The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike is a popular choice for home gyms because it comes with a ton of workout programs to choose from, it’s well built, and it’s affordable.
Schwinn’s 230 is another popular recumbent for basically the same reasons just mentioned.
With 2 such similar bikes to choose from, what’s a person to do?
Well, you’ve come to the right place for such a dilemma.
In this head to head comparison review, I’ll go over all the key specs and features each bike has to offer, but I’ll also compare them to each other directly so you can see for yourself how they stack up.
After reading, you’ll know which one of these popular models is the right choice for your home.
Off we go.
13 lb flywheel
13 lb flywheel
300 lb weight capacity
300 lb weight capacity
|10 year frame
3 year parts/electronics
1 year labor
|10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
Dual LCD screen
Bluetooth, USB charing port
Chest strap compatible
5.5" LCD screen
Chest strap compatible
The Nautilus R616 vs The Schwinn 230
Nautilus and Schwinn are both very well-known fitness brands with a ton of history under their belt.
Schwinn started off with bikes of course, and progressed from there.
Nautilus on the other hand, started with home gym machines, and branched out to include a variety of cardio machines in their lineup.
I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but both of these brands are actually owned by the same parent company these days- Nautilus, Inc.
That same company owns the Bowflex brand too.
Talk about an impressive collection of brands.
The R616 is the mid-range model in Nautilus’ lineup, which also contains the R614 and the higher-end R618.
There are only 2 recumbents in Schwinn’s current lineup- the 230 and the 270.
In order to find the better bike here, I’ll be comparing the R616 and the 230 on the same criteria. Let’s start with one of the most important considerations, the resistance system.
Even though recumbent bikes are often considered because they offer a more comfortable workout experience, it doesn’t mean they can’t still offer a quality workout.
Well, good recumbents can anyway.
Not only does the resistance system provide the effort for you to work against during use, but it also gives the bike its “feel”.
And by this I mean how smooth or fluid the pedal motion is during your workouts.
Having a more sophisticated resistance system makes for a smoother feel, regardless of how high you crank up the intensity.
When talking resistance, the best place to start is with the flywheel- this is the part that spins as you pedal.
Even though the flywheel isn’t visible in a recumbent bike like it is on a spin bike, trust me, it’s still there.
And like spin bikes, it’s beneficial to have a heavier flywheel because the extra weight makes for smoother operation (and it also usually means the bike will be capable of providing more overall resistance).
And by “heavier”, I’m talking 20 lb or more.
Flywheel weight isn’t an issue when comparing the R616 and the 230 however, because they both come with 13 lb flywheels.
It’s true- 13 lb is fairly light in the grand scheme of recumbent flywheels, but for this price range, it’s about what we should expect.
After all, affordable bikes are affordable for reasons (and this is one of ’em).
So, both bikes are tied when it comes to the weight of the flywheel, but we do see a difference when we look at the number of resistance levels for each model.
The R616 comes with 25 resistance levels, while Schwinn’s 230 only comes with 16.
I would say both of these bikes give you a lot of control over the intensity level, but the R616 obviously offers more.
And having more resistance levels is a good thing because it allows you to make smaller, incremental changes to the intensity of your workouts.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean it can provide more total resistance, but you definitely have more control over the resistance available.
So, based on the levels of resistance each bike offers, the Nautilus R616 takes the category (by the way, both bikes use magnetic resistance, so no difference there).
I think it’s a good idea to consider how “heavy-duty” any bike you’re considering is before buying, especially if you’re a larger individual.
Larger, heavier bikes will be less likely to move or wobble during use; they’ll also feel more stable than lighter bikes.
The best way I’ve found to get an idea as to how heavy-duty a bike feels without actually trying it out, is to look at the assembled weight and the weight limit.
Seeing higher numbers in both categories is a good thing.
With this in mind, the R616 weighs in at about 92 lb fully assembled and comes with a weight capacity of 300 lb.
The 230 weighs 80 lb and also has a weight capacity of 300 lb.
By the way, both bikes have more or less the same dimensions, give or take an inch, so that’s not an issue.
The R616 weighs about 12 lb more than the 230, which honestly, might not be enough to make any real difference, but heavier is heavier.
And 300 lb is a good weight limit for bikes in this price range, so kudos to both.
But since the R616 is a bit heavier, that model also wins this category.
Ah, the warranty- one of my favorite specs. What can I say, I’m a stickler for a great warranty- it makes me happy to see a generous guarantee.
I always pay a lot of attention to the warranties and I encourage you to do the same when looking for a new bike (or any other fitness equipment for that matter).
Schwinn backs their 230 with the following warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
And Nautilus backs their R616 with the following warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts & electronics
- 1 year labor
So, you can see these warranties are pretty similar, especially when it comes to the frame and parts guarantees, but the Nautilus warranty is just a bit better.
Especially in terms of labor.
Even though Nautilus again wins the category, I would like to point out that the warranty on the 230 is pretty darn good for a budget recumbent.
One of the best things about any recumbent bike is that they come with larger seats that have a backrest.
This is one of the reasons these bikes are so much more comfortable to use than any other type of bike (especially if you have joint issues or a bad back).
When looking at recumbent seats, there are really only a few things to consider, because honestly, most of these seats are about the same.
But some come with an adjustable angle back, which is a nice feature if you’re worried about your back hurting during workouts.
You can also look out for whether or not the seat is contoured (most are) and whether or not the backrest has built-in lumbar support.
The seats on the R616 and the 230 are pretty identical.
Both come with contoured seats and mesh backs with some lumbar support built-in. And neither has an adjustable angle backrest.
And both allow you to easily adjust for height.
Overall, no significant differences between these models when it comes to the seats.
Ok, that about does it for the performance side of things, so let’s move on to the consoles.
The Nautilus R616 comes with a dual, blue-backlit LCD screen console, making it easy to see al your workout metrics, as well as your workout profile, at the same time.
Schwinn’s 230 comes with a single, 5.5″ LCD screen that isn’t backlit.
The R616 comes with 29 total workout programs, while the 230 comes with 13.
Both bikes offer grip heart rate monitoring and both are compatible with telemetry monitors, although neither bike includes a chest strap with purchase.
Both bikes are bluetooth compatible with cycling apps like Explore the World.
The R616 comes with quick keys to instantly set your resistance; the 230 does not.
Both bikes come with a water bottle holder (hey, hydration is important people!) and the R616 also comes with a cooling fan, but the 230 doesn’t.
Both bikes also come with small media shelfs which are designed to hold a tablet.
The R616 also comes with a built-in USB charging port that allows you to charge your device while working out. The 230 doesn’t have this feature.
That about raps it up for the console features. It’s pretty easy to see that the R616 has a more sophisticated console than the 230.
Ok, we’ve talked about performance specs and features, now let’s talk numbers.
Realistically, I understand price is probably going to be one of the first things you consider, so I’m not sure why I’ve decided to mention it last (maybe I’m being ironic or something?)
Anyway, keep in mind numbers can vary a little based on where you find these bikes, so to keep it fair, let’s compare the full retail prices of each.
At the time of writing this, the Nautilus R616 was going for $599 and the Schwinn 230 was going for $499.
So, the R616 is about $100 more than the 230, on average (again, prices will vary based on where you find them), so this is one category that goes to the Schwinn.
Alrighty, that about does it for this recumbent bike battle.
Before I announce our winner (I doubt it’ll be a surprise by this point), I’d just like to say that I think both of these bikes are good options for this price range.
And I do consider these 2 bikes to be in the same price range, by the way.
Without further ado, when it comes to the Nautilus R616 vs the Schwinn 230, the winner is…
The Nautilus R616
Yup, this was a pretty easy decision.
The R616 comes with more resistance levels, a heavier frame, a longer warranty, more workout programs, and a more sophisticated console.
The real question then is, are these upgrades worth the extra $100?
I would say most definitely yes.
Personally, I would say the extra resistance levels and the nicer console are enough to warrant the extra cost, but you also get a slightly longer warranty too.
Either way, I think it’s pretty safe to say the R616 is a better bike.