First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine

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FDF Apollo Pro 2
first degree fitness commercial rower - apollo pro 2
Check Discounted Price
330 lbs75 lbsWater,
4 levels
Frame: 5 years
Tank: 3 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Wear: 1 year

The Apollo Pro II is a commercial grade rowing from First Degree Fitness. Although it’s quite similar in construction to the WaterRower Club model, it has a lower weight capacity. It’s part of the FDF Horizontal series, has the same water tank and console as the Viking 2 AR of the same series, but as opposed to the Viking model, the Apollo model combines both steel and wood elements in its frame construction.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 84L x 22W x 21H inches (213L x 56W x 54H cm)
  • Product weight: 75 lbs (34 kg) w/o water; 112.5 lb (51 kg) w/ water
  • Supported weight: 330 lbs (150 kg)
  • Frame: Wood (Ash) & steel
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance: Water, adjustable (4 levels)
  • Fitness computer: Time, distance, strokes per minute, watts, calories/hour, 500m split time, HR capable, USB port
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Tank & seals 3 years / Mechanical 2 years / Wear parts 1 year

Water tank and resistance

The First Degree Fitness Pro II Apollo rowing machine features a water resistance system. As we’ve mentioned above, it’s equipped with the same type of water tank as the Viking 2 AR or the Newport models. It’s different than the water tanks on the WaterRower models, as it fdf apollo pro 2 - adjustable water resistance tankintegrates a water level adjustment system, with 4 levels.

It’s divided into two chambers, the “storage” chamber and the “active” chamber; the dial on the top of the tank allows you to quickly add or remove water from the “active” chamber, in order to adjust the machine’s overall resistance. Therefore, if you have all the water in the “active” chamber, the machine will generate the maximum resistance level possible, providing the training setting required by pro athletes. Conversely, if you set the dial to the minimum level, 3/4 of the water will pass into the “storage” chamber, and the machine will generate 3/4 less resistance.

The water tank is equipped with a 3-blade, metallic impeller, connected to a bungee cord which facilitates its recovery. The pulling handle is attached to a durable nylon strap, designed for many years of use. Also, the pulling handle is slightly curved towards the user, in order to provide a more natural grip and less impact on the wrists.

Nonetheless, since it’s a water resistance rower, the rowing feel and resistance generated are similar to rowing a real boat. As you pull the handle, the impeller will rotate into the tank, generating a dynamic response. Differently put, the more power you put behind each stroke, or the faster your stroke rate will be, the more resistance the machine will generate.

The water tank is made of heavy-duty polycarbonate material. Its capacity is 4.5 gal (17 liters), and in order to generate resistance, it requires a quantity of water between 2.3 and 4.5 gal (9-17 liters). It’s recommended to be filled to its maximum capacity of 17 liters, in order for you to benefit from the 4 distinctive levels of resistance.

The tank is easy to fill up. The tank has a small orifice on top, sealed by a rubber plug. A small pump is included with the rower, which allows the filling or emptying the tank.

Last but not least, the operation of the rower doesn’t generate a high level of noise. The sound produced by the spinning of the impeller in the tank can be described as a soft “whoosh” sound. Various users have actually reported that the sound generated relaxes them.

Frame and other parts

This First Degree Fitness rower features a wood & steel frame construction. Its side rails are made of Ash wood, treated with high-grade oils and a durable, glossy finish. The front part of the frame which provides support for the water tank is made of steel, as well as the plate to which the footrests are attached. The steel frame part features a high-grade powder finish, black in color, resistant fdf apollo pro 2 - adjustable footreststo scratching and corrosion.

The machine’s frame is rather large, especially lengthwise. It’s 84″ (213 cm) long and 22″ (56 cm) wide. It also requires at least two feet of clearance at the rear and on each side for safe and unhindered operation. But on the other hand, this rowing machine can be stored vertically, just as the WaterRower Oxbridge or ProRower H2O RX-950. In a vertical position, its footprint becomes 22″ x 21″ (56 x 54 cm), and its height will become 84″ (213 cm), so it may not fit in a vertical position in a room with a 7′ ceiling. Also, in case you’re wondering, the water does not require to be removed from the tank when the rower is stored vertically.

The frame rests on two thick rubber stabilizers at the rear, and two at the front. They’re non-adjustable, but they do deliver an excellent grip onto the floor, and a great overall stability. Its front end is equipped with a set of silicone wheels which facilitate the transport or handling of the machine once it’s fully assembled. The rower is not extremely heavy; it weighs approx. 75 lbs (34 kg) without water inside the tank, and approx. 112 lbs (51 kg) with water.

The rower’s seat doesn’t integrate air cushioning cells. However, it does have a bit of padding, and a contoured surface to provide optimal comfort. It also features an anti-slip surface, and a small edge at the rear, in order to deliver excellent adherence. It has a sturdy construction, being able to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg). first degree fitness - apollo pro 2 - seat

The seat glides on two pairs of wheels which integrate sealed ball bearings for prolonged use. Each wheel has a cover finished with two small brushes which help keep the sliding rails clean, free of small objects that may cause nicks on them.

Overall, the seat provides an extremely smooth and quiet action. The top of the seat stands at approx. 16″ (40 cm) above floor level, thus taking position on the rower or getting up is fairly easy, and shouldn’t be a problem even for users with various disabilities.

The gliding beams on which the seat glides, are made of heavy-duty nylon material, This comes with several advantages. First of all, they reduce the noise generated by the rollers of the seat during rowing. Second of all, the gliding surface is also much tolerating with any small particles that may fall on it. As opposed to that, if the gliding beams of a rower are metallic, even the slightest dirt particle fallen on it will result in bumps and clicks during rowing. But nonetheless, the small brushes on each wheel casing will remove any small particles, dust or sand.

The machine’s footrests are adjustable, being able to accommodate shoes of all sizes. They also have heel guards and adjustable straps, offering all the stability required. They’re placed on a fixed metallic plate, connected directly to the front part of the frame. Their angle is non-adjustable. They’re set at a 45°, delivering optimal comfort.

Finally, the side rails of the First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro 2 rowing machine are long enough to accommodate users up to 6’7″ (201 cm).

Exercise meter

The fitness meter supplied with the FDF Apollo Pro II rower has quite a bit more to offer than the basic units on the Stamina 1205 or Sunny SF-RW5623. First of all, it has a multi-panel LCD display, which indicates all the workouts metrics at once, so you won’t have to useapollo pro 2 - fitness meter a SCAN function to rotate them. Second of all, it has a USB port which allows you to connect it to a PC via USB cable, in order to use various First Degree Fitness apps, such as the “NetAthlon 2 XF for Rowers”. These apps give you the possibility to save and track your workout data online or to compete with other rowers.

The unit shows time, 500M time, strokes per minute, distance, pulse, watts, and calories per hour. For distance, the meter unit offers the possibility to add 1000m for each press of the larger button. Also, this button covers the unit’s reset function. By holding it down for 3 sec., the unit will reset.

Since the water tank offers 4 levels of difficulty, the console also has 4 distinctive difficulty levels. This being said, you have to adjust its level (via the UP/DOWN) keys, depending on the current water level in the active chamber of the tank. For example, if the dial on the water tank is set at MAX, the console must be set at level 4, in order to provide optimal tracking of the fitness statistics displayed.

This fitness meter unit is powered by 2 AA batteries which are not included. In order to track your pulse, you will need an HR receiver and chest strap which are also not included with the rower.

Assembly and Maintenance

The First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro 2 rower does require some assembly, even though its water tank and resistance system come pre-assembled from the factory. Differently put, the assembly requires you to connect the two main rails of the machine, place the seat on its track, mount the tank with the footrests and console onto the rails, connect the bungee cord to the hook under the rear board of the frame, and fill up the tank with water. Tools for assembly are included, while the manual provides clear and concise instructions for assembly. The whole task shouldn’t take longer than one hour.

Maintenance requires the periodic inspection for loose bolts and parts, and for the integrity of the bungee cord and rowing strap. Also, the water in the tank may require chlorine treatment.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame construction and elegant design;
  • High user capacity, up to 330 lbs (150 kg);
  • Storable in upright position;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Water resistance system, delivering a dynamic response and a natural rowing feel;
  • Dual-chamber water tank, with 4 distinctive water resistance levels;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat; first degree fitness - apollo pro 2 rowing machine
  • Exercise meter with a multi-panel LCD display, showing time, 500m time, pulse, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts simultaneously;
  • USB connection, for online workout data tracking, or using online apps;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rowing machine for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • The display of the fitness meter does not have backlight, so it may be difficult to read in low lighting conditions;
  • HR chest strap transmitter and receiver are not included.

Bottom Line

The First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II is a commercial rowing machine, designed to provide workouts for users of all levels. It’s a water resistance rower equipped with a tank that offers 4 levels of water resistance and a multi-function fitness meter. It has an aesthetic design, with an Ash wood & steel frame construction, being able to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg). It’s perfect for cardio workouts that involve multiple muscle groups, for interval workouts, stamina building, and weight loss. And finally, it’s not exactly an affordable machine, but considering that it’s a commercial standard one, it definitely offers excellent value for the price.

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