The Waterrower has recently been made famous by Kevin Spacy as the rowing machine used in the ‘House of Cards’. It is a type of wooden rowing machine produced and manufactured by Waterrower Inc. in New England, USA. The rowers were designed by ex-US national team rower john Duke in the mid 1980’s and the company to manufacture them was established in 1988.
The WaterRower Club Rower has been designed for high traffic areas such as commercial gyms, studios, rehabilitation clinics, etc. Its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing; other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the natural model. Each machine has been hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection. Wood has been chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Ash, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all WaterRower woods are harvested from replenishable forests. WaterRower Club Rower Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
The WaterRower Classic Rower has been designed to optimize ease of storage. Simply lift one end and the machine stores conveniently upright in about the space of a dining room chair. The WaterRower Classic Rower has a light wooden frame, the positioning of the WaterFlywheel close to the wheels, and the leverage effect provided by the rails, makes lifting almost effortless. When stored the WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel provides a low center of gravity making the machine very stable.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke. 
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