The Biorower is arguably the biggest innovation in rowing machine technology in several years.
The team has made a bold approach to really replicate the real-boat feel of rowing, changing the user experience into something that closely replicates the water. The handles, the materials, the setup, and the positioning all combine to make the user feel like they’re in a real boat.
In this article, we’ll dig deep into the Biorower, offering a fair and balanced review. By the end of the article you’ll be well-informed on the machine and the best use case of it. More importantly, you’ll be able to decide whether it’s the right technology to help you on your rowing journey.
The Biorower is as close to real rowing as it’s possible to get whilst on land. It’s not a rowing erg - it’s a rowing simulator. The feel, the data, the dimensions, the positioning, the oars… they’re all designed to mimic being on the water in the closest possible fashion.
The oars rotate naturally during use. The whole set up can be adjusted precisely to suit the needs of the rower. It means a single unit can be used to cater for all different shapes and sizes.
The accuracy of the measurements produced by the machines are (claimed to be) 99%. There’s a 1% tolerance for the inaccuracy (other ergs allow up to 10%). If you’re in an elite rowing environment or any training state where data is essential, this is a massive plus for the Biorower.
If you’re going to sell a premium product, you’ve got to make sure it’s a premium build. Thankfully, Biorower has ticked this box. The materials are all high-grade, the construction is solid, and the dimensions mimic a boat.
These add together to make the Biorower look and feel like a premium product. The action is smooth, the machine is easy to set up (it takes a couple of people around 25 minutes), and the operation is straightforward.
It’s worth a few moments at the start to get your Biorower set up to suit your dimensions effectively. You’ll be spending hours on it, so it has to fit you properly!
Let me start by saying this…
I don’t think comparing a Biorower, and a classic rowing machine is fair or appropriate for either machine. The only similarity they really have is the vague closeness of movement action.
It’s like comparing a boat with a car. They could both be excellent products, but they do different jobs.
The Concept 2 rower is an excellent fitness rowing machine. You can program workouts, get hold of data, improve your rowing fitness, and track progress. The Biorower is a technical rowing machine. It also gives you a great workout, but it’ll help you practice your rowing stroke and make you a better technical rower.
Now that I've made my stance clear, I’ll do my best to compare and contrast the two.
The Biorower is a Rolls Royce of rowing machines. It’s a product of design, innovation, refinement and precision manufacturing. It’s made in Austria, so you can trust excellent standards of construction and materials.
Why does this matter? Well, premium products fetch premium prices.
The S1Club Series models are priced at around €5.000,00 – €5.500,00 ($5,450 - $6,000 at current conversion rates.)
The S1Pro Models are priced at around €9.050 – €9.550 - 12 ($9,865 - $10,410 at current conversion rates.)
This is very expensive when compared to the Concept 2 and similar machines. That’s a machine that you’ll be able to pick up for around $1,000 (often with free shipping thrown in for good measure!)
That being said, these aren’t like-for-like comparisons. The Biorower is a completely different beast and the potential users of the Biorower wouldn’t really be thinking of a Concept 2 doing the same job as the Biorower.
If you want a straight up fitness machine that you can just go all-out on, then the Concept 2 is a better machine. In fact, most other rowing machines are better if your goal is to simply work out.
However, this isn’t what the Biorower is trying to be.
The Biorower is a machine designed to make you a better rower. It’s designed to feel like water, and the movement is designed to mimic a real boat. These are features that the other rowers don’t offer and can’t match.
There are workout elements on the Biorower that are just like a real boat. For example, on the S1Pro models, there’s an instability option where you can allow the Biorower to tip side to side, mimicking an on-water feel. It’s designed to help you train your core and enhance your rowing stability.
You can also set the pro model to allow for sculling or sweep rowing, depending on your discipline.
These features don’t exist on the cheaper S1 Club series. You’ll still get the sculling option, data option, and the fully adjustable mechanisms. You’re paying almost half, though, so bear that in mind.
You won’t be given programs on a screen with the Biorower - it doesn’t have a screen. Instead, you have to download their (free) app and attach your phone or tablet to the machine. That’s where you interact with your rowing performance.
Why exactly would you be considering the Biorower over a rival machine? Here’s an honest assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the technology…
What Biorower has done is created a fantastic machine for the rowing purist. This isn’t a fitness/workout machine with a rowing element like the standard rowing machines on the market. This is a rowing machine, pure and simple.
It’s designed to look like rowing. Feel like rowing. Improve your rowing. It’s a sports improvement device - fitness is a secondary thought.
On that note, the Biorower is an excellent machine… for a rower. If you’re looking for a rowing machine for exercise, save thousands and buy something else. If you’re a rowing club, a professional rower, an enthusiastic amateur rower with plenty of money to spend on a machine, go for it.
The Biorower is a fantastic machine, but given the price point you’ve got to really want one, not just think it’d be a nice addition to a home gym.
If you’re a serious rower, it’s an excellent machine and you won't be disappointed.