Viavito Sumi Review: How does this budget folding rower stack up?

Welcome to our Viavito Sumi review!

Can you get a rowing machine at a budget price point – that’s actually any good? This review of the Viavito Sumi rower looks at one of the lower-priced rowers, aimed at the home fitness market and offering similar features to the ‘big machines’ out there. So how does this cheap rower fare in comparison?

The Viavito Sumi

The Viavito Sumi – it looks the part, but is it any good?

Warning: This review will contain both GOOD and BAD opinions on this machine.

Viavito Sumi - budget folding rowing machine

Unlike a lot of reviews – this is a real one which will cover both GOOD and BAD stuff you should be aware of before you buy this rowing machine.

We don’t sugar-coat things here!

We want you to find the perfect machine that’s going to get you in shape. Let’s dive in!

What does this machine actually do?

The Viavito Sumi is a folding rowing machine that’s designed to be used at home. It’s a seated exercise machine which you row and it will work out all major muscle groups.

Rowing is one of my absolute favourite exercises and I row a ton each week. It builds strength, fitness and is one of the easier forms of exercise, with no strain on your joints, or impact.

The Viavito Sumi sits at a sub £200 budget price point, in a market where rowers such as the like the much-loved Concept 2 rower can run anywhere around the thousand pound mark.

What will the Sumi rower do for you?

The Viavito Sumi machine aims to do the following:

  1. Strenghten muscles: legs, back, chest & arms
  2. Build up cardio fitness
  3. Lose weight & burn calories

Rowing itself is the perfect exercise for people of all levels because it hits pretty much every main muscle group. There’s all kinds of other crazy exercises you can do with your rowing machine too. Just check Youtube for some examples.

Viavito Sumi Features

Here’s a quick ‘n’ dirty run down of the main features you can expect if you opt for this machine:

  • Folding design – the main rowing track folds upwards and
  • Ergonomic seat – curved seat
  • 7kg flywheel
  • 10 levels of resistance – adjusted with a large dial
  • Magnetic resistance – provides quieter rowing
  • 80 cm row length
  • Folding design
  • Wide foot pedals, that swivel
  • 4 x rollers on the seat
  • LCD display with Time, Distance, Strokes, Calories
  • No cables

Meet the Viavito Sumi!

The Sumi has a decent design quality, with glossy black and red flywheel house and black gloss coating on the rest of the components.

The Sumi rower uses magnetic resistance rather than air, water or friction to make it harder to row. Each kind of resistance has pros and cons and the main plus point with magnetic resistance is that it’s one of the more silent forms, with nothing whirring or rubbing.

Construction wise, the Sumi is made from tough steel tubing and can support weights of up to 17 stones. (Users have reported it being fine above that weight). Like every decent rowing machine, this one can be folded up and stored away in between sessions.


The GOOD: What the Viavito Sumi gets right

It’s super-quiet

One area I would say this budget rowing machine can hold it’s ground is definitely in the noise department.

The Sumi is wonderfully quiet, thanks to it’s magnetic resistance. It’s way quieter than the Concept Two and other air rowers, and makes less noise than a water rower (although who doesn’t love the swoosh they make?)

This rower won’t disturb anyone, so if you’re looking for some kind of quiet exercise machine for home use, this could be a good buy.

Easy to move around… and no cables!

Another good point with this rower is it’s easy to move around and store. Bar a gripe with the wiring (see below in the ‘bad’ points) this rower is ideal for moving off into a corner after use. The Viavito Sumi has nifty little transport wheels underneath it so you can simply wheel it out the way when you’re done.

You don’t need to plug it in either. There’s no cables so you won’t need to think about where the nearest power outlet is.

Phew: the console and display are actually OK

Viavito Sumi Display

Viavito Sumi’s display is large and easy to see

Having reviewed a lot of not only budget rowing machines, but other fitness machines under the £200 mark, I’ve learned to prepare for the worst when checking the LCD displays. There’s some terrible displays around.

The Sumi does a good job here though, for the price anyway.

While the display can’t compare with more expensive machines, in terms of the number of stats and complexity of the info, it’s by no means bad.

You can track calories, strokes, distance, time – all the important basics. But what makes the Sumi’s display stand out is that it’s a pretty good size, with nice chunky digits you can get a quick read on whileyou’re rowing.

Another thing that sets this display apart from other ones is it actually show more than one spec at once. Overall, for the price, happy with the display!

The Sumi is a smooth mover

Some budget rowing machines have god-awful rowing action that’s either marred by awful grinding motion or cheap and nasty friction resistance. Not so with the Viavito Sumi. It’s motion is surprisingly smooth for a cheaper machine and has a slick feel to it.

Adjusting the resistance is easy

One thing that really bugs me about some rowing machines is that you sit down, get strapped in, and then you forgot to set the resistance.

But you can’t reach it without getting out of position and reaching over. It’s not just budget machines that are guilty of this either!

Thankfully, the Sumi has a handy big dial that you can reach even once you’re strapped in. It’s manual and I’m fine with that. Give me something simple any day.

You just turn the dial to increase resistance. And it does a good job of increasing intensity and making things a bit more sweaty.

Putting this machine together is straight forward

While some people are good at putting seemingly anything together, the rest of us mortals dread anything requiring self-assembly. DIY-haters need not fear the Viavito Sumi – it’s straight forward to put together. The instruction manual here is English, has clear diagrams and is easy to follow. 30 minutes tops and you should be good to go.


The BAD: Things that could be better on the Viavito Sumi

OK that’s the good. Now let’s get to the nitty gritty. What sucks with this machine? Where does it fall flat?

The wiring could be better…

A bit of a design flaw in the way the wires that run from the track sensor to the console are positioned. They just hang down and they’re a bit flimsy. While it’s not an issue at all when you’re rowing, problems could arise if you fold this machine repeatedly (which a lot of people will).

Folding isn’t as easy as some other machines

While folding the Sumi isn’t hard by any means, you do have to unscrew the large dial each time. It’s a bit of a faff on and would have been better if it opted for a different design. I really like the way something like the Ignite Air handles folding, where it breaks quickly into two parts.

Not a deal breaker exactly, but something to consider.

Paint can flake of the main body

One problem with the Viavito machine is that the coating on the main body is susceptible to scrapes, bumps and knocks. That bright, glossy coating can be scraped off if you’re not careful. Although it looks nice when new, it wouldn’t take much to make it look shabby.

The LCD display’s position is fixed

One thing I like about the Concept 2 rower, and some of the other ones I’ve reviewed and used, is that the display is higher up and can be swiveled around to match your eye level. the Sumi’s display is fixed to the main body. Having said that, it’s easy to read and this one could be filed under ‘minor niggles’.

Viavito Sumi Resistance

Adjusting the resistance is quick and easy – and easy to get to

Conclusion – should you buy the Viavito Sumi rowing machine?

If you’ve made it this far, or just scrolled down for the verdict, here it is. The Viavito Sumi is a great rowing machine for the price. If you’re looking for a machine you can use at home but don’t fancy splashing out on a thousand pound machine just yet, there’s a lot of really good points with this rower.

It’s solidly made, fairly quiet and has a smooth rowing action. It’s suitable for different levels: people looking to get in shape, or more experienced home exercisers looking for some work!  Very experienced rowers may require a more challenging machine, however.

The Sumi doesn’t take up too much space and is easy to store, bar the screwing in and out of the dial mentioned earlier.

Verdict: If you’re in the market for a sub-£200 rowing machine, definitely check out the Sumi. It’s solid, works well and has a lot to offer.

See more Viavito reviews on amazon here

Full Features of the Viavito Sumi

Resistance typeMagnetic
Resistance levels10
Flywheel weight7kg
ConsoleLCD display
Stats displayedViavito Sumi displays: distance, time, calories, stroke count, strokes per minute
Row length80cm (31.5 ")
ConstructionTubular steel
Max user weight17 stones
Length119cm (29")
Width53cm (20.8")
Height74cm (46.8")
ColourBlack & Red
SeatErgonomic
ManufacturerViavito
Contact number020 3773 3820
Emailsupport@viavito.com

Viavito Sumi FAQs

Here’s some common questions on the Viavito Sumi. If you’ve got any more, fire us an email here, or use the comments below.

Does it come already assembled?

No. The Sumi requires a bit of self-assembly (more on that below).

Is it hard to put this rowing machine together?

No. You’ve got a choice of the included instruction manual, or the video below. It’s not hard to do, even if you normally hate putting stuff together. Expect to spend around 30 minutes assembling the Viavito.

Some tips on assembling the Viavito Sumi

Unlike a lot of gym gear, the Sumi won’t cause any major hair-pulling when you’re putting it together. Here’s the steps you’ll need to get this rowing machine up and running. (Or there’s a video below too, if you’d prefer to follow along).

Everything you need comes in the box, including the tools.

  1. Carefully unpack the components from your package. If you want to make life easier on this job, lay everything out side-by-side, so you can find the parts you need as you go.
  2. Remove the protective cardboard tube from the front of the machine. At the front of the Sumi, there’s a temporary tube that’s bolted on to the main part of the rower. Remove the bolts (put ’em somewhere safe) and then remove this the tube.
  3. Replace this with the black bar. Find the large black metal bar and secure it to the body of the Viavito Sumi, where the cardboard tube was, using the bolts. Don’t forget to put the washers on before the bolts.
  4. On the long rowing track, remove the screws with the large red tops. As well as the other screws towards the front.
  5. Slide the seat on – with the narrow part pointing ‘forwards’
  6. Screw the red cushion stops back in
  7. Screw the black plate onto the rail with the other screws.
  8. Attach the rear stand to the rail.
  9. Attach the protective guard to the rail and tighten it.
  10. Connect up the wiring to the rowing sensor.
  11. Attach the rail to the rest of the Viavito Sumi, using the large round dial.
  12. Fix the hex bolt in place.
  13. Attach the rear knob to the rail and tighten it.
  14. Add the pedals to the Sumi’s main body using the bolts.

New to rowing machines?

Unlike a lot of fitness machines, there is right way and a wrong way to use a rowing machine. It’s well worth spending a few minutes learning the proper form before getting started. Here’s a handy guide on what you actually do on a rowing machine.

References, resources and further reading

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