Top positive review
Great machine, quiet and does its purpose
April 22, 2019
I like this rower and definitely recommend it, BUT with a few caveats.
First, the good things.
1. This rower is quiet. I mean DEAD SILENT. I don't know what experience the prior reviewer had with it or maybe I have hearing loss but it is barely audible. A lot quieter than a treadmill, bike or moderate volume television.
2. Assembly was so easy. ALL tools are included. I read the instructions word for word because I'm slow at constructing and I still had this thing built in half an hour. Font waste money having Amazon assemble.
3. LCD screen is easy to see, even without my glasses. It displays strokes at the top and then lets you toggle between displaying calories, meters or time. Meters or time functions are the most valuable.
4. The cable utilizes a thick nylon cord as opposed to the thinner cables at most gyms. It makes for a cleaner catch and drive with less "bounce" on the return phase.
5. Resistance settings allow for a wide range of strengths. I expected to max out the resistance setting but was pleasantly surprised to only set it to a 6 out of a total 14. Rowers of all ability can use this machine and have a lot of room to progress or do graded exercises or HIIT Sprint progressions.
So what is neutral about the rower?
I know most people might be persuaded to buy this model over others because it shows some different upper body exercises you can do. Just know, you can do those exercises on any rower, you DO NOT need this model. The only special feature of this machine that facilitates doing resistance training are the 2 foot pads at the front of the machine. For a beginner I can see this being potentially helpful but I am a former competitive powerlifter and didn't find the pad placement to be ergonomically correct for my height, stance preference or pelvic/trunk alignment.
I also didn't find the movement of the extra exercises to be smooth. Theoretically the movement should feel similar to using a cable machine, but it was jerky and awkward and I struggled to do a curl at a 1 resistance due to friction of the nylon cord on the machine. This machine simply doesn't replace cable or free weight based resistance training and if that is your goal go buy a quality set of resistance bands and a kettlebell.
However, that wasn't the selling point for me anyways. Even without the extras, this machine is worth the price tag and does it's primary purpose (rowing) with excellence.
This machine folds up. Sort of. It folds in half and takes up less space on the ground but more space vertically. For those with dedicated exercise space this won't matter but for those hoping to fold and stow away, make sure your stow space is 4 feet squared and then another 6 feet high. But again, this was not a selling point for me so I don't care. I think it stows rather easily.
So why only 4 out of 5 stars?
The app is useless. It doesn't sync half the time. In order to get an accurate kcal estimate you really need to be calculating based off of the MET equivalent of the exercise and your weight in kg. There is no way of manually inputting your weight into the rower, meaning the kcal estimate that displays on the machine itself is not accurate. Since I have been unable to sync my workouts with the app I can't speak to the accuracy of kcals displayed on the app. This doesn't affect me because I utilise a fit bit plus manual weight-based MET equations to calculate kcals burned and rarely rely on machines for this. But if you're new to exercise and are hoping this rower shows you accurate calorie expenditure, don't hold your breath.
The wheels are really not wheels. If you have to stow and move this machine often, it doesn't roll very well.
Now the big downside for me: PIVOT PEDALS.
The pedals on this rower are only anchored in one spot, meaning they pivot around an axis as you push into your feet to drive. There is a bar on the bottom to stop the pedals from rotating fully back, but it's placement is just a bit too posterior for my liking.
This could be a pro for some people who have limited ankle mobility and need to be able to have more space to plantar or dorsiflex the foot in order to avoid strain. But for most rowers I feel like this is a con. For me personally it pulls a lot of the torque off my hip extensors and glutes and translates it into my anterior calf muscles and results in overall weaker movements.
I solved this by placing a rolled towel under the foot pedals on each side so that I can drive down into the heel without the pedals rotating. Of this explanation doesn't make sense to you then don't worry about it because it likely won't affect you. But if you're someone who has used multiple rowers and has tried out rowers with pivot pedals, just know this rower has them.
Overall I am happy with this purchase. My goal was to use this 3 times a week for rowing only HIIT and it is just great for that.
Rowing is a wonderful total body, low-impact workout that can be done by individuals at all levels and ages so if you want to buy a rower and get started I think you'll be happy with this one.