I’m not sure if Nautilus gets the respect some other budget brands receive, but if not, they really should.
Especially when it comes to their recumbent bikes.
The R616 is their entry-level recumbent bike (after the discontinuation of their R614 anyway) and it’s got a lot going for it for such an affordable bike.
We’re talking about 29 workout programs, 25 levels of magnetic resistance, bluetooth compatibility, USB charging, and up to 4 saved user profiles.
It also happens to come with a heavy-duty frame and a great residential warranty.
Put all this together and you’ve got the makings for one of the best recumbent bikes in its class.
But before you buy, it’s a smart idea to do your homework and learn as much as ya can – this way you can avoid any unwanted surprises.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.
In this review, I’ll go over everything you need to know about the Nautilus R616. We’re talking specs, features, pros, cons, and pretty much everything else in between.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not this is the right bike for your home.
The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike
Believe it or not, the Nautilus brand used to be a big name in fitness- they’re actually responsible for the boom in commercial gyms that happened a few decades ago.
It was their original cam design that really got the whole strength training machine thing going in the first place.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t get the impression that the Nautilus brand is that well-known anymore.
I know I certainly don’t see any commercials for them on tv or anything like that.
Either way, the bigger company, Nautilus Inc. is doing just fine.
This is the same company that owns Bowflex and Schwinn (as well as the brand Nautilus), so I doubt they have any complaints.
Anyway, I got a little off topic, but I think I was trying to say that Nautilus is a solid brand in itself.
Like Schwinn, they’re a budget brand, specializing in fitness equipment that won’t break the bank.
They don’t offer that many models in their lineup anymore, but the ones they have tend to be a little more expensive and a little higher-end than Schwinn’s.
The R616 we’re here to talk about is 1 of only 2 recumbent bikes this brand still offers (the other being the higher-end R618).
- 29 workout programs
- 25 levels of magnetic resistance
- Heavy-duty frame
- 300 lb weight capacity
- DualTrack, blue backlit LCD console
- Quick touch resistance buttons
- Bluetooth compatibility
- Chest strap compatible
- 4 user profiles
- USB charging
- Built-in speakers
- Built-in cooling fan
- Affordable price
- Great warranty
- Light flywheel
Let’s start this bad boy off with a discussion on the R616’s resistance system.
Personally, I think the resistance system is the most important consideration for any bike because this is what gives the bike its “feel”.
And regardless of how many fancy features a bike has, if it doesn’t feel smooth to pedal, odds are you won’t be using it for long.
When checking out the resistance system, I encourage you to consider the type of resistance the bike uses (friction brake vs magnetic) as well as the weight of the flywheel.
The R616 uses a magnetic resistance system, meaning there are magnets alongside the flywheel that are used to create the resistance.
So we can skip the whole friction brake talk, but the main takeaway is that I think magnetic systems are better (smoother and less maintenance).
The R616 comes with 25 resistance levels, which is a lot for any price range.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t mean it can provide more total resistance, but it does mean you can make smaller changes to the available resistance.
Which is a good thing because it gives you more control over the intensity of your workouts.
When it comes to flywheels, the other important component to any resistance system, heavier is generally better because the extra weight tends to improve the smoothness of operation.
And this is because the extra weight builds more momentum, which actually helps keep the pedals moving a little between pedal strokes.
The result is less lag or catching between pedal strokes.
The R616 comes with a 13 lb flywheel.
This is light when compared to the 20-30 lb flywheels found on recumbents costing 2x as much, but it’s pretty good for this price range.
For the sake of comparison, Schwinn’s 270, which is one of the most popular recumbent bikes on the planet, comes with the same 13 lb flywheel.
In other words, for this price range, 13 lb is about as good as it gets.
Even with the lighter flywheel, most users agree the pedal motion on the R616 is very smooth – there aren’t many complaints when it comes to performance.
Overall, when it comes to the resistance system, the R616 scores highly. I like that it comes with so many resistance levels and the flywheel is sufficient to provide a smooth experience.
The R616 scores pretty highly when it comes to the resistance system, but let’s move on and see how the frame stacks up.
I think most of us are looking for a heavy-duty bike – I say that because I’ve never come across someone who wants a flimsy cycle that might just crumble.
It can be hard to tell how “heavy-duty” a bike is without testing it out first (which often isn’t doable these days), but there are a few things you can look for to get an idea.
The first thing is to look at the assembled weight – this spec literally tells you how heavy the bike is.
Seeing a higher number here means the bike is heavier, which should make for a more stable bike during workouts.
The other spec to look for is the weight capacity. Again, seeing higher numbers is a good thing and indicative of a more structurally sound cycle.
The R616 comes with an assembled weight of about 92 lb, which is really good when compared to the other bikes in this price range.
For example, the Schwinn 270 mentioned earlier weighs in at 87 lb and XTERRA’s similarly priced SB250 comes in around 87 lb.
Keeping in mind that all of these bikes have the same sized flywheel, it means the R616’s extra weight is from its frame.
The R616 also comes with a 300 lb weight limit.
This is the same weight limit most quality recumbents in this price range come with, so nothing too special there, but it’s still high enough to hold most users safely.
Otherwise, the R616 takes up a floor space of about 65″ x 28″ (L x W), which is pretty standard for any recumbent.
Overall, this bike scores very highly in this department. It’s heavier than most recumbents in this price range, making for a more secure feel during workouts.
Nautilus offers the following residential warranty on their R616 Recumbent Bike:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts & electronics
- 1 year labor
Yeah, I have 0 complaints about this warranty.
It’s so much better than any other warranty in this price range.
With this warranty, Nautilus basically took Schwinn’s good warranty and made it just a little better.
You can’t beat a 10 year frame guarantee on a bike in this price range – hell, there are a lot of luxury bikes that only offer 5 years.
Three years on the parts is also a lot better than the 1-2 years most other brands are offering.
One year on labor is standard for higher-end bikes, but it’s a lot longer than the 90 day labor guarantee found on Schwinn’s recumbents.
Overall, this is truly a great warranty for the R616.
The Nautilus R616 comes with the following features:
DualTrack display- the console is split between a larger and a smaller LCD screen. Both are blue backlit for better visibility and with 2 screens, you can always see your workout profile and all metrics at the same time.
29 workout programs- this bike comes with a boatload of built-in workout programs. It comes with all kinds of classic profiles to choose from, as well as 9 heart rate guided programs, 2 fitness tests, and several custom workouts.
Bluetooth compatibility- the R616 is bluetooth friendly with fitness apps like Explore the World, that lets you ride through scenic trails and track performance metrics.
Heart rate monitoring- there are built-in grip heart rate monitors in the handles, but this bike is also compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors for more accurate readings (strap not included though).
Quick touch buttons- you can instantly set your resistance setting to one of the preset values by using the quick touch buttons on the console.
4 user profiles- this bike can save up to 4 user profiles for quicker and more accurate metric tracking. A nice touch for families with multiple users.
Contoured seat- the seat has a little padding and is contoured and vented for extra comfort. Most folks seem to find it comfortable during workouts.
USB charging- the console has a USB plug you can use to charge devices during workouts – a nice feature to ensure your tablet or phone doesn’t die during longer rides.
Built-in speakers- you can plug your mp3 player into the music port and listen to your playlists through the built-in speakers.
Cooling fan- there’s a 3 speed fan built into the console to help keep you more comfortable during those more strenuous rides.
Water bottle holder- finally, there’s a place to store your beverage of choice.
Ok, time to talk numbers.
At the time of writing this, the Nautilus R616 comes with a full asking price of:
Ok, so this bike costs about $600, give or take.
I haven’t seen a huge difference in cost between other sites like Amazon and buying directly through Nautilus, but it’s always a good idea to compare prices.
Just keep in mind that Nautilus usually offers free shipping.
I’ve been comparing this bike to Schwinn’s 270 and XTERRA’s SB250 because those bikes are top options in the same price range.
The 270 is actually about $50 more expensive (last time I checked).
When it comes to cost, I think the R616 is fairly priced considering all its features and the comps, but more on that below.
Well, that about does it for Nautilus’ R616.
In case you can’t tell, I think this is a great recumbent bike for the price.
When compared to other bikes in this price range, the R616 beats most in pretty much every category.
This bike comes loaded with workout programs, has a ton of resistance levels to choose from, and comes with many advanced console features you don’t normally see in this price range.
Like bluetooth, USB charging, and dual backlit screens.
I also like how heavy this bike is compared to other similar recumbents, but what really sets it apart for me is that warranty.
The only real downside I see is the light flywheel, but I can’t really hold that against it since it does come with the heaviest flywheel this price range has to offer.
Overall, I think the R616 is the best recumbent bike $600 can get ya. Highly recommended.