Top critical review
140 people found this helpful
A little disappointed, but it gets the job done.
on April 28, 2013
I have to admit that I was somewhat let-down by this rower. I spent a lot of time looking and comparing reviews, because I knew that I couldn't spend the big money for a Concept 2, so I wanted to find the best I could within my price range. I finally settled on the LifeSpan.
Putting this thing together is a piece of cake. It literally took me 15-30 minutes. The main piece, the big gray box that houses all the pulleys and such, is already assembled for you. All I had to do was attach the seat, bars, etc. (The instructions were a little confusing when it came to the seat; I actually thought they hadn't sent the bolts for it and was very upset. Turns out the instructions were just a little poorly done for that particular piece, so if you get the same thing, don't worry!)
There are several different tension settings, so you can choose what works best for you.
And possibly my favorite thing - the seat and long bar fold up easily so storing it, or just reducing it's footprint, is really easy.
The computer part is supposed to show you strokes/min, a timer, estimated calories, etc. You put in the included battery and pop the unit into place. Mine has never worked. Oh, when I start rowing, numbers show up. But only on the timer - everything else stays blank - and the timer seems to work randomly. It will say 2:17 for a very long time, then decide to work for about four seconds, then stop again, etc. I have to use a watch in order to actually time my workout. Obviously it doesn't affect the workout, but it is disappointing.
If I get into a good rhythm and start pulling with any force (and it's just a fabric strap you're pulling) I find that the front actually lifts off the ground. I only weigh 135lbs, so I definitely didn't expect to pull the unit right off the ground! I actually had to find some heavy weights and put them on the front feet in order to keep that from happening.
After about 7 or 8 workouts, I started to notice a bit of noise when I was using it. After I pull, and I start to move forward, there's something like a squeak or a squeal. I assume it's from the pulleys inside the machine, and it's very distracting. I don't expect a silent machine, especially in this price range, but I like to try to watch tv while I'm rowing and the constant squeal/squeak gets extremely frustrating.
All in all, you get what you pay for. You're going to get a decent workout, it gets heart rate up, and it's much better for cardio than an elliptical or treadmill. (In my opinion.) But you're not going to get quite the same quality of experience you would if you shelled out the extra money for a higher end model like the Concept 2.