Nautilus U616 Exercise Bike Review: The Nautilus U618 is Better
Looking for pieces of home exercise equipment can be an absolute pain. There are so many options out there and not all of them can offer up the same sort of quality. Some of them can be hidden gems in regards to their price and what they offer to the rider. However, many more of them can be overpriced to the sky and not offer a good deal to anyone except the supplier.
We’re trying to look for those gems, with today’s subject being the Nautilus U616 upright bike which is exactly the same as the Schwinn 170 upright bike. We’re going to check out the various elements of this home exercise bike and see just what sort of quality it can offer.
Meanwhile, we’re going to compare all of that to the price it typically comes with. Once all of that is done, we’ll give our final reviews and recommendations before tapping out. So with all of that out of the way, let’s hop into our review of the Nautilus U616 upright bike!
Nautilus U616 vs Nautilus U618
|Name||Nautilus U618||Nautilus U616||Nautilus U614|
|Capacity||325 lbs (147.7 kg)||300 lbs (136 kg)||300 lbs (136 kg)|
|Pedals||Weighted with straps||Standard with straps||Standard with straps|
|Resistance||25-Level electronic magnetic||25-Level electronic magnetic||20-Level electronic magnetic|
|Controls||With Built-in resistance controls on handles||No Built-in resistance controls on handles||No Built-in resistance controls on handles|
|Flywheel||30 lbs (13.6 kg)||22 lbs (10 kg)||13 lbs (5.9 kg)|
|Seat||Gel cushion||Foam cushion||Foam cushion|
|Bottle Holders||Dual bottle holders||Single holder||Single holder|
|Bluetooth||For app connection, headphone, and HRM||For app connection, headphone, and HRM||None|
|Applications||Nautilus, ETW, Zwift, Peloton, and more through QZ application||Nautilus, ETW, Zwift, Peloton, and more through QZ application||None|
|Feedback||Time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate||Time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate||Time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate|
|Fit||5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)||5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)||5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)|
Nautilus has made three models of upright exercise bikes, two are still being manufactured and one (U614) is discontinued because of its outdated screen and unergonomic design.
The two Nautilus upright bikes that are still being manufactured are the U616 and the U618. They are both great indoor stationary bikes and offer good value for the price.
The main differences between the Nautilus U616 and U618 are the resistance controls, seat quality, overall frame quality, and flywheel weight. Nautilus U618 has a 30-pound flywheel which is 8-pounds heavier than the flywheel on the Nautilus U616.
The resistance on Nautilus U618 upright bike is adjustable via the controls on the console as well as two controls on the handlebars but the resistance on the Nautilus U616 is only adjustable via controls on the console. So, every time you want to change intensity, you need to move your hands away from the handlebars.
Nautilus U618 also has a better quality saddle with more foam cushion and additional gel pads while the Nautilus U616 only has foam cushion. So, basically, you are more comfortable on the Nautilus U618 upright bike during longer indoor cycling cardio workouts than Nautilus U616.
Lastly, the quality. Nautilus U618 looks like the U616 but there is significant differences in the quality. If you look closely at the pictures of the Nautilus U618 adjustment knobs, or seat tubes, you will see parts of the U618 are thicker and therefore more durable. Additionally, the Nautilus U618 has more below padding and a better accessory/bottle holder than the one on the U616.
So, knowing all these differences between the two Nautilus U616 upright bike and the U618, it’s clear that the latter is a better choice if you can afford the cost that comes with it.
Nautilus U616 Warranty and Price
Starting off, we’re going to look at the price of the Nautilus U616 upright bike. This will give us a good base to compare all of those features that are going to come with it. So without further delay, we shall announce that the standard price of the Nautilus U616: $480. It might stretch up or down about $10, but you can typically rely on it staying at $480.
The warranties that come with the bike are quite excellent, especially for this sort of middle-price range. You get a 10 year warranty on the frame, a 3 year warranty on the electronics, a 3 year warranty on the mechanical parts and 1 year on the labor.
The bike should arrive in about 1 or 2 weeks, although this can be affected by other factors like weather, human error and pandemics. Once it does arrive, you have the option of paying to have it assembled, or you can do it yourself.
Fortunately, if you choose to do it yourself, you won’t find it to be too strenuous of a process. The instructions are clear and you just have to follow them in order to get a completed bike. Even those who aren’t particularly skilled at such assemblies will find it easier than most.
The parts that you need to assemble are the front and rear feet, pedals, console, handlebars, and saddle. They sound a lot but it took me 30 minutes to fully assemble the Nautilus U616 on my own.
What I think of the Nautilus U616 Console
One of the most important facets of modern exercise equipment is the electronic equipment that it comes with. The monitor can change the experience on a bike into a magnificent one, or it can just kind of sit there.
Fortunately, the Nautilus U616 has one of the former. Like its older sibling the U18, it has a monitor that would make many other more expensive upright exercise bikes blush with envy. It has a backlit LCD monitor with dual screens that will display for you a variety of different statistics.
You’ll be able to track your time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate. All of these can be scanned through and displayed in metric measurements if you would prefer that.
There are Bluetooth connections available, allowing you to connect to outside apps like Explore the World™ for entertainment or something like MyFitnessPal to track those aforementioned statistics.
The monitor also offers a fantastic variety of preset workout programs onboard. There are 29 different programs, including heart rate challenges, profile settings, mountain rides, cross-training, intervals, hills, and more.
It is a ridiculous amount for a bike at this price level. The Nautilus U616 cardio bike has a fantastic monitor and should be praised for it.
And if all of these features weren’t enough, you can now connect the Nautilus U616 to Zwift, Peloton, and other applications through the QZ app. You can install the QZ on your phone, connect it to your bike (via Bluetooth) and then install the Zwift on your tablet.
You will need to use your own devices (tablet, phone, etc) and can’t install Zwift (or any other application on the console of the U616. So, as long as you are okay to use your own devices, you should be able to sync and enjoy this indoor bike with the indoor cycling applications of your choice.
Resistance and Pedals of Nautilus U618
Another of the core features of these stationary bikes includes the resistance and the actual challenge that you can get from the machine. Computer functions are nice and all, but you need the bike itself to give you a workout.
Once again, you won’t be disappointed with the resistance that the Nautilus U616 upright bike has to offer. It has a magnetic resistance system with 25 different levels of resistance to choose from. This is a lovely amount to pick from, as you can customize the workout and fine-tune it to exactly the resistance you want.
The upper levels still provide a challenge thanks to the 22 lb (10 kg) flywheel in front, while the belt drivetrain of the Nautilus U616 upright bike allows for the entire operation to be run nice and quietly.
The Nautilus U616 stationary bike also has a 3-piece crank holding its pedals together. This is excellent, as the 3-piece cranks are simply superior to the welded bars of metal that are 1-piece cranks. There is more durability and independence for each side, which means less chance of things going wrong.
The only element that we don’t really know the details of is the Q-Factor. For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor is the distance between the pedals. If the distance is too large, you can get quite uncomfortable while pedaling.
If the distance is too narrow, you risk the same, as well as even possible injury. However, since there are no widespread complaints about the Q-Factor from either users or product reviews, it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Nautilus U616 Exercise Upright Bike
Most people are interested in how much room their bike would take up if placed in their home. If they wouldn’t be able to move it once put in place, that would also be an issue. The Nautilus U616 upright bike isn’t too huge, nor does it weigh an absolute ton.
Specifically, it measures out to have a footprint of 41.8 in (104 cm) long, 21.6 in (55 cm) wide and 57.6 in (146 cm) tall. Meanwhile it weighs 63 lbs (26.8 kg) and has a smaller maximum weight limit of 300 lbs (136 kg). It both weighs less and can carry less weight than the Nautilus U618, but they are both still quality amounts.
There are some good adjustable floor stabilizers on the back of the bike, keeping it nice and steady on the more intense workouts. For the sake of mobility, there are wheels on the front of the Nautilus U616. While they are a hint small, they still do a good job of allowing for movement around the home. The Nautilus U616 is made with a pretty standard steel frame, which holds together nicely.
Handlebars and Saddle of Nautilus U616
We’ll finish off the examination with the rest of the physical elements of the Nautilus U616 upright bike. We’ll start with the handlebars. Unlike those of the Nautilus U618, these handlebars are not adjustable in any way. They do have multiple grips to compensate, which is nice.
They are coated in a nice rubberized material that also happens to have heart rate sensors in them, meaning you don’t need a chest strap for that statistic tracking. The saddle of the Nautilus U616 upright bike is also fairly good, although there is an issue to be found. It can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, which is ideal. This allows for more customization and more people to fit.
Generally, you’ll find that those between the heights of 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm) will be able to ride with a good degree of comfort. The only real downside is that the seat itself is not all that comfortable. This isn’t all that uncommon, and it certainly isn’t the least comfortable seat out there. But there is room for more comfort on the saddle, which could be fixed with a cover.
The saddle tube is fairly thin, which means you might feel some shaking during intense workouts. However, the stabilizers offset this nicely. The pedals are not really noteworthy, just being non-slip with adjustable straps available. There are bonus features like a media tray (that covers the upper half of the monitor), a water bottle holder, and some speakers to play some music.
Nautilus U616 Alternative Bikes
First of all I suggest the Nautilus U618 as an alternative to U616. It looks similar but has several improvements including resistance controls, a gel seat, an accessory holder, and overall better quality.
But if you want to go for another brand, I would suggest a Sole Fitness exercise bike, B94. I think it is the best alternative to Nautilus U616. We have already tested it and it works perfectly with the Zwift through the QZ application. And to be honest I found it a bit sturdier than the U616 upright. The old models of the B94 had many issues but the newer models are much better with tablet holders and sturdier structures.
If you want to buy a Nautilus U616 alternative, I would strongly suggest you consider this solid bike by Sole Fitness. There are built-in training programs plus 2 user customizable programs that should meet your exercise needs. Also, its resistance is smart electronic and you can do auto-resistance on Zwift or Peloton.
the Renpho upright bike. Right out of the box, it works with the Zwift application even without the help of the QZ app. Although there is no screen on the console, it can connect to your iPad and phone through Bluetooth.
Another alternative to Nautilus U616 is the Nordictrack VU 92. It’s more expensive than the Nautilus U616 but it’s also a commercial-quality exercise bike and it has a 14-inch HD touchscreen monitor. So you can ride on iFit with scenery workouts from around the world. Or, you can jailbreak the screen and install the application of your choice and watch Netflix while doing a cardio workout.
There really isn’t that much to criticize about the Nautilus U616 upright bike. It offers so much for such a reasonable price, it is honestly astonishing. The monitor alone is something that you would expect to find on a bike that is worth hundreds of dollars more. Once you throw in the fantastic resistance that the Nautilus U616 cardio bike offers, the adjustable nature of the build and long guarantees that you get from the warranties, that sub-$500 price looks like a no-brainer. If you don’t feel like going after the highest of the Nautilus upright bikes in the form of the U618, the Nautilus U616 is certainly a worthy successor.
- Magnetic resistance has lots of variation
- Belt drivetrain makes the entire experience quieter and smoother
- Monitor has Bluetooth connections to outside apps
- Monitor can track and export a good variety of statistics
- Monitor has many preset programs to help add variation to workout
- 3-piece crank suits the pedals well
- Pulse sensors in the handlebars
- Excellent build that allows for a wide variety of people to fit comfortably
- Floor stabilizers keep the Nautilus U616 in place
- Transport wheels make movement around the home much easier
- Excellent warranties offer long coverage
- Seat is uncomfortable and not gel
- Handlebars aren’t adjustable
- Media tray covers the monitor
- There is no resistance controls on the handlebars