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Is The Nautilus R616 The Perfect Recumbent Bike? [A Review]

nautilus r616 recumbent bike review

The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike comes with a lot more features than you’d expect from a bike in this price range. Highlights include a ton of workout programs, a bunch of resistance levels, and bluetooth capabilities for fitness tracking.

Although I do think the R616 is one of the best home recumbent bikes around, it’s not perfect. When it comes to the warranty, I think Nautilus could up their game a little.

But more on that below.

This review will take you on an in-depth tour of the Nautilus R616, presenting all the pluses, minuses and everything else in between.

After reading this, you should have a better idea of whether or not this is the right piece of equipment for your needs.

Let’s start with a quick word on Nautilus.

A Quick Word On Nautilus

The Nautilus brand started in the late ’60s when Arthur Jones came up with his patented strength training equipment that made strength training approachable to the masses.

His brilliant design used spiral cams (that looked like nautilus shells) and the idea of variable resistance training to provide efficient workouts that didn’t require barbells and plates.

Long-story-short, it was a huge success.

Jones became a millionaire (many, many times over) and the Nautilus brand shot to stardom.

Over the years, the company took different names as it combined with other brands and their products.

Today, the Nautilus brand is part of Nautilus, Inc- a family of fitness brands that includes many other heavy hitters like Schwinn, Bowflex, Universal, and Octane Fitness.

Nautilus products still hold a great reputation for being well-made and affordable.

Nautilus concentrates on treadmills, exercise bikes, and ellipticals. Their ellipticals and treadmills are fine, but I think they do a really nice job on their recumbent bikes.

Their other brand, Schwinn, also does a pretty good job with bikes- perhaps you’ve heard of them before?

Joking aside, Nautilus is a well-respected brand for good reason- they make products people like.

Now, let’s get to a product that I like…

The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike

The R616 is one of 3 different recumbent models currently being offered by Nautilus. It’s their mid-range bike, both in terms of price and features.

That said, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between this and their highest-end recumbent, the R618, which comes with a few upgrades (most notably an upgraded gel seat cushion with an adjustable backrest).

Pros

  • Solid, step-thru frame
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • Comfortable, oversized seat
  • 29 workout programs
  • 25 levels of magnetic resistance
  • USB charging port
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Dual LCD screens
  • Easy assembly
  • Great price

Cons

  • Only a 10 year warranty on frame

Frame/Flywheel

This recumbent bike comes with a pretty sleek design. My first impression is that this bike looks cool. I think the black frame with the grey and blue accents is pretty spiffy looking.

The vented seat back is pretty awesome looking too, but more on that in a sec.

Not that general appearance should play a large part in your decision making process, but personally, if I’m stuck between 2 models, I’m gonna go with the better looking one.

Anyway, the R616 comes with a nice step-thru frame that makes it really easy to get on/off of. A step-thru frame is one where you don’t have to step over anything to access the seat.

You’ll notice the open space between the seat and the console.

This is especially handy for people with achy joints or mobility issues that might have a hard time getting on a more traditional upright exercise bike.

Nautilus gave this recumbent a pretty solid frame- this bike is capable of holding users that weigh up to 300 lb. This is kind of the standard limit for any decent exercise bike, especially in this price range.

There are bikes that can handle heavier users, but with a max weight capacity of 300 lb, the R616 will be able to accommodate most folks safely.

Nautilus markets that this bike has a perimeter weighted flywheel, but they don’t specify how heavy it is.

I know from experience, that this usually means the flywheel is pretty light. Recumbent bikes with heavy flywheels advertise it.

But honestly, I’m not as concerned with flywheel weight when it comes to recumbents. Most people (and correct me if I’m wrong) looking for a recumbent bike are looking for a comfortable mode of exercise- not a way to get the most intense workout experience possible.

Heavier flywheels will provide more overall resistance and provide a smoother ride. That said, you don’t need a 30 lb flywheel to get a comfortable ride.

If I had to guess, I would say the R616 probably has a flywheel in the 15 – 17 lb range, but I could be wrong.

The important thing here, is that with the belt drive and magnetic resistance system, the R616 is capable of providing a very smooth and quiet workout experience.

Seat

I already mentioned the trendy open back on this bike. Well, turns out it’s helpful for ventilation during your workout- air flow and all that jazz.

I still think it looks cool.

Besides the cool, ventilated backrest, the R616 has a large, padded seat that is easy to adjust along the sliding rail.

One of the big perks of getting a recumbent bike is the enlarged seat. These sure are a lot more comfortable than the road bike seats found on spin cycles.

If you look closely at the seat’s backrest, you’ll notice the angle. Having the backrest recline a little should help increase the lumbar support it provides as you exercise.

Overall, users tend to be happy with the comfort level of this bike.

Features

The Nautilus R616 comes with the following features:

29 workout programs- this bike comes with a ton of workout options. With this many built-in workouts to choose from, you shouldn’t have to worry about your workouts getting too stale.

25 resistance levels- having this many levels of resistance gives you a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts. Fine tune the magnetic resistance to work as hard as you want to.

Dualtrack LCD screens- the larger screen shows you a visual display of your workout as well as your intensity and heart rate gauges. The smaller screen below displays additional stats like your speed, heart rate, and distance.

Bluetooth capabilities- you can sync this bike up to your favorite workout apps with its bluetooth connectivity. You can use Nautilus’s Trainer 2 app if you don’t have a personal favorite.

RideSocial App- you can also connect to the RideSocial App through bluetooth and ride virtually through different scenic routes around the world. You can also join others or invite friends to ride with you. Pretty cool.

Mp3 port- connect your smart phone or mp3 player up to the console and listen to your favorite music through the built-in speakers.

USB charging port- the USB charging port is a great feature because you can keep your smart devices powered up during your workout. It’s nice not having to worry about draining your phone battery while you jam out.

3 speed fan- the fan will come in handy on those long, sweaty rides.

Media rack- the rack is positioned so you can read a book or magazine during your workout. You could also watch Netflix on your tablet (and charge it) if you prefer.

Assembly

Putting the R616 together is pretty straightforward. The instructions they provide are easy to follow and the images do a great job of specifying which part goes where, and what hardware should be used.

The necessary screwdriver and Allen wrenches are provided, but it’s always more comfortable to use your own screwdriver (I hate those tiny little screwdriver hybrids).

Overall, you don’t have to be too handy to get this job done. The instructions are really easy to follow.

Most folks should have this thing unpacked and functional within an hour.

Warranty

The Nautilus R616 comes with the following warranty:

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

I know I killed the suspense at the beginning of the review when I admitted that I think this is a great exercise bike.

I also said this bike’s warranty could use a little work.

For the price (roughly $500), this warranty isn’t awful. But most nice recumbent bikes come with a lifetime frame warranty.

Three years on parts and a year on labor is good for this price range.

If Nautilus would bump their frame warranty up to lifetime, the R616 would be a no-brainer.

Final Thoughts

The Nautilus R616 is a budget-friendly recumbent bike that has a lot going for it: it’s loaded with workout programs, is bluetooth compatible, and has a 300 lb weight capacity.

The only real flaw I see is the short frame warranty. But for the price range, even this isn’t that bad.

To answer my original question- no, the R616 isn’t the perfect recumbent bike (ps- I don’t think there is a perfect exercise bike).

But it is really impressive.

Overall, I think the R616 is a great option. I actually think it’s one of the best options around. When you consider the combination of specs, features, and price, it’s hard to beat. Highly recommended.

 

Will

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