Nautilus R614 Recumbent Review
Cons: More expensive, non-padded seat, heavy, large footprint
Our Analysis and Test Results
Nautilus is one of the biggest names in exercise equipment, so we found it fitting to include their R614 Recumbent in our affordable exercise bikes test. It didn't take long to realize that this was one of the best reasonably priced recumbents you can buy. This model is loaded with features and provides an excellent workout quality with a huge range of resistance, pre-programmed workouts, and a great console and intuitive controls. It was a contender for our Editor's Choice Award and easily took our Top Pick for a Recumbent.
The Nautilus R614 looks a lot like a recumbent exercise bike you'd see at the gym, and it provides a very high level of exercise quality to match. This bike has a considerable resistance range, comes with 22 pre-programmed workouts, and has heart rate sensors and an excellent display to help monitor your workout. The R614 is suitable for users of all fitness levels, from people just starting an exercise program to those in a high-intensity training routine.
The R614 Recumbent is a true recumbent style exercise bike. This style is preferred by many users for its comfortable seated position, back support, and step-through design, and may be a better option for people with mobility issues. It promotes a somewhat more relaxed and slightly less active body position when compared to an upright model. We found its exercise quality to be outstanding, particularly in the context of a recumbent style exercise bike. With 20 levels of quiet magnetic resistance, it provides a wide range of exercise intensity from very easy to very challenging. The resistance is smooth and consistent with noticeable changes between each level. Whether casually spinning while reading a magazine, or pushing some serious Watts while doing intervals and watching Tour de France footage, our testers found the range and quality of the resistance to be fantastic. It's almost like bringing a recumbent from the gym into your home.
The Nautilus R614 also comes with an excellent console and user-interface with 22 programs to take your workout to another level. Of course, you can just jump on the bike and press Quick Start to control the resistance manually using the intuitive controls on the console, but this machine has much more to offer. It has nine different Profile workouts to choose from that automatically change the resistance to simulate various outdoor courses. It has eight Heart Rate Control workouts to keep you in target heart rate zones when using the Contact Heart Rate sensors. It has two Fitness Test workouts, beginner and advanced, as well as two Custom workouts that you can program for yourself. You can also set workout goals for time, distance, or calories burned. The dual display screens provide heaps of information during your workout, including course profile, relative intensity, distance, time, RPM, speed, calories, resistance level, pulse, etc. There are also two user profiles, and you can customize the data fields on the display and save your results to help maximize your workout.
In addition to the quality resistance and workout programs, the R614's console has a device shelf, a USB charging port, and an auxiliary plug to connect your device to its built-in speakers. This allows you to conveniently watch or listen to something while you exercise, or you can just turn on the 3-speed adjustable fan to help keep you feeling fresh. It also has a large cup/bottle holder to keep things at arms reach. We think that features like these add to this bike's overall workout quality.
Recumbent bikes are known for their comfort, and the R614 is no exception. The recumbent position is easy to get along with, and Nautilus has included a handful of features to enhance the user's experience from a comfort standpoint.
Getting on and off the R614 is especially easy due to the step-through design, as well as the handles at the console and next to the seat. For as comfortable as this bike is, it could be even more comfortable with a little padding in the seat. The stock seat is nicely contoured and relatively comfortable, but testers found it to be a little stiffer than they'd like for extended exercise sessions. The large seat back provides excellent back support, and the ventilated design helps to keep the back a little bit cooler than other models we tested. The seat position is easily adjustable, and it slides along a track and can fit a large range of rider heights. Nautilus doesn't specify a recommended height range, but our six-foot tester with a 32-inch inseam wasn't even close to maxing it out, and there was easily another 10-12 inches of forward adjustment possible.
Nautilus also thoughtfully added a 3-speed adjustable fan to the console that blows directly at the rider to help keep you cool. A large water bottle/cup holder is also attached to the left seat handle to hold water or a towel at arms reach while you exercise.
The Nautilus R614 has a quality user interface that is nearly identical to that on the Schwinn 130 Upright. In fact, the display screens, resistance levels, and programmed workouts are exactly the same, while the button layout is only slightly different. The Dual Track LCD screen has two digital displays that are easy to read, and the controls are intuitive and user-friendly. Both machines get high scores in this metric for their best-in-test display and controls.
The R614 Recumbent powers up automatically when any of the buttons are pressed, or the pedals are turned. You can select your user profile by pressing the User button, and a manual workout can be started by pressing the Quick Start button. The resistance level is changed by pressing the resistance increase/decrease buttons on either side of the lower screen, or you can jump to any of the levels on the Quick Resistance buttons. To do a program workout, press the Program button then scroll through the options using the arrow buttons in the center of the console. The Pause/End button is used to pause or end your workout, and when you're finished, the results will be stored in the current user profile.
The DualTrack LCD display consists of two separate screens. The lower of the two screens is 5" wide and 1" tall and shows current workout information. Ths screen displays three values at a time, and the information can be customized for each user profile. The values displayed are elapsed time, distance, speed, RPM, heart rate, calories burned, and resistance level. You can scroll through the data fields by pressing the right arrow. Due to its location below the device shelf on the console, the lower screen will always remain in view.
The upper screen is much larger at 5" wide and 3" tall. It displays a wealth of information that includes the user, goal, heart rate zone, intensity, and program displays. The upper portion of the screen is a large grid that shows your manual workout progress with elapsed time and resistance levels represented in columns. The course profile is also shown on this grid when using a pre-programmed workout. The right side of the screen is the Heart Rate Zone display that shows your current workout zone (anaerobic, aerobic, or fat burn) when you use the Contact Heart Rate sensors. The left side of the screen shows the Intensity display, which represents the relative intensity of your workout based on the resistance level and your current effort. The Goal display is located at the bottom of the screen, and it shows the selected goal type, a countdown to completing the goal, and the percentage of the workout you have completed.
The R614 Recumbent has loads of features and tied for top honors in this rating metric. Some of the features have been mentioned in the previous sections, but there are plenty more that help to make this the best recumbent model we tested.
The console and the user interface were explained in detail above, but the easy to read displays and intuitive controls are just part of the story. This machine also has a device shelf that can hold your phone, tablet, or some reading material in an ideal spot for hands-free media or reading. At the top of the console, there is also a USB port for charging your phone or other devices. Next to the USB port is an auxiliary plug to connect your device to the console's built-in speakers. In between the speakers is a built-in 3-speed adjustable fan. Next to the console are padded handles to support yourself when getting into and out of the seat. There are also handles on both sides of the seat that are home to the integrated heart rate sensors. The left seat handle also has a large cup or bottle holder attached to it that is ideal for holding a water bottle, magazine, or sweat towel.
The R614 is a pretty heavy machine, but moving it isn't too much of a hassle thanks to the integrated transport wheels at the front and a large handle at the rear of the bike. The rear feet also feature adjustable levelers to stabilize it in on uneven surfaces. It has a step-through design that makes it very easy to get into, even for people with mobility issues. The seat itself is contoured for comfort with a large vented backrest for support. The position of the seat is easily moved along a rail with 13 inches of adjustability to accommodate a considerable height range. The pedals are equipped with adjustable straps for security and comfort.
Ease of Setup/Portability
TheR614 Recumbent lost a fair bit of ground to the competition in this metric due to its more complicated assembly, heavy weight, and largest-in-the-test size. Thankfully, putting this machine together is something most users will only do once, and people buying a recumbent are probably already aware of the amount of space it is going to take up in their home workout space.
Our Nautilus R614 showed up in a large box that was very heavy and quite cumbersome to move. For reference, the machine weighs 84.4 lbs without the packaging, so you'll want to have at least two people to move it. Upon opening the box, we found that it was very well packaged, and there was no damage from shipping. Inside there are large styrofoam blocks for separation, and every piece is individually wrapped. Everything necessary to put the machine together, including all of the hardware, tools, and detailed instructions are included. Some of the hardware is preinstalled, saving you the annoyance and extra step of removing it from the blister pack. Overall, our tester found the assembly process to be relatively easy, but it took approximately an hour and 15 minutes to complete. Our tester was able to complete the assembly process on his own, but noted, as do the instructions, that it may require 2 people. Due to the heavy weight of the Nautilus, we also recommend assembling it at or close to the spot you are likely to keep it to reduce the distance you have to move it.
Once assembled, the Nautilus has the largest footprint and heaviest weight of all the models we tested. It weighs 84.4 lbs and has measured dimensions of 64" long x 28" wide x 49.5" high. This exercise bike does not collapse or fold for storage, so it will take up the same amount of space at all times. Moving it is relatively easy thanks to the integrated transport wheels in the front stabilizer and the large handle at the rear of the bike. Lift the back of the bike until it rests on the wheels at the front, and it rolls easily across hard surfaces. Carrying it is another story; however, as the heavy weight and awkward shape demand two strong people to get it up or down stairs.
While it is one of the most expensive models in this review, we feel that the R614 is still a solid value. This exercise bike is well made, feature-packed, and delivers a near gym-quality workout. We feel you get a lot for your money with this versatile and high-quality machine thanks to its huge range of workout intensity and wealth of useful features.
If you're searching for an affordable recumbent exercise bike, we think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one than the Nautilus R614. This quality machine has an excellent workout quality thanks to a huge range of resistance and features like pre-programmed workouts, heart rate sensors, and a superb console and display. It is comfortable and easy to use, and we'd happily recommend this bike to anyone regardless of your fitness level or exercise goals.
Other Versions and Accessories
Nautilus makes three models of recumbent bikes, including the R614, the least expensive, reviewed here.
The R616 is the next step up in price and performance with upgrades including 25 resistance levels, 29 workout programs, a up to 4 user profiles, the Explore the World App, Bluetooth compatibility, and a backlit display.
The R618 is the top-of-the-line model with upgrades over the R616 like a gel seat, adjustable backrest, premium weighted pedals, an increased weight limit, and an enhanced warranty.Nautilus also makes 2 Upright exercise bike models. The U616 and the U618 mirror the features of their recumbent siblings described above.
— Jeremy Benson
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