First Degree Fitness Viking II Rower Review

Are you serious about your home rowing workouts and looking for a new machine that can replicate being out on the open waters? May we present to you the First Degree Fitness Viking II Indoor Rower, one of the brand’s high-end home water rowing machines.

The appearance of the Viking II is incredibly unique as it is built with a combination of alloy steel parts on a solid ash wood frame. The result is a modernized and innovative design that will help you match it with any sort of decor you may have in your home! The maximum suggested weight capacity for users of the Viking II is an impressive 300 lbs, which means users of all shapes and sizes can enjoy the smooth workout experience.

Like with most water rowing machines, the Viking II does not fold up, so if you need to store it after use it will have to be in a vertical position. While it is not ideal for smaller living spaces, the vertical storage position only takes up an area of 21.65” x 21.25” so it likely won’t take up too much room.

In comparison to the upright storage dimensions, the active use dimensions of the Viking II home rower measure out to be 84” L x 22” H x 21.25” W. This means users will likely need to clear at least seven feet of space to safely use the Viking II rower to its full capacity.

The First Degree Fitness Viking II weighs in at about 72 lbs with an empty water tank, and obviously more when you begin to add water. The water tank itself holds up to 17L of water and incorporates First Degree Fitness’ patented FluidRower technology which allows users to change the resistance levels at the flip of a switch, even in the middle of a workout! As with most home water rowers, the Viking II can get fairly heavy with a full tank of water, so luckily for users, First Degree Fitness installed transport wheels to make moving the home rowing machine from room to room a simple task.

Back to that FluidRower technology, which gives users complete control over the water resistance levels, something that definitely does not come standard on all indoor water rowers. The TwinTank technology holds water in two different holding tanks: one for passive holding, and one for the active resistance.

The FluidRower system allows users to flip a switch and transfer water between the two tanks to gain the desired resistance levels. Like with many of the First Degree Fitness home rowing machines, the Viking II is equipped with the maintenance-free durable belt drive which allows for a smooth and quieter workout, as well as machine longevity. While it will be difficult to find a water rower that is as quiet as a magnetic resistance rower, the most sound the Viking II will make as you row is the peaceful sound of the water sloshing in the tanks.

The First Degree Fitness Viking II provides users with a higher quality monitor than the comparable Apollo II rower within its own product line. The Viking II comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity as well as Polar heart-rate sensor compatibility, so that users can track and integrate their workouts with fitness apps.

While the monitor is still quite basic compared to other higher end connected fitness machines, it still provides users with the ability to track the time, wattage, distance, strokes per minute, and calories burned. Syncing with an app is about as far as you will get with the Bluetooth though, as unlike other connected machines, the Viking II does not provide an extra screen for entertainment purposes.

Similar to most home water rower machines, the assembly is straightforward and tools, parts, and clear instructions are included in the Viking II box. As is standard across the home water rower industry, First Degree Fitness ships the Viking II in two different boxes: one for the frame and parts, and one for the water tank, so make sure you get both boxes before trying to put the machine together.

As mentioned earlier, the belt-drive is near maintenance-free which is definitely a positive for the Viking II. Users may want to get a cover for the Viking II if they have pets, as the solid wood frame acts as an attractive scratching post for sharpening claws! Other than that, a water cleaning tablet to prevent grime can be dropped into the water tank every few months to maintain a clean environment.

First Degree Fitness does not regularly sell direct to consumers so users are better off heading to a site like Amazon to fulfill their order. Shipping rates and times may depend on your location, so make sure you check over your Amazon order before hitting the purchase button!

Perhaps most importantly, the First Degree Fitness Viking II comes with a fairly steep price tag, although for the home water rower industry it is about average. At roughly $1,600 depending on which site you shop on, the Viking II comes in on the higher end of the price scale.

But what you get is a well-made product with high quality parts and materials, from a trusted brand name in the home fitness machine industry. According to the First Degree Fitness website, the warranty on the Viking II gives users 5-years for the frame, 5-years for the water tank and seals, 2-years for the mechanical components, and 1-year on all other components.

First Degree Fitness Viking II Indoor Rower Pros:

  • Sleek and innovative design that First Degree Fitness is known for
  • Maintenance-free belt drive makes for a smooth and quiet workout
  • FluidRower technology allows users to choose which resistance levels they want
  • Bluetooth connectivity for the monitor
  • Polar heart-rate sensor compatible
  • Easy assembly and maintenance
  • Triple-bladed impeller means no dead spots in your rowing motion
  • Height adjustable footplates and straps
  • Vertical storage is not too cumbersome
  • Transport wheels allow for easy movement of the machine
  • Good maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs
  • Decent warranty

First Degree Fitness Viking II Indoor Rower Cons:

  • Steep price tag for an indoor water rowing machine
  • Large footprint and non-foldable frame
  • Only five levels of resistance
  • Limited technology despite Bluetooth connectivity

First Degree Viking II Final Verdict

The First Degree Fitness Viking II has the unique and innovative look that the company is known for with solid American ash and steel blended together perfectly. The machine itself operates smoothly, using First Degree Fitness’ patented FluidRower technology which allocates water to either a passive or active resistance tank so that users can have control over their rowing resistance.

The monitor is a step up from other First Degree Fitness models but still comes up a bit short compared to other high-end connected fitness machines. If technology and resistance control are not completely necessary for you, then considering a home rower like the Mr. Captain water rower is a viable option at nearly $1,000 cheaper.

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.