You've paid out good money for your rowing machine, treadmill, bike or cross-trainer and then in under 8 months, something breaks in the middle of a vigorous workout.
How annoying is that!
But never fear - it's still in warranty. Didn't it say 12 months on the blurb that came with the box? But when you come to read the small print, you find the 12 months is for the frame - what should be the toughest part of the machine and maybe even last for 10 years - but the moving parts are only covered for 6 months!
Now for most breakdowns like this, the replacement part may only cost a few dollars, but it could take two weeks or up to a month to get the part and fix it to the machine... yourself. This is a long time to lose the use of your machine and could set you back with your training.
So what does the warranty actually mean? Are they worth the paper they're written on?
It's true that you get what you pay for. I talked briefly about warranties in my post about budget rowers, but let's compare the warranty periods of a few models across the price-range.
*Note - most water rowing machines will often quote a separate period for the tank. For example, the First Degree Neptune has a 2 year warranty on it's water tank, the Evolution has 3 years.
As you can see, the more you pay the longer the warranty period - simply because the better quality machines should last longer. Although one exception is Kettler with many of their budget models having a lifetime guarantee on the frame, and even up to two years on the parts.
The warranty will also have conditions relating to its use that can invalidate the contract. For example, all machines will state a maximum user weight. If someone using the rower exceeds this weight, the manufacturer is under no obligation to honor the warranty. So make sure you check this before you buy.
Most rowers are sturdy enough to support nearly every potential user. For instance, the Concept2 (E) can handle a user of up to 500 lbs! And even budget models can cope with 250 lbs.
Of course you may be tempted to not tell them about your weight - but this isn't the point. If you train on a machine that can't support your weight, it will breakdown sooner or later. And then you have the hassle of dealing with the retailer - note you contact the retailer first if you have any problem with your model.
So as dull as it may seem, always take time to check out the warranty before you buy - it could save you time and hassle in the long run.
Roy Palmer is an athletics coach, teacher of The Alexander Technique and a rowing fanatic.