Sole SR500 Rower Review

The Sole SR500 Rower is the lone rowing machine from Sole Fitness, a brand best known for its treadmills. Unlike a treadmill, a rower is made to deliver a cardio blast while also strengthening your whole body -- abs, core, legs and back. This unit is built with an aluminum glide rail that fits a wide range of heights, and adjustable oversized pedals also make it a good fit for most trainees. Sole makes the SR500 stand out by including resistance adjustments on the rower handlebar. This ...
9.25 Total Score
Sole SR500 Rowing Machine

Comfort
9
Console
9
Stability
10
Value
9
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Sole SR500 Rower Review
Sole SR500 Rower Review

The Sole SR500 Rower with hybrid air/magnetic resistance is the world’s first rowing machine controlled tension in the handlebar. This feature is built into the rower handlebar and lets you adjust resistance without slowing down. Other key points are an aluminum frame with a high entry point, a computer with 12 program modes, and wireless heart rate monitoring.

The Sole SR500 Rower is the lone rowing machine from Sole Fitness, a brand best known for its treadmills. Unlike a treadmill, a rower is made to deliver a cardio blast while also strengthening your whole body — abs, core, legs and back. This unit is built with an aluminum glide rail that fits a wide range of heights, and adjustable oversized pedals also make it a good fit for most trainees.

Sole makes the SR500 stand out by including resistance adjustments on the rower handlebar. This unique feature lets you maintain workout intensity while making adjustments to an exercise program. With other magnetic rowers, you’d be slowed down fiddling with console buttons or a tension knob. Here there are 16 levels to choose from.

A 5.5” LCD lets you choose from 12 exercise program modes. These include time, distance and interval workouts, plus a custom-made workout and one with tension controlled by your heart rate. A wireless heart rate monitor is included but the chest strap is sold separately.

This good quality fitness machine is priced right at $899. The SR500 can be folded for storage and moved into place with help from transport wheels.


Positives:

Sole Fitness is known for excellent customer service and has gained a loyal following. Here are some reasons people choose the Sole SR500 home rowing machine.

  • Smooth Resistance: The SR500 uses a combination of eddy current magnetic resistance and wind resistance (a fan) to support a smooth pull at 16 challenge levels. Magnetic force is used at the higher resistance levels to keep the machine’s hum at a minimum.
  • Sized for All: This rower is made to fit everyone in a family. The frame is extra long to accommodate all heights and can hold more than 500 pounds. The pedals or footrests are adjustable to fit different heel angles as well.
  • High Seat: The Sole SR500 rower has a relatively high and slightly tilted seat. For people with arthritis or other limitations on movement, it is easier to get on and off of compared with traditional “low profile” rowing machines. The seat is about the height of a desk chair, being 19” high at one end and 21” at the other
  • Monitor with Preset Programs: The Sole rowing machine monitor is backlit for easy viewing at night. The LCD uses two colors and is easy to read. Riders can choose from heart rate control mode and 10 diverse rowing routines. Additionally, there is room to save one self-designed program. A recovery feature can help you assess your heart health after each workout.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: A chest strap and wireless receiver are included for accurate heart rate monitoring
  • High Capacity: This unit weighs a respectable 115 pounds and can hold up to 515 pounds. Other rowing machines in this price category are only recommended for people up to 250 pounds.
  • Folding: A folding design and wheels up front make the Sole SR500 easy to move and store.
  • Easy Assembly: Customers can generally assemble this product in about 30 minutes without getting frustrated. Some other rowing machines demand twice the time and are notorious for having flawed parts.
  • Warranty: This purchase is backed by a customer-friendly warranty. Buyers get lifetime coverage for the frame, three years for parts and year of labor. All service is performed in-home.


Negatives:

Considering all of the above, why wouldn’t you choose this rower? Here are a few potential drawbacks.

  • Size: Sole was smart to make this rower foldable. Unfolded, it demands a lot of floor space: 94” x 18”. You can find other folding rowing machines that are about a foot shorter.
  • Not Silent: Owing to the air resistance, this rowing machine isn’t as quiet as others. It isn’t inappropriately loud but you will need to use a higher volume than usual on your entertainment.
  • Not for Elite Athletes: Rowing machines are useful for cardio health and for strength training. Everybody can get a cardio workout with the SR500, but not everybody will feel a muscle challenge at level 16.


Our Conclusion

The Sole SR500 is one of the best residential magnetic rowing machines for beginners and intermediate rowers. It has very good ergonomics, includes 12 workout programs and is more durable than other rowing machines in its price bracket.

Sole SR500 Rower Specifications:

Overall Score:9.25
Resistance:Magnetic
Monitor:Two-Color LCD monitor
Upright Storage:Yes
Programs:Yes
Weight Capacity:250 LBS