BodyCraft VR500 Rower Review

The VR500 Rower leads its series with BodyCraft’s best indoor rower technology. Highlights include a smooth aluminum track, 12 preset workouts and wireless heart rate control. This rowing machine’s seat level is chair-like at 19”. Being easier to access compared with low profile rowing machines, it can accommodate a wider variety of trainees. It is designed for people up to 6’6” tall. Resistance for Bodycraft rowers is generated by a fan (air resistance) and magnetism. On the VR500, controls ...
8.25 Total Score
BodyCraft VR500 Rowing Machine

The light commercial BodyCraft VR500 Rower is tops in its series. It features an extruded aluminum track and can support up to five hours of use per day. Trainees can choose from 12 program profiles and 32 levels of quiet resistance (air and magnetic). The VR500 is Polar compatible and includes heart rate controlled workout programs.

Comfort
8.5
Console
8.5
Stability
8
Value
8
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BodyCraft VR500 Rower Review
BodyCraft VR500 Rower Review

The light commercial BodyCraft VR500 Rower is tops in its series. It features an extruded aluminum track and can support up to five hours of use per day. Trainees can choose from 12 program profiles and 32 levels of quiet resistance (air and magnetic). The VR500 is Polar compatible and includes heart rate controlled workout programs.

The VR500 Rower leads its series with BodyCraft’s best indoor rower technology. Highlights include a smooth aluminum track, 12 preset workouts and wireless heart rate control. This rowing machine’s seat level is chair-like at 19”. Being easier to access compared with low profile rowing machines, it can accommodate a wider variety of trainees. It is designed for people up to 6’6” tall.

Resistance for Bodycraft rowers is generated by a fan (air resistance) and magnetism. On the VR500, controls on the handlebar make changing the resistance especially convenient during workouts.

BodyCraft sells the VR500 Rower with two warranties. The residential warranty provides lifetime coverage for the frame, five years for parts, one year for wear items and two years of free labor. The light commercial warranty (up to five hours/day) provides ten years for the frame, two years for parts, one year for wear items and just 90 days labor.


Positives:
  • Data: The display shows time, distance in meters, strokes per minute, calories burned, watts, level, profile and pulse.
  • User Profiles: Up to four users can save profiles to the rower.
  • Program Profiles: Including manual mode this unit has a dozen preset programs. Four are races, four are heart rate control and two are for interval training. You can also save a custom program.
  • Heart Rate Control Programs: Four heart rate control programs can be used with a wireless monitor. Three are preset to help you work at 55%, 75% and 90% of your maximum heart rate. The fourth HRC program lets you set the target percentage.
  • Monitor: The monitor is easy to read even at nighttime thanks to backlighting. It can be moved and tilted with an adjustable bracket.
  • Resistance: The resistance is smooth and easy to adjust. It’s electronically controlled and a hybrid of air and eddy current magnetic force.
  • Handlebar: The handlebar is ergonomically smart and has integrated resistance controls.
  • Adjustable Seat: The seat is highly adjustable and can travel 38”, making it suitable for people up to 6’ 6”. It’s contoured for comfort. The seat height of 19″ is easier to access for many people who have limited movement.
  • Folds: To save space you can easily fold the VR500. Its folded dimensions are 58.5″ L x 20″ W x 77″ H. It has caster wheels for moving it into position for storage.
  • Energy Saving Mode: The console automatically shuts down after four minutes of inactivity.
  • High Capacity: The BodyCraft VR500 has an aluminum frame and steel support legs. Its maximum user weight capacity is 350 pounds.
  • Warranty: The residential warranty is very competitive and the light commercial warranty is satisfactory. Residential buyers get: lifetime frame, five years parts, one year wear items and two years of labor. Light commercial customers get: 10 years frame, two years parts, one year wear items and 90 days labor. BodyCraft considers light commercial use to be up to five hours/day.


Negatives:

The BodyCraft VR500 Rower is great for people who just want effective workouts, but it’s not meant to satisfy serious outdoor rowers. Other brands build rowing machines especially meant for crew team members. Here are some other potential drawbacks:

  • Nylon Belt: The handle drive uses a nylon belt with the potential to fray. Rowing machines with metal chains have a superior setup, although they require oiling.
  • Large Size: The VR500 is sized to fit almost anyone. The downside is that it requires more space than other indoor rowers do. Its dimensions are 98.5″ L x 20″ W x 38.5″ H. For storage it folds down to 58.5″ L x 20″ W x 77″ H.


Our Conclusion

The BodyCraft VR500 Rower is a durable fitness machine with helpful programming. It’s a nice option for light commercial spaces because it’s sized to fit virtually all rider heights. It has a high entry point as well, making it relatively easy for physical therapy patients to access.

Still, we are more impressed by the competition’s options for residential and light commercial shoppers. We recommend comparing this rowing machine with the options from WaterRower and Concept2.

BodyCraft VR500 Rower Specifications:

Overall Score:8.25
Resistance:Air and Magnetic
Monitor:Basic
Upright Storage:Yes
Programs:Yes
Weight Capacity:350 LBS

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