First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Rower Review (Worth It?)

Rowing machines are one of the best pieces of cardiovascular equipment because they not only help you get your heart rate up but also work the entire body. Rowing machines burn calories by strengthening both upper and lower body muscles.  

Our First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rower review will help you determine whether or not the First Degree rowing machine has a place in your home gym.  

The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rower is an excellent rowing machine for most homeowners. The beautiful wood frame looks good in any home, and the water component provides a soothing workout experience with natural resistance.  

Adjustable Fluid Resistance Tank

The adjustable fluid resistance tank works by various water values in the tank. When you add more water to the tank, you will need to push more water as you row, and therefore the resistance will be higher.

When you remove water from the tank, resistance lowers. You can play with resistance levels to find what works best for your workout needs. 

first degree fitness viking 2 ar rower review

All levels of resistance use fluid resistance and provide the smooth rowing experience that water rowers are known for. 

Unique Triple Bladed Impeller & Baffled Tank

A triple bladed impeller keeps the water in constant movement to create smooth rowing without choppy water movements. A baffled water tank prevents water from whooshing around the tank and up the sides while the rower is in movement. This also makes the tank more stable, which is vital for a high cardio workout machine like a rower. 

Read Also - Muscles Worked When Rowing

Multi-Level Computer With USB Port 

The multi-level computer showcases several stats, including the time, distance, strokes per minute, watts, calories per hour, 500M split, and heart rate value. These can be viewed in real-time while rowing and viewed after the workout is finished. The USB port can be used to connect to other monitors if desired. 

Height Adjustable Footplates & Straps

The height-adjustable footplates are important because to row without injury, it is necessary to have proper form.

Your footplates should be centered so that the strap goes slightly higher than the ball of the foot.

You want to make sure that you can properly move your foot and lift your heel as you row. 

first degree fitness viking 2 rower footplates

Durable Belt Drive

A durable belt drive made of high-quality materials will last for years to come and creates a strong yet smooth movement when rowing. The belt drive, along with the bladed impeller and baffled tank, makes it easy to slide your seat along the main bar.

Deluxe Ergonomic Design Handle

The deluxe ergonomic design handle is easy-to-use and comfortable to hold. You will be able to crush your workouts with ease and without hand cramps. The handle is both firm and soft for a cushioned grip that won’t tire you out before the end of your workout.

See Also - Are Rowers Bad For Your Lower Back?

American Ash Constructed Frame 

A solid American Ash constructed frame is lightweight, sturdy, and durable. A rowing machine's frame typically experiences the most wear and tear over the years because it holds the individual pieces together. Strong and beautiful American Ashwood will create a sleek look in your home while providing long-lasting use thanks to durable craftsmanship.

Simplified Assembly & Virtually Maintenance Free

This rowing machine is one of the easiest exercise machines to put together at home, on your own. The simplified assembly process provides step-by-step instructions. The device is virtually maintenance-free, with only the belt requiring future maintenance. We recommend lubricating your rowing machine's belt every 50-80 hours of use.

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Rower Review 

First Degree Fitness Viking II Black Reserve...
  • LED display indicates time, distance, 500...
  • Frame constructed with high quality steel and...
  • Water tank features two triple-bladed...
  • Ergonomic handles help prevent twisting and...

Assembled Dimensions

84 x 22 x 21 inches

Folded Dimensions

Does not fold, can be placed upright

Machine Weight

72 Lbs

Maximum Weight Capacity

300 Lbs

Resistance Levels

Fluid resistance, water resistance 


5 years on frame, 3 years on non-mechanical parts, 2 years on the remaining parts

The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rower comes with beautiful American Ash craftsmanship and smooth rowing action thanks to a triple bladed impeller, baffled tank, and durable belt drive. The adjustable foot straps and footplates allow fitness users to create a comfortable fit for working out and the ergonomic handle prevents cramping.

Fluid resistance is made possible with the water tank and bladed impeller mechanisms.

Users can add more water to create stronger resistance or keep water levels lower for lighter resistance. 

Water rowers specialize in creating smooth organic rowing movements that more closely resemble rowing on a lake.

The simple sliding belt mechanism allows for clean movement. 

First Degree Fitness Viking II

This machine comes with a LED display that showcases several rowing stats, including 500-meter split time, distance, time, and strokes per minute. The LED display is conveniently located next to the rowing handles, which lets rowers review their workout stats at the end of each stroke. 

However, if you prefer a connected rowing experience with a large digital touchscreen, then this model will disappoint. We recommend choosing an Ergatta or Hydrow rower if flashy tech is essential to you. 

To see how the Hydrow compares, read our complete guide to the Hydrow vs Peloton.

When assembling the rower, homeowners should be able to put the rower together on their own. Adding an extra person for the assembly process will simply make it go faster but is unnecessary.

The American Ash wood matches most home decors and creates a more sophisticated look compared to stockier rowing machines. The craftsmanship makes this rower an attractive addition to your home and provides long-lasting durability.  

Another thing that we love about this water rower is its small footprint. Although the rower is long, 84 inches, it can be stored upright by using the transport wheels (located near the water tank).

The water rower has a much smaller footprint when it comes to its width and height (22 inches wide and 21 inches tall), so when stored upright, it takes little space in your home. The wood with black accents is more attractive than other sports rowers.

This rowing machine is affordably priced for a water rower, particularly one with American wood craftsmanship behind it. The machine comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty on the frame and 3 years on non-mechanical parts (2 years for mechanical parts). This warranty is standard for a water rower machine.

Pros & Cons Of The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Rower

Not every rowing machine will suit every fitness enthusiast. The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rower is best suited for someone interested in a water rower with a comfortable ergonomic build and minimal tech distractions.

The water rower offers a natural, fluid resistance that provides a more comfortable experience with minimal “jerk” while rowing. However, it does not have a large display with gaming capabilities (think Ergatta or Hydrow). It also offers fluid resistance rather than set resistance, which may not be a fit for rowers who prefer manual resistance (think Concept 2).  

If you want an affordable water rower with a comfortable, ergonomic design and adjustable footbeds, then this is a great choice for you.  

Related Article - Water Rower Vs Air Rower

The Good 

  • Water rower for natural, fluid resistance  
  • Comfortable, ergonomic design 
  • Adjustable footboard  
  • Smooth belt for clean rows  
  • Ethically produced  

The Bad 

  • Small LED display  
  • Water rower limits resistance capabilities  

Comparing Viking 2 AR Rower With Similar Rower Brands

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Vs Concept 2 Model D 

Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine - PM5...
12,246 Reviews
Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine - PM5...
  • Integrated Device Holder allows you to keep...
  • 14-inch seat height fits most uses....
  • Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and...
  • Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving...

The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR vs. the Concept 2 Model D. These are two completely different rowing machines. Despite both being home rowing machines, the Concept 2 Model D is not a water rower and uses air resistance. This offers a different experience when rowing. Water rowers tend to be more expensive, although the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR is actually less costly than the Concept 2 Model D.

This is an affordable water rower vs. an expensive air rower. Water rowers are much quieter when working out, so if you want a quiet machine, we recommend the water rower. However, water rowers are larger and slightly heavier. Water rowers, including the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR, offer a more smooth rowing experience because the fluidity of the water is thicker than air.  

You’ll have a smoother, more streamlined experience rowing on the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR vs the Concept 2 Model D. The Concept 2 Model D wins when it comes to the workout monitor and offers more information for each workout. These machines are both high-quality machines. 

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Vs WaterRower Club 

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine with S4...
349 Reviews
WaterRower Club Rowing Machine with S4...
  • MADE IN USA - Hand-built in Rhode Island;...
  • SMOOTH - Water rowers use a water-filled...
  • BURN CALORIES IN SHORT TIME - There are many...

The WaterRower Club rower is slightly more expensive than the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rower, but the price is within $100 difference. The dimensions are similar, as is the weight. The primary difference between these two rowing machines is that the WaterRower Club is a more established brand with slightly better build materials.

We recommend spending the extra money on WaterRower Club if you plan to make rowing part of your everyday routine. However, if you are a more casual user, the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR will save you a little extra money. Both are made out of American wood and have ergonomic features.  

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Vs WaterRower 

WaterRower Ash Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor...
  • MADE IN USA - Hand-built in Rhode Island; all...
  • SMOOTH - Water rowers use a water-filled...
  • BURN CALORIES IN SHORT TIME - There are many...

The WaterRower is a slightly more expensive machine and similar to the WaterRower Club. The machine is the same (WaterRower and WaterRower Club), but the exterior is different. The WaterRower Club uses a black and rose stain while the WaterRower uses a natural ash wood. Choosing between these two rowers is a matter of personal aesthetic preference.

When it comes to the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR, the WaterRower in ash is similar aesthetically. Again, we recommend choosing the First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR to save a little money if you are a casual rower. If, however, you plan to row daily and are able to spend a little extra money, we recommend choosing either the WaterRower or WaterRower Club model.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Where are First Degree Fitness Viking Rowers made? 

The First Degree Fitness Viking Rower is made in Taiwan. The machine is made with high-quality materials. It comes with a 3-year warranty on the tank and the rowing machine's seals, and a 5-year warranty on the frame.  

Is this rowing machine quiet? 

Yes! This is a water rowing machine, and they are quiet machines. However, you will hear the "whoosh" of water as you row. Many people enjoy this sound as it can be calming and relaxing. If you want no sound, this may not be the rower for you.  

What is the maximum height of a person who can use this equipment? 

The rowing machine’s length corresponds to your inseam rather than your overall height. We recommend measuring your inseam length. The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Rower works for people with an inseam up to 41 inches.  

How do you maintain the Fitness Viking rowing machine? 

In order to maintain your rowing machine, it is important to frequently clean the machine by dusting the clutch, belt, upper deck, and lower deck. We also recommend using a vacuum cleaner to keep dust at bay. It may be necessary to lubricate the chain approximately every six months to one year, depending on how often you use your rower.  


The First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR rowing machine is an excellent fitness appliance for most home gyms and for anyone who wants a serious full-body workout. If you enjoy the gentle sound of water "whooshing" and want a beautiful wooden rower, then this is the perfect cardiovascular machine for you.  

If you want a water rower but also want to see your other options, check out our article reviewing the best water rowing machines.

Last Updated on May 11, 2022