BodyCraft VR200 Rowing Machine

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BodyCraft VR200

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300 lbs59.5 lbsAir and magneticFrame: lifetime
Parts: 5 years
Wear: 1 year
Labor: 1 year

BodyCraft offers several great quality rowing machines; we’ve already presented here the BodyCraft VR500 Pro which is the commercial model. Thus, in this review, we’re going to address the one made for home use, the BodyCraft VR200.

This rowing machine combines air and magnetic resistance elements. It’s a mid-range model, a bit more expensive than other rowers with air and magnetic resistance, such as the Sunny SF-RW5633. However, it offers a greater weight capacity and has an overall sturdier build.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 79L x 17.75W x 36.25H inches (201L x 45W x 92H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 59.5 lbs (27 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Frame: Steel and aluminum
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Air & magnetic, 8 levels
  • Exercise meter: Time, time/500m, strokes per minute, total strokes, distance, calories
  • Warranty: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Wear parts 1 year / Labor 1 year

Frame construction and parts

The first aspect to mention here is that the BodyCraft VR200 rower combines aluminum and steel elements in its frame construction. The front part that supports the flywheel and the resistance system, along with the rear stabilizer, is made of steel. The track of the seat, on the other hand, is made of extruded aluminum, in order to provide a smoother travel for the seat. The unit’s steel parts feature a corrosion-resistant, black powder coating, while the rail has its natural aluminum polish, with only the BodyCraft logo painted on it. Of course, the machine’s construction also integrates plastic parts, such as the flywheel covers, but these don’t affect the unit’s overall sturdiness.

Speaking of sturdiness, the rail and the seat assembly of this rowing machine are rated for a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg), which is not bad for a home use rower. But on the other hand, it’s not an extremely heavy unit; with the frame fully assembled it only weighs 59.5 lbs (27 kg). Thus, its assembly and transport shouldn’t be a problem. Its mid-base also has transport wheels which facilitate its relocation.

In terms of size, this model is slightly smaller than the VR500 Pro, or other rowers with an air/magnetic resistance, such as the LifeCore R90. With the frame fully assembled and extended, it’s 79″ (201 cm) long, and 17.75″ (45 cm) wide. The frame has a folding design, though; the rail with the seat assembly can be folded up to save space. With the rail folded up, its length is reduced to 35.5″ (90 cm). For safe operation, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance on each side and at the rear of the unit.

The BodyCraft VR200 rowing machine is equipped with a durable, lightly padded seat featuring a deep contour in order to provide maximum stability and comfort. Its metallic frame integrates heavy-duty wheels with industrial grade bearings, for a smooth and quiet operation, and a prolonged lifespan.

The top of the seat stands at approx. 15.5″ (39 cm) above floor level. This means that entry and exit aren’t too difficult even for users with disabilities. Also, the unit’s rail provides a 34″ travel, which means it can accommodate users up to approx. 6’4″ (193 cm).

This BodyCraft rower features a set of large footrests made of heavy-duty nylon material. They’re equipped with adjustable straps and they have heel guards providing maximum foot stability. They’re large enough to accommodate feet of all sizes. And finally, they also have a pivoting design which allows them so slightly adjust position as you row, always offering the perfect angle.

The rowing handle consists of an aluminum bar with rubberized grips for optimal comfort and hand adherence. It’s lightweight and approx. 16″ (40.6 cm) long, delivering a natural grip and hand positioning.

Resistance and drive

As we’ve mentioned above, the BodyCraft VR200 rower is equipped with an air and magnetic resistance system. It integrates a flywheel-fan which offers a dynamic response with each stroke. In other words, the airflow created by its spinning generates more or less resistance depending on how hard or fast you pull the handle. This results in a rowing feeling closer to rowing a real boat. A rowing machine that doesn’t have a fan and only has a magnetic resistance system, such as the Marcy NS-40503RW for example, does not offer this dynamic response.

But on the other hand, the machine also features a mechanical magnetic drum system connected to the resistance dial under the console. As you turn the dial clockwise, the magnetic brake will generate more resistance which results in a more consistent workout. The level 1 setting offers no magnetic resistance, just the air resistance generated by the flywheel. Conversely, the 7-8 levels add quite a bit of drag, resulting in a more consistent workout.

The top of the flywheel casing features a small air vent which allows you to direct the air current generated by the flywheel at you. This may be a useful feature when you engage in a longer and more intense workout.

The unit’s drive belt is whisper-quiet, smooth, and clean; it doesn’t require any lubrication. It’s actually a belt tested at 287 lbs of stress, pulled for over half a million times. The handlebar is attached to an abrasion-resistant nylon strap with a commercial-duty clutch and return spring.

Exercise meter

The meter unit included with the BodyCraft VR200 rower offers a bit more than the average basic unit. The first aspect that places it above a basic unit is the fact that it has a 7-panel LCD display and can show up to 7 workout metrics simultaneously. The top six panels show total strokes, strokes per minute, time/time500m, distance, calories burned, and total distance. The lower, larger panel is the mode display which allows you to run a SCAN function and rotate all the workout metrics or choose one of them to view larger at all times.

The unit offers both km and miles options for the distance display. The Time/500m shows your average 500-meter time, will automatically be displayed and continuously updated.

The big downside of this meter unit is that it can’t read your pulse. Thus, if you need to keep an eye on your heart rate during your exercising, you will have to use a separate device.

The exercise meter unit is fairly easy to operate. It has two buttons, MODE and RESET. The MODE button controls the SCAN function on the lower display. If the SCAN function is toggled on, the values are shown in a sequence, each one remaining on the display for 5 seconds. The RESET key evidently serves the purpose of clearing all the values on the unit to zero.

The meter is battery-powered. It requires two AA batteries. It has a sleep function to which will enter if there is no activity on the machine for several minutes. It starts up if you press a button or if you pull the handle.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front part of the rower which includes the flywheel and the resistance system comes pre-assembled. However, you will have to attach the unit’s base stabilizers, mount the seat on its track, attach the track to the front part of the frame, attach the footrests and finally the console. This may take up to an hour. However, the manual does provide excellent assembly instructions and schematics. Also, a set of basic tools for assembly is included.

Maintenance requires periodic dusting; the rail should be kept clean to prevent any damage to the seat wheels. An oil-based furniture polish is recommended for the rail maintenance. It’s also recommended to periodically check for loose bolts or damaged parts.

The Pros

  • Sturdy construction – can hold users up to 300 lbs;
  • Folding frame, space-saving design;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the middle base;
  • Pivoting footrests with straps and heel guards for maximum foot stability;
  • Deep-contoured, padded and spacious seat supplying excellent comfort;
  • Air resistance for a natural, dynamic response during rowing;
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance for overall tension adjustment;
  • 7-panel display which indicates time, time/500m, meters, strokes per minute, total strokes, distance, and calories;
  • Fairly quiet for a rower with air resistance;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • The console doesn’t monitor pulse;
  • The console doesn’t have backlight.


The BodyCraft VR200 is a rowing machine featuring an air and magnetic resistance system, equipped with a mid-range console which can track time, time/500m, distance, strokes per minute, total strokes, and calories. It has a sturdy construction, with a T13 aluminum rail and a folding frame design. It’s a trainer made for home use, perfect for a light to intense, full-body cardio training, interval training, stamina development and weight loss. Finally, it’s not one of the most affordable models in this price range but does offer an excellent value for the price.

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