Lifecore R88 PRO Rower Review
Quick Take (Discontinued)
Though Lifecore has discontinued all of its rowing machines at present, including the Lifecore R88 PRO rower we review here, this has happened relatively recently and there are still examples floating around on the web these days. Of their once ample offerings, the R88 PRO rower came quite well reviewed overall. It has a taller frame than some other rowers on the market—a plus for those that don’t want to hike themselves up off the ground after a strenuous workout—and it features a host of different upgrades from the standard R88 model. When they say ‘pro’, they mean it. For a relatively affordable machine it certainly seems built closer to the club-like specs of the likes of Concept2, among others. If you’ve found one up for sale, or are looking into finding this particular model, read on for our comprehensive review.
The R88 PRO Rowing Machine is one of three indoor rowers in the Lifecore lineup: the R88, R88 PRO and R100. Compared with the standard Lifecore R88, the R88 PRO Rowing Machine is designed to withstand heavier use. Its frame is significantly longer and also sits higher from the ground at 19.5” for easier access. This unit gets a pedal upgrade too; the pedals pivot for better biomechanics. Compared with the R100 though, it is very light on programming and resistance (six levels versus 16).
Tension for this rower is manually controlled. At the lowest level only air resistance is used. For levels 2 through 6, the air resistance is augmented with magnetism. With this hybrid resistance system, each stroke feels the same unless you change the resistance dial. In contrast, indoor rowers using water resistance can let you build momentum.
The Lifecore R88 PRO has slightly more advanced programming than the R88. Trainees can choose from manual mode and a racing program. (The R100’s monitor upgrades the options to 11 and supports heart rate targeting.) Lifecore consoles use batteries so that no power cords are required.
The Lifecore R88 PRO Rowing Machine is priced at $1099 and has a two-year parts warranty. Our review is split into lists of positives and negatives.
- Higher Profile: The R88 PRO Rowing Machine’s seat is 19.5″ from the floor. This is an especially good height for someone moving over from a wheelchair or for anyone with limited mobility.
- Aluminum Frame: The R88 PRO has an industrial strength aluminum rail. The frame has a lifetime warranty.
- Wireless Pulse: The Lifecore R88 PRO has a wireless heart rate receiver to help you make the most of exercise sessions. It requires a Polar-compatible chest strap (not included).
- Data: An easy-to-read single color LCD monitor shows 500 m time, total time, strokes per minute, total strokes, calories, speed, distance and heart rate.
- Storage: This rowing machine has a large footprint, but the unit can easily be folded for storage. Transport wheels are built into the front for easy movement too.
- Warranty: Lifecore gives the R88 PRO frame a lifetime guarantee. The parts and monitor are covered for two years. Labor is free if needed during the first year and is provided in-home.
- Larger Size: The R88 PRO is one of the longest rowing machines on our review website. It is 96″ long whereas the R88 (a compact rower) is just 70” long. It’s 18” width is average.
- Plastic: The flywheel housing is plastic. On higher quality rowing machines the flywheel is encased by metal.
- Two Program Modes: Very little workout support is provided. Riders choose from manual mode and “Race.” Other fitness machines in this price category include considerably more programming.
- Price: The regular price strikes us as high. It doesn’t suit the R88 PRO’s limited features, nor its warranty (two years of parts protection).
The Lifecore R88 PRO Rowing Machine generally makes its owners happy. Nonetheless, having checked out hundreds of indoor rowers, we wouldn’t add this to our list of favorites. It is very light on programming and the resistance range isn’t so impressive.
For less money you could buy the high quality Concept2 Model D, which is the top seller worldwide for some great reasons! Or for just a bit more money, you could get a WaterRower Natural, which many people consider the best home rowing machine on the market.