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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

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Sunny SF-RW5639
sunny health and fitness sf-rw5639 - full motion hydraulic rower
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350 lbsTime,
12 levels
3 years

If you’re looking for an affordable rowing machine, a model with hydraulic resistance should be your top list. These are typically cheaper. Also, Stamina, Sunny Health & Fitness, and Marcy are some of the brands that you should search for.

In this post, we’ll address one of the newest models for 2017 from Sunny Health & Fitness, the SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine. This rower is currently priced under $200. It’s a pretty basic machine, but does have adjustable resistance and does include a fitness meter.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 51.5L x 24W x 14H inches (131L x 61W x 36H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 33 lbs (15 kg)
  • Supported weight: 350 lbs (159kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Hydraulic, adjustable, 12 levels
  • Fitness meter: Included
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

Frame and other parts

To begin with, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion rowing machine features a construction similar to the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060. But its frame is sunny sf-rw5639 - hydraulic rowercompletely made of steel, including the seat rail. But nonetheless, it’s a lightweight rowing machine, with a total assembled weight of 33 lbs (15 kg). Evidently, this means it can easily be assembled, handled, moved and stored.

The frame doesn’t have a folding design like most air or magnetic rowers, such as the LifeCore R100 or Marcy NS40503RW. However, it’s far from being as large as these machines. It’s only 51.5″ (131 cm) long, 24″ (61 cm) wide, and can be stored vertically, or even under the bed, as its highest point reaches only 14″ (36 cm) above floor level. The arms of the rower can fold inward to occupy less space, but the machine’s total width will remain 24″ (61 cm), being given by the arm junctions parts.

As we’ve mentioned above, the rail of the seat is steel-made like the rest of the frame, not made of aluminum as for other machines. It’s quite sturdy, though, the seat and the rail being able to support users up to 350 lbs (159 kg). The rail is not completely horizontal; it’s slightly higher at the rear, which means the machine provides a slightly better workout for the leg muscles, and the recovery part of the rowing motion is faster. Also, the rail is long enough to accommodate users up to 6’0″ (183 cm).

This Sunny rowing machine is equipped with a fairly large seat, which integrates a layer of sunny sf-rw5639 - padded seatpadding to provide optimal comfort. The seat is approx. 15″ (38 cm) wide. Its rear edge protrudes up, in order to prevent the user from sliding backward, and in general, provide a superior adherence to the seat. The frame of the seat integrates two sets of wheels, four on top and four underneath, enabling it to slide smoothly on the rail. All wheels integrate high-grade ball bearings for a prolonged lifespan.

The machine’s footrests are mounted on a steel rod and can pivot back and forth when you row, perfectly accommodating your feet to each motion. They’re made of a heavy-duty PVC material; they’re large enough to support feet of all sizes. They’re equipped with adjustable nylon straps and have heel guards to deliver the required stability for the feet.

The rower’s arms pivot back and forth, and also inward and outward, simulating the rowing motion of a real boat. This is quite a plus over the other machines that feature a pulling handle attached to a chain or strap, as the motion is more natural, and also allows you to add some diversity to the workout. Both rowing arms are equipped with rubberized grips for optimal comfort.

Last but not least, all the steel parts in the machine’s frame are coated with corrosion resistant paint, light-gray in color, this being the only version available (at least for the moment).

Resistance system

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 full motion rowing machine is equipped with a hydraulic resistance system, consisting of one cylinder, situated under the seat rail. The cylinder connects to the arms and the rear base of the rower, and with each stroke, it sunny sf-rw5639 rowing machine - hydraulic resistance cylinder viewextends, generating resistance. It features an adjustment ring at the rear, with the resistance levels marked on it. So, by turning the ring you can select between 12 levels of resistance.

The first 3 levels of resistance offer a really light tension, great for users who must undergo a recovery training regimen. The 10-12 resistance levels, on the other hand, aren’t too extreme. Overall, this Sunny rowing machine can deliver workouts of light to medium intensity.

There are two other aspects regarding this type of resistance that we must mention here. Since this rower is equipped with a hydraulic resistance system, the rowing motion doesn’t generate a dynamic response as for air resistance rowers or fluid resistance rowers. In other words, the resistance generated during each rowing motion remains constant; it doesn’t depend on how fast you row. Also, the cylinder will heat up as you row and the resistance will decrease a little bit. Therefore, you will have to increase it if needed, after several minutes into your workout.

Exercise meter

The fitness meter unit supplied with the Sunny SF-RW5639 rower is a basic one. It displays time, count (counts the number of strokes), total count (the total number of sunny sf-rw5639 - exercise meterstrokes since the first use of the machine or the last reset) and calories. It has a SCAN function which can rotate these values, showing each one for 6 seconds.

The meter unit features three buttons: MODE, SET and RESET. The MODE key fulfills the navigation and selection functions. The SET key gives you the possibility to select a target value for time, count and calories, and the unit will countdown that value until it reaches zero, the point when it will notify you with a beep. Evidently, the RESET button will clear all the values to zero.

The rower’s exercise meter uses 2 AAA batteries. It turns on when it detects movement on the rower or when you press a button. It also has a sleep mode, into which will enter if there is no activity on the rower for 4 minutes.

Assembly and Maintenance

This fitness machine has a really simple construction; thus, its assembly is also simple and straightforward. The resistance cylinder comes already attached to the main rail. So, only have to add the base stabilizers, the joint parts of the arms, the arms, the pedals, the seat and the meter. This shouldn’t take more than one hour. All the tools required for the assembly are included, along with a manual that provides step-by-step instructions for assembly and usage.

Maintenance may require the periodic lubrication of the arm joints. You should check for loose bolts and parts from time to time, and maintain the rail free of any dirt or textile fibers that may damage the rollers.

The Pros

  • Natural rowing action, simulating the use of oars;
  • Sturdy frame, being able to support users up to 350 lbs;
  • Lightweight, easy to handle and transport;
  • Low profile rower, small footprint;
  • Adjustable resistance, 12 levels available
  • Pivoting footrests, with straps;
  • Fitness meter included;
  • Quiet machine;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Affordable.

The Cons

  • No adjustable stabilizers for the bases;
  • Not a rower for taller users than 6’0″ (183 cm);


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is a rowing machine featuring a hydraulic resistance system, with 12 available difficulty settings. It has a sturdy frame, being able to hold users up to 350 lbs, and even though it’s a rather basic model, it still comes with a fitness meter. It’s an excellent fitness machine for a full body cardio workout, stamina building, recovery training and weight loss. And finally, it’s one of the most affordable rowers that you can find at the moment.

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