The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine is a rower from the company’s premium level Designer Series. It’s a perfect mix of style and functionality and is handcrafted from solid cherry wood with a Danish oil finish and made with premium materials.
It 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 (big, small, short, and tall) and fitness levels; not to mention it’s made by WaterRower 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 that uses a “water flywheel” or paddles suspended in a tank of water to provide resistance for the rower. When a rower pulls the handle on the Oxbridge, it causes the paddles in the water tank to spin. 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. The main differences are:
- The Oxbridge 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. The monitor tracks the following fitness data:
- 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
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 a very good performance monitor. 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 anyways 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 flinch; it has a solid low center of gravity.
The frame is extremely durable, there’s no way it’s going to break and 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 give you the feeling of ‘herky jerkiness’ 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 a solid weight capacity and can accommodate users’ short and tall, it can practically be used by anyone.
83” X 24” X 21” (211 cm X 61 cm X 53 cm)
21” X 24” X 83” (53 cm X 61 cm X 211 cm) (storage mode; standing up on its base)
Weight: 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 minutes with the provided allen wrench and the detailed instructions ensure you’ll be rowing out of the box within a short period of 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
Users couldn’t stop mentioning how beautiful the rower looks. Pictures really don’t give it justice; you have to see one in person for yourself to see what all the hype is about. They really liked the solid build quality, realistic rowing motion, and were pleasantly surprised at how quiet the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine is.
Average Rating: 5.0
5 year frame warranty*
3 year parts warranty*
*Requires completion of registration form. Otherwise, warranty is 1 year.
The price of the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine varies depending on where you buy it but Amazon tends to have the lowest price.
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