Nautilus is a pretty well-known home fitness brand that’s been around for several decades now.
Their product lineup is fairly limited these days, but you’ll still find their machines popping up on a lot of “best of” lists, especially in the budget friendly category.
But with so many options these days, are Nautilus bikes really worth investing in?
Well, that’s what I’m here to help you decide.
In this guide, I’ll go over Nautilus as a brand and what you should expect from their exercise bikes.
I’ll also talk a little about the specs and features you should compare so you can decide for yourself whether or not this brand is worth investing in.
Let’s start with a quick history lesson.
I feel like Nautilus is one of those brands a lot of us have kinda heard of, but most of us have probably never actually used (or maybe even seen) before.
This is especially true for the younger folks out there.
The older, wiser readers might remember when Nautilus came about back in the ’70’s with their innovative strength training machines.
Of course back in the early days, Nautilus wasn’t much of a company at all- it was really just inventor Arthur Jones and his cam machines.
His cam designs went on to change the world of strength training, making weight training machines more comfortable and effective to use.
You could even go as far as saying modern gyms wouldn’t be what they are today with out the innovation of Nautilus’ (Arthur Jones’) cam system.
These machines became so popular there were even Nautilus Gyms in malls all across the country.
I have to admit this is a bit before my time, but it’s interesting to think about how integral Arthur Jones and his Nautilus brand were in the evolution of commercial gyms.
Especially since Nautilus has become such a budget fitness brand.
Mr. Jones was obviously a very talented guy, but turns out that talent for fitness equipment didn’t fall too far from the tree- one of his sons went on to create the Hammer Strength brand.
An impressive family indeed.
Any way, Arthur Jones eventually sold the brand, became really rich, and retired.
Over the decades, Nautilus turned more into a home fitness brand and expanded more into the cardio equipment side of things.
Nowadays, you won’t find any Nautilus Gyms any more, but you still have Nautilus to thank any time you use a strength training machine.
And there’s something to be said for any brand that lasts for over 50 years.
Nautilus has a respectable past, but let’s move on to discuss what they have going on today.
These days, you won’t find any strength training machines in their lineup. Actually, there aren’t that many of anything in their lineup now.
They offer a very small, concentrated selection of machines.
And by small, I mean they offer 9 products… and that’s including bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals.
Of those 9 machines, 5 of them are exercise bikes, so you could almost say they specialize in bikes.
Of those 5 bikes, 2 are upright models (the U616 and U618) and 3 are recumbents (R614, R616, and R618).
By the way, I really like how Nautilus names their exercise machines- it makes it easy to know what you’re talking about.
The letter in front tells you what type of bike you’re looking at and the higher the number is, the higher-end the model.
I’ve mentioned a couple times already that Nautilus is considered a budget brand these days- I say this because all of their bikes cost well under $1000.
The R618 is their most expensive bike to date and it only costs about $800 (which is quite cheap in the world of home fitness).
When you compare the different models, you’ll find most of the differences are with the features- more workout programs, more sophisticated consoles, etc.
Nautilus usually spaces their models out so there’s about a $200 difference between them.
I mentioned that it’s in the features that most of the differences can be found when comparing different Nautilus bikes. I say that because the performance specs are pretty identical in all of them when you take a look.
And by performance specs, I’m talking things like flywheel weights, drive systems, resistance levels, and weight capacities.
Let’s start with the upright bikes- the U616 and U618.
Both models come with the same 10 lb flywheel, which is quite light for an exercise bike (even an upright one).
This is to be expected from bikes in this price range, but still, 10 lb is light.
Both models also come with the same amount of magnetic resistance levels and the same number of workout programs (which at 29, is quite impressive for a bike in any price range).
The U616 comes with a 300 lb weight capacity, which is good for such an affordable bike, and the U618 comes with a 325 lb weight limit, which is even better.
Switching gears, let’s take a look at the recumbent models.
The R614, R616, and R618 all come with the same 13 lb flywheel, which isn’t bad for a $400 bike, but it’s a bit light for an $800 model.
In terms of resistance levels and workout programs, the R616 and R618 have more than the R614, but even the cheapest R614 has over 20 of each, which is great.
The weight limits for all of these bikes is also at least 300 lb, which is great too for bikes in this price range.
Overall, when you look at the performance specs of these Nautilus bikes, they stand up very well to other bikes in this price range.
Yes, the flywheels are light, but all bikes in this price range come with light flywheels. Nautilus bikes tend to come with more workout options than most other brands.
I would say the performance specs for Nautilus bikes are pretty impressive for budget models. I would say the same thing about their warranties.
Nautilus warranties vary a little depending on the model you’re getting, with the more expensive models coming with longer guarantees.
Actually, that only holds true for their recumbent bikes- both upright models come with the same warranty.
- 10 years on frame
- 3 years on parts
- 1 year on labor
This is a really good warranty for a $500 bike.
This guarantee is a lot better than what you’d find on say a Sunny Health & Fitness product and it’s even a little better than what Schwinn offers.
Speaking of Schwinn, Nautilus and Schwinn are owned by the same company (Nautilus, Inc).
The warranties on the recumbents are very similar, although the R618 comes with a 15 year frame guarantee and the R614 comes with a 90 day labor guarantee.
Overall, Nautilus scores very highly when it comes to warranties. There aren’t many (if any) budget brands that offer better guarantees.
Trying to answer whether or not a brand is “any good” is a tricky one. Taste is subjective- what one person thinks is good might not meet someone else’s standard.
So, in an attempt to be as objective as possible, I tried to answer this question for you guys in regards to Nautilus by going over the numbers.
When trying to decide on any brand/model, I suggest you look to the performance specs and warranties first and foremost.
These numbers will tell you a lot about the brand or model you’re considering.
After checking out the performance specs, only then would I start worrying about what console features the bike does or doesn’t have.
But that’s just me- I guess it depends on what’s most important to ya in your bike.
After glimpsing over all the performance specs and warranties for the Nautilus bikes, I think it’s pretty safe to say that yes, Nautilus is a good brand.
Their performance specs are as good or better than most in this price range and their warranties are much better than most of the comps.
When thinking about this brand, it’s important to keep price range in mind- it wouldn’t be fair to compare a $500 bike to a $2000 bike because of course the $2000 bike is going to be nicer.
After all, there are good reasons why some bikes cost more than others.
But in terms of budget brands, I think Nautilus is one of the better options out there. If you’re in the market for an affordable upright or recumbent bike, I definitely suggest checking them out.