XTERRA Fitness ERG160 Magnetic Rower

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250 lbs52 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels

The ERG160 is one of the magnetic rowers released by XTERRA Fitness in 2020. It’s a pretty standard rowing machine designed for home use. In terms of features, it can be compared with the SNODE S600 or the Marcy ME-1018RE, but it has a shorter rail.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 61.4L x 21.7W x 27.6H inches (156L x 55W x 70H cm)
  • Shipping weight: 52 lbs (23.5 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs (113 kg)
  • Frame: Steel & aluminum
  • Resistance type: Manual magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, count, SPM, distance, calories, scan
  • Extras: Tablet holder, bottle holder
  • Warranty: Frame 1 year / Parts 90 days

Frame construction

The XTERRA Fitness ERG160 combines steel, aluminum, and ABS parts in its construction. The front section of the frame that supports the drive and resistance elements is steel made, the main beam of the monorail is also made of steel but it features side covers made of durable extruded aluminum. The covers of the drive elements and the footrests are made of hard plastic material.

All the steel parts in the machine’s construction are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black. The front covers of the drive elements are black and blue; these are the only colors available for this XTERRA Fitness rower.

The fully assembled rower is a bit smaller than other machines in this price range. It is only 61.4″ (156 cm) long, and 21.7″ (55 cm) wide. The exact length of the rail is not specified, but the machine should accommodate users up to 6’2″ (188 cm) with no problem, allowing a complete range of motion.

The XTERRA ERG160 does not have a folding frame like the ERG200, for example. However, it can be stored vertically, resting on its front bumper and front stabilizer bar. When stored vertically, its footprint becomes approx. 21.7″W X 22″L (55 x 56 cm).

This XTERRA rower is fairly light. With all the parts assembled, it weighs only 52 lbs (23.5 kg). This being said, it can be carried and assembled by only one person. Plus, its front base bar integrates two transport wheels which facilitate its relocation if needed.

Seat and other parts

The XTERRA Fitness ERG160 rower is equipped with the same type of seat as the XTERRA ERG220 model. Its top is made of molded foam featuring a contoured surface for a better positioning and improved comfort. It’s a pretty firm seat, it doesn’t have extra air cushioning elements, but it is not completely hard.

The base frame of the seat is made of steel. Therefore, both the seat and the rail are rated for a maximum user weight limit of 250 lbs (113 kg). It’s also important to mention that the sliding rail is not completely horizontal. It is inclined forward by a few degrees. Therefore, the machine delivers a slightly better workout for the legs than a rower with a horizontal rail. Also, the recovery motion is completed a little faster.

The seat is equipped with three sets of rollers. Two of them are placed above the rail, the third one is underneath it for improved stability. All rollers have integrated ball bearings for a smooth motion. Also, they are covered by a layer of rubber material to reduce noise.

One last aspect to mention here is the seat height. At its highest point (when extended all the way to the rear of the monorail), it stands at approx. 14″ (35 cm) above floor level.

The XTERRA ERG160 features a set of pivoting footrests. This means they can tilt on their axis in order to adapt better to the position of your feet during rowing. They have stoppers at the rear, though, so they cannot tilt backward over an angle ampler than approx. 50°.

The machine’s footrests are large enough to accommodate shoes of all sizes. They have a textured surface, adjustable straps, and heel guards for improved foot stability.

The machine’s pulling handle is attached to a durable, abrasion-resistant nylon strap. This being said, it generates less vibration during rowing than a chain. It also doesn’t require lubrication. Since it’s a pretty basic machine, the handle doesn’t integrate pulse sensors or resistance controls.

Resistance system

The XTERRA ERG160 rower is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. Therefore, you don’t have to connect it to a power source, and you don’t need a power adapter for it. However, it is also important to mention that the exercise meter of the machine cannot adjust the resistance automatically and does not have any pre-set workout programs.

The machine’s resistance system is not far different from the one of a magnetic upright exercise bike, or elliptical trainer. It consists of a magnetic brake that is connected to the tension dial on the front unit of the machine. When you turn the knob (clockwise or counterclockwise) the brake moves closer or farther from the flywheel which increases the rowing load.

The ERG160 magnetic rower makes available 8 levels of resistance. The first level offers a fairly light resistance, great for recovery training. The 8th level does not offer an extreme workout load either, but nonetheless, it delivers a noticeable difference from the first level. So, as a small conclusion here, this rower is not made for a super intense workout, but just as any other rower, it offers the possibility to work up to 80% of your muscle groups.

Similar to other full-magnetic rowers, the XTERRA ERG160 does not offer a dynamic response during rowing. This means that the resistance remains constant throughout the rowing motion; it only depends on the selected resistance level and not on how fast or hard you pull the handle as it is the case for water resistance rowers or air resistance rowers. This detail may only matter for a professional athlete, though, as they may need a stationary rowing experience as close as possible to rowing a real boat. But even without the dynamic response, this rower does provide a pretty consistent cardio workout.

One last aspect to mention here regards the generated noise. Since the XTERRA ERG160 is a magnetic rower, it does not have any fans or water resistance elements, and its internal magnetic brake does not touch the flywheel. Therefore, the rowing motion is very quiet.

Exercise meter

The XTERRA Fitness ERG160 rower is equipped with a basic exercise meter. It features an LED display that tracks time, distance, stroke count, strokes per minute, and calories burned. As we’ve mentioned above, it does not have any pre-set workout programs, nor it has online connectivity.

The unit does not have a pulse reading function. It is not telemetric and cannot communicate with any HR chest bands. Therefore, if you need to keep track of your pulse during the workout, you will have to use a separate device. Also, the distance traveled is shown in meters; it cannot be changed to miles or yards.

The meter unit is pretty easy to use. It only has one (MODE) button. By pressing this button repeatedly, you can scroll through the workout metrics and lock the one you want to view on the display. This way you can also select the Scan Mode which automatically rotates all the metrics, showing each one for 6 seconds. The Mode button also has a reset function. You can press it and hold it for a few seconds to clear all the values on the meter to zero.

The meter unit requires two AA batteries (which are included). It starts up when you begin rowing, or when it detects activity on the rower (when the strap is pulled). It also automatically turns off to save battery, after a few minutes of inactivity on the machine.

The meter unit also integrates a device holder. It consists of a small shelf attached to the unit right under the Mode button. It is large enough to accommodate any tablet.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front unit of the rower with all the drive and resistance elements comes pre-assembled. However, the other parts do require user assembly. You will basically have to attach the front base bar, the rail, insert the seat onto the rail, add the footrests, the rear stabilizer, and the exercise meter. The task is fairly simple and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. The manual provides very clear assembly instructions. All the tools for the assembly are included.

For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the unit’s rail clean to prevent any damage to it or to the seat wheels. The internal parts do not require any lubrication. Other than this, you only have the periodically check for loose bolts and parts.

The Pros

  • Light-weight construction, easy to carry and handle;
  • Fairly sturdy rail – can support users up to 250 lbs (113 kg);
  • Compact design;
  • Can be stored vertically;
  • Large stabilizers on the front base;
  • Sturdy metallic seat frame with a contoured foam top for optimal comfort;
  • Quiet aluminum & steel rail system;
  • Pivoting footrests with straps and heel guards;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’2″;
  • Smooth magnetic resistance system with 8 distinct levels;
  • Exercise meter included – it can track time, distance, count, strokes per minute, and calories burned;
  • Media holder included;
  • Bottle holder included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No pulse reading function;
  • No goal setting function.


The XTERRA Fitness ERG160 is a magnetic rower made for home use. It offers 8 difficulty levels, it’s equipped with a large, ergonomic seat, and includes an exercise meter that tracks time, distance, strokes, strokes per minute, and calories burned. It’s an excellent machine for a full-body cardio workout, stamina development, and weight loss. It’s not exactly the most affordable magnetic rower within this feature range but definitely offers decent quality for the price.

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