Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine Review

Rhian Hunt's picture

Small, compact, and low-cost, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a rowing machine made for those with limited space or limited budgets. Fitting into a space only four feet long and two feet wide, the Glider 1050 represents the smallest that a rowing machine can be practically made. Pistons provide smooth resistance and the arms move in a semi-outrigger manner. The machine has its share of problems, as would be expected from a low-budget rowing machine—including an uncomfortable seat and some difficulties with the footboards—but also gives those with limited time or money the opportunity to use a rowing machine as part of their exercise regimen.

Size and Weight

The Body Trac 1050 is an extremely compact machine, measuring 46 inches long and 23 inches wide—or, in other words, 2 by 4 feet. The machine folds upright so that it can be placed in a closet when not in use, so the design is even more space-saving than appears on the surface. As would be expected from such a small machine, the weight is also low—around 39 pounds in total. Stability is achieved by having a wide bar resting on the floor in back, and by a low center of gravity generally in the machine's engineering.

Weight Capacity and Warranty

The machine can support users of up to 250 pounds, largely due to both its small size and its all-steel construction, with no aluminum present. The machine has a one-year warranty on the frame and a 90 day warranty on the parts -- not an unusual arrangement for a low-cost rowing machine, but also indicating that its sturdiness is only average.

The Seat: Smooth Motion, Uncomfortably Thin Pad

The seat of the Body Trac Glider 1050 is mounted, as usual, on a ball-bearing roller system located in the machine's central aluminum beam. The seat moves very smoothly on its rollers, but the pad is thin and seating is somewhat uncomfortable, especially for those without thick flesh on their buttocks. This makes the rowing experience either rigorous or uncomfortable after a long rowing session, depending on one's viewpoint—although it is easy enough to throw a pillow on the seat if desired, or even glue on additional padding. The seat position cannot be adjusted—it is "one size fits all."

Problems with the Footboards

There are many customer complaints about the footboards, and potential buyers should be aware of these problems. The footboards are simply a flat board with a velcro strap that fits over the toes, and there are numerous reports of problems being caused both by this and by the large size of the footboards. Anyone but the biggest users will have trouble keeping their feet on the footboards—and as anyone who has used a rowing machine knows, the support of the footboards is critical to proper rowing.

Quick and Effective Workarounds for the Footboard Problems

It requires a strong effort for people with smaller feet to keep their feet on the pedals, and this strains the knees and causes pain in the joints and muscles. It is possible to modify the footboards fairly easily if you are a handyman type by drilling through them and attaching your own straps at more convenient spot, but for those without this knack, or simply lacking the time, the footboards can be a real problem.

Those who have done so report an improvement in the whole machine's performance—for example, one user says that "now my feet stay in all the time and the machine works very well!" Another solution is to wear bulky shoes like sneakers while using the machine.

Johnny-X, a smart user, fixed the "feet falling out of pedal" problem by drilling a U-bolt into each pedal, as shown in the picture.

Piston Problems

Another problem with the Stamina Body Trac Glider is that the gas resistance pistons change the movement of the arms after a few minutes. As the gas in the pistons heats up, it expands and fills more of the piston cylinder, and the movement of the arms is reduced to half what it was when the piston was cool at startup. One customer also reports that resistance is lowered as the pistons heat, although this seems counterintuitive.

A Simple Computer Monitor

The computer monitor of the Stamina 1050 is very simple, and displays only three types of data: time elapsed, number of strokes, and calories burned. According to some users, the calorie counter is highly inaccurate, and shows only a very low total of calories burned regardless of how long or hard you row. However, since this is a low-cost rowing machine, a basic monitor is probably to be expected. It provides adequate tracking for those who are using the machine as it is intended to be used -- as a cheap supplement to a casual exercise regimen.

Materials Prone to Breakage

The metal parts are not solid -- they are the same type of metal tubing that you can find being used to make lawnmower handles and similar products. The plastic parts, of which there are a good number, are also quite fragile and can be chipped or broken relatively easily. The customer shouldn't expect the machine to much outlast the warranty period of one year without something breaking off somewhere--including, possibly, one of the rowing arms-- but at the cost, even a year's use would mean paying only $10 a month for your workout.

Overview

All in all, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is a cheap, entry-level device meant to give a decent workout to the casual rower. It is adequate for this purpose, unless one of its mechanical problems crops up, and the potential buyer should be aware of both the footboards' problems and the workarounds for them (drilling holes and installing new straps, or wearing large, bulky shoes while rowing).

Where You Can Get the Best Price

The best price for the Stamina 1050, along with good customer service and shipping policies, is to be found on Amazon.

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