Water Rower Classic - Closest Feeling to Rowing on Water Without Leaving Your Home
This is a review of the Water Rower "Classic" which is almost identical to the Water Rower "Oxbridge" in every way, except that it is made of black walnut which is a much darker wood compared to the red-brown finish of the cherry ash wood used in the Oxbridge model.
This review is not intended to compare the pros and cons of water rowers vs other rowing machines on the market i.e. air, magnetic and hydraulic. There are plenty of reviews on the internet for this.
When I was looking for a rowing machine for my personal use and home, I had five criteria : (1) mimic outdoor rowing as much as possible (2) easy to use and store (3) low noise levels (4) durable and (5) look good inside the home. On all these criteria, the Classic does not disappoint. But is does come at a price, literally.
The Water Rower Classic is a pleasure to use and look at. The water rower uses water to create resistance and comes with a large transparent water tank with paddles that spin through the water as you take each rowing stroke. The seat/track as you slide up and down the machine is quiet and smooth. The handle is covered in foam and each rowing stroke is also smooth and quiet as the handle runs through a series of webbing straps and pulleys to the paddled in the tank. As the paddles turn, they creates a pleasant swirling and swishing sound. you can almost feel the paddles touching the water at the catch (start of the stroke). The sounds generated by the water is quite audible but quieter than an air rower but nosier than a magnetic rower. Water resistance is variable which means that the more intense you row, the more resistance the paddles in the water creates. Water also has natural drag so the paddles slow down quickly between strokes but replicates the feel of rowing on water quite well. All in all, the rowing mechanism of paddles/water, straps/pulleys combined with the smooth seat/track allows for a quiet and smooth action.
Upon delivery, the kit arrived in two boxes and required some assembly. A detailed manual is provided with clear instructions and should take no more than 1/2 hour to complete. An allen key is provided and the only tool I needed was a spanner (to tighten the dolly wheels). The rower comes with two dolly wheels at the front of the rower, near the water tank that enables the Water Rower to be easily wheeled about and stored upright to save space when not in use. The Water Rower is more expensive than many other rowers on the market, but with its all-black walnut timber construction, it looks more like an ecletic piece of furniture rather than an exercise machine.
The only downside is that the Water Rower Classic requires some routine maintenance. Initially, you need to fill it with water before you can row (approx 15-19 litres of water). Adjusting the level of water will affect how heavy each stroke feels. The more water, the heavier the stroke, like a heavier boat in the water. You also need to use a water purifier tablet approx every 6 months to clorinate the water. Tablets are available free once you register your Water Rower. Alternatively, you can purchase an optional bottle of blue dye that purifies the water and adds a calming blue colour to the water as well. To bring out the sheen of the beautiful black walnut timber (and protect it), you will need to occasionally oil the timber with Danish oil (provided). If you plan to use the Water Rower in a garage or dusty environment, it is advisable to consider purchasing an additional custom-made cover, which protects it from the sun and dust.
I am a recreational rower and love the feel of rowing on water and the Water Rower is the closest thing I can find to rowing on land. It gives me a good all-body workout and is about as pleasurable as you could expect for a rowing machine. Rowers know what I mean ;-) It is aesthetically beautiful and although a little noisy, the swirling and swishing sound of water can be considered quite soothing. Although at the upper end of the price range, it is a beautiful machine than is superbly made and with reasonable care, can be expected to last for many years. If you are considering purchasing a Water Rower, the units are available for rent so you can try before you buy or even rent / buy from some retailers or from Water Rower direct.
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