Another mid-price entry in the rowing machine market, the First Degree Fitness WR-N Neptune Rower makes use of a water tank for resistance and includes a convenient hand pump for filling and emptying the tank. It can support users of up to 300 pounds.
The machine is sturdy, with a few potential assembly problems when you are putting it together, and stands upright for easy storage—a task made simpler by the inclusion of built-in wheels.
The monitor is adequate for the casual user, but more advanced users will probably want a model with a more sophisticated computer.
All in all, the Neptune Rower is an average to good medium-price exercise machine with smooth rowing action.
Size and Dimensions
The length of this rowing machine is just shy of 6 feet, which makes it of typical size for a home rower. The machine is 21 inches wide, which is quite narrow for a rowing machine, but the base of the machine is sturdy and wide enough to make it stable on any normal floor service.
The WR-N Neptune Rower is 20 inches tall in total, meaning that the seat is quite low to the ground and people with knee problems may have some slight difficulties in getting onto or rising from the machine; this is not a unique feature of this rower, however, and is true of many different models by a range of companies.
Maximum Weight: The maximum user weight is 300 pounds, allowing many more people to use the machine than some of the compact or mid-price models.
Weight, Storage, and Assembly
The rowing machine weighs 70 pounds empty, and from 91 to 108 pounds when water has been placed in the tank.
The machine includes built-in wheels and can be set upright for storage.
Problems and Complaints
There are some problems reported by users when constructing this device—some have found a rubber mallet necessary to tap some pieces, such as the food boards, into place, while others have reported even larger problems with fitting parts together. Others report no such problems — so it would seem that some individual machines are manufactured properly, while other machines are skewed.
A Comfortable Seat and Pivoting Foot Boards
The seat runs on well-milled bearings for a smooth ride during rowing, although as with most rowers there is a chance of internal plastic wheels eventually wearing down unevenly and causing a bumpy ride.
The seat itself is stable and comfortable, and is contoured to support each buttock properly while rowing.
The foot boards pivot, allowing the legs to move along with your stroke while still giving correct support.
Warranty and Durability
The Neptune Rower comes with a residential warranty that covers the frame for 5 years, the water tank for 2 years, the mechanical components for 2 years, and the rest of the wearing parts for 1 year.
The construction of the frame is metal, and the water tank is made of polycarbonate with stainless steel inner parts, so the machine is likely to last well beyond its warranty period with a little light maintenance and careful use.
Smooth Water Resistance and an Included Hand Pump
Resistance for the WR-N Neptune Rower is provided by water contained in a circular, front-mounted water tank, colored an attractive shade of blue.
The paddles inside the water tank, which push against the water as you row and use its weight as well as the backpressure of the tank walls for resistance, are made of stainless steel, while the seals of the tank are rubber.
The amount of water in the tank can be varied by the user from about 2.5 gallons to 4.5 gallons, meaning that the weight the rower is pulling against is anywhere from 21 pounds to 38 pounds.
The water tank ensures that resistance is very quiet, very smooth, and simulates the feel of rowing in water quite accurately. A hand pump is supplied with the rower to add or remove water more easily—a small but pleasant convenience that First Degree includes as a free “extra”.
A Basic Monitor with Several Measurements
The monitor of the Neptune Rower is fairly simple, and includes such data as the distance that you have rowed, the number of strokes you’ve rowed as well as the strokes per minute, the time you have spent rowing (per session), the number of calories you are burning per hour (there is no running total calorie count), watts, and pulse rate.
Pros and Cons of the First Degree Neptune Monitor
The monitor lacks many of the sophisticated and precise exercise measurement tools that more expensive models typically offer, so if you are determined to track your progress minutely or need sophisticated interfacing with your computer, the Neptune will not provide this.
The monitor does have a large, easy-to-read face, however, and is mounted centrally where it can be seen constantly during your workout. However, at least one user has reported another assembly problem.
One user reported that:
"… the magnet under the seat (to work with electronic monitor) was placed on the wrong side, and to correct this requires reassembling the seat and rollers with the spacers on the other side."
This is another engineering fault of the Neptune which will hopefully be corrected as the production run continues.
What Others Are Saying
The First Degree Neptune Rower has received excellent reviews on Amazon. Bruce Warne, a user, bought this water rower because of its adjustable resistance. He says
“The rower is of extremely high quality, and I’m not disappointed. It gives a great workout. This is my second rower”
Another user says:
“Had the rower for about a month now and it performs without flaw.”
And another one:
“There is no question that this machine is the best value on the market.”
Conclusion: a Decent Good-Quality Machine
All in all, the First Degree Neptune Rower is a good-quality, medium-price rower which falls firmly in the middle by all measurements. Its quality is good for the most part, but with a few flaws such as difficult assembly and occasional factory errors such as the misplaced magnet.
The monitor offers enough information for the casual user, but more dedicated rowers will find its data to be spare and probably inadequate. If you are interested in rowing on a budget, then the Neptune is a good choice for its smooth water resistance and durability.
Best Price for The Neptune Rower?
To my knowledge, Amazon offers the best combination of price and shipping on the Internet for the First Degree WR-N Rower.