The Nautilus U614 Upright Bike is packed with features that make it an attractive option for home workouts, even at such a competitive price point.
But even with 22 workout programs, 20 levels of ECB resistance, and 2 user profiles, how does it match up to seasoned bestsellers like the Schwinn 130?
This is one of the questions we’ll be answering in our review. We’ll also take a look at the design features, console functions, and how you can sync your data to apps like MyFitnessPal.
If you want to get the most out of any exercise bike, it’s important to find a comfortable seated position that’s well suited to your height.
This is why the Nautilus U614 is fitted with a height adjustable seat, as well as adjustable handlebars that can pivot to help improve your posture and reduce any pressure on your lower back.
The pedals have been designed with straps that are quick to adjust, but are slightly smaller than the oversized version that’s fitted to the U616 model.
As well as being able to create a comfortable cycling position, you might also value a quiet workout, particularly if you’re living in an apartment or want to listen to music / watch movies while you cycle.
Fortunately the resistance system is Eddy Current Braking (ECB), which results in minimal vibration from the flywheel and none of the noise you associate with spin bikes or fan resistance systems.
This combines with a high-speed, high-inertia drive system and perimeter-weighted flywheel to create a workout that’s virtually silent, with a smooth cycling motion that has minimal impact on your joints.
Heart rate touch sensors have been built into the handles at a position that’s close to your body and easy to maintain. This is important because, unlike the U616, the console can’t receive feedback from telemetry chest straps.
There’s also a bottle holder to help keep you hydrated and prevent a drop in performance during longer workouts.
One final feature worth mentioning is stability. Base levellers have been fitted to the underside of the stabilizers to compensate for uneven floors and provide a stable platform for high intensity training.
All of this has been fitted into a bike that measures just 41.8″ (L) x 21.6″ (W) x 57.6″ (H) – a footprint far smaller than recumbent bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills.
Nautilus U614 – Features Summary
- Dual Track LCD display – two LCD windows display the status up to 13 workout details
- Charging USB port and data export to Nautilusconnet.com or myfitnesspal.com
- 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 quick start
- 20 levels of ECB resistance
- 2 user profiles
- Acoustic chambered speakers for big sound
- Grip heart rate
- 3-speed cooling fan
- Transport whels
Display console design
The console is often overlooked in favour of the number of workout programs or number of resistance levels, but it’s actually one of the most important features to get right.
Even if a bike has 100 training programs, if they’re hidden behind a complicated menu system then you’re probably not going to feel motivated to start your next workout.
If we exclude Schwinn (we’ll be comparing them later in the review), then it’s worth taking a look at other console on bikes under $500, to see how the U614 measures up.
The Kettler Axos Cycle P is a good example of an upright bike at the same price point, but the console is completely different to the Nautilus.
You’re missing the cooling fan, speakers, media shelf, quick-select buttons, and workout data sync, with a much smaller single screen used to display your feedback.
The same is true of the dual trainers available in this price range, although some of the Gold’s Gym upright bikes fare a little better, with the 290 C including a cooling fan, speakers, and music port.
But of all the upright bikes that we’ve reviewed under $500, none can really compare to the Schwinn and Nautilus models in terms of entertainment options and quick access to workout programs.
Workout data sync and achievement tracking
With the Nautilus U614 you’re getting DualTrack LCD screens for monitoring of workout data when using the media shelf, a 3-speed cooling fan, USB charging port, acoustic speakers, and full range of quick-select resistance options.
The only real differences between this model and the higher priced U616 are that the screens aren’t backlit, fewer resistance level options, and lack of Bluetooth connectivity for the data sync to NautilusConnect and MyFitnessPal.
The larger screen size means you can monitor a wide variety of feedback metrics without the need for scrolling. This includes your time, speed, distance, RPM, heart rate, and current workout program.
There’s even an Achievement Display which activates when you achieve one of your workout goals or surpass a milestone set in one of your previous workouts.
Button functions have been kept to a minimum, using a combination of simple menu navigation and quick-select options to create a more intuitive interface that’s easier to use.
Preset workout programs and user profiles
The media shelf on the console helps make workouts more enjoyable with the option of watching movies via a tablet. You can even charge your phone while listening to your favourite music thanks to the MP3 connectivity.
But it’s also important for the workouts to be effective if you’re serious about improving your physical fitness. For this you’ll need plenty of variation, and a range of different intensity levels to help you reach goals such as weight loss, increased muscle tone, and improving cardiovascular health.
That’s why Nautilus have programmed 22 preset training profiles into the console, which have been grouped into five main categories. This includes a fitness test for measuring your progress over time.
5 Workout categories
- Fun Rides – Designed as ‘steady-state’ cardio with lower resistance levels, these are programs ideal for anyone new to fitness training, but have also been optimized for fat burning.
- Mountains – Higher intensity programs with more variation in the resistance levels. All of this helps with increasing your cardiovascular endurance.
- Challenges – As the name suggests, these are the higher intensity programs, with a mix of interval training and continuous climb helping to increase lower body strength.
- Heart Rate Control (HRC) – After selecting a target heart rate range from one of four options, the resistance will then automatically adjust throughout your workout to keep your heart rate at your chosen level.
- Fitness Test – With the U614 you only get the one fitness test, which uses a comparison between your power output and heart rate. The higher the power output at a given heart rate, the higher the fitness level.
With the later U616 model you also get a second fitness test, one that’s based on how quickly your heart rate recovers after exercise.
If you step down a price bracket to bikes in the $100-$300 range, user profiles probably won’t feature very heavily. However, you’ll still see calories burned and heart rate listed as feedback on the consoles.
Both of these metrics are unlikely to be particularly accurate, as there have been a number of studies that prove formulas need to be followed.
These formulas require either your age or your weight, and are used to provide more accurate feedback that can be used to improve your performance during the workout.
That’s why it’s so important that the Nautilus U614 has two user profiles, both of which allow you to store personal information for use in these calculations. This includes your age, weight, name, and preferred workout values.
Having multiple user profiles also means you can sync your own workout data to the NautilusConnect and MyFitnessPal services, even with more than one person using the bike.
Comparing the U614 with the U616 and Schwinn 130
For such a competitive price point, it can be useful to have a shortlist of some of the top rated bestsellers so you can see how each bike compares. For the Nautilus U614 this means taking a look at the upgraded U616 and the bestselling Schwinn 130.
Nautilus U614 vs. U616
As with their recumbent bike collection, you do tend to lose out on a number of features by choosing the U614 over the U616.
But would this really impact your workouts?
The Nautilus U616 has seven additional workout programs, Bluetooth connectivity for improved data sync, a backlight to each display screen, and an oversized saddle for additional comfort.
This last point alone may be enough to influence your decision, as an uncomfortable saddle was one of the only negative points we noticed in the reviews on Amazon.
Although the weight capacity and warranty are the same, by choosing the U614 you won’t have access to telemetry heart rate monitoring (chest belt), and don’t have the fore/aft adjustment for the seat.
We’ve highlighted several other important differences in the table below.
|Model||Nautilus U614||Nautilus U616|
|Workout Programs||22 Total: 1 Quick Start, 9 Profile, 8 Heart Rate, 2 Fitness Test, 2 Custom||29 Total: 1 Quick Start, 12 Profile, 9 Heart Rate, 2 Fitness Test, 1 Recovery Test, 4 Custom|
|Display Type||2 LCD Displays||2 Blue Backlit LCD Displays|
|Heart Rate||Contact||Contact & Telemetry Enabled|
|Fore/Aft Seat Adjustment||No||Yes|
|Oversized Deluxe Pedal||No||Yes|
|Maximum User Weight||300 lbs/136 kg||300 lbs/136 kg|
|Warranty||10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year electronics, 90 days labor||10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year electronics, 90 days labor|
Nautilus U614 vs. Schwinn 130
If you read our recent review of the Nautilus R614 recumbent bike, you might remember we made some important comparisons between that bike and the Schwinn 270.
We found that not only was the price very similar, but the specifications were virtually identical, with nothing separating the two bikes in terms of workout programs, user profiles, and resistance settings.
It seems that this is also the case for their upright bikes.
Not only are all of the specifications we just mentioned the same, but you also have a USB port and data exchange for creating a historical log of your workout performance.
Whereas the Nautilus U614 will sync its data to NautilusConnect, the Schwinn 130 syncs data to SchwinnConnect, which again offers very similar features.
The DualTrack LCD display is available on both models, as is the pivoting handlebar design and console entertainment features, such as a media shelf and speakers.
So what’s the difference?
In all honesty, we really struggled to find any. The dimensions, warranty, and weight capacity are all the same, and they have a very similar average review rating.
One of the main benefits of the Nautilus bike is that you can sync to MyFitnessPal as well as Nautilus’ own tracking site. But this is also something that’s advertised when you create your account on SchwinnConnect.
NautilusConnect offers a clearer visual representation of data..
In terms of the way data is displayed on screen and the way your workouts are reported, we have to say that we have a slight preference towards SchwinnConnect.
Although NautilusConnect lets you view your latest workout, totals, and a chart of your recent workout data, the Schwinn site appears to be much more goal and achievement orientated.
This is due to the fact that they offer two additional sections to their reporting; Accomplishments and Fitness Score.
..but SchwinnConnect is slightly more achievement and goal oriented
Accomplishments lets you view the time for your longest workout and most calories burned in a session, while Fitness Score assesses your data and calculates a single grade that can then be used to measure improvements over time.
Neither of these options is available via NautilusConnect.
Aside from these minor differences, it really come down to aesthetics. If you like the look of the Schwinn 130 then that’s the better choice. Alternatively if you prefer the style of the Nautilus U614 then that will be your best option. In terms of specifications, they’re identical.
Ease of assembly / Maintenance required
Before buying any new piece of fitness equipment, it can be useful to know how easy it is to assemble.
Quality of assembly instructions and the setup process itself are two areas that receive the most feedback in customer reviews, so it’s useful to know what to expect.
Although the Nautilus U614 weighs in slightly heavier than similarly priced upright bikes (3 lbs more than the Schwinn 130), it’s still considerably lighter than the equivalent model in a recumbent bike (R614 weighs in excess of 90 lbs).
Combine this with the fact that the assembly instructions are concise and include a full parts list, and it’s no surprise that customer reviews are praising the simplicity.
In fact, excluding the main frame parts such as the seat support and console upright, you need just 15 bolts and washers to get the bike setup and ready to use.
Having the majority of the frame pre-assembled at the factory prior to delivery also cuts down on the steps involved, reduces heavy lifting, and best of all, saves you time.
Aside from connecting the cable through the console mast, the majority of steps are quick to complete unassisted, resulting in a recommended assembly time of 30-45 minutes.
Nautilus and Schwinn are two of the best known fitness equipment companies in the world, which is a reputation built on quality and innovation.
As a result, we often find that their exercise bikes are amongst the highest rated in the industry. The Nautilus U614 is no exception.
Despite only being available for a few months at the time of writing our review, it already has dozens of highly rated reviews and an impressive average rating.
But as with any review, it’s important to consider the negatives as well as the positives.
What features do people dislike?
After reading through each of the reviews on ecommerce sites like Amazon, we quickly identified the reasons why people had given the bike these ratings.
We then put together the following lists of pros and cons based on their feedback, to act as a quick reference guide.
- Wide variety of preset workout programs
- Sturdy frame design
- Media shelf and MP3 connectivity make it easy to listen to music
- Assembly instructions are easy to follow and the parts well packaged
- Smaller footprint makes it the ideal alternative to larger equipment, such as recumbent bikes and treadmills
- Speakers are surprisingly high quality
- All the tools you need to put it together are included
- Transport wheels make it easier to move around
- Seat isn’t particularly comfortable compared to some upright bikes, but this is replaceable (Hobson Easyseat Dual Pad Bicycle Saddle was a popular choice for the replacement)
- No height adjustment options for the handlebars
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 10 years
- Parts: 2 years
- Electronics: 1 year
- Labor: 90 days