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Sole SR500 Rower Review

Quick Take

Aimed squarely at competing models from Nordictrack, the Sole SR500 rower uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance to deliver a smooth and effective workout day in and day out. While it does use a folding frame design, the A-frame structure at the front of the rower that helps mitigate any questions or concerns of instability in the unit. The machine has a dozen built-in training programs too, a feature not always found in rowers at the $1k price range. All told we’re pretty impressed with the Sole SR500 rower, but here’s a little more info to help determine if this rowing machine is right for you.

Pros

Smooth Resistance
Preset Programs
Easy Folding

Cons

Size
Not Silent

Our Review

The Sole SR500 Rower is the lone rowing machine from Sole Fitness, a brand best known for treadmills, exercise bikes, and ellipticals. Sole’s big selling point has long been quality of construction, as well as solid warranties and customer service that backs up their offerings. This unit is built with an aluminum glide rail that fits a wide range of heights, and adjustable oversized pedals that also make it a good fit for most trainers.

 

Sole made the SR500 stand out by including resistance adjustments on the rower handlebar. This unique feature lets you maintain workout intensity while making adjustments to an exercise program. With other magnetic rowers, you’d be slowed down fiddling with console buttons or a tension knob. With the SR500, users can adjust between 16 levels of tension mid workout.

 

A 5.5” LCD provides access to 12 exercise program modes. These include time, distance, and interval workouts, plus one custom-made workout and one controlled by your heart rate. A wireless heart rate monitor is included, but the chest strap is sold separately.

 

This quality fitness machine is priced at $899. The SR500 can be folded for storage and moved into place with help from transport wheels.

 

Positives

  • Smooth resistance: The SR500 uses a combination of eddy current magnetic resistance and wind resistance to support a smooth pull at 16 challenge levels. Magnetic force is used at the higher resistance levels to keep the machine’s hum at a minimum.
  • Sized for all: This rower is made to fit everyone in a family. The frame is extra long to accommodate all heights and can hold more than 500 pounds. The pedals or footrests are adjustable to fit different heel angles as well.
  • High seat: The Sole SR500 rower has a relatively high and slightly tilted seat. For people with arthritis or other movement limitations, it’s far easier to get on and off. The seat is about the height of a desk chair, 19” high at one end and 21” at the other
  • Monitor with preset programs: The Sole rowing machine monitor is backlit for easy viewing at night. The LCD uses two colors and is easy to read. Riders can choose from heart rate control mode and 10 diverse rowing routines. Additionally, there is room to save one self-designed program. A recovery feature helps you assess heart health after each workout.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: A chest strap and wireless receiver are included for accurate heart rate monitoring
  • High Capacity: This unit weighs a respectable 115 pounds and can hold up to 515 pounds. Other rowing machines in this price category are only recommended for people up to 250 pounds.
  • Folding: A folding design and wheels  make the Sole SR500 easy to move and store.
  • Easy Assembly: Customers can generally assemble this product in about 30 minutes without frustration. Other rowing machines demand twice the time and are notorious for their flawed parts.
  • Warranty: This purchase is backed by a customer-friendly warranty. Buyers get lifetime coverage on the frame, three years on parts and year of labor. All service is performed in-home.

 

Negatives

Considering all of the above, why wouldn’t you choose this rower? Here are a few potential drawbacks.

  • Size: Sole was wise to make this rower foldable. Unfolded, it demands a lot of floor space: 94” x 18”. Other folding rowing machines are a full foot shorter.
  • Not Silent: Due to the air resistance, this rowing machine isn’t particularly quiet. It isn’t inappropriately loud, but you will need to use a higher volume than usual on your entertainment.

 

Our Conclusion

The Sole SR500 is one of the best residential magnetic rowing machines for beginners and intermediate rowers. It has very good ergonomics, includes 12 workout programs, and is more durable than other rowing machines in its price bracket. Add to that the grip-mounted resistance adjustment and you’ve got a really solid machine for a relatively affordable sticker price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you use the Sole SR500 Rower?
A: The Sole SR500 rowing machine uses air and magnetic resistance. You can adjust your resistance on the handlebar or the console.
Q: What is the warranty on the Sole SR500 Rower?
A: The Sole SR500's home-use warranty includes: Lifetime Frame; Electronics 3 Years; Parts 3 Years; and Labor 1 Year.
Q: How much does the Sole SR500 indoor rower weigh?
A: The Sole SR500 weighs 115 lbs.
Q: Does the Sole SR500 fold?
A: The Sole SR500 rowing machine folds and has transport wheels for easy moving and storage.

Rating: 86%

Resistance Type

Air

Resistance Level

16

Programs

12

Dimensions (inches)

94" L x 18" W x 46" H

Folding

Yes

Maximum User Weight Capacity

515 lbs

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