Boasting more than a decade of development and technical research, the BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower is one of the most professional fitness equipment pieces on the market. Professional athletes often use this particular machine during their training sessions, efficient, durable, and packed with handy features.
The VR500 is slightly more expensive than the average rower cost, but it’s worth every cent again. Indeed, with this machine alone, you will be able to benefit from a challenging full-body workout that will engage every major muscle group for rapid and efficient weight loss.
You can very quickly expect to lose more than 10 pounds in just a few weeks. Indeed, the machine provides a deficit of approximately 1000 calories or more in only one hour on high intensity.
The VR500 is a rowing machine made for commercial use, offering a wide array of features and functions. But one of its most essential qualities is that it combines air resistance with magnetic resistance to deliver superior workout possibilities and a resistance “feel” similar to the rowing of a real boat.
Learn more in my complete review below!
Product: BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower
Warranty: In-home / Frame: Lifetime / Parts: 5 years / Labor: 2 years / Wear Items: 1 year (see the light-commercial warranty below)
My rating: 9.25/10
Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate Program participant, I earn commissions on purchases made through links in this post. Full disclosure
Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 98.5L x 20W x 38.5H inches (250L x 51W x 98H cm)
- Product weight: 101 lbs (45.5 kg)
- Max. user weight: 350 lbs (159 kg)
- Frame: Aluminum, foldable
- Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
- Resistance type: Air & eddy current, 32 levels
- Fitness computer: 12 workout programs, four user profiles
- Residential: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Labor 2 years / Wear parts 1 year
- Light commercial: Frame 10 years / Parts 2 years / Wear items 1 year / Labor 90 days
VR500 Frame construction
The VR500 Pro frame is made mainly of anodized aluminum and integrates steel and hard plastic elements. To be more specific, the gliding beam is made of aluminum, while its support legs are steel-made. The protective casing of the flywheel is heavy-duty plastic.
The steel legs are powder coated with corrosion-resistant paint (black), while the gliding beam features its natural (silver) finish, only engraving the logo.
The frame’s bases integrate small rubber stabilizers to prevent damage to the floor and add more stability to the machine. The front plate also features small transport wheels, rendering the handling and relocation of the assembled device much more manageable.
The rower is not precisely light when fully assembled, as it weighs approx. 101 lbs (45.5 kg), but leaning it on its front wheels, you will be handling less than half of its weight.
The frame features a folding design. The aluminum rail folds up and has a child safety lock. When folded, its length is reduced to 58.5″ (149 cm), while its height becomes approx. 77″ (195.5 cm). When unfolded, its footprint is relatively large, especially length-wise as it takes 98.5″L x 20″W (250L x 51W cm) of floor space. Its highest point is approx — 38.5″ (98 cm) when unfolded.
Thus, the machine is made for users up to 6’6″ (198 cm) or users with an inseam up to 42″ (107 cm). It can also hold up to 350 lbs (159 kg) of user weight, which pretty much puts the machine in the commercial class.
Seat and other parts
The seat equipped on the BodyCraft VR500 features a contoured surface and a layer of padding that is not too thick but provides adequate comfort for prolonged rowing sessions, alleviating the coccyx bone and lower back.
The rear of the seat also features a small lip, preventing you from slipping backward if your gear is a less adherent fabric.
The seat integrates a set of four wheels with heavy-duty sealed ball bearings, offering a smooth glide. Also, an important aspect to mention here is that the gliding rail isn’t completely horizontal. Instead, it’s at a slight angle when the rower is in a workout position.
Therefore, it positively impacts the leg workout, as it adds a bit of difficulty, conversely rendering the recovery phase slightly easier.
One last aspect regarding the seat is its height. At its highest point, the top of the seat is approx. 19″ (48 cm) above floor level. In other words, it should be high enough to supply an easy mount/dismount even for users with impaired movement or other disabilities.
The rower’s footrests are heavy-duty nylon material. They’re size adjustable, accommodating sports shoes or feet of all sizes. They also incorporate adjustable straps to secure feet in place, which can be very handy for users with disabilities, for example. However, the footrests do not pivot. There stationary at an angle of approx — 45 °.
VR500 Resistance and drive system
The resistance system of this BodyCraft rower combines air and eddy current resistance. Its main resistance elements are a magnetic flywheel fan and a small servo motor. Since the flywheel is fan-shaped, the resistance is variable, proportional to how hard you pull.
However, the overall level of resistance generated by the machine is increasable via its eddy current system. And this eddy current system can offer up to 32 exceptional tension levels. Differently put, the resistance offered by this rowing machine is no joke. It’s a Pro rower, designed to supply the required training setting for professional athletes.
The machine’s drive system consists mainly of a nylon strap, which wraps on a small spring drum. A small pulley connects to the spring drum axis, and the pulley attaches to the flywheel fan via a poly “v” heavy-duty drive belt.
The pulling strap is attached to an aluminum handlebar, coated with a thin layer of rubber foam for a comfortable grip. The handlebar integrates a remote (wireless) control with keys that allow quick resistance adjustment without the need to interrupt your workout.
One last aspect to mention here regards the noise level produced by this machine. Compared with a rower with maximum air resistance, such as the Concept2 models, the noise level of the BodyCraft VR500 is considerably lower. The fan does emit a “woosh” noise when it spins, but as a general idea, it’s far from being loud enough to cover the volume of your TV.
The fitness computer supplied with the VR500 Pro rowing machine is quite an advanced one. First of all, it features a full, easy-to-read display with an LED backlight and backlit keys. It mounts on an adjustable arm with easy dual pivot points.
The unit tracks the following metrics: distance, time, strokes per minute, pulse, calories, and watts. It also indicates the current resistance setting and the existing profile. The length is in meters.
There are 12 workout programs preloaded in the console unit, including 4 Races, 4 HRC, two intervals, 1 Custom, and 1 Manual. The HR control programs are 55%, 75%, and 90%; however, there’s also a custom HR setting. The custom program allows you to create your workout, inserting the desired limits. In addition, there are four user profiles, which will enable you to save four unique settings from swapping between activities quickly. The computer also allows you to select target goals for time, distance, and watts.
The console can read pulse via the HR chest strap, but this accessory (is not included) with the machine. It’s compatible, though, with any Polar HR strap transmitter, with a 5 kHz frequency.
The rower requires a connection to a power circuit for the console and resistance levels to become available. A power adapter is supplied with the machine and connects to the frame on the front leg stabilizer. The console will start up when it detects movement on the seat and will enter sleep mode after 4 minutes of inactivity on the rower.
VR500 Assembly and Maintenance
Some assembly is (required) for the VR500 BodyCraft rower. However, the console’s internal mechanisms come fully assembled and attached to the frame’s front part. The gliding part of the seat also comes already attached to the rail.
Therefore, you will only have to attach the legs, bases, rail, footplates, and seat, a task that shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes. The tools required are (supplied) and a comprehensive set of manuals for assembly and operation.
Maintenance requires the periodic inspection of the machine’s joints and bolts. It would help wipe off the rails with a piece of cloth to remove any sand, dirt, or small objects that may damage the seat rollers or the rail itself.
- Folding, space-saving design;
- Solid frame, able to support users up to 350 lbs;
- Air & eddy current resistance system, for a natural rowing feel, reduced noise, and professional level workouts;
- 32 levels of resistance;
- Adjustable footrests;
- Comfortable contoured, spacious seat, with a padded top;
- 12 preloaded workout apps;
- Four user profiles on the console;
- Multiple values displayed by the console, such as time, speed, distance, strokes per minute and total strokes, calories, and pulse;
- Resistance controls integrated into the handlebar;
- Quiet machine;
- Excellent workout for back, arms, legs, and core muscles;
- Great warranty package.
- Large footprint;
- The price is slightly higher than other similar rowers, but the quality matches it.
BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower Summary
The BodyCraft VR500 is a rowing machine designed for commercial or professional use. It can supply medium to high difficulty workouts and an advanced fitness meter.
It’s an excellent machine for strength and stamina building, interval training, cross-training. Still, it’s also a perfect machine for anyone who wants to undergo consistent cardio training daily or at least several days per week.
It features dual resistance (air and eddy current), offering the natural rowing feel and the possibility to increase its overall resistance to bolster the consistency of your workout. In addition, it has a sturdy frame with a folding design, which can be very handy, especially if usage space is an issue.
Finally, it’s not exactly a cheap rower, actually a few $100s more expensive than the Concept2 Model D and E. However, quality and durability match its price.
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