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First Degree Fitness Commercial Trident AR Fluid Rower

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FDF Trident AR

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330 lbs68.4 lbsWaterFrame: 10 years
Tank: 3 years
Seals: 3 years
Parts: 2 years
Wear: 1 year

The Trident AR rower from First Degree Fitness features a similar construction to the Daytona Challenge model. However, its main rail is made of steel not aluminum and it’s slightly longer. It also has a different type of rear base stabilizers, while the seat is equipped with three sets of wheels, not two. Differently put, this is a commercial grade machine, designed to function 24/7 within the premises of a gym. Therefore, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty water resistance rower, the Trident AR model is one of the best choices available.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 84.6L x 21W x 20H inches (215L x 53W x 51H cm)
  • Product weight: 68.4 lbs (31 kg) w/o water; 106 (48 kg) with water
  • Supported weight: 330 lbs (150 kg)
  • Frame: Aluminum / steel
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with adjustable straps
  • Resistance type: Water, adjustable (4 levels)
  • Exercise meter: Time, distance, strokes per minute, watts, calories / hour, 500m split time, HR capable, USB port
  • Warranty: Frame 10 years / Tank and seals 3 years / Mechanical 2 years / Wear parts 1 year

Frame construction and parts

The first aspect to mention here regards the dimensions of this rowing machine. Several sources, including the official website, provide erroneous data with regards to this matter. The width of the rower is 21″ (53 cm) and not 31.5″, while its height can’t possibly be 39.4″; the machine’s highest point (the front part of the frame that guards the tank) is 20″ (51 cm) above the floor level. When stored vertically, 21″ x 20″ actually becomes its footprint.

The total length of the rower is 84.6″ (215 cm), which is correct. This being said, it can accommodate tall users, close to 6’8″-6’9″ (203-206 cm).

As we’ve mentioned above, the main rail of the FDF Trident AR commercial rower is made of steel, not aluminum. Therefore, it’s considerably durable, the machine being rated for a weight capacity of 330 lbs (150 kg). Also, due to its steel construction, this rower is slightly heavier than other models. Its assembled weight, without water in the tank is approx. 68.4 lbs (31 kg). The tank’s maximum fill is 4.5 gal (17 liters), so by adding this weight to the frame weight, the total is approx. 106 lbs (48 kg).

Despite its weight, this First Degree Fitness rower isn’t difficult to move and store. Its front base features transport wheels which ease its relocation. The water can remain in the tank when the machine is stored in vertical position.

The rear base has two adjustable stabilizers with large rubber caps, which considerably improve the machine’s stability. The other two bases are simple cylindrical steel tubes, featuring protective plastic caps at their ends.

The seat features a durable construction. Its top is contoured and integrates a layer of padding in order to provide optimal comfort. It’s approx. 16″ (38 cm) wide and rests on a solid steel frame. As opposed to other First Degree Fitness rowers, such as the Newport AR or the Neptune Challenge AR, the seat frame glides on three sets of wheels. Each wheel integrates a heavy-duty, sealed ball bearing designed to endure a lot of stress and last for many years of use.

The top of the seat stands approx. 18″ (46 cm) above floor level. This being said, it’s fairly easy to take a seat or stand up, which can be quite a plus for users with disabilities.

The rowing handle provides with the Trident AR fluid rower has a soft curvature, designed to reduce the stress on the wrists during rowing. It’s covered by a layer of high-density foam for a firm grip and for the prevention of any damage to the hands, which may occur due to prolonged rowing sessions. The handlebar is attached to a highly-durable nylon strap, 1″ (2.5 cm) wide, but the pulling mechanism also features a sheathed bungee cord for return.

Last but not least, this rowing machine is equipped with a set of large, length-adjustable footrests. They feature adjustable straps and heel guards in order to deliver maximum foot stability during rowing. However, their angle cannot be adjusted. They don’t have a pivoting design. They are attached to a metallic plate which has a standard angle of 45°, providing the optimal foot positioning.

Water tank and resistance

The First Degree Fitness Commercial Trident AR rowing machine is equipped with a patented twin chamber tank, made of durable polycarbonate material. Its maximum capacity is 4.5 gal (17 liters). It integrates a triple blade, metallic impeller, designed to deliver a realistic rowing stroke.

There is a dial on top of the water tank which offers 4 distinctive levels. It gives you the possibility to move the water from the active chamber into the storage chamber, and vice-versa, in order to adjust the overall resistance. For example, by setting it to level 1, only a quarter of the total amount of water will pass into the active chamber, the resistance generated will be lighter. Conversely, by setting the dial to level 4, the active chamber will be filled with all the water, and the machine will generate maximum resistance, perfect for Olympic sprint training.

However, since this is a fluid resistance rower, the resistance generated also depends on how fast and hard you pull the handle. The faster you pull, the more resistance you will get, with a continuous momentum. In all, the rowing motion and feel resembles rowing a real boat through the water.

Last but not least, the movement of the impeller inside the water tank doesn’t generate a lot of noise; most users have reported the generated noise as soothing, de-stressing. It’s definitely quieter than air resistance rowers.


The First Degree Fitness Trident AR comes with an advanced ergometer, featuring a large, multi-panel LCD display. It tracks time, 500M time, distance, strokes per minute (SPM), calories per hour, wattage and pulse. It must be correlated with the resistance level selected on the water tank. For example, if you’re exercising with the dial on the water tank set to level 1, the meter should also be set on level 1 (from the keys on the right), in order to provide a more accurate reading for calories and watts.

This ergometer unit is telemetric. It can read your pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter. However, this accessory is not included.

The unit 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 ergometer unit is easy to use. It requires 2x AA batteries which are included. It starts up when you begin rowing. It has a sleep function to which will enter after 5 minutes of inactivity in order to save battery life. Once it shuts down, all the values will be cleared to zero.

Assembly and Maintenance

The assembly of the First Degree Fitness Trident AR fluid rower shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. The front section of the machine, including the water tank and drive mechanism, footrests, and console, is already assembled. All you have to do is attach the main rail, the seat and the rear base stabilizer. The manual will guide you through the process, providing clear assembly instructions. Also, a basic toolkit for assembly is included.

Maintenace requires keeping the machine’s rail clean to prevent any damage to it and to the seat’s wheels. The water in the tank should be purified with the included chlorine pills. One pill should suffice for at least 6 months. And finally, it’s recommended to periodically check for loose or damaged bolts and parts, in order to replace them or re-tighten them.

The Pros

  • Commercial frame, able to support users up to 330 lbs;
  • Aesthetic, professional-looking design;
  • Can be stored vertically, and the water doesn’t require to be removed for storage;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
  • Adjustable footrests with heel guards and straps for maximum foot stability;
  • Curved pulling handle to minimize stress on the wrists;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • 18″ seat height to facilitate entry and exit;
  • Water resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Durable, dual-chamber polycarbonate water tank, equipped with a heavy-duty impeller;
  • 4 distinctive levels of resistance on the tank;
  • Advanced, 8-panel ergometer which tracks time, 500m time, pulse, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts;
  • USB connection, for online workout data tracking, or competing with other rowers;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rower for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Excellent warranty package.

The Cons

  • HR chest strap not included.


The First Degree Trident AR is a commercial fluid rower featuring a durable water tank with 4 levels of resistance and a durable steel construction. It can support users up to 330 lbs. It’s also equipped with an advanced ergometer with online connectivity possibilities, which can track time, 500m time, pulse, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts.

It’s a rower designed for users of all levels, from beginners to Olympic level athletes, providing a consistent cardio workout that involves multiple muscle groups. It’s also great for interval training, endurance training, and weight loss. And finally, it’s not one of the most affordable fluid rowers, but it’s a gym-quality fitness machine, so it definitely offers excellent value for the price.

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