First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Water Resistance Rower

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Viking 2 AR
first degree fitness viking 2 ar
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330 lbs72 lbsWater,
4 levels
Frame: 5 years
Parts: 3 years
Wear: 2 years

First Degree Fitness offers several extremely well engineered water resistance rowing machines. The Viking 2 AR mode is one of their models similar to the WaterRower Oxbridge. However, it comes with a more advanced water tank, which offers the possibility to automatically adjust the water level, in order to vary the overall resistance.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 84L x 22W x 21H inches (213L x 56W x 54H cm)
  • Product weight: 72 lbs (32 kg) w/o water; 110 lb (50 kg) w/ water
  • Supported weight: 330 lbs (150 kg)
  • Frame: Wood (Ash)
  • 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 / Parts 3 years / Wear parts 2 years

Frame and parts

The rower’s frame is made of durable Ash wood, with a durable, natural finish which renders the wood water-resistant. Also, since it features a wooden frame, it absorbs vibration, supplying a really smooth operation. Overall, this water resistance rower has an elegant, classy, warm and welcoming aspect. fdf viking 2 ar - vertical storage

Even though it’s a machine listed as a product for home use, it does have an extremely durable construction, being able to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg). Differently put, it’s constructed by commercial standards. Evidently, it’s not exactly a small unit, as it takes quite a bit of space when fully assembled, especially lengthwise. It’s 84″ (213 cm) long, and 22″ (56 cm) wide, however, the frame can be stored in a vertical position. The water tank guard assembly features a widened board at its end, with two small rubber stabilizers. Therefore, you can store it vertically on this board, and when in a vertical position, it’s only 21″ x 22″ (54 x 56 cm). Also, in case you’re wondering, you don’t have to remove the water from the tank, if you want to store the rower vertically.

The front base of the rower integrates a set of rubberized wheels, which considerably ease its lifting or relocation, once you’ve finished your workout. The rails of the frame rest on four, non-adjustable rubber feet.

The seat doesn’t integrate air cushioning cells. However, it does have a bit of padding, and a contoured surface, shaping to the user. It also features an anti-slip surface, and a small edge at the rear, offering excellent adherence. It has a sturdy construction and it’s equipped with heavy-duty rollers, integrating sealed ball bearings for prolonged use. Overall, the seat provides an extremely smooth and quiet action. Finally, 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 top of the FDF Viking 2 AR rails are made if heavy-duty nylon material. This comes with several advantages. First of all, they produce much less noise than metallic rails, during rowing. And 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.

Considering the fact that the rower’s rails are fairly long, the machine can accommodate users up to 6’7″ (201 cm). The footrests are adjustable, being able to fit sports shoes of all sizes. They also have heel guards and adjustable straps, offering all the stability required. They’re placed on a fixed board, without the possibility to adjust their angle. However, the angle of the board is 45°, the optimal angle required for rowing.

Last but not least, the pulling handle is slightly curved, offering the possibility to pull it closer to the chest during rowing, resulting in an ampler motion than for rowers with a straight bar. It features an ovalized shape, and it’s covered by rubber foam material to provide a comfortable grip.

Water tank and resistance system

The water tank supplied with the FDF Viking 2 AR has the same construction as the one on the FDF Newport model. It has a capacity of 17 liters (4.5 gal), and in order to be functional, it requires to hold a water quantity between 2.3 and 4.5 gal (9 – 17 liters). fdf viking 2 ar - adjustable water resistance

The tank features a different construction than most other water rowing machines. It has two chambers: the “storage” chamber and the “active” chamber. There’s a dial on top of the tank, that allows water to move between these chambers, depending on the resistance setting. For example, if you set the resistance to “MIN” on the tank adjuster, it will take about 10 strokes to fill the central (storage) tank, leaving only a minimum amount of water in the main (active) tank, resulting in less demanding strokes. As opposed to that, if you set the resistance to “MAX”, the water will pass into the active tank, providing the user with higher resistance.

The tank is equipped with a 3-blade 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.

When it comes to the rowing feel generated by the Viking 2 AR rowing machine, it’s quite similar to rowing a real boat. Not only that the overall resistance can be adjusted, you can actually benefit from more or less resistance depending on how hard you pull. Rowing doesn’t generate a lot of noise as it’s the case for air rowers. The sound produced with each stroke is a soft, soothing “woosh”.

A small siphon for filling the tank is supplied with the rower. The box also contains water treatment chlorine pills, for preventing algae growth inside the tank.

Fitness computer

Since the FDF Viking 2 AR rower has a water tank with adjustable resistance, it also comes with a more advanced fitness computer. First of all, the computer features an 8-panel LCD display. It’s battery powered and requires 2x AA batteries. viking 2 ar - fitness computer

The computer simultaneously displays time, 500M time, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour, wattage and pulse. However, in order for it to track pulse, you will need an HR chest strap transmitter, which is sold separately.

The computer unit has 4 difficulty levels, just as the water tank. Thus, 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 for the fitness statistics displayed.

For distance, the computer 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.

The computer auto-pauses 5 sec. after ceasing the activity on the rower. It also automatically shuts down after 5 minutes of inactivity, all the values being reset to zero.

Last but not least, the rower’s computer unit features a USB function. This allows it to connect it to a PC via USB cable, in order to work with various First Degree Fitness apps. These apps give you the possibility to save and track your workout data online or to compete with other rowers.

Assembly and Maintenance

Needless to say, the most problematic part of the rower, which is the tank, comes ready-assembled, with its bungee cord, pulling strap and handle attached. Thus, for assembly, you will only have to attach the rails to the tank, the seat, the footrest board, and the footrests, connect the bungee cord to the rear frame board, connect the computer, and finally fill up the tank. All tools for assembly are included. Also, the supplied manual is well-written, offering clear step-by-step instructions for the assembly, task which shouldn’t take more than an hour.

When it comes to maintenance, there are several aspects to consider. First of all, you will need to add a chlorine pill into the water tank, to prevent the formation of algae. Second of all, before each use you should make sure that the gliding beams are clear of any small objects that may cause them damage. In other words, wipe the gliding beams clean before each use.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame, built by commercial standards;
  • High user capacity, up to 330 lbs (150 kg);
  • Superior aesthetics, Ash wood frame;
  • Storable in an upright position;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Water resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Dual-chamber water tank, with 4 distinctive water resistance levels;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • Advanced, 8-panel fitness computer, that 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 transmitter not included. fdf viking 2 ar water rowing machine


The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR is a rowing machine with adjustable water resistance. It features a dual-chamber water tank offering 4 distinctive settings for its overall resistance. It has a durable, oiled Ash wood frame, with up to 330 lbs weight capacity. It’s also equipped with an advanced computer unit, for tracking your workout values. All in all, it’s a rower designed for users of all levels, from beginner to pro, providing a consistent cardio workout that involves multiple muscle groups. It’s also great for stamina and interval training, and evidently for losing weight. Even though it’s not exactly an affordable rowing machine, due to the quality of its components and construction, and its range of features, it definitely stands up to the price. So far, it benefits from multiple 5-star reviews from users all over the world.

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