Upright bikes are probably the most prominent exercise machines you can get your hands on today.
You can find Upright bikes in almost every gym. These bikes are thin, light, and come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Even though upright bikes do not provide the same level of exercise as indoor cycling bikes, they do provide a variety of health benefits.
They are generally designed for moderate exercise and offer an environment for effective cardiovascular training, muscular toning with a focus on the lower body. And, of course, weight loss.
They are also more comfortable than indoor cycling machines and, as the name implies, promote an upright riding stance.
If you are on the market for an Upright bike, there are a few things you should take into consideration to get the biggest bang possible for your buck.
Before we dive into the specs and features, you must ask yourself these questions first.
- What are my exercise goals?
- How often will I use the machine?
- How hard do I want to push myself?
The last thing you want is to overestimate your abilities and end up buying more of a bike than you need.
What to Look for in an Upright Bike?
Some bike models use flywheels to create resistance; the harder you pedal, the stronger the resistance you get. Other models are based on direct contact resistance. It involves braking pads applying pressure to the flywheel.
In simpler words, if you pedal hard, you cause more friction. Thus, you get more resistance. And then, there are bike models that use magnetic/ electromagnetic resistance.
To put it into perspective, this kind of bike use magnets to put force on the flywheel and generate resistance. In some bikes, there is an electric motor that helps create more resistance.
They are very quiet, unlike the rest, but they tend to be very expensive.
Upright bikes are designed to be light and easy to assemble. They are usually made of a one-piece frame for more stability.
Upright bikes are made with comfort in mind; they often feature larger seats with deep cushions. Make sure to get a bike that has a seat that fits you well and can be adjusted. It can cost extra, but it is worth it.
If you are on a tight budget and opt for a cheaper bike, choose one that has a seat with a standard connection mechanism, so you can replace it with a comfier one.
Most of the bikes feature tall handlebars to promote the upright position. It is preferable to look with a bike that has multi-grip handlebars. Adjustable handlebars are a feature offered by a few mid and high-end bikes. They even come with integrated pulse sensors.
Most of the upright bikes today come with some sort of a console that offers different features. Bikes with lower prices tend to have consoles that contain basic features like monitoring time, speed, calories, and pulse if they have the sensors for it.
On the other hand, high-end and more expensive bikes offer more features like wireless connectivity, USB, fitness programs, special holders for your mobile phone or tablet, and more.
The average size of an upright bike is 22’ inches wide and 40’ inches long. Some can be larger or smaller than that. Either way, make sure that the bike you buy fits perfectly where you want it.
The supported weight differs from one bike to another; therefore, make sure to check the maximum weight limit. You cannot buy a bike with 200 lbs. max user weight while you weigh 300 lbs.
It doesn’t make any sense, and it will end up breaking down.
It is not a bad idea to pay extra for an extended warranty in case your bike breaks down. If the bike has no warranty, it could be a sign that it lacks quality. Top-quality bikes come with at least a couple of years warranty for the frame and one year warranty for parts and electronics.
Ironically, the one area that people check out first is last. Some bikes’ prices range from $ 100 to $ 250 and come with basic features. If you want a bike with better value for money, it will cost you between $ 300 and up to $ 800.
Bikes with such a price tag offer more advanced features and a better quality build.
If budget is not a problem, and you are not afraid to burn some cash, you can buy an upright bike with a full entertainment system, internet connection, and a big monitor for games.
The price tag you may ask can easily hit $8000.
Nautilus is one of the top brands that make quality bikes.
The Nautilus U616 Upright Bike
The U616 falls right in the middle of the Nautilus lineup, and if you ask me, it offers the best value for money. It comes with an excellent balance of features and specifications. And it is nice for your wallet.
Resistance and Drive
Many people may relate to this, but the first question I ask when it comes to exercise bikes is how heavy the flywheel is.
The reason why is because the weight of the flywheel is directly related to how smooth your ride will be.
When the flywheel is heavy, it reduces the lag between pedal strokes and gives you a fluid, creamy, and serene feeling. Many prefer a heavy flywheel because it continuously builds momentum.
The U616 comes equipped with a 22 lbs. internal flywheel with a perimeter-weighted drive system to create the best resistance possible.
It allows you even pedal in reverse, but not coast.
The bike has durable steel crank arms tough enough to handle the user’s weight sitting as well as standing up. However, standing up pedaling routines are not recommended. It is an upright bike, after all, and it is called that for a reason.
The pedals are made of solid nylon with a core made of iron and straps, and they are weight, so they stay level when you take your feet off. It features a heavy-duty stretch-resisting rubber belt because it creates fewer vibrations than the chain drive system.
The U616 is fitter with Eddy current, which is a motorized magnetic resistance system. This means that you have to keep the bike plugged into an electric outlet to use the resistance adjustment.
You can do that manually using the console or select the bike to adjust it automatically for you. It rolls in with an AC adapter that has 120 V 60Hz input and 9VDC,1.5A output. The connector is located in the bottom front of the bike.
The main components in the bike are the magnetic brake and a servo motor. When you adjust the resistance, the motor moves the brake pads closer or further away from the flywheel.
That way, it reduces or elevates the resistance and makes the pedaling process harder or easier. You do not have to worry about and wear and tear because there is no contact between the flywheel and the brake pads.
It offers 25 different resistance levels. The first five are for people who are looking for light recovery training. The rest provide constant tension and give the feeling of climbing a steep hill to burn more fat.
Seat and Handlebars
The saddle comes with a nice and thick layer of foam cushioning to improve comfort. It offers 4-way adjustability. You can raise it, lower it, slide it front and back, and adjust the angle to fit your preferred cycling style. The seat can easily accommodate people who are 6’5” and carry 300 lbs.
Unfortunately, the seat is a tad uncomfortable. Fortunately, it comes with a standard attachment mechanism to its slider, so you can replace it with a seat that suits you best from and bike shop.
The Handlebars don’t offer much adjustability, but they feature a multi-grip design. It is up to you what grip you go for, be it standard, race, or parallel grip. Plus, they are coated with a layer of rubber so your hands won’t slip even when sweaty.
The Handlebars have integrated sensors that enable the console to detect and monitor your heart rate.
The last thing you want to do is buy a $500 wimpy and wobbly machine. It is both dangerous and annoying.
The Nautilus U616 features a steel frame with an aluminum seat post and slider. It is covered with black corrosion-resistant paint. The bike weighs roughly 68 lbs. after assembly and offers decent stability and sturdiness.
The front base sits on rubberized pads to improve grip, and the back is fitted with large stabilizers. The base also features wheels, so you can easily move the bike to any location you desire.
The bike has a relatively small footprint; it is 41.8 inches long, 21.6 inches wide, 57.6 inches high.
Nautilus U616 is fitted with a DualTrack™ LCD window system. The interface is very sleek and offers great visibility. As the name suggests, it is a dual display screen.
The top half shows the profiles, the selected workout program, goals, progress, heart rate, levels of incline, and resistance. The bottom half displays speed, RPM, time, calories burnt, and distance.
The console gives you the option to select metric or imperial units to show the speed and distance. Plus, monitoring your pulse via integrated sensors.
The bike has an integrated immersive and impressive wide range of workouts that will keep you going. For starters, you can adjust the levels of tension during pedaling manually.
Another wow factor the Nautilus U616 has is 29 built-in training programs, 12 workout programs, four mountain rides, four challenges, and four fun rides.
There is an available custom program for you to create your challenge and try to be your records.
Additionally, it includes four heart rate program settings: 50%-60%, 60%-70%, 70%-80%, and 80%-90%. You select a program, and the bike will automatically adjust the resistance to keep your heart rate in that range.
Burning extra calories or losing weight, whatever your fitness goal is, the bike will keep track of your progress. The console offers four user profiles.
That means it can accommodate four users and save their training program, progress, name, age, weight, gender, and height.
What if you already had an intense workout, and all you want is recovery training?
Have no worries; Nautilus U616 has a recovery function and BMI function as well.
The features don’t end there. The console is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to sync your mobile devices to stream or track your workout progress. The system is compatible with many apps like MyFitnessPal and Nautilus Trainer.
Not a Bluetooth fan? No problem. The console has an integrated USB port to connect your mobile devices and move your data. It also doubles as a charging port. How cool is that?
You can connect to the RideSocial app, which allows you to create events, invite friends, and stream riding trails on your TV or tablet.
The console provides other niceties like a sound system that consists of two speakers located at the bottom of the console. It can be synced with most MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets.
There is a media shelf between the dual-display large enough to hold any electronic device and a fan for cooling during workouts.
It may sound complicated, but it is not. The bike’s main components come already assembled, and all you need to do is follow a simple 9 step manual to install the rest of the parts.
The base bars, the console, the seat, and the pedals, the console mast, the handlebar, the seat post are the parts you will have to assemble. The process will take an hour at most using a special toolkit that comes with the bike.
It is recommended that you wipe any sweat drops that fall on the console or the frame. All internal parts come lubricated directly from the factory, so maintenance on the inside is not required.
However, you should check for any visible loose bolts or broken parts.
Unfortunately, the bike does not come with a lifetime warranty for the frame like most high-end bikes, but it can be overlooked considering the price tag.
It comes with ten years warranty for the frame, 3 for part and electronics, and one year for labor.
Nautilus U616 Upright Bikes VS Interactive In-door Bikes
This seems like an unfair comparison, and it is. Interactive bike services are on the very top-end of the spectrum. For example, the Peloton bike is an interactive bike that costs more than $2000. It comes with a top-notch magnetic resistance system, a 22″ inch touchscreen display, and online workouts.
However, if you look at the bright side Nautilus U616 is truly the deal of the century. it offers optimal performance without hurting your wallet’s feelings.
In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons of the Nautilus U616:
- 29 training programs and 25 resistance levels
- Fully adjustable seat
- Sleek and modern design
- Smart connectivity for electronic devices
- Compatible with apps
- User profiles with goal tracking
- In-console speakers
- Easy assembly and low maintenance
- LCD console with integrated speakers
- Limited warranty
- The Seat is uncomfortable as it should be
- The fan is not powerful
- Heart rate chest strap is not included
Some of the Nautilus U616 closest competitors are:
The Nautilus U618
the U618 is Nautilus’ top-end model in the lineup. It is a step up from the U616 at a price of $600. The U618 is relatively light but strong enough to handle 325 lbs. of the user’s weight.
- Wireless chest strap for hate rate monitoring
- A fully adjustable seat
- 29 workout programs and 25 levels of resistance
- Tilting console and multi-grip handlebars
- The seat is on the stiffer side of the spectrum
- The flywheel weighs only 10 lbs.
The Schwinn 170
It is Schwinn’s high-end model, and it offers great value for money. For about 500 bucks you get a set of positive features like:
- USB Charging
- Built-in speakers
- Fully adjusted seat
- 29 workout programs
- Handlebars with heart rate monitoring sensors
But it is not perfect, some of its Cons are:
- Difficult to set up
- Calories and time counter is a bit off when tracking your workouts
- The flywheel is light
The Sole LCB
The Sole LCB is one of the most advanced upright bikes on the market today. so advanced in fact, it was rated for light commercial use. Here are some of its highlights:
- 30 lbs. flywheel
- 40 levels of resistance
- 10″ inches LCD display
- Heavy-duty steel frame with 350 lbs. weight capacity.
There are a couple of downsides:
- It weighs 130 lbs when fully assembled
- Includes only 6 basic workout programs
- High price tag ($1,299)
Question: How Durable is the U616?
Answer: The Nautilus U616 is a sturdy bike with a steel frame that can last for years. The seat cushion might decay over time, but it is easy to find a better replacement in any bike store.
Question: How Big is the Bike?
Answer: The U616 has a fairly small footprint. It is 41.8 inches long, 21.6 inches wide, and 57.6 inches high.
Question: Is the Nautilus U616 Too Heavy?
Answer: The bike weighs roughly 68 lbs. and it has wheels at the bottom of the frame to move it from one place to another with ease.
Question: Is the Bike Strong Enough to Hold my Weight?
Answer: The U616 features a steel frame that can hold up to 300 lbs. and it comes with stabilizers at the back and rubber pads in the front for more sturdiness and grip.
Overall, the Nautilus U616 is a solid choice to opt for when buying an Upright bike. For under 500 bucks, you loads of advanced features and amenities. Not to mention the variety of the training programs and resistance levels.
It is for the people who are looking to lose weight, burn calories, and improve their endurance without murdering their wallets.