Looking for a rowing machine similar to a Concept2 Rower but can’t bring yourself to spend $1,000?
If so – this Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower review is the right place to start.
Concept2 has dominated the market since 1981 and finally some competitors are starting to enter the space.
The Endurance R300 Rower has many similarities like air resistance, good durability, and a long warranty.
However, there are also a few downsides like a less accurate monitor and lower capacity.
While many people compare this rower to similar models like the Concept2 and Xebex Rower, it’s still great to look at it in isolation.
I’ll review all the pros & cons of the R300 Rower and some comparisons throughout the review.
This way you can make an educated decision on whether or not this is the right choice for you!
The Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower is an air resistance rowing machine.
This means the resistance is mostly controlled by how fast a user rows.
To operate an air resistance rower – a user first starts rowing by pulling the handle and spinning the fan flywheel.
As the fan spins, it must displace the air in front of the “blades”, which causes friction/resistance.
As a user rows faster, the flywheel spins faster, and must displace more and more air in front of the fan blades. The faster it spins, the more air it must displace – so the higher the resistance!
We call this “variable” resistance due to the resistance being controlled by how fast or slow a user rows.
Check out this resistance article here to learn more about how air rowers operate.
The Endurance R300 has smooth, strong air resistance that is great for any fitness level.
As previously mentioned, this rower is designed to be similar to the Concept2 and be used for general fitness purposes or Crossfit style workouts.
The feedback has been overall very positive and most users say the resistance is no different than any of the other leading air rowing machines.
Plus, the R300 Rower has a “gear-like” design on the flywheel housing, which looks pretty cool in my opinion!
One small gripe about all air rowers is the noise they make when in use. Since the fan is spinning fairly fast, it will make noise while using, and more noise the harder you row.
Some people find this motivating but other people are rowing in apartments or early in the morning with their family sleeping in an adjacent room (so they want to keep it down!).
I created an article about reducing the noise on a Concept2 and a video of myself rowing on a Concept2. This should give you a good idea about the volume of noise you will hear while rowing.
Higher-end air rowing machines come with a feature called a “damper” setting. A damper controls the amount of air let inside the flywheel housing.
The R300 Rower has 9 different “damper” settings. This is one less than the Concept2 and Xebex but not really a big deal or difference.
The higher the setting, means more air is allowed to flow inside the housing. The more air that is allowed to flow in, means the more air the fan must displace. The air also causes the flywheel to slow down faster and causes the user to perform more work to accelerate it on the next stroke.
A lower damper setting is just the opposite. Less air coming into the housing, so an easier stroke.
The damper is not a resistance setting, although a lot of people think of it that way.
According to Concept2, “damper setting is similar to bicycle gearing: it affects how rowing feels but does not directly affect the resistance. A lower damper setting on the indoor rower is comparable to easier gears on a bike.”
I think of rowing on a damper setting level 9 as rowing in a boat with 3 people, while rowing on a setting of 1 is like rowing by myself.
Either way, it gives a user more control of their workout and how they want their rowing stroke to feel.
Overall, the resistance on the Body Solid R300 Endurance Rower is excellent. It’s great for any fitness type (beginner or advanced) and perfect for any age level.
Most people who have experience on the high-end air rowing machines said they felt no difference in the resistance and it was extremely satisfactory.
The monitor on the R300 is one feature that needs to be looked at closely! Mainly because it’s going to be compared to the PM5 monitor on the Concept2, which is the most accurate monitor on the market.
The R300 displays 9 different data points at all times (which is pretty nice):
- Paddle Width (distance per stroke)
- Stroke Rate
- Cycle (number of cycles for interval programs)
As you can see from the photo below, the monitor is easy to ready and operates with only 5 buttons.
Th monitor will start-up after moving the handle or pressing a button. It will turn off after 20 seconds of inactivity.
You will need 2 C batteries to operate (not included). There is a self-generating power aspect of the rower, which will help the batteries last longer.
To utilize the pulse feature, you will need a Polar heart rate monitor. The most common one on the market is the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor.
If you notice in the photo, the monitor does come with a really convenient cellphone holder. This allows you to view fitness apps or enjoy a YouTube video while working out!
One cool feature about the monitor is the 8 different programs. I’ll list them below with a brief description on each.
- Quick Start – Grab the handle and just start rowing. All metrics will begin tracking.
- Distance – Pick a set distance and the monitor will count down.
- Time – Pick a set time and the monitor will count down.
- Calorie – Pick a set calorie number and the monitor will count down.
- Game – Row faster or slower to avoid certain dots in the matrix or try to hit certain dots to score points.
- 20/10 Interval – Row for 20 seconds and rest for 10. The user can select the number of cycles to complete.
- 10/20 Interval – Row for 10 seconds and rest for 20. The user can select the number of cycles to complete.
- 10/10 Interval – The user can set the number of cycles, row time, and rest time.
As you can see, there are quite a few options to keep you engaged!
Compared to PM5
Any person is going to compare it to the Concept2 PM5 because they want to compare their workout times to people around the world.
Th Concept2 is the only rowing machine that is used for setting World Records and used in indoor rowing competitions. This is due to the highly accurate data recording it is capable of performing.
Each Concept2 Rower calibrates the deceleration speed of the flywheel and calculates a drag factor. This means if you set the drag factor to the same number on 10 different machines, they should feel exactly the same!
It also means the monitor can take into account things like altitude, humidity, and dust when calculating metrics, which enables very accurate time, distance, speed, etc.
A lot of these formulas are proprietary and companies don’t disclose exactly how they are calculated.
With that being said, it is said the Body Solid R300 calculates the same way as the Concept2. So they should be fairly close in accuracy.
Xebex also claims to be close to the same as Concept2 but studies have shown some differences in metrics.
At the end of the day, while the data may be close, you won’t be able to say 100% whether or not your times are comparable to times set on a Concept2.
This may not bother you at all but some people want to know how they match up to other people in their age group or to different Olympic Rowers, crew teammates, or Crossfit athletes.
Overall, the Endurance R300 monitor is excellent and provides enough data and features for the average person.
If you are looking for the additional features like online training programs and highly accurate data recording – the Concept2 is still superior.
If you’re looking at the Endurance R300 Rower, then you are probably looking for a high quality rowing machine.
With most users comparing it to the Xebex and Concept2, it definitely needs to stand up to a brutal workout to get a good rating.
Luckily, it does and almost every user said the quality is on par with the other high-end models!
The R300 has a steel frame and aluminum seat rail, with high quality plastics for the supplementary parts.
There is a semi-soft, semi-hard seat which is common on most rowers that are built for performance (which get a lot of complaints about causing sore butts).
Luckily, you can solve this issue easily and I recommend some good rowing seat cushions here.
The seat sits on top of smooth rollers with industrial grade bearings and the footrests and handle are very durable.
It does come with a nickel-plated chain, which is said to add extra strength but I’ve never heard of regular chains breaking if they are oiled periodically.
The R300 is heavier than the Concept2, which is surprising because they seem to be the same size. It is possible there are more steel parts on this model, which could make it heavier. Being heavier does add a solid base that makes it harder to move when rowing intensely.
Lastly, the R300 Endurance Rowing Machine has a very long warranty and is rated for light-commercial use – so you know Body-Solid is confident this rower can take a beating!
Overall, I don’t think you should have any worries about the build quality of this model!
I will say their promotional video can use some work (as well as their photos) but you can see the R300 in action below:
Looking to row for long periods of time? Well then you need a comfortable rowing machine!
I will say the Body Solid Endurance Rower is built more for performance than comfort, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable!
First off, the rower is designed to enable a perfect rowing stroke. This is possible due to the handle going into the housing way in front of the users feet.
If you look at cheaper models, the handle may be forced to stop right in front of a users feet which means you really can’t extend your arms all the way forward when in the “catch” or “start” position.
Second, the seat rail is very long which enable a full stroke back, even if you are tall.
The ability to do a full rowing stroke from start to finish is the main reason this rower is so long.
Other feature like the rollers and bearings make for a smooth rowing stroke and the resistance is excellent. There are no comfort downsides on the rowing stroke.
As previously mentioned, the seat can be a little hard but you want a more solid seat if you are looking to maximize your performance. If you want to row for an hour and your butt hurts, just buy a cushion.
Likewise, the handle is also built for performance and has a rubber grip that is comfortable but not squishy or foamy. If you don’t lift weights, garden, etc. you may develop some blisters at first.
Luckily, there is solution for that! Check out my best rowing glove article here.
Lastly, the footrests are made of strong, flexible plastic and the footstraps adjust nicely over your feet. The footrests can fit any shoe size and adjust easily.
There were really no gripes about the comfort besides the common seat and handle issues you hear about on most rowing machines.
Storing the rower is super easy and very similar to the Concept2. There are 2 ways to store the R300.
First, you can remove the pin where the rail connects to the main housing (right near the footrests). You can then lift the seat rail and remove it from the main housing.
This allows you to flip the housing forward and place the seat rail upright. Essentially allowing the rower to store in the space of a regular kitchen chair.
Second, if your ceiling is tall enough, you can tip the rower forward and store it vertically.
This is how most Crossfit gyms store their rowers since it is fast and easy.
The Body Solid R300 comes with built-in caster wheels on the front of the rower so you can easily roll it around.
Another pro tip is to store the handle by allowing the chain to go as far into the housing as possible. This causes the least amount of tension on the recoil bungee and makes it’s elasticity last a bit longer.
Storing the R300 Rowing Machine is super easy and both ways can be done in a matter of seconds!
One slight downside of the R300 Rower is the capacity. While it’s the same size as other leading air rowers, it does have a lower weight capacity.
According to Body-Solid, the maximum user weight capacity is 330 lbs.
This is quite a bit less than the Concept2 Model D and Xebex Rowers rated at 500 lbs.
While this may deter some users from purchasing, it should be ok for most users. I also think a lot of manufacturers are conservative with their weight capacities and someone slightly over 330 lbs could use the R300.
A lot of manufacturers are conservative with maximum weight capacities because it causes less warranty claims.
As far as height limitations, the Endurance R300 Rower can fit users up to 6’7″. The seat rail is very similar in length to the C2 and is designed for crew athletes, who are notoriously tall.
There are no restrictions for shorter users.
So as long as you are around 330 lbs and shorter than 6’7″ – you should have no issues on the R300 Rowing Machine.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 95.10″ x 24.40″ x 39.80″
- Height is to the top of the monitor
- Shipping Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 57.28″ x 22.24″ x 14.96″
- Seat Height: 15.50″ from the floor
- Seat Rail Length: 47.0″
- Handle Length: 18.50″
- Assembled Weight: 81.1 lbs
- Shipping Weight: 99.0 lbs
One thing no one likes is buying an item, getting excited to receive it, and then getting super stressed when the assembly is a nightmare!
Thankfully the assembly on the Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower is a piece of cake!
The assembly instructions in the manual are very straightforward and it will probably take a good 30-45 minutes to complete if you take your time.
There are a few more steps than the Concept2 (which comes mostly preassembled) but this is a one-time deal and once it’s assembled you’re done!
One thing to note, there is some small ongoing maintenance for this rower. The seat rail and rollers should be wiped down with a cloth and glass-cleaner at least every other row. This helps keep the seat gliding smoothly and ensures no dents or grooves form on the seat rail.
You should also oil the chain with 3-in-1 Multi-Purpose Oil every few weeks to ensure it never rusts or gets dry.
There were no other complaints about assembling this model!
Pros and Cons
- Strong resistance
- Smooth rowing stroke
- Great for tall users
- Easy to read monitor with great data tracking
- Excellent build quality
- Amazing warranty!
- Monitor is not the “Gold Standard”
- Seat & Handle comfort issues (no different than other rowers)
- Only marginally less expensive than the #1 Bestselling Rower on Amazon
Currently, it’s a little hard to find Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower reviews because it’s been in the shadow of a few very big names.
The model is also fairly new (early 2019 release) and was not offered on the major retailers like Amazon until now. Luckily, Body Solid smarted up a bit and offered it on Amazon as to not miss out on the huge presence of online shoppers.
With that being said, I did have a reader reach out to me with their opinion on the rower and gave me very positive feedback. He said the R300 felt very similar to the Concept2 in terms of stroke feeling, quality, and resistance.
Other reviews are also stating the same and saying in general it is just a solid air resistance rower that will get the job done. Whether you are looking to train for Crossfit, get some good off-the-water crew training, or just general fitness exercises.
With the R300 Rower now being offered on Amazon, I think we will start to see some more feedback roll in (since Amazon pushed buyers to leave honest reviews).
Average Rating: 4.8
Now on to one of the most exciting features! (and it’s not even tangible!) The Body Solid R300 Endurance Rower offers the following warranties:
- Frame: Lifetime
- Parts: 5-Years
- Electronics: 2-Years (excludes batteries)
- Wear Items: 6-Months
- Labor: 1-Year
- Frame: 15-Years
- Parts: 3-Years
- Electronics: 2-Yars
- Wear Items: 6-Months
- Labor: 1-Year
And here’s the kicker – the R300 comes with the home and commercial warranty out of the box!
So whether the unit is being used in your home or a training center, you get an outstanding warranty!
Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower Price
The Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower price is one of the main debate points of this rowing machine. A lot of consumers want the Concept2 because it is the “Gold Standard” of rowing machines but it’s certainly not cheap!
Fortunately, there are some lower cost options coming into the picture that can compete with the Concept2.
The R300 can be found on a few different fitness retail websites but it’s now being offered on Amazon as well (and it’s normally the same price as every other retailer).
I think Amazon is the best place to buy rowing machines because they have the largest selection, free shipping on qualified orders, and they act as a layer of protection between the consumer and retailer. Amazon cares so much about their customers that they will accept returns or claims on any defects.
Check Body Solid R300 Rower Price:
Overall, the Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower is an excellent rowing machine. It ticks all the boxes for what you would want in your garage gym or fitness room.
However, the choice usually comes down to if it is worth it to buy the R300 or one of the other great air rowing machines?
Personally, when I buy something, I want the best. I don’t spend my money on a lot of things so when I buy it, I use it a lot and for a very long time.
With that being said, I don’t think the Endurance R300 Indoor Rower is offered at enough of a discount to warrant buying it over a Concept2.
There are a few great features but I’m just not sold on it yet. The Concept2 still reigns supreme when you watch YouTube videos about rowing or lookup workouts and different rowing data.
You can read my full Concept2 review here to decide for yourself.
I’ve also mentioned the Xebex Rower a few times and you can read more about that rower here.
I even have a Concept2 vs. Xebex Rower comparison article.
Choosing a rowing machine is a very difficult choice so please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comment section below!
I hope you enjoyed this Body Solid Endurance R300 Rower review!