If you’ve been looking for an affordable recumbent bike, odds are you’ve come across both the Schwinn 270 and the Nautilus R618.
Both come from reputable brands and both bikes also come with a generous selection of included workouts and features.
Both models are also especially popular for folks looking for a comfortable workout bike to add to their home.
I think it’s fair to say both bikes are amongst the best options in their price range, but which one is the better buy?
Well, that’s what we’re here to answer.
In this head-to-head comparison, I’ll go over all the key specs and features each recumbent bike has to offer.
I’ll also take it one step further and toss my 2 cents into the mix regarding which one I think is better- based on the specs, of course.
Let’s begin, shall we?
|Schwinn 270||Nautilus R618|
|Resistance||13 lb flywheel, 25 resistance levels||13 lb flywheel, 25 resistance levels|
|Frame||300 lb weight capacity||325 lb weight capacity|
|Warranty||10 year frame|
2 year parts
1 year electronics
90 day labor
|15 year frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
|Console||29 workout programs|
Telemetry heart rate monitoring compatible
|29 workout programs
Chest strap included
The Schwinn 270 vs The Nautilus R618
This is a great head-to-head battle because these bikes are so evenly matched.
Both come from home fitness brands with incredible name recognition and both models come with overwhelmingly positive reviews from their owners.
And, I’m not sure if you knew this, but both Schwinn and Nautilus are owned by the same parent company- Nautilus, Inc. (that’s probably why there’s so many similarities).
The Schwinn brand is synonymous with bikes, of both the exercise variety and of the road variety. This brand can trace its roots back over 100 years and they’re still going strong- there’s something to be said about that.
The Nautilus name doesn’t go back quite as far as Schwinn’s, but they’re still an OG in the home fitness world.
In fact, we have them to thank in part for the popularity and sophistication of home gym equipment today.
When it comes to recumbent bikes, Schwinn currently has 2 models to choose from- the 230 and the slightly higher-end 270.
Nautilus currently has 3 recumbents in their lineup- the R614, R616, and their highest-end R618.
In order to keep our comparison as objective as possible, I’ll be judging both bikes on a few preset criteria.
These include: the resistance system, the frame, warranty, the seat, console features, and price.
Well, without further ado, let’s begin.
I think the resistance system is the most important thing to consider when searching for a new exercise bike (recumbent or other type).
After all, you’ll want your bike to feel smooth during your workouts. And, if you’re looking for a bike that can provide some serious resistance, you’ll want to know what kind of flywheel it’s packing.
Any self respecting recumbent will come with a weighted flywheel that’s paired with a magnetic resistance system.
Having a heavier flywheel is beneficial, because the extra weight allows the flywheel to build more momentum as it spins. This extra momentum makes for a smoother feel because it eliminates any unwanted lag between pedal strokes.
(For more info on flywheel weights and what to look for when purchasing a recumbent bike in general, check out my recumbent bike guide for more info).
When it comes to flywheel weight, these 2 bikes are dead even- the 270 and the R618 both come with a 13 lb flywheel.
This is pretty average for affordable home recumbents, but it’s pretty light when it comes to flywheels in general (more expensive recumbents can come with 30 lb flywheels).
So, both bikes are packing the same flywheel, so no advantage either way there.
Both bikes also come with a magnetic resistance system with 25 levels to choose from, so no advantage either way there either.
So, when it comes to resistance, the 270 and R618 are identical.
Something to keep in mind- just because both of these bikes come with a light flywheel doesn’t mean they can’t provide a fairly smooth workout, especially for folks looking for lighter to moderate level workouts.
If you’re looking for a more serious cardio machine, you should consider a model with a heavier flywheel though.
These 2 bikes are evenly matched when it comes to their resistance systems, so let’s move on to their frames.
Heavier-duty frames are preferred because they’re going to be less likely to wobble or feel flimsy during use.
It can be hard to tell how heavy-duty a bike is by looking at it (looks can be deceiving), but there are 2 specs we can look at to get a good idea- the assembled machine weight and the weight capacity.
The gold standard would be to actually take the bike for a test spin, but that option is rarely available nowadays.
But looking at these 2 specs can tell ya a lot about a recumbent.
Heavier is better for both specs and these 2 usually coincide with each other- heavier bikes usually come with higher weight capacities.
The Schwinn 270 comes in with an assembled weight of 87 lb and a max weight capacity of 300 lb.
The Nautilus R618 weighs 107 lb and has a weight limit of 325 lb.
Looking at these numbers, it’s evident to me that the R618 is a little larger and a little heavier-duty than the Schwinn 270. So, if all else was even, I would go with the R618 because it would likely feel a little sturdier.
Otherwise, both bikes come with attractive designs and step-thru frames for easy access.
Ah, the warranty- one of my favorite specs to compare.
See, I’m a stickler for warranties. Regardless of what I’m looking at, I always go directly to the warranty to see what we’re dealing with.
A longer warranty tells you a lot about a product- nicer equipment comes with longer warranties.
This rule isn’t written in stone, but generally speaking it usually holds true.
The Schwinn 270 comes with the following residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
Ok, not bad. That labor guarantee could be longer, but for a budget friendly recumbent, I think this is pretty fair.
Now, this is what Nautilus offers on their R618:
- 15 year frame
- 3 year parts & electronics
- 1 year labor
Looking at the numbers side to side like this makes it easy to see which guarantee is better. The warranty on the R618 is a good deal better than that offered on the 270.
I’d even go as far as to say this is a great warranty for a bike in this price range.
Overall, the R618 easily wins this category.
I hate to assume, but I’ll do it anyway- most people who opt for a recumbent bike are doing so because they are more comfortable to use.
And this is largely to the seat- recumbent bikes come with much larger seats that include backrests.
Having a backrest takes it a lot easier on your bike that the other varieties that don’t have ’em.
When we look at the seats on these 2 models they look very similar. Both seats are large and cushioned and both come with mesh backrests with built-in lumbar support.
But the R618 has something that the 270 doesn’t- an adjustable angle backrest.
This is a very helpful feature for folks dealing with a bad back- being able to adjust that angle makes it a lot more likely that you’ll be able to find a comfortable exercise position.
And this is a pretty rare feature, especially for recumbents in this price.
So, for this reason, I’m giving this category to the R618 as well.
Ok, we’ve gone through the performance specs for each bike, now let’s move on to the console features.
Both bikes stack up pretty evenly when it comes to this category. On first glance, both consoles look pretty similar too (even though I’d say the R618 looks a little less dated).
Both bikes come with 29 workout programs, which is quite generous.
Both bikes also come with dual LCD consoles that allow you to see your workout profile and all your workout metrics at the same time.
Both models are bluetooth compatible with fitness apps as well as compatible with chest strap heart rate monitors- the only difference being that the R618 comes with an included strap and the 270 does not.
Both bikes come with quick touch resistance keys, allowing you to instantly set your resistance without having to push the up/down buttons.
Both bikes also come with a cooling fan, USB charging port, and built-in speakers.
Like I said, these consoles are very similar.
The biggest difference I see is that the R618 comes with an included chest strap, which is a nice perk. So, for this reason, I’m going with the R618 when it comes to the console.
We’re coming down the home stretch here. I saved the discussion on price for last, when in reality, I realize it’s one of the most important considerations.
The 270 and R618 are both well under $1000, so I consider them both to be budget friendly recumbents, but the R618 is a little more expensive.
The Schwinn 270 will cost ya roughly $650 and the Nautilus R618 will cost ya roughly $800.
So, I would say these 2 bikes are close enough to be considered in the same price range, but if you’re dealing with a smaller budget, the 270 might be a better fit.
That said, I think the upgrades you get with the R618 are well worth the extra $150, but more on that below.
Overall, when it comes to price, the 270 takes the category.
Ok, that about does it for these 2 popular recumbents. I guess it’s time to count up the score and see who the winner is.
If you were keeping score as we went along, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the winner is:
The Nautilus R618
Yeah, looking back, this battle wasn’t quite as close as I thought it would be at the beginning.
When you look at all the key specs, the R618 wins with a score of 4-1.
Both bikes come with the same resistance system, so no one takes that category, but the R618 wins with a heavier-duty frame, a better seat, a better warranty, and an included chest strap.
The only category the Schwinn 270 has an advantage in is when it comes to price.
As I mentioned above though, I think the extras you get with the R618 are well worth the extra $150.
I would almost argue the longer warranty is enough to warrant the extra cost, but I don’t even have to. You also get an adjustable backrest, a heavier frame, and a chest strap.
If the 270 is at the top of your budget, I wouldn’t worry too much, because that bike is a great option for the price.
But when it comes to the Schwinn 270 vs the Nautilus R618, the R618 wins every time.