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Magnetic Rowing Machine/Recumbent Bike Review

Magnetic Rowing Machine/Recumbent Bike Review
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Ride a bike or row your way to fitness with this versatile rower/recumbent bike combo

We have tried several rowing machines and recumbent bikes including the water rowing machine used on House of Cards and the traditional air rowing machines found at many fitness centers.  However, after trial and error, we came across and want to share our experience with the Stamina Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent Bike/Rower combo.  We purchased this unit for this review so it is not sponsored in any way.

There are several versions of the Stamina Biker/Rower.   This review is for the 15-9003b that has display screen on the main unit.

Most of the component pieces
Most of the component pieces

ASSEMBLY

We were surprised by the easy assembly.  The unit came with multiple parts and the typical bag of nuts and bolts; however, the main unit including the drive belt and handle was fully assembled.   We simply had to attach the seat (which came in 3 pieces), the bike pedals, rowing foot rests and other incremental components.   Assembly took less than an hour. It would have been less, except we put the rowing foot rests on before another part and they were in the wrong order.  Next time, we should read the directions!   However, since we did most of the assembly without reading the directions (just looking at the picture) the ease of assembly is worth noting.

USE

This unit features magnetic resistance which is very quiet – pretty much silent.    Although the water rowers like the one used on House of Cards provides a nice “chug chug” as the water moves back and forth with the strokes, the magnetic resistance is more convenient if you want to watch television or prefer to listen to something else.  The Stamina unit also provides up to 8 levels of resistance which we will discuss later.

It is really easy to switch from bike to rowing – just moving your feet, unlock or lock the seat and you are ready to go.   For rowing, the pull cord provides the resistance; however, for biking, the resistance is applied to the pedals so you can get both arm and leg workout as well as aerobic exercise.

Another great feature of the unit is its versatility beyond rowing and cycling.   The pull bar can be used for arm curls or attached to the seat for additional leg strengthening exercises.

We only found a few cons.  The seat makes a slight clunking metallic sound when using the bike feature due to play in the locking pin.  The electronic display is battery operated and not very intuitive or useful.    Also, even on the highest resistance setting, the unit does not provide much resistance for cycling or rowing; however, since it is predominantly an aerobic unit and is extremely portable and lightweight, we were not expecting significant resistance.   We also were frustrated switching between rowing and cycling since the straps are different between the cycling footrest and those for the rower.   We solved this by leaving a pair of slip on shoes permanently attached to the rowing footrests.  We use the cycling barefoot and then slip our feet into the shoes for rowing.  It works great for us.

Battery Operated Display
Battery Operated Display

APPEARANCE

The unit we received had black accents instead of grey as shown in the marketing pictures on Amazon.com and Walmart.com. The unit we received looks more like the video.   We prefer the black and were happy, although surprised.

OVERALL PROS

  • Economical Price for Multifunction Unit
  • Folds for Storage and Rolls Away
  • Smooth, Quiet Operation
  • Multiple Uses including rowing, cycling, arm curls, leg presses and potentially others if you are creative
  • Does not require electricity

OVERALL CONS

  • Could have more resistance
  • Electronic display runs on 2 batteries and is somewhat cheap
  • Seat clunks when in cycling mode

WHERE TO BUY

We found this unit for the exact same price at several online retailers including Sears, Walmart and Amazon.  We did not find it in any brick and mortar stores.  We purchased ours through Walmart because they offered free shipping using FedEx.  Amazon also offered free shipping; however, they generally use UPS and UPS delivery to our house has been dismal – some items were never received at all even though they made it onto our street.

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