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What is a Rowing Bike?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 17, 2024
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A rowing bike is a machine that is a combination of a rower and a bicycle. It can be a stationary model or one used for transportation. The bicycle is operated by performing a rowing motion with a lever near the front of the machine. Unlike other bicycles, this fitness transport machine does not have any pedals. There is usually a seat for the rider to sit on along with a footrest so the feet do not get in the way.

Most models resemble traditional bicycles. The height, frame, and wheels are all similar in design. An exception is that the handlebar is a single vertical piece that has a handgrip on either side. There are two wheels, one in front and one in back. Like a regular bicycle, the back wheel is operated by a chain mechanism.

Other models are more elaborate. They may have a very long frame and be made to resemble a car or dune buggy. There might be seats for anywhere from one to three riders. The lever on the front of the rowing bike could be accordion shaped as well.

Rowing bikes can be distinguished from a hand cycles by their design. A hand bike normally sits low to the ground, while a rowing bicycle sits up higher. The seat on a hand cycle is also somewhat larger. Unlike a recumbent bicycle, a hand bike is typically a tricycle, which has one wheel in front and two in back.

In order to operate a rowing bike, the user first sits on the machine with her feet on the footrest. She will then hold the handle grips in her hands. Once she is comfortable, she can start to pull the mechanism back and forth in a rowing motion, propelling the machine forward.

The handlebar mechanism on a rowing bike can be used to steer the machine. This is done by pushing or pulling the bar either to the left or right. For best results this should be done while the bicycle is in motion, although it might be helpful to slow down somewhat before maneuvering the equipment.

Most models have a handbrake which can be squeezed or pulled in order to stop the machine. The brake is similar to the one often found on a regular bicycle. Even so, it can be difficult to adjust to stopping or slowing down on this machine. Riders should become familiar with operating the controls before taking the bicycle into congested areas.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Jun 26, 2014

@ysmina-- I don't think there's one with both handlebars and pedals. But I have seen one with a resistance cord and pedals.

To row, one has to pull on the resistance cord. The seat slides back and forth. And to bike, the pedals are used.

I think this is a great option if you're looking for an exercise machine that allows both types of exercises. But if you're just interested in rowing, then get a rowing bike. In my experience, the more complex the exercise machine, the greater the chances that something may not work right.

By ysmina — On Jun 26, 2014

Is there a rowing bike that's also a recumbent bike for pedaling? I mean, is there a recumbent bike that has both pedals and the handlebar mechanism for rowing?

By ddljohn — On Jun 25, 2014

A rowing bike is great exercise. It burns a lot of calories and it's easy to operate as well. The only downside I've experienced using this exercise machine is that it gives me a back ache. I think it's due to the posture that one has to have while pulling. So those with a bad back should be careful, and should probably ask a trainer before using one.

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