WaterRower A1 Rose with S4 Monitor

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WaterRower A1 Rose

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375 lbsWaterTime,
9 programs
1 year

The WaterRower A1 rowing machine is similar to the WaterRower GX model that we’ve previously reviewed here. However, the A1 offers a higher weight capacity. There actually are several A1 models with frames made of different types of wood, and with different performance monitors. In this review, we’re going to address the WaterRower A1 Rose model, the one with the Rosewood frame and the S4 performance monitor.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 83L x 22.5W x 22.5H inches (211L x 57W x 57H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 73 lbs (33 kg) w/o water; 110 lb (49.8 kg) w/ water
  •  Weight capacity: 375 lbs (170 kg)
  • Frame: Rosewood & aluminum
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Fitness computer: S4
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Frame construction & parts

As we’ve mentioned above, the WaterRower A1 features a frame construction similar to the WaterRower GX. In other words, it combines wood and aluminum in its frame construction. The front part of the frame which sustains the water tank, as well as the small rear stabilizer, are made of Rosewood. All the Rosewood parts are coated with Danish oil for a beautiful, warm finish, great for both residential and commercial use.

The unit’s monorail is made of aluminum. It’s durable enough to support users up to 375 lbs (170 kg). Its exact length is not specified, but the machine can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem, promoting a complete leg extension.

The rower’s total (fully assembled) length is 83″ (211 cm) while its width is 22.5″ (57 cm). Evidently, it requires a workout area of at least 8′ x 4′ for safe and unhindered operation. However, it can be stored vertically, and when stored in vertical position its footprint becomes 22.5″ x 22.5″ (57 x 57 cm). Also, when stored vertically, the water can remain in the tank.

The rower’s seat features a contoured surface and integrates a thin layer of foam padding in order to provide optimal comfort. As opposed to the WaterRower Natural model, the seat on this machine is constructed on a steel frame, not on a wooden frame. It’s equipped with three sets of heavy-duty wheels which integrate industrial quality ball bearings. They are all concealed in order to provide maximum safety.

The top of the seat is situated at approx. 11″ (28 cm) above floor level. This being said, entry and exit shouldn’t be a problem even for users with disabilities.

The WaterRower A1 Rose is a fairly heavy fitness machine. With water in the tank, it weighs approx. 110 lbs (49.8 kg). All this weight enhances its stability, though. Plus, all its bases feature rubber pads which also improve its grip on the floor.

Moving the fully assembled unit isn’t too difficult. Its front base is equipped with two large wheels which facilitated its relocation. Also, by lifting the unit from its rear part, you will basically be handling less than half of its total weight.

The A1 rower features a set of adjustable footrests. They offer several length adjustment positions and can accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They’re equipped with heel guards and adjustable straps so you can perfectly stabilize your feed during your workout.

The distance between the footrests is approx. 4″ (10.1 cm), which means your feet are naturally positioned on them, without resulting in any extra lateral stress on the ankles and knees. The footrests do not pivot, though, as for other rowers, such as the Body Xtreme Fitness Turbo 2000, for example. However, their supportive board is set at an optimal angle of ~45°.

Last but not least, the pulling handle of this WaterRower model is given by a simple straight bar, coated with rubber foam material to provide a comfortable grip. The handle is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap which is highly resistant to wear and tear. Also, since it’s a strap, not a chain, it does not require lubrication, and it generates considerably less vibration.

Water tank & resistance system

The WaterRower A1 Rose is equipped with a heavy-duty polycarbonate water tank. Its capacity is 5 gal (19 liters), but shouldn’t be filled with more than 4.5 gal (17 liters) of water. The tank integrates a 2-blade impeller connected to a system of heavy-duty bungee cords and pulleys. When you pull the handle, the impeller will rotate in the tank generating resistance.

The unit’s water tank does not have a resistance system as the tanks available with most of the First Degree Fitness rowers. However, since it’s a fluid rower, it generates a dynamic response during rowing. In other words, the resistance generated varies with how hard or fast you pull the handle; the faster your stroke rate, the more resistance you will get. This being said, the machine generates a rowing feel similar to rowing a real boat.

Although the water tank does not have an adjustable resistance system, you can still adjust the overall water resistance by adding or removing water from it. This requires the usage of the included siphon.

Like most water resistance rowers, the A1 Rose isn’t extremely loud. The noise generated by its usage is definitely lower in level than the noise generated by most air resistance rowers. In fact, most users have described the sound generated by the machine as soothing.

One last aspect to mention here regards the color of the water tank. All A1 models feature a clear and transparent tank. If some of the pictures you have seen online depict a unit with a colored tank, it’s actually the water that has been treated with a colorant.

Performance monitor

Just as the WaterRower Oxbridge model, this A1 Rose model includes the S4 monitor, not the basic one. This is one of the reasons it costs approx. $100 more than the other models.

The S4 console is equipped with a multi-panel LCD display, which means that it can show multiple workout metrics simultaneously. It features six QuickSelect buttons and three Navigation Buttons. It can track intensity (or speed), watts, KCalories per hour, stroke rate, heart rate, and distance traveled. It also features Interval Workout Settings for distance and intensity, as well as 9 Advanced Workout Programs.

The unit can be programmed to show the distance in meters, miles, km, or number of strokes. The same goes for speed, which can be shown in m/s, mph, /500m, or /2 km). It’s also telemetric. This means that it can work with an ANT+ or Polar HR chest strap transmitter. It’s also PC interface capable. In other words, you can connect it to your PC via cable in order to connect to various online fitness apps such as WaterRower’s Online Rowing Community, WebRacing, and WaterCoach FIT.

The unit is battery-powered. It requires 4 AA batteries. It has an On/Off/Reset button but also has a sleep function which initiates after 2 minutes of inactivity on the rower.

Assembly & Maintenance

The unit’s water tank comes pre-assembled, but most of the other parts require user assembly. To be more specific, the assembly requires you 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.

One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s warranty. All WaterRower A1 units come with a 1-year limited warranty by default. However, if you register your rower on the WaterRower website within the first year of usage, your warranty will be upgraded to 5 years for the frame, and 3 years for the parts.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame – can support users up to 375 lbs (170 kg);
  • Beautiful design, combining Rosewood with aluminum;
  • Can be stored vertically, and the water doesn’t require to be removed for storage;
  • The rail is long enough to accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm);
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Rubber stabilizers on all bases;
  • Water resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • Advanced fitness computer that tracks time, 500m/time, 2km/time, pulse, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts;
  • 9 Advanced workout programs;
  • PC interfacing for the S4 unit;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Fairly easy to assemble;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • HR chest strap is not included;
  • The S4 monitor doesn’t have backlight.


The WaterRower A1 Rose is a fluid resistance rower featuring a Rosewood and aluminum frame with an ergonomic seat and an advanced fitness computer. It’s sturdy enough to support users up to 375 lbs. It can also be stored vertically to save space. It’s an excellent fitness machine for light to intense cardio training, muscle toning, stamina development and weight loss. It’s not one of the most affordable rowers but does offer superior value and quality for the price.

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