First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD Review

The First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD is a "pearl white" commercial rowing machine using variable water resistance. It is the most traditional ergometer in the MDD series; the others are the E720 hybrid bike-rower and the E920 upper body rower with a wheelchair ramp. Each model is clinically tested and certified to meet the European Union’s standards for medical equipment. For ease of entry and exit, the E520 MDD has a chair-height seat. The chair is contoured and is available with ...
8.5 Total Score
First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD

Comfort
9
Console
8
Stability
9
Value
8
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First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD Review
First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD

The E520 Fluid Rower MDD is the most affordable water rower certified to meet medical device standards set by the European Union. Made by First Degree Fitness, it features the brand’s patent-pending water resistance system and 20 challenge levels. This model has a monitor with USB port, a wireless heart rate receiver and a long warranty.

The First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD is a “pearl white” commercial rowing machine using variable water resistance. It is the most traditional ergometer in the MDD series; the others are the E720 hybrid bike-rower and the E920 upper body rower with a wheelchair ramp. Each model is clinically tested and certified to meet the European Union’s standards for medical equipment.

For ease of entry and exit, the E520 MDD has a chair-height seat. The chair is contoured and is available with or without back support.

For workouts the E520 MDD lets riders set distance, set time parameters, and choose from 20 resistance settings. There are preset interval training programs as well. The computer’s menu shows the previous six workouts as quick-start options. This model can also be used with First Degree Fitness apps, which connect through the USB port.


Positives:
  • Commercial Strength: The E520 Fluid Rower MDD is specially designed for clinical use; it can run for hours a day. It carries First Degree Fitness’s most generous warranty.
  • Variable Water Resistance: Competitive rowers (and more casual rowers) tend to prefer water resistance rowing machines over the other types. After all, water rowers provide the closest possible approximation of actual on-the-water training. First Degree Fitness indoor rowers use a unique patent-pending water drive that provides preset resistance levels too. (Water rowers from other brands do not have preset levels.) The tank is placed right next to the user for easy access to the tension control.
  • Data and Entertainment: The Interactive Performance Monitor displays a pacer, heart rate, the elapsed time, speed, distance, stroke rate, calories per hour, watts and resistance level. Six consecutive workouts are saved automatically for comparison and quick starts. For more advanced tech there’s a USB port; the E520 MDD can connect to a personal computer for data export and use with fitness apps.
  • Heart Rate Monitor: The E520 MDD has a wireless heart rate receiver that works with standard chest straps.
  • Comfortable Seating: The seat is at typical chair height for easy entry and exit. Lumbar support is optional.
  • Ergonomic Handle: The handlebar is well padded and slightly tilted. Its design minimizes strain on forearms and wrist.
  • Very High Capacity: The maximum user weight capacity is not published. Based on what we know about this brand, our best guess is that it can hold 450 pounds.
  • Good Warranty: The E520 Fluid Rower MDD Fluid Rower is backed by a 10-year warranty on the frame and a three-year warranty on the water tank and seals. The computer monitor and other parts, including wear parts such as footstraps, are under warranty for two years.


Negatives:
  • Price: Medically approved rowing machines are among the most expensive indoor rowers on the market. Prices are not advertised and are conveyed by individual distributors.

 

  • Customer Service: Compared with other brands, First Degree Fitness has a long turnaround time for responding to customers.


 

Our Conclusion

The First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD is a durable water rower approved for medical use. It’s a unique product; you won’t find another medical rower with variable water resistance. It’s recommended for medical facilities and fitness clubs. For home gyms, however, the cheaper E520 without medical certification is probably more than adequate.

First Degree Fitness E520 Fluid Rower MDD Specifications:

Overall Score:8.5
Resistance:Water
Monitor:LCD Monitor
Upright Storage:No
Programs:Yes
Weight Capacity:450 LBS

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