WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor Review



For many, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor is quite possibly the best rowing machine that exists today, alongside the equally popular WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor. With superior engineering and solid construction built into one classy and elegant package, this handcrafted rowing machine replicates actual rowing movements while giving you a full workout. It also enables you to track your progress, thanks to its Series 4 performance monitor, so you have a clear idea if you are headed in the right direction with respect to your health and fitness program. Although it cannot exactly be described as cheap or affordable, its outstanding features more than make up for the ‘steeper-than-your-average-rowing-machine’ price tag.

Technical Specifications

  • Resistance Type: Water resistance
  • Dimensions (in use): 82.25 x 22.25 x 20 inches
  • Dimensions (in storage): 20 x 22.25 x 82.25 inches
  • Machine Weight (dry tank):  66.5 lbs
  • Machine Weight (full tank): 103.5 lbs
  • Weight capacity: Up to 1,000 lbs (454 kg)
  • Maximum User’s Height: Up to 41” inseam
  • Storage:  Upright
  • Warranty: 1 year warranty, but upgradable to 5 years on frame, 3 years on parts, upon filling up of registration form

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor Review
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Ease of assembly

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor comes with a well-written and easy-to-follow set of assembly instructions. The 10-step assembly guide also comes with detailed pictures that will make the instructions easier to follow. Upon purchase of this unit, you will already be provided with an allen wrench, which is pretty much the only tool you’ll need to put it together. Even those who are not experienced at putting things together won’t take more than half an hour to assemble the Natural Rowing Machine.

Structure

Handcrafted in solid Ash, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is made from solid and premium hardwood (Ash) which guarantees durability and sturdiness, as well as stability. Since it is wood, you are assured of a smooth and quiet operation, since it effectively absorbs vibration and sound, two of the most common complaints usually leveled against many rowing machines. It is then stained with Honey Oak to make the color consistent, and finished off by hand with Danish Oil, lending it a classical and lustrous look.

Instead of dealing with a noisy and complicated motor, this rowing machine provides resistance via a set of paddles and a water tank. This is referred to as a “water flywheel”, designed to perfectly replicate actual rowing movements.

Ease of use

You would think that everything seems to be simplified with the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine, and you would be right. Aside from a user-friendly monitor/control panel to track your rowing progress, it also utilizes a simple concept when it comes to its operation. Just like the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor, it also maximizes your comfort by having a padded and molded seat with an ergonomic design. The shape of the handle resembles a teardrop, which makes it easier to grip and prevents any potential injuries to your wrists.

Operation

Operation of the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor is as easy as taking your seat and getting into the right position, and then starting rowing. That’s it. Now keep in mind that this makes use of water resistance, which explains the presence of the water tank and paddles, or the ‘water flywheel’ system. To adjust the resistance, you will have to adjust the speed and intensity of your rowing. If you are looking for a more intense workout, row faster. If you are going for a low-impact total body workout, row at a slower pace. Or you can also adjust the resistance level by changing the water level. You will feel heavier resistance if the water tank is full or has more water, while you will have a lower-resistance workout with less water in the tank.

Parts

The Natural Rowing Machine also maintains the standards in quality that WaterRower accords all its machines. The water tank, for example, is made from strong and practically indestructible polycarbonate plastic. The handle is made from aluminum, making it light and responsive. The footboard of the footrest can easily accommodate any foot size, and comes with nylon straps to secure your feet. You might find the footboard flimsy at best, and the heel rests are slightly rough and might chafe your feet when you row barefoot, so that’s one thing to consider.

Display

As usual, WaterRower also included its Series 4, or S4, performance monitor in this unit. This multifunctional fitness monitor gathers all the information in their respective windows and displays them all at one time on the main screen. There are windows for Intensity, Stroke Rate, Heart Rate, Target Zone, Duration, and Distance, as well as a separate Program window.

One good thing about this monitor is you can easily link it to your computer for further and better analysis of your workouts, using software such as WaterRower’s We-Row, NetAthlon, and a number of other rowing software programs.


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Storage

The easy “flip over” design of this rowing machine allows you to easily pull it out of storage once you work out then put it back in once you’re done. On its upright position, it takes up very little space, and the base is stable enough to take its weight when it’s upright.

Advantages

It’s hard to simulate a rowing motion unless you’re in the water, on actual boat, but that was before WaterRower introduced its water-resistance type rowers. The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor’s use of the water flywheel system is close to the real thing, and with such a quiet and smooth operation, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself out on the lake, rowing away and enjoying the quiet sound of the water from the tanks. It’s fluid, it’s smooth, and another plus is how quietly it operates. No “chugging motor” or even squeaking sounds to be heard anywhere.

It’s hard to simulate a rowing motion unless you’re in the water, on actual boat, but that was before WaterRower introduced its water-resistance type rowers. The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor’s use of the water flywheel system is close to the real thing, and with such a quiet and smooth operation, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself out on the lake, rowing away and enjoying the quiet sound of the water from the tanks. It’s fluid, it’s smooth, and what’s more, you are getting a total body workout!

Another great thing about this unit is its smooth and quiet operation. This is largely due to the water resistance. That means you can get your workout done even when everyone else is asleep, or you can simply work out in relaxing silence.

Disadvantages

Some of the complaints against this model have something to do with its performance monitor. For starters, it is so basic; it would help if it also displays information such as total calorie count or the number of calories burned per workout session. Since it’s not backlit, you will always have to have some light in order to view the information displayed. There are also some issues about the build quality of the footrests and how fragile they are.

Conclusion

When it comes to construction and build, it is safe to say that the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor is the logical and best choice among all the rowing machines available in the market today. Aside from the fact that it ticks all the boxes when it comes to longevity, durability, and performance, the fact that it is very low maintenance is also a good enough reason to choose this product.

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