Sportstech RSX500 Rowing Machine Review and Verdict
If you are like me and love when all of the devices in your life can connect and speak with each other, allow me to introduce to you the Sportstech RSX500 magnetic rower. If you have read any of my previous reviews of Sportstech rowers, you already know I am a fan of both the esthetic of each machine as well as the rowing experience. The RSX500 is no exception here, with a sleek frame design that utilizes Sportstech’s trademark red and black color scheme perfectly. The high quality aluminum rail slides perfectly with the ergonomically designed seat that lets you workout for hours without feeling discomfort. The one area where the RSX500 disappointed me is the relatively low maximum user weight capacity of 120 kg and a maximum height of 200 cm. If you need a little more weight capacity support on your rower, you may want to check out a model like the HouseFit home magnetic rower or the Joroto MR35 magnetic rower which can each accommodate over 136 kg.
One of the things I often look for in an indoor rower in the UK or anywhere else is a foldable frame, especially since there are so many people living in smaller condos these days. Well you’re in luck with the Sportstech RSX500 because the frame is fully foldable, which allows for a compact and space saving design. The RSX500 shifts from deployed dimensions of 2100 mm L x 570 mm W x 830 mm H to folded dimensions of 800 mm L x 440 mm W x 1455 mm H. On top of that, the RSX500 only weighs about 32 kg, so even though the frame may be long, the aluminum rail helps alleviate some of the bulk. Unlike with a water resistance machine such as Sportstech WRX700, 32 kg will always be the weight of the machine since we do not have to add any water to the tank.
The beauty of the Sportstech RSX500 magnetic rower is in its super silent flywheel and resistance system, which provides users with 16 different computer controlled resistance levels. The RSX500 comes with 12 pre-programmed training settings as well as 4x HRC function for added heart rate based training. The flywheel itself weighs 7kg and is as smooth as they come, something I was truly impressed with when I was rowing. Another plus for users who live in condos: the RSX500 resistance system and aluminum rail are silent, creating no excess noise that may bother your neighbors.
I mentioned at the beginning that technology is my favorite part of the new wave of connected fitness devices, and the RSX500 is a tech fan’s dream. Incorporate your own connected tablet or smartphone by syncing it with the machine’s 2.4G Bluetooth connection, and place it in the special tablet holder. From here you can download the free eHealth integrated fitness app or the MyRower app that lets you control the machine through your smartphone or tablet. These apps help to keep track of your fitness progress, as well as train in the special competition mode. The RSX500 even comes with a USB plug in if you need to charge your device while rowing. The digital monitor that comes standard on the RSX500 can also be used to control the machine if you do not have a device to connect. This can help you track the basic stats like time, distance, calories burned, total strokes, and heart rate.
As with most magnetic resistance rowing machines in the UK, the Sportstech RSX500 has very simple assembly instructions that usually take the average person about 30 minutes to complete. In case you need an electronic version, Sportstech does have the manuals for its machines available to download off the website. Maintenance is straightforward, so just keep the machine clean, especially the aluminum slide rail and the flywheel. You can purchase the RSX500 directly off the Sportstech website or through a third party seller like Amazon. I usually prefer to ship through Amazon as it is the cheapest, fastest, and easiest to track.
The Sportstech RSX500 is one of the brand’s premium models, and with the added tech features, you may be expecting this machine to be quite expensive. I was pleasantly surprised to see the price tag at a very reasonable £599 on Amazon as I thought the machine could have sold for much higher given all of the premium features. One downside to Sportstech fitness machines is that there is never any mention of a warranty on either the Sportstech site or the Amazon store. Generally I look at warranties as a sign of confidence a company has in its products, so that is one thing I didn’t love about the RSX500.
Sportstech RSX500 Rowing Machine Pros
- Great price for a premium machine
- Excellent technology features including smartphone control via Bluetooth
- Easy to use and free apps from Google Play and Apple App store
- High quality aluminum slide rail
- Ergonomically designed cushioned seat
- Heart rate monitor included
- 16 levels of computer controlled magnetic resistance
- 12 pre programmed settings
- Foldable frame for easy storage
- Transport wheels
- Very light weight machine for easy transport
Sportstech RSX500 Rowing Machine Cons
- No mention of warranty on the Sportstech site
- Low maximum user weight capacity
- Machine needs to be plugged into an outlet at all times
- Sportstech customer service is apparently not very supportive
The Sportstech RSX500 impressed me on a number of levels and definitely exceeded my overall expectations. At its price point, I was skeptical of the technology, but to my surprise the smartphone integration was smooth and effortless. The rowing experience was also of high quality, and the sturdy aluminum slide rail was surprisingly quiet. With 16 levels of magnetic resistance, the RSX500 can challenge even the strongest rowing enthusiast, although I do wish you could manually adjust the levels rather than having them computer controlled. Overall, the Sportstech RSX500 has everything you need for your connected home fitness device, and it receives a strong recommendation from me at its more than reasonable price tag.