes well with this system, making everything a lot quieter and a lot more smooth than you otherwise might find. The flywheel of the R618 recumbent bike is a heavy one, weighing 30 lbs (13.6 kg).
It has a 3-piece crank attaching the two pedals, which is a good sign. 3-piece cranks are always superior to their 1-piece alternatives, as they offer more durability and just a better all-around value.
We are not aware of the Q-Factor of the Nautilus R618 recumbent bike, which is a bit unfortunate. For those who don’t know, this is the distance between the pedals. If it is too wide, you can get rather uncomfortable during the ride. If it is too narrow, then you even risk injury in addition to discomfort.
We mentioned the weight and size of the Nautilus R618 recumbent bike earlier and here is the part where we circle back around to it. As we said, it is a large and heavy bike. You’ll find a footprint that measures out to be 67.3 inches (171 cm) long, 26.4 inches (67 cm) wide, and 48.8H inches (124 cm) tall.
Meanwhile, it weighs 89.5 lbs (40.6 kg) and can hold a maximum weight of 325 lbs (147.4 kg). There are some floor stabilizers in the back to keep the bike steady while you workout on it and they work quite well. There are wheels on the front of the bike that help with mobility somewhat, although it is still a pretty heavy bike. You won’t exactly be maneuvering it around every other afternoon.
We’re going to finish out with the rest of the physical elements that make up the Nautilus R618 recumbent stationary bike, starting with the handlebars. There are 2 pairs of handlebars: one by the side of the seat and one next to the main console.
The handlebars next to the seat have pulse sensors and resistance controls, which is nice. Both sets of handlebars are covered in comfortable rubber material. The handlebars on the side can’t be adjusted by themselves, but they can be moved when initially assembling the seat.
Speaking of the seat, the R618 has an upgraded gel cushion compared to the Nautilus R616 recumbent bike. The backrest is angle adjustable, allowing for even more people to fit onboard. The whole seat is actually quite adjustable in general during assembly, allowing users up to 6’7″ (201 cm) to fit extremely comfortably. In fact, its design and adjustability make it one of the best recumbent exercise bikes for short people.
The pedals of the Nautilus R618 recumbent bike have a pair of weighted, self-leveling pedals that have adjustable foot straps to keep those pinkie toes in position. Then there are the various bonus features that come with the R618 recumbent bike.
There is a media tray (which does have the downside of covering the top monitor), a speaker system that is compatible with MP3 systems, a water bottle holder right below the console and even some cooling fans to keep that temperature down. It’s a pretty darn complete package all around, which is not something you always see at this price range.
Nautilus R618 Pros:
- Magnetic resistance combines with the belt drive to make a quiet and smooth workout
- Nautilus provides an excellent warranty package all around
- Bonus features like the media tray, water bottle holder and speakers are present
- Bluetooth connections available with multiple different apps
- The monitor offers 29 different workout programs and 4 user profiles
- Monitor can track a wide variety of workout statistics in both metric and English measurements
- There are 25 different levels of resistance, allowing for great customization
- Extremely comfortable gel seat
- The angle of the backrest is adjustable, which is always a benefit
- 2 different pairs of handlebars; 1 which adjusts the resistance and has pulse sensors
- The frame is large and allows for a wide variety of people to comfortably fit onboard
Nautilus R616 Cons:
- Using the media tray means that you’ll block half the monitor
- The cooling fan doesn’t provide that much cooling
- The bike requires a power source to provide resistance
- Complaints of damaged goods after the shipping process
Alternatives Recumbent Exercise Bikes to Consider
For me, Nautilus has always been a go-to brand for workout equipment that is both affordable and effective. The Nautilus R618 recumbent exercise bike is no exception.
This stationary recumbent bike is a great value for the price, and it offers a wide range of features that make it a great choice for anyone looking for a quality recumbent bike.
However, if you are looking for a more durable alternative, I would suggest the 3G Elite recumbent exercise bike. This bike is slightly pricier, but it is also more durable and has an additional adjustment system (tilt adjustment) for those who want to find a perfect bike fit.
If you want to spend less, let’s say under $500, I would highly suggest you check out the Xterra SB2.5 recumbent machine. It doesn’t have all the features of Nautilus R618 but it does have a similar built quality. So, you spend less without compromising on quality.
Overall, either of these recumbent exercise bikes would be a great choice for anyone looking for a quality recumbent exercise bike.
The Nautilus R618 recumbent exercise bike is my favorite among tens of recumbent bikes I tried and it has so much to offer. From an ergonomically designed comfortable seat with gel padding to built-in resistance controls on the handlebars, and impressive quality built, the Nautilus R618 has it all. You can’t possibly go wrong with this stationary recumbent bike.