Reviews of Rowing Machines

Reviews of Rowing Machines
Reviews of Rowing Machines
R100 vs. Concept II
R100 APM Premier Rower -
Not Bad
The R100 APM Premier Rower is easily the best of the rowing machines under $2500. The Concept 2
rower is the talk-of-the-town but that's due more to good marketing than good product.
The R100 APM Premier Rowing Machine from Lifecore Fitness blows the Concept 2 fitness rower
away in every department, hands down. The Concept 2 rower is good but its way over-hyped, which
so often happens when everyone gets on the same bandwagon... the Bowflex and Weider Crossbow
are other examples of ok machines that have been over-hyped.
I'm so tired of going into showrooms and the salesman only wants to talk about the Concept 2 that I've
decided cut through the BS once and for good by doing a side-by-side comparison here with the R100
APM Premier Rower (our choice for best rower), which really is a much better machine.
R100 APM
Premier Rower
Concept 2
5 years on parts
2 years on
No manufacturer will give a warranty longer than how long they
think their machine will last without a breakdown.. A warranty is
a measure of a manufacturers confidence level.
Heavy 600lb
capacity frame
Lighter 250lb
Another reason for the difference in warranties.
16 levels
10 levels
More levels means less difference between each, so you can
train yourself to new fitness levels more easily.
Both have angled handle for more comfortable rowing
Magnetic & Air
Air only
Magnetic resistance is quieter, smoother, better and state-of-theart.
On the Concept 2 you have to adjust the blade settings manually
15 programs
There is no auto resistance control feature on the Concept 2 and
therefore no preset resistance programs whereas the R100 has
Heart Rate
Auto via computer
and chest strap
heart monitor
In the 'age of the heart-attack' all cardio-fitness equipment
should come with a heart rate control feature, standard. On the
R100 you pre-program your desired heart range and magnetic
resistance will automatically adjust during workout to keep you
in optimal zone.
Heart Rate
The R100 also has 2 programs which use a heart rate feedback
loop to take you through a preset workout.
The recovery program monitors your heart rate for 60 seconds
after completing a session and then calculates a fitness score of
between 1 and 6, the score increases by increments of 0.1. A
score of 1 means you are 'Super Fit' and 6 is 'Very Unfit'.
Impressive feature for tracking your progress.
Foot Plate
With rigid footplates your foot lifts out and you lose your footing.
The R100 PMR has deliberately built pivoting footplates to
eliminate this known problem.
Foot Plate
We felt the Concept 2 footplates were a little too close together.
Foot Plate
Externally rotated
This is a big deal and its amazing no one else has thought of it.
The R100 footplates are not angled out so your toes don't point
straight up. This position externally rotates your greater
tuberosity at the hip and opens your legs to accomodate you
body in the full forward row position --> a well thought out
Drive System
Belt is smoother and maintenance free. Concept 2 chain needs to
be oiled.
Over-sized soft
harder seat
At the end point of row motion, hips are in neutral rotation and
ischial tuberosities (butt bones) are directly under you... you
need a large soft seat in this position or end up with a sore butt.
Backlit high
definition LCD
Basic LCD
Backlit high definition LCD monitors are much easier to read.
This monitor is super clear white text on a blue backlit
Cooling Vent
On the R100 you can angle the cooling vent to blow the cooling
air where you want it, Concept 2 doesn't have this feature.
Conveniently folds
Must be
into 2 pieces
The R100 is easier to store b/c it has been designed to fold away
easily whereas the Concept 2 has to be separated into 2 pieces if
you want to store it and then reassembled for later use.
On a side-by-side comparison the R100 is a much better machine, and represents far better value for
money than the over-hyped Concept 2.
There are a few additional features of the R100 to discuss here
Additional R100 APM Premier Rowing Machine Features
Silent Drive System uses a belt and make this machine noticeably quieter than other rowers.
You can actually hear the stereo while your on the R100.
Very strong frame - 600lb capacity
Built-in Chest Band Receiver - wireless chest band heart monitor send a radio signal to the
computer every 20 seconds to update your heart rate data.
Computer arm is moveable to position the monitor where you can best see it.
Console Features
Output Data - heaps of output data for the user
o Watts generated
o Calories burned
o Distance travelled
o Time training
o Number of strokes
o Strokes per minute
o Time per 500 meters
o Pulse
o Bar graph
o User display
o Level display
o You vs. Pacer display
15 Auto Control Programs - Preset programs that vary the magnetic resistance as you train.
Increases endurance, motivation and decreases boredom.
Pacer and Interval Programs - Pacer program simulates racing or pacing against an
opponent and the interval programs takes you through cycles of sprint and coast, similar to
training drills practiced by competitive water rowers. The intervals can be set by time or
3 Heart Rate Control Programs - No other rower that we have seen at the time of writing
this review has this feature. The computer monitors your heart rate via the chest strap and
auto adjusts the frictionless magnetic resistance to keep you within a specified heart range -->
cutting egde home exercise at its most scientific.
Heart Rate Recovery Program - All athletes should warm-down. With the R100 rowing
machine, the computer deliberately controls resistance safely bring you into a low-risk recovery
heart rate zone.
Watts Dependent Program - you must maintain a certain watt output specified by you prior
to beginning.
4 User Preset Programs - 4 separate users can train on this machine and keep their training
own unique preferences pre-programmed for easy use every time.
Personal Data Storage for 4 Users - computer uses this information to make calculations
regarding calories burned and so on.
Size (we haven't measured the R100, these measurements are taken direct from their website)
Weight: 96.12 lbs (Packaged: 115.3 lbs).
Length: 7.78 ft., Width: 1.64 feet, Height: 2.98 feet.
(FOLDED: Length: 4.33 ft., Width: 1.64 feet, Height: 5.57 feet).
Weight Limit: 600 lbs, User Height Limit 7 ft 6 inches.
5 year all parts in home 1 year labor.
2 year all parts light commercial 1 year labor.
1 year full commercial no labor.
The #1 pro on this machine is the long warranty - We always look at warranties first because
we've all had machines that breakdown. The 5 years warranty on the R100 is a testament to
the manufacturers confidence in their machines durability.
Second most impressive feature is the heart rate control programming - state-of-the-art training
technology that is now available in your own home. You can train smarter (design your
workouts with greater benefit) and safer.
Third is the recovery program. This is a very slick feature that gives you an outcome measure
for tacking progress and improvement over time. Very sophisticated for home fitness
Angled footplates - the designers could have only known to incorporate this feature if they were
either experienced rowers themselves or consulted with experienced rowers. Its ergonomically
15 resistance levels - more than average. With few levels, the difference between one level and
the next above is too large keeping you stuck on a lower level. The R100 has 15 meaning it
becomes easier to advance to the next resistance level.
Heaps of output data for monitoring your workout.
Very quiet for a rowing machine
Value - an affordable state-of-the-art commercial gym grade rowing machine. Better value for
money than the over-hyped Concept 2
Magnetic resistance - its smoother and quieter than air resistance only
Pivoting footplates - you can now row at full pace without worrying about your foot flying out of
the stirrup
Wide supersoft seat - rowing on a hard seat is like riding on a hard seat. The R100 seat will
allow you to train for longer and more often in comfort. The sitting surface is ergonomically
designed with scoops for your ischial tuberosities (butt bones) to minimize pressure and
discomfor - a nice toucht.
Folding - a machine this long takes up considerable floor space if you can't easily fold it away
between workouts
Directional fan - rowing builds a good sweat, the air vent allows you to direct the flow of air for
better cooling of your body
The backlit high definition LCD monitor uses too much power to run on batteries and needs to
be plugged into a wall socket. There is a basic battery operated LCD monitor if you can't plug in
but its not as bright..
Indoor rowing is an excellent form of cardio exercise but it is not an exciting nor comfortable past-time.
If you are going for a rower take these 4 important points into consideration:
1. You will want to turn on some music or watch the TV while rowing, otherwise you'll become
bored real fast. So buy a quiet machine... rowers are notoriously loud so choose carefully. The
R100 is the quietest we have used but you'll still need to turn up the volume.
2. Rowing gives you a sore a**. Its true, if you have good form in the end position then you are
sitting right on your ischial tuberosities (butt bones), so get a comfy seat. The R100 seat is the
best of the rower seats because its wide, soft and has scoops especially for your ischial
3. You need lots of programs to keep things interesting. With no programs you are left too much to
rely on your own internal motivation to keep at it. You may be saying 'no not me, I'll be fine' but
we have several decades of experience training and personal training and know what we are
saying to be true.
4. Rowing is not easy so you need strong data to justify your continued use, again it comes back
to motivation. The R100 computer provides an unusually large amount of output data by which
you can track your progress, including a recovery program which sums you up in a single
fitness score.
The R100 APM Premier Rower is the best of the rowers under $2500. Its smooth, quiet, intelligent and
the clever design allows it to be folded and stored very easily. The R100 APM Premier Rower is our
Top Pick Rower.
Always buy from the manufacturer when you can because no one will ever know the machine like they
do --> you'll appreciate that logic if anything ever goes wrong.
Lifecore Fitness sell the R100 APM Premier Rower directly from their warehouse for $1199 with free
shipping. Go here:
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