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If you were serious about rowing and/or wanted to use one in a commercial setting there was one option, the Concept 2 Rower.
Granted, that was a great option.
However, whenever a company has a stranglehold on the market, they can usually use their monopoly powers to drive the price wherever they would like.
This was the case, up until about a year ago when Get RXd released the Xebex Rower.
The rower released to many ooh's and ahh's, however the problem was there were few users to provide an actual detailed review.
But, fear no longer because Coop and Garage Gym Reviews is here to save the day once again.
So, without further adieu, I present to you the Get RXd Xebex Rower Review!
Black is my favorite color for gym equipment.
When I step inside my overly equipped garage, I like seeing a whole lot of beat up, black powder-coated equipment.
For this reason, I'm glad Get RXd decided to stay away from the flashy-neon colors that are often associated with CrossFit, and went for the classic black silver and red.
The overall look of the rower is very common place however. In fact, it looks almost exactly like the Concept 2, Model E.
This is a good thing in my opinion, especially for gyms who already have Concept 2's and would rather not have a piece of equipment sticking out like a sore thumb.
The actual look of the rower plays little part into how I judge it however.
For my purposes the most important features are how long is it going to last and how well will it perform.
I’m going to detail various aspects of the rowers construction and as with many of my reviews, some of it may seem lengthy, but if you're seriously thinking of purchasing the rower, you should want details.
Now, this review probably won't be as long as the review I did on the Air Bike, but there's fewer moving parts so there is less to review.
I will say this from the start, as a whole, the Get RXd Xebex Rower is made to the standards of abuse that CrossFit Affiliates worldwide will unleash upon it.
So, for you CrossFit gyms, have no worry. And, especially for you in #GarageGymNation this rower will more than take your beatings.
From an overall perspective, the rower is solid.
In fact, I would say it weighs slightly more than the Concept 2 Model D. Not by a whole lot, but when you really get cranking on it, it doesn't move.
The welds throughout all seem solid with little slop and for the most part, the overall feel of the rower is one of quality, save for a few things that I wish were changed that I will detail further into the article.
The Xebex Rower sits higher than the Concept 2 Model D, but more in line with the Model E. This is great for older folks, but doesn't provide much of an advantage.
The parts of the rower that need to be strongest are the legs and the piece that holds the fan up. These pieces are made of black powder-coated steel and I don't see them failing anytime soon.
The foot holders in my opinion are a step above Concept 2's simply because they're easier to change. They flex just like Concept 2's and overall feel great on your feet.
The Fan/Flywheel is the heart of the machine. It's essentially the drivetrain that causes there to be resistance.
One look at the fan and you can see it's pretty much an identical copy of the Concept 2.
It has the same adjustments from 1-10 on the side that contrary to popular belief don't necessarily make for a harder workout, but rather just how much air enters the flywheel housing on each stroke.
Think of the gears on a bike, which with each change in gear, affect the amount of energy needed to accelerate from one stroke to the next.
The internals make the chain pull smooth with very little gap in the initial pull that some cheaper rowers are known for.
The chain/shock cord do their jobs well. I felt little difference between the Concept 2 and the Xebex Rower in this area which is ultimately the most important. the return of the row feels as smooth as the pull--like butter!
The rail on which the seat glides is smoooooth. It appears to be made out of aluminum and is constructed as good as it looks.
The seat features rollers that allow the seat to glide along the rail with very little force or resistance.
The seat I find to be MORE comfortable than the Concept 2. They're both fairly comfortable, but the back lip on the Xebex Rower allows your butt to feel more secure and after rowing for quite a while I found my butt to be less sore than it usually is on a Concept 2.
Not a huge difference, but it is noticeable.
The handle on the Concept 2 is superior to the Xebex.
I find the handle to be one of the big misses. It's not an awful thing to hold by any means, but something about it just feels cheap in your hand compared to the Concept 2. It performs the same, and has a slight curve that is nice, but overall the handle on the Concept 2 is much better.
The monitor on the Xebex Rower is fine, but I prefer the PM5 on the Concept 2. It's not that there's anything glaringly wrong with the Xebex Rower Monitor, it's just that it isn't as intuitive as the PM5.
You can track pretty much the same things on both monitors, including heart rate, however they track differently.
And, this is an important point that needs to be said.
The Xebex Rower tracks calories and distance using a different formula than the PM5 on the Concept 2. This is a BIG deal for those that plan to use this rower in the CrossFit Open or in conjunction with the Concept 2.
I think eventually Xebex or Get RXd will come out with a way to compare the two, just as for every calorie on the Concept 2, you need to do 2 on the Xebex.
The actual monitor looks the same as the one on the Xebex Air Bike and features a bright screen and ways to track just about everything you would want.
Put simply, the rower performs as well as it is constructed.
Aside from the monitor and how it tracks distance and calories, if you shut your eyes, you wouldn't be able to tell a difference between it and the Concept 2.
The Xebex also features the best portability I've seen in a rower. Pull a pin and just like a transformer, the rower folds into itself. It also features four wheels so it's easier to move. This is a great feature for garage gyms that may not have ceilings high enough to store the Concept 2 on end.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows with the rower.
There are some little things that I'm not a huge fan of such as the use of plastic.
There are some parts of the rower such as the handle, the handle holder, and the back piece that I feel like were cheaped out compared to the rest. These aren't really parts that affect the function or will play a large part into the overall durability, I just wish these weren't' neglected.
I also dislike that the Monitor tracks calories differently than the Concept 2. I think if they tracked calories the same, it would have edged out the Concept 2 overall.
Is there a clear winner?
Yes, the Concept 2 Rower is the superior rower.
I've gone through the differences in-depth above, so I'll save you from reading them again, but I really like both rowers.
The Get RXd Xebex Rower matches the Concept 2 warranty and comes with a 5 year frame and 2 year parts warranty from a company that's been on the block for some time. Both equal in this regard.
You honestly can't go wrong with either the Xebex Rower or the Concept 2.
I will say I am surprised how well the Xebex rower performs and I'm glad to see competition, it only makes everything and everyone better.
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