You're scoping out the world of recumbent bikes. Great call! These machines are excellent pieces of workout equipment. They provide a solid cardio workout that's extremely low impact on your joints.
These bikes are also easy on your lumbar spine thanks to their laid-back positioning. But they're not just for folks who can't do high-impact cardio or have back issues. They're perfect for anyone who wants an indoor way to get their fitness needs met.
So, in this article we'll dig into two popular options: the Nautilus R616 vs Schwinn 270.
For now, if you're short on time, our ultimate winner by a hair is the Nautilus R616. Both recumbent exercise bikes are extremely similar. There are one or two categories in which the Nautilus takes the cake.
Meet The Nautilus R616 And the Schwinn 270
Nautilus has been a renowned name in the fitness game for decades. The company provides a full range of cardio equipment for intense training. The Nautilus R616 recumbent bike is no exception to this quality.
This bike has a host of features: Bluetooth connectivity, backlit LCD screens, a wide variety of resistance levels, and more. You can absolutely get a challenging workout on this bike.
Like Nautilus, Schwinn is a brand that's been around for a long time. They're a big name in the fitness world, and for a good reason. Schwinn puts out quality products.
Their 270 recumbent bike is no exception. It comes with a lot of the same features as the R616. We'll dig into the features of each bike face-to-face in a moment.
The Nautilus R616 Vs Schwinn 270 - Face To Face
Build and Sturdiness
Both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 are very sturdy bikes. They're made from carbon steel with plastic coatings around the parts. Users report little to no difficulty in both the delivery and assembly of these bikes.
Both bikes feature a "walk-through" design. That means there's nothing between the wheel half and the base of the seat half. You can safely and easily step through and onto the bike for your workout.
Users report that even with intense pedaling, neither exercise bike wobbles or feels unstable. Feel free to go to town in your cardio and stay safe with these bikes.
Ultimate winner: It's a tie—both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 are solidly built.
Knowing where you're going to put your exercise bike means you need to know what size it is.
The dimensions for the Nautilus R616 vs Schwinn 270 are very similar:
- The Nautilus R616 is 65.3" L x 28.3" W x 49.6" H and weighs 91.9 pounds
- The Schwinn 270 is 64" L x 27.7" W x 49.9" H and weighs 86.6 pounds
Basically, the bikes are barely an inch off from each other. The Schwinn is slightly less heavy, but when you're talking 85+ pounds, a 5-pound difference is rather inconsequential.
Ultimate winner: Another tie, folks. Both bikes will fit easily in most spaces (unless you have a tiny space, then you might need a different recumbent bike altogether).
The flywheel is essentially what makes your recumbent bike work. It's a large, disc-shaped mechanical device located at the front of the bike. The flywheel stores rotational energy as you pedal and is connected to the pedals via a chain or belt. It's what provides you with a smooth ride.
Both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 have the wheel located at the front of the bike. (I mean, when you think about it, that's basically the only place it can go on a recumbent bike.)
The heavier the flywheel, the more resistance you can get. The Schwinn 270 has a wheel that weighs 17 pounds. The Nautilus R616's wheel weighs 22 pounds.
That being said, both bikes claim to have 25 levels of resistance. Combine that with the difference in weight. It likely means the Nautilus R616 resistance levels increase in larger intervals.
Ultimate winner: The Nautilus R616 sneaks into first place on this one. Larger intervals can make for a better workout because it ups your intensity.
The Nautilus R616 vs Schwinn 270 comparison continues with resistance. What level of resistance you get from your recumbent bike is essential. It's the resistance that gets you results. So, what type do these bikes have?
Some bikes use the pressure of a pad against the flywheel to increase or decrease the resistance level. However, both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 operate via magnetic resistance.
Magnetic resistance uses magnets (duh). The wheel sits between two high-powered magnets. These magnets generate a field between them. Without getting too into the science, the wheel interrupts this field, causing resistance.
When you bump up the resistance, the magnets get closer to the wheel. Lowering the resistance levels moves the magnets away.
Magnetic resistance is better than pad for two reasons. First, because there are no parts physically touching each other, there's less wear and tear on the machine. Change resistance levels to your heart's content without causing too much friction. Second, again, because no parts physically touch, these machines are much quieter than pad-based bikes.
Ultimate winner: Both machines have the same type of resistance. They also have the same 25 resistance levels each, so no clear winner here.
The seat is pretty important, seeing as it's where your butt rests every single workout. It better be comfortable, yes? Fortunately, the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 both have padded seats.
This is where the Schwinn 270 got an upgrade from the 230 model. The 230 model has the ventilated plastic that makes up the seat’s backrest continue through the bottom. The 270 fixed that comfort issue.
Users report that the seats on both bikes are, in fact, quite comfortable. However, there's a rather large design issue that some users may find challenging to overcome.
Both bikes have the ability to adjust their seats forward and backward. However, there's no way to adjust them up and down.
That means if you need to move your padded seat closer to the pedals for a shorter user, it's also going to lower you down the rail at the same time. You can't move the seat closer and then raise it.
Most users of average height are probably not affected by this. However, especially tall or short folks may get frustrated with these seats.
Ultimate winner: Can you guess who won? That's right: each bike has a padded seat with the same design flaw, so they're basically the same.
Heart Rate Monitor
Our Schwinn 270 vs Nautilus debate continues with a look at each bike's heart rate monitor.
Both bikes come with built-in monitors on the stationary handrails beside the seat. However, users report these monitors are highly inaccurate.
The minute your palms get damp (and if you're exercising with literally any intensity at all, you're likely working up a sweat), the sensors lose their ability to precisely measure your heart rate.
The solution? Invest in a chest strap monitor. Thanks to the bikes' Bluetooth capabilities, you can wear this type of monitor and sync the results with your mobile device of choice. Chest straps are much more accurate, so if this is your preferred method of tracking your intensity, it's worth getting one.
Ultimate winner: We should probably call this an "ultimate loser" tie, thanks to the quality of the monitoring, but alas.
No exercise machine is complete without user profiles. Why? Because having a profile that's exclusively for you is the only way to make sure you're making progress.
User profiles enable you to input your starting stats, like your height, weight, gender, and preferred workout values. Each user of the exercise bike inputs their own stats and tracks their own workouts. That means, as you improve your cardio health, you can keep track of how you do in each workout. (This is especially easy to see with a chest strap heart monitor.)
The Nautilus R616 recumbent bike comes with 4 user profiles. The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike also comes with 4 user profiles.
Ultimate winner: Jeez, these exercise bikes are way too similar. The same number of user-profiles = another tie.
In addition to users, workout programs are an essential part of recumbent bikes. After all, having a variety of workout options keeps your time on the bike fresh and exciting. The less likely you are to get bored, the more likely you will keep up your new physical fitness routine.
Both the Nautilus R16 and the Schwinn 270 come with 29 workout programs. Don't worry. There are a few differences (finally!).
The Nautilus R616's 29 workout programs are divided into categories, including Profile, Fitness Test, Recovery Test, Heart Rate Control, and Custom.
The Schwinn 270's 29 workout programs have the same categories, except without the Recovery Test and with the ability to create 2 additional Custom programs.
In addition to each bike's 29 workout programs, both bikes have the option to connect to an app that allows you to ride on real-world trails virtually. This adds an extra layer of interest to your workouts.
Ultimate winner: I personally think the Schwinn 270 wins this category. Even though it doesn't have the Recovery Test program, the ability to create 4 Custom programs instead of 2 is of more value.
Both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 come with Goal Track. The workout machine itself can keep track of your workout data. This includes time spent on the bike, speed, calories burned, etc. (Remember, that's what makes unique user profiles so important.)
However, both exercise bikes take tracking a step further. Thanks to that Bluetooth connectivity, you can sync your data to a wide variety of your favorite workout apps. MyFitnessPal, the Apple Health app, and Google Fit are all examples of sync-able apps.
If you're taking your physical fitness seriously, you need to be tracking your data. You need to know if your cardiovascular health is improving. Plus, if you're trying to lose weight, you need to track calories burned. Both these recumbent bikes make tracking your information easy.
Ultimate winner: Both exercise bikes have the ability to Goal Track and sync to your favorite health app, so no clear winner here.
We've talked about the Bluetooth function of both recumbent bikes a fair amount already. However, the convenience factor is so high it bears mentioning again.
With other exercise bikes, you have to plug your device into the workout machine via a USB or other port to sync your data. This is not only time-consuming but also pretty damn annoying in this wireless age.
With Bluetooth, you immediately sync your data from the stationary bike to the app. No cord required.
Plus, a nifty feature is that these two bikes use what's called Bluetooth LE, or Low Energy. It's slightly different than classic Bluetooth in that it uses less energy to connect devices. That means your battery won't drain super fast as you're pedaling.
Ultimate winner: Both these recumbent exercise bikes have Bluetooth LE, so we once again have a tie.
Both consoles have two display screens that show various pieces of information (more on the displays below). They also both come with a media rack (again, more on that below) and buttons to choose what type of workout you want to do. You can adjust the incline, resistance, and the fan on each console.
Essentially the only difference between the consoles on these home exercise bikes is how the buttons are arranged.
Ultimate winner: Personally, I like the look of the Nautilus R616 console a little better, so I'm declaring it the winner. It's an aesthetic and personal choice, but hey, aren't you tired of ties yet?
An essential part of the consoles is the displays. The two screens show you your workout stats like your intensity, calories burned, distance, and speed. It also shows you how much longer you have to go in your current workout.
Both of these recumbent bikes have a backlit LCD display. That makes it easy to see in various types of lighting and from different angles.
These exercise bikes have—quite literally—the exact same setup on their displays. You know what that means...
Ultimate winner: Do I have to write it out?
Another key part of a recumbent exercise bike is the media shelf. After all, just staring off into space as you pedal is incredibly dull.
The media shelf sits just below the top LCD screen on both recumbent bikes. Depending on the size of your method of entertainment, you're likely going to be unable to see the top LCD display while you're using the rack.
Personally, I don't really mind not seeing the top screen. It spares me from having to watch the slow countdown of the workout. However, if you're using your recumbent exercise bike to track your intensity, it might bother you.
Ultimate winner: Both exercise bikes have the same media shelf, so there's no winner.
We're getting into the home stretch and the tiny details here, people. While the Bluetooth function on both recumbent exercise bikes is super convenient, these two bikes also come with a USB port. This port is located at the very top of the console.
Use the USB charger to keep your device of choice powered as you workout. Both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 have the same ports in the same place.
Ultimate winner: I promise there will be a winner in the end, but for now, it's another tie.
Each exercise bike comes with a fan located at the bottom of the console. The fan has three speeds, so you can stay cool as you exercise. Some people report the fan on each recumbent exercise bike is underpowered, while others find it works just fine. Sounds like personal preference reigns here.
Ultimate winner: I'm afraid our 270 vs Nautilus R616 comparison has yet another tie.
Both the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike and the Nautilus R616 come with two speakers on either side of the fan. In reviews, some people report the speakers are adequate, and others feel they're underpowered.
The speakers are another area where personal preference is the name of the game.
Ultimate winner: You'd think these bikes were built by the same parent company or something... speakers are another tie.
Rounding out our Schwinn 270 vs Nautilus comparison is a look at each exercise bikes' warranty.
The Nautilus R616:
- Frame: 10 years
- Mechanical parts: 3 years
- Electronics: 3 years
- Labor: 1 year
The Schwinn 270:
- Frame: 10 years
- Mechanical parts: 2 years
- Electronics: 1 year
- Labor: 90 days
Both exercise bikes state that "labor" does not include replacement parts in the initial installation or regular maintenance. You have to pay extra for professional assembly or to have someone else maintain the two bikes.
However, thankfully, the warranty is where we have a clear winner!
Ultimate winner: The Nautilus R616 has a much longer warranty than the Schwinn 270. It's officially the winner.
If you've made it this far in our comparison, you likely understand that these recumbent exercise bikes are essentially the same. To be honest, neither one has any features that particularly set it apart from the other.
so, should i go for the nautilus r616 or the schwinn 270?
You have a lot of choices in the world of recumbent exercise bikes. From beginner to advanced people, both the Nautilus R616 and the Schwinn 270 are solid choices.
Because the two bikes are essentially the same, price should be your main factor when it comes choosing the recumbent for you.
Other then price, you should consider the Schwinn 270 if you:
- Have brand-name loyalty to Schwinn
- Don’t mind fewer resistance levels
The same goes for the Nautilus R616. Go for it If you can deal with the price and:
- Prefer the more varied resistance
- Want a longer warranty