Nautilus U626 Exercise Bike Review
Nautilus are well known within the commercial exercise equipment industry and given that they have brought their U626 exercise bike to the market for home use made us immediately sit up and take notice. We couldn’t resist getting our hands on this impressive looking bike and after 30 days of testing we proudly bring you our full Nautilus U626 Exercise Bike review.
About The Nautilus U626 Exercise Bike
The Nautilus U626 is an upright exercise cycle that has a list of features that would give even the most high spec commercial bikes a run (or ride) for their money. It comes from one of the most respected exercise equipment manufacturers on the planet and with over 50 years of experience under their belts, Nautilus generally get things right more often than not.
The U626 sits in what we would describe as the mid-priced category of exercise bikes and although it wouldn’t class as cheap, equally it would not be called high end. It has the perfect mix of being feature rich but affordable and so long as the hardware matches the specs we were expecting something special.
We were not disappointed and after 30 days of testing we had plenty of good things to say about the U626. Read on to find out what they were and whether this bike should be well suited to you.
Nautilus U626 Tech Specs
For the price, the U626 is a well spec’d exercise bike. Perhaps more importantly, it is a well built bike that is likely to last for years in a home setup and as such is backed by an impressive 10 year warranty. The bike itself looks like it belongs in a commercial gym (although this is not manufacturer recommended) and really will provide a good workout for anyone working out at home. Compared to other models in its price bracket, the U626 stacks up very well.
If the heart of the U626 is located in the impressive centre console, the muscle is in the flywheel and body of the bike. Everything runs through the perimeter weighted high inertia flywheel and this performs well on all levels of resistance. There are 25 levels of resistance in total and this range is ideal for all levels of users – right from beginners to experienced cyclists. Whether you are using the U626 simply for cardio or to develop your riding stamina, speed or strength – the U626 is up to the task.
The centre console gives you real time feedback on your ride through the DualTrack LCD display. As the name suggests there are two displays that are packed with all the data you could need – including time, calories burned, pace as well as current inclines and upcoming incline levels. The centre console does a lot more than just that though and is packed with 29 different pre-set programmes. These pre-sets include 12 profile based programmes, 9 heart rate focused programmes, 2 fitness tests, 1 recovery test, quick start and 4 custom programmes that you can set up.
The U626 is also bluetooth enabled which allows it to connect to the Nautilus Trainer app using your mobile device. From here you can track your workouts and choose from new training programmes as well as access your personal profile to set yourself fitness goals. This is an excellent feature and the Nautilus Trainer app is one of the better versions that we have seen.
The bluetooth connectivity also allows you to connect to other training apps including RideSocial which is one of the market leading social exercise riding apps.
You can set up four user profiles on the bike itself and there is heart rate monitoring available using the pulse rate sensors on the central front mounted grips or using telemetry based chest straps. This works to both track your heart rate and provide the data for the heart rate training programmes.
The U626 weighs in at 26.8kg which means it is solid and sturdy but not too heavy to move around using the handy transport wheels. It measures up at 106.2cm (l) x 55cm (w) x 146.3cm (h) so in terms of space it is about right for most home spaces. The U626 is not a folding exercise bike which helps in making it extremely sturdy.
The maximum user weight of the U626 is 136kg.
Nautilus U626 In Use
In short, the U626 exercise bike is a joy to use. It covers all the basics really well and has those higher end features that also work effectively. Let’s start with the ride quality itself – the flywheel provides a very smooth and consistent ride each and every time you use it. The bike itself has a very solid base and as such is very stable even when riding at higher speeds and if you decide to stand for extra push power during those harder inclines.
In terms of comfort the U626 excels. The saddle is incredibly well padded and it never fails to surprise us how little attention many manufacturers pay to the saddle comfort – Nautilus have not made this mistake and have created one of the comfiest rides we have experienced for an exercise bike. The saddle can be height and angle adjusted with the height being adjusted using a pin selector. We’d suggest the U626 would be ideal for anyone between 5′ and 6’3″ for comfortable use.
The handle bars are well padded and feature a comfortable grip to the outer with the heart rate sensors to the inner. Both grip positions are comfortable but for more intense rides you are more likely to use the outer vertical grips as opposed to the inner horizontal bars. The vertical grips are oversized so although these cannot be adjusted you do have a wide range of grip positions available. For added comfort there are three fans built in to the bike and they work well and there is a drinks holder on the central column. There are also built in speakers with MP3 connectivity.
The centre console is well positioned and unless you have the seat height set to the bottom two settings you should find yourself having a good view of all the data. The app works well and can be used in real time for which the media holder comes in very handy so you can see your phone display too. The ability to connect to the RideSocial app really does take the U626 in to the territory of more premium models and we loved this functionality.
We tested the U626 with male and female users. Both had different degrees of experience with riding from beginners to experienced users. Both found resistance levels that suited them and were able to have really challenging workouts. It is also clear to see that both had plenty of room for progression over time.
If you are using the built in programmes then the resistance levels and inclines are activated automatically whereas if you are using a manual mode you can increase the resistance and inclines quickly and easily using the quick select keys which are conveniently located towards the bottom of the display.
Nautilus U626 Verdict
Value For Money
The Nautilus U626 Exercise Bike is a mid-priced that comes with premium features. It performs the basics to a very high standard and then goes the extra mile thanks to challenging pre-sets and really good app connectivity. The U626 is not a cheap exercise bike but it is an investment that will last.
If you are likely to use the U626 3-5 times per week then it will more than pay for itself within the first year and is likely to last for decades thanks to its high level of build quality. For home use it comes with a 10 year frame and motor warranty and 2 years parts and labour.
We did fall a little bit in love the U626 and think it is one of the best mid-price budget bikes available.
One of the most comfortable saddles we have tested
Feature rich for the price
Hard to see LCD display at lowest seat settings