The Schwinn 170 and the Nautilus U616 are two of the best upright bikes $500 can get ya these days.
Both models regularly find themselves on “best of” lists year in and year out and both are sporting well-known brand names.
These 2 bikes have a lot in common when you stop and look at the specs too- both come with 25 levels of magnetic resistance, tons of workout programs, and solid warranties.
And the fact that they’re priced almost identically makes it even harder to choose between them.
But which one is better?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to find out.
In this head to head comparison, I’ll go over all the key specs and features each bike has to offer. After taking a look at all the facts, I’ll declare a clear cut winner once and for all.
And don’t worry- there aren’t any ties allowed here (I’m not that boring).
Off we go.
|Schwinn 170||Nautilus U616|
|Flywheel||13 lb||13 lb|
|Frame||Weight: 63 lb|
Weight capacity: 300 lb
|Weight: 63 lb
Weight capacity: 300 lb
|Warranty||10 year frame|
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
|10 year frame
3 year parts/electronics
1 year labor
|Features||29 workout programs|
25 resistance levels
|29 workout programs
25 resistance levels
The Schwinn 170 vs The Nautilus U616
As I mentioned, these 2 bikes are very similar in pretty much every category, making it kinda hard to tell them apart from each other.
They even look the same too, from the shape of the frames to the design of the consoles.
And I don’t think this is much of a coincidence either- both brands are owned by the same parent company, Nautilus Inc.
They actually own Bowflex too, as well as the JRNY app most of these machines are compatible with.
When comparing Schwinn and Nautilus as brands, they’re both recognized as budget friendly brands, with most of their equipment costing around $1000 or less (with the exception of Schwinn’s elite spin cycles).
Both brands offer 2 upright models to choose from.
The 170 is Schwinn’s highest-end upright to date, while the U616 is Nautilus’ entry level upright.
I think it’s a smart idea to consider the flywheel weight of any home exercise bike (or elliptical) you’re thinking about buying.
And that’s because this performance spec tells you a lot about how smooth your machine is going to feel, as well as the amount of overall resistance it’ll be able to provide.
By the way, the flywheel is the metal disc that spins as you pedal.
The flywheel is obvious on spin bikes because it’s highly visible, but just because you can’t see them on uprights doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Generally speaking, having a heavier flywheel is preferred, because the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins, which creates a smoother experience.
A heavier flywheel should, theoretically, be able to provide more total resistance as well- it’ll be harder to get a heavy flywheel moving and to stop it when compared to a lighter flywheel.
I consider any flywheel at or over 20 lb to be considered “heavy”.
At this weight, the bike is likely to provide a very smooth pedaling motion, as well as be able to provide a more challenging workout experience for more advanced users.
With all of this in mind, the 170 and U616 both come with the same 13 lb flywheel.
This is light in terms of what higher-end, more expensive uprights are packing, but it’s pretty average for this price range.
That said, users seem to be pretty happy with the feel of both of these models, so there really isn’t much of an advantage for either in this department.
And when we look at the resistance levels, we see that both bikes also come with 25 magnetic levels to choose from.
Which is great by the way, especially for bikes in this price range.
So, when it comes to the flywheel and resistance systems, neither bike has an advantage- both are packing fairly light flywheels, but both give you a lot of control over the intensity with so many resistance levels.
Ok, the flywheel discussion was kind of a bust since both bikes come with light flywheels, but let’s see how they measure up against each other…literally.
It’s a smart idea to consider how heavy-duty and sturdy the frame is for any bike you’re considering.
After all, the last thing you want is a bike that feels flimsy and wobbly during your workouts.
The best way to gauge how sturdy a bike feels is to take it for a test spin before purchasing. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible these days, when most of us are purchasing online.
The next best thing though, is to check out the assembled weight and weight capacity.
These specs will give ya an idea as to how stable your bike should feel. And higher is better in both cases.
The Schwinn 170 comes with an assembled weight of 63lb, while the Nautilus U616 comes with an assembled weight of… 63 lb.
Both of these numbers are quite low, considering higher-end uprights (like Sole’s B94) weigh well over 100 lb.
But there’s really no difference at all between their assembled weights.
Both bikes also come with the same weight capacity of 300 lb, which is pretty good for bikes in this price range.
Both bikes take up the same footprint too, give or take a few tenths of an inch: 41″ x 21″.
Overall, looking at these numbers tells us that both models are fairly light weight and I wouldn’t consider either to be “heavy duty”, but there’s really no significant difference between them in this category.
I think the warranty is easily one of the most important specs to consider when comparing exercise bikes. All other things equal, I always go with the longer warranty.
This is your bikes insurance plan- knowing you have a solid guarantee adds a great deal of peace of mind when it comes to making a purchase.
More expensive bikes tend to come with longer warranties, but that isn’t always the case.
Let’s take a look at the warranties for each bike and see how they stack up to each other.
Schwinn offers the following guarantee for their 170:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
Nautilus offers the following warranty on their U616:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts/electronics
- 1 year labor
I think both of these warranties are pretty darn good for $500 bikes, but as you can see Nautilus’ is just a bit better with the extra year on parts and the full year for labor.
So, when it comes to the warranty, Nautilus takes the point.
We’re moving along nicely here. So far, these 2 uprights are in a pretty close race, but the U616 seems to be inching ahead. Let’s see how they compare when it comes to their features.
The consoles on these 2 models are almost identical.
Both bikes come with DualTrack LCD consoles that can display your workout profile and all of your workout metrics at the same time.
Speaking of workouts, both bikes come with the same 29 built-in programs to choose from (which is really impressive by the way).
Both bikes are bluetooth compatible with fitness apps like Explore the World and MyFitnessPal.
Both bikes come with USB charging ports, audio jacks, media shelves, and adjustable fans as well.
You’ll notice the 170 and the U616 also both have the quick touch resistance buttons on the console and built-in grip heart rate monitors in the handles.
Both bikes are compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors, but neither includes one with purchase.
Both come with 4 user profiles.
Both also come with fully adjustable seats (height and fore/aft).
Overall, I don’t see any significant differences between the feature included in these bikes- they appear pretty darn identical to me.
When it comes to included features, these 2 bikes are very evenly matched.
Ok, now we’re really getting to the meat and potatoes of it all. The specs and features are important of course, but let’s be real- cost is crucial.
It can be hard to compare prices because they can vary greatly based on where you buy. So, to be as fair as possible, let’s start by comparing the prices quoted on each brands home site:
The Schwinn 170 comes with a full retail price of $549.
The Nautilus U616 comes with a full retail price of $499.
Based on these quotes, it’s pretty easy to see that the U616 is about $50 cheaper than the 170.
At first glance, when I did an internet search to see if it was significantly cheaper anywhere, I didn’t really find the 170 any cheaper than $549.
When I did the same for the U616, prices varied between $450 – $600.
So, these 2 bikes are priced very similarly, and the final price you pay will vary depending on where you get it and whatnot, but the U616 tends to be a little cheaper.
So I’m calling this one for Nautilus.
I like to use this section for any other related info I think of regarding the bikes, but I don’t have much else to offer when it coms to the 170 and U616.
I will say both Schwinn and Nautilus both score pretty poorly when it comes to the reputation of their customer services- users for both brands haven’t complained that they are both slow and hard to get a hold of.
But this shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering both companies are part of Nautilus, Inc.
I’ll also point out that at the time of writing this, the Schwinn 170 had a higher average user rating than the Nautilus U616 (4.4 vs 4.0/5), for whatever that’s worth.
Otherwise, I’m leaving this one up to the numbers.
Alrighty friends, that’s about all there is when it comes to the 170 and U616. When we take a look at the scorecard, it looks like the winner is:
The Nautilus U616
This one is a lot closer than that score would lead ya to think because the categories the U616 won were all really close to begin with.
Ultimately, I’m declaring the U616 victorious because it comes with a slightly better warranty and it usually costs a few dollars less than the 170.
But realistically, the biggest difference between these 2 bikes is the warranty.
If I were going to buy one of these bikes tomorrow, I would go with the Nautilus U616, but these 2 bikes are very similar.
If you’re a Schwinn fan and want to stay loyal, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep- the 170 is also a great bike for the price.
But the U616 is just a little bit better.