Nautilus U618 Upright Bike Review: The Best Choice!

When looking at home exercise equipment, you generally want pieces of quality gear. While you aren’t looking for stationary exercise bikes that cost the same as cars, you still want them to provide good value for the money that you are putting into it.

To find these sometimes hidden pieces of home equipment, you need to do some investigation. But what if we did that investigation and simply delivered the results? That’s what we’re going to do with the Nautilus U618 upright bike.

We’re going to examine what this home exercise bike offers and see just how much value it offers at the end. Then we’ll give our final verdict (spoiler; it’s a positive one) once all the examinations are done. So with all of that out of the way, let’s hop into our review of the Nautilus U618 upright bike!

Nautilus U618, U616, U614 Comparion

Nautilus U618, U616, and U614 Upright Bikes Comparison
NameNautilus U618Nautilus U616Nautilus U614
ImageNautilus-U618-ReviewNautilus-U616-ReviewNautilus-U614-Review
Price$700$500$300
Capacity325 lbs (147.7 kg)300 lbs (136 kg)300 lbs (136 kg)
PedalsWeighted with straps Standard with straps Standard with straps
Resistance25-Level electronic magnetic25-Level electronic magnetic20-Level electronic magnetic
ControlsWith Built-in resistance controls on handlesNo Built-in resistance controls on handlesNo Built-in resistance controls on handles
Flywheel30 lbs (13.6 kg)22 lbs (10 kg)13 lbs (5.9 kg)
SeatGel cushionFoam cushionFoam cushion
ElbopadsExtendedBasicNon
Bottle HoldersDual bottle holdersSingle holderSingle holder
QualityExcellentStandardPoor
Programs292922
BluetoothFor app connection, headphone, and HRMFor app connection, headphone, and HRMNone
ApplicationsNautilus, ETW, Zwift, Peloton, and more through QZ applicationNautilus, ETW, Zwift, Peloton, and more through QZ applicationNone
Cooling FanYesYesNo
Media HolderYesYesYes
FeedbackTime, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rateTime, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rateTime, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate
Fit5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm)

Nautilus started with the U614 upright bike years ago. Although it was a nice option back then, soon it became an outdated upright exercise bike because of its basic black-and-white screen without any application connectivity and a few other things.

Nautilus realized quickly where the competition was leading and they built a newer model with several improved features, the Nautilus U616 bike. This one had a nicer blue backlit screen, more adjustment options on the seat for extra comfort and a Bluetooth connection for online cycling. It was and still is a successful model in the upright exercise world but it’s nothing special to stand out from the crowd.

So, Nautilus went another step further and designed a newer and more improved upright bike, the Nautilus U618. Not only it has a heavier flywheel for a smoother workout, this model also has a top-notch gel padded saddle. On top of that, the Nautilus U618 also has resistance controls on the handlebars so you don’t need to move your hands away from the grip when changing intensity.

They also improved the quality of the Nautilus U618 pedals with added self-adjusting features. And if that was not enough, they even added elbow pads as well as a nice and handy accessory holder so you can keep your knees, phone, and tablet, all at the same time on the bike while doing a cardio workout.

Nautilus U618 Alternative Bikes

I honestly can’t recommend a better upright bike as an alternative to Nautilus U618, at least not as long as this bike is priced under $600. I tried several upright exercise bikes under $1000 but they don’t have the comfort, features, or quality to compete with the Nautilus U618.

Especially now that you can connect this Nautilus U618 upright exercise bike with Zwift, Peloton, kinomap, and other applications with the help of the QZ application, it’s hard to beat this bike.

But in case you would prefer to buy an alternative upright stationary bike, I would suggest the Renpho upright exercise bike. It’s a high-quality exercise bike that often costs less than $500.

If you can afford to spend more, I would recommend the Nordictrack VU 29 upright bike. It has a 14-inch touchscreen and works well with the iFit but is not the best choice for other applications.

Last update was on: December 3, 2022 6:55 am

What I think of the price and warranty

The first thing that most people look at when hunting for pieces of exercise equipment is the price. That generally determines how likely people are to go after it. The Nautilus U618 upright bike does fall in the upper-mid range of these prices, sitting right around the $700 mark. Some might hesitate at this price, but by the end of this review, it might not look that bad.

The warranties that come with this bike are solid, giving long guarantees on all elements of the bike. It has a 10 year warranty on the frame, 3 year warranty on the electronics and mechanical parts, as well as a 1 year labour warranty. These are all quite excellent guarantees. The shipping process should only take 1-2 weeks. Once it arrives, you should have an easy time with the assembly.

It can be assembled by a technician or you can do it yourself with the easy manual and instructions. Even if you aren’t particularly skilled at such building processes, you shouldn’t be spending too long on this assembly.

The only parts that you need to assemble are the stabilizers/feet, pedals, console, seat and handlebars. The price of the Nautilus U618 upright bike might seem intimidating, but the warranties and assembly process certainly isn’t.

My Opinion on the monitor of U618

Another key part of modern fitness equipment is the electronics and monitor that comes with them. The Nautilus U618 upright bike has gone above and beyond for a monitor at this level. It has a backlit LCD screen that can be used in any lighting condition.

It can connect to outside apps like Explore the World™ via Bluetooth, which is an extremely nice feature for this level of monitor. Meanwhile, it can also display your time, speed, distance, RPM, resistance level, calories burned and heart rate. It can track this last stat via the included Bluetooth HR chest strap transmitter, or you can also use the sensors within the handlebar for pulse readings.

All of these targets can be measured in both metric and English measurements depending on how you want it seen. You can set targets for some of these, which make up part of the 29 different preset programs available.

Others are programs like “Rolling Hills”, “Intervals” and so on. Again, this is quite different to the regular amount provided by monitors on these bikes. You can set up 4 different profiles with the monitor, allowing for different people to keep track of their long-term fitness.

This is especially true when you can export your workout data via Bluetooth to fitness apps like Nautilus Connect or MyFitnessApp. There are just a lot of features that you wouldn’t normally expect to find here. Overall, an excellent monitor, especially for the price range.

Connect the Nautilus U618 to Zwift

Right out of the box, the Nautilus U618 upright bike only works with the MFA and Explore the World apps. Howerver, with a few simple trickes you should be able to connect the Nautilus U618 to many other applications including Zwift, and Peloton.

And because the Nautilus U618 has an electronic magnetic resistance, the Zwift and other indoor cycling applications are able to control the resistance for you. So, when you go uphill or downhill, the resistance level should automatically change to match the game/program.

In order for you to connect the Nautilus U618 to Zwift and applications, you need to provide the NRF Screen shots of the U618 to the QA app developer. His name is Roberto and he is a talented firmware developer who created the QZ app that acts a bridge for all the bikes that don’t connect to the Zwift right out of the box.

As soon as he receives the NRF screenshots of the Nautilus U618, he should be able to make this bike compatible to the QZ, Zwift, and other apps. It takes only one Nautilus U618 owner to do this and after that automatically every Nautilus bike will be compatible with the Zwift.

Years ago in order to review the Nautilus U618 bike, I had it in my place for a few days to test and try. But unfortunately, I currently don’t have the Nautilus U618 exercise bike or I would have done this and asked Roberto Viola to add this stationary bike to the QZ application.

Once your bike is added to the QZ list, you will need to install the QZ application on your phone, turn on the Bluetooth and turn on the bike. The QZ app should immediately find your bike and connect to it. Next step for you is to install Zwift (or any other application that you prefer) on an iPad (or PC, Mac, tablet, etc), log into your Zwift account, on the “pair device screen” select to pair your cadence, power, heart rate, speed, and controllable (paired all the options). Simple as that.

Nautilus U618 resistance and how it feels

Up next is the resistance of the Nautilus U618 upright bike. Considering this is one of the main elements that people want from such pieces of equipment, it seems rather important to have quality systems that will challenge you.

There is a smart electronic magnetic resistance system onboard the Nautilus U618 upright bike that has 25 different levels of challenge. This is an excellent level of variety, allowing for large challenges and small variations to keep things fresh. Heart rate programs as well as applications such as Zwift can change the resistance of this bike automatically.

The magnetic resistance combines nicely with the belt drivetrain in order to create a quiet and smooth ride with little maintenance requirements. The flywheel of the Nautilus U618 cardio bike weighs 30 lbs (13.6 kg), which should be heavy enough to satisfy those who prefer heavier flywheels.

Another satisfactory element to the resistance of the Nautilus U618 is that it has a 3-piece crank holding onto both pedals. This is lovely, as it ensures more durability and is superior on every level compared to the 1-piece cranks that you’d find on a lot of other upright exercise bikes in this area.

What we don’t know about the Nautilus U618 upright bike is the Q-Factor. For those who don’t know, the Q-Factor is the distance between the pedals. If you have too much distance between them, you can get rather uncomfortable when pedaling.

If your Q-Factor is too narrow, then you run into the same issue and can even risk injuring yourself. Fortunately, due to the lack of complaints about the Q-Factor from users and other reviews, it doesn’t seem to be a large issue with the Nautilus U618 cardio bike.

Nautilus U618 size and weight support

People also generally want to know the size of the bike that they are getting. The Nautilus U618 upright bike does make itself known through its size and weight, but it isn’t so huge that it will take up an entire garage.

Specifically, the Nautilus U618 measures out to be 38.5 in (97.8 cm) long, 24 in (61 cm) wide and 58.3 in (148 cm) tall. Meanwhile, it weighs about 83.1 lbs (37.7 kg) and can hold a massive 325 lbs (147.7 kg). Considering all the other upright Nautilus bikes can only hold 300 lbs (136 kg), this is a nice little boost.

There are solid stabilizers on the back of the bike in order to make you stay in place, even on the most intense workouts. Then there are transportation wheels on the front of the bike that allows for easier mobility around the home. The frame of the bike isn’t anything outside the ordinary steel frames, but it does well anyway.

How I feel about the Nautilus U618 Seat

We’ll finish out with the rest of the physical elements of the Nautilus U618 stationary bike, starting with the handlebars. They are multi-grip and can be adjusted vertically. This is quite nice, as not many handlebars are adjustable.

The handlebars also have elbow rests, resistance controls and an integrated incline. Finish this all off with a nice foam covering and you’ve got a quality pair of handlebars. The seat of the Nautilus U618 is one that meets that quality.

It is a Nautilus gel seat that can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. Because of this, you should be able to have people between the heights of 5’0″ (153 cm) and 6’7″ (201 cm) use it comfortably. Considering one of the biggest issues exercise bikes like this face is an uncomfortable seat, the fact that Nautilus have been able to overcome that with the U618 is brilliant.

The pedals are weighted with adjustable straps to keep your feet in place and upright. That’s about all they do though. But not everything can be brilliant, and the pedals do the job required of them. As for additional bonus features, you will be quite happy to know that the Nautilus U618 has 2 water bottle holders, a media tray that covers the monitor and even some speakers to blast some music while you ride.

Nautilus U618 Upright Bike Pros:

  • Magnetic resistance combines nicely with the belt drivetrain to be quiet and smooth
  • Bonus features like 2 water bottle holders, speakers and a media tray
  • Monitor has Bluetooth connections to outside apps, not just for headphones or HRMs.
  • Monitor displays a good variety of stats in metric and English measurements
  • Monitor has 29 different preset workouts
  • Saddle is vertically and horizontally adjustable, not mention comfortable
  • Handlebars are vertically adjustable and covered in comfortable padding
  • Handlebars have resistance and incline controls on them
  • There are 25 different levels of resistance available
  • 3-piece crank makes another appearance here
  • The Nautilus U618 can fit a large range of people based on height and weight
  • Floor stabilizers make the bike stable on more intense workouts
  • Transport wheels make it easier to move around the home

Nautilus U618 Upright Bike Cons:

  • Price is higher than some other options out there
  • Screen is not touched and doesn’t have entertainment options
8.5Expert Score
Nautilus U618, What a Great Bike!

The Nautilus U618 upright bike is a brilliant piece of equipment. As much as we want to find weaknesses, it simply doesn’t seem to have them. The price might be higher than others on the market, but it also delivers so much more as well. The resistance is smooth, offers customization and challenges. The monitor gives you preset workouts, app connections and data tracking. The handlebars and saddle are extremely comfortable and adjustable, with features you wouldn’t expect from this level. Just everything is so good, it’s actually crazy. If you have the funds to acquire it, the Nautilus U618 is one of the best that you can get. This is an automatic recommendation from us.

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