First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine review

The commercial-grade First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine provides rowers of all experience levels with a challenging workout at the turn of a dial. The dial-controlled adjustable resistance water filled tank utilizes a rapid recoil system for lively rowing strokes with no dead spots.

Details

Built to withstand harsh environments. Displays time, distance, strokes per min., cal. Weight capacity: 330 lbs 

Levels of patented Variable Fluid Resistance for continuous progression.

First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro 2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine with Variable Fluid Resistance and Multi-Level...
  • HIGH-QUALITY WATER ROWER - Engineered with a steel head frame with hand lacquered sustainable...
  • PATENTED VARIABLE FLUID RESISTANCE - Multiple levels of resistance provides the seamless progression...
  • LIFE-LIKE WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - Enjoy rapid recoil system for rapid strokes for the best total...
  • OPTIMUM COMFORT AND CONNECTIVITY - This row machine is constructed with a multi-level computer that...
  • WARRANTY AND SHIPPING - Enjoy full commercial manufacturer's warranty: 10 years limited warranty on...

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Triple bladed impeller and baffled tank for smooth water resistant action.

Multi-level computer with USB port for connectivity.

Easily adjusted footplates with secure heel capture and angled surface under ball of foot to assist leg drive.

Smooth and silent action and textured non-slip seat that shapes to the user.

Deluxe ergonomic design allows comfortable grip minimising strain on forearms, wrists and hands.

Ethically sourced American Ash frame with steel casing.

Transport wheels for easy positioning and storage.

Self-cleaning wheel mechanism to minimise wear and tear on bearings.

Stores in upright position 550 x 540mm (22×21%u2033) and assembled length 2135mm (84%u2033), width 550mm (22%u2033), height 540mm (21%u2033). Maximum user weight 150kg (330lbs).

Durable Belt Drive with active recoil system.

The First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine is a commercial grade, natural wood rowing machine, perfect for group training or high-end home gyms. This rower's water resistant design, meditative motion and integrity of construction sets it apart from its competitors. Handcrafted from the finest quality American Ash wrapped around a stabilising steel frame, this steadfast indoor rower offers a standout performance even in the harshest of fitness applications.

If you are accustomed to the natural catch and feel of on-water rowing, your rowing technique will immediately appreciate the Apollo's unrivalled emulation of a boat gliding through water. FDF's patented twin tank design generates a smooth uniform stroke, including no lag of resistance at the catch and continued resistance all the way to the finish.

This commercial water rower is a timeless gym favourite, guaranteed to keep members returning.

The commercial-grade First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine provides entry-level users with a challenging workout at the turn of a dial. This dial-controlled resistance utilizes a rapid recoil system for rapid strokes like you'd experience in a river. Built to withstand harsh environments. Displays time, distance, strokes per min., cal.

More Details

  • HIGH-QUALITY WATER ROWER – Engineered with a steel head frame with hand lacquered sustainable American Ash wood side rails for superb durability to withstand years of hardcore workout sessions. Built-in transit wheels also make this unit easy to store when not in use. Water Rower Dimensions: 84 L x 22 W x 21 H Inches / Rower Weight: 79 Pounds/ Upright storage: 22 x 21 inches.
  • PATENTED VARIABLE FLUID RESISTANCE – Multiple levels of resistance provides the seamless progression that fits any level of fitness. The twin tank has a triple bladed impeller for a smooth uniform water stroke.
  • LIFE-LIKE WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE – Enjoy rapid recoil system for rapid strokes for the best total body workout, maintenance-free belt drive, front wheels for easy transport and storage and deluxe ergonomic handles that allows comfortable grip and minimized forearm, wrist, and hand strains. Maximum User Weight: 330 pounds.
  • OPTIMUM COMFORT AND CONNECTIVITY – This row machine is constructed with a multi-level computer that shows time, distance, 500 meters split time, strokes per minute, calories burned per hour, watts, and heart rate. Designed with adjustable footplates and straps that secure the heels and feature angled surface to effectively assist leg drive. Contoured seat allows easy mounting and dismounting and designed with silent action, and textured finish to prevent slips.
  • WARRANTY AND SHIPPING – Enjoy full commercial manufacturer's warranty: 10 years limited warranty on frame, 3 years on tank and seals, 2 years on mechanical components, and 1 year on other components. Shipping included with your purchase when you buy from Dazadi.

First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro 2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine with Variable Fluid Resistance and Multi-Level...
  • HIGH-QUALITY WATER ROWER - Engineered with a steel head frame with hand lacquered sustainable...
  • PATENTED VARIABLE FLUID RESISTANCE - Multiple levels of resistance provides the seamless progression...
  • LIFE-LIKE WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - Enjoy rapid recoil system for rapid strokes for the best total...
  • OPTIMUM COMFORT AND CONNECTIVITY - This row machine is constructed with a multi-level computer that...
  • WARRANTY AND SHIPPING - Enjoy full commercial manufacturer's warranty: 10 years limited warranty on...

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

User Reviews

Review 1

I bought this rower a couple of weeks ago and couldn't be happier. The equipment exceeds my expectations.

A little background info…..I'm a runner. I've been a runner since high school. But at 61 years old, I finally did some damage to my right knee. Not joint damage, an ACL tear. I'd been doing 11 mile trail runs over tree roots, fallen logs, and rocks, even though my doctor told me to cut back to 5 miles or less. Anyway, the tear takes about 6 weeks to heal. I didn't want to give up cardio activity for 6 weeks. While pondering what to do about it, it also occurred to me that an alternative to running would be great in the winter when snow and ice makes the roads and trails unsafe. It would also be nice to have an alternative when summer temps are in the high 80's with 90% humidity. I hate hot weather.

So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to get some form of cardio equipment for our home gym which up to this point had been strictly resistance equipment (weights). This was the criteria I came up with for me.
1.) Something that could fit in our basement playroom / gym. That meant working within the limits of a 7'6″ drop ceiling.
2.) I wanted the abilities to burn calories close to what I can do on a treadmill…..1,200 calories per hour.
3.) It had to be low or no impact. So, a treadmill was out.
4.) Sturdy and built to last. I'm 6'0″ and 210 lbs and pretty fit. I have 2 sons, 19 and 25 who use the home gym. The equipment is used every day.
5.) Something that worked more than legs, heart, and lungs like running would be a plus.
6.) Low maintenance
7.) Something that could be easily stored without taking up a lot of space.

So I looked at…..
1.) Treadmills…..Rejected. Same impact as running outside. Also with my height and the height of a treadmill deck, I'd only have about a foot of clearance between my head and the drop ceiling. Too weird feeling. Also not a full body workout. And treadmills take up a lot of space and are hard to move around.
2.) Elliptical…..Rejected. It solves the impact problem and it's a little more of a full body workout but it has the same height problems as a treadmill. And like treadmills, elliptical machines take up a lot of space and are hard to move around.
3.) Bikes…..Rejected. They solve the impact problem but they are solely a leg workout and cardio. Bikes aren't a height problem but they are a storage problem. They generally don't fold up and aren't easy to move around. Bikes also don't approach the calorie burn of a treadmill.
4.) Rowers…..Bingo. Zero impact. According to articles I read, rowers use about 84% of the muscle mass in your body. Quads, calves, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, abs, arms. That's about as close to a full body workout as you're gonna get. No problems with height as you're rowing sitting down rather than standing up. Calorie burn less than a treadmill but about equal to an elliptical. Storage with air rowers isn't great but water rowers are very compact and simply tip up to store vertically with almost no effort.

So a rower it is. Now which type of resistance did I want in a rower, air or water?

Concept 2 is the acknowledged leader in air rowers. By all accounts they are quality machines that are used in commercial gyms all over the place. They use a chain drive and basically a fan to provide resistance. A Concept 2 will give you a great workout and hold up to heavy use.
But I've used them in gyms. They are annoyingly loud and the fan creates a blast of air (unavoidable) that may not be great for other people in the room in a home setting. Also, they don't feel smooth and natural to me but that's a totally subjective judgement on my part. Lastly, while a Concept 2 breaks apart for storage, it's not a very elegant solution. You end up with two pretty unwieldy pieces.

Waterrower is the leading rower brand that uses water resistance. By all accounts, they are also solid machines that will give you a good full body workout and last for 10 years. The energy from a water rower is contained in the water tank so, less noise and no annoying blast of air. Also, the wood construction looks beautiful in a home setting. The feel and sound of using a water rower is just luxurious. It's the closest to actually rowing I think you can get sitting on dry land in a gym. So I decided a water resistance rower was what I wanted.

I started looking around at the options in the market and found First Degree Fitness. They don't appear as well established as the Waterrower brand but they were price competitive and appeared to have some really nice technical innovations along with excellent build quality. What sold me on this machine were…..
1.) Hybrid construction…..the metal frame and foot board is built like a tank. It seems much stronger than all wood construction.
2.) Adjustable resistance…..with the Waterrower, if you want to change the resistance you have to either drain or fill the water tank, a time consuming chore that means I'd never actually do it. First Degree Fitness has come up with a dual chamber water tank that allows continuously variable water levels between an upper and lower limit. It takes 2 seconds to adjust and you never have to open the water tank. And it works!!!
3.) Fabric strap pull rather than a chain. It is much quieter.
4.) Incredible quality. The handle and seat are super comfortable to use. The ash side rails are finished to look like cherry and it looks gorgeous. I like the look much better than the natural color ash that Waterrower uses. And the paddles that provide resistance inside the water tank are heavy duty welded stainless steel rather than the plastic that Waterrower uses.

I chose the Apollo Pro II model because it's rated for light commercial use and has a couple of features that other machines lack like the little brushes mounted to the seat wheels that automatically clean the track every time the seat moves. The weight rating is 330 lbs, plenty for me. The seat height is about 12.5 “. That's fine for me but for someone with back or knee problems, getting up or down may be a concern. Waterrower offers an 8″ lift kit for about $100 that will get their seat height up to 20” which is chair height. So if you need that height, Waterrower may be your best bet. The Apollo Pro II only weighs 79 lbs empty and about 120 lbs with the maximum 17 liters of water in the tank. Like most water based rowers, there are two wheels at the front and it can simply be tipped up and stored vertically or wheeled around as needed. In the vertical position, it only takes up about 3 sq ft of floor space.

Assembly is very easy. There are 4 barrel nuts that hold the side rails together at the rear. 8 bolts that hold the water tank assembly and foot board to the side rails. 2 more bolts that fasten the wheels to the front of the side rails. And one bolt that attaches a hook for the bungee cord to the rear. So, a total of 15 fasteners hold everything together. First Degree Fitness includes two Allen wrenches and a drop forged combination box / open end wrench. And those are the only tools you'll need to put this rower together. It took me about an hour to unpack everything, assemble the rower, and fill the water tank. I was in no rush.

So how does it feel to use it? Like I said, luxurious. The seat is comfortable and sized well for me. It also glides back and forth effortlessly and silently. The handle is beefy and easy to grip with a non-slip textured rubber coating. The nylon belt drive is silent. The “catch” at the beginning of the stroke is immediate and feels completely natural. The resistance is plenty and very consistent throughout the full stroke to get your heart rate up and give your legs, arms, and back a workout. The water level adjustment is easy to use and it works. And it'snot only quiet, the noise that it does produce is not annoying at all. It's actually enjoyable to listen to but won't prevent you from listening to a TV or music while you row. And lastly, the electronic display provides all the information I need and is incredibly simple to operate with just three buttons.

Finally, this is the nicest looking piece of fitness equipment I've ever owned. It would be right at home in a family room, a master bedroom, a home gym, or outside on a patio beside a pool. I'm certain a water based rower was the right decision for me and equally certain this is one of the best rowers on the market at anywhere near this price or even double the price.

Review 2

AWESOME. I'm an avid rower. I did more research and read more reviews than a normal human being should. Reviews are very scarce for this machine and almost caused me to buy a different one. That would have been a mistake. It is 100.00 cheaper than the water rower club. In retrospect I would pay more. Buy it.

Review 3

I am a runner and needed a cross fit exercise. I decided to purchase an inexpensive rower to give rowing a try. I discovered I loved the kind of workout the rower provides, so I wanted to invest in a water rower to maximize my workout experience. After reading the previous reviews, I decided First degree Apollo Pro would be a good choice. It took a few days to arrive and I had to suck it up on the old, inexpensive rower while I waited.

The day finally arrived and I was so excited to whip this baby out of the box and put it together. Luckily, the two boxes containing my new machine arrived just before noon. Good thing because I would spend the next three and a half hours assembling the machine. I was kind of bum because the other reviewers said it went together so fast and so smoothly. Looking back, I can say that my problem with the assembling was that the bolts didn't always go smoothly into the holes. Once I figured out that I needed a rubber mallet to tap the bolts into place, things went much faster. So if you're a woman who will be putting this together, have a rubber mallet handy.

Review 4

I just upgraded to this machine. I had bought one last June 2017 that I did use every day for almost a year. It was a cheap stamina wave elite. It gave me tons of issues till I lost joy in using it. The only good was I did get to work out after lots of modifications I had to make. And it definitely showed me that water rowing machines are great work outs. I just wanted something more reliable. So April 10 2018 I upgraded to this machine the Apollo pro 2. It was a bit more pricey but I learned a lesson with my old one . You get what you pay for. When I got the new Machine I was instantly impressed with the quality differences compared to my old one. It Assembled very easily. And looks like a nice piece of furniture as well as a workout machine. I did my first two workouts on it and instantly realized how much better of a quality machine I%u2019m on. If you%u2019re thinking about buying a rowing machine and are on the fence about the cost do yourself a favor and spend a little more money and get a machine of this caliber it will do you justice and less frustration . Because my last machine worked but also caused issues which made me lose joy in use it. And working out is already hard enough to do. So in my opinion I should%u2019ve went this route the first time. Apollo pro 2 Is definitely a quality machine. Trust me I know my last one was a big piece of crap.

Other Useful Information

The tank is easy to fill up. The tank has a small orifice on top, sealed by a rubber plug. A small pump is included with the rower, which allows the filling or emptying the tank.

Last but not least, the operation of the rower doesn%u2019t generate a high level of noise. The sound produced by the spinning of the impeller in the tank can be described as a soft “whoosh” sound. Various users have actually reported that the sound generated relaxes them.

The seat glides on two pairs of wheels which integrate sealed ball bearings for prolonged use. Each wheel has a cover finished with two small brushes which help keep the sliding rails clean, free of small objects that may cause nicks on them.

Overall, the seat provides an extremely smooth and quiet action.The top of the seat stands at approx. 16%u2033 (40 cm) above floor level, thus taking position on the rower or getting up is fairly easy, and shouldn't be a problem even for users with various disabilities.

Finally, the side rails of the First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro 2 rowing machine are long enough to accommodate users up to 6%u20197%u2033 (201 cm).

This fitness meter unit is powered by 2 AA batteries which are not included. In order to track your pulse, you will need an HR receiver and chest strap which are also not included with the rower.

Maintenance requires the periodic inspection for loose bolts and parts, and for the integrity of the bungee cord and rowing strap. Also, the water in the tank may require chlorine treatment.

Conclusion

The First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine is suitable for all levels of fitness, providing a total body challenge that incorporates the upper body, lower body and core simultaneously.

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