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Schwinn crewmaster rower Review

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Schwinn Crewmaster
Schwinn Crewmaster
Schwinn Crewmaster
Start Rowing Score

Schwinn is a name that is normally associated with excellence in cycle manufacture. The Schwinn product range, though, extends to the rowing machine market, with the Crewmaster being their primary offering. This is a mid-priced magnetic resistance rower that delivers performance and comfort levels that are above its price range. There are, however, some drawbacks that could be deal-breakers. Read on to see if the Crewmaster stacks up.

Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

Pros
  • Smooth magnetic resistance
  • Quiet operation
  • 10 levels of resistance
  • Solid Frame
  • 300 lb max user weight
Cons
  • Basic monitor
  • Handle strap inserts low into the motor housing
  • Low seat position
  • No pre-set programs

This is our review of the Schwinn Crewmaster Rower.

I’ve put the Schwinn Crewmaster through its paces to get a complete picture of what this machine offers. I’ve also spent several hours researching the Crewmaster online, including reading through dozens of reviews from verified purchasers of this rowing machine. 

Synthesizing all of that information through my four decades of experience buying, using, and recommending rowing machines as both a gym owner and personal trainer, I’ve put together a comprehensive review of the Schwinn Crewmaster.

I found the Schwinn Crewmaster to offer a smooth, reliable, and quiet rowing experience. This magnetic rower provides 10 levels of resistance with seamless transitions between each level. However, the monitor is pretty basic and there are no in-built workout programs. It’s also quite a heavy machine, though it does fold for storage. 

Schwinn sells the Crewmaster at a sharp price, making it an attractive offer if you’re after a quality magnetic rower that’s durable and reliable.

In the paragraphs to follow, I’ll take you under the hood of the Schwinn Crewmaster to drill down on the features and benefits that it offers as well as what’s not so good. I’ll also compare the Crewmaster with some popular competitors and spell out just who the Schwinn Crewmaster is and is not suited for.

Schwinn Crewmaster Rower

Schwinn Crewmaster rower build quality

The Schwinn Crewmaster is the only rowing machine put out by Schwinn, a well-established and respected fitness company, that is most associated with cycles. This rower replaces the previous model, which was known as the Windrigger. The Crewmaster is a magnetic resistance rowing machine that uses a flywheel and magnet to provide the resistance. Unlike air and water rowers, where the variable resistance is determined by your speed of row, you can set your resistance level on this machine.

The Crewmaster provides a good quality rowing experience. It is powered by a 9 lb flywheel, which is enough to deliver a smooth, jerk-free motion. The 10 levels of magnetic resistance provide plenty of training intensity options to meet the needs of user levels. A plus with this machine is how quiet it is to operate. There is virtually no noise at all when you’re rowing, making it ideal for those living in apartments. 

The monitor on the Schwinn Crewmaster is basic, providing you with a readout of your training data and little else. It is not backlit and there are no built-in programs. So, if you’re after an interactive rowing experience, then this isn’t the rower for you. 

Functionality And Design

The Schwinn Crewmaster sits in the mid-range between a budget and a top-tier rowing machine. As a customer, you expect a rower in this price range to be stronger and more durable than the budget offerings while not quite as robust as the high-end models. Schwinn has met that expectation by investing in a solid steel frame that ensures that you are securely grounded. You won’t experience any lateral movement when you’re pushing your limits on this machine.

The steel rail of the Crewmaster sits on top of a support rail that adds to the strength of the machine, giving a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. The seat rail and footplates are also made of steel. The housing that covers the flywheel is made of durable plastic. 

The strap that connects the handles to the flywheel is made from thick nylon, providing a smooth quiet operation. The seat on this Schwinn Crewmaster is quite large, measuring 12” x 15”, and is ergonomically designed to accommodate the tailbone. The level of comfort is about what you’d expect. 

Schwinn Crewmaster seat

User reviews mention that the seat offers a good level of comfort on long rows. However, a few people did say that the low seat height (12 inches from the floor) did make it a bit tricky to get down into the seat. 

Schwinn has invested in high-quality bearings and a rail slide mechanism to provide a smooth glide up and down the rail.

The footrests on this rower are oversized, allowing for a range of foot placement options. The steel footplates are fitted with a plastic cup that can be adjusted to provide a secure fit. There is also a velcro strap-in system to get you securely locked in. The footrests do not pivot, which is something I personally like, as it allows for a more secure food position to drive from.

The handle of the Crewmaster is medium length and has a slight curve to allow for a natural grip angle. The handle is covered with sweat and odor-resistant foam.

One design feature which may negatively impact taller rowers is that the handle strap emerges from the flywheel housing at a lower point than you find on most rowing machines. As a result, taller users may find themselves rounding their back at the start of the drive and the end of the return. 

The Schwinn Crewmaster is an attractive-looking rowing machine. The frame, footrests, and front stabilizing bar are finished in a dark gray, with the seat rail being finished in a contrasting lighter shade of gray. The paint is both corrosion and abrasion-resistant. 

Features and Benefits

Let’s dig down on the features of the Schwinn Crewmaster rower to see if it’s the right machine for you.

Resistance

The Schwinn Crewmaster is a magnetic rowing machine that makes use of a flywheel and magnetic system to provide 10 levels of adjustable resistance. As you adjust the centrally located dial, the magnets located on either side of the flywheel move further to or closer away from the flywheel. 

The Crewmaster is fitted with a 9 lb flywheel that is perimeter weighted so that it is heavier towards its outer edges. That is a decently weighted flywheel for this price range of rower, providing a smooth resistance that is free of the stuttery motion that you get with lighter flywheels. 

This rowing machine is quiet and reliable. The seat rail allows for a complete range of motion and there is no lag on the return. The handle strap does enter the motor housing a little lower than standard, which may cause taller users to round their back excessively. 

Monitor

The monitor on the Crewmaster sits on the end of an adjustable arm so that you can move it to the ideal viewing position while rowing. The monitor, however, is very basic. You will find just 3 buttons on it:

Schwinn Crewmaster monitor
  • Set
  • Reset
  • Mode

It will provide you with a readout of your basic training diagnostics, including your training time, count, distance, stroke, calories, and recovery. There is provision for a pulse readout but you will need to purchase a heart strap monitor to make use of it. 

The digits are pretty easy to see when you’re rowing. However, this monitor is not backlit. There are also no inbuilt workout programs with this rowing machine. 

Storage

The Schwinn Crewmaster is a foldable machine, making it ideal for people living in small apartments and other restricted living spaces. To fold the machine you simply slide the seat forward to access a locking pin located under the rail. Release the locking pin to fold the seat rail up until you hear the pin lock back into place. The rail will now be in a vertically upright position. 

The rowing machine has transportation wheels so that you can easily wheel it to and from its storage location. It will fit into any normal-sized cupboard. When folded up the dimensions of this rower are 93.1” L x 21.1” W x 31.7” H

The Crewmaster weighs in at 75lbs, which is pretty heavy for a rowing machine. However. The ability to fold the machine combined with the transport wheels should minimize the need to actually lift the machine. 

Height & Weight Capacity

The maximum user weight of the Schwinn Crewmaster is 300 lbs, which is a good number for a rowing machine in its price range. The solid frame of the machine provides a secure hold and ensures durability. 

This rower is suitable for people who are up to about 6’5” in height. Tall people may want to remove the rubber stopper on the end of the seat rail. This will provide an extra couple of inches of movement. 

Technical Specifications

Schwinn Crewmaster RowerSpecs
Height7.8”
Width11”
Length56.5”
Item weight75 lbs
Max user weight300 lbs
ResistanceMagnetic (10 levels)
Flywheel9 lbs (perimeter weighted)
Stored dimensions93.1” L x 21.1” W x 31.7” H
Assembled dimensions93.1L x 21.1W x 37.1H inches (236.5L x 53.5W x 80.5H cm)
Exercise meterTime, count, total count, distance, calories, RPM, heart rate
WarrantyFrame 10 years / Parts 3 years / Labor 1 year
YouTube video

Setup Process

You should be able to assemble your Schwinn Crewmster in under 120 minutes, though you’ll probably want to have a buddy to help with the job. Be aware that your purchase will be delivered in two separate boxes. 

If you only get one, wait for the second to arrive before trying to put it together. The instructions that come with the machine are easy to follow. You also get all the tools that you’ll need to complete the assembly.

Price and Value

The Schwinn Crewmaster fills the need for a high-quality magnetic rowing machine that sits in the mid-budget range of around $500. Lower-priced magnetic rowers tend to use a flywheel that is too light, making the machine prone to jerkiness and lagging on the return. 

The Crewmaster provides a great rowing experience with plenty of intensity adjustment potential and comes with a very good warranty cover. The trade-off is that the monitor is basic, yet still functional. 

If you’re after a quality rowing experience and don’t need built-in programs or a high spec display, then the Schwinn Crewmaster will represent very good value for you. 

Warranty

Schwinn has an excellent reputation for standing behind its products and the Crewmaster is great evidence of this. Here’s what they offer in terms of warranty cover …

  • Frame: 10-Years
  • Mechanical Parts: 3-Years
  • Electronic Parts: 3-Years
  • Wear Parts (Seat assembly with rollers, seat rollers, footplate pads, footplate straps, pull handle): 6-Months
  • Labor: 1-Year

That is one of the best warranties I’ve seen on a mid-priced rowing machine, so big props to Schwinn on that score. 

Alternatives

Let’s now put the Schwinn Crewmaster up against two competitors, the Echanfit Magnetic Rower, and the Concept 2 RowErg.

1
ECHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Long rail
  • 16 resistance levels
  • Max user weight 265 lbs
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The Echanfit Magnetic Rowing Machine sits a couple of hundred dollars lower on the price range than the Schwinn Crewmaster. At first glance, however, it appears to be quite comparable. The Echanfit is a stylish-looking machine that provides 16 levels of magnetic resistance, compared to the 10 you get with the Crewmaster. The rowing action is almost as quiet as on the Crewmaster and the seat sits low just as it does with the Schwinn rower. 

When you drill down on the details, however, you begin to notice why the Schwinn Crewmasster costs more money. The flywheel on the Echannfit is considerably lighter than on the Crewmaster. As a result, the rowing action is not as smooth. At higher intensities, you may experience some jerkiness in the action, both on the draw and the return. The max user weight on the Echanfit is also 35 pounds less than on the Crewmaster, attesting to the fact that the frame is not as solid.

A potential deal-breaker for taller rowers with the Echanfit could be the positioning of the foot pedals. Unlike most rowers, they are positioned a few inches in front of the handles, rather than alongside them. This could result in an excessive forward lean while rowing for some people. 

The monitor on the Echanfit is just as basic as the one on the Crewmaster.

In terms of performance, durability, and design, the Schwinn Crewmaster wins out over the Echanfit Rower.

2
Concept2 RowERG
  • Very durable
  • Low profile
  • Air damper
  • PM5 technology-enhanced monitor
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The Concept 2 RowErg is the most popular rowing machine on the planet, having maintained that distinction for over a decade. It is an air resistance rower so does compare directly to the magnetic resistance Schwinn Crewmaster. It is also several hundred dollars more expensive than the Crewmaster.

The Concept 2 is a variable resistance rowing machine where your resistance level is determined by the speed of your rowing action. That means that there is no limit to the intensity potential – the faster you go, the harder it becomes. It is also faster to change between resistance levels on the Concept 2, which makes it ideal for HIIT workouts

The monitor on the Concept 2 blows the Crewmaster out of the water. Concept 2 uses the PM5 Performance monitor which features a pulse meter, and displays strokes per minute, heart rate, calories burned, and calories burned. It also has a ‘just row’ button to get started immediately.

The Concept II RowErg has a high-quality frame that is extremely durable. The rowing experience is top-notch, providing a smooth drive and natural return that is generally considered the best in the business. It’s a little noisier than the Schwinn Crewmaster but still pretty quiet for an air rower.

In a head-to-head match-up, the Concept II beats out the Schwinn Crewmaster on all fronts. 

Should you Buy The Schwinn Crewmaster Rower?

The Schwinn Crewmaster is a quality magnetic rower that provides greater functionality, durability, and comfort than budget magnetic rowers with the high price tag of the market leaders. 

The Schwinn Crewmaster Rower is for you if:

  •  You want to be able to control resistance adjustment
  •  You prefer magnetic to air resistance
  •  You aren’t wanting an interactive monitor experience

The Schwinn Crewmaster Rower is not for you if:

  •  You want built-in programs and games
  •  You prefer air resistance to magnetic
  • You are taller than 6’5”

Final Thoughts

The Schwinn Crewmaster magnetic rowing machine delivers a lot of grunt for its mid-budget price point. I was impressed with the smooth rowing action, the full range of movement I could achieve at 6’1” tall, and the quiet operation. This is one of the best value-for-money magnetic rowers that I’ve seen in some time. So long as a high spec interactive monitor is not a requirement for you, this is a rower that should definitely be on your radar.

Check out the best price and user reviews on the Schwinn Crewmaster. You can also check out our list of the best rowing machines available. 

Schwinn Crewmaster
Schwinn Crewmaster
Schwinn Crewmaster
Start Rowing Score

Schwinn is a name that is normally associated with excellence in cycle manufacture. The Schwinn product range, though, extends to the rowing machine market, with the Crewmaster being their primary offering. This is a mid-priced magnetic resistance rower that delivers performance and comfort levels that are above its price range. There are, however, some drawbacks that could be deal-breakers. Read on to see if the Crewmaster stacks up.

Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.
Schwinn Crewmaster

Schwinn is a name that is normally associated with excellence in cycle manufacture. The Schwinn product range, though, extends to the rowing machine market, with the Crewmaster being their primary offering. This is a mid-priced magnetic resistance rower that delivers performance and comfort levels that are above its price range. There are, however, some drawbacks that could be deal-breakers.

Product Brand: Schwinn

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 499.00

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.5

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Steve Burden

AUTHOR

Steve is a Fitness Writer and Personal Trainer with over a decade of experience in the industry. As a semi-retired professional wrestler and fitness model, he's traveled the world expanding his knowledge on all things fitness.