JTX Fitness have built themselves a fully justified reputation as one of the best fitness equipment producers in the UK. So we were quite excited to conduct this JTX Surge review, and it would also be fair to say that we had quite high expectations given our respect for their back catalogue.
The JTX Surge is billed as a compact rowing machine. Again, we are big fans of this, as space is a huge barrier to a lot of people setting up exercise equipment in their home. It’s great to be able to buy all of these home cardio machines, but where do you set them up or store them when they are not in use?
So the JTX Surge could solve a lot of problems for home fitness users. In this Surge review we are going to be looking at just how good it is. First we are going to take a look at what you get in the box when you buy the JTX Surge, have a run through of all the features and specifications before then putting it to the test and delivering our verdict as to whether or not you should buy it.
JTX Surge Out Of The Box
Before you even open the box, you will have experienced the benefit of JTX Fitness’ exceptional customer service. When you buy from them directly they use a specialised courier service that will not just bring the package into your home, but if the box weighs less than 70 kg, they will take it into the room of your choice.
As the JTX Surge weighs around 20 kg in the box, so it comfortably qualifies for this service.
This attention to detail when it comes to customer experience goes a long way – I am sure there are plenty of people that will struggle to move a boxed rowing machine by themselves and having that issue taken away from them will be greatly appreciated.
Once you have the box in the room of your choice, it’s time to get it assembled. JTX Fitness estimate that this will take around 30-40 minutes to complete, and can be done by one person (although they do recommend having a spare pair of hands whenever possible).
You are provided with all of the tools that you’ll need to complete the job, as well as full instructions in the form of a step-by-step user manual. If you are struggling, they have a great online chat function on their site, so you can get help at any stage. They are also available via phone and their customer service is second to none.
One thing you’ll notice when it is full assembled is how compact the machine is. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as it is one of the main selling points of the Surge, but measuring just 152 cm x 77 cm x 55cm (LWH) it really doesn’t take up very much room.
That’s not to say that it is too small, as it has everything needed to do the job without appearing bulky.
The JTX Surge rower is an attractive machine, and wouldn’t look out of place in any home gym. The real beauty, though, is that you don’t need a home gym to have this machine – you just need a bit of space when you want to exercise as it can be folded down and wheeled in to position just for your workout.
JTX Surge Tech Specs
I would forgive you for thinking that the diminutive size would mean fewer features, but that isn’t really the case.
We’ll start with the digital resistance. This is a complex resistance system that is made pretty simple for the user. There are 16 different levels of resistance here, and you can move it up or down by pressing the ‘+’ or ‘-’ buttons. These are designed to be easy to push while you are rowing.
The best thing about this digital resistance is that, as well as being incredibly easy to use, it is designed to be quiet in its operation. It is controlled by magnets, so the resistance is smooth and with minimal noise caused by the friction.
Next, there are the pre-loaded fitness programmes that you can choose to calibrate your workout. There are 14 in total, including fat burning and interval training, and these are there to keep your workouts fresh and interesting. You can use the JTX Surge to get the results you desire.
There’s more though. The heart rate training programme is there to tailor your workout to match your performance.
You can add a Polar compatible heart rate monitor to use live data to change the resistance depending on how you are performing. If your heart rate gets too high, it will reduce the resistance automatically, and build it back up when your heart rate lowers.
The idea here is that your workout will be optimised so that you can exercise for longer, getting the most out of every stroke. It’s also great for tracking your progress, as you’ll notice in real time when you are able to go longer and at a higher resistance.
The digital display is quite small compared to some other options, but it does everything you need it to. Counting calories, measuring distance, speed, time, pulse etc – it’s pretty standard for a rowing machine, but it displays everything clearly, which is all you need it to do.
The reason for the small display is down to the storage capability. They want to keep this machine as compact as possible so that you can tidy it away when you are not using it. They also fit it with transport wheels, so that you can wheel it into position, and it can be stored vertically. This means that the footprint of the JTX Surge, when not in use, is much smaller than most of its competition.
Finally, there is a water bottle holder. Not the most exciting of features, but it is practical and important. You’ve got to stay hydrated!
JTX Surge In Testing
To be perfectly honest, I did have a couple of reservations before I started testing the JTX Surge. This was all pretty much down to the size – I was worried that it would be a little bit fragile and unstable when I really got into my workout.
I should have had a bit more faith! After all, JTX Fitness is one of our trusted suppliers for a reason – they product high quality fitness equipment!
I started with some interval training – going from slow periods to much more intense ones, and it coped with everything. There was no rocking or jolting, it was as stable as any rowing machine I have used.
I felt comfortable throughout the entire workout, which made me stay on there for longer than I expected. The last thing you want when you are working out is to feel uncomfortable and therefore have an excuse to cut it short.
Other than the comfort, the next thing that really jumped out at me was how quiet the machine was. With two young children, the only times I usually get to workout is before they wake up or after they have gone to bed. My life would not be worth living if I was to wake them up at either end of the day, so quiet exercise equipment is essential to me.
The JTX Surge is incredibly quiet when you are using it. A soft whirr is all you get from the resistance system, which means I can exercise without having to worry – I am sure that I am not alone in this!
On a similar note, storing the machine away is incredibly easy. I don’t want to leave fitness equipment out with two little guys running around the house, so to be able to store the Surge upright in our closet is so beneficial to me.
As soon as I am finished (and have recovered) I can simply wheel it over to the closet and shut the door. It is completely out of sight until the next day.
Finally, I am a huge fan of the heart rate programme. I found this to be incredibly useful in pacing myself. As an inexperienced rower, I needed to be reigned in a bit. I would often go off too fast at too high a resistance and then find that I was needing to stop after about 10 minutes. The heart rate monitor takes the decision of resistance out of my hands, and as a result I can now work out for double the time – I get so much more out of every workout. It’s a bit like having a personal trainer!
The JTX Surge is a fantastic mid-range rowing machine, with added perks.
It gets all of the basics right – it is a solidly built rowing machine that offers a great range of fitness programmes, is incredibly quiet in action and is comfortable to use. These are things that you should expect from most rowing machines that you look at, regardless of budget.
Where the JTX really excels, though, is all down to its size. It is so easy to keep out of the way, that it doesn’t require you to have a designated gym space in your home – just enough space in a closet or in a corner of a room for you to stand it up.
For many people that are looking to do a bit more exercise, this is so important and is probably what has often put them off getting a rowing machine in the past. This is the perfect solution for those people.
For the price, whether you are looking to save space or not, the JTX Surge is well worth your consideration – it’s a great rowing machine.