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WaterRower A1 Ash Rowing Machine

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WaterRower A1 Ash

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L:83.5"
W:22.25"
H:20"
325 lbsWaterA1Frame: 5 years
Parts: 3 years

The WaterRower A1 Ash is pretty similar in terms of construction to the WaterRower A1 Rose that we’ve already reviewed here. However, it comes with the basic A1 monitor, not with the S4 model. It’s a monorail machine featuring an aluminum rail, as opposed to the classic WaterRower Natural which has a dual rail system.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 83.5L x 22.25W x 20H inches (212L x 56W x 51H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 61 lbs (28 kg) w/o water; 98 lb (44 kg) w/ water
  • Weight capacity: 325 lbs (147 kg)
  • Frame: Ash wood & aluminum
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Fitness monitor: A1
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 3 years

Frame construction

The WaterRower A1 Ash rowing machine combines ash wood and aluminum parts in its construction, while the tank is made of polycarbonate material. The front section of the machine which holds the tank, as well as the rear stabilizer, are the ash wood parts. They’re polished and oiled in order to bring out its natural grain, for a warm glow, and for superior protection. The aluminum rail is painted black.

The fully assembled machine is fairly large. Its net footprint is approx. 83.5″L x 22.5″W (212 x 56 cm). Therefore, it may not fit too well in a small room or apartment, considering that you will also have to leave some clearance all around it. WaterRower recommends leaving a clearance of at least three feet at the rear of the machine, and at least two feet on each side.

The machine is not foldable like other wooden frame rowers, such as the HouseFit Skyline. However, it can be stored vertically. In its upright storage position, the unit’s footprint becomes 22.5″L x 20″W (56 x 51 cm), while its height reaches 83.5″ (212 cm). Also, in case you’re wondering, the water can remain in the tank while the machine is stored vertically.

The unit is not super heavy. Without water in the tank, it only weighs approx. 61 lbs (28 kg), and comes in two boxed. Therefore, it can be transported and assembled by only one person. Also, once it is assembled, it can easily be moved via the small wheels integrated into its front base.

Last but not least, the WaterRower A1 Ash is equipped with a fairly long rail. It’s designed to accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm), allowing a correct form and a complete range of motion.

Seat and other parts

The WaterRower A1 Ash is equipped with a pretty comfortable seat. Its top is made of high-density foam, so it is not completely hard. It is contoured to provide better positioning for the user. It is also approx. 14″ (35.5 cm) wide, offering plenty of contact surface.

The base of the seat is made of steel. It integrates four sets of wheels (eight wheels in total) which slide through the grooves of the aluminum rail. They are completely concealed by the seat frame for improved safety. They integrate high-grade ball bearings and have a rubber layer on the outside, so the seat delivers a very smooth and quiet motion.

The rail is horizontal so the machine provides a neutral rowing motion. The seat is approx. 12″ (30.4 cm) above the floor, so taking position on it shouldn’t be a problem for most users. Both the rail and the seat have a pretty sturdy construction; the machine is rated for a maximum user weight limit of 325 lbs (147 kg).

The WaterRower A1 Ash features an oval-shaped pulling handle featuring urethane sleeves for an improved grip. It is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap which is highly resistant to abrasion and stretching. Since the machine uses a strap, not a chain, like the Concept2 rowers, you won’t have to worry about its lubrication. This also contributes to the overall smoothness and quietness of the ride.

This WaterRower machine is equipped with a set of adjustable footrests. They feature heel guards and adjustable straps for improved foot stability. They are attached directly to the main board of the front frame section, so they do not pivot on their axis. Their angle is approx. 45°, leading to a neutral and comfortable foot positioning during rowing.

Resistance system

As the name of the rower suggests, its resistance system is water-based. The machine is equipped with a 17-liter water tank made from durable thermoplastic material. Its walls are transparent with a gray hue.

The main resistance-generating element is the impeller integrated into the tank and connected to the pulleys of the machine’s drive system. As you pull the handle, the impeller spins into the water and generates resistance.

It’s important to mention that the machine’s tank has a simple, one-chamber construction. Therefore, there are no dials for adjusting the water level. So, in case you want to increase or decrease the overall resistance, you will have to manually add or remove water from the tank. A siphon pump is included with the machine for this purpose.

Just like any other water resistance rowing machine, the WaterRower A1 Ash delivers a dynamic response during rowing. Differently put, if you pull the handle faster, the resistance also increases. This is an effect similar to rowing a real boat through water which most magnetic rowers cannot replicate. Also, the higher the water level in the tank, the greater is the overall resistance provided by the machine.

The rower is fairly quiet during usage. However, the spinning of the impeller in the water can be heard. The noise level is far from being annoying and pretty low. As a general idea, it shouldn’t cover the sound of a TV on low volume and won’t be heard from a different room.

Fitness monitor

The WaterRower A1 Ash includes the most basic (A1) fitness monitor available. The unit comes already integrated into the front board of the wooden frame. It features an LCD display divided into four sub-sections in order to show up to four workout metrics at once. It tracks time, distance, intensity, and strokes per minute. It does not show calories and does not have a pulse reading function.

In terms of intensity units, the monitor offers quite a few options. You can view meters per second, miles per hour, split time per 500 meters, split time per 2 kilometers, watts, and calories per hour. The distance can be set to meters, miles, kilometers, and strokes.

The unit does not have pre-set programs or games like the WaterRower S4 monitor. It also does not have Bluetooth or online connectivity, and it is not compatible with any fitness apps. It offers the possibility to set a time goal or a distance goal to challenge yourself. If a workout goal is set, the monitor will count down from the selected value.

The monitor unit is pretty easy to use. It has five buttons. These are u, up, Ok, down, and p. As a general idea, the “u” button allows you to select your desired units, the “up” / “down” keys offer the possibility to increase or decrease values, the “p” button accesses the goal-setting functions, and the “Ok” buttons covers the confirmation function.

The A1 monitor uses two AA batteries as its power source; the batteries are included. The unit will commence monitoring as you begin rowing or when you press one of the buttons. It also automatically turns off after two minutes of inactivity on the machine to save battery.

Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s water tank comes pre-assembled, but the other parts require user assembly. You will basically have to attach the seat to the monorail, connect the monorail to the front base frame, attach the water tank, the footrest board, connect the bungee cord under the unit to the front strap, and fill the water tank with water. This may take more than an hour, but it’s not a very complicated process. Plus, the manual provides very clear assembly instructions and schematics, and all the tools required are included.

For maintenance, it is recommended to treat the water in the tank with a chlorine pill every six months. The box includes several chlorine pills. It’s also recommended to inspect and clean the monorail to eliminate any small objects or textile fibers to damage it or the seat’s wheels.

The Pros

  • Solid construction, weight capacity up to 325 lbs;
  • Superior aesthetics with the front frame section made from oiled ash wood;
  • Highly durable aluminum monorail;
  • Space-saving – can be stored in upright position;
  • Water resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • Adjustable footrests;
  • A1 fitness monitor, with time and distance goal functions;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Chlorine pills for water treatment are included;
  • Batteries for the monitor are included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • No backlight on the fitness monitor;
  • No pulse reading function;
  • No pre-set workout programs;
  • No online connectivity.

Summary

The WaterRower A1 Ash is a rowing machine designed for both home and commercial use. It features a sturdy aluminum monorail, a 17-liter water tank, a comfortable contoured seat, and adjustable footrests. It includes the A1 fitness monitor. In all, it’s an excellent machine for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss. It’s not the most affordable water resistance rower available, but definitely offers excellent quality for the price and comes with a decent warranty.

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