Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW Magnetic Rower

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Circuit Fitness

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300 lbs11 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW is one of the rowing machines released at the beginning of 2019. It is a full magnetic rower designed for home use. In terms of features and design, it can be compared to the XTERRA ERG200. However, it’s slightly larger, offers a greater weight capacity, and a better exercise meter.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 91L x 20.5W x 31.5H inches (231L x 52W x 80H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 90 lbs (40.8 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 11 lbs (4.9 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, time/500M, SPM, distance, strokes, total strokes, calories, pulse, goals, recovery, race program
  • Warranty: 2 years limited

Frame construction

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW rower combines steel and aluminum parts in its construction. Its front section which supports the flywheel and the other drive elements, as well as the base bars, are made of steel. The core of the sliding rail is also made of steel, however, its side sections which cradle the wheels of the seat are made of aluminum alloy. Of course, the covers of the flywheel are made of durable ABS material.

The machine is fairly heavy. With all the parts assembled, it weighs approx. 90 lbs (40.8 kg). This being said, its transport may require two persons. However, once the unit is assembled, its relocation can be done with ease due to the two front wheels.

Since the machine is fairly heavy, it offers excellent stability. Plus, its rear base is equipped with adjustable stabilizers, so you can perfectly level it. The front and middle bases rest on non-adjustable rubber pads.

Compared to other rowing machines, the AMZ-986RW is fairly large. With the frame fully set up, it is approx. 91″ (213 cm) long, and 20.5″ (52 cm) wide. Plus, it requires at least two feet of clearance at the rear and on each side for unhindered usage.

On the other hand, this rower is foldable. Its rail, along with the seat, can be folded up. With the sliding rail folded up, the unit’s length is reduced to 49″ (124 cm). This being said, the machine’s rails is approx. 40″ (101 cm) long, so the machine should accommodate users at least up to 6’3″ (190 cm) with no problem.

Seat and other parts

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW rowing machine is equipped with a comfortable seat. Its top is made of durable, mould-injected high-density foam material. It’s contoured and designed to prevent the user from slipping backwards during the pushing stage of the rowing motion. It’s also fairly large, approx. 16″ wide (~40 cm), providing plenty of contact surface.

The seat base is made of steel. In fact, both the seat assembly and the sliding rail are durable enough to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The base of the seat integrates three sets of wheels which slide into the grooves on each side of the rail. The wheels integrate sealed ball bearings for a smooth motion and a rubberized outer cover to eliminate noise as they roll on the rail. Also, they’re concealed by the metallic side sections of the seat frame for maximum safety.

The machine is equipped with two pivoting footrests. This pivoting design allows each footrest to slightly change its angle during each stroke, allowing a natural positioning for your feet. They have a stopper at the rear, so the maximum angle they can reach is approx. 70°. Of course, not everyone may like this pivoting design. So, if you’re looking for a magnetic rower with fixed footrests, you can check out the JOROTO MR30.

The unit’s footrests are pretty large. They can accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They have a textured surface for improved adherence, adjustable straps, and heel guards for extra foot stability.

The rower’s pulling handle consists of a simple straight bar with rubber foam grips for maximum comfort. It’s attached to a heavy-duty nylon mesh strap which provides a smooth operation. The pulling handle does not integrate any controls or pulse sensors. However, the console of the machine does have a pulse reading function.

Resistance system

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW rowing machine is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. This being said, you don’t have to connect it to a power circuit. The only power source required is a set of two AA batteries for the exercise meter. Also, the exercise meter does not play any role in the resistance adjustment.

The unit’s resistance system consists of a magnetic brake which is attached to the lever between the two footrests. By pulling this lever towards you as you are seated, the magnetic brake moves closer to the flywheel and increases the resistance.

The internal flywheel is steel-made; it weighs 11 lbs (~5 kg) and has a perimeter-weighted design. Due to this structure, it adds quite a bit of consistency to the rowing motion. It also improves the stability of motion. Also, the internal drivetrain involves a belt, not a chain. Thus, it doesn’t need any lubrication.

The machine makes available 8 distinct resistance levels. The first tension setting provides a fairly light resistance, employed mostly by the weight of the rotating mass. This is great for recovery training or for warming up. Conversely, the 7-8 settings offer considerably more intense tension, great for anyone who wants a more consistent cardio workout.

Since the machine is equipped with a magnetic resistance system, it is important to mention that it does not provide the dynamic response of an air resistance rower or water resistance rower. In other words, you won’t get more resistance if you pull harder. The resistance is strictly determined by the selected tension setting. This shouldn’t be a major inconvenience as the machine provides an excellent, full-body cardio workout for anyone. However, a professional rowing athlete may need a rowing feel as close as it gets to rowing a real boat through the water.

Exercise meter

This magnetic rower includes a mid-range exercise meter. To begin with, it features an LCD display that is divided into multiple windows, in order to show multiple workout metrics at once, so you don’t have to use a scan function to rotate them. The unit monitors your time, time/500M, strokes per minute (SPM), strokes (per workout), total strokes (from the first usage of the machine), distance, calories, and pulse. Also, in idle mode, it shows the current date, room temperature, and clock.

In case you’re wondering, the distance is shown in meters only. There is no option for miles or kilometers. Also, as we’ve mentioned above, the machine does not have any incorporated pulse sensors, but the meter unit is telemetric. Therefore, if you want to track your pulse through it, you will have to use an HR chest strap transmitter; this accessory is not included.

The meter unit offers the possibility to select goals for time, distance, strokes, calories, and pulse. Once a target is selected, the unit will countdown from the selected value until you reach your goal, except for the heart rate. If you select a certain target heart rate, an alarm will notify you if you exceed it.

The unit has two main workout modes. One is the Manual Mode, which allows you the select goals and row freely. The other one is the Race Mode, which has 15 levels of difficulty. For level 1 (L1) the Time/500m is set at 8:00, while for level 15 (L15) it is set at 1:00. If you select Race Mode for your training, you will basically compete against the computer to reach a selected goal.

A Recovery function is also available. In order to use it, an HR chest strap is required. If you run the Recovery function, the computer will measure how long it takes your pulse to reach its normal parameters after the workout, and based on the result, it will give you a fitness rating between F1 – Best, and F6 – Worst.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front part of the machine which integrates the flywheel, the magnetic brake, and the other drive and resistance elements, comes pre-assembled. Therefore, you only need to add the unit’s stabilizers, attach the seat to the rail, add the console, and the footrests. This shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes. All the tools for the assembly are included and the manual provides fairly clear assembly instructions.

Maintenance doesn’t require much. Since it’s a magnetic resistance rower, there’s basically no wear and tear between the resistance elements, so you don’t have to worry about replacing any brake pads. Basically, the whole maintenance only requires you to keep the seat rail free of any debris that might cause damage to the rollers.

The Pros

  • Durable construction – can support users up to 300 lbs;
  • Folding frame, space-saving design;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
  • Mould-injected, padded seat for optimal comfort;
  • Pivoting footrests with rear guards and adjustable straps for maximum stability;
  • Extremely quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system;
  • 8 levels of resistance, for light to medium workouts;
  • The console can track all the important workout metrics, including time, time/500m, distance (in m), strokes per minute (SPM), total strokes, calories, and pulse;
  • Goal setting for time, distance, strokes, calories, and pulse;
  • Recovery function;
  • Two workout modes, Manual and Race;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • The included manual isn’t exactly the best;
  • The HR chest strap for monitoring your pulse is not included;
  • No backlight on the console.


The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW is a full-magnetic rowing machine designed for home use. featuring a basic fitness meter. It offers 8 levels of resistance, and also includes a workout computer with two workout modes (Manual and Race), goals, and recovery functions. It has a sturdy frame construction which can support users up to 300 lbs. Its frame is also foldable, offering better storage possibilities if necessary. In all, it’s an excellent trainer for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss.

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2 thoughts on “Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW Magnetic Rower”

    1. When extended all the way back, the top of the seat is at approx. 16″ above floor level, so the stabilizer is probably 13″ – 14″ tall.

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