Harvil RM-M Magnetic Rowing Machine

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Harvil RM-M

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264 lbs46 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels

As opposed to the RM-1 model that we’ve already covered here, the Harvil RM-M is a magnetic resistance rower. In terms of features, it can be compared to the Sunny SF-RW5801. It’s resistance is manual, and its console is basic. These being said, it’s an affordable rower, currently available for less than $200.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 63″L x 20″W x 26″H (160L x 51W x 66H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 46 lbs (21 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 264 lbs (120 kg)
  • Frame: Steel & aluminum
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, distance, count, calories, RPM, SCAN
  • Warranty: 180 days

Frame construction

The frame of the Harvil RM-M rower combines aluminum, steel, and ABS parts. Its main beam is aluminum made, the front part of the frame which sustains the flywheel is made of steel, while the covers of the flywheel and resistance system are made of ABS material. The footrests and the seat are also ABS-made.

All the metallic parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The colors used are black/teal.

Compared to other rowers in this feature range, such as the Merax model, the Harvil RM-M is a bit smaller. It’s only 63″ (160 cm) long, and 20″ (51 cm) wide, but its beam is 40″ (101 cm) long. Therefore, it can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″ (91 cm) with no problem.

The machine’s frame does not fold. However, it can be stored vertically, resting on its front section. When stored vertically, its footprint becomes approx. 26″ x 20″ (66 x 51 cm).

The fully assembled machine is far from being heavy. It weighs approx. 46 lbs (21 kg). This being said, it can be assembled by one person with no problem. Also, once the unit is assembled, its transport is facilitated by the two small wheels attached to the front base stabilizer.

Seat and other parts

The unit’s seat is not padded but its top features a contoured surface with a rear elevated edge. Therefore, it prevents you from sliding backward during rowing. The top of the seat is not extremely large; it’s approx. 14″ (35 cm) wide, so it provides plenty of contact surface.

The sustaining frame of the seat is steel-made. It integrates three sets of wheels which are concealed in order to maximize safety. The wheels are designed to provide a very smooth and a quiet travel for the seat. They’re also highly durable and should last for many years of use.

The seat and the rail are rated for a weight capacity of 264 lbs (120 kg). Also, the rail is not completely horizontal. It is a bit lower at the front, and a bit higher at the rear. Due to this fact, the machine provides a better workout for the legs during the pushing stage of the rowing motion.

The unit is equipped with a set of large ABS pedals. They have a non-slip surface and a small heel guard to provide better foot stability. They are also equipped with velcro straps.

The footrests have a pivoting design. Therefore, they can lean forward during rowing, allowing your feet to assume the most natural position for each stage from the rowing motion. Their maximum angle is approx. 50°.

The machine features an ergonomic handle with rubberized grips. The handle is attached to a heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant nylon strap. The handle does not have any pulse sensors, and the unit does not have a pulse reading function.

Resistance system

The Harvil RM-M is equipped with a full-magnetic resistance system. This being said, it doesn’t have any air resistance or water resistance elements. Its resistance system features a small magnetic brake attached to the tension dial through a steel cable. As you turn the dial, the magnetic element changes its position in relation to the internal flywheel which results in a higher or lesser difficulty.

Given the fact that the RM-M is a full-magnetic rower, it does not provide a dynamic response. In other words, you won’t get more resistance if you pull the handle harder, as for air or water resistance rowers. The resistance remains constant, given by the selected tension level. The rowing feel is not completely “natural”. But nonetheless, the machine does provide quite a consistent cardio workout.

The rower does not need to be connected to a power source. Its internal magnetic brake is mechanical. Also, the console does not have any programs and plays no role in the resistance adjustment.

There are 8 levels of resistance available. In case you’re wondering, the highest resistance level doesn’t supply the resistance required by a professional athlete. However, it does deliver light to medium cardio workout possibilities, great for anyone who wants a full body workout.

Since the unit doesn’t have any air resistance elements, its operation generates almost no noise. This makes the machine suitable for apartment use. The internal flywheel is not extremely heavy, but this weight is just enough to deliver a consistent momentum for rowing. It is also perimeter weighted, which results in very smooth and steady motion.

Exercise meter

The console integrated into the front unit of the RM-M Harvil rower is a basic exercise meter. It doesn’t have any preset programs or online connectivity. It features an LCD display which tracks the most important workout metrics, such as time, distance, count, calories, and RPM.

As we’ve mentioned above, the unit does not have a pulse reading function; it does not work with Polar or other types of wireless HR chest straps. The distance can only be displayed in miles, while the RPM metric shows the number of strokes per minute.

The meter unit is very easy to use. It only has one button – MODE – which covers all of its functions. By pressing it repeatedly you can select any of the workout metrics to view all the time. Or, you can select the Scan function which rotates all the metrics showing each one for a few seconds. The Mode button also covers the reset function; by pressing and holding it for a few seconds all the values on the display are cleared to zero.

The meter uses one AAA (1.5V) battery as a power supply. It is powered on when you press the button and also shuts off after 4 min. of inactivity on the machine to save battery.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front part of the rower which holds the internal mechanism comes pre-assembled. Therefore, in terms of assembly, you only have to attach the front base stabilizer, place the seat on its rail, attach the rail to the front part, and connect the footrests. This shouldn’t take more than 30-40 min. All the required tool are included. Also, the manual provides very clear assembly instructions.

The machine’s internal mechanism comes pre-lubricated from the factory and shouldn’t require any maintenance for a long period of time. Therefore, in terms of maintenance you only have to keep the unit clean and periodically check for loose bolts and parts.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for a light rower – can support users up to 264 lbs;
  • Space-saving design;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system;
  • 8 levels of resistance, for light to medium workouts;
  • Ergonomic, contoured seat for optimal comfort;
  • Pivoting footrests for a perfect foot position with each stroke;
  • The sliding beam can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″;
  • Exercise meter included – it can track time, count, distance, RPM, and calories;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No pulse reading function;
  • No backlight on the fitness meter;
  • No adjustable stabilizers.


The Harvil RM-M is a light-capacity rower equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. It features an aluminum beam which can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″ and 264 lbs. It doesn’t have a folding frame but can be stored vertically. In all, it’s an excellent trainer for a full-body cardio workout, stamina development and weight loss, also available at an affordable price.

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