Nautilus’ R618 is one of the most popular home recumbent bikes around and when you take a look at what it has to offer, it’s pretty easy to see why.
Not only is it affordably priced, which in itself may be reason enough, but it also comes with some very respectable features and performance specs for a mid-range recumbent.
Highlights of the R618 include 29 built-in workout programs, 25 levels of magnetic resistance, and bluetooth connectivity to fitness apps.
It’s also backed by a great warranty, something many bikes in this price range can’t say.
Overall, I think the R618 is easily one of the best recumbent bikes in its class, but is it the right model for your home?
Well, that’s what we’re here to help you figure out.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this bike has to offer. After reading, you’ll know whether or not it’s worth bringing home.
The Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike
Believe it or not, Nautilus was one of the original pioneers in commercial gym equipment.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that without Nautilus and their original cam designed strength training gear, commercial gyms as we know it probably wouldn’t exist.
Fast forward a few decades and now Nautilus Inc. is a huge corporation that owns many popular fitness brands you may’ve heard of, like Bowflex, Schwinn, and Octane.
And of course their own Nautilus brand is still up and running.
Although these days, we don’t hear that much about Nautilus as a brand anymore, but they haven’t gone the way of the Dodo quite yet.
They still offer some great affordable fitness machines – case in point, the R618 we’re here to discuss.
The R618 is their highest-end recumbent to date and comes with some nice upgrades over the more affordable R616 and R614 (which has been discontinued).
- 25 levels of magnetic resistance
- Heavy-duty frame
- 325 lb weight capacity
- 29 built-in workout programs
- Adjustable angle backrest
- DualTrack console
- Bluetooth compatible
- Chest strap heart rate monitor included
- Quick-touch resistance buttons
- Cooling fan
- Great warranty
- Light flywheel
I realize most folks are looking at recumbent bikes because they offer a more comfortable way to exercise, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still provide a great workout.
Well, the good ones can anyway.
And in order for a recumbent bike to provide a solid workout, its gotta have a decent resistance system.
And not only does having a legit resistance system allow a recumbent to provide enough resistance to challenge you effectively, but it also determines how smooth the pedal motion’s gonna feel during those workouts.
That’s why when comparing recumbent bikes (or really any bikes for that matter), I always start by checking out the flywheel.
It’s true some bikes are designed on purpose to operate with a light flywheel, but the majority of home exercise bikes are designed so that they benefit from having a heavier flywheel.
And that’s because that extra weight builds more momentum as it spins, which equates to a smoother pedal motion.
The R618 comes with a 13 lb flywheel, which to be honest, is pretty light when compared to higher-end recumbents that are packing at least 20 lb.
But, to be fair, it’s also pretty average when compared to other bikes in this price range.
For example, the highly popular Schwinn 270 also comes with a 13 lb flywheel, so there ya go.
And even though the flywheel on the R618 is on the light side, it’s still one of the highest rated recumbent bikes when it comes to user reviews.
I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are reasons why budget bikes are budget to begin with – and lighter flywheels are a prime example.
The R618 scores highly though when it comes to resistance levels.
With 25 magnetic resistance levels to work with, you get a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts.
I’m of the opinion that having more resistance levels is always a good thing.
Even though more levels doesn’t necessarily mean more overall resistance, it does mean you get to make smaller incremental changes to that resistance.
And since the resistance is magnetic, you don’t have to worry about messing with felt friction pads or any of that stuff.
Overall, when it comes to the resistance system, the R618 is packing a flywheel of average weight for this price range, but it comes with a lot more resistance levels than many.
Now that we’ve got the resistance system taken care of, let’s see how the bike itself stacks up.
When checking out any bike, I always like to try and get an idea of how heavy-duty the bike should feel when using it.
This can be hard without getting to actually sit on the bike first (which is rarely doable these days), but there are still a few things you can look for.
I like to check out the assembled weight and the bikes weight limit.
Seeing higher numbers in both specs is a good sign to me that the bike will feel more heavy-duty.
The R618 comes with an assembled weight of 107 lb, which is quite heavy for a recumbent in this price range.
For the sake of comparison, higher-end, $1000+ bikes will weigh in the 120 – 130 lb range, so the R618 isn’t that far off.
This bike also comes with an impressive weight capacity of 325 lb.
Not only does this allow it to safely hold larger riders, but it also gives us a sign that it’s more structurally sound.
In terms of dimensions, the R618 takes up a floor space of roughly 67″ x 26″, which is pretty standard for any home recumbent bike.
You might also notice the nice step-thru design of the frame.
This is a common feature these days, but it does make it easy to get on/off the bike from either side.
Overall, the R618 scores highly in this department. I like how heavy it is and that it comes with such a high weight capacity- both of which are very good signs.
Nautilus backs their R618 Recumbent Bike with the following residential warranty:
- 15 year frame
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
We’ll get to more specifics regarding the price in a minute, but keep in mind this bike costs well under $1000…
Considering this, I have to say I think this warranty is pretty amazing.
Hell, it’s a pretty great warranty for a recumbent in any price range.
15 years is a long time on the frame and 5 years longer than the 10 year guarantee Schwinn offers.
3 years on parts is also quite generous, considering many budget brands only offer a year at best.
1 year for labor is pretty standard regardless of price range.
Overall, the R618 comes with an amazing home warranty (and this is one of the reasons I think this bike beats out most competitors).
The R618 Recumbent Bike comes with the following included features:
DualTrack screens- the console is divided into 2 fairly small LCD screens that display all your workout data. Nothing too fancy going on here, but they’re backlit and easy to read during workouts.
29 workout programs- I mentioned it earlier, but this bike comes with a boatload of built-in workouts to choose from. This is a great perk for folks who like a lot of workout variety and don’t want to mess with signing up for a streaming app.
Bluetooth- this recumbent is equipped with bluetooth connectivity and can connect with the Explore The World app that simulates scenic rides from around the world. Unfortunately, the bluetooth doesn’t work with the speakers, you still have to plug in to use those.
Reclining seat- the backrest on the seat can recline, giving folks the ability to adjust the angle for preferred comfort. This is an awesome feature and something most other recumbents don’t have. Definitely something to consider if you or a family member has back issues.
Chest strap- not only is the R618 compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors, but Nautilus includes one with purchase (there are also grip monitors built-into the handles).
Quick-touch controls- you can instantly set your resistance level with the touch of a button. A nice feature saving your fingers from pushing up/down on the arrows a bunch of times.
Cooling fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep ya more comfortable during workouts.
Media shelf- you can set a phone or tablet up here to watch any app you like during workouts.
Water bottle holder- this convenient compartment can hold your beverage of choice, as well as small things like keys, remotes, etc.
Before I we wrap things up here, I did want to talk about price a little.
I don’t like to quote specific prices because the prices on these bikes can change and by the time you get to read this it might not be accurate any more.
But, I’ll do it anyway.
At the time of writing this, the Nautilus R618 costs $799.
In the world of home fitness machines, this is considered affordable.
Recumbent bikes are actually fairly affordable anyway when compared to treadmills and ellipticals – some of the best, highest-end recumbents will only cost ya around $1500.
At roughly $800, I would consider the R618 more of a moderately-priced recumbent, as there are a ton of really affordable recumbents that cost a fraction of that.
And considering everything this bike comes with and has to offer, I think it’s priced fairly.
Well, that about does it for Nautilus’ R618.
If you can’t tell, I’m a fan.
Like I mentioned in the intro, I think the R618 is easily one of the best home recumbent bikes around in this price range.
I also think its one of the best deals in any price range really.
I like that it comes with so many resistance levels and so many built-in workout programs because these give folks a ton of control over their workouts.
I also like that it’s heavier-duty than most bikes in its class and that it comes with such a generous warranty.
The fact that it has an adjustable angle backrest is also a key feature for people who have bad backs or just have a hard time getting comfortable.
The biggest downside I see is that the flywheel is a bit on the light side, but again, that’s to be expected for this price range.
All things considered though, I think the R618 is a great deal and well worth the asking price.
I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of the best home recumbent bikes in its price range. Highly recommended.