As budget-friendly upright bikes go, few come with as many console features as the Nautilus U616.
With dual LCD screens, 29 built-in workout programs, bluetooth capabilities, and a USB charger, the U616 has as many goodies as a lot of bikes costing 2x as much.
And when it comes to performance, it’s no slouch either.
With a 10 lb flywheel and 25 magnetic resistance levels at your disposal, you’ll have complete control over your workouts.
If you can’t tell, I think the U616 is a great deal and easily one of the best uprights $500 can get ya.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the right bike for you.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the U616 has to offer. I’ll also compare it to a few of the other big names in its class to see how it stacks up.
After reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not this upright bike is worth investing in.
The Nautilus U616 Upright Bike
You know, Nautilus used to be one of the biggest names around in fitness.
One could even argue that commercial gym machines wouldn’t be as popular as they are now without Nautilus.
There even used to commercial Nautilus gyms that only had Nautilus machines in them – actually, there might still be a few of these around.
Anyway, the Nautilus brand used to be a big deal, although I’m not sure they’re still seen that way now.
I know I never really hear anything about them or see any of their commercials on tv.
But they’re still kickin’.
These days, Nautilus is more of a budget brand when it comes to home fitness (P.S.- the bigger company, Nautilus Inc, owns several other brands, like Schwinn and Bowflex).
Nautilus’ lineup is rather small now- they really only offer a couple of recumbent bikes, a couple treadmills, a few ellipticals, and 2 upright bikes.
The U616 is their most affordable upright to date (the slightly more expensive U618 comes with a few subtle upgrades).
- 13 lb flywheel
- 25 levels of magnetic resistance
- 29 workout programs
- 300 lb weight capacity
- DualTrack console
- USB charging port
- 4 user profiles
- Fully adjustable seat
- Cooling fan
- Quick touch resistance buttons
- Heart rate strap compatible
- Great warranty
- Frame could be heavier
I know I mentioned it’s the features that really set this bike apart from most, but I still think we should start with an overview of its resistance system.
And that’s because I think this is the single most important feature to consider when deciding on any exercise bike.
And that’s really because the resistance system is what gives a bike its feel.
Heavier flywheels and magnetic systems are preferred because they usually equate to a smoother pedal motion- and the smoother your bike feels, the more likely you’re going to be to use it.
When it comes to flywheels, generally speaking, more expensive bikes come with heavier flywheels (except in the case of cycles like Keiser’s M3i, which are designed specifically for faster spinning, lighter flywheels).
As I like to say – there are reasons why some bikes cost more than others, and flywheel weight is usually one of those reasons.
The U616 comes with a 13 lb flywheel, which is certainly light when compared to the 30 lb+ flywheels found on spin bikes.
It’s also pretty light when compared to the 20 – 30 lb flywheels found on higher-end home upright bikes.
But, when compared to other uprights in its price range, it’s actually pretty good.
The Schwinn 170, one of the most popular uprights in this price range, also has a 13 lb flywheel.
That said, with only a 13 lb flywheel, this bike probably isn’t going to be able to keep up with more advanced users.
So if you’re looking for an elite bike that can provide really strenuous workouts, this isn’t the right bike for ya.
But users seem to agree that the U616 feels smooth and comfortable during rides.
It’s also nice that it comes with 25 magnetic resistance levels.
Magnetic systems are preferred over friction brakes and having so many levels to work with gives you more control over the intensity (you can make smaller changes between levels).
Overall, I think the U616 scores pretty highly in this category.
Yes, the 13 lb flywheel is light in the grand scheme of exercise bikes, but it’s as good as you can expect in this price range.
Moving on, let’s check out the bike itself.
One of the most disappointing facts about budget bikes is that they “feel cheap”.
What does this mean?
It means they’re lightweight.
Lightweight bikes feels flimsy, which is the opposite of what we want in our home gym.
It can be hard to get an idea as to how robust a bike is going to feel by looking at it online, but there are a few things we can look at to help.
Like the assembled weight and weight capacity.
Seeing higher numbers in both specs is a good sign the bike will feel more heavy-duty.
With this in mind, the U616 comes with an assembled weight of 63 lb.
Again, this is low when compared to higher-end bikes that weigh well over 100 lb, but it’s not fair to compare the U616 to bikes that cost 2x as much.
We know this is a budget bike, so we should compare it to other budget bikes if we want a realistic idea of how it stacks up.
The U616 also comes with a weight limit of 300 lb, which is pretty darn good for a bike in this price range.
For the sake of comparison, many uprights in this price range max out around 250 lb.
Overall, I’m not sure it’s accurate to call the U616 “heavy-duty” because it’s still a very lightweight bike, but it is a little heavier than most of the bikes in its class.
In other words, the U616 is about as heavy-duty as you’re gonna get in this price range.
Nautilus backs their U616 Upright Bike with the following residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is an amazing warranty for a bike in this price range.
No, seriously- it’s kind of unheard of.
Ten years on the frame is great, but I think it’s the 3 year parts warranty that really blows me away- many higher-end brands only offer 2 years.
And a year on labor is also awesome, considering most bikes in this price range don’t offer any labor warranties.
And to prove I’m not exaggerating about the quality of this warranty, keep in mind that most bikes in this price range only come with a 1-2 year warranty for everything.
Nautilus even beats out Schwinn when it comes to the parts and labor guarantees.
Overall, this is the best warranty you’ll find on an upright bike in this price range.
The U616 comes with the following features:
DualTrack console- the screens on this bike aren’t particularly fancy, but having 2 of them allows you to see all your workout stats and workout profile at the same time without having to scan. Both are also blue backlit for better visibility.
29 workout programs- the U616 comes with a boatload of built-in workouts, so if you like variety, this is something you’ll appreciate. These include 12 classic profiles, as well as several heart rate guided, custom, and fitness test options.
Bluetooth- this bike is bluetooth friendly, allowing you to connect to fitness apps like Explore the World, for scenic rides and metric tracking.
USB charging port- the built-in charging port allows you to keep your devices fully charged while exercising.
Quick touch resistance buttons- these handy buttons allow you to jump to your preferred resistance without having to keep pushing the up/down keys.
Heart rate monitoring- the U616 comes with built-in grip heart rate monitors and is also compatible with telemetry monitors, although one isn’t included with purchase.
4 user profiles- you can save the data for up to 4 user profiles, making for faster start ups and more accurate data tracking.
Fully adjustable seat- you can adjust both the height and fore/aft position, making it easier to find a comfortable riding position.
Speakers- the console has built-in speakers, allowing you to plug your mp3 player up and listen to your music through the bike.
Cooling fan- the fan can help keep ya comfortable during those more strenuous workouts.
Water bottle holder- this, uh, gives you a place to hold your, uh, water bottle.
Ok, let’s talk dineros.
At the time of writing this, the Nautilus U616 costs $499.
Prices can vary a little, but this price point should be fairly stable (it’s still a good idea to compare between Nautilus and other sites like Amazon to find the best price).
Anyway, at roughly $500, the U616 is certainly a budget bike.
Although there are a lot of “upright cycles” that cost a lot less.
But I’m not sure if I consider a lot of these to be upright bikes – many are basically just pedalers with a seat and handlebars.
Semantics aside, there aren’t that many uprights in the $400 – $500 price range to compare the U616 to.
I’ve mentioned the Schwinn 130 and 170 already – well, these are the U616’s most obvious competitors.
The U616 is very comparable to both, although it’s heavier-duty than the 130 and comes with a better warranty than both – and it costs less than the 170.
There are a few uprights from unknown brands out there on Amazon, but I haven’t seen any that come with the same features.
Sunny Health & Fitness has a few solid uprights in this price range (like the Eco-Fit) which is actually a little heavier-duty and comes with more workouts.
But Sunny only offers a 3 year frame and 180 days parts warranty on it.
Well, that about does it for the Nautilus U616.
All things considered, I think this bike has a lot going for it.
The flywheel is as heavy as we can realistically expect for this price range and it comes with a ton of resistance levels.
And when it comes to features, this thing is loaded.
The bike itself could be a little heavier-duty, but again, it scores well when you check out the comps.
What really sets this bike apart from any other option in this price range though, is that warranty – Nautilus’ guarantee blows all other warranties out of the water.
Put all this together and you’ve got one hell of a budget bike.
I’d even go as far as to say it’s the best upright bike in its price range. Highly recommended.