WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine Review

Rowing machines with water resistance, such as the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor, are perhaps a tad costiler than other types, but they do provide the most realistic of motions, with real water resistance as opposed to the artificial resistance of piston, air or magnet. WaterRower is perhaps the best known name in water rowing machines, and therefore our expectations tend to be high. However, as the following review will show, the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor not only ensures that the usual benefits of rowing machines, but also makes for a comfortable workout on a frame that is built for posterity.

Technical Specifications: 

  • Resistance Type: Water resistance
  • Dimensions: 84 x 21 x 22 inches
  • Machine Weight: 117 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 1,000 pounds.
  • Storage: Stands upright
  • Warranty: 5- year frame/ 3- year parts

(Requires completion of registration form. Otherwise, warranty is 1 year)

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Ease of Assembly

Though one has to be a little more careful with the wooden frame than a normal steel or aluminium frame, the user guide is very easy to follow. Most users could put together the device in an hour or so using just an allen wrench.


Used as we are to metallic frames, the Cherry wood frame of the  WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor makes for an interesting change. WaterRower claims it stores the wood away from sunlight to prevent shadowing, and only when the machine is ordered are the pieces put together. Further, it claims that the different pieces of wood are hand crafted, and finished with three coats of Danish oil.

This makes the machine perhaps the best looking of all rowing machines, but the fact that it is not factory made does make one wonder how strong the build would be. As we learnt, the machine is capable of handling massive abuse (though not meant for commercial use), during rigorous rowing sessions. Indeed, users claimed that despite putting in their maximum effort, they could not move the frame an inch during workout due to the excellent build and the low center of gravity.

Ease of use

The  WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor, as with all water rowing machines, uses paddles which are dipped in a round water tank. When you pull the handle, the paddle moves. As such, there is no provision for setting hard and fast resistance settings, and one simply generates more resistance as one rows harder. The motion however is extremely smooth on this rowing machine, with there being no issues with the handle, monorail or water tank.

What’s almost unique about the machine is its weight capacity. The site claims that it is 1000 pounds, which is the highest among the rowing machines we’ve reviewed so far. While no one of  such weight has actually reviewed the device, it shows just how confident the manufacturer is regarding the ability of the frame to take massive pressure. The length of the rowing machine makes it ideal for anyone with a height of 6’4” or less (with even children using it without any issues).


Regarding the provision for comfort, WaterRower has provided a sufficiently padded seat, which ensures sufficient comfort even during long rowing sessions. The handle is shaped to fit well into your hands, and light as well. The footrests having pivoting mechanism, which allows your feet their natural motion during rowing. One can adjust them to fit one’s foot size, and the straps are tight enough to ensure that they don’t slip during workout.

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The control panel of the  WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor, as the name suggests, is an S4 monitor. What this means is that it comes with a large number of features, including nine buttons to control different functions. It is capable of showing heart rate, stroke rate, just like normal machines. However, the additional benefits of the machine include a target display, which shows the targets for each of the attributes that the monitor displays. One problem, however, is that the monitor isn’t backlit, making it hard to see it in low light.


Water resistance rowing machines typically have large footprints, and the  WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor is no exception. However, with some good engineering, the machine can be placed vertically, taking up the space of the average dining room chair.


  • Handcrafted wooden frame with Danish oil finish makes for a beautiful but heavy duty frame. Smooth functioning thanks to superior engineering
  • Comfortable handles and seat, along with pivoting footrests, makes workouts a comfortable experience.


  • Display of the control panel is not backlit.


Though the price of the  WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor may be on the higher side, one gets an immensely sturdy frame, smooth and comfortable working and a multi-functional monitor. Though one wishes WaterRower had provided a backlighting on the display, overall this machine is well worth the price it demands.

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