The Xebex Rowing machine Fully Reviewed
updated January 1, 2019
The Xebex Rowing machine has been making waves in the home fitness industry, thanks to its high spec features and attractive price point. In this article we provide you with an in depth review of the Xebex rower so that you can make the most informed choice possible. We’ll put the Xebex head to head with the most popular rower on the market, the Concept 2, Model D and then we’ll provide you with our view of which provides the best overall functionality and value.
Key Features of the Xebex Rower
The Xebex rowing machine features an air resistance system of movement. When you pull the handle, it initiates the spinning of the flywheel which moves air in front of the fan. This then creates the resistance that you are working against.
As you go faster, the flywheel causes more air to be moved, meaning that you need to work harder against the increased resistance. This is why air resistance machines are known as ‘variable resistance’ systems - the harder you work, the more resistance you encounter. A major benefit of this system is that you can adjust the resistance without having to change anything on the machine; you simply slow down. That makes air resistance the ideal vehicle for HIIT workouts, where you immediately change from a sprint to a rest row.
Training on an air resistance machine allows you to very closely mimic the type of resistance that you get when rowing on the water. It is smooth, natural and fluid.
When you use the Xebex air resistance machine you will notice that the lag between rows is virtually eliminated. This provides you with a constant tension from the start to finish of each stroke.
The biggest problem with the air resistance system in the Xebex rower is that it is rather loud. This is not unique to Xebex, but is common to all air rowers. This could be a bit of a problem for neighbors if you are exercising in a block of apartments with thin walls.
Air resistance rowers are usually larger than their magnetic resistance counterparts. To exercise comfortably with the Xenex rower you’ll need a footprint of 4 feet by 10 feet of space, which, again, could be a challenge if you are living in a confined space.
- Compact and foldable
- Excellent air resistance
- Higher seat height
- 10 damper settings
- Sturdy construction
- Monitor is quite basic
- Large footprint
- Quite heavy
You do not get a damper on every air resistance rowing machine, is the fact that you do the Xebex is a major plus. The damper can be found on the flywheel housing. It looks like a resistance change lever. What it actually does is to control the flow of air into the flywheel. This directly affects the feel of the exercise, rather than the resistance. It is very similar to the gears on a bicycle.
The Damper rating on the Xebex rower runs between 1 and 10. If you are after a light, fast row, set it between 1-5 and for a heavy, slower row, use setting between 6-10.
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)
- 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. You can also make use of ore-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.
Although it is a perfectly functional unit, the Xebex monitor does not feature some of the extras that come with more expensive units. This includes having PC connectivity. As a result there is no way to download your training data to your computer for later analysis.
Unlike the Concept 2 rower, the Xebex monitor’s computer does not calculate ‘drag factor’, which adjusts your results to account for the flywheel drag on every stroke. As a result the Concept 2 is more accurate that the Xebex.
The base of the Xebex rower is made from metal and steel and weighs 100 pounds. This provides a very sturdy structure from which to operate. Many competitors in the Xebex price range end up using plastic componentry, which is, clearly, nowhere near as durable.
The overall build of the machine is very impressive. Add in the solid stainless steel chain and you have a very durable machine. In fact, the machine was tested in the factory with a robotic arm pulling the handle 1 million times. At the end of the mammoth session, no damage was reported on the Xebex.
The seat height on the Xebex rower is higher than you would normally find on a rowing machine, sitting at about 1 inch from the floor. This makes it a whole lot easier to get on and off the machine, especially for elderly, less agile people. The contoured bucket type seat has an extra level of padding, so that your butt won’t be aching after a half hour rowing session.
The handle grips of the Xebex rower feature soft grips to keep your hands callus free and prevent sweat slippage.
The Xebex rower is able to be compacted down for ease of storage. In fact, it is the storing air rower that we have ever come across.
When you are ready to store the Xebex away, you simply pull out a pop-pin to collapse down the seat rail. You then bring the seat rail up into it clicks into position. Your folding job is now complete and the unit is ready to be stored away, its overall length having been substantially reduced.
To make it even easier to store the Xebex away, it comes with four transportation wheels, allowing anyone to effortlessly move it around. The stored footprint of the Xebex is about half of what it is when operational.
The Xebex is strong enough to handle user weights up to 227 kg (500 pounds). It can also take tall people up to 6’7” thanks to the extra large monorail at 55 inches.
At the other extreme, the Xebex can be used by children with no problems. Because of the elevated seat height, it is also a good choice for elderly who may have restricted mobility.
It is pretty straightforward to set up the Xebex rower. You will want to set aside up to 45 minutes for the job, which is the amount of time that the manufacturer recommends. All the tools that you will need to put the machine together come as part of the package.
Xebex provide a 5-year warranty on the frame, with 2 years on parts. Consumer reviews speak glowingly of the customer service received by ‘Get RX’d’, the company that manufactures and distributes the Xebex rowing machine.
Get RX’d offer a Xeber Air Rower Conditioning Pack, which consists of a range of exercise equipment designed to complement the air rower. These are:
- Back saver pad
- EZ speed rope
- 20 pound Premium Wall Ball
- 15 pound Slam Ball
One of the coolest features of the Xebex in contrast to the Concept 2 is its compact foldability. Because you can break down the length of the seat rail, it can be conveniently stored in your garage at about half of its normal length. In contrast the storage of the Concept 2 simple requires you to turn it on its side. But this makes it so tall that it will get in the way of your garage door. The Concept 2 also does not provide you with front and back wheels.
So, in terms of compact and portability, the Xebex is the clear winner.
The seat height of the Xebex is quite a bit higher than the Model D Concept 2 Rower. This may take a little getting used to, but once you do you will appreciate the extra comfort level provided. The higher seat is especially beneficial for those with knee issues and the elderly. The foot pegs on both machines are very similar.
The actual row in terms of smoothness, resistance and feel is very similar between the Xebex and the Concept 2. That is probably because they appear to have exactly the same flywheel. You don’t get any slack on the Xebex, which you might expect from machines in its price point.
The seat on the Xebex has better form and comfort than that on the Concept 2. The cup on the back of the Xebex adds that extra birt of support that can make all the difference on a long row.
Both machines are very solidly constructed, with the Xebex being a little heavier than the Concept 2.
The monitor on the Xebex is not as good as that on the Concept 2. For the vast majority of people the functionality on the Xebex will work fine. However, for those few who want more detailed analysis and programming, the Concept 2 will serve you better.
The biggest point of difference between the Xebex and the Concept 2 is the price. The Xebex is considerably cheaper. As we’ve seen, the functionality of the two machines is very similar, apart from the advanced monitoring available on the concept 2. Some features of the Xebex, such as the seat and foldability, are even better.
Our recommendation is to go with the Xebex, which provides you with the same quality experience as the Concept 2, but at a better price and with a greater level of user comfort.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.