First Look: NordicTrack’s iFit-Powered Smart Rower

Row, row, row your iFit-enabled, workout-streaming home-gym boat.

NordicTrack RW900

This is not Frank Underwood’s rower, that’s for sure.

Last week, NordicTrack announced the RW900, a next-generation rowing machine. It comes with a 22-inch color display and integrated live, on-demand workout programming.

GearJunkie had a chance to take the RW900 for a spin ahead of its September 1 release date. We wanted to learn why this much-hyped new fitness rower is predicted to make a big splash.

The Specs

Foremost, the NordicTrack RW900 is designed for home use. So while its 86.5-by-22-inch footprint is roughly the same size as gym rowers, NordicTrack’s new offering uses a folding mechanism for easy storage in tight quarters.

NordicTrack RW900

Unlike most rowers, which are typically flipped and stored upright, the RW900 folds at the center, shotgun-style. That cuts its length in half and nixes the need for 7 feet of vertical clearance.

That said, if you’ve got the space to spare, you’ll want to display it.

A sharp departure from the beer coaster-size, thermostat-like LCDs, the RW900 comes with a crisp 22-inch screen. That’s useful for seeing workout stats, including wattage (a good power measure), and livestreamed workouts led by instructors all over the country.

The Experience

Rowers tired of tugging on glorified bicycle chain to power the flywheel: take notice.

NordicTrack’s RW900 swaps lead links for a sleek belt drive and upgrades ye old faithful flywheel with magnetic resistance. That results in smoother pulls, quieter workouts, and even strength training capability.

NordicTrack RW900

Clunky, uncomfortable foot-strap design is another glaring yet persistent fault in traditional rowers. The RW900 offers up a simple solution: Velcro. Comfortable, secure, and intuitive, the sturdy, quick-release straps connecting your foot plates will be one of the last things on your mind when using the RW900.

NordicTrack RW900 Programming

On its own, the NordicTrack RW900 is a high-quality, industry-leading rower. With the infusion of follow-along workout programming from iFit, NordicTrack appears to be attempting to create a new category of equipment altogether.

NordicTrack RW900

Enabled with iFit’s LiveCast, the RW900 offers iFit members access to hundreds of live and on-demand workouts led by iFit-certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors.

Workouts for strength, endurance, and even recovery, among other objectives, range from beginner to advanced and run from 10 to 60 minutes. Some even call for body-weight exercises, including spine step-ups and sliding seat reverse lunges, which make creative use of the RW900’s construction.

A favorite feature is auto resistance. The RW900 will increase or decrease its magnetic resistance throughout the workout to match the instructor’s cues. You focus on putting in the work, and the technology handles the rest.

This summer, iFit will shoot rower-specific iFit Global workouts on location around the world, so you can row your way through a variety of waterways. (Leisurely lunchtime cruise down the Nile, anyone?) Imagery displays on the RW900’s immersive screen.

Should You Buy It?

Starting September 1, the RW900 will be available for $1,599, which includes a free one-year iFit membership ($39 per month thereafter).

If you’re looking for a rower to use at home and your budget permits it, this is a worthy purchase.

Overall, the NordicTrack RW900 is a luxe, well-made rower that’s both entertaining and inspiring. The brand geared the rower’s innovative features for improving your fitness — and its content will keep you engaged.