NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review – Pros & Cons 2020

Last Updated: April 9, 2020

The NordicTrack RW900 is NordicTrack’s premier indoor rowing machine. With a 22” touchscreen secured over the flywheel, this is a high-tech machine with magnetic resistance and comfortable geometry that folds up when not in use.

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Review

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Who It’s For: Users looking for low-impact, high-intensity cardio and muscle building equipment

The RW900 rower is a great option for rowers looking for high-end, smooth drive and release and a full color touchscreen. The RW900 works best for users who:

  • Have the space for the full 86” extended length with extra room behind for additional exercises
  • Enjoy outdoor rowing classes with live trainers
  • Have the ability to sit and lean forward while exercising
  • Looking specifically to increase core and back strength
  • Want a low-impact exercise that engages more than 80% of all muscles in the body
Pros
  • Quiet magnetic resistance
  • 26 preset digital resistance levels
  • Gorgeous 22” touchscreen
  • 1-year of iFit included with rower
  • Sturdy build; rower feels secure
  • Excellent warranty
  • Folds in half when not in use
Cons
  • On the higher price end for at-home rowers
  • Heart rate monitor not included
  • Screen is very heavy on front end of rower

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 22″ Smart HD Touchscreen
    • This 22” touchscreen is crisp and bright, positioned directly over the flywheel for perfect visibility
  • Includes 1-Yr NordicTrack iFit® membership and 30 On-board Workouts
    • Watch an iFit rowing class or outdoor river excursion anywhere in the world right on your touchscreen. 30 onboard workouts are also available
  • Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel
    • The flywheel is quiet and provides both magnetic resistance and air resistance.
  • SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance with 26 Digital Resistance Levels
    • Quiet resistance with 26 preset digital resistance levels make it easy to select and navigate between levels.
  • Ergonomic, Molded Seat and Oversized, Pivoting Pedals
    • Seat and pedals are extra wide for added comfort
  • SpaceSaver® Design
    • You can fold the rower in half when not in use to save space
  • 86.5″ L x 22.0″ W x 50.4″ H Footprint
    • The rower is long and narrow, but you will need extra space behind it for floor exercises in iFit.

Technology:

  • 22” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Adjustable Console
  • Includes 1-Yr NordicTrack iFit® membership**
  • 30 On-board Workouts
  • Auxiliary Music Port
  • Two 2” Digitally Amplified Speakers

Engineering:

  • Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel
  • SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • 26 Digital Resistance Levels
  • 250 Lb. User Capacity

Comfort:

  • Oversized Steel Seat Rail
  • Ergonomic, Molded Seat
  • Oversized, Pivoting Pedals
  • Adjustable Nylon Foot Straps
  • SoftTouch™ Ergonomic Handle

Convenience:

  • Front-mounted Transport Wheels
  • SpaceSaver® Design
  • 86.5″ L x 22.0″ W x 50.4″ H Footprint

Warranty

  • Frame: 10-Year Warranty
  • Parts: 2-Year Warranty
  • Labor: 1-Year Warranty

Quick Summary

Rowing is the ultimate low-impact workout. It works all the major muscle groups in the body. Strong rowing form is powered by the legs, with core, back, and arm muscle systems working cohesively to complete each stroke. The NordicTrack RW900 rower provides a great in-home rowing workout on a comfortable machine. iFit offers hundreds of indoor and outdoor rowing events to keep you interested and motivated. We are impressed with the ergonomic seat, smooth rowing movement, easy to hold handlebar, and comfortable geometry on the RW900. This is a great rower! Check out our in-depth review below for a more detailed analysis of the RW900.

In-depth Review of NordicTrack RW900 Rower


Construction

Frame

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Frame

  • The RW900 is a strong, hefty piece of equipment. Designed to fold in half, the main frame is constructed of steel track with soft molded seat and ergonomic pedals with nylon straps. It weighs 120 pounds with much of the weight in the front end due to the monitor. Folding it up is not difficult, but be careful to manage the weight of the screen as you lift the center handle.

Geometry:

  • Total Footprint: 86.5″ L x 22.0″ W x 50.4″ H
  • Folded Footprint: 36.2” L x 50.4” H
  • Track length: The track is 39” from front to back
  • Track height: From the floor to the top of the seat is 15”
  • Saddle: The saddle is molded for comfort and slightly tapered. It measures 11” wide by 9” deep.

Pedals

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Frame

  • The pedals are reinforced with a solid foot surface underneath and a molded overlay that holds your shoe securely. The double layer provides stability underfoot while still allowing for a gentle flex and give as you row. A wide nylon strap with velcro secures feet into position. The molded overlay is textured so your shoe doesn’t shift and has several positions which should accommodate all shoe sizes.

Handle

  • The RW900 handle is gently cushioned for a very comfortable hold. I’ve used many rowers and this is one of the nicest handles I’ve used. It is plenty wide and just thick enough for a good hand-hold. The proper hand grip allows for longer rowing routines without hand fatigue.

Seat.

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Seat

  • The wide seat is contoured and slightly cushioned. It slides gently from front to back. The track is very smooth. Rowing feels second-nature on this gliding saddle. The track doesn’t bow at any point and the frame sits firmly on the ground.

FlyWheel

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Flywheel

  • The flywheel is inertia enhanced, so you get a smooth stroke throughout your rowing drive. Recovery is also gentle as the flywheel evenly pulls the handle back to starting position. There is no jerkiness in the flywheel motion.

Resistance

  • 26 Digital Levels
  • We love the digital resistance levels on the RW900 because it allows users to really customize a workout. You get accurate and consistent resistance at each level which translates to correct metrics and wattage output. Resistance is managed via the touchscreen.
  • iFit features automated resistance, so as you row, the resistance will adjust for you. This way you don’t have to let go of the handle to play with the screen. We love this automated feature!

Air Flow Resistance

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Flywheel

  • Air resistance occurs as the air flows through the flywheel with each drive. The air resistance can be modified by adjusting how much air flows out of the fan vents and how much stays inside. This creates an additional method of adding and adjusting resistance.
  • iFit features automated resistance, so as you row, the resistance will adjust for you. This way you don’t have to let go of the handle to play with the screen. We love this automated feature!

Console/Controls

Screen

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Screen

  • 22” Touchscreen The touchscreen hovers over the flywheel just above the rower’s feet. This position makes it easy to see and touch when needed.
  • Screen Movement Screen swivels side to side 180 degrees, which is helpful since iFit includes many off the rower workouts that can be done on the floor. The swiveling screen makes it easy to see from any position.
  • Resolution The screen is crisp, has bright resolution and easy to read graphics. It is full color and the 22” size makes it feel like you are right there, on the lake, rowing your heart out. Screen technology has significantly improved in the last few years and these days, touchscreens on NordicTrack equipment are as good as we find anywhere.
  • Touchscreen
    • The touchscreen controls are good. Occasionally we had to tap a button twice to get it to respond, but nothing too concerning. Toggling through class options or screen controls is easy and navigation is intuitive in both the iFit and onboard programs.
    • Resistance levels and volume are adjusted via the touchscreen.
  • Metric Display
    • Current 500m Split/Average 500m split/Watts/Average watts
    • Calories burned/Calories per hour
    • Strokes/Strokes per minute
    • Time Elapsed/Time Remaining
    • Distance
  • Functionality
    • The overall functionality of the RW900 is greatly enhanced by the 22” touchscreen. It makes all the difference in creating an engaging and motivating rowing workout.

Accessories

  • Fans: There is no powered fan in the console, but the air fans do provide a bit of air flow back towards you when rowing.
  • Tablet/Phone holder
    • There isn’t a phone or tablet holder on the RW900.

Noise Level

  • The noise isn’t terrible, but it is present. Be aware that the movement of air through the flywheel does cause some “whirring” noise. It’s subtle and doesn’t sound like a grating motor noise; it’s more like having a fan on. Also, the speakers on the 22” touchscreen are in the back, so the volume projects away from you when you are rowing.
  • The fan noise is noticeably less when fan resistance is low as less air escapes through the vents.

Storage / Folding

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Folding Storage

  • When not folded, the RW900 is a long machine. It isn’t very wide at just 22” in total width, but it extends out 86.5” when fully open. You will need a significant amount of floor space to open and then use the rower appropriately. Also, some workouts have you stand behind the rower and do exercises using the seat, so you will want additional space behind the rower as well.

Nordictrack RW900 Rower Wheels

  • The rower folds up via a handlebar on the track. It is a little tricky to fold since the screen on the front end is heavy. Wheels under the front mount engage when the rower is lifted so you can roll it gently as needed.

iFit and Onboard workouts

Pre-programmed workouts

  • There are 30 pre programmed workouts on the machine that will guide you through various intensities and resistance. There is also a featured workout of the day from iFit that is free for non-subscribers, so you can enjoy whatever class or outdoor rowing route
  • is promoted. The onboard workouts are sufficient to keep you active and provide plenty of training variables. But if you are willing to invest in the gorgeous 22” touchscreen, we suggest using iFit, since it makes the RW900 much more enjoyable.

iFit Subscription

Nordictrack RW900 Rower iFit

  • iFit is included free for the first year with up to five profiles. The rowing classes and outdoor routes on the RW900 are expansive.
    • Studio Rowing Classes: These classes are filmed in a studio with a trainer on a rower in front of you and other participants rowing alongside. Trainers are excellent at cueing form since it can be easy to develop sloppy form when rowing. The resistance is automated, so it will automatically adjust to whatever the trainer is doing.

    Nordictrack RW900 Rower Rowing Class

    • Outdoor Routes all over the world: This is where the RW900 really shines. No other program can compete with the extensive iFit outdoor content. You can choose courses from rivers all over the world. You see the perspective of the rowing trainer with an occasional drone shot or overhead view of the water.

Bottom Line:

The NordicTrack RW900 rower is an impressive, sturdy rowing machine. It is comparable to any commercial grade rower you would find in a gym. The attached touchscreen hovers at just the right position and the incredible outdoor rowing experiences are amazing on the 22” screen. The seat is comfortable and wide pedals will work with any athletic shoe. The handlebar is also gently padded for extra comfort. While there is a bit of noise from the air fan as you row, we didn’t find it to inhibit our ability to hear and enjoy the iFit workouts. Speakers are in the back, which should be a consideration. And make sure you have plenty of space in front of and behind the machine. We highly recommend the RW900 as a top of the line indoor home rower with all the bells and whistles.

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