LifeCore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine Review
The LifeCore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine is a high-quality, commercial-grade rower with some very exciting features that make it a winner for both fitness club and home use. The biggest thing that sets this rowing machine apart is its resistance system that combines fan resistance and magnetic resistance for an extra-smooth, quiet, and controlled cardio workout. Secondly, the LC-R100 includes a high-quality LCD computer display that not only controls a ton of resistance levels and workout programs, but delivers most of the data you’d want to help track your performance (including heart rate data via an included chest strap). Round out those features with very solid construction and a great lifetime warranty and you’re off and rowing on a machine that rivals the popular Concept2 Model D.
Unique Resistance System
To dig into this LifeCore rowing machine’s unique resistance system, we should point out that this is the only rowing machine out there that offers both fan and magnetic resistance. Why is this interesting? Fan resistance provides smooth rowing by pulling through the air, but this style can get noisy when stroking at high intensity. It also is harder for the machine to offer tough resistance at higher velocity strokes with air-only resistance. That’s where electronic magnetic resistance comes in. In fact, on the LifeCore R100, magnetic resistance comes in almost immediately. The rowing machine’s resistance is all fan-generated at Level 1. Then at Level 2 and beyond, magnetic resistance is engaged. The magnetic resistance braking system provides controlled intensity while the fan resistance continues to provide an overall smooth and quiet rowing action. Pretty smart.
As a bonus, the R100 has an air vent aimed at the user that you can close or open (like vents in a car) to give you a human-powered cooling breeze during your workout. Nice to see all that moving air from the fan flywheel go to a good use.
Now we’ll move on to the on-board computer display. The attractive, dual-color, LCD computer display is backlit (a rare feature for some reason), which makes viewing your workout data easy even in a darkened room. The computer is battery-powered (4x”C” batteries), or can be plugged in via the included AC adaptor.
The display monitor on this LifeCore rowing machine sits on an adjustable arm that extends out a good distance from the frame giving the user a good view of its features and allowing for easy interaction. The monitor is adjustable and can pivot for optimal viewing for users of any height. The user can choose from 16 levels of resistance and 11 pre-programed workouts that are quickly adjusted on the monitor. We list them out below, but should mention that the heart rate programs are a great feature as they allow your workout to be automatically adjusted to keep your heart rate in a desired range.
- Length: 92”
- Width: 19”
- Height: 36”
- Product Weight: 96 lbs
- Length: 52”
- Width: 19”
- Height: 67”
- Fan resistance and electronic magnetic resistance
- Nylon belt drive
- Resistance levels controlled by computer monitor
- Steel fan flywheel
- Forged aluminum rail
- Large, steel, pivoting foot pads
- Separate heel supports
- Ergonomic rowing handle
- Adjustable air vents for cooling user during workout
- Wheels for transport
- Max User Weight: 600 lbs
16 Levels of Resistance (Fan + Magnetic)
15 Preset Programs:
- Pacer – race against the computer
- Intervals distance
- Intervals time
- Watts control
- White water
- 4 user-defined programs
- 4 programs are heart rate-controlled (Polar HRM compatible)
All fitness data can be seen on the main screen:
- Strokes per minute
- Pulse rate
- 500 meter split time
- Total time rowed
- Total strokes
- Meters rowed
- Total calories burned
*Includes wireless chest strap for built-in HR monitor (Some high end machines have HR receiver but don’t include chest strap.)
The LifeCore R100 has a “quick release framelock” mechanism below the frame that allows the user to easily fold up the rower. Just unlock the frame, fold up the beam, rail and seat section, then move the machine using the attached transport roller wheels. The R100 folds up to 52” long or around half its normal length.
Warranty residential use (*commercial use warranty varies):
- Lifetime frame
- 1 year on labor
- 5 years on parts
What We Love About the LifeCore R100 Rowing Machine
This is a great rowing machine. If you’re in the market for a rower and are putting a premium on one that is smooth, quiet, challenging, gives you all the data you’d want, and has an amazing warranty, this is it.
Fan/Magnetic Combination Resistance = Great Workout
As we outlined above this is a smart combo that when combined with the nylon belt drive strap gives the user one of the smoothest and hushed rowing experiences you can find. What we didn’t mention earlier is that you’re going to be getting an excellent workout with this resistance system. As with any rowing machine, you’re probably rowing to get your cardio workout plus muscle toning, and maybe burn through the calories to lose a few pounds. The resistance combo keeps resistance controlled at any intensity you desire. This is great for tackling a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session on your own or in conjunction with a Crossfit WOD.
Can an overall great machine have any negatives? Of course. This machine is very heavy and you’ll probably need help getting it up any stairs or even moving it across the room. That weight comes from the solid construction and will help with stability, but it should be mentioned.
Assembly and Tweaking
Assembling the LifeCore R100 can be a bit of a task, and you want to make sure all of the parts are dialed in to your satisfaction. Some people report that the LifeCore rowing machine needs some tweaking after assembly to make sure everything is rolling smoothly. It shouldn’t be a problem but don’t be afraid to call customer support if you encounter any issues.
Final Word on the LifeCore R100 Rowing Machine
What else can we say? The LifeCore R100 Rowing Machine should be near the top of your list when considering rowing machines in this price range. It’s closest competitors will be the Concept2 and WaterRower lines. Overall, the R100 is going to last you a long time, and if anything goes wrong you’ve got a solid warranty and helpful customer service to sort it out. Highly recommended.
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Here’s LifeCore’s video on the R100 Rowing Machine: