Diamondback are better known for their outdoor bikes and range of fitness equipment such as their elliptical trainers and exercise bikes. These have a good reputation for their build quality and innovative features. However, we have to admit we didn't know they had a rowing machine until we received an email asking what we thought of them.
So we thought we'd better get out there and get our hands on one not wishing to appear ignorant:0) And we found the 910R which, at the time of this review, was the only rower in their range.
The first thing that caught our eye was the $1,000 price tag. This puts it in direct competition with some quality and very well-established machines - a number of these have been around for over a decade. So either Diamondback have great faith in their one and only rower, or they're calling everyone's bluff and trying to convince us it's as good as its competitors.
So which is it? We feel it's a combination of the two. Yes, it has some good qualities, but no, we don't think it's worth the price they're asking.
As always with our reviews, we'll start with the rowing position. The seat is quite low compared to others. This is rarely a problem, but if you're recovering from an illness or injury, or suffer from knee pain, you could find it a little difficult to get on and off this rower. The seat itself is a big disappointment. This is an important part of the design because you could be spending up to an hour (or even longer) sitting on it - so it has to be comfortable. But this one isn't. In fact, we've seen better seats on rowing machines costing less than half the price of this one. Shame, because first impressions stick.
It also doesn't roll quite as smoothly as most other rowers we've tried in this price range. We felt it need two rollers beneath the seat to keep it securely in place when sliding up and down the beam.
On the plus side, the footrests are well-positioned and we found they held our feet securely in place. This is vital for a good session - if they slip, you can't row. The pivoting mechanism worked well, allowing for a good rowing experience.
The resistance mechanism uses a combination of air and magnets. This has the benefit of providing a smooth, realistic rowing action while using electronic control to alter resistance levels by positioning magnets closer to the flywheel. This means programs can automatically change the resistance levels (16 in total) during a pre-set program for interval or heart rate training - see the section below on the console for a more information. Or for more details on resistance types, please see here. Note that air rowers are noisier than other types and may not be a good choice if you live in an apartment.
This is a folding model which is always a benefit. If your space is limited at home, it's very easy to fold it into an upright position and wheel it away for storage.
Onto the all-important warranty. While the lifetime on the frame and 3 years on the parts and electronics are good, we feel the 90 days on what Diamondback refer to as 'wear items' is quite poor for a model in this price range. These include things such as the straps and clasps on the footrests, and chord attached to the handle. Yes, these may be easily replaced and at low cost, but if they break you won't be able to use the rower until fixed - just seems unreasonable in our view.
But one saving grace is the number of programs - this comes with 19 which is very generous. These include interval, heart rate controlled, and a race boat which gives you the opportunity to challenge the computer - see here for details of types of workouts you can expect.
Please note, the console has a heart rate receiver that's compatible with most of the popular makes of chest strap, but the strap itself is not included.
While Diamondback have some excellent exercise bikes and cross-trainers, the 910R rower looks a little like a poor relative. It does have some good features such as the pre-set programs including one of our favorites, namely a race-boat function. But it's things like the poor seat and choice of materials for the parts that will wear out quickly that let it down. These frankly look like short cuts - almost as if they've rushed this one out in order to add a rowing machine to their range.
This is a shame, because with some more thought, this could have been a much better model. If it cost a few hundred dollars less it would be a much better option.
Click image to enlarge
Also worth a look:
The obvious alternatives are the LifeCore R88 and R100. The R100 costs around $200 more but is a better machine in our view and worth the extra. If you're not looking specifically for a magnetic rowing machine, the far superior Concept2 Model D is a much better buy at around the same price.
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