The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike is a mid priced recumbent exercise bike with a good looking console and a very solid look to it overall.
It comes with a good number of accessories and features – with 29 workout programs, 25 resistance levels as well as a media shelf, speakers and more.
It certainly seems to have what you need for a comfortable and effective low impact ride that is easy on the joints and back.
It does look a lot like the Schwinn 270 Recumbent bike and it does share a number of the same features but there have been some improvements to the console that helps in tracking and monitoring performance. Both bikes are marketed by the same company.
In this review we look at how this bike really measures up as a recumbent exercise bike for home to be sure that you can get a low impact workout, get into shape and/or lose weight and more.
The steel constructed frame holds you firm while pedaling at all intensities and resistance levels – you can just get on with your workout and watching the TV if you want.
There can sometimes be creaks from the seat but that can be the result of the bolts working loose overtime. It they are tightened up it stops this and also any slight wobble that might otherwise develop.
To help with keeping the bike steady on an uneven surface there are 2 levelers on the rear stabilizer bar and one at the middle of the frame. You turn them to the required height to balance out the bike to stop any side to side rocking.
The bike’s warranty is 10 years on the frame, 2 years for mechanical parts, 1 year for electrical and 90 days for labor. This is one of the longer warranties I’ve seen and gives some comfort that the bike is built to last.
The seat can be adjusted to fit a range of heights between 4 ft 11 ins and 6 ft 3 ins (from customer feedback). It moves along an aluminum rail that goes from around 19 to 23 ins from the ground as you move it backwards. This is based on customer experience on this bike and the Schwinn 270.
If you are under 4ft 11 ins you may find you are stretching or having to sit on the edge of the seat to reach the pedals (however some people don’t have an issue as it does depend on your leg length). Over 6 ft 3ins you are likely not get the full range of motion of your knee as your leg won’t fully extend (slightly bent) at the far point of the pedal stroke.
It has an easy adjustment method – the seat moves along the slider without any sticking.
You can position the seat at the exact position you want. There is no pre-set slots restricting the positioning.
To move the seat you are advised to be off the seat (although people do adjust it while sat on the seat).. Strangely (this seems wrong way round to me),you push down on the lever that is underneath the seat and then move the seat into place. To lock it in place you then pull the lever into an up position.
The 25 levels of magnetic resistance are controlled through the console.
The resistance quiet and there is no required maintenance. There are magnets are moved closer and further away from the flywheel depending on the level of resistance you want – they never touch.
They go from very easy to very challenging in small increments.
There are no big jumps in amount from one level to the next – it is a smooth transition between the levels.
However, you can jump from level 1 to level 25 (you have 10 choices) if you want by using the quick jump keys on the console.
The lower levels of resistance are great for those just getting started or recovering from injury (under doctors advice) and upper ones are plenty hard enough for those who want a real challenge.
You can adjust the level of resistance yourself using the buttons or have it adjusted by the workout program you have selected. If the level of resistance set by the program is too easy or too hard you are able to adjust it up or down to the level you want.
The bike has a perimeter weighted flywheel and belt. This helps to pull the pedals through to give a smooth pedaling motion at the various levels of resistance. At the top resistance levels you may notice some slight pulsing as pedals slow at the top/bottom of the cycle.
It provides a quiet motion and there should be no need for any maintenance to keep everything running smoothly.
The flywheel and drive are fully enclosed to prevent damage to them as well as protect yourself, pets and children from getting injured by the moving parts
The bike has a 3 piece crank which provides a strong support for the pedals and is more than strong enough to take any force you are likely to exert as you pedal,
The pedals use a 9/16″ thread so will fit standard thread pedals if you want to replace for your own set.
The pedals are oversized so will fit most shoe sizes. There is a plastic strap that helps to keep your feet on the pedals. It is one where you stick the knob on the side of the pedal through a hole in the strap rather than a buckle. It can be a little fiddly at first until the plastic softens a little.
You can probably get by without the straps if you don’t like them as your feet should stay on the pedals anyway. The straps are added as part of finishing off the assembly when you receive the bike.
Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike Comfort
Seat. The seat does seem to pass the comfort test for most people. It has a contoured padded seat and a contoured vented plastic back (not padded) which helps in supporting you comfortably.. There are some who add a cushion either at their back or to sit on to add some more comfort to it.
The back rest is fixed in place. It angles back slightly to provide support and comfort. It moves with the seat when it is adjusted.
To get on the seat is straightforward, you have to step through the bike and then you can sit down on the seat like you would a chair. There is no need to lift your leg high to step over a frame. There is also handlebars at the side of the console that can help with lowering yourself into the seat. They can also be used to help in getting out of the bike.
The seat is angled a little forwards and you can also find yourself sliding forwards on it when you exercise depending on the clothes you wear. You may find you have to adjust your position slightly every now and then as you exercise to sit back further in the seat.
Handlebars. There are 2 sets of handlebars for the bike and they are covered to make them easier on the hands when you using them – your hands won’t slip or get blisters if they get sweaty.
One set of handlebars are at the front of the bike either side of the console. They are a small pair. They can be used to help with getting on and off the bike as well as be used if you want a different position to exercise in or want support while you adjust the console. You do need to be leaning forward to use them.
The main set are at both sides of the seat. They are level with the seat in easy reach for support as you need it. The hand pulse sensors are in these handlebars. You grip these when you want to monitor your heart rate.
Dirt and Dust. It’s a bike that won’t be causing you too much issues with cleaning. It will need wiping down to avoid any possible damage from the corrosive effect of sweat. You may want to put the bike on a rubber mat if you want to prevent your floor from any possible sweat damage.
Noise. This is very quiet bike with the drive and resistance being almost silent you can easily hear the TV as you exercise. It won’t disturb others in the house or neighbors if you are in an apartment.
If you are on an upper floor there shouldn’t be any noise problems for your neighbors but you may want to put the bike on a rubber exercise mat to be doubly sure that any noise doesn’t transmit through the
You can exercise at anytime as it is unlikely you’ll make enough noise to wake anyone sleeping unless they are light sleepers or your breathing gets too noisy.
It does beep every 2 minutes to let you know you’ve completed an interval but you can switch this off if you find it annoying or too loud.
The bike has a footprint of 28.3 by 65.3 inches and weighs 91.9 lbs. It doesn’t fold down so you need a reasonable area to store it if you can’t leave it in place.
To help with moving there are are two transport wheels on the front stabilizer bar that you can tip the bike on to using the handle on the back stabilizer bar. This doesn’t require much strength as most of the weight is at the front of the bike.
They make it much easier to move the bike to and from storage as well as from room to room. It can be done by one person.
The wheels work well on most surfaces with enough clearance not to get jammed up on the majority of carpets.
If moving over a wood floor you may want to check that it doesn’t scratch or dent it.
The tools (a multi-tool) required are included but you may want a pair of scissors or a utility knife to remove the packaging.
It takes about an hour or two to complete the build of the bike. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. You may need a second person to help you to hold pieces in place while you bolt them together. But it is possible to do it on your own.
The pieces go together easily and the holes line up.
The central part of the bike is completed and you are required to add the stabilizer bars, console post, upper drive shroud, handlebars, pedals, handlebars, console and water bottle holder.
There are 29 different workout programs which do give you plenty of options to add variety to your workouts to help you from it getting stale and you getting bored.
It is nice sized console with the measures and buttons easy to use and see as you exercise. You do need to lean forward to make adjustments to it.
Whats On The Front
At the top of the console is the MP3 slot where you plug in your media player if you want to use the speakers. Next to it is the USB port for charging your personal electronics or downloading your exercise data to USB stick.
At the front top is upper display which shows the program being used and the program profile, at the left hand side shows the level of intensity on a scale of 1 to 10, on the right hand side it displays your current heart rate zone (if monitoring heart rate otherwise it is blank) – warm up, fat burn, aerobic, anaerobic and 100%.
The program profile is split into bars across the screen with each bar being an interval of the workout and the level of the bar indicating the resistance level.
These parts of the upper display are all graphical with no numbers for the measures.
The lower part of the upper display is the goal display which lets you know the goal type – calories, time or distance (you set this when selecting the workout program you want to use), the percentage of goal completed and how much of the goal there is to go.
Also in the section is the indicator of which user is being tracked, and the achievement display. The achievement display activates when a workout goal or milestone is achieved. The console will also sound a congratulatory sound when it happens. Although a small thing it can be great to give you a nice boost of motivation to keep on pushing on.
Below this is the media shelf for your personal electronics. You place them in the slot and lean against the console which can cover up the upper display depending of the size of the device. If you are using a heart rate strap it is advised to avoid covering up the left hand side of the console to avoid it interfering with the signal.
Next down is the lower display which is split into 3 channels that displays the following measures:
The left channel displays speed, time and distance. If using the quick start program and you go over 99:59 (minutes seconds) it will display as 1:40 (hours, minutes).
The middle channel displays current resistance level and RPM.
The right channel displays heart rate and calories.
Each channel shows one measure at a time which is changed by pushing the left/right buttons below the display. You can change this so it scans through the values in the edit user profile where it will then rotate through them every 6 seconds.
On both sides of the display are up/down buttons that are used to change the resistance up or down 1 level at a time whether using the quick start program or a profile program.
Both displays are backlit so they can be seen in all lighting conditions.
Distance and speed can be switched between miles and kilometers.
Below this are the bulk of the buttons for selecting and making changes to profiles and programs.
To the left and right are 5 buttons for quick jump resistance levels : 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 25 – great when you want to suddenly increase or decrease the resistance you’re up against.
At the top left of the section is goal track button that lets you see the workout totals and achievements for the current user.
Below that is quick start button for selecting the quick start program when you just want to get on the bike and pedal and set resistance as you go.
Over to the top right of this section is the user profile button for selecting the current user profile.
Below this button is the programs button to be used when selecting one of the workout programs
Pause/end button for pausing or ending a current workout or when setting up profiles or programs it takes you back to previous screen
At the top center are indicator lights that let you know what/when current goals or milestones you’ve achieved – current workout, longest workout, calories record, last workout. last 7 days or 30 days
In the center below this are direction buttons left/right/up/down and ok used to move around the user profile and programs when setting them up.
Below this is the button for controlling the fan.
At the bottom of the console are the left/right speakers and the fan in the center.
The 29 programs that come with the bike give you plenty of scope to choose a program that helps you with what you want to achieve or do. They are:
12 Profile Programs – these are set programs split between fun, pyramids and challenges. They have a range of difficulties with various levels of resistance in each. You can decrease/increase the resistance as you go if it is not at the level you want to work at.
You can set goals for each in terms of time, distance or calories.
Fitness Test Program – this compares your output in watts against your heart rate. You select beginner or advanced. It starts with a warm up session and then you are into a 3 minute test period. It then calculates a fitness score. This is a great test to help you track your fitness level over time.
Recovery Test Program – This tests how quickly you recover from exercise using your heart rate – you do this just after you’ve finished exercising and have an elevated heart rate. You measure your heart rate at that point and then a minute later.
Heart Rate Control Workout Programs – This sets heart rate goals for your programs of 50–60%, 60–70%, 70–80%, 80–90% target zones. You can select between beginner and advanced. These are great depending on your goals.
You can change the workout program during your workout if you want.
The programs are displayed in the top screen. It show a series of bars across it to depict the time interval with the height of the bar letting you know the level of resistance you are working against. It is effective at keeping you informed with your current place being indicated by a flashing bar. It doesn’t provide a video of an outdoor scene to ride along to.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Your heart rate is only displayed as a bar against a percentage scale showing where you are compared to your expected personal heart rate. It’s great for seeing what zone you are exercising at but you can’t see what the number is.
When wanting to monitor or use the heart rate programs you either have to grip the pulse sensors in the handlebars or use an uncoded heart rate strap (needs to be bought separately).
The hand pulse sensors tend to be erratic and not give an accurate reading – this seems to be a problem with the design of all these type of sensor no matter the model or brand of bike. The uncoded heart rate strap gives a much better connection and more reliable reading which you need when using the heart rate workout programs.
User Profiles And Fitness Account
It is also has 4 user profiles that allows you to personalize your measures and track the results of each profile separately when uploaded to Nautilus Connect or myfitnesspal.com, You can set up each users profile by entering age, gender, weight and height. This helps to give you more reliable information and programs for your personal fitness levels.
All the statistics of a workout are saved to your profile for uploading to the fitness accounts.
To upload your workouts you can use the bluetooth capability to upload to the Nautilus Connect account and to myfitnesspal.com. You can also use a USB stick to download your results and then upload from that to your account if you prefer or if you have problems with Bluetooth.
The accounts can be used for storing and analyzing your results and to track your overall fitness goals. It isn’t for monitoring your performance as you exercise but for reviewing afterwards.
The console requires the bike to be plugged into the wall supply using the supplied cord and adapter. If you don’t have power you can still turn the pedals over but you can’t control the resistance or any other functions.
The cord is about 6 ft long or so. It plugs into the front of the bike, You may want to use an extension cord if you want to place the bike further away and/or so it is not facing the wall.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are
Height 49.6 ins
Width 28.3 ins
Length 65.3 ins
Bike Weight 91.9 lbs
Max User Weight 300 lbs
The bike comes with a good number of accessories (some have been previously mentioned while going though the console).
Water Bottle Holder. This is at the left hand side of the seat and just behind you. It is large so should fit most sized water bottles. It can be a little awkward to grab the bottle while as you have to reach behind you slightly to get it.
USB Charger. You can plug your personal electronics into the USB port to charge them. It is a slow charge you may find that it prevents the battery from draining rather than re-charges it. It can also be used to upload your workouts to a USB stick for uploading to your Nautilus Connect Account
Speakers/Media Port. You can plug in your personal electronics into the console using the media able to listen to your music and videos. The speakers aren’t that great with them sounding a little flat but are loud enough to hear comfortably but you can’t blast them out.
However, you may prefer to wear your headset as some people will find them too quiet for their tastes.
Volume and track selection is controlled by your electrical device not through the console.
Media Shelf. There is a shelf on the console for holding your personal electronic in place while you exercise. When in use the upper display is covered but it has a lower display that you can still track your measures but won’t see the graphical representation of the workout which you may not want to do anyway if you are watching a video.
Fan. The 3 speed fan is at the bottom center of the console. It provides at best a gentle breeze rather than a cooling wind even at its’ highest setting. It is controlled by pressing a button just above it on the console.
If you are wanting to watch your TV as you ride you may find you need to angle the bike slightly to avoid it being blocked off by the console.
- The workouts are low impact at all levels of resistance
- The bikes is very quiet so you can use it at any time without annoying or disturbing others
- Measures heart rate either with pulse sensors or compatible heart rate strap if bought separately
- You are able to upload the result of workouts to the Nautilus connect account and myfitnesspal.com to track your progress and share with others if you want
- Has 4 user profiles for tracking, setting up and monitoring a person’s workouts and progress individually and more reliably
- Assembly is easy to finish off with good instructions and pieces that line up properly
- Most people find the seat comfortable for as long as they want to use it at a time. It provides good support to their backs too
- There 29 choices of workouts to add variety and prevent getting bored. The change can be good to help you move forward if you’re not making the progress you want
- The range of 25 resistance levels caters for people of all levels of fitness
- Bike provides a solid basis for workouts with no rocking or shaking
- Displays are backlit so can be seen in any light conditions
- There is no guest profile so anyone using the bike that doesn’t have a profile their workout results will be added to one of the user profiles
- Speakers can sound flat and although you hear them well enough they aren’t that powerful enough for very loud music
- The 3 speed fan only blows a gentle breeze
- The power cord is short so you may need an extension cord to put the bike where you want it, otherwise you may find yourself facing the wall
Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike Consumer Ratings
After reading through the customer reviews most are positive about the bike as demonstrated by the ratings with 82% giving it a score of 4 or 5 out of five.
They like the options they have for workouts and resistance which means they don’t get bored as well as set it to the level of difficulty they want for their fitness ability with plenty of scope as they improve if they want.
There are a few negative reviews with some people (a small minority) find the seat not as comfortable as they want, plus the fan not blowing hard enough or speakers not loud enough.
Also a small number have struggled to get the service they need from the company to sort an issue in a timely manner but others have talked about how well the company has helped them out.
Overall the consensus is that the bike is quiet, durable and sturdy and provides a great low impact workout whether they are starting out, recovering or more advanced.
Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike Price
This bike is similar in design to the Schwinn 270 and was priced about $34 more when I checked.
It has a more modern looking console that has a backlit display and has bluetooth for uploading your information to the Nautilus Connect account and myfitnesspal.com rather than having to use a USB stick.
There is also a similar bike in the Nautilus brand the R614, which has less workout programs, only 2 user profiles, console displays aren’t backlit and has standard size pedals. That bike is over $100 less when I checked it out.
When I checked on Amazon it qualified for Prime and free shipping.
The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike is very solid and provides a comfortable exercise that supports the back and is gentle on the joints. You can get a good low impact workout at the intensity you want.
You get plenty of variety with the 29 workout programs to keep you from getting bored with the workouts.
It caters for people of all abilities from beginners and those recovering injury right through to those looking for demanding cardio workouts.
If you want to keep an eye on your performance you can sign up to the free Nautilus Connect account and myfitnesspal.com and upload your results using bluetooth.
The fan and speakers may not be strong enough for some and the seat, like any bike seat, isn’t for everyone (the majority like it). That aside, this bike provides a very good cardio workout that is gentle on the joints and gives good support to the back.