The Xebex Rowing Machine

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The Xebex Rowing MachineReview Facts

Based in the Netherlands, Xebex has been making fitness equipment since 1991. The company offers an air bike, ski trainer, treadmill, climbing machine, and an advanced spin bike in their stripped-down product line. Xebex keeps its focus narrow, specializing in high-end fitness equipment for home and commercial gyms. The approach works–Xebex often finds itself at the top of rankings and reviews, including on Amazon and other retailers. Today we will focus on Xebex’s Air Rower AR-2. This is the only rower Xebex currently offers. It seems like a water rower would be a natural choice for Xebex, but as of now, they do not manufacture one.

Highlights of the Rower include the console, which is richly featured but easy to operate. When you unbox the unit, which comes fully assembled, the console turns on and starts tracking your activity as soon as you use the rower. You have 8 options for displaying your data, each a different metric including heart rate max, calories, wattage, and more. There are also ready-made programs you can follow using the console. 

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Heavy frame, with max user weight of 500 lbs/227 kg

Stainless steel rail is extra long (54 in/138 cm) for fuller range of movement

Seat height is 21 in/53 cm, easy to mount and dismount

Seat, handles foam filled for extra comfort

LCD console tracks essentials, comes with programs

Cons

Chain has to be oiled once a quarter (don’t forget!)

Features

Features

The Xebex rower uses air resistance. As you pull the cable to start the rowing motion that slides you along the central rail, you turn the flywheel blades. The flywheel acts as a fan. The harder you pull, the faster the blades turn, and that creates the resistance you work against. This means there is no resistance level setting. That makes it easy to set goals you may not normally think of. For example, what if instead of rowing for thirty minutes and stopping, you decided to replicate the distance of the Head of the River Race? This event is held annually on the Thames river in London. Its course is 4.25 miles long (6.8 km). Instead of trying to track resistance levels, you could vow to complete the “course” at your own pace, even if it takes you more than one sitting. The simplicity of a rower, especially one like the Xebex, lends itself to out of the ordinary training programs.

Since the air resistance adjusts instantly to your pull intensity, too, a rower is perfect for interval training. It lets you drop down into the active rest interval in the blink of an eye.

The air resistance mimics the resistance encountered by actual rowing athletes on the water. The tradeoff is that the rower is loud, louder than one with magnetic resistance. Also, the bigger flywheel means a bigger footprint, even though you can fold the unit. Though the extra weight from the frame and steel rail add to stability, they can also be a disadvantage when moving the unit.

The Xebex Rower has a damper, which is something we don’t see on a lot of rowers. It adjusts the volume of airflow across the flywheel. That means the feeling of perceived exertion changes, though the actual resistance level does not. To simulate choppy headwaters or a stormy sea, set the damper to from 6 to 10. During everyday target heart rate workouts, keep it at 5 or less.

The Rower is compact and has wheels for easy transport. You can fold the Rower and place it in storage, against a wall or in a closet, when not in use. The Rower isn’t light, though-it weighs twice as much as competing rowers, making it ultra-solid for any user operating at any intensity. Foam filling in the handles and seat gives you a comfortable and low-stress ride.
Added Extras

Added Extras

The monitor of the Xebex rowing machine is functional and efficient. The LCD display is a good size, which is important on a rower as you are further away from it than on a treadmill. The monitor provides you with a running readout of your essential training diagnostics. The areas covered are:​

Distance (in meters)
Time
Calories
Watts
Heart rate
Strokes per minute
Stroke distance









​You can also program the monitor for a personalized workout, allowing you to input target distance, calories and time. Or you can use one of the pre-programmed training programs.

The Xebex rowing machine is compatible with any 5k frequency chest strap heart rate monitor, allowing you to accurately monitor your training heart rate as you row.

The Xebex monitor does not feature some of the extras that come with more expensive units. This includes having PC connectivity. This means there is no way to download your training data to your computer or mobile device for later analysis.

The seat height on the Xebex rower is higher than you would normally find on a rowing machine, sitting nearly two feet from the floor. This makes easy to get on and off the machine, especially for less mobile users. The contoured bucket type seat has an extra level of padding, so your spine and glutes won’t be aching after a long rowing session.

The handle grips of the Xebex rower feature soft foam-filled padding. They keep your hands comfortable and prevent sweat slippage.
Company Reputation

Company Reputation

Reviews we analyzed indicated Xebex provides excellent customer service. They will stand by their products, including replacing parts or sending a service technician if you encounter any problems. The Xebex Rower warranty covers parts for two years, and the frame for five years. Xebex products, like their customer service, typically receive positive reviews. They are known and trusted for their durability, ease of use, comfort features, and resistance to breakdown or wear and tear.
Effectiveness

Effectiveness

Rowing is an effective form of aerobic and strength conditioning exercise, with many years of scientific and anecdotal evidence. Rowing, like cardio, will help you reach and maintain your working heart rate for calorie burn, using adjustable resistance to help you stay on target. Like any good cardio, the rower will promote weight loss when you use it in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and good sleep hygiene.

Rowing will also build upper and lower body strength and increase your athletic endurance. This, in turn, will give you more energy throughout the day. Best of all, rowing is a calm, meditative exercise that almost guarantees you will use proper form. There is really only one way to grasp the handle and pull. The flywheel and stainless steel glide track do the rest. The Xebex Rower is comfortable enough, and trouble-free enough, that you will want to use it most days and will see consistent results after a few weeks.


Nobody is Perfect

Nobody is Perfect

The Xebex Rower is quite heavy. Xebex touts this as a positive, saying the extra weight keeps the unit stable. That’s true, but it can also be a drawback if you need to move the machine further than just one or two rooms. There are four wheels, but they won’t help much on stairs or if you have to load the rower into a vehicle.

The air resistance is loud, and it also means you have to go by the rate of perceived exertion as well as what the monitor is telling you. For example, you can’t have a routine of warming up at level 3 and then going to 6, then back down to 4 when you get tired. The Xebex Rower is closer to outdoor running in that way, where you can slow down the pace or pick your legs up a bit higher to engage your glutes and get more or less intensity. Lack of numbered levels is not a bad thing, but it may take some getting used to and some may not like it or want it. And that’s okay.
Side Note

Side Note

In our research, we found some confusion about who makes the Xebex Rower and where it comes from. If you search for the rower, you will probably land on a site called Get RX’D. RX’D makes fitness equipment for weightlifters, gymnasts, and other athletes. Their offerings include cardio machines, like the Xebex rower.

Get RX’D is the main distributor of the Xebex rower. They have been in business since 1985. If you want to purchase a Xebex in the United States, you will most likely need to do so through Get RX’D.

But Get RX’D does not manufacture the Xebex rower, even though we found some reviews that say it does. The rower is still made by Xebex. You can also purchase Xebex indoor cycles, treadmills, parts, and logo clothing through Get RX’D.
The Final Word

The Final Word

We strongly recommend the Xebex AR-2 Air Rower. It is a piece of high-end fitness equipment that you can get at an unusually low price. Using it consistently, along with healthy eating and cross-training, will deliver measurable results. The machine will not break down, and if there are problems, Xebex stands by its products. The air resistance is simple to use, the monitor tells you everything you need to know, and the comfort features keep you from experiencing excess soreness or fatigue.