Stamina's 1130 (pronounced 'eleven-thirty') continues the compact magnetic rowing machine range from this well known budget brand. It's pretty sleek, very quiet and can easily be stored away once you've finished your workout.
So on the face of it, it has quite a lot going for it. And when you look at the low price, surely it's a no-brainer. But before you press the button and buy one, there's a few things to consider. Please read on.
This is a very easy machine to put together and shouldn't take most more than 25-30 minutes to complete the task. The rowing position is better than many budget rowers because of the height of the beam - getting on and off a low seat can be a problem for those with knee or back problems.
The footrests are a good size and can be used while wearing trainers. However, the Velcro straps feel a little cheap and seem out of place on an otherwise well-made rowing machine. The seat is comfortable and should suit all but the larger butt! The foam handle has a good diameter and is easy to hold firm without slippage.
So far, so good, but as with it's younger brother, the Stamina 1110 - because it's a compact model the beam will feel too short if you've long legs or over 5' 10".as you'll not get the end of the stroke. It's also a light machine which means it may not be for you if over 180 lbs. The manual says it will support up to 250 lbs but once you get the stroke rate up, you may find it starts to move a little.
The 1130 comes with 16 levels of magnetic resistance and has a reasonably good range - some budget machines suffer from having little difference between the top and bottom levels, but not this one.
It's also very quiet as it uses a strap in place of a chain connected to the handle. In the past we've found straps are liable to fray but Stamina insist the hard-wearing nylon should last years. Note, this is a magnetic only machine which while it means it's quiet, it doesn't feel like rowing on water - however, this doesn't stop you getting a good workout.
The front has built-in wheels so once finished just tip it up, wheel it away and store it vertically - see photograph below.
The back-lit LCD monitor is easy to read and easier to use and for a machine under $300 is actually pretty damn good.
It comes with 9 pre-set and 4 personalized programs - again quite unusual in a budget machine. These include interval and fat-burning workouts plus one of our favorites, a target heart rate program. And one more surprise - the chest strap is included that's compatible with the in-built pulse monitor.
The usual data is displayed such as number of strokes, distance, time and calories.
But both the calorie and watt display are estimated and probably not too accurate - but still fine to use for comparing your progress.
If you're not the tall, burly type and on a budget, the Stamina 1130 could be an excellent choice. It has a number of features you wouldn't normally find on rower in this price-bracket, namely heart rate programs and a chest strap.
Nice one Stamina!
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For a little less, the Sunny's SF-RW5623 combines air and magnetic resistance for a more authentic feel - but note it doesn't come with heart rate programs. Or if you can go for a couple of hundred bucks more you can't go far wrong with the Kettler R220.