by Rhian Hunt
The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 is a mid-price rowing machine that offers a good, solid workout and a few extras as well. It consists of a pale silver-colored steel rail with a seat mounted atop it and a somewhat aquiline frontal case that contains the 16.5-pound flywheel that provides resistance to the eager rowers who make use of it.
The design has the virtue of simplicity, together with good manufacturing standards and a decent quality computer monitor, described by the manufacturer as a "console”. Fairly quiet, versatile, and giving a strong workout, the RW1000 is a good choice for the mid-level rower who wants a longer-lasting machine without the expense of top-end models.
Size and Weight
Made of solid steel, without any aluminum, the RW1000 rower is a bit over 7 feet long (87 inches), 19 inches wide, and 23 inches high when assembled. The machine folds directly behind the flywheel casing, making it 34 inches long by 19 inches wide by 64 inches high for storage. It is therefore rather long, but narrow, and weighs 80 pounds, mostly thanks to its steel frame.
After the parts have been laid out, the rower can be put together in about 15 minutes.
Durability and Warranty
The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 is a sturdy machine, by and large, and its creators think highly enough of its durability to offer a five year warranty on the frame, two years of warranty on parts, and one year on labor.
A 300 Pound User Capacity
The maximum user weight is a good indicator of how well a rowing machine is constructed, and the maximum capacity of this particular machine is 300 pounds, which sets in firmly in the middle of engineering and material strength. Flimsy machines run closer to 250 pounds, while tough machines may be 350 pounds or more.
Seat, Handles, and Footboards
The fittings that the user relies on directly for support and leverage, the seat, handles, and footboards are of good construction as well. The seat is comfortable and the footboards are mounted with a pivot to make the leg move naturally and be easy on the joints. The hand grips are padded for user comfort and to ensure a secure hold.
Problems and Complaints
- There is an occasional problem with the footboard straps breaking on some machines, although this seems to be related to the type of shoes the user wears.
- The roller track for the seat needs to be cleaned periodically with WD-40, but this is common to most rowing machines.
- The calorie counter cannot "sense" and adopt to the changes in rowing resistance and therefore it is inaccurate.
Quiet Resistance with a Magnetic Flywheel
The flywheel of the Lifespan Fitness RW1000 weighs 16.5 pounds and moves very quietly, with a magnetic brake providing resistance. The magnet requires electricity to power it, of course.
There are 5 levels of resistance. The upper levels of resistance seem deceptively easy until you have rowed for a few minutes and are completely exhausted. As one exerciser, T. Nolle of New Jersey, expressed it, "when you start rowing for the first time because the effort level seems light so you tend to crank it up to 4 or 5 (the top)". Don’t do that unless you’re in decent shape or you’ll bonk pretty quickly.
The magnetic resistance has the advantage that there is no friction that would make parts wear out or squeak.
Gentle on the Joints
The action of the magnetic flywheel is smooth enough to be very easy on the joints. It has a low impact on feet, knees and back making the machine a good choice for those who have joint or skeletal problems.. Interestingly, the rower’s action is concentrated about 70% in the legs, with the remainder falling in the upper body.
The Lifespan Fitness’ Computer Monitor
The console, which is mounted on the frontal casing just below the hand grips, has three screens which can display some combination of the distance you have "rowed”, the time you have been rowing, the total number of strokes for this session, the number of strokes per minute, and the amount of calories you have burned while rowing. As often seems to be the case with rowing machine computers, the calorie count is the least accurate of the measures, and shows no change between resistance levels.
Thanks to its location, the console would be difficult to break, unlike some which are mounted on long stems jutting towards the user; the trade-off is that it is slightly harder to read.
Overview of the RW1000 Rower
In conclusion, the Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine is a good middle-of-the-road rowing machine. The magnetic resistance is quiet and effective, giving a good workout to users of various fitness levels without putting a strain on their joints.
The worst failings of the machine are the breaking footboard straps, mechanical problems with the pulleys after several years of use, and the lack of a good calorie counter in the computer. The typical user can work around these problems, however, and get a good exercise session several times a week for a very moderate price.
The RW1000 price is reasonable, and its quality will make it last. But if you want a better quality rowing machine that brings the feeling of water rowing home, then get a Concept 2 Model D or Model E.
Where Can I Find a Good Deal on the RW1000?
The best combination of price and shipping is to be found on Amazon, which also offers good customer service in handling orders for the Lifespan Fitness RW1000.