Workouts & Exercises

Schwinn 170 vs Nautilus U618 – Which Upright Exercise Bike is Worth it? – My Personal Review

With the pandemic showing no signs of waning, I figured that this was a good time as any to add an exercise bike to my home gym. I’d been toying with the idea for a while.

I usually like to run outdoors. But that’s not been possible lately due to obvious reasons. For a long time, I contemplated between an incline treadmill(like the Sole F63 or the Bowflex BXT6) and an exercise bike. I finally decided to choose the latter because everyone in the family plans to use it; that includes my partner who has a bad knee.

So treadmills are out of the equation. For us we had to choose between an elliptical or an exercise bike. We looked at ellipticals like the Schwinn 470 and the Sole E25.

We also looked at recumbent bikes like the Nordictrack Vr21 or the Schwinn 270 since they are great exercise bikes with back support, but a friend of ours suggested the Schwinn 170 and we started researching it and potential better alternatives.

I took the typical research route while trying to find the best exercise bike. I drove down to retail outlets and had a firsthand look and feel of the bikes. I hopped on to Reddit and spoke to a bunch of great folks who own one of these.

Lastly, I spend a week or two digging up reviews about these bikes. Finally, I managed to narrow down on two bikes that I feel are a great fit for my requirements.

The Schwinn 170 that I was recommended and the U618 from Nautilus.

Quick Overview of Each Bike

Both are upright bikes, which means you can sit upright and pedal away

The two bikes are the Schwinn 170 & the Nautilus U618. Both of these are upright exercise bikes. I prefer upright bikes because I like to stand upright and pedal away at times. These two bikes fit the bill perfectly.

Schwinn 170

The Schwinn 170 is one of the top-rated bikes for home users. It boasts of a bevy of best-in-class features with an entry-level price tag. If you are short on cash, but do not want to compromise on features, this is the bike for you.

Nautilus U618

The Nautilus U618 is the second iteration of the same model from Nautilus. The original was launched in 2016. The upgraded model came out in 2018 with some new feature additions and a few cosmetic changes.

It features a 30 lb. Flywheel with 25 Eddy Current resistance levels and a sleek steel frame construction.

A Closer Look at The Schwinn 170

A Closer Look at The Schwinn 170

The Schwinn 170 is one of the first exercise bikes I checked out. Almost instantly, I loved the compact form factor and the laundry list of features that are comparable with much higher priced models. For starters, it comes bundled with 29 workout programs, wireless heart rate monitoring & Explore the World™ app Integration. These are features that are normally found in bikes priced $1000 and above.

Specs and Features

Schwinn 170 has a collection of great features that make it perfect for easy use
  • Dimensions–41.3" L x 21.4" W x 55.6" H
  • Resistance – 25 Levels – Eddy Current Magnetic system
  • Seat – Plush padded with mesh backrest
  • Console – 5” Backlit Display with 13 Vital Statistics at one glance
  • Built in Programs – 29
  • Inertia Flywheel - 13 lb.
  • Max Weight Rating – 300 lb.

The Schwinn 170 features a heavy duty steel frame and weighs about 85 lb. when fully assembled. The assembly process is reasonably simple too. Should be a one-man job if you have assembled exercise equipment before. If not, then an additional pair of hands might help speed it up.

It does not feature a full blown digital console like some fancier treadmills and bikes. But it comes with 29 inbuilt workout programs and 25-resistance levels. That’s more than what most people would use at home.


At first glance, the 170 looks like a clone of any other budget-priced exercise bike that you can spot in a store. But when you sit on it, you’ll realize that the hype is real.It has plush-padded, fully adjustable seats. There’s no gel topper. But it would be unrealistic to expect one in a budget priced bike like this. I am 6’2 and my partner is 5’4. We both found the bike very comfortable and easy to adjust. It’s also compatible with bicycle saddles by the way. So if you have a favorite brand of saddle, you can swap the seat.


It does not feature a fancy console. However, it comes bundled with Explore the World™ app integration that lets you choose from a variety of courses and trails. I have used the app and it’s a terrific addition to any home workout program currently. There’s also a tablet docking station. In case you fancy your own entertainment, you can place your tablet at eye level.

Workout Programs

There’s no dearth of workout programs in the Schwinn 170. It comes bundled with 29 of them. There are 12 premade workouts that can be selected based on your fitness goals. In addition to this, there are 9 HIIT programs and 4 custom programs.  You can design these and store them for use. Also, since there are four of these, each person using the bike can have their own custom program.

25 Resistance levels

The Schwinn 170 features a 13 lb. Inertia balanced flywheel and 25 resistance levels with an Eddy Current resistance system. That may not seem like a lot. But the moment you crank up the resistance beyond level 4, you are going to feel this. It’s tough as nails.I really liked the quick access buttons that allows me to jump from say level 1 to level 7 without having to increase it one click at a time. At the same time, the incremental levels are like micro increments. Makes it really easy for anyone to find the right resistance level for them.


The Schwinn 170 features both, palm grip sensors as well as a chest strap for monitoring your heart rate. The bike is Bluetooth compatible. This allows you sync it with a compatible mobile app and export your workout data. There’s also a built in cooling fan and an MP3 player (only works in through the plug in jack).

If you want a higher end exercise bike, then this Natalius will be a perfect fit

The Nautilus U618 is a light-commercial exercise bike from Nautilus’s extensive range. I believe that it’s a fancy term for a prosumer-grade exercise bike. One that is a step up from a home exercise bike, but isn’t a full-fledged commercial machine either.

It’s a very sleek looking bike that features steel tubing with matte black, corrosion-resistant coating. Moreover, it’s not as beefy as some of the other upright bikes that I checked out during my research. If you are short on space, this is definitely one of the bikes you should check out.

Specs and Features

And yes, the Nautilus too packs in a laundry list of great features too
  • Dimensions – 38.5" L x 24" W x 58.3" H
  • Resistance – 25 Levels – Eddy Current Magnetic system
  • Seat – Completely adjustable Nautilus Gel Seat with two Gel cushions
  • Console – 5” Backlit Display with 13 Vital Statistics at one glance
  • Built in Programs – 29
  • Flywheel - 30 lb.
  • Max Weight Rating – 325 lb.

How Does It Differ From the Schwinn 170?

The Nautilus fares better on this one with longer warranty on both the frame and parts

If you look at the basic specifications, both the Schwinn 170 and the Nautilus U618 look very similar to each other. However, there are a few important differences.


The Nautilus U618 is a couple of inches shorter in length than the Schwinn. But it’s slightly taller too. So there’s not much difference in the size. Both bikes are pretty compact and should fit into a small apartment or a basement gym without any problem.


It features a 30 lb. free spinning flywheel as opposed to the 13 lb. one on the Schwinn. Now, manufacturers sometimes harp a lot on the flywheel. This makes it appear like the heavier the flywheel, the better it is. But that’s not entirely true. Heavier flywheels simulate the bicycle experience. This means that the workout will take a lot more effort at the beginning until the flywheel gains speed.

But if you prefer to get going straight away, a lighter flywheel is a better option. Also, being a free-spinning one, you will get zero resistance if you pedal in reverse.


The Nautilus U618 features a gel cushioned seat with two gel inserts. The seat is four-way adjustable and made of synthetic leather. If you are looking to throw a gel cover on the saddle, this saves you some money up front. But most people will swap that saddle either way sooner or later.


One of the biggest difference that the U618 has is the pedal. The bike features weighted pedals with straps. In comparison, the Schwinn 170’s simple pedals with a one-crank design seem tepid. Sorry to play party pooper again. But this is also a feature aimed at serious athletes and cyclists.

For the average joe who’s cycling to stay fit during the pandemic, the weighted pedals and straps are just a vanity feature.

Schwinn 170 Vs Nautilus u618: Which One to Buy?

Schwinn 170 Vs Nautilus u618, Which One to Buy

After running some comparisons, I have come to the conclusion that the Schwinn 170 is the better buy. It has a very good feature set at an affordable price tag. It doesn’t have some of the more advanced features of the Nautilus U618. But you need to ask yourself whether you really need those features.

Which One Is Quieter?

Again, the Schwinn 170 proves to be the better choice if you want to workout in a more quiet setting

The Schwinn 170 is the quieter bike. It has a 13 lb. flywheel with an eddy current magnetic resistance system. That’s one of the most noise-friendly combinations that you’ll find. The Nautilus U618 also has a magnetic resistance system and is pretty quiet, mind you.

But that 30 lb. flywheel is going to produce some amount of noise no matter how hard the manufacturers try.

How Do They Compare when It Comes to Workout Programs?

Both bikes come with outstanding program support, it's all down to the one that best suits your preference

Every exercise bike these days features a third-party fitness app integration. It’s almost mandatory, isn’t it?

To be honest, both these bikes are great even without the apps. However, the apps do add some color and variety to the workouts. Given that everyone around the world is just locked indoors, a little variety won’t hurt. After all, a fair share of weight watchers and fitness lovers out there are using a ton of apps like the Lose it! app, Samsung Health or MyfitnessPal to get the most out of their workout and keep their weight in check. 

Nautilus U618 – Ride Social

Nautilus U618 comes bundled with Ride Social. It’s a great program that comes with real world routes. Some of these routes are enabled with 360-degree VR views. These include Venice Beach, Death Valley & Looping Test. Great views guaranteed no matter which route you pick. Also, you can ride with other avatars/live users who are also using Nautilus Bikes. The bike does not come with a subscription though. You will have to cough that up separately.

Schwinn 170 - Explore the World App

The Explore the World App offers a lot more variety in terms of routes. You can choose from a variety of 5K & 10K trails. These include the Scottish Highlands, the streets of Prague and many more. The app also has many other add-on features and tracking options. You can choose any route and export your data to Peloton®, Zwift®, MyFitnessPal® &Google Fit through the bike.

Which Bike Is More Comfortable? - Schwinn 170 By a Long Shot...Least for me

The issue of comfort might vary from one person to the other, the best way to find out which bike is most comfortable for you is to have a go at both

Comfort is subjective. I found the lighter flywheel on the Schwinn 170 to be more comfortable as compared to the 30 lb. one on the Nautilus. My wife and I also found the seat on the Schwinn to be way more comfortable than the Nautilus.

Both bikes are completely adjustable and feature great ergonomics. So I’d say that it’s tough to pick a winner in this category.

Which One Is Built Better?

The Schwinn 170

Both bikes are solid, but the Schwinn feels sturdier and more solid

Both bikes are made of steel tubing and weigh around 85-90 lb. when fully assembled. They feature a matte black coating with excellent corrosion resistance. All other components, such as the plastic ones and the connectors are top notch as well.

If anything, I found the Schwinn 170 to be slightly beefier than the Nautilus. It does not budge a millimeter once installed. Stays put. Also, no creaking noises (or that clunking sound that often pops up on ellipticals, treadmills or other bikes) even when I pedal at top speed. I am 195 lb. and most budget-priced treadmills would start to groan once I begin pedaling at high speed. Not the Schwinn.

Which Bike Is Better for Smaller Places?

Tie - Both are Small & Compact

Both bikes feel nicely in tight spaces thanks to their compact desing

Both these bikes are perfect for small spaces. Small apartment rooms, dorms, basements, or a cramped backyard gym, these bikes, just like most other space saver exercise machines, should fit in without any problems at all. Besides, they are easy to move around, just in case you need to create room for some floor exercises like planks or push-ups, crunches,  planches, wall sits or squats.

Which Bike Is Easier to Assemble and Setup?

Both bikes are fairly easy to assemble although Schwinn is easier

While both bikes are fairly easy to assemble, Schwinn has the better instruction manual. Nautilus’s instruction manuals seem like they are written by a fifth grader. Most customer reviews also talk about this. It’s not really any more difficult than the Schwinn. Just that the manuals are poles apart.

What Are The Customers Saying About Each Product?

Reviews of the Schwinn 170 Are FAR better than Nautilus's Model

Schwinn 170 has been getting positive reviews from customers

The Schwinn 170 is one of the top rated exercise bikes on most retail platforms. It has a 95% positive customer rating on Amazon. I mean heck it's actually pretty dang impressive just how many good reviews are left about this bike. Take a look at the customer reviews on amazon here to see for yourself.

Most customers talk about how it’s a very sturdy and quiet bike. There are positive reviews about the build quality and the easy assembly. Some customers have experienced a few technical glitches out of the box. But those are pretty rare instances. Besides, Schwinn has one of the best customer service teams in the business.

The Nautilus U618 has very ‘iffy’ reviews on Amazon in particular. A lot of users have spoken about power failure after just two to three weeks of usage. The positive reviews talk about the 30 lb. flywheel, which is the best in class for an exercise bike, intended for home use. But overall, the reviews are not great.

How Does The Price Compare?

The Schwinn 170 is Cheaper

schwinn 170 pricing
Nautilus U618 pricing

The Schwinn 170 is listed at $549 currently. However, it’s not uncommon to find this bike for as low as $499 at times. You’ve just got to watch out for a price drop if you are on the hand for a really affordable cardio equipment.

The Nautilus U618 on the other hand is listed at $699.00. So, it’s about $150 more for the Nautilus.

What About Warranty? How Do They Stack Up?

schwinn 170 warranty
Nautilus U618 warranty

Nautilus offers 15-years on the frame, 3-years on the parts/electronic& 1-year on labor.

Schwinn offers 10-years on the frame, 2-years on the parts, 1 year on electronics & 90 days on labor.

Nautilus offers the better warranty on paper. But considering the product reviews and the overall feedback, it seems likely that you’ll need that warranty sooner for Nautilus than Schwinn.

Nautilus u618 vs 170

My Recommendation - Go with Schwinn

Schwinn 170 Vs Nautilus u618, My Final Thought & Recommendation, my pick is the schwinn 170

Better pricing, great customer reviews and a very practical feature set make the Schwinn 170 my pick of the two. I’d rather save the $150 than spend it for a fancy seat and a weighted pedal. I can buy a premium cycling saddle for around twenty bucks.

Have you used either of these two exercise bikes? What are your thoughts on them? Do write to us. I’d love to hear your experiences.

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