This WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine review showcases how truly stunning this machine is!
Coming from WaterRowers premium level Designer Series, it is a perfect mix of style and functionality.
Handcrafted from solid cherry wood with a Danish oil finish and made with premium materials, this rower is truly a work of art.
The WaterRower Oxbridge provides one of the most realistic rowing experiences you will ever experience outside of a boat in the water. You might have a tough time deciding if you just want to stare at it or use it for exercise, it looks that darn good!
It’s sturdy, easy to store, perfect for users of all sizes and fitness levels; not to mention it’s made by one of the most trusted names in the industry.
Users unanimously love it – and for plenty of good reasons!
The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor is a water resistance rower.
Meaning, it uses a “water flywheel” or paddles suspended in a tank of water to provide resistance. When a rower pulls the handle on the Oxbridge, it causes the paddles in the water tank to spin, thus causing resistance.
To find out more about how water resistance works in greater detail (in addition to the other resistance types), click here.
As mentioned in the ‘rowing machine resistance types’ article in the previous sentence, resistance level on the Oxbridge is determined by the user’s rowing intensity, which is much different (and more realistic) than how resistance is determined on hydraulic piston and magnetic rowers.
The resistance on the WaterRower functions very similarly to resistance on an air rower. Resistance level is determined by the rower’s rowing intensity level.
So to gain more resistance all a user has to do is row harder. For an easier resistance, just row slower. It’s that easy!
To be a little more scientific, we call this the ‘Rule of Cubes’. Meaning that a doubling of the speed of the boat will require an eight-fold increase in resistance. So to row a little faster requires A LOT more power.
The main differences between water and air rowers are:
- Obviously one uses water rather than air
- Noise level is much less
- Rowing motion is smoother
Out of all the 4 resistance types, air and water are the noisiest, but users praised how quiet this machine is (and yes, they meant it was quiet while they were rowing).
A few users even commented about how they’re able to watch television with regular volume while exercising on the Oxbridge and that it’s perfect for people that live in an apartment.
Users also praised how the machine is suitable for all fitness levels.
From people that row/ workout more than five times a week to people just getting started with working out, the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine can accommodate everyone.
The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine comes with a S4 (series 4) multifunctional performance monitor.
- Workout Intensity
- Stroke Rate
- Heart Rate
- Target Fitness Zone
All of the tracked fitness data can be seen on the home screen of the monitor simultaneously in separate “windows”.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in each window on the main screen:
- Displays rowing speed in meters per second, miles per hour, minutes per 500 meters, and minutes per 2 kilometers
- Also displays power and calories burnt per hour
Stroke rate window:
- Displays number of strokes per minute
Heart rate window:
- *Option is available when optional heart rate monitoring equipment (Cardio Sport ANT Digital) is used with the fitness monitor (not included)
- Displays beats per minute
Target zone [bar] window:
- Displays target zone readings for intensity, heart rate, and stroke rate
- Displays time rowed in hours, minutes, seconds, and decimal seconds
- Can also display time remaining in current workout (if a predetermined time for workout has been established)
- Displays distance rowed in meters, miles, kilometers, or strokes
- Can also display distance remaining in current workout (if a predetermined distance for workout has been established)
- This window is used to help the user navigate through the monitor’s advanced functions
There are 9 total buttons on the face of the monitor, 6 shortcut buttons and 3 navigation buttons. It’s not backlit so you will need some light to see the workout data while you’re working out. It’s powered by 4 AA batteries, which are included.
With an optional monitor cable, the S4 can connect with your computer to upload workout data. In addition, this option allows you to train and race against other WaterRower owners from around the world!
Popular S4 computer software includes We-Row (WaterRower’s own software), NetAthlon, UltraCoach, and Rowyo.
The S4 monitor is simple to use, contrary to what you assume given it has 9 different buttons! Users had nothing to say but good things about the S4 monitor on the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine.
However, I also reviewed another WaterRower rowing machine with the same S4 monitor and a small handful of users of that rowing machine model mentioned the monitor was great but lacked a few advanced features seen on other performance monitors in the same price range.
Regardless of the few gripes users mentioned about the monitor, the S4 monitor is still one of the best performance monitors on the market.
One thing I forgot to mention about the gripes, the so-called missing features are options that most people don’t use on a rowing machine performance monitor anyway (like games) so it’s very likely you wouldn’t notice anything is missing in the first place!
The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine is handcrafted from solid Cherry wood and finished with 3 coats of Danish oil.
WaterRower is really serious about taking care of the wood for its rowers; the Cherry wood pieces are kept away from the light to protect the pieces from shadowing until they’re needed to put together a sold rowing machine!
The wood is very durable and the frame is rock solid.
I’m used to rowing machines made out of steel so I was expecting the unit to be a little less durable, but that is not the case at all. When I rowed on the Oxbridge, I tried my hardest to move the base by rowing as hard as I could, but the Oxbridge didn’t even budge.
The frame is extremely durable and no way it’s going to break- I don’t care what you do to it!
The wood is ideal for absorbing sound and vibration and besides the normal sounds you’d expect to hear while rowing (wheels on the seat gliding, water in the water tank), you don’t hear anything else such as creaking and other annoying noises often heard on cheaper rowing machines.
The water tank is made out of polycarbonate, which is a virtually indestructible plastic. You definitely will not have to worry about it breaking!
The WaterRower Oxbridge doesn’t have any moving parts that can wear out over time. Even the recoil belt and pulleys don’t require any lubrication or maintenance.
This is truly a well-built rowing machine that is easy to take care of and will last you a lifetime (literally).
The WaterRower Oxbridge’s molded seat is heavily padded and comes with dual rails with four corner wheels that keep the seat stable, not to mention it reduces sweat buildup.
Users praised how comfortable the seat is and given the fact that the machine is designed to handle user weight up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg), the seat is built to provide comfort (while also taking a pounding).
The handle is light, durable, and is ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably in your hands. No complaints were made about the handles, which is a good thing!
The heel rests hold your heels firmly and the footboards can be adjusted in a matter of seconds to accommodate users with different shoe sizes. Nylon straps are used to secure users’ feet when they row. The footrests don’t pivot, but your feet are still able to move naturally as you row. Overall, the footrests are comfortable.
The rowing motion on the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine is a thing of beauty.
- The nylon strap doesn’t snag or feel ‘jerky’ when you pull the handle because of its sprag clutch
- The seat glides up and down the dual rails effortlessly
- The footrests allow your feet to move naturally as you row
- The faint sound of water splashing in the water tank is soothing and not intrusive
It’s a wonderful experience rowing on this machine and it’s one of the Oxbridge’s biggest selling points in my opinion.
Even though the WaterRower Oxbridge rower has a fairly large footprint, it can be stood up easily in seconds to save plenty of floor space.
A combination of the water flywheel being close to the wheels, the light wooden frame, and some slick engineering make standing up the rower effortless (and this is no exaggeration).
While in “storage mode”, the rower’s footprint is equivalent to a dining room chair!
The dual caster wheels make it simple to move the rower, very similar to pushing a shopping cart or stroller.
According to Amazon, the maximum weight capacity is 1,000 pounds (454 kg). I double-checked with WaterRower to confirm the number was correct just to make sure!
If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you will know that I run into incorrect data sometimes!
The seat rail is fairly long, making it ideal for taller rowers. People as tall as 6’4” ( 195 cm) have used this machine and were able to extend their legs with plenty of room to spare. If you’re taller than 6’4” (195 cm), I would visit a local gym or fitness machine retailer to try out the rower first before buying it, just to make sure you can use it without any issues.
I have seen videos of children using the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine so you shouldn’t have any concerns about being too short for this rower.
The Oxbridge has the largest weight capacity and can accommodate users’ short and tall, it can practically be used by anyone.
- 83.0” x 24.0” x 21.0” (211 cm x 61 cm x 53 cm) (L x W x H)
- Storage Mode/ Standing:
- 21.0” x 24.0” x 83.0” (53 cm x 61 cm x 211 cm) (L x W x H)
- About the footprint of a dining room chair
- 117 pounds [53 kg] (with full water tank)
- 73 pounds [33 kg] (with an empty water tank)
Users unanimously agreed that assembling the rower was easy. According to WaterRower, it shouldn’t take you longer than 30- 45 minutes with the provided allen wrench.
Just follow the detailed instructions and you’ll be setup and ready to row in no time!
Pros and Cons
- Beautiful cherry wood construction
- Solidly built
- Smooth and realistic rowing motion
- Easy to assemble
- Dual caster wheels
- Easy “flip over” storage
- Comfortable seat
- Comfortable handle
- Variable resistance adjustment determined by rowing intensity
- Can further adjust rowing experience by adding/ subtracting water from the water tank
- Can link S4 monitor to computer to race others, train, and upload workout data for further analysis
- Performance monitor lacking advanced features
- High price range
Users couldn’t stop mentioning how beautiful the rower looks. Pictures really don’t give it justice; you have to see one in person to understand what all the hype is about.
Owners really liked the solid build quality, realistic rowing motion, and were pleasantly surprised at the noise level of the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine .
Click here to read the full Oxbridge Rower reviews.
Average Rating: 4.8
- Frame: 5 years*
- Parts: 3 years*
*Requires completion of registration form. Otherwise, warranty is 1 year.
WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine Price
While the price of the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine is at the high end of the spectrum I feel the cost is warranted. It is made from the highest quality materials and is engineered to perform and last.
You pay a premium for that type of craftsmanship.
The price can vary depending on where you buy it but Amazon tends to have the lowest price around. WaterRower does not sell through many vendors so it is nice that they sell through such a trusted online marketplace.
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I hope you enjoyed my WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine review! Drop in a comment with any questions and I’ll be glad to add my opinion or help find the answer!