Water Rower Oxbridge Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor review

Rowing has long been recognized as the perfect aerobic pursuit, with naturally smooth and flowing movements that don't tax the joints but do boost the heart rate. Now you can take your rowing experience to the next level with the . 


Using the same principles that govern the dynamics of a boat in water, the WaterRower Oxbridge is outfitted with a “water flywheel” that consists of two paddles in an enclosed tank of water that provide smooth, quiet resistance, just like the paddles in an actual body of water. As a result, the machine has no moving parts that can wear out over time (even the recoil belt and pulleys don't require lubricating or maintaining).

More significantly, the water tank and flywheel create a self-regulating resistance system that eliminates the need for a motor. As with real rowing, when you paddle faster, the increased drag provides more resistance. When you paddle slower, the resistance is less intense. The only limit to how fast you can row is your strength and your ability to overcome drag. And unlike conventional rowing machines, which tend to be jerky and jarring, the WaterRower Oxbridge is remarkably smooth and fluid.

From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Oxbridge works 84 percent of your muscle mass, helping tone and strengthen your muscles while burning far more calories than most other aerobic machines. The exercise is also low impact, as it removes all the body weight from the ankles, knees, and hips, but still moves the limbs and joints through a full range of motion–from completely extended to completely contracted.

The WaterRower Oxbridge is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor–which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons–displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.

The is handcrafted in solid cherry wood, which may vary in color from red/brown to deep red and will darken with exposure to light. For this reason, all WaterRower cherry wood components are kept in light-free rooms to protect from shadowing before being sold to the public. Initially, a new WaterRower Oxbridge will appear quite light in color, but will darken over time until it reaches a rich reddish hue. The cherry wood was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation.

In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with three coats of Danish oil to give it a deep luster and warmth.

Other details include dual rails with four corner wheels that increase seat stability and reduce the amount of sweat buildup; a frame that flips upright for handy storage; and a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds.

More Details

The WaterRower Oxbridge is hand crafted in solid Cherrywood.

All WaterRower Series 4 (S4) wood models now include the Home Training DVD in box.

Like all woods, Cherrywood may vary in color from a red-brown to deep red. The wood will darken in color with exposure to light.

For this reason all WaterRower Cherrywood components are kept in light free rooms to protect from shadowing.

A new WaterRower Oxbridge Rower will therefore appear quite light in color. The wood will however darken over time reaching a rich reddish hue.The WaterRower Oxbridge Rower rowing machine is unsurpassed in terms of design refinement.

WaterRower Oxbridge Rower has a patented WaterFlywheeldesign emulates rowing like no machine before it.

Smooth, silent and storing conveniently upright the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower is perfect for any user and in any environment.

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rower has an unique patented WaterFlywheel has been designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving through water.

The commercial quality WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine is made in the USA from sustainably sourced cherry wood.

Like all WaterRowers, this unit features a patented water-based flywheel to very effectively reproduce the physical sensation and benefits of rowing a boat through water.

It also gets the brand%u2019s especially data-rich S4 monitor.

User Reviews

Review 1

I own 2 rowers in 2 different locations:
1st is a Concept 2 (model C – computer upgraded to PM3, handle and seat from D) which is just over 10 years old at my office/shop.
2nd is the Water Rower in Cherry which is just over 6 months old at my vacation house (used every weekend).

I write this review just having finished rowing on the Water Rower.

I purchased both machine new.
In the past, I had a “silicon filled piston super heavy duty rowing machine” which just died of many wear and fatigue problems before I purchased the Concept.

Either the Concept or Water Rower will do a really good job of lasting and keeping you in shape without killing your body.
I ran for many years but it was doing slow damage to my knees so I moved to rowing.

I row 3 days on, 1 off unless I get a major workout some other way.
I use these machines to keep in shape. Keep the lungs and heart moving etc.
I just get on the machine and row for 30 minutes either watching TV (at office) or listening to a pod caste and looking at the ocean.
I do not use any monitor graphics or other features.
I want 3 things – total time rowed – total meters rowed – current time for 500 M.
To me the rest of the displays are just not interesting.
I own and might use a heart rate monitor every 6 months are so…

The concept has > 10 million meters on it.
Replaced some parts over the years – the grips wears out fairly fast and the original was poorly shaped (for my hands) but the D model is good. The chain and shock cord has been replaced 2 times. Multiple seat roller sets. Complete seat.

The significant maintenance issue is you must wipe down the rollers and clean the rail with every use. If you do not do this it will not be smooth and drive you crazy. I keep paper towels and a wetting squirt bottle next to the machine. You can expect to use one half a paper towel per row if you want a smooth machine. The seat rollers need to be replaced on a regular basis – they give off some black material all the time. Concept keeps changing the material of the rollers so maybe they will find a good solution.

The Concept PM2 monitor was changed to a PM3 monitor which was a gift. The PM3 might have been an upgrade in some ways but effectively deleted the long term total of the PM2. When the batteries die my PM3 often loses info which the PM2 did not. This does not affect me much but might be a large issue for many users.
The design of the battery holder makes me sad every time I replace the batteries.
Card workout storage system is not something I use so no info on that.

The worst part of the Concept is it is very loud – I have to turn the TV up to dead max and can barely understand it.
The machine TV is so loud I normally try and wait till the business next door leaves before I row – subjecting someone to equipment noise is ok but to bad TV just seems so rude…

Originally I expected to purchase a Concept D for my vacation house having talked several friends into buying one.
But I was concerned with rust since there is a lot of salt in the air at the vacation house. The Concept has developed few spots of rust in it's current location so I knew this was going to be a big issue.
The Water Rower has some steel parts also but is mostly wood so I figured this was a plus.
The Water Rower also looks much better which was a plus – who cares in my shop but this is now in a home.
And the Water Rower looks way better standing up – the Concept looks like it will fall (never has) and hurt you. In theory, the Concept can be split into 2 pieces but this is a pain in the butt for an everyday operation.

So I purchased the Water Rower in cherry…

The Water Rower has about 600 KM on it to date.

Water Rower good points:
Looks great.
Very quite.
Smoother stroke.
No issues with rails – this is surprise to me – I even talked to Water Rower directly about the rails and wear etc. Looked like a iffy solution – works great.
Feels more stable – the Concept is fine – the Water Rower is even better.
Computer is better than I expected given the comments on Amazon.
Rust has not been an issue so far – there are some steel parts but the coating must be really good.
The handle is better – at first I expected to replace the handle with a Concept model D version but then I found I just forgot about it – so it works.
Seat is better – women seem to find it significantly so.

Things which could be improved:
The rollers on the front to moving around the machine need work – Water Rower needs to make a spacer to make them better fit the holes. Easy fix but needed.
The overlay on my monitor needed to be positioned better (caught buttons down) – and then fell off – easy to reapply but a quality issue. As a note to water rower – make your cut outs bigger next time by at least 0.010″ – will save you and users some grief.
Publish data on freezing prevention – I am technical and can figure out the ratio of Isopropyl for my needs but users need support.
Finish – Danish oil would be a nice option – it just makes it look much richer than the stock finish.
Foot straps – not quite great yet if you use socks or less – foot straps for wind surfers etc would be great optional upgrade.

More differences for the Water Rower vs. Concept:
The stroke is very different and many believe the Water Rower is incorrect on work expended.
I am not convinced – the Water Rower stroke has more resistance at first and less at the end.
The Water Rower is also less affected by a varying rate – it is fairly easy to “cheat” on the Concept.
If I row X meters in 30 minutes on both – I feel different but my sweet level and guess at work expended is very close with a slight increase on the Water Rower.
Not sure why either machine would be less than accurate – fairly easy to calculate.

So in the end if I was just going to purchase 1 machine again it would be the Water Rower hands down.
But for now I will keep rowing on both….

Review 2

Great Machine as others have stated come in two boxes, I found it easier to unpack outside and bring the parts inside for assembly. Bolt & Hole alignment very precise no room for error. I had to set the machine on its end to align the last two bolts for the foot support.
The foot support attaches under and at the end of the top piece over the tank. The female part of these two bolts actually are recessed into the back of the foot support,.
It may take some light tapping with mallet to set the inserts so the bolts will reach.
But great , great machine Work out easy and you do not realize how much exercise you have gotten until you get up.
I am a legally blinded Iraqi Vet so this rowing machine is the best exercise machine I have found to allow me to exercise in a safe manner.
Only regret, is that I did not have this machine several years ago

Review 3

I rowed in college 30 years ago. I read a review saying this erg is not challenging enough. If you're an Olympic level rower, by all means investigate further. Take it from a middle aged guy who rowed competitively in college, it's plenty challenging enough for anyone wanting to improve their health or prepare for anything short of Olympic trials. Besides, I'm not convinced it isn't good enough for the Olympics. The swooshing sounds of water is much more pleasing than compressed air. It's good looking and portable…I put it up after every row. I really like rowing again. I find I can actually enjoy 30 to 45 minute workouts. While expensive, the heart rate monitor is a big help….keeps me at the right intensity. I can't speak to durability yet, I've only had it for a month, but it looks like it will last for years. I expect the screws need tightening periodically.

Review 4

It works and looks great. Unfortunately my unit has a leak where the fan unit inside the tank is mounted. When I stand it up (it's built to store vertical if floor space is needed when the machine is not in use), a very slow leak appears. It's not something you can fix yourself, at least not that I can see. I'm contacting the manufacture to see what can be done. Other than that, I really love the machine.

Other Useful Information

Overall the Oxbridge indoor rower is comfortable to use and is appropriate for everyone from novices to elite trainees.When rowing the workout is generated by overcoming the effect of drag as the boat moves through the water.

So with the WaterFlywheel the workout is generated by overcoming the effect of drag as the water moves past the tank on the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower.When rowing faster you move the boat, the greater the drag and the greater the intensity of exercise required to maintain your speed.

The limit to the speed you can maintain is you, your physiology.

Simply pull the handle and you are greeted with the sound of surging water.

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rower has been designed to optimize ease of storage.

Simply lift one end and the machine stores conveniently uprightin about the space of a dining room chair.

When stored the WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel provides a low center of gravity making the machine very stable.Designed with an obsession for detail, the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower is unmatched by any other fitness equipment.


The is handcrafted in solid cherry wood. Like all woods, cherry may vary in color from a reddish-brown to deep red. Cherry wood, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. It will alsodarken in color with exposure to light.

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