Aviron Strong Series Rower review: this rock-solid rower will gamify your next sweat session…
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Aviron Strong Series Rower
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$2,100 plus membership from $24 per month, avironactive.com (international shipping available)
- Great for beginners
- Easy to stand and store
- Higher-than-average seat height
- Low-decibel resistance mechanisms
- Membership includes Amazon Prime, YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and YouTube access
- Bulky frame
- Requires tall ceiling to store upright
- Requires membership to access best features
Home-gym friendly: 4/5
The Aviron Strong Series Rower is a clever combination of form and function. And its brilliant 22-inch HD touchscreen offers instant access to gamified workouts the whole family can enjoy. Plus, thanks to a plethora of partnerships with such streaming services as Netflix, Disney+ and Spotify, Aviron seeks to eliminate the ‘boring’ factor of traditional rowing machines.
Aviron Strong Series Rower design
Aviron has two different rowers to choose from: the Impact Series and Strong Series. Whereas the former costs $1,899, Aviron’s premium option will leave your wallet $2,199 lighter. Featuring convenient upright storage, a reinforced steel and aluminium frame, four-way adjustable footpads, optional lumbar support ($129) and 16 levels of flywheel resistance — maxing out at 100 pounds – the Strong Series has an impressive 507lb (230kg) weight limit, and the frame is 13 inches (33cm) shorter than the foldable Impact Series when in use.
The Android-powered 22-inch touchscreen, which can be pivoted up and down, comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s also a built-in 2MP camera (for taking profile pictures and ‘victory shots’), and two 2-watt speakers. There’s a sleep button on top, a 3.5mm headphone jack underneath, volume controls on the right, and an Ethernet jack in the back. You can connect compatible heart rate monitors for even more workout data.
Beneath the flywheel and handlebar are four-way adjustable foot pads paired with standard monorail-style seating, complete with nylon straps to keep your toes snugly tethered in place.
Aviron Strong Series Rower dimensions
The machine measures 84 x 27 x 48in inches (213.4 x 68.6 x 121.9cm) when in use and 35 x 27 x 83in (88.9 x 68.6 x 210.8cm) inches when stored upright, so make sure you take some floor-to-ceiling measurements before clicking the ‘checkout’ button. The steel and aluminum construction weighs in at 114lb (51.7kg), but the machine is easy enough to move via the built-in wheels when tipped on its side. The industry-leading Concept2 RowErg is slightly longer by comparison with a 96 x 24in (238.8 x 61cm) footprint. (You also have to physically disconnect the RowErg to store it upright.)
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Aviron’s dual air and magnetic resistance system is meant to mimic an authentic rowing experience, and the Whisper Nylon belt operates under 60 decibels, which is quieter than other commercial-grade rowing machines. With my noise-canceling sports headphones connected via Bluetooth, the whole experience was even more immersive.
Note: I’m 6ft 3in (190.5cm) tall, and the Aviron Strong Series is designed to accommodate users up to 6ft 8in (205cm). For those with lower back issues, the $129 lumbar support kit might be worth investing in.
No need for set-up
My review unit came fully assembled upon delivery, which took the guesswork out of setup. (The delivery guys actually assembled the machine in their truck, then carried it inside; they made sure the rower powered up properly before leaving.) Once I found a place for the rower in my modest apartment, I just had to plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi, and create a user profile to access Aviron’s comprehensive library of fitness content – which is updated on a regular basis.
Aviron Strong Series Rower membership
At $2,199, the Strong Series Rower is more than twice the price of the Concept2 RowErg (starting at $990 / £990), but Aviron’s platform has a lot more to offer than the average rower. The company charges $24 per month for its annual home membership, which includes unlimited user profiles and full access to its growing library of dynamic games, programs and virtual rows.
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Quick Start: Aviron’s Metrics Monitor keeps track of wattage, output, distance, pace, calories, strokes, SPM, heart rate, and elapsed time. The Metrics Monitor works even without a membership, which means the machine holds value even if you cancel that monthly expense down the line.
Streaming: Access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and YouTube videos while you row. Your main metrics remain displayed on screen. It’s surprisingly enjoyable rowing away to nature documentaries and standup comedy specials on Netflix and YouTube.
Playing games on the Aviron Strong Series Rower
If you’re interested in gamifying your cardio routine, Aviron’s library of arcade-style rowing games are great for giant children of all ages. (At the time of writing, there were 15 different titles to choose from, such as Row Breaker, Bug Blaster and Zombie Apocalypse.)
Pros vs Joes: Got a competitive streak? This feature lets you go head-to-head against a variety of professional athletes. From world-class rowers to boxers, snowboarders and hockey players, there are more than two dozen athletes to challenge virtually. During each race, you’ll see a video of the ‘pro’ on their rowing machine, along with two boat graphics representing you and your opponent. I enjoyed seeing how I measured up to different athletes of different calibers. (Read: I’ve got a lot more rowing to do.)
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Coached, Guided and Structured Programmes: Intimidated by Aviron’s expansive library of content? No worries. Aviron’s Coached Programmes will get you accustomed to the machine, tweaking your form as you go. Once you’re more comfortable, the 100+ Guided Programmes will ease you into more specialised workouts.
The Structured Programs are great for anyone used to a coach – virtual or otherwise. To test this feature, I signed up for the four-week ‘Valleys, Rockets and Mountains’ program, which consists of 16 interval-based workouts that progressed in difficulty as I went. Just a few minutes in, and I was feeling it!
I’m a simple man with simple fitness pleasures, and there’s nothing more therapeutic after a hard-earned sweat session than cooling down under a serene sunset out on the water… which is hard to come by in the bowels of New York City, where most of my tech testing takes place. Aviron brings the nature to you, using that 22-inch HD touchscreen to explore 28 picturesque locations all over the planet. The movement of your boat matches the movement (and power) behind your rows, which genuinely made me feel like I was out on the water. This was by far my favorite feature.
On the left side of the home screen are options to edit your profile, tweak equipment settings, and view your stats, achievements and workout history. Aviron tracks the total number of workouts completed, you output (measured in kilojoules), calories burned, meters rowed, strokes rowed, time rowed, average watts, average calories burned per hour, average 500-meter split time and average SPM (strokes per minute).
Aviron Strong Series Rower performance
I added the Aviron Strong Series to my workout routine for about a month. During that time, I completed just over 1 hour of rowing overall – mostly in 5 to 15-minute increments — torching through 532 total calories; traveling 12,659 meters; and completing 1,479 total strokes. I’m not much for gamifying my workouts, but I love stats, and Aviron excels in both departments.
In terms of overall design, the frame is easy enough to move around on the built-in wheels, but smaller athletes might want a spotter when doing so. Situated 20 inches off the ground, the contoured seat was comfortable enough for my boney butt, and locking my feet into the foot pads was a cinch. By comparison, the standard Concept 2 RowErg has a 14-inch seat height, but you can upgrade to a 20-inch model for $165.
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As advertised, the low-decibel drive belt extends and retracts in one smooth, uninterrupted motion that glides along with the seat, and touchscreen controls are accessible enough as you slide forward. The handlebar is wide and grippy, and those foot pads can be adjusted horizontally to accommodate wider stances, which isn’t a common option amongst most rowers.
Note: if I were any taller, I probably would have appreciated the optional lumbar support accessory.
Aviron Strong Series Rower disadvantages
If you’ve been thinking about adding a rower to your home gym, make sure your ceilings are high enough for this one, since you’ll need more than 7ft (214cm) of clearance to store it upright. (Not unlike the WaterRower, which is also taller than the Concept 2 RowErg when stored.)
With Aviron’s abundance of features, it’s easy to forget that the best ones are subscription-based. It’ll cost $24 per month just to access Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and YouTube content on the machine, and each one of those services require separate subscriptions themselves – aside from YouTube, anyway. While the Strong Series Rower would make a fine addition to any home gym (that has the extra space), this machine might make more logistical sense for small commercial gyms with a bit more foot traffic than a private residence, putting those unlimited user profiles to good use.
Should you buy an Aviron Strong Series Rower?
If you already have a combination of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and YouTube subscriptions, the Aviron Strong Series Rower essentially doubles as a 22-inch touchscreen TV for your home gym, and it makes any rowing workout a lot more fun. Granted, $2,199 is an investment for any piece of workout equipment, especially with an extra monthly subscription to consider. And there are plenty of cheaper, less obtrusive rowers on the market.
Speaking as a novice rower but seasoned expert in analyzing the overall value of futuristic fitness tech, I highly recommend the Aviron Strong Series Rower for anyone looking for gamified cardio and a full-body workout that’ll keep your synapses snappin’. See you on the water!