Rowing machines are an excellent and effective way to get exercise and muscle tone, thanks to their sliding seat and repetitive rowing motion, that allows the engagement of almost all major muscle groups, without the need for a lot of gear or a lot of space compared to most workout machines. Long renowned as the perfect aerobic exercise, the WaterRower is unmatched with its ability to burn calories within a perceived level of exertion. Low impact and body weight bearing, the WaterRower is perfect for any user, and each one is built from beautiful, rich wood that is sourced only from sustainably-managed forests where growth exceeds removal by 229%.
Now back to the aesthetics, this version of WaterRower’s natural wood line of rowers comes in beautiful Black Walnut, which the company chose for its superior sound and vibration absorption. It’s hand-made in the USA and comes with excellent warranties and customer service. Overall, WaterRower is known for the quality of their rowing machines and the Classic is no exception. And if you do want to get this rower just as an attractive conversation piece, it easily stores upright against a wall. That said, we strongly recommend using The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine for fitness, not just eye-candy.
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.