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The LifeCore Fitness R100 rower has been around for quite a while. But despite the fact that it’s an older model, it’s still available to this day simply due to the fact that it’s a well-built and inclusive fitness machine. And also, to this day, it continues to benefit from 5-star reviews from users all over the world.
The LifeCore R100 can be compared in terms of construction to the Concept2 Model D air rower. However, this particular rowing machine combines air and magnetic resistance, offering the possibility to increase its overall resistance to a greater level.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 92L x 19W x 36H inches (234L x 48W x 92H cm)
- Assembled weight: 96 lbs (40.8 kg)
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs (272.1 kg)
- Frame: Steel and aluminum
- Footrests: With adjustable straps
- Resistance type: Air and magnetic, 16 levels
- Fitness computer: 15 pre-set programs, 4 HR programs, 4 user profiles
In-home: Parts 5 years / Labor 1 year
Light commercial: Parts 2 years / Labor 1 year
Full commercial: Parts 1 year
Frame and parts
The frame of the LifeCore R100 is made of an aluminum-steel combo. In other words, the main gliding rail of the seat and the front part that holds the flywheel are made of extruded aluminum, while the rear and front stabilizers of the machine are made of steel. The stabilizers are coated with a corrosion resistant finish, black in color, while the aluminum beams are only partially coated black on the sides. Also, the machine’s stabilizers are equipped with rubber pads, in order to deliver a superior grip onto the floor.
Like most other commercial rowing machines with air resistance, this model is fairly large, especially lengthwise. It takes 92″L x 19″W (234 x 48 cm) of floor space, and requires at least one foot, one foot and a half, as clearance on each side and at the rear for safe operation. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for a cardio training machine if storage and usage space are an issue. In this case, an indoor cycling bike such as the L NOW LD-582 or Star Trac ION may be a better alternative.
But on the good side, this trainer features a folding frame. The main rail of the seat folds and locks vertically, reducing the machine’s length to 52″ (132 cm), while its height becomes 67″ (170 cm).
This rower is rather heavy compared to others. When fully assembled, it weighs 96 lbs (40.8 kg). Its front base tube does integrate a set of transport wheels, though, so its relocation shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.
The machine’s seat is fairly large, approx. 16″ (40.6 cm) wide, featuring a contoured, ergonomic surface. It’s built on a heavy-duty PVC frame. It glides on a set of 4 wheels which integrate industrial quality ball bearings for a prolonged lifespan and smooth operation. The gliding rail is long enough to accommodate tall users, up to 6’6″ (198 cm), promoting a complete leg extension. It’s also sturdy enough to support users up to 600 lbs (272 kg), quite an impressive user weight capacity, considerably greater than for other commercial rowers, such as the FDF E-520, for example.
The footrests are also PVC made, but they have a steel bedding. Their heels guards provide size adjustment, thus they can accommodate shoes of all sizes. Their angle is non-adjustable, being approx. 45°, promoting an optimal foot positioning. They’re also equipped with adjustable straps, in order to deliver maximum foot stability during rowing.
One last external part to review here is the machine’s handle. It consists of a short steel bar, coated with a sheet of rubber foam material, in order to provide a sure and comfortable grip. It’s slightly curved towards the user, for a more natural hand positioning, and less impact on the wrists. The handle is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap, not a chain, which results in a smoother and quieter operation.
Resistance and drive
This LifeCore Fitness rowing machine combines air and magnetic resistance. It’s actually similar to the Conquer AR5600 rower in terms of resistance. It’s equipped with a fairly large steel flywheel/fan which delivers a natural feel to the rowing motion, varying the resistance with the amount of strength that you put behind each stroke. Differently put, it creates a dynamic response for the rowing motion, making the experience closer to the rowing of an actual boat.
On the other hand, the machine is also equipped with a motorized magnetic resistance system, designed to increase the overall drag onto the flywheel, so that it generates higher levels of resistance. It comes with an AC power adapter (6v 800mA), which requires being connected to a 110-120V power circuit. However, the console can be powered via batteries as well, requiring 4C batteries. It’s recommended that you only use one power method at the time.
The magnetic resistance system offers 16 distinctive levels of resistance. The 1-2 levels are perfect for beginners, elderly users or users who require recovery training. Conversely, the 15-16 resistance levels deliver a consistent amount of resistance, perfect for Olympic level training, high cardio training, and strength development.
The magnetic resistance can only be adjusted from the machine’s console unit. There’s a dial on its lower midsection which allows you to increase or decrease the machine’s resistance.
Evidently, since this rower features air resistance elements, its operation does generate a certain level of noise. However, the noise generated is not extremely loud as for full air resistance rowing machines. It won’t cover the sound of your TV or music; the best description for it would be a soft “whoosh”.
One last aspect to mention here regards the generated air flow. The casing of the flywheel features a fan diffuser, situated right under the console arm. This diffuser allows the adjustment of the air flow, allowing you to direct it at you when you row or change its angle, to benefit from some cooling during more intense workouts.
Although this LifeCore Fitness rower is an older model, its console is quite inclusive, offering much more than for other similar machines. First of all, it has a multi-panel display, with blue LED backlight that considerably enhances its readability. Second, it can display multiple workout metrics simultaneously, so you won’t have to use a SCAN function. It can show strokes, strokes per minute, time, distance (in meters), time/500m, pulse, watts, and calories. It also indicates the selected resistance level.
The console has 4 user profile settings, great to have if multiple persons use the machine. Each user must insert personal data, including weight, height, age and gender, in order for the unit to provide more accurate readings for calories and watts.
The unit has 15 workout programs to choose from, including Manual, White Water, Ramp, Pacer, Intervals-Distance, Intervals-Time, User Profile, Watts Control and 3 Heart Rate control programs. Some of them have multiple levels. It also has a Recovery function which rates your performance based on your pulse at the end of your workout and determines your level of fitness.
Speaking of pulse, the control unit is telemetric; it can read your heart rate via a wireless heart rate chest strap transmitter, accessory which is included with the machine.
The control unit is fairly easy to operate. It features four keys and a dial. The Recovery key initiates and runs the Recovery function. The User key allows you to access a user profile. The dial covers various functions, including the direct adjustment of the machine’s resistance, or increasing/decreasing values for different other settings. The Enter key covers the unit’s selection/confirmation functions, while the Start/Stop key is used to initiate a program or pause it, also covering the unit’s reset function.
As we’ve mentioned above, the console unit draws power from the power source, if you will be using the included adapter. However, it can also be powered with batteries, requiring 4C type batteries (which are not included).
Finally, the console is attached to the front part of the frame through an angle adjustable arm, giving you the possibility to tilt it as you like, in order to benefit from the perfect view of your workout metrics.
Assembly and Maintenance
The LifeCore Fitness R100 rowing machine comes partially assembled. The flywheel/fan, servo motor and all the other elements involved in its resistance system are pre-assembled from the factory. Therefore, you will only have to add the base stabilizers, footrests, seat, and connect the main rail to the front part of the frame. This shouldn’t take more than 30-45 min. The manual contains all the necessary assembly instructions. The tools required are all included.
Maintenance doesn’t require any lubrication of the moving parts. It’s only recommended to clean the gliding rail prior to each use, to make sure there aren’t any small objects or fibers on it that may cause damage to the seat wheels or nicks to the rail. Periodic inspection for loose bolts and parts is also recommended.
- Folding, space saving design;
- Extremely sturdy construction, being able to support users up to 600 lbs;
- Air & magnetic resistance system, for a natural rowing feel and reduced noise;
- AC power adapter included, but the machine’s resistance and console can also be powered via 4C batteries;
- 16 levels of resistance, for users of all levels;
- Air diffuser on the flywheel casing, allowing you to adjust and direct the airflow to you for cooling during workouts;
- Size-adjustable footrests with straps;
- Contoured, padded and spacious seat supplying excellent comfort;
- Multi-panel display with LED backlight which indicates time, time/500m, meters, strokes per minute, total strokes, watts, calories, pulse;
- 15 pre-set workouts;
- Goal setting functions;
- Recovery function;
- Wireless HR chest strap included;
- Fairly quiet for a rower with air resistance;
- Offers excellent workouts for back, arms, legs and core muscles;
- Easy to put together;
- Little maintenance required.
- No online connectivity;
- No adjustable levelers.
The LifeCore R100 is a commercial grade rowing machine, featuring air and magnetic resistance, with 16 distinctive levels. It has an extremely durable construction, with an impressive weight capacity of 600 lbs. It’s also a folding machine, giving you the possibility to save some space while not in use. Its operation is smooth and quiet, delivering enough resistance for high-cardio sessions, intense interval training, and strength development. In other words, it offers the training requirements for professional athletes. But on the other hand, it’s also perfect for anyone who wants to undertake a consistent full-body cardio training every day. In all, even though it’s not exactly a cheap fitness equipment, it definitely offers outstanding value for the price.