Ape Style WR-7 water rower review

MightyApe’s Ape Style WR-7 Foldable Wooden Water Resistance Rowing Machine (WR-7) is an affordable and functional choice for fitness enthusiasts.

While it doesn’t have the advanced features of more expensive rowing machines, if you’re looking for something basic to give you a hard workout, it’s very good. The display shows everything you need to know about your workout, it can handle lengthy exercise routines and it looks great.

There are some minor issues with the folding capabilities and the foot straps, and building the machine can be tricky but overall, it’s well-worth the low price.


  • Great price
  • Nice looking wooden finish
  • Foldable (only for storage)
  • Sturdy and strong


  • Foot straps are hard to secure
  • Have to empty the water when folding
  • Can be a bit tricky to build

Ape Style WR-7: Video review


The WR-7 costs $759, or $709 if you’re a Primate member. This is on the lower end for rowing machines, more in line with the $660 ProForm Sport RL than the $2,699 Concept2 or the $2,595 WaterRower.

Frustratingly, as I’m not a Primate member, I had to pay an extra $50 for shipping, and even though I live in Auckland, where MightyApe has its warehouse, there wasn’t an option to pick up the rowing machine. So, I ended up paying $809 for it.

The shipping times were very good. I expected this to come from overseas and take a few weeks to arrive, but it was at my doorstep within two to three days of ordering it.


I am not an expert builder; however, I have made a few “self-builds” before. Overall, I didn’t find building the WR-7 difficult; but the instructions are very poor.

Only five steps are provided, and they offer very little detail. It took me 1.5 hours to build the WR-7, and a significant amount of that time was spent staring at the instructions, puzzled. For someone with a bit more nous, I imagine it will be quicker and easier for them; however, if you lack experience doing this sort of thing, you may struggle. I often found myself relying on my previous experience to figure out where screws and components were supposed to go.

I didn’t require any of my own tools; they all came in the box, and there are plenty of extras in case you lose some small parts. Some parts of the machine were a little off measure, so it did take some effort to bang and screw things in. But overall, it wasn’t too bad. I bought the machine expecting these sorts of issues as it always seems to be the case with self-builds.

Ape Style WR-7 water rower review

Adding/Removing Water

The way the instructions say to add water to the machine is very slow. There’s a pump that comes in the box which would have taken me hours to get it to the level where I needed it to be. A bucket and a funnel were much quicker and easier.

Fortunately, the pump is good for taking water out. You can easily get the water level where you need; it just takes a little testing.

The instructions include a guide on ensuring the water stays “ok”. I haven’t had to do this yet, but you can drain the water out and refill it easily if you need to as well.

Ape Style WR-7 water rower review


Once built, the WR-7 looks great. I like the wood finish, and I haven’t noticed many areas where it doesn’t feel sturdy or well-built. For $800, I was impressed.

It’s obvious that this is a copy of the popular S4 WaterRower; the design is almost identical. But that’s a good thing. It’s functional; the seat glides back and forth smoothly, and, most importantly, it produces a good workout. The band for pulling feels premium and strong and it’s easy to increase and reduce resistance in the water tank.

It does creak a bit but that’s mainly due to the wood finish. The one area that needs work is the foot straps. On the positive side, these can be easily adjusted to accommodate different shoe sizes; however, for me, the left foot holder was disfigured, and it was difficult to fit my foot in there. Another frustration is the straps tend to loosen when rowing, meaning my foot doesn’t feel securely locked in, and often, I found myself pulling the sole of my feet off the board instead of them being held there.

But overall, it’s a decent rower that allows for hard, fast workouts. It has a capacity of 150kg, so it should accommodate most people.

Ape Style WR-7 water rower review


This is a barebones rowing machine; it doesn’t have many advanced features like a smart screen where you can watch workouts or speakers built-in, but for someone like me who isn’t an elite rower and just wants another way to stay fit without spending upwards of $2,000, it’s perfect.

The screen could do with being a bit brighter; however, all the information I wanted was available. You can see stroke rate, time of the workout, how far you’ve rowed, calories burned, and more. There are also options to change the mode to a timed workout, so instead of the timer simply going up when you’re rowing, it counts down from three minutes.

The stroke rate feels accurate. If I pulled harder and go faster, it goes up; if I slow down and reduce power, it goes down. Rowing alongside a guided workout on YouTube, it felt accurate and responsive. I could easily change my stroke rate where needed.

One thing I would’ve liked is for the timer to keep going when I stop rowing. If I’m doing HIIT intervals, I like to keep track of my rest time; however, the timer stops whenever I stop, which is a shame.

Ape Style WR-7 water rower review


MightyApe’s WR-7 Foldable Wooden Water Resistance Rowing Machine is a good choice for those looking for an affordable, functional rower. At $759, it’s much cheaper than high-end models.

Setting it up is a bit of a hassle. The instructions are too basic, making assembly longer than necessary, especially for those not used to DIY projects. However, it’s doable, and all necessary tools are included.

In terms of use, the WR-7 performs well. It’s sturdy, has a nice wood finish, and provides a solid workout experience, though it does have some minor issues like creaking and inconvenient foot straps.

Feature-wise, it’s basic but sufficient. The screen shows all essential data but could be brighter. It lacks fancy extras like a smart screen or built-in speakers, but it’s perfect for those who just want a simple, effective rower.

Overall, the WR-7 is a decent, budget-friendly option for everyday fitness enthusiasts.