The Marcy NS-40503RW helps users enter into their target workout zone, and offers a small, compact size that is ideal for most homes. Contoured design practices ensure maximum comfort while rowing, and a multi-angle monitor allows for precision tracking all throughout your rowing session.
What did we like? What didn’t we like? Let’s find out.
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- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
- Ergonomic design
- Slip resistant pedals
- Multi-angle LCD monitor
- Foldable design
- Transport wheels
- 300 lbs maximum user weight
I have put together a lot of rowing machines since I started reviewing them, so I tend to be quite quick at it now. But the NS-40503RW’s instructions weren’t very clear and left me scratching my head at times.
The exploded diagrams they provide have far too many elements on one picture making them hard to read and the directions that accompany the diagrams aren’t written very well.
The assembly process has a weird order and you put the monitor on top of the main frame in one of the first stages and then must try and attach the pedal bracket to the underside in a later stage. I think it would be easier to flip the main frame over and attach the bracket without worrying if you are going to damage the monitor. On most models, the monitor is normally the last part to be attached.
It also frustrates me when companies don’t do something so little as provide batteries to go in the monitor. I know it is only a minor issue and most people have a couple of AA batteries somewhere in the house but I think that a company should provide everything that is needed to have it working when it arrives.
I will stop ranting about how I would have done it differently and show you the process as they tell you to do it:
- Bolt the front stabilizer to the main frame.
- Now connect the monitor to its stand on the main frame. Make sure that you connect the wire before you screw it in place.
- Attach the pedals by firstly attaching the bracket to the underside of the main frame. Then bolt the pedals to the bracket.
- Attach the rowing rail to the bracket mounted on the main frame, but first unfold the bracket by simply removing the locking pin and putting back in place once it is unfolded.
- Now slide the seat onto the rail and put the front and rear stoppers in place so that it can’t come off again.
- Bolt the rear stabilizer to the rail.
Weighing 66 pounds, most users will not have an issue lugging it into their home. Going up stairs will be difficult, so make sure that you have help to go down or up a flight of stairs.
Marcy produce a wide range of fitness equipment and I thought that the instructions and process would have been a lot better. But at least now it’s time for the fun part.
Operation and Design
First thing I noticed when jumping on the NS-40503RW was that the seat seemed to be modelled perfectly for my behind. It’s not often that I can say this and I sometimes have to get a gel seat cushion so that my bum won’t go numb during the workout.
The anti-slip foot pedals have customizable foot straps that allow for proper foot positioning. The foot pedals make a huge difference to your workout at they seemed to hold on to my feet well and didn’t loosen over the duration of my session.
The rowing handle is pretty standard, covered with foam to provide an efficient and comfortable feel.
Directly in front of you on the main frame you’ll find the resistance knob. This allows you to choose between 8 different levels of magnetic resistance, I set the dial at 1 to begin with then worked my way around to the 8.
On level 1 it is really easy but could feel the difference once I had worked my way up to 8. I don’t feel there is enough resistance if you are looking to increase your strength but there is plenty if you are looking for a cardiovascular workout. Considering the price, I wasn’t expecting the resistance to be too intense.
One thing I did notice, was that considering this is a magnetic resistance, it produced a little more noise than other similar models I have tried. Magnetic units are normally almost silent and the only noise tends to be the seat as it rolls back a forth. It wasn’t so loud that it would stop you watching TV as you row, but it wasn’t as quite as I would have expected.
The NS-40503RW is designed to be able to take a maximum user of 300 lbs therefore, it should suit most users. Even though it is quite low to the ground, this wasn’t a problem for me but if you do struggle with mobility then this could be a bit of an issue.
The monitor requires 2 AA batteries, and there isn’t an option to plug it directly into an electrical outlet, which is a bummer. But you will be able to use the display to track:
- Total count
- Calories burned
The monitor automatically turns on as you start rowing and turns itself off after 4 minutes.
The monitor is quite basic and doesn’t come with features such as the heart rate monitor. However, I wasn’t expecting anything too flashy considering it can be bought for under $300.
The metrics that are tracked seemed to be accurate enough which is quite often not the case with the cheaper models. If you do want to track your heart rate I would recommend getting an activity tracker as they tend to be a lot more accurate than the built-in ones.
Once you have finished your workout you can lift the backend of the machine and push it forward using the front transport wheels for better positioning. This model is foldable in an effort to save space between workouts. If you have a smaller home or short on space, a folding design is a serious benefit.
From how I understand the information in the user manual the warranty sounds like it only covers the frame for the first 2 years. This is pathetic if this is correct, it even says that damage from shipping isn’t covered either.
The minimum warranty you tend to get in this price range is 90 day on parts and 2 years on the frame. I am not sure that I would have any confidence in Marcy if a problem did occur.
I always think that the warranty a company offers displays their confidence in the product they have created.
- Continuous resistance provides a substantial workout
- Seat is perfectly comfortable
- Folds up nicely in the corner
- Can be used by heavier users
- Noisy when rowing
- Low to the ground
- Instructions were unclear
Our two main complaints were that this machine is noisy when rowing and it sits low to the ground. The lower seat makes it harder for older users to get off, which should be a consideration.
I did actually have a great workout, so despite there being a few quirks that I didn’t appreciate it is still a good entry-level model. I was comfortable over the entire duration of the workout and despiteit being slightly noisier than other magnetic models it is still a lot quieter than air resistance.
I wish Marcy would have another look at their assembly instructions to make the process easier to follow as this is the first impression people get. No one likes putting together the kit and would rather jump on and go so having a frustrating assembly process isn’t great. Companies like Sunny Health & Fitness put a lot of effort into creating easy to assemble products and Marcy should learn from them.
It may be also worth looking at the Proform 440R which is another popular magnetic unit in the same price range.