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Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT Magnetic Rower

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UnitSizeSupported
weight
Flywheel
weight
ResistanceFitness
meter
Circuit Fitness
AMZ-979RW-BT


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L:72"
W:19"
H:38.5"
300 lbs9 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels
Time,
Count,
Count/
min,
Distance,
Calories,
Goals,
Bluetooth

The first version of the Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW rowing machine was released in 2019. This is the newer version, the one released in 2020. The two rowers are basically the same in terms of features, however, the newer AMZ-979RW-BT has Bluetooth connectivity. That’s what the “BT” in its SKU number stands for.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 72L x 19W x 38.5H inches (183L x 48W x 98H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 72 lbs (32.6 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 9 lbs (4 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, count, count/min, distance, calories, goals, Bluetooth
  • Warranty: 2 years limited

Frame construction

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT features a steel frame with thermoplastic covers for its drive system. Also, the main rail of the machine has aluminum tracks attached to its side. All the steel parts in the machine’s construction are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black, this being the only color available for this trainer, at least for the moment. The aluminum tracks of the rail have their natural polish, while the covers of the drive system are black and red for an extra aesthetic touch.

The rower is not too large compared to other models. However, it still is approx. 72″ (183 cm) long, and 19″ (48 cm) wide. So it may not fit too well in a small room. Plus, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance on each side and at the rear of the machine for ease of access and correct usage.

The machine’s frame is foldable, though. Its rail can be folded up to save space. With the rail folded up, the unit’s footprint becomes approx. 36″L x 19″W (91 x 48 cm), while its height reaches approx. 53″ (135 cm).

The unit’s rail is approx. 34″ (86 cm) long. This being said, the Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT rower should be able to accommodate users up to approx. 6’2″ (188 cm) allowing a complete range of motion. It’s also important to mention here that the rail is not horizontal. It is slightly slanted forward which means that the machine delivers a more consistent workout for the legs.

The fully assembled rower is not super heavy, but does weigh approx. 72 lbs (32.6 kg). However, once it is assembled, it can easily be moved by only one person as its front base stabilizer is equipped with transport wheels.

Seat and other parts

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT is equipped with a fairly large seat. It is approx. 11.5″ (29 cm) wide, and 9.5″ (24 cm) long, so it provides plenty of contact surface. It is a mould-injected seat with its top contoured for improved comfort and contact.

The base of the seat is steel-made and painted with the same black powder coating as the rest of the frame. It integrates two sets of wheels that slide through the grooves of the aluminum tracks attached to the machine’s rail. The wheels have inner ball bearings for a smooth motion; they also have a rubber layer on the outside to reduce noise.

The seat and the rail assembly are rated for a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). This is quite impressive for a machine made for home use. Also, the highest point of the seat above the floor (when all the way to the back of the rail) is approx. 11″ (28 cm).

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT rowing machine is equipped with a set of pivoting footrests. This means that they can slightly tilt forward and backward in order to provide an optimal positioning for your feet throughout the whole rowing motion. However, they do have heel stoppers, so they won’t tilt backward past approx. 70°.

The footrests are made of a tough thermoplastic material (probably polypropylene). They feature a textured surface, heel guards, and adjustable straps for improved foot stability. Their size is non-adjustable, but they are large enough to accommodate a wide range of athletic shoe sizes.

The pulling handle is a simple, straight bar. It has rubber-foam sleeves for an improved grip. It’s attached to the machine’s resistance system via a heavy-duty, braided nylon strap, highly-resistant to stretching and abrasion. It does not have integrated pulse sensors or other controls.

Resistance system

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT is a full-magnetic rower. Differently put, it does not have air resistance or water resistance elements. It is equipped with a magnetic brake system attached to the internal flywheel and to the tension lever visible on the front unit of the machine. By moving the lever up and down, the brake moves closer or farther from the flywheel, which increases or decreases the workout load.

There are 8 difficulty levels available on this rowing machine. On the lowest tension level, you will basically be working out only via the rotating force provided by the flywheel. It’s a fairly light resistance, great for anyone who needs recovery training. Conversely, the 8th resistance level adds quite a bit of difficulty to the ride, great for anyone who wants a quicker and more intense cardio output.

Since the machine’s resistance system is manual, you don’t need a power adapter for it or an external power source. But on the other hand, the included console cannot automatically adjust the resistance and does not have pre-set workout programs.

The built-in flywheel is not super heavy, only 9 lbs (4 kg). However, it is perimeter-weighted which improves the overall momentum and adds consistency to the ride. Also, the internal transmission is belt-based, so you don’t have to worry about its lubrication.

One last aspect to mention here regards the rowing sensation generated by this machine. Since it’s a full magnetic rower and does not have an air resistance fan, or a water tank, it does not generate a dynamic response during rowing. In other words, the rowing difficulty only depends on the selected resistance level. It does not increase if you row faster, as is the case for an air resistance rower, or a water resistance rower.

Fitness monitor

The fitness monitor included with the Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW-BT is fairly basic. It does not have any pre-set programs. It features an LCD display that tracks time, distance, count (totals strokes), count per minute (strokes per minute), and calories burned. The distance is shown in meters and there is no option to convert it to miles or yards. The unit also has a pulse reading function but the machine does not integrate any sensors. So, in order for it to read your pulse, you will have to wear a wireless HR chest strap, which is not included.

As we’ve mentioned above, the fitness monitor included with the AMZ-979RW-BT rower has Bluetooth connectivity. It is compatible with the Kinomap app, which opens access to various structured interval workouts, has a database of videos to help you with your training, and tracks your progress online.

The monitor unit is very easy to use. It has three buttons – Mode, Set, and Reset. The Mode button allows you to select the workout metric that you want to view on the display or select the Scan Mode which rotates them, showing each one for 6 seconds. The Set button offers the possibility to create workout goals for time, count, distance, and calories. If a goal is selected, the unit will count down from the selected value until it reaches zero. And finally, the Reset button clears all the values to zero.

The unit is battery-powered. It requires two AAA batteries which are not included. It begins counting strokes, meters, calories, etc when you start rowing. It also automatically turns off after 4 minutes of inactivity on the rower.

Last but not least, the monitor unit integrates a device holder. It consists of a large backrest and a small shelf that can host your phone or tablet. However, it does not have any connection ports for your device. The only connectivity is the built-in Bluetooth.

Assembly and Maintenance

The main unit of the machine with the drive and resistance elements comes pre-assembled. The rest of the parts do require user assembly, though. You will have to attach the front stabilizer, the rail, the seat, the rear stabilizer, the footrests, and the fitness monitor. This shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes of your time. All the necessary tools for the assembly are included. Also, the manual provides pretty clear assembly instructions.

Once the machine is assembled, maintenance doesn’t require much. Basically, you will have to keep the trainer clean, especially the aluminum tracks. The internal mechanism doesn’t require any maintenance or lubrication. Other than this, you should only check for loose bolts and parts from time to time.

The Pros

  • Durable frame – can hold users up to 300 lbs;
  • Compact and aesthetic design;
  • Folding frame;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • Mould-injected, contoured seat for optimal comfort;
  • Aluminum track system;
  • Pivoting footrests with heel guards and adjustable straps;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’2″;
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance system with 8 distinct levels;
  • Fitness monitor included – it can track time, distance, count, SPM, pulse, and calories burned;
  • Goal functions for time, distance, count, and calories;
  • Bluetooth connectivity – compatible with the Kinomap app;
  • Device holder included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No backlight on the fitness meter;
  • Heart rate chest strap is not included;
  • Batteries for the monitor are not included.

Summary

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW is a rowing machine designed for home use. It is equipped with a 34″ slanted rail, an 8-level magnetic resistance system, and a fitness monitor that tracks time, distance, count, count per minute, pulse, and calories burned. It also has Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with the Kinomap app for online workout history tracking, custom interval workouts, videos, and more. In all, it’s a fairly decent rower, great for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, interval training, and weight loss.

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