If you’re looking for a rowing machine that simulates oar movement, the Fitness Reality 4000MR is definitely one to put on your list. Even though it’s not a machine made for commercial use, it has a sturdy construction and also offers a variety of programs to keep you motivated. So, in this post, we’ll try and cover all the features and details with regards to this magnetic rower.
Key Features and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 72L x 25W x 51H inches (183L x 63.5W x 130H cm)
- Rail length: 38 inches (96.5 cm)
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
- Resistance type: Eddy current, 14 levels
- Console: 15 programs, 3 goal settings
- Extras: Tablet holder
- Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 3 years / Electronics 2 years
To begin with, the Fitness Reality 4000MR features a more compact construction than other similar rowers. With the frame fully set up, it is only 72″ (183 cm) long and 25″ (63.5 cm) wide. But nonetheless, due to the placement of the footrests and the 38″ (96.5 cm) rail, it can accommodate users between 5’0″ (153 cm) and 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem, allowing a complete leg extension and a complete arm range of motion. The rail and the seat assembly are also durable enough to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg) which is not bad considering that the rower is not intended for commercial use.
The 4000MR rower combines steel, aluminum, and ABS parts in its construction. The sliding rail of the seat is made of durable aluminum and reinforced by another steel bar underneath. It’s also slightly wider than for other rowers, such as the MaxKare Fan Rower, providing extra stability for the seat. The front part of the frame which sustains the resistance mechanism, the base bars, and the oars are steel made. The covers of the drive and resistance elements are ABS made, as well as several other small covers.
All the steel frame parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The colors used are black for the base bars and console arm, and light gray for the oars. The aluminum rail does not have a paint finish, but nonetheless, aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion.
The fully assembled machine is fairly heavy; it weighs more than 100 lbs (45.3 kg). This being said, its transport and assembly may require two people. However, once the unit is assembled, it can be easily carried to its storage location via the front transport wheels. All this weight plays an important role in the unit’s overall stability. Plus, both main base bars are equipped with adjustable and rubberized stabilizers.
Last but not least, this Fitness Reality rower features a folding frame. The sliding rail with the seat can be folded up. This reduces the length of the unit to approx. 45″ (114.3 cm) while its overall height will become 59″ (150 cm).
Seat and other parts
The Fitness Reality 4000MR magnetic rower includes a fairly wide seat. Its top measures approx. 13.5″L x 10″W (34.2 x 25.4 cm) offering plenty of contact surface. It is contoured, with slightly elevated edges on each side and at the rear to prevent you from sliding off during your workouts. Also, the top section is made of a layer of high-density foam in order to provide optimal comfort.
As we’ve mentioned above, the seat and the rail assembly are designed to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg). Its base is made of steel and integrates three sets of wheels. All the wheels slide on the side gaps of the rail and they are concealed by the side panels of the seat to maximize safety. The wheels integrate industrial-grade sealed ball bearings for a smooth seat motion. They also have a rubberized coating on the outside, to minimize noise and vibration.
It’s important to mention that the seat rail is not horizontal; it is slightly oblique, with a bit of extra elevation at the rear. This being said, the seat stands at approx. 22″ (56 cm) above floor level when it is extended all the way to the rear, while at the front of the rail, it is at approx. 21″ (53.3 cm) above the floor. This particular aspect comes with two main advantages. First of all, since the seat is pretty high above the floor, it eliminates any positioning difficulties that users with certain disabilities may have. Second of all, the recovery motion is slightly faster, while the leg push phase is a bit more difficult.
The Fitness Reality 4000MR rower features a set of durable footrests. Their base is steel-made while the adjustment elements are made of flexible and durable nylon material. They are large enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes and they’re also equipped with adjustable straps for extra foot stability.
It’s important to mention that the footrests attach to the front section of the rower’s frame quite a few inches below the stoppers of the seat. That’s why even though the machine is shorter than others, it still provides plenty of stretch room and can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm). Also, the footrests are fixed; the do not pivot as for other machines like the Sunny SF-RW5854, for example. They’re set at an angle of approx. 65° and they deliver a firm support for every drive phase during the rowing motion.
The arms of the machine (or the oars) are slightly curved inward for a more natural hand positioning. They feature rubberized grips and ball grips at the top in case you want to add variety to your hand positioning. The lower joints of the oars allow an outer rotation motion giving you the possibility to simulate real rowing or sculling.
Resistance and drive
The Fitness Reality 4000MR is equipped with an eddy current resistance system. This means it requires an external power source. A power adapter is included with the machine. The resistance can only be adjusted from the console while the machine is plugged-in. Also, the console can automatically adjust the resistance depending on the program that is in use.
The rower’s resistance system consists of a small internal servo motor and a magnetic brake. As you select a certain level of resistance from the console, the motor will adjust the magnetic pull of the brake, which results in more or less rowing difficulty.
The machine makes available 14 levels of resistance. The first one delivers a fairly light difficulty, great for warming up or for beginners. Conversely, the 13-14 levels provide considerably more resistance, offering the possibility to undergo a very consistent, full-body cardio workout.
The resistance and smoothness of the ride are improved by the dual chain drive system. This not only adds stability to the rowing motion, they also add a bit of extra difficulty for each pull.
The machine’s resistance system does not provide a dynamic response during rowing like the air resistance rowers or water resistance rowers. In other words, the resistance remains constant, depending on the selected tension level, no matter how hard you pull the oars. On a fluid rower or air rower, the resistance increases if you pull the handle or oars harder. This eliminates a little authenticity from the rowing feel, but on the other hand, many air or water rowers don’t have independent oars.
Finally, since the rower features a full-magnetic resistance system, without any fans or water elements, the rowing motion is very quiet. Even the motion of the seat generates very little noise as its rollers are rubber coated.
The Fitness Reality 4000MR rower features a console similar to magnetic exercise bikes. To begin with, it has a 5″ LCD display with LED backlight for improved readability. It tracks time, distance, count, RPM, watts, and calories burned. The display is divided into six subsections to show multiple metrics simultaneously. Time and distance are shown on the left panels, the top center panel alternates between count, RPM, and watts, the bottom center window shows the profiles of the selected program while the right side panels indicate pulse and the current resistance level.
With regard to the pulse reading function, the console is not telemetric. Therefore, it cannot read your pulse via a wireless transmitter. So, the top right pulse reading is not available. It is only there because the console is probably derived from a magnetic exercise bike console that had pulse sensors in its handlebars.
The console unit does not have online connectivity or Bluetooth. It is also not compatible with any online fitness apps. But on the other hand, it has 10 preset programs, 5 user profiles, and goal settings for time, distance, and calories burned. The 10 preset programs have pre-determined profile settings; they’re meant to cover a variety of workouts. For example, some are interval-based, others target a higher calorie burning, while others aim to provide a prolonged and constant workout. The 5 user-based programs give you the possibility to create your own custom workout profiles, save them, and re-use them anytime you want. And finally, if you select a goal for time, distance or calories, the console will show the remaining value up until you reach your selected goal.
The console is very easy to use. The side buttons (Up, Down) allow you to increase/decrease the resistance level, scroll through the programs, or add/subtract value from a selected goal. The Start/Stop buttons pretty much speak for themselves. Start initiates your workout and Stop pauses it. And finally, Enter allows you to enter setup mode in order to select a program or an exercise goal.
The console does not have a sound system or a cooling fan, but does have a tablet holder. This accessory consists of a small shelf placed above the unit’s controls which can accommodate your tablet or your smartphone if you need to keep them close during your workouts.
Assembly and Maintenance
Like most other rowing machines, the FR 4000MR rower requires some assembly. However, the front section of the unit with all the drive and resistance elements comes pre-assembled. You only need to attach the main rail, the seat, the two base stabilizers, the oars, the console, and several small covers. All the necessary tools are included and the manual provides very clear assembly instructions. Therefore, the task shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes.
For maintenance, you need to keep the rail of the machine clean to prevent any small debris particles to cause nicks in it or damage the wheels of the seat. The joints of the oars may need periodic lubrication, but if lubricated during assembly, this shouldn’t be necessary for a long period of time. Other than this, it is only recommended to check for loose bolts from time to time and re-tighten any parts if it’s the case.
- Solid frame – can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg);
- Wide aluminum rail for improved seat stability;
- Folding design;
- Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
- Adjustable stabilizers on the front and rear bases;
- Padded and contoured seat for optimal comfort;
- 38″ of travel for the seat – the machine can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm);
- Independent oar action which simulates the rowing of a real boat;
- Large, adjustable footrests with straps for maximum foot stability;
- Dual chain drive system for extra rowing motion stability;
- Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system;
- 14 levels of resistance, for light to intense workouts;
- Automatic resistance adjustment;
- 5″ LCD console with LED backlight;
- The console tracks time, distance, count, RPM, watts, and calories;
- Goal setting functions for time, distance, calories, and pulse;
- 10 preset programs;
- 5 custom user programs;
- Tilt mount with a long arm for the console;
- Easy to assemble;
- Little maintenance required;
- Decent warranty.
- No pulse reading function (even though the console has an assigned pulse reading panel).
The Fitness Reality 4000MR is a full-magnetic rower made for home use. It offers 14 levels of automatic resistance and a console with 10 preset programs, 5 custom programs, and 3 goal settings. It’s equipped with two independent oars rather than the classic pulling handle which deliver a more authentic rowing motion. It’s a great machine for a full-body cardio workout, stamina development, interval training, and weight loss. And finally, it’s not exactly one of the most affordable rowers, but definitely offers excellent value for the price.