Is Echelon’s Rower Worth Buying?

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Photo credit: Depositphotos

If treadmills and exercise bikes aren’t your thing, the unique combination of strength and cardio training that a rower provides can really get you going. If that sounds appealing to you, but you don’t know how or where to begin, a smart rower that’s capable of acting as your personal trainer can help you maximise your rowing time.

That’s precisely what Echelon provides. The firm started by selling a smart indoor spin bike that rivalled Peloton, along with live and in-demand classes you can access right at home. Now that company has combined that format with rowing machines.

The investment is serious and an ongoing one, as it’s more costly than many other serious rowers. You’ll also need to subscribe to the app if you really want to take advantage of the equipment. Although, you can still use the rowing features without it.

As is the case with its spin bike, the Echelon rower requires a screen, i.e. a tablet or a smartphone. This was a benefit with the bike, and ensured it was far less costly than Peloton, and if you didn’t own a tablet, you could buy one with the money you saved. And there aren’t many rowers that come with integrated screens.

You can see a more in-depth review at InfomotionSports.com. For now, here’s our introduction to the Echelon rower.

The Experience

Surprisingly, the product makes very little noise, which your neighbours and housemates will appreciate. The little noise that it does make comes from you sliding your body as you row.

While a larger screen would make the experience a more immersive one, you can use your smartphone and headphones to stay focused on the classes.

You can try a range of live and on-demand classes to work on your endurance, strength, or even a fusion of the two. The workouts can test you even without going beyond 45 minutes. While many classes call you to spend short periods off the rower, you have the option to continue rowing and you’ll still get a good workout. For many people, a few half-hour workouts per week that combine rowing and resistance work will positively affect their fitness.

The well-structured classes feature instructors that are thankfully toned down from the over-hyped style of instruction delivered in some of the spinning classes from Echelon. Instead, the focus is on correct rowing technique to help you maximise your sessions, although it also feels like it can take up too much time from some of the shorter classes. It will make sure that the right stroke rate and resistance levels are being used, however. 

There are 32 magnetic resistance levels, brought to life via a 3.5kg flywheel and magnets that combine to provide a quiet, smooth operation and a wide range of resistance. You can change the resistance level using two buttons on the handles. Structurally, that’s smart because if you employ a narrow grip when you row, you can use your thumbs to reach them without disturbing your stroke rhythm. Even if you use a wide grip, you can lean over to reach them with little effort.

The App

The rower uses Bluetooth to connect to the app, which works well. You should have no problems pairing with various Android smartphones, and you’d unlikely experience any connection drop-outs during classes.

The app is divided into Live, OnDemand, and Featured sections, and the Progress tab allows you to track any classes you’ve completed. You can connect to Fitbit and Strava to send data to the platforms, and it swiftly syncs with your Strava profile once your session has been completed.

Verdict

Yes, the rower is expensive, but it’s also good-looking and robust. The classes provide an effective workout while also promoting improved rowing technique. The live classes and workouts library isn’t as expensive as what you’d find on the bike, but there’s hope that that library will expand. There’s certainly enough on there right how to help you work on your fitness.

Before you purchase the rower, ensure you have no problem with the app’s subscription costs, even if there’s an option to use it outside of classes. These classes are what will motivate you to regularly use it.

The rower is a great option for those who are attracted to the idea of improving their fitness on a rowing machine but who also require guidance in order to take full advantage of the investment. If you put in the right amount of effort, you’ll justify the expense.

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