HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine ReviewThe HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine (RX-SPT) is a hydraulic piston rower that gives you the genuine feel of rowing outdoors on water.

Complete with a compact, sturdy steel design, this rower provides  12 levels of adjustable resistance.

It also comes equipped with a performance monitor that tracks important fitness data such as workout time, stroke count, and calories burned.

This rowing machine was one of the toughest ones I reviewed to date.  Overall, different sources give it a good rating, but when I spent several hours to wade through the comments from different sources there were some obvious issues that can’t go ignored and undocumented. 

If you’re contemplating whether or not you should buy the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine, you HAVE TO read this review before making your final decision!

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price

Resistance Type

The HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine is a hydraulic piston rowing machine.

It uses two Pistons, one attached to each rowing arm, which allows users to adjust the level of resistance for each arm.

For example, if your left arm is weaker than your right arm, the resistance on the left rowing arm can be set to a lower resistance than the resistance on the right rowing arm.

To get more information on the hydraulic piston resistance type (in addition to the other resistance types), click here.

This rower provides adjustable resistance, up to 12 different levels on each rowing arm that can be easily adjusted by rotating the collar on the piston.

The wide range of resistance levels makes this rower perfect for people of all fitness levels.

In addition to providing adjustable resistance via the pistons, there’s an option to adjust the incline of the seat track.  This option can adjust the amount of exercise your legs get when rowing; the greater the incline the harder your legs have to work.

Out of all the rowing machines I reviewed, less than a handful provide the option to adjust the incline of the seat track.  Two thumbs up for that, HCI Fitness!

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine ReviewNOTE:  I briefly mentioned in the introduction that the Outrigger was difficult to review.  Let me explain – from just looking at the surface and not digging through the details, you see this rower has a good overall rating on all the major online retailers, which I believe is accurate.

However, if you dig a little further and read the comments individually, you will see more than a handful of them are about the pistons (some of them negative).

The average consumer might read the negative information and assume it’s attributed to the HCI Outrigger Rower, when in fact, it is a common issue with hydraulic piston rowers in general (I hope I didn’t lose you there).

I tested and reviewed a ton of rowing machines so I know when a problem can be attributed to a specific rower or the category of rowers it is in.  Plus, I know the characteristics of the rowing machine resistance types like the back of my hand!

Keeping all of this in mind, I have compiled a summary of common hydraulic piston comments I found below, along with my corresponding comments for each:

Comment 1:

  • A few users commented on uneven resistance when working out.  For example, if both pistons were set to resistance ‘7’, it wouldn’t feel the same in both arms when rowing.

My Response: 

  • This is a common occurrence with dual-piston hydraulic resistance type and is not an issue with the HCI Fitness Outrigger itself. 
  • Most of the users didn’t complain too much and still gave the HCI Fitness Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine a good overall rating.
  • The issue is primarily due to uneven wearing of the pistons.  When it does happen, it’s usually not that bad and sometimes is barely noticeable, as is the case with the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Machine.

Comment 2: 

  • A few users commented on how they can’t feel resistance throughout the entire rowing stroke until the hydraulic pistons warm up, which takes around 5-10 minutes.

My Response:

  • This is a common occurrence with dual-piston hydraulic resistance type and is not an issue with the HCI Fitness Outrigger itself. 
  • Most users were not complaining but just mentioning it for their review.
  • A few things can cause this but it’s most likely due to the piston fluid changing from ‘cold’ to ‘hot’. When the rower is ‘cold’ the oil is thicker and not ‘even’ throughout the piston. The oil needs to heat up and become less viscous (thinner) to have a smooth, even stroke.

Comment 3:

  • A few users commented that the hydraulic pistons get very hot after rowing for a moderate period of time.

My Response:

  • This is a common occurrence with dual-piston hydraulic resistance type and is not an issue with the HCI Fitness Outrigger itself. 
  • This isn’t a negative because the pistons are out of the way but just a cautionary note.
  • I don’t want to put people to sleep so I’ll keep it simple. The heating up of the pistons is simply due to the laws of thermodynamics.  Every rowing machine that uses hydraulic pistons for resistance will get hot and there’s no way around it. Just make sure to let them cool down for a few minutes after a workout before touching them.

Comment 4: 

  • A few users commented on how the pistons leaked oil, sprayed “oil mist”, and/ or left a powdery substance underneath the rower.

My Response:  

  • This is a common occurrence with dual-piston hydraulic resistance type and is not an issue with the HCI Fitness Outrigger itself. 
  • To my surprise, a fair amount of users weren’t too upset when commenting about these issues.
  • Unfortunately, this is the downside you have to deal with when you own a piston resistance rower.  Some instruction manuals even warn owners that “accidents” may happen.
  • Although it doesn’t happen too often, there’s always a risk. So to be safe I highly suggest placing a mat such as the Rowing Machine Supermat underneath your piston rower to protect the carpet/ floor directly underneath from potential cosmetic damage.

Comment 5: 

  • The minimum resistance available maybe a too difficult for beginners.
  • NOTE:  Only one or two users mentioned this but I figured I would note this here since a few of you might be wondering about the resistance difficult.

My Response: 

  • Even if you’re brand spankin’ new to working out, I wouldn’t let this discourage you from purchasing the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine.
  • I’m speaking from personal experience here; you will build strength and muscle FAST when you first start working out.  Within a few weeks, you should have no problems using the rower on a regular basis.

To summarize the comments I listed above, most of the “issues” are attributed to hydraulic piston rowers in general and not the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine.

I have not encountered one hydraulic-piston rower that was unaffected by at least two of the “issues” listed above.  It should be noted here that every resistance type has its pros and cons.

With that being said, piston rowers still and will always be a great option for people looking for a quiet, compact, and affordable full body workout machine such as the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine.

Monitor/Control Panel

The HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine has a multifunctional performance monitor that tracks workout time, stroke count, total strokes, and calories burned.

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine

The data can be displayed individually or rotated automatically by using the monitor’s ‘scan’ feature.  The workout data is easy to see because of the large display and oversized text.

It has built-in workout programs that focus on calories and strokes.  The monitor is simple to use and is operated by four main buttons on its face.

Performance monitors on rowers in this price range are usually average, at best, and that’s the case with the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine’s monitor.

A fair amount of users complained that the monitor is too basic and a few have gone as far as saying it’s low quality.

As far as calling the monitor ‘too basic’, the users are a little harsh with their complaints because compared to monitors on other rowers around this price range the HCI’s monitor is actually similar.  On the other hand, calling it ‘low quality’ may be accurate depending how you look at it.

A few users commented that the calorie counter is inaccurate because the monitor doesn’t take into account changes to your workout such as a faster rowing speed or an increase in seat track incline.  They are correct – the purpose of calorie counters on lower-end machines is to use the data given to compare the overall effectiveness of a workout to other workout sessions.

For example, if the monitor indicates you “burned” 600 calories on Monday and you “burned” 500 calories on Tuesday, your workout on Monday, according to the performance monitor, was more effective because you “burned” 100 more calories that day.

A few users commented that the ‘stroke count’ function on the monitor doubles-up the actual total.  This happens because when you pass a certain point on the seat track the monitor counts it as one stroke when really one stroke is when you complete one full rowing motion from the drive (pushing off with your feet) to the recovery (when you bend your knees and return to “starting position”).

In one complete rowing stroke you pass the same point on the seat track twice; that’s why the monitor doubles-up the actual stroke count.  To my surprise, users weren’t upset about this gaffe and talked about it like it’s not a big deal.

The performance monitor is not the HCI Outrigger’s strong suit, but it’s worth noting that most of the users that complained about the monitor still ended up giving the rower a good overall rating.

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Build Quality

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine The HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine has a heavy-duty frame made of steel.

In fact, practically the entire rower is made out of metal including the casings.

Users really liked the solid feel of the rower and commented that it felt very durable.

One user commented that it’s “constructed like a tank”.

A few users commented that the rower makes some squeaking noises while rowing but a little lubricant such as WD-40 was able to get rid of the issue.

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Comfort

The seat has an ergonomic design with rollers mounted on the seat rails.  Most users found the seat to be comfortable, even on workout sessions that lasted 45+ minutes.

The handgrips are very soft and comfortable to wrap your hands around.  A few users mentioned that within a year the handgrips on the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine might get loose but if that happens it’s an easy fix with duct tape.

One user recommended using over wrap tape for tennis rackets because it’s very cheap and will last forever.

The footrests are large and accommodate almost any shoe size.  They pivot, which allows the feet to move in a natural motion as you row and uses velcro straps to keep your feet in place.

Users mentioned they’re comfortable and the design of the heel rests allow for rowing with your shoes on or barefoot.

The rowing motion on the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine is one of its best features.  Most users raved that the rowing motion is smooth and provides a “near perfect rowing stroke”.

For the users that have real experience rowing on water, they loved how the rowing motion felt “exactly like a real scull boat”.

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Storage

The Outrigger’s handles fold down in seconds for easy storage and can fit underneath standard bed frames or in a coat closet.

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine

It does not have wheels but it’s fairly light and shouldn’t be too difficult to move around when needed.

Just to be on the safe side, place cardboard underneath the rower if you’re moving it on wood or linoleum floors.

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Capacity

According to Amazon, the maximum user weight is 275 pounds (125 kg).  The rower is very durable and users as heavy as 240 pounds (109 kg) have “abused” this machine and it didn’t flinch once.

The HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine has a function that allows you to adjust the length of the seat track, perfect for users of all sizes, especially the shorter ones.

Users as short as 5’1” (155 cm) have used this machine with no issues but the extra function of adjusting the seat track length make it perfect for users much shorter.

Users as tall as 6’3” (192 cm) have used the Outrigger with no issues.  If you’re taller, I would try out the rower at your local fitness store or gym first before purchasing one, just to make sure you can perform full rowing strokes while fully extending your legs.

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Dimensions

  • In-Use:
    • 55.0″ x 68.0″ x 15.0″ (140 cm x 173 cm x 38 cm) (L x W x H)
  • Weight:
    • 55 pounds (25 kg)

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Assembly

Assembly was simple for most users and no user complained that it was difficult to put together.

It took an average of 15 minutes for most users.  Most of the rower is already assembled for you upon delivery and the only tools you need for assembly are hex wrenches, which are included with the Outrigger.

One user even had her grade school grand daughter put most of the unit together by herself.

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Solid all-metal design
  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Includes options to adjust seat track length and to adjust seat incline
  • Realistic rowing motion
  • Easy to store away when not in use
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Performance monitor is basic
  • Handgrips might become loose within a year
  • Makes minor squeaking noises within a couple of months during use
  • Warranty period is not as long as similarly priced rowing machines

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Consumer Reviews

Users loved the solid all-metal design and the lifelike rowing motion the HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine provides.  It’s comfortable to use, has an assortment of resistance adjustment options, and is easy to store away when not in use.

When doing research on the rower, I discovered the Outrigger is not listed on the manufacturer’s website.  I called the manufacturer to ask why it’s not on the website, in addition to a few other questions, and the representative told me that Amazon has all the information on the machine.

At first, I thought this was strange but based on their history of great customer service (which I highlight below) I decided it’s okay to overlook this.

One thing I would like to highlight is users really loved the customer service HCI Fitness provides.  Whenever someone had a question or had an issue with this product, HCI would attend to them right away.

There have been instances when users experienced issues with the rowers and instead of the user having to ship the rower back to the manufacturer, HCI Fitness would ship them a whole new rowing machine!

This is an example of the type of customer service they provide so if you buy their products, they’re sure to take good care of you.

Average Rating: 3.4

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Warranty

  • All Parts: 1-year

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HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine Price

I checked all the major online retailers and Amazon tends to have the lowest price. HCI also seems to want to sell through Amazon and lists all their main information on the website.

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I hope you enjoyed my HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine review! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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