Move over, Ergatta and Hydrow. Another premium connected rowing machine is gaining traction, and it’s unlike the mainstream competition thanks to a gamified platform. Fun games aside, Aviron promotes serious fitness and health gains in the comfort of your home with HIIT, intervals and more. From voice-controlled dumbbells to instructor-led home spin classes, the Aviron rower is another smart fitness antidote to stale home workouts.
What Is the Aviron Connected Rower?
Do you find traditional workout classes boring? Or maybe the monotony of indoor rowing has left you feeling uninspired. Boasting a huge 22-inch touchscreen display with instant access to a wide variety of classes and interactive workouts at your fingertips, Aviron may change your mind. There’s something for everyone, from games where you can compete against yourself and others for awards, badges and bragging rights to fierce interval competitions against professional athletes.
This review focuses mostly on the Impact Series, which is what I tested for this hands-on review. The other option is the Tough Series rower, which is slightly more heavy-duty but doesn’t have a folding frame.
Digital platforms can elevate a home fitness machine to celebrity status or cause it to quickly lose momentum after it launches. Aviron doesn’t yet have the same cult-like following that machines like the more familiar interactive Peloton and HIIT-inspired Bowflex Max Total 16 enjoy, but it’s carving a distinct niche among consumers who want something different. Despite the distinct emphasis on gaming, it’s far from the only option.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll find.
There’s a huge selection of games, some of which are slightly kooky but really fun to try. If you’re uninspired by more traditional workout models, try saving humanity from a zombie apocalypse, teaming up with others to outrun wolves, or exploring a mythical world on a flying rower to get your heart racing.
If streaming content sounds more appealing, you can watch movies and more on popular platforms like Disney+, Netflix and Hulu. You can also follow along with your favorite rowing videos on YouTube. Whichever platform you choose, your workout data will be displayed to keep you on track with your fitness goals.
Climb the leaderboard and earn bragging rights among friends with several competitive options. You can try to beat your own personal best on a Lightning Lap or maintain your speed to avoid getting kicked out of the Lightning Lap Knockout. Want to race others? Join the Grand Prix, a highly competitive 10-person race. You can also race against a custom pace boat in My Routine.
There aren’t many coached programs, but you’ll find a solid selection of options, especially for beginners. If you’ve taken time off, the eight-week “Fresh Start” program will help you get back into shape. You’ll also find HIIT programs as well as weight training to become a stronger, fitter athlete.
As of this writing, however, all the videos are feature one coach: Austin Hendrikson (@trainingtall on Instagram). He’s funny, engaging and knowledgeable, with tons of helpful tips and tricks. However, the platform would be more diverse (and have more options) with additional coaches.
If you’re craving feedback on your form yet aren’t in the mood for a human coach, a guided program can be a great alternative. Each video includes an animated figure to the side so you can see the proper form.
Instead of narrations, you’ll get real-time guidance and feedback in the form of on-screen messages to stay on track. All your essential workout data is visible during these programs, and you can customize and filter options based on your goals, desired workout time and more.
A hybrid option that combines the visual stimulation of games and the fitness-centric benefits of guided programs. You can take on challenges like surviving a vortex by maintaining the proper split zones and climbing to the summit by increasing your resistance and SPM, all while earning points to stay motivated.
Escape to a serene destination, with choices such as Red Lotus Lake in Thailand, Hood Canal in Washington, Coron Island in the Philipenes and Canada’s Toronot Harbourfront. These vides are a great way to warm up or unwind after a workout.
However, the quality isn’t consistent, and was noticeably better in some videos than others. Besides grainy images, the camera seemed slightly wobbly at times. Just a word of caution if you’re prone to motion sickness!
Pros Vs. Joes
Want to see how you stack up against an elite athlete? Push your limits with these fun and challenging videos that feature Olympic rowers and world-class athletes from various sports. If you’re wondering whether you can beat athletes like professional alpine skier, Karl Kuus, or Isatu Fofanah, a world champion sprinter, here’s your opportunity to find out. Don’t let the relatively short duration fool you (some intervals are just 30 seconds) because they’re quite challenging.
Is a Membership Required to Use Aviron?
You don’t need to be a member to activate or use your Aviron rower. As with most connected fitness equipment, though, you’ll have a better experience as a member. The Aviron membership costs $25 per month (annual rate) and $29 on a monthly billing cycle.
As a member, you’ll enjoy unlimited access to Aviron’s network of players, challenges and the latest software updates. You can also stream content on your preferred platform. All workout metrics, challenges and acheivements are stored on a cloud to measure your success and share it on social media.
Not ready to pay for a membership? It’s possible to use your Aviron on a basic level. You can still see your performance metrics, access a comprehensive profile and add and follow friends.
Design & Functionality
At the heart of the Aviron is a 22-inch HD touchscreen that’s high-quality and responsive. It doesn’t rotate, but you can adjust it up and down for comfortable viewing.
Futuristic design aside, Aviron’s rowers are uniquely designed to make you a better rower. The company claims that its machines target 86% of the muscles in your body, including your legs, back, core and more.
Even if you’re new to the sport, you’re properly positioned to succeed with every workout. That’s because the self-returning seat is angled slightly to keep your hips aligned and your torso leaning slightly forward. Sitting 20 inches off the ground, it’s also an easy on and off for most people.
The handlebars also rotate slightly to help keep your wrists and hands in the proper position. This is especially important as you inevitably fatigue during your workout. A comfortable moisture-wicking material promises a steady grip with sweaty hands.
You also probably won’t see the slight tilt just by looking at the machine, but the rail has a minimal forward slant that encourages proper biomechanics with every stroke. This is super helpful for keeping your form in check as you get tired.
Is Aviron Better than Hydrow?
There are several differences between these two popular connected rowers. Aviron offers a gaming-centric experience while Hydrow features live classes. Both manufacters offer two models, including one that folds to save space. Here’s a more detailed look at their similarities and differences.
Both Aviron rowers and the original Hydrow have 22-inch touchscreen displays. The screen on the Hydrow Wave is slightly smaller at 16 inches. Only the Hydrow screens rotate for a better view off the machine. The Aviron screens adjust up and down but don’t rotate.
The gamified experience is unique to Aviron, with numerous quirky challenges that aren’t currently available on any other connected rowers. It also offers streaming capabilities. However, Hydrow offers live classes.
Spoiler alert: Aviron is great for tall people! Like this connected climbing machine, it suits athletes up to nearly 7′ tall. It’s quite long but folds up to save space.
If you live in an apartment or have a small home gym, here’s some good and bad news. Measuring 97 inches long, the Aviron Impact is longer than most connected rowers. It does fold, however, so you can store it out of sight when you’re done.
The Aviron Impact Series and Hydrow Wave also fold for storage. However, neither the Aviron Tough Series or the original Hydrow fold.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the size differences between all four models:
Hydrow Wave ($1,495)
Aviron Impact Series: $2,199 + membership fee ($25/month billed annually or $29 billed monthly)
Aviron Tough Series: $2,499 + membership fee ($25/month billed annually or $29 billed monthly)
Hydrow: $2,495 + $38/month All-Access Membership (required for activation)
Hydrow Wave: $1,495 + $38/month All-Access Membership (required for activation)
Aviron Vs. Concept 2: Which Is Better?
If you’re looking for an interactive rowing experience, then Aviron wins. It has a high-quality 22-inch HD display complete with a suite of classes, training programs and competitions to keep you motivated. In contrast, the (much smaller) performance monitor on the Concept 2 only shows workout metrics such as strokes, intervals, calories, etc. You can purchase the Concept 2 for $1,299.
Are There Any Other Connected Rowing Machines I Should Consider?
It hasn’t been around long, but the RW900 Rower from NordicTrack is worth a serious look. It’s equipped with a 22-inch HD touchscreen display that rotates for comfortable viewing on and off the machine. The resistance also automatically adjusts so you can stay focused on your workouts.
As with the Aviron, a paid membership unlocks the most features. It’s the same iFIT platform found on other smart NordicTrack machines, such as the Commercial Series spin bike. Besides daily recommended workouts, you’ll find trainer-led studio classes and scenic global destinations such as Egypt, Easter Island and Patagonia. The RW900 costs $1,799 + the iFIT membership fee, which is $396 for an annual family plan, $180 for an annual individual plan and $39 per month on a monthly billing cycle. A 30-day iFIT trial is included to help you decide whether it’s worth it.