EXAM – Row to the gym! The Merach Fitness Q1S Rowing Machine promises smooth, quiet operation with design details that will make your workouts more productive. Does it deliver? Let’s find out. To the review!
What is that?
The Merach Fitness Q1S is a rowing machine that uses a magnetic flywheel for resistance.
- 65″ L x 19.3″ W x 24.8″ H
- Seat dimensions: 9.5″ L x 17.2″ W x 2.3″ H in
- 58.9 lbs.
- 350 pound weight capacity
- Supports users up to 6’7″ in height
- Noise-reducing magnetic flywheel system
- Double track slide
- LCD screen requires 2 AAA batteries (included with purchase)
Design and features
The Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine is an elegantly designed piece of exercise equipment. Everything is shiny and chrome with a woodgrain trim in the steering wheel housing.
The overall size is 65″ long, 17″ wide, and 25″ high. The narrow width will allow you to fit in long, narrow spaces, but you will need extra space to allow for extension when working (depending on your height).
Speaking of tight spaces… the Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine is both mobile and collapsible. There are wheels on the front of the device as well as a rubber foot which you see in the photo halfway up the main body. Rock it and you can roll it around your house or apartment.
When you find your storage spot, you can put it upright until you’re ready for your next workout.
The build quality of the entire rower is exceptional. A sturdy (yet lightweight) frame and dual rail system add stability and promote smooth operation. Check out the view from below the seat, six sets of guide wheels ensure the seat runs smoothly. Thick rubber bumpers at both ends of the track prevent the seat from hitting the frame.
This is the bracket on the back of the device. It feels tight, but I didn’t detect any wobble in my testing. Merach claims this unit will hold up to 350 pounds of weight, and I believe it.
The seat is made of a hard plastic that has been sculpted to provide a comfortable fit. I found it more than comfortable in my testing, but you can also purchase a seat cushion if that’s your preference.
Your foot pegs have a bit of texture and are set up on a simple swivel post. A Velcro strap with a metal pull ring is used to lock your feet in place.
I wear a size 10 sneaker for reference. My son is a size 13. Neither of us had any issues getting a comfortable fit using the suspenders.
Once you’re seated in position on the Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine, you’ll find all of your controls within easy reach. The monitor is perched above the handle and the tension adjustment below.
The Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine uses a magnetic flywheel system. This means that magnets are used to apply tension to the wheel to create resistance. I especially like the big chunky adjustment dial. It is easy to grip and handle with sweaty hands.
The rubber-covered handle is strong and substantial and connects to the steering wheel with a vinyl strap. We’ve been using the rower for a month now and haven’t noticed any wear on any of these parts.
The Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine has a display panel that operates on 2 AAA batteries. There is no on/off switch; it activates when the rower starts moving. It keeps a standard set of metrics (session duration, distance, calories burned, row count, total row count for all sessions). You can also perform individual measurements or a continuous “sweep” mode that cycles through the data every 30 seconds. The display board has a tray for your phone or tablet and is on a swivel so it can be folded down for storage.
There is also another secret to this rower: it is Bluetooth compatible and can be connected to certain applications. Merach makes their own app, and there’s another app called Kinomap that provides rowing routines and the ability to save/share your results. Both come with free trials but require a paid subscription for long-term use. I will discuss my experience with them below.
I want to briefly touch on the configuration of the Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine. The good news is that it’s mostly pre-assembled. There are only 9 pieces to assemble.
The bad news is that the instruction manual uses tiny instructional illustrations that are sometimes not geared towards the position of parts during assembly. There’s a bit of checking to make sure you’re putting the right thing in the right place.
There are also LOTS of washers, screws and nuts which make this process a little trickier to make sure you are matching the correct sizes to the correct instruction. Merach uses one of those pre-printed, sealed pieces of cardboard to keep everything labeled and separated, which is great…but the labels peel off when you separate the plastic.
To be fair, it’s not that hard to figure it out. But better instructions (and maybe a better parts guide) probably would have saved me some time on the build. Merach claims less than 30 minutes from start to finish; I clocked in at around 45 minutes as I checked and rechecked my work.
The kit also includes the tools you need for installation, which is awesome!
I’ve mentioned before that the build quality is excellent on the Merach Fitness Q1S rowing machine, and it’s held up well in my testing so far. It has been used daily by various family members since we got it. The build is rock solid with no shudders or creaks.
Operation and movement are smooth. The magnetic flywheel provides consistent resistance throughout the range of your pull and near-silent operation. Seat tracking is smooth, firm and stable. And the resistance range is legit so you can go from light cardio to some pretty intense strength training runs. It’s really nice to use on a regular basis and has lots of options for different workouts.
The base display works great for critical data, and the slot in front of the screen will work great for smartphones and my iPad Pro tablets.
Bluetooth connectivity is interesting. As far as I can tell based on my testing, the Bluetooth also activates when you start using the machine and transmits basic data if the app is installed. I loaded the Merach app and the connection was quite easy. You can load a variety of different workouts and programs that will sync to your machine and track progress. The example below shows a basic free workout routine that continuously tracks my speed, time, resistance, etc.
Other programs on Merach (and on the Kinomap app, pictured below) do simulations that hold your interest. I especially liked this one which simulates you rowing around a Caribbean island. This particular simulation adjusts its speed as you go faster or slower.
I have found that the Bluetooth connection on this device can be a bit jittery at times…sometimes the app seems to drop the connection and then catches up or takes a minute to connect. At first I thought the Bluetooth wasn’t even installed because I couldn’t connect it. Maybe it has something to do with the battery operation of the base LCD unit? I don’t know the hardware used, but I feel like it could be improved for a better experience.
The ability to move the rower should not be underestimated. Despite weighing 60 pounds, it’s easy to tip, carry, and stand up in a corner. The wheels aren’t deep, so you won’t go over anything deeper than carpet, but that mobility is a killer feature for a tight space like an apartment.
What I like
- Smooth operation
- Durable and stable construction
What I would change
- Bluetooth connectivity could be improved
When I went to the gym, I was never a fan of the rowing machine. I’ve always found them clumsy and comfortable to use. Maybe those were the models I was using. I really like the Merach Fitness Q1S Rower, though! Its smooth and comfortable operation encourages regular use. Just note that the apps, while cool, come with a monthly subscription if you use them beyond the trial period. Also be sure to check out Julie’s Merach Q1 Smart Magnetron Rower Review.
Or buy: Amazon (at the time of this writing, there is an instant $80 coupon)
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Merach Fitness.