Lifecore Fitness R100 Commercial Rowing Machine Review

Rhian Hunt's picture

The Lifecore R100 is one of the best rowers in the market today. It is a commercial quality rowing machine which is also available for home use.

The R100 is a formidable-looking machine with a large frontal drum holding a solid steel magnetic flywheel, a tough extruded aluminum frame with steel supports, ergonomic design, and a sophisticated, high-quality computer monitor that offers a wide range of detailed and timely information to the exerciser.

It lies towards the upper end of the rower price range, but the quality, versatility, and toughness that it includes makes this a good value-for-money for the serious exerciser or rowing enthusiast.

Size and Weight

As might be expected from a commercial rowing machine, the Lifecore R100 is a large exercise device, with a length of 92 inches, a width of 19 inches, and a height of 36 inches. The total weight of the machine is 96 pounds. This is surprising light considering how large it is, but easily understood in terms of the extruded aluminum frame.

Folds Up for Easy Storage

The rower also folds for storage compressing to a length of 52 inches, a width of 19 inches, and a height of 67 inches (or nearly 6 feet). Clearly, this commercial machine is not for those who are short of space, but for those with enough room, it will more than make up for the amount of space it occupies.

Sturdy, Long-Lasting Value

The Lifecore R100 looks like it will last for a lifetime. It's sturdy appearance does not belie the total weight it can support, which is 600 pounds. This is surely enough weight for nearly any exerciser. Vivek, from NYC, a user of the R100, says:

"I am a big guy (250lbs) and I find it very comfortable. For a guy who hates workouts I unexepctedly find myself jumping on it several times a day for 5-10 minute workouts. It is very user friendly and very easy to work with. For any fitness enthusiast, fighter, endurance/strength athlete, or couch potato I cannot recommend this machine highly enough.”

How Does Lifecore R100 Work - LCR100 Video

Lifetime Guarantee

When used for home exercising, the Lifecore's warranty includes a lifetime guarantee of the frame, a 5-year warranty on parts and a 1-year warranty on labor. Commercial warranties are shorter, but most users will not be concerned with these guarantees.

Given the solidity of the frame, it is likely that the rowing machine will survive its warranty for many years.


Despite its size, the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is quick and easy to assemble. Users report that it is ready to go several minutes after it is taken out of the box, and its modular, efficient designs makes it easy to see why this is the case.

An Allen wrench is included in the package, and this is the only tool needed to build the R100.

Excellent Seat and Footboards

The Lifecore rower's seat is very firmly mounted and moves with extreme smoothness, as well as being ergonomically comfortable to sit on.

With the length of the rowing beam and the adjustments that are possible in the position of the seat, nearly any height of exerciser can use the device comfortably.

John, another R100 enthusiast, explains:

“It is VERY smooth, has numerous rower settings, and an excellent seat. Can even watch / listen to the TV when I'm using it.”

For added comfort, the footboards have heel supports as well as the normal straps. This reduces your chance of injury, since some injuries occur when the food slips off the footboard when pressure is being applied to it.

Magnetic As Well As Air Resistance Flywheel

Resistance is provided by a magnetic flywheel, whose steel inner parts make it likely to survive years of use.

The flywheel is not quite as quiet as a water-tank resistance rowing machine's action, but is still quieter than most piston machines and similar mechanical-resistance rowers, such as the Schwinn airdyne.

The combination of magnetic and air resistance can furnish 16 different levels of resistance, giving both beginning and advanced users plenty of options. As one user, Vivek Magicyogi, described it, you can explosively row this machine and do interval routines with ease.

Cooling Air - When You Want It

The air from the flywheel fan can be directed towards you in a cooling stream. Unlike many other air resistance rowers, the Lifecore R100 has an adjustable vent, so that you can choose to shut off the stream of air or redirect it if you want to.

This is a very useful and often neglected feature of air resistance mechanisms, and it is to the credit of Lifecore that they have designed a machine with this vent. After all, a cooling jet of air is pleasant in the summer, but may be less so in the winter.

A Good Computer Monitor with Many Workouts

The computer monitor is one of the standout features of this rowing machine. The display is blue with white digital lettering and is backlit, so the device can be used easily in near or complete darkness.

The monitor gives nearly every kind of detailed information that any exerciser could need. The computer can be set to store 4 different user profiles, including data, favorite workouts, and so on.

It also includes 15 different workouts, including several white-water rowing programs featuring heavily variable resistance to simulate rowing in violently perturbed water.

As M. Raschid, a R100 user, says:

“The pre-programmed workouts in the computer/display module are great. There is enough variety to keep you entertained while getting a solid workout.”

Support for Polar Heart Rate Watches

The monitor can also remotely communicate with heart monitor wrist watches such as the Polar Heart Rate Monitor. However, some users say that the magnetism of the flywheel throws off the heart rate measurement, so that your heart appears to be beating slightly faster or slightly slower than it actually is. This is easy enough to check and compensate for by glancing at your heart rate watch.

What Others Are Saying

The Lifecore R100 has been rated extremely well by its users.

Alfonso Moretti, an avid rower enthusiast with huge experience in exercise equipment, states:

“After using it for the first time, I was nothing short of astonished at its performance. As far as rowers are concerned, nothing, and mean nothing, comes close to this machine. It’s worth every cent”

Problems & Complaints - A Short Power Cord

The main problem with the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is that its power cord is fairly short. This means that you will either need to get a sturdy extension cord to plug it in to, or you will have to position the machine close to a wall outlet where you can get the power to run the magnets and the computer monitor.

This is a relatively minor detail, however, and is more than counterbalanced in the eyes of most users by the many excellent features that the R100 boasts. The machine can also be powered by 4 C cell batteries when necessary.

Summary: a Top-Notch Rower

All in all, the Lifecore Fitness R100 Commercial Rowing Machine is a top of the line, high-quality, well-made exercise device that will satisfy both the novice and the expert.

The robust design, huge range of resistances, interesting and useful range of pre-programmed workouts (including the perspiration-building whitewater sessions), smooth magnetic resistance, and comfortable details such as the seat, the adjustable air vent, and so on, make this a very attractive model for the serious rowing enthusiast.

The computer monitor is versatile and gives lots of highly detailed information, and the compatibility with Polar heart rate wristwatches, though slightly inaccurate, is still another plus.

Lifecore R100 Best Price

I've checked the web, and the best place to buy the Lifecore Fitness R100 is Amazon.

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