-Real Fitness Equipment Reviews-
Lifecore R88 Rowing Machine Review (4.7/5)
The Lifecore R88 rowing machine has six levels of air/magnetic resistance that is manually adjusted using a control knob. The professional-quality, all-aluminum rail supports a smooth-gliding padded seat with a movement range of 31 inches. The pivoting computer screen can track a number of workout statistics and features three modes: Manual, Race and Recovery (wireless pulse monitor required). The R88 folds into an upright position for a minimal footprint after the workout.
Lifecore Fitness provides two wrenches and an Allen key, which are the only tools needed for assembly. The only tricky part was attaching the rail to the machine using the six bolts. Depending on how the rail is angled with the machine, is can be difficult to thread all of the bolts. It helps to have an assistant support and align the rail while another person applies the bolts. The bolts for the legs are self-locking at one end, meaning that you only need one wrench for tightening. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:
Above the resistance knob is an adjustable air vent that uses air created by the flywheel to cool the body. Airflow only occurs during each stroke, and is quite mild. There was just enough air to take the edge off. It’s the kind of extra feature that isn’t necessary, but you’re glad that it’s there nonetheless.
The foot pedals are oversized (11″x4.5″) and are attached to pivots that move with the ankles throughout each stroke. Shoes are secured using Velcro straps.
The computer display has two pivot points- one at the base of the neck and another just behind the display. Two test subjects had no issues finding a good viewing angle for the screen.
Heart Rate can only be tracked using the “5K” wireless chest strap offered by Lifecore (Appx. $45). The strap is placed around the torso and wirelessly transmits the user’s pulse rate to the computer.
Manual Mode: In manual mode, users can set goals as they see fit. For example, you can set a calorie goal and the computer will track calories burned until that goal is met. Whenever the user exceeds their goal, an alarm will sound. In manual mode, the display continuously switches between a timer countdown (set by user) and your Time/500m.
Race Mode: A fun little addition to this model is the Race Mode. In this mode you can challenge a mini “boat” on the screen to a race. Users can set their own Time/500m and total distance they want to travel. Users who need a bit more motivation in their routine may find this quite helpful. The difficulty of the race can be set from a range of L1-L15 depending on how fast you can row in a 500m distance.
Recovery Mode: This feature is only available when using the wireless chest strap. After the workout, press the “Recovery” button to initiate a 60-second cooldown mode where the computer monitors your heart rate recovery. Once complete, the computer will give you a “fitness score” ranging from L1-L6.
User Profiles: The box for this machine states that a single user profile can be created, but we found no clear evidence of this. It is possible that the computer can store your fitness score between sessions, but we did not have the heart rate monitor to test out the recovery mode. We still wouldn’t consider that to be a full user profile.
No grinding, squeaking or loose joints were detected during our routines. Lifecore recommends re-tightening all hardware after the first 12 hours of use, and regularly inspecting the machine every 3 months. Using WD-40 is not advised and will void the warranty.
There are no staples or stitching on the seat- it’s all molded into a single component.
We took a close look at the welds on the steel framework and found solid beads with virtually non-existent splatter. While the rail is left bare, all steel parts are coated in thick grey paint.
When folded, the Lifecore R88 only takes up about 23″x18.5″ of space. The wheels are not very big in diameter, making it quite difficult to roll the machine over carpeting. However, they work just fine on smooth surfaces.
Besides some grammatical errors here and there, the instruction are thorough and easy to understand.