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Proteus PAR-5500 Review

Proteus PAR-5500 Commercial Club Series Rowing Machine Review

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When rowing enthusiasts are looking to purchase a rowing machine, many opt for the timeless Concept 2. However, there are many other high quality rowers on the market, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, that can rival, and perhaps even beat the Concept 2, such as the Proteus PAR-5500 or the H2O Fitness Seattle WRX-1000.

Should you follow the crowd and purchase a machine that everyone else seems to be buying? Or should you opt for a model produced by HCI Fitness? Does the Par-5500 even deserve to be in the same category as the Concept?

Genuine Rowing Experience

The air and magnetic resistance system works in combination to provide users with a lifelike rowing experience. The air resistance does a commendable job of providing an “on the water” feel, and the linear magnetic system excels at providing the strength and smoothness that is commonly associated with high-end gym machines.


In direct contrast to the much cheaper HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull, the Proteus PAR-5500 comes equipped with 15 preset workout programs, which include a watt control program, 4 heart-rate controlled programs, 4 custom user controlled programs and 6 pre-programmed workouts. 16 levels of resistance are also included.

Both of these elements excel at keeping your workout both varied and fun, and work in line with your fitness goals.


The seat on the Proteus PAR-5500 has been ergonomically designed to provide a high level of comfort. However, the real talking point is the inclusion of the unique seat rollers which are located on the underside of the seat rail. These not only do a good job of helping the seat glide smoothly with each stroke, but also prevent dust and dirt from accumulating on the rail.

The pivoting foot pedals come with five adjustable levels, meaning that you are likely to find a rowing position that works for you.

We felt that the built-in cooling fan was a nice touch, as it delivers a stream of cool air when you need it the most during a tough workout to help you stay motivated. In addition, transport wheels and the commercial aircraft grade aluminum folding frame makes storing the unit an easy process


The LCD display tracks everything you would expect from a high-end rower, including calories burned, heart rate, distance, watts, strokes per minute, total strokes, time and 500m split time. There is nothing particularly special about the display, except that it is oversized and easy-to-read.


The Proteus PAR-5500 comes with a lifetime frame and 4 year parts warranty.


96 x 31 by 19 inches

100 pounds

User Reviews

The Par-5500 has received favorable reviews and seems to be quite well liked by consumers, with special mention going to the range of workout programs, and the comfortable and lifelike rowing motion.

Click here to read more pros and cons >>> Proteus PAR-5500 Reviews

Any Complaints?

There isn’t a whole lot to complain about. If we were being fussy we would say that it’d be hard to justify paying the retail price ($1,500), but at $1,000 it is worth the investment.

Anything Else You Should Know?

There isn’t much to add. All you need to know is that this is a well-constructed piece of equipment that includes a smooth mechanical operation and a lifelike rowing experience – something that you would expect from a high-end rower. There are many other excellent rowers on the market, meaning that whether you decide to opt for the Proteus PAR-5500 or another brand, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be disappointed, as it all comes down to your personal preferences. However, we will say this – the PAR-5500 certainly deserves to be regarded as highly as the Concept 2.

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