Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower

Rowing machines such as Sunny SF-RW5508 have recently become very popular, both with beginners and also with professional athletes. Their benefit when it comes to a whole-body workout is undeniable.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508

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However, when you want to take your commitment a step further and purchase a rowing machine for your home, the noise associated with the other two types can put you off. Both water and air rowers have a noisy aspect that can be a significant deciding factor.

Magnetic rowers, on the other hand, are so silent that the only sounds will be the ones you’ll be making. Their operation is based on a heavy flywheel with magnetic brakes for resistance. Thus, they give you a tough workout as desired but without the disturbing noises.

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5508 is one of the best magnetic rowing machines for home use. It is a quality machine, well built, and that has premium features for added convenience.

General Features and Technical Specifications

  • Item size – 87″Lx 21.5″W x 23″H
  • Item weight – 80 lbs (36.3 kg)
  • Maximum weight capacity – 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Resistance – Magnetic resistance, manual adjustment with 10 levels.
  • Console – 7-panelled display with program buttons.
  • Pulse monitoring – Telemetric syncing with chest strap, which is sold separately.
  • Warranty – 90 days.
  • Storage – Doesn’t fold, nor can it be stored upright.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower in More Detail

The Sunny SF-RW5508 is a little different from other types of rowing machines, which makes sense because it is a magnetic rower. For one, it is a bit lighter because it doesn’t have a water tank or oversized fan.

The other design feature is that is is not foldable. The monorail, once attached to the rest of the body, can not be detached easily for storage. Thus, it occupies a large physical footprint.

The flywheel is placed vertically at the front of the machine, with the monorail extending towards the back. It inclines backwards to a maximum angle of 100, which helps you by making the recovery stroke quicker and easier. 

It also increases the quality of the workout marginally by increasing the effort required to push off.

The supporting structure of the machine is made of industrial-strength steel tubes. These are ultra-strong while remaining light enough for easy transport. It can support users who are up to 300 lbs in weight.

The monorail, unlike the frame, is made of solid aluminum. That is because it is strong, durable, resistant to corrosion, and easy to keep smooth and clean. The rail is in the form of an ‘I’ beam, on which the seat slides on wheels.

The whole assembly mainly rests on two points. The first is the back, which has PVC points mounted on metallic stabilizers. The front also has the stabilizers, but they rest on transport wheels to make moving the machine easier.

Resistance and Handles

Just as its name suggests, the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension magnetic rower utilizes magnetic force for resistance. The magnetic resistance, however, works with the aid of the flywheel.

It has a heavy flywheel, which is a major factor in giving you a smooth and constant motion. The weight damps out the movement and evens it out, as well as providing enough inertia to give your legs some momentum. A lighter flywheel may be easier to start, but it is less fun to use.

The resistance system consists of magnetic pads placed just next to the flywheel. The magnetic strength varies with distance to the flywheel. When you turn the manual dial, you either bring the pads closer or push them further. This varies the resistance levels as you desire. 

There are a total of 10 levels of resistance. They are adjusted by the use of a manual knob located just in front of the console.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508

This type of resistance is very popular because it is silent. If you like working out while your family is asleep, this is the machine you can choose to buy. The resistance levels are not only soft enough to be used not only by beginners, but the higher ones are a match for seasoned athletes. Plus, it feels consistent no matter the speed at which it is spun.

However, it is not very popular with professional athletes. According to them, it feels unnatural and forced. Besides, it is impossible to adjust the resistance without first stopping the entire workout. Thus, it is not suitable for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT.)

The flywheel is spun by the use of a belt and pulley system. A heavy-duty, industrial size belt joins the pulley and flywheel. It is almost guaranteed to never break for many years of use. The pulley and the handles are connected with a thick woven strap, also made heavy for extra strength.

This handle consists of a simple round bar, curving slightly inwards for comfort. It is also covered with sweat-resistant rubber for maximum grip even when you’re sweating all over it.

Console and Pulse Monitoring

The Sunny SF-RW5508 magnetic rowing machine also comes with a decent console for the monitoring of your workout progress. It has an unlit display screen, divided into seven sections.

Each of the sections of the screen is used to show a specific metric. These include time spent, number of strokes, distance covered, pulse rate, calories expended, among others. It is large enough to display all of them at once.

The console also has two modes from which you can choose. There is a free manual mode in which you just start rowing, and it displays your progress. There is also another mode where you can set goals for the pulse, time, distance, and strokes (per minute). The machine then shows you how you are doing with time.

For pulse monitoring, the machine lacks inbuilt sensors. However, the console is telemetric. That means that it connects to a wireless chest strap. It displays your rate directly from the strap; however, it needs to be purchased separately. 

If you choose to purchase one from a different company, first make sure that they will be compatible.

Seat and Footrests

The seat features a unique ergonomic design for maximum comfort. It has depressed contours so that once you sit, you’re unlikely to slide off. It also has thick foam padding to keep you comfortable even during long sessions.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508

For easy sliding, the seat has small wheels on which it rests. These move easily on the monorail and have internal ball bearings to make the movement as noiseless and frictionless as possible.

The footrests are another unique innovation. They articulate freely instead of being fixed and can reach angles of 600 to the horizontal. The advantage with this is evident when you are on the recovery. 

Your feet need to change position compared to the one held during the drive, which avoids strain and possible injury to your legs and ankles.

The footplates are made of steel plates covered with PVC plastic. The metal gives them the strength to support your weight, while the plastic makes them comfortable. They are also fitted with adjustable straps with which you can secure your feet in place.

Assembly and Maintenance

Due to its non-folding nature, the assembly of this rowing machine might take a bit longer. A time of thirty to forty minutes is common. The flywheel, strap, handle, and supporting frame are already assembled.

You only need to join the monorail system, fix the seat, add the console, and stabilizers. All tools, nuts, and bolts necessary are in the package.

As for maintenance, you only need to keep the monorail and seat clean to prevent sand and dust from impacting its smooth motion.

PROS:

  • Very silent operation, suitable for quiet places.
  • Constant resistance due to manual knobs. 
  • Telemetric for wireless pulse monitoring.
  • Durable build and minimal maintenance needs.
  • Ergonomic design with a comfortable seat and articulating footrests.
  • 10 levels of magnetic resistance are available, which are suitable for all types of users.
  • Articulating footrests with security straps keep your feet secure even during intense workouts.

CONS:

  • Chest strap has to be purchased separately.
  • Not suitable for HIIT training.
  • The machine cannot be folded for easy storage.
Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Rowing...
  • ADVANCED DIGITAL MONITOR: Superior technology displays your fitness progress including your Time, Strokes, Strokes/min, Calories burned, Distance, and Pulse. The rowing console is also compatible with 5.3 KHz heart rate monitors – sold separately.
  • MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: 10 levels of magnetic resistance challenge your rowing experience while you increase cardio and strength training. The magnetic resistance is higher quality than other tension systems and is a powerful option for your workout.
  • COMFORT AND QUALITY: Full padded seat and non slip grip handlebars are designed for optimal comfort and stability. The oversized foot pads are ergonomically designed and pivot for full range of motion.
  • POWERFUL AND QUIET DESIGN: Magnetic resistance creates an ultra silent rowing workout even for the toughest rides. Max user weight is 300 Lbs.
  • HEART RATE BELT COMPATIBLE: Keep track of your heart rate using a heart rate monitor you can sync to the advanced digital console.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Verdict

Magnetic rowing machines are an excellent option for those who want to install them in apartments, or anywhere else where silence is crucial. They make almost no noise at all, and still give you the best workout options. 

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is one of the best rowing machines on the market. It is cheap and yet it is well built. It is likely to give you long term service. 

The only complaints have to do with poor shipping services that deliver defective products. Therefore, it is advisable to check your item once it arrives. Also, maintain regular cleaning and lubricating schedules.

Apart from that, this machine has few reasons not to want it, and many that you’re sure to love. Unless you’re willing to pay more for a better machine, the SF-RW5508 is just right for the money. Get it here on Amazon.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.