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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine

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Sunny SF-RW5606
Sunny SF-RW5606 - elastic cord rower
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220 lbs42 lbsElastic
4 levels
Frame: 1 year
Parts: 90 days

If you don’t want to spend over $700 for a pro rowing machine, and you believe that an entry level one will suffice your needs, the Sunny SF-RW5606 is definitely one model to put on your list. It’s one of the newest rower models from Sunny Health & Fitness, which already benefits from a fair share of positive reviews.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 68.5L x 14.5W x 21H inches (174L x 37W x 53H cm)
  • Product weight: 42 lbs (19 kg)
  • Max. user weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
  • Frame: Steel, foldable
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Elastic cord, 4 levels
  • Fitness computer: Basic
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Frame construction and parts

To begin with, this Sunny rowing machine is not one of the largest. With a footprint of 68.5″L x 14.5″W (174 x 35.5 cm) it definitely doesn’t occupy as much space as the Concept2 Model E or BodyCraft VR500 PRO. It also features a folding frame, as the rail with the seatSunny SF-RW5606 - folded frame can fold up and lock into vertical position, in order to offer a better storage solution. With the seat rail folded up, the machine remains at approx. 1/3 of its length, cca 25″ (64 cm).

The machine’s frame is made of steel, including the gliding rail. But even so, it’s far from being extremely heavy. When fully assembled it weighs only 42 lbs (19 kg), and its handling or transport shouldn’t be a problem to anyone. All steel parts are coated with anti-corrosive gray paint. The protective covers of the resistance mechanism are plastic-made though.

Its bases feature stabilizer caps. The rear base is attached to a small “leg” which actually sets the rail at a certain angle. This means you’ll get a slightly better workout for the legs, and a faster recovery motion, than on rowers which have a horizontal gliding rail.

The main rail of the rower is long enough to accommodate users up to 6’2″ (188 cm), or differently put, users with an inseam up to 36″ (91 cm). It’s also durable enough to support users up to 220 lbs (100 kg).

This Sunny rower features a contoured seat with a little padding on it, being slightly more Sunny SF-RW5606 - seat“forgiving” than a completely hard plastic one. Its rear features a bit of a “lip”, preventing you from sliding back from it during rowing. The seat mount integrates high-grade rollers with sealed ball bearings, providing a smooth glide on the rail. Also, in case you’re wondering, it’s 9″ long and 14.5″ wide (23 x 37 cm).

Just like the SF-RW1205 model, this Sunny rower comes with pivoting foot rests. They’re made of heavy-duty nylon material, integrating adjustable straps for securing feet in place. Their rear features a protruding edge, preventing heels from sliding down during exercises. Also, they’re sizeable enough to accommodate feet of all sizes.

Last but not least, the pulling handle consists of a simple bar, approx. 14″ (35 cm), with grips covered by rubber foam material.

Resistance mechanism

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5606 rowing machine features a pretty distinctive resistance mechanism. It does not use air, hydraulic, water or magnetic resistance. Its resistance mechanism consists of bungee cord which is simply coiled on a wheel, generating resistance as you pull. This wheel can be positioned closer or farther from the Sunny Rower SF-RW5606 - 4 bungee resistance levels user. For that, there is a lever on the side of the mechanism’s case, with 4 positions. Evidently, by positioning the lever farther from you, there will be more bungee cord to pull out, and thus, more resistance.

The Sunny SF-RW5606 is an entry level rowing machine though. In other words the overall resistance that it offers not variable with the strength you put behind each row as for air or water rowers. Also, the maximum resistance that you can benefit from is not the best. It’s definitely not a rowing machine recommended to professional athletes. But it can be an excellent choice for a beginner, or for anyone who wants to diversify their cardio training.

Fitness meter

The meter unit supplied with this rowing machine comes already integrated in the plastic case of the resistance mechanism. It’s a basic unit, featuring a 3.5″ LCD display. The unit is Sunny SF-RW5606 - LCD displayfairly easy to operate featuring only one button. It can track five workout metrics, including: Count, Count-per-Minute, Total-Count, Calories and Time. The unit cannot track heart rate. It also has a SCAN function which cycles through all these statistics displaying each one on screen for a few seconds. However, you can choose not to use this feature, and set the meter unit to display only the workout statistic of your choice (such at Time, for example).

The meter unit does not have any preloaded workout programs. It’s battery-powered, requiring 2 AA-type batteries.

Assembly and Maintenance

Most of the Sunny SF-RW5606 comes ready-assembled. In other words, the resistance mechanism, with the console, comes already attached to the front part of the frame, enclosed by its plastic covers. All you have to attach are the seat’s rail, the rower’s base stabilizers, the seat mount and the seat itself. Tools and assembly manual are supplied. The assembly is a fairly straightforward process and should not take longer than 30 min.

For maintenance, all you have to do is keep the rower dust free, especially its gliding rail. Inspecting the rail before each use, in order to remove any dirt or small objects that may cause nicks in it, or damage the rollers, is recommended.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for an inexpensive rower, can support up to 220 lbs of user weight;
  • Lightweight fitness machine, easy to transport;
  • Folding frame;
  • Rather small footprint, compared to other rowing machine models;
  • Can accommodate users with an inseam up to 36″;
  • Padded and contoured, ergonomic seat;
  • Pivoting footrests, with adjustable straps;
  • 4 distinctive levels of resistance;
  • Quiet machine, suitable for apartment use;
  • Easy to put together;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Affordable.

The Cons

  • Overall resistance is not too great, which makes it a rower for beginners.

Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5606


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is an entry level rowing machine, designed for home use. It features a bungee cord resistance system with 4 distinctive difficulty levels. It’s not exactly the machine a professional athlete would want, but for anyone who wants to put some diversity in their daily cardio training, with more emphasis on the core muscles, this rower is definitely not a bad choice. It’s great for building stamina, toning muscles, keeping a great cardiovascular shape, and even for losing weight. It even comes with a fitness meter to help you keep track of your stats during each workout. And finally, it costs less than $150, which is definitely not a bad price for a rower with this range of features.

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