CityRow Go Max Rower Review – 2021

Kristen NelsonKristen Nelson

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Last Updated: July 30, 2021

The CityRow Go Max is a smooth, indoor water rower with an attached touchscreen and subscription content that features professional rowing instruction. This rower was developed by CityRow in conjunction with WaterRower, so the design is very similar to a traditional water rower with a wood frame, subtle low-profile, and eye-catching design. The black wood frame is uniquely chic and stately. The CityRow Go Max looks more like a piece of furniture than something you pulled out of the garage for a quick session. Let’s dive into the CityRow review and see everything the Go Max rowing machine has to offer.

CityRow GO Max Rower Review 2021

Water rowers have long been preferred by rowing enthusiasts because they feel similar to an actual outdoor rowing experience. The relaxing swoosh of the water in the tank, consistent handle stroke, and gentle slide of the seat make it feel like you are in a rowing shell gliding along on a cool morning out on the lake. Unlike loud air-resistance rowers, the CityRow is relatively quiet and can be used indoors without disturbing roommates, family members, or neighbors. The CityRow also includes subscription content and a 19.5” touchscreen with outdoor rowing sessions led by professional rowers. The combination of classic frame design and updated tech makes the CityRow an attractive option for both experienced rowers and novices who want a little guidance as they learn the sport.

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Who It’s For: Those looking for a sleek water rower with instructor-guided video content and training

The CityRow Go Max is a great rower for those who:

  • New rowers who want to gain the benefits of rowing with guided rowing sessions
  • Experienced rowers who want a realistic feel
  • Have plenty of space – the CityRow takes a bit of space when it’s down
  • Are able to sit low on the seat and then stand back up (have good knee flexibility)
  • Want a chic, streamlined look.
  • Are looking for something with an attached touchscreen with subscription content
  • Want to increase core, back and arm strength in addition to leg muscles

Our Video Review


Pros
  • Much quieter than air rowers
  • The chic design looks elegant and stately in your home
  • Foot pedals will accommodate any size athletic shoe with adjustable straps
  • The contoured seat is gently padded and sweat resistant
  • 19.5” Touchscreen is easy to reach
  • The CityRow GO can be folded, and then lifted vertically and stored upright
  • Supports up to 375 pounds
  • Workouts are varied for beginner, intermediate or advanced rowers
Cons
  • Expensive — this rower is priced just over $2000
  • Requires subscription content at $29/month
  • No outdoor rowing sessions – all classes are in a studio

CityRow Go Max Rower review


Rower FeaturesRower Specs
  • Sleek, subtle design
    • Wood frame and water tank look stately. Rail is only 7.5” off the floor, so it sits lower than comparable rowers. The seat is 10” off the floor. We recommend users make sure they can get down and then up off the seat.
  • Frame supports 375 pounds
    • Good option for larger users. The seat is generously cushioned and measures 12” wide and 10” deep with contours for your tailbone and glutes.
  • Foot pedals allow for gentle ankle motion that reduces leg tension and facilitates full knee flexion.
    • The pedals are 12” long, with adjustable foot supports and straps that will support any size shoe
  • Comfortable Handle, Quiet Strap
    • The ergonomic handle is 18” wide. The belt strap is much quieter than a chain and is constructed of a polyester webbing (like a seat belt) that won’t tear or break.
  • 19.5” Full Color Touchscreen
    • The touchscreen is easy to see with crisp graphics and 1080 resolution.
  • Bluetooth enabled for heart rate monitors and wireless headphones
    • The CityRow will sync with any number of Bluetooth chest straps so you can read your HR right on the screen.
  • Tank can be emptied when needed
    • The included syphon pump makes filling and emptying the tank easy. CityRow recommends adding a purification tablet once every six months (one is included).

Construction:

  • Open Footprint:
    • Length 85” (212 cm)
    • Width 22.25” (57 cm)
    • Height 45.25” (114.9cm)
  • FoldedFootprint:
    • Length 24” (61 cm)
    • Width 22.25” (57 cm)
    • Height 85” (212 cm)
  • Inseam length: Fits up to a 39” inseam (99cm)
  • Frame: Aluminum and steel construction
  • Machine Dry Weight: 75 lbs (34 kg)
  • Weight with Water: 112 lb (50.8 kg)
  • Weight Limit: 375 pounds (170kg)
  • Frame: American Ash wood and black powder coated aluminum
  • Power: Power adapter for standard outlet
  • Internet: Connect via WiFi or ethernet cable

Console:

  • Touchscreen: 19.5” (50cm) full color sweat-resistant touchscreen swivels 30 degrees
  • Speakers: Two 10-watt speakers
  • Bluetooth: Syncs with wireless headphones and HR devices

Delivery/Assembly:

  • Free Delivery
  • Delivered fully assembled
  • Includes syphon pump to fill/empty tank, water purification tablets & Allen key

Warranty:

  • Frame: 5-year warranty
  • Non-Electronics: 3-year warranty
  • Screen: 1-year warranty

In-Depth Review of the CityRow Go Max Rowing Machine


Construction

CityRow GO Max Rower Side Profile 2021

Frame

The CityRow Go Max looks like a traditional water rower with an attached touchscreen. The frame is very similar to WaterRowers since this was a collaborative design. Currently, the Go Max is only available in black. When open, the CityRow Go Max takes up a bit of space (like most rowers), however, the console folds down and the track folds up allowing the Go Max rower to be stored vertically to save space. This is a handy design since space is often a limiting factor when purchasing fitness equipment for your home.

One thing to be aware of is the fact that the rail sits very close to the floor. The rail itself is 7.5” high and the top of the seat is 10” high. Users must be able to bend low and sit down on the seat and then stand up from the low height. This could be a limiting factor for some users since it requires a bit of knee and hip flexion.

The 375 weight capacity is also sufficient for most users. The footboard is plenty wide, and the adjustable foot supports will accommodate any size athletic shoe.

Geometry

  • Footprint: L: 85” x W: 22” x H: 45” (212cm x 57cm x 115cm)
  • Pedals: 12” high adjustable pedal (35cm)
  • Saddle: 12” wide 10” deep, contoured and cushioned (35x25cm)
  • Belt Drive: 20” high where it emerges from the machine (50cm)
  • Track: 49” long (125cm)

Pedals

CityRow GO Max Rower Foot Pedals 2021

The pedals are supported by a solid wood footboard underneath and a molded pedal with several adjustable settings for foot size. A wide adjustable strap secures the user’s feet into position. The adjustable molded overlay is ridged at the top to keep your foot from sliding forward and has several notched positions that shift the heel support upwards to accommodate both smaller and larger feet. I love the wood footboard that supports the pedals. It is wide and firm and feels like you are pushing against the end of the boat.

Handle

CityRow GO Max Rower Handle 2021

The CityRow Go Max handle is 18” wide (45cm) and surprisingly comfortable. The handle is sweat-resistant and can be easily wiped down to sanitize. For those who plan to row longer sessions, the ergonomic design reduces hand and shoulder fatigue.

The seat slides right up to the junction between the pedals and the handle for a comfortable catch position. The point where the belt emerges from the neck of the rower is 20” (50cm) high from the floor, which is lower than comparable rowers, but it has a low rail height so this is proportional for the machine. The screen sits just above the catch and is easy to see. You don’t have to lean down to grab the handle nor tilt your neck up to look at the screen.

Seat

CityRow GO Max Rower Seat 2021

The CityRow Go Max seat is ergonomically designed with contoured areas for your legs and tail bone. I found it to be more cushioned than the Concept2 rower, so my glutes didn’t get as sore on this seat. Since users lean back through the drive and finish, the scooped out back section on the seat reduces the likelihood of your tailbone rubbing on the saddle. The seat slides gently along the aluminum monorail. As mentioned, the seat is only 10” off the floor, which is a bit lower than comparable rowers.

Resistance

Water-resistance is preferred by rowing purists who appreciate the actual feel of water. However, there are no preset “resistance” levels because the resistance is modified based on the strength of each pull and how much water is in the tank. As you pull harder, water is churned through the tank to match your strength. This makes the resistance perfect for each user. Stronger users can pull with more force, creating more movement in the water; while novice users may pull more gently, only generating minimal water movement. The nature of the water moving and the noise it creates are the main reasons rowing enthusiasts prefer water rowers. The sound is actually quite soothing and is not overly loud or disruptive to those around you.

Console/Controls

CityRow GO Max Rower Touch Screen 2021

Touchscreen

The CityRow Go Max has a 19.5” touchscreen attached to the front end. I appreciate the placement of the screen just above the catch – it is easy to see. You don’t have to look down at any point during the drive which allows for good rowing form while you watch the screen.

You cannot access external apps or use the web on the Go Max touchscreen. It is designed to showcase the CityRow app content only. Also, the screen doesn’t have much functionality at all if you don’t subscribe to the CityRow content. The main screen just brings up a prompt to log in. If you don’t have an account, the screen doesn’t provide rowing metrics or any other information.

The screen is Bluetooth compatible, so you can easily sync with headphones or a chest strap.

CityRow Subscription Content Review

The Go Max has a lovely touch screen attached just above the catch which is easy to see and use. Subscription content includes professional rowing instructors who guide you through various in-studio workouts.

I found the workouts to be pretty good. The instructors are engaging and cue proper rowing form. But, honestly, the background feels like a 1980’s aerobics studio. The lighting isn’t great and I feel like CityRow missed an opportunity to provide some outdoor water rowing sessions. Because the rower itself is so sleek and eye-catching, I expected the programming to match. A few outdoor sessions would provide a nice complement to the feel and sound of the water moving through the tank.

The user interface is easy to use with several filters and training options.

The Home Screen Displays:

  • Recent workouts including both classes and just row sessions
  • Badges earned such as workouts, distance, power, and challenges
  • Total row metrics based on: Duration, Workouts, Meters
  • Personal Records for: Distance, Split Time, Power
  • Control Panel to jump to: Home Screen, Classes, Track, Just Row

Classes can be filtered by:

  • Type: HIIT, Endurance, Strength, Yoga, Mobility
  • Duration: 20 min, 30min, 50min
  • Equipment used: weights, rower, none
  • Experience level: Beginner, Advanced
  • Challenges: Masters, New Years, Beginners, Fall/Spring/Summer Challenges

There is also a Just Row option with the following metrics:

  • Duration
  • Stroke Rate
  • Intensity
  • Split Time
  • Watt Power
  • Total Meters

Other features:

  • Volume settings
    • Thankfully the speakers are on the front of the screen. You can adjust overall volume up or down via buttons on the right edge of the screen.
  • Bluetooth Compatible:
    • Syncs with headphones and heart rate devices

Noise Level

CityRow GO Max Rower Water Tank 2021

This is probably my favorite rower when it comes to noise output. While magnetic rowers are also quiet, the CityRow makes the soothing whoosh of water as it is churned through the tank. It is not a loud or disruptive sound and I enjoy the sound while I row. Compared to the noise generated by an air rower this is virtually silent, so we find this to be a great option for those who are concerned about noise output.

Storage / Folding

CityRow GO Max Folding Rower 2021

The CityRow folds up and can be stored horizontally or vertically. For safety, we recommend securing it if it is stored vertically. While the tank holds quite a bit of water, it is surprisingly simple to move. Just lift the back of the rail and the weight at the front makes it engage with the wheels so you can roll it out of the way when needed. However, it can be easily tipped when lifted vertically, so be aware if you plan to store it this way.

When considering where to place your CityRow, make sure you have enough space to the sides and rear of the rower since you lean back through the drive and finish. Do not place the rear of the rower directly in front of a wall, as you will need at least two feet of clearance behind the CityRow. Also, some off-rower classes may require space around the rower, so more area may be needed depending on your planned usage.

CityRow Go Max Rower review

Bottom Line Review: CityRow Go Max

Rowing engages more than 80% of the muscles in your body. This low-impact sport works the legs, glutes, core, and arms for a full-body workout that facilitates both cardiovascular conditioning and enhances muscular strength. The goal of the CityRow Go Max is to make the sport of rowing more accessible so regular people can enjoy this exercise in their own homes. CityRow’s library of classes features introductory practice rows that then lead into longer sessions.

I’m impressed with both the feel and functionality of the CityRow Go Max. A subscription for the CityRow app runs you $29/month and the rower itself is priced just over $2000, so this is a bit of an investment. But the chic design, quiet rowing noise, and comfortable feel combine to make this an excellent option for an in-home rowing session. The subscription content is good, but not great and I’d love to see CityRow add some outdoor water rowing sessions. However, the rower itself is impressive and if you enjoy water rowing, this simulates rowing outdoors with minimal noise output and a smooth feel.

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