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Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine SF-RW1205

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Sunny SF-RW1205
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220 lbs20 lbsHydraulicFrame: 1 year
Parts: 90 days

Sunny Health & Fitness is well-known for offering extremely affordable fitness equipment for home use, and most of their products so far benefit from at least a 4-star rating. In other words, they do offer excellent quality for the money. Within this category of products falls the Sunny SF-RW1205 hydraulic rower.

Now, this rowing machine is not exactly a Concept2 rower, or a WaterRower. It’s far from being a commercial quality rowing machine. But on the other hand, it’s among the most durable and effective rowers that you can find for a price under $100. It’s a light capacity rower, designed for users who want a light to medium workout.

Even though it’s not a model with all the belts and whistles, we’re pretty sure that you would like to know as much as possible about it. Therefore, in this post we’ll try to cover all the key aspects regarding it.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 53.2L x 20W x 21.5H inches (135L x 51W x 54.6H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 20 lbs (9 kg)
  • Supported weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Hydraulic, 12 levels
  • Performance monitor: Included
  • Warranty: Frame 2 years / Parts 90 days

Frame and components

Like most Sunny Health and Fitness equipment, the SF-RW1205 rower features a steel frame. All steel parts are coated with silver, anti-corrosive paint. The frame construction is pretty simple. It’s basically composed of 4 main bars: the front and rear stabilizers, the seat rail, and the pulling bar.

The front base is directly welded to the main bar (the rail) of the machine. The frame does not sunny sf-rw1205 hydraulic rower - seatfeature itself a folding design. However, the rear base connects and secures to the frame via a knob. Therefore, you can easily fold this rear stabilizer to reduce the elevation of the machine at the rear, to make it easier to store near a wall. But in case you’re wondering, it shouldn’t fit under the bed even with the rear stabilizer folded, as the pulling bar still stands rather high. In order to bring this bar lower to the ground, you will have to also disconnect the cylinder. So, as conclusion here, you can reduce the machine’s height, in order to fit it in a narrower space if it’s required, with a bit of disassembling.

Compared with other rowing machines, this Sunny model does not take a lot of space. Its assembled footprint is 53.2″L x 20″W (135 x 51 cm). It’s also far from being a heavy machine, weighing only 20 lbs (9 kg), so almost anyone should be able to lift and take it to its storage location, if it’s the case.

The gliding rail is a bit inclined, not horizontal. Evidently, due to this fact, the machine doesn’t offer the correct posture sought by a professional rower, as it may have an unwanted impact on their training. On the other hand, the slightly inclined rail generates a more consistent workout for the legs, also promoting a faster and easier recovery motion.

Even though this rowing machine is rated for 220 lbs maximum user weight, there are many user reports which indicate they’ve been using it at up to 250 lbs. But even though it’s sturdy enough, it’s not recommended for heavier users than specified. When it comes to the maximum user height required for this machine, its gliding rail can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″ (91.4 cm). In other words, users with a height up to 6’3″-6’4″ (190 – 193 cm) (depending on their sunny sf-rw1205 cylinder and footpadsinseam length though), should be able to use this rower comfortably, and also benefit from a complete leg extension.

One of the strengths of this rower is the seat. It’s a 9″L x 12″W (22.8 x 30.4 cm) seat, featuring cushioning and offering quite some comfort. The seat’s covering is made of durable artificial leather. Its gliding mechanism actually incorporates quality rollers, which should last for many years of use. Also, in case you’ve been wondering, the seat at its highest point close to the rear point, gives you an elevation from the floor of approx. 13″ (33 cm).

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 rower is equipped with pivoting footrests, which is also a plus, as you can adjust their angle to the point that feels the most comfortable to you. Like in most rowers, the footpads are made of hard PVC material, and feature adjustable straps.

Resistance system

The SF-RW1205 Sunny rower features a hydraulic resistance system, involving one cylinder. The cylinder attaches to the front part of the frame, and to the pulling bar. The top part of the cylinder, near the point where it connects to the pulling bar, features a knob for resistance adjustment.

The machine offers 12 levels of resistance. Beginning with the 6th – 7th levels, it actually supplies quite a consistent workout. But as you row, the cylinder will heat up, thus resistance will decrease a little. Therefore, in order to maintain your resistance level, you should adjust it for 1-2 levels higher, after a few minutes into your workout.

Consolemeter on sunny sf-rw1205

The performance monitor supplied with the rower is a basic one. It tracks Time, Calories and also keeps track of the number of rows per workout, and total rows. You can select any of the values to view at all time, but the unit also has a SCAN function, which will cycle throughout all monitored values, showing each one for a few seconds. All values can be reset by holding the button down for 4 seconds.

The console uses 2 AA-type (1.5v) batteries. It starts automatically when you begin your workout on the rower, or push the button, and automatically shuts off after 4 minutes of inactivity on the machine.

Assembly and Maintenance

The Sunny SF-RW1205 features a really simple construction. Therefore its assembly is also as simple as it gets. Some of the parts are already attached to the main frame, including the footrests, the pulling bar, rear base, and seat’s gliding mechanism. All you need to do is unfold and secure the rear stabilizer, mount the top of the seat onto the gliding mechanism, attach the handgrip bar to the pulling bar, connect the hydraulic cylinder to the pulling bar, add the straps to the footrests, and finally connect the console. Tools and user’s manual are supplied.

For maintenance, all you have to do is periodically check and clean the rower’s gliding rail, to make sure there isn’t any dirt on it, which may cause nicks in to the rollers or the rail itself.

The Pros

  • Sturdy construction for a light rower;
  • Lightweight machine, easy to handle and transport;
  • Partial foldability;
  • Cushioned, comfortable seat;
  • Small footprint for a rower;
  • Can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″, which is actually great for a small rower;
  • Pivoting footrests, with adjustable straps;
  • Performance tracking monitor included, even though it’s a basic one;
  • Quiet machine, suitable for apartment use;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little to no maintenance required;
  • Extremely affordable.

The Cons

  • Limited range of motion – the pulling bar has a fixed length, and isn’t long enough to supply a complete, correct rowing motion to a tall person. In other words, a taller user won’t be able to pull the handle all the way to their chest.
  • Cylinder heats up, lowering resistance. The solution is to start at a lower resistance setting, and as the cylinder heats up, to also increase the resistance level.sunny sf-rw1205 hydraulic rowing machine

Final Conclusions

If you’re looking for a basic rower, available at an affordable price, but also featuring a sturdy and decent construction, the Sunny SF-RW1205 is definitely one to put on your list. Due to its simplicity, effectiveness, comfort and affordability, most users give this particular machine a 5-star rating. Evidently it’s far from being a complete rower as the Concept2 Model E for example, but it can surely supply a light to medium rowing training regimen. It’s an excellent machine to mix in various workouts, it’s great for cardio, stamina building, and even weight loss. With a little diet and determination, you can actually burn up to 3 pounds per week, using only this machine.

To put it simply, it’s a rower that offers great value for the money.

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