Top positive review
668 people found this helpful
Started Good, Now Disappointing, Maybe Dangerous
on September 5, 2009
We just assembled our new Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower. It took about an hour and a half. The machine feels pretty sturdy to me. Is it worth $279? Hard to say, but with everything so overpriced these days, who knows? The acid test is usually how long something lasts, so it will be worth the money if it gives several years of good service. I've done my first half hour of rowing and it's a fairly smooth action and relatively quiet. On some sites, a few people complained that the lowest setting is too tough for beginners, and I agree. But you can set the arms even a little lower than the bottom number, and this helps. I've had two rowing machines in the past and this one is as good or better than they were. I like the ability to set the back of the bar up higher which aids in getting off and on the rower. I was concerned about the 'orbital' action of the arms, but find it's easy to adjust to, and in effect, you can just row as normal and not use the orbital ability at all. I'm giving the unit a 5 for now since it seems to meet my expectations. I'll update later on, whether good or bad, once I've had the chance to use it several weeks.
******Update after 2 weeks of use ****
This is the update I promised after using the rower for a couple of weeks. In my first review I asked myself the question, is the rower worth the money. I answered that by saying it depended how it held up over time. Well. The answer to that question is a resounding NO !!! If I could, I'd rate the unit one star for poor quality control, but Amazon's rating system won't let me go back and change it from the original 5 stars. I read the couple of reviews saying the shocks had broken down after a couple of weeks, and the one that slammed the unit for using plastic parts instead of metal, especially at this price. I chose to ignore those concerns in the face of the other positive reviews. It turns out that was a big mistake. After 2 weeks of use, the plastic rod that's used to attach the circular connecting loop on the end of the shock to the frame, snapped off. This piece is extremely important because it has to take the force of pulling back on the shock every time you row. And Stamina chose to make this piece out of cheap plastic instead of metal and it broke after using the rower a total of seven 30 minute sessions. This is totally unacceptable, not just for the inconvenience of having the rower disabled, but also the injuries it could cause if it breaks while you're intensely rowing. Since other people have shocks that broke after only 2 weeks, it's an obvious design flaw based on trying to save a few pennies using plastic instead of metal in a critical area. I also blame myself for not checking on the warranty. It's only 90 days for parts and labor. As you can imagine, because of this design flaw, I fully expect the other shock, or even the new one, to break after enough stress, and if I'm beyond the 90 days, I will have to pay for shocks for this unit. The shock broke on Thursday the 24th. I called Customer Service at 3:30 Central Time (they're supposed to be open until 5 CST). Nobody answered and nobody returned the call that day. The next day they called and took the info and said I would get a replacement shock in 5 to 7 days. So I'll lose a minimum of a week on my exercise program. Today is Sept. 30th, and I don't have the shock yet, so we'll see how long it takes. It's not very comforting to feel these shocks could let go any time during the heat of an intense rowing session causing injury or damage. I've had two other rowing machines over the years, both of which were used for extended periods of time, and the shocks were never an issue. Stamina has to be aware of the problems with these shocks because of the increasing complaints, and should issue a recall on them, and supply all users with new ones that support the connector with metal and not plastic. Until then I would recommend you avoid this rower completely.
I've just become aware from the Epinions site that another person has had problems with the shocks on the Stamina stepper also, and is frustrated in having to buy replacement shocks after the warranty runs out. In my opinion, this means there is absolutely no question Stamina is aware their shocks don't last. And of course, it's the customer that has to pay additional money, above the purchase price, to keep the unit going. I can honestly say I will never consider buying a Stamina Products piece of equipment again.
****One Last Update****
I got the replacement shock and have had a few rowing sessions since then. But I began noticing the same problem another reviewer had with the rollers. The seat actually started to rumble, and it was because the plastic rollers were breaking down and getting grooved unevenly. The last two sessions were really annoying to say the least. Today the seat jammed up in mid-row and I couldn't continue. One of the back rollers has a deep, uneven groove in it, and won't stay in place. The other back roller is also getting grooved. I called to get replacement rollers, but now I'll lose another week of rowing while I wait. By the time I get the rollers, I will have had the rower 6 weeks, and will have lost two weeks to breakdowns. So if you're thinking of getting this rower (I hope not), you may have to plan on only using it 2/3 of the time, unless you build an inventory of spare parts. This has not proven to be a well made machine, as this is the second plastic part to break down in just a few weeks. I won't update my review any more. I think you can tell how I feel about this machine.