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NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review

Quick Take

NordicTrack’s RW900 Rower is the brand’s top of the line rowing machine for 2020; for residential use. It stands above the previous models with a few improved features, and uses a combination of air resistance and magnetic resistance. By far the stand out difference is the 22” interactive touchscreen. This large display makes it easy to view and workout to the 30 built-in programs along with the 12,000 workout sessions available though the iFit Coach subscription. The iFit Coach gives you access to live  and on demand workouts, that actually sync with the RW900; the rower will increase or decrease your resistance depending on the instructor’s workout. Or you can row – virtually – on different waterways around the world. How cool is that?

Pros

22” iFit-enabled Touchscreen
Dual Resistance
Easy Folding

Cons

Lower Weight Capacity
Short Labor Warranty

Our Review

Much like things like the Peloton Bike and NordicTrack’s S22i indoor cycle, so much attention is paid to its tech package but there’s more to working out than the 21st century bells and whistles. The experience is incredible, but what about the design and structure? Sometimes a rower can be noisy, but the silent magnetic resistance/air resistance combo makes for a quiet and smooth workout on the RW900. The range of resistance levels at 26 is wide enough to be a challenge to even the most experienced rower. The reason for this setup goes back to tech; you can’t control air resistance digitally (at least not in an effective manner), so this combination allows for real-time control of resistance when you’re following along with an interactive iFit workout.

 

As for comfort, the ergonomic molded seat and handle are engineered to fit to our physical structures. Oversized pedals make sure it will fit just about anyone’s shoe size. Nylon Velcro straps keep you secure as you increase your speed and watts. The footprint of the machine isn’t much different than that of most commercial grade rowers, but unlike a gym that has lots of room, at home you may be limited for space. The space-saver design comes in handy and allows you to fold the rower and move it on the transport wheels out of the way. Although it may be relatively easy to move, it is sturdy, and will manage anyone up to 250 lbs.

 

This last spec remains my biggest hang-up with NordicTrack rowers across the board, though it shouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker for all. Because of its folding design, with a hinge point at the end of the rail where it meets the drive, you’re left with a less-than-standard weight capacity, as well as a wearable point that you don’t get with a standard fixed-frame rower. Now, when new out of the box these rowers  feel quite sturdy and secure, unlike many of the budget-brand folding rowers on the market. The point of concern lies in the fact that over years of use, folding and unfolding, and countless hours of rowing, there is the potential that this hinge point will start to have some play in it.

 

On the plus side its warranty is great, providing peace of mind that should there be some wear and tear, NordicTrack will have your back. It comes with a 15-year warranty on the frame, five years on parts and two years on labor.

 

Positives

  • 22” Interactive HD touchscreen: the large screen makes it easy to follow any of the onboard or iFit workout sessions and to monitor your stats.
  • 26 resistance levels: This is a wide range of resistance levels that will challenge even the most fit.
  • SMR (silent magnetic resistance): As you transition through the various degrees of resistance and work – it will be quieter and smoother because of the SMR technology.
  • Dual resistance control: The dual resistance lets you experience the intensity of air resistance along with the silence of the magnetic resistance.
  • 30 on board workouts: A good volume of workouts that improve your cardio, endurance and upper body strength.
  • Oversized pivoting pedals: fits just about anyone’s feet size comfortably.
  • Space saver: Rowers although thin are long and can take up much space, but with the space saver design, you can fold it up and store out of the way once you are finished your workout. And since it folds in the middle, you do not require high ceilings to store.
  • iFit Coach Subscription: The iFit Coach gives access to over 12,000 instructor led workout videos. It’s made to sync with your rower and resistance will automatically change according to trainer’s instructions. And if you should decide to row outdoors virtually – you have the choice of various waterways to row on from around the world.
  • Two 2” digitally amplified speakers: Music pumping or hyped instructor  – always motivating through loud crisp speakers.
  • Auxiliary music port: Play your favorite music.
  • Ergonomic molded seat: Made to fit your form – this makes for comfortable movements.
  • Adjustable nylon foot straps: Keep feet securely in place as you increase your watts.
  • Warranty: This a great warranty – 15 year frame, 5 year parts and 2 year labor

 

Negatives

  • 250 lbs. user capacity: The norm is generally 300 lbs.

 

Our Conclusion

Minor gripes aside, the NordicTrack RW900 is a great option that adds a layer of tech to your rowing workout better than any other current market offering. Sure, there are some tech startups wading their way into this space the same way we’re seeing affordable indoor cycles coming after the likes of Peloton, but for now we would advise to stick with a trusted player in the fitness space. It’s a touch more pricey than the industry-standard Concept2 rower, but the added interactive training element easily justifies the additional spend here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How large is the NordicTrack RW900 Rower?
A: The NordicTrack RW900 Rower is 86.5" L x 22.0" W x 50.4" H.
Q: How many onboard workouts does the NordicTrack RW900 Rower have?
A: The RW900 has 30 onboard workouts.
Q: Does the RW900 Rower fold?
A: The NordicTrack RW900 Rower folds and has transport wheels.

Rating: 90%

Resistance Type

Air

Resistance Level

26

Programs

30

Bluetooth

Yes

Dimensions (inches)

86.5" L x 22.0" W x 50.4" H

Folding

Yes

Maximum User Weight Capacity

250 lbs

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