Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower Review

Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower ReviewLooking to burn more calories in less time?

If so, the Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower is the right machine for you!

This newly designed fitness rower has bi-directional resistance to activate all the muscles in your body and have you blasting away fat in no time.

While the motion is different than your normal rowing machine, the Cross Rower has the same general movements and is super easy to use!



While there are tons of positives about the Inspire CR2 Rower, there are also some downsides.

Please read my full Inspire CR2 Cross Rower review below to find out all the pros & cons!

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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
13. Overall Review

Resistance Type

The resistance on the CR2 Cross Rower is magnetic resistance.

This means the resistance is controlled by moving a magnet closer or farther away from a spinning metal flywheel.

The closer the magnet is to the flywheel, the stronger the resistance. The further the magnet is away from the flywheel, the easier the resistance.

To control the resistance (the distance of the magnet), all you have to do is spin a dial on the handle of the Cross Rower.

It’s really that easy!

Due to the fact you can control the resistance up or down, we call this “adjustable” resistance. This differs from air rowers, where the resistance is controlled by how fast or slow you row.

You can read more about the difference between air and magnetic resistance here.

Resistance Benefits

As I mentioned above, the CR2 Rowing Machine is a magnetic resistance rower with 18 levels of adjustable resistance (confirmed by Inspire Fitness).

It has a 26 lb (12 kg) flywheel to ensure a super smooth rowing motion and silent drive chain to minimize noise.

To change the resistance, all you have to do is rotate the dial on the handle and you immediately feel the change.

The adjustment dial on the handle makes it super easy to change resistance while you are working out!

Inspire CR2 Cross Rower Resistance

There are also 3 different grips a user can apply to change the muscles that are targeted while using.

Just another way to tone more muscles and switch things up!

Additional Benefits

There are a ton of benefits about the Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower but the most talked about is the bi-directional resistance.

This means there is resistance on both the pulling and pushing motion of the row. This is extremely different than traditional rowing machines where there is only resistance on the pull and then active recovery on the push/return.

A major benefit of having the bi-directional resistance is the activation of more muscles (especially the chest and triceps), which translates into a harder workout and more calories burned.

A harder workout not only burns more calories and tones more muscles, it also saves you a ton of time by cutting down workout minutes!

One user mentioned because there is no back on the seat and you have to push forward, you must use your core which gives you some killer abs after a while!

Resistance Overall

Overall, there are almost no negative comments about the CR2 Rower resistance. Almost every user said it was very challenging and had them out of breath within 10 minutes.

Many said it was one of the hardest workouts they have done!

If your concerns are about the Inspire CR2 being too easy, you can check that one off your list!

Monitor/Control Panel

The Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower comes equipped with a fairly basic monitor but there are some really cool features. Firstly, it will track the following data:

  • Time
  • Pulse (if using a heart rate monitor)
  • Age (helps accurately calculate calories)
  • Total Strokes
  • Distance (miles or meters)
  • Calories (must be using a heart rate monitor)
  • Strokes per Minute

As you can see below, the monitor is fairly basic but easy to read and operate.

Inspire Fitness CR2.1 Cross Row Monitor

The monitor operates using 2AA batteries that come with the unit and is not backlit.

It has buttons for 2:00, 5:00, and 10:00 minute workouts. Simply push the button and a timer will count down from the selected workout.

There is also a “mode” button which allows a user to set their own limits for time, calories, and distance.

If you are interested in using a compatible heart rate monitor you can use a compatible Polar HRM. Inspire Fitness said you can use a T31 (which may fall out of range quickly), a T34, or the H7. Check out the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor here.

Inspire Fitness Cross Row App

Are you usually confused about how to start a training program or what workouts to choose each day?

Luckily, Inspire Fitness has created an app to do all of this for you and the first 6-months are free!

Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rowing Machine App

Here are the benefits of the app:

  • Stream new videos added daily that are performed on the CrossRow right in the Inspire Fitness studio in Southern California!
  • Follow training programs designed specifically for the CR2 Rower designed by specialized Inspire Fitness trainers
  • Log all of your workouts in the app and keep track of important progress like your weight and other measurements.

You will not believe how many times people ask me to put together a training program for them. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time but now there is at least an app you can use!

Plus, you can use the app with any rower, so even if you choose to buy a different model you can download the app for free and get some great workout ideas!

Monitor Overall

When looking at the regular monitor I wasn’t super impressed based on the functionality. In this price range, a monitor should be fairly advanced and should have different workout programs and maybe even automatically adjusted resistance.

While the monitor itself is basic, I think the ability to live stream workouts using the app is super helpful! There aren’t many companies doing this right now (although I see that changing very soon).

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Build Quality

When you pay a lot of money for a piece of fitness equipment, you expect it to be very high quality. Otherwise, why would you pay so much for it!

The Inspire CR2 Cross Rower is built to last and is made from very durable materials.

It has a heavy-duty steal frame with a matte black, electrostatic powder coated finish. Some parts of the frame are chrome and red.

The handles are polyurethane dipped for better grip and quality. Users also mentioned all the plastic pieces felt like they were high quality and durable.

Due to the bi-directional resistance, users need very good foot-straps so they can grip the CrossRower to push and pull the handles. Inspire Fitness made sure to create very comfortable and durable foot-straps that resemble straps used on snowboards (if you have ever went snowboarding).

Another unique feature is the 26 lb. flywheel, which is about double the weight of most rowing machine flywheels. This adds to the smoothness and quietness of the resistance, plus it adds to the resistance strength!

As you will see from the warranty below, Inspire Fitness believes in the quality of their products and so do the users!

Check out a video of the Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower below:

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When owning a piece of fitness equipment you want to make sure it’s comfortable. If it’s not comfortable, it’s just another excuse not to use it, and we all have too many of those already!

Luckily, the Inspire Fitness CR2 Rowing Machine is super comfortable and can be used for long periods of time – that is if you can last that long!

First, we can start with the seat. Inspire Fitness technically has 2 Cross Rower models, the CR2.1 and the CR2.1X.

The CR2.1 has a “bucket seat” which can adjust forward and backward based on your height. They recently created the CR2.1X which switched from a “bucket seat” to a longer, flatter seat. This allows increased comfortability due to your back never hitting the “lip” that was on the bucket seat. It also allows you to have more “adjustment” abilities so you can find the optimal place to sit while using.

Second, the handles are comfortable to grip and not made of the cheap, foam material you find on some equipment. They are polyurethane dipped and non-slip to allow for a comfortable grip that helps prevent blisters from forming. The resistance adjustment is also built into the handle so you can have full control without stopping your workout.

As previously mentioned, there are 3 main grip positions that all have the same material.

Third, let’s talk about the footrests. Due to the CR2 Rower having bi-directional resistance, there is more force applied to the footrests than on traditional rowing machines. This made Inspire Fitness have to add very comfortable and durable foot-straps to the model. As you can see from the photos and videos, they resemble the very high quality foot-straps you normally see on snowboards. So you can easily ratchet them down and they have a quick release feature to loosen them!

Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower Comfort

I contacted Inspire Fitness to make sure the seat and handles are the ones displayed in the photos. They did confirm and said the photos will match the unit you are buying. All of the videos currently feature the CR2.1 using the “bucket” seat, but they are working on updating the videos to feature the CR2.1X.

Rowing Motion

Aside from the seat, handle, and footrests, the rest of the rowing motion is also super comfortable. The motion is very quiet and smooth. Meaning you can watch TV or not bother anyone else in your house.

The only thing to note is the major difference in the motion compared to other rowing machine models.

As you will see in the videos, the motion is more of an elliptical motion rather than back and forth. This will feel a bit odd if you are used to rowing on a traditional rower.

I also get concerned for people with back issues because the position of the body is more bent over compared to traditional rowing machines where you can keep a straight back and strong core.

If the motion concerns you, I would test one of the Inspire CR2 Rowers at a local fitness retailer first.

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If you are looking to purchase a piece of equipment that can store under a bed or inside a closet, this is not the machine for you.

While the overall size is not huge, it does take up some floor space and cannot fold for storage.

Due to the CR2 Cross Row being fairly heavy, it does come with wheels so you can at least move it into the corner of the room and out of the way.

It also weighs 183 lbs, so if you are planning on moving it up/down stairs you will need two strong people to move it.

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When reviewing the capacity of the Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Row, I did find it hard to gather some of the information. Their customer service also wasn’t a great help.

The top end weight capacity is listed at 300 lbs (the brochure says 350 lbs), which is good, but not great. Most pieces of fitness equipment in this price range have weight capacities over 500 lbs and even up to 1,000 lbs!

I couldn’t find a maximum inseam length for the CR2 Cross Rower but I did ask Customer Service if someone who was 6’7″ could use it and they confirmed they could.

Inspire CR2.1 Cross Row

The seat on the CR2.1 can be adjusted and the user on the CR2.1X can simply slide all the way back on the seat now.

Another cool feature of the Inspire CR2 is you can adjust the handles up and down for a users height.

This means shorter and taller users can have the handles placed at the optimal position for their workout. This is great because other pieces of fitness equipment can sometimes have “fixed” handles that are a bit too high for shorter users and a bit too low for very tall users.

Overall, if you are shorter than 6’7″ and under 300 lbs., you should have no issue using the Inspire CR2 Rower

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  • Assembled (L x W x H)
    • 70.0″ x 32.0″ x 43.0″ (from product brochure)
    • 67.0″ x 41.0″ x 41.0″ (from website)
  • Storage:
    • Same as assembled
  • Weight:
    • 183 lbs.

Inspire CR2 Cross Rower Dimensions

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Any time you are buying a large and expensive piece of fitness equipment there is going to be some assembly. We just always hope it is going to be easy and straightforward!

I wouldn’t call the assembly of the Inspire Fitness CR2 Rower easy but it’s also not rocket science.

The unit comes with all the tools necessary for assembly and it could take up to an hour if you follow the instructions and work through the steps slowly.

It is fairly heavy, so you will want to assemble it in the same place you are going to exercise and it could be helpful to have a second set of hands.

Currently, on Amazon, they are offering FREE assembly of the unit (subject to change). Here is what comes with the current free assembly:

  • Assembly of 1 customer-supplied rowing machine per product instructions
  • Moving the rowing machine to a new location is not included
  • Removal of packaging materials to customer’s bin

This is such an amazing offer that I have not seen on any other piece of equipment. This service usually costs $60-$70!

Let’s hope this offer stays around for a long time!

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Pros and Cons


  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Bi-directional resistance to activate all muscles
  • Available app to deliver a CR2 specific workout plan
  • Top of the line build quality and comfort
  • FREE assembly (subject to change)
  • Smooth, quiet magnetic resistance
  • Adjustable resistance controlled on the handles


  • High price point for a rowing machine
  • Motion is not your “traditional” rowing movement
  • Basic monitor for this price point
  • Large, heavy model with limited storage capabilities

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Consumer Reviews

Overall, the consumer reviews of the Inspire CR2 Cross Rower have been very positive. Most users could not believe how hard of a workout it gave them and many users were happy to last 10-minutes!

Users felt the Cross Rower was very well built and operated smoothly and quietly.

There were some naysayers who mentioned the CR2 is a gimmick and it can’t provide you both strength and cardio workouts simultaneously.

There are also concerns about the motion (which also concern me). Due to the motion being more elliptical and the user having a “hunched” back, it does seem like it could aggravate people with back problems.

Check out more Inspire CR2 Cross Rower reviews here

Average Rating: 4.7

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Residential Warranty:

  • Frame: 10-Years
  • Parts: 3-Years
  • Labor: 1-Year
  • Model #: CR2.1 or CR2.1X

It’s always great to see a company who has a great warranty on their products. It shows the product is well built and they are confident in it’s performance.

They also have a “Light Commercial” warranty, which is 10 years on the frame and 1 year on the parts & labor.

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As I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this post, the price of the CR2 Rowing Machine can be a bit high for some people.

I’ve searched on all the online retailers and the prices seem to all be the same. There are some different benefits to buying it from one place over the other. The 3 main retailers seem to be direct from Inspire Fitness, through Amazon, or from a local retailer.

It doesn’t seem like there is a benefit to buying direct on the Inspire Fitness website and I didn’t see anything about getting a free assembly (again this can change on Amazon). If you buy locally you should be able to test the CrossRow out but there might not be a retail location near you.

If you do buy from Amazon, you can usually get free shipping on qualified orders and they act as a layer of protection between you and the manufacturer.

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Overall Review

Overall, I think the Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower is a great piece of fitness equipment for the right person.

If price is not an issue and you enjoy trying out fitness equipment that is a bit “non-traditional” then this is a great fit. If you are looking to buy a traditional rowing machine, I would not buy this option.

I highly recommend checking out the Concept2 Model D Rower which costs a substantial amount less and is the bestselling rowing machine on the market. It is used by many professional athletes and rowers and is the chosen rowing machine by Crossfit. It is air resistance, which is a bit different than magnetic, but I think it’s well worth a look. See my full review of the model here.

Another great traditional rowing machine option, that is magnetic resistance, is the Stamina Avari Rower. Again, this option cost a lot less but is still great for exercising. It has a monitor with preset workout programs and also comes with a heart rate monitor. See my full review of the model here.

You can also browse all my reviews and rowing machine options in my full comparison chart here.

I hope you enjoyed my Inspire Fitness CR2 Cross Rower review! Please leave any questions or comments below.

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