The Schwinn 270 vs Nautilus’ R616 – Which Recumbent Is Superior?

Schwinn and Nautilus are 2 of the most recognized names in home fitness and both brands have several popular cardio machines to choose from.

And when it comes to affordable recumbent bikes, few are more popular than Schwinn’s 270 and Nautilus’ R616.

Both bikes are quite similar in terms of performance specs, console features, and price, but if you look at the fine details there are a few subtle differences.

The question is, which model is superior?

Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

In this head-to-head battle, I’ll compare all the key specs and features each bike has to offer in an attempt to help you figure out which bike is best suited for your home.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Schwinn 270Nautilus R616
Resistance13 lb flywheel
25 resistance levels
13 lb flywheel
25 resistance levels
Frame300 lb weight capacity
87 lb assembled weight
300 lb weight capacity
92 lb assembled weight
Warranty10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
10 year frame
3 year parts/electronics
1 year labor
Features29 workouts
Chest strap compatible
29 workouts
Chest strap compatible

The Schwinn 270 vs The Nautilus R616


Schwinn and Nautilus both have impressive origin stories. Schwinn’s been around forever, starting out as a bicycle manufacturing company back in the late 1890’s.

After dominating the bicycle game, they eventually moved on to home exercise bikes and the rest is history.

The Nautilus brand can’t trace their origins back quite as far, but the impact they’ve had on the fitness industry is arguably just as grand.

Nautilus was founded by Arthur Jones around 1970, when he invented his cam driven fitness machine system that made weight training machines a lot more approachable to the general public.

Nautilus gyms starting popping up, significantly increasing commercial gym popularity.

One could argue that without Nautilus, we wouldn’t have all the commercial gyms and weight training machines we take for granted today.

Nautilus eventually transitioned more into home fitness, becoming another popular brand for bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals.

Fast forward to today, and both brands are still kicking. You may notice there are quite a bit of similarities between most of Nautilus’ and Schwinn’s products- this isn’t a coincidence.

The same parent company, Nautilus, Inc, owns both brands (as well as Bowflex and a few others as well).

When it comes to recumbent bikes, the 270 is Schwinn’s highest-end model to date. The R616 is Nautilus’ mid-range model, with only their R618 offering more advanced features.


When looking for a recumbent bike (or really any exercise bike for that manner), I think it’s a good idea to consider the resistance system first and foremost.

Even though, I understand that most people looking for a recumbent bike are doing so for the added comfort they provide.

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still be capable of providing a solid workout.

When comparing resistance systems, I like to look at the weight of the flywheel, as well as the number of resistance levels available.

When it comes to flywheels, heavier is better. A heavier flywheel builds more momentum as it spins, which results in a smoother feel (the extra momentum helps the pedals continue moving between pedal strokes).

Heavier flywheels can provide more overall resistance too, which is a good thing for people looking for more challenging workouts.

Having more resistance levels to work with is a good thing too because it allows you to make smaller incremental changes to your intensity.

More resistance levels doesn’t necessarily equate to more overall resistance, but you can make smaller adjustments, allowing you to fine tune your workouts.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how the 270 and the R616 stack up against each other.

Both of these bikes come with a flywheel that weighs about 13 lb.

In the world of home exercise bikes, this is pretty light, but it’s also what we should expect for this price range.

More affordable bikes tend to come with lighter flywheels- it’s one of the reasons these bikes are more affordable to begin with.

I should point out that just because these bikes come with a 13 lb flywheel, doesn’t mean they can’t provide a comfortable workout- but they aren’t going to feel commercial grade either.

When we look at the number of resistance levels each comes with we see that both come with 25, so no obvious advantage either way there either.

And both bikes use a magnetic resistance system where the resistance is controlled digitally from the console too.

Overall, the resistance systems on both the 270 and the R616 are pretty identical, we aren’t gonna be able to determine a winner from this category.


Moving on, let’s take a look at the frames.

Having a heavier-duty frame is advantageous because it makes for a more sturdy feel during your workouts. The last thing anyone wants is to feel like their bike could fall apart at any moment.

And you don’t want to feel any wobbling or shaking during your workouts either.

It can be hard to tell how heavy-duty a bike is without trying it out first, but there are a few specs you can look at to get a good idea: the weight capacity and the assembled weight.

Higher numbers are a good sign in both cases.

Heavier bikes are going to feel more stable than lighter ones. And seeing a higher weight limit is a sign of a stronger frame.

The Schwinn 270 comes with a weight limit of 300 lb and weighs about 87 lb fully assembled.

The Nautilus R616 comes with a weight limit of 300 lb and weighs about 92 lb fully assembled.

The weight capacities are identical, so no advantage either way there, but the R616 has got about 5 lb on the 270.

Honestly, I don’t think 5 lb is enough to make any noticeable difference, but technically, the R616 weighs more, so Nautilus gets the slight advantage in this category.

Both bikes come with a walk thru frame and the seats are pretty much the same for each.

The R616 is a just a tad bigger when you look at the dimensions (65.3″L x 28.3″W x 49.6″H vs 64″L x 27.7″W x 49.9″H), but the difference is so small I can’t imagine it’ll matter to anyone.


So far, these 2 bikes are almost identical in terms of performance specs. Let’s compare their warranties to see if one offers a better guarantee than the other.

Schwinn offers the following warranty on their 270:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year electronics
  • 90 day labor

Nautilus offers the following warranty on their R616:

  • 10 year frame
  • 3 year parts & electronics
  • 1 year labor

Seeing the 2 warranties side by side like this makes it easy to spot the better deal.

Even though these warranties are similar, it’s obvious the extended parts/electronics and labor warranties on the R616 is superior.

Nautilus easily wins this category, but I’d like to say that I think both warranties are generous for this price range.

Higher-end recumbents will come with lifetime frame guarantees, but most in this price range are significantly shorter (3-5 years). It’s also rare to see 2-3 years on parts at this price.

Overall, both warranties are impressive, but the R616 comes with a better guarantee.


So far, the warranty department is where we see the biggest difference between the 270 and the R616- and even that’s a fairly small difference.

Let’s compare the other features each bike has to offer to see how they stack up:

Schwinn 270Nautilus R616
DisplayDual, blue backlit LCDDual, blue backlit LCD
Workout Programs2929
BluetoothYes Yes
USB charging portYesYes
Chest strap compatibleYesYes
Quick-touch resistance buttonsYesYes
Cooling fanYesYes

Ha, so yeah, the really aren’t any differences between the console features for these 2 recumbents.

Cosmetically, the consoles look a little different, but all the included features are the same.

Both bikes come with a ton of workouts to choose from, which is nice, and both bikes are bluetooth compatible with Explore the World and MyFitnessPal.

Both bikes are compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors, although neither include one with purchase.

I forgot to put this in the chart above, but both bikes also offer 4 user profiles too, which can be helpful with homes with multiple users.

Overall, both bikes offer an impressive selection of console features for bikes in this price. No advantage either way.


Ok, time to talk numbers.

Comparing the specs and features is all fine and good, but let’s be real- price counts for a lot when looking for an exercise bike.

Keep in mind price can vary depending on when and where you purchase. Because of this, I think it’s most fair to compare these 2 bikes on their full retail price as listed by each brand’s website.

Doing this, we see that the 270 and R616 cost the following:

Schwinn 270: $649

Nautilus R616: $599

So, it looks like the R616 is about $50 cheaper than the 270- not a huge difference, but 50 bucks is 50 bucks.

Considering how similar these 2 models are, it makes sense to me to go with the cheaper option.

Final Thoughts

Ok, that about does it for the Schwinn 270 and the Nautilus R616.

It can be hard to compare different bikes from different brands. I think it’s helpful to come up with a list of the specs and features you should look for to see how they compare.

That’s how I tried to organize this comparison and I hope you found it helpful.

Comparing the 270 and the R616 side by side like this, it becomes really evident how similar they are.

Both bikes come with the same resistance systems and the console features are identical on each.

The warranty is better on the R616 and it’s also a little more affordable (as well as 5 lb heavier).

For these reasons, when it comes to Schwinn’s 270 vs Nautilus’ R616, the winner is…

The Nautilus R616


6 Thoughts to “The Schwinn 270 vs Nautilus’ R616 – Which Recumbent Is Superior?”

  1. Marta Shelton

    How about comfort of seat?

    1. I wouldn’t expect there to be any significant difference in terms of seat comfort. The seat back on the R616 is mesh and the back on the 270 isn’t, but that shouldn’t make much difference either. Overall, I think these 2 recumbents would score evenly in terms of seat comfort. Great question and thanks for reading.

      1. VandaK

        Are both seats the same size and padded? Do both come with wheels to easily move? Thanks

        1. Yeah, both seats are about the same size and padded – the only difference is the backrest on the R616 is vented and the backrest on the 270 isn’t. Yes, both bikes come with built-in transport wheels to make moving ’em around a little easier. Hope that helps!

  2. Bob

    Which of the two bikes has the longer peddle to seat distance for taller riders

    1. The R616 is an inch longer than the 270, so technically speaking I guess it could have a slightly longer pedal to seat distance, but it would be very minimal.

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