See Products from KayakPro in the Buyers' Guide!
|KayakPro in the Buyers' Guide:|
• Multistroke Ergometer
• Speedstroke Gym
I bought the Speedstroke without having ever been on an ERG, based on the recommendation of some close friends who use it extensively. Upon unpacking it I knew immediately this was a top notch piece of equipment. It was a joy to put together and I actually let me six year old son do most of the work. (I can say this about anything else I've ever had to assemble).
The attention to detail is impeccable and you immediately feel the passion and dedication that Grayson and team put into designing and building this product.
I've only paddled it for a week, but I am so excited about the potential. I have a surfski business in Northern Michigan and the Speedstroke is not only going to allow me to train much more frequently through the winter (and probably even in the summer when time is limited), but I believe this will be a phenomenal tool for doing technique lessons with my customers.
There is no doubt it will last forever and I am absolutely thrilled with the purchase. Money extremely well spent!!!
I use the Speed Stroke all year, doing about 4 to 6 hours per week during the winter and 2-4 hours per week during the summer to supplement my on the water training. With all of that use I have not had change the ropes or bungee cord yet even though the machine comes with an extra set.
I am generally a cheap person and don't like to shell out a lot of cash for anything but this machine is a great value.
The latest this winter was to order a rowing ergometer. Tough as it was (sticker shock) compared to my Concept2 Erg I bough a VASA and gave it a try thinking I would use the variable possibilities of the machine. I quickly realized that Kayaking only was my best option and returned it for a dedicated machine I though would be better for what I needed. As soon as I shipped the VASA I ordered a KAYAKPRO SpeedStroke, immediately listed and sold my Concept2 Ergometer before the erg arrived, and waited only 2 day and a couple of hrs to set up - and I was in heaven! I quickly realized the SpeedStroke had excellent visibility of the display (no reflections, time for distance was very accurate, the kayak handle was sturdy and light (I cut off the rubber grips that caused 2 Blisters I never had before kayaking), and the mirror I added to my wall allowed me to really see my form and improve my stroke immediately(that was from Lowes).
The SpeedStroke is smooth, quiet and though I paid a heck of a lot in shipping in this exchange, was the right move for me. My first day on the water in my Huki surfski this year (Sunday) (I'm still a newbee) was a HUGE change. I could tell immediately that I was .5MPH faster than last fall and I felt MUCH more comfortable in all aspects of my stroke and balance. I use the SpeedStroke every AM and though I sometimes dread the 0430 alarm, once I start rowing (B52's help) I don't stop till I'm done (10k) and am at work by 0700. I did learned one huge lesson from both machines - NEVER wear rowing shorts with a center seam - NEVER! Some will know what I mean.
Only complaint is that Concept2 has the ability to record data on a card and read it on your computer - everyone should have that. Otherwise I'm a convert! I've never had a better workout and have been doing this for 56 years. OK - I never trained in HS, College Rowing was fun and I had a few lapses. All is forgiven and I'm looking forward to 0430. Soon I'll be 0430 and the real kayaks(s) - after work.
Echoing the experience of others the accessibility of Grayson and Steve Tingay is amazing - they respond to e-mails quickly and have no problem if you call with questions/concerns etc. I ended up calling Grayson on the eve of his departure to British indoor championships while he was in New York. Can't think of many (any?) other owners that will do that. Gray was great in answering any concerns I had without hyping or trying sell me.
So I took the plunge - everything from purchase to delivery went amazingly smoothly - they shipped to Canada - and took care of all customs/duties etc. One day (not long after ordering) two packages arrived. Putting it together (one of my concerns) was easy -instructions are good and easy to follow.
The Speedstroke is solidly built and well engineered - everything fit exactly as it was supposed to. Also it was great to get everything I needed (wires, connectors etc) should I wish to eventually upgrade to the i-race etc; there was even a spare bungee and rope(it'll be awhile before I wear out the one it comes with but nice to have the back-up). The paddling is very smooth and quite realistic - or at least I believe it to be; it is not hard for me to close my eyes and imagine pulling through a swell.
So why buy the ergometer?? Well, my winters are definitely not paddling times (an occasional day but far and few in between) and even in season there are times that being on water is not feasible. So I wanted some way of maintaining any hard gained stroke improvements through the inactive times, plus the overall fitness value of being able to "paddle" as realistically as possible without being on the water.
As noted, dealing with Kayakpro (Gray and Steve) is a pleasure and the machine is excellent... the one downside is price. But I've considered that as well - the price is very commensurate with quality - it is excellent value for many. That's the immediately tangible - the other perhaps more intangible is that it is an investment. It's an investment in the sport I enjoy and hope to continue for as many years as I have and it's an investment in my health....looked at in that light, the cost is a small price to pay.
I would and will encourage any of my friends and any of you out there to certainly consider Speedstroke - come to your own conclusions - but I don't believe you can do better than Kayakpro.
Thank you Grayson and Steve.
I found it straightforward to assemble.
Using the machine is amazing. I find that I am getting better cardiovascular workouts than anything else I've ever tried. I've found that both my technique and strength are improving (in addition to my cardio fitness level). The built-in HR monitor receiver & display is a nice touch. The console display is simple and useful.
I had a slight problem with the original console -- it had some kind of partial short that drained the batteries quickly. Once I informed the company, they immediately sent a replacement.
The customer service has been completely above reproach. This thing appears built to last forever.
I haven't used any other kayak ergometers, but I did notice that this one is longer than any others generally available (e.g., the PaddleOne K, the Vasa Kayak Ergometer, the WEBA Sport Kayak Ergometer, the Vermont Waterways Kayak Adapter to the Concept 2 Indoor Rower). I'm told by those who appear to know that it is vitally important that the rope go to as forward a point as possible -- otherwise, the catch (and/or the return) is quite a bit different on the erg than on the water.
My only real complaint about the GYM is that the footplate kind of hurts my heel while paddling. It isn't really too bad -- I've kind of gotten used to it. But this is one of the VERY few things about this machine that could use improvement, in my opinion.
I have no reservations whatever recommending this machine. The cost may seem a bit high, compared to some others, but if you compare the cost of this to a good surfski, they are about the same. Here in the midwest, you can only use a surfski perhaps seven months a year. For the rest of the year, this thing is going to be keeping you in shape and helping you train for your next in-water session. You might even use it sparingly during the summer (it is much more convenient to get a quick workout in in your basement than to put a rack on the car, load the boat, travel to the put-in, and do the reverse after your paddle).
The Gym is quieter and smoother and the seat now sits higher than the foot rest. The seat is also shaped differently and is more comfortable. The computer is the best improvement with a large readout that shows distance, cadence, time and heart rate. This is an awesome training tool that now can be hooked into the internet for real time racing against anyone else with a Speedstroke Gym that also has the i-race software. Assembly took about 1 hour and everything went together smoothly.
I am very happy with the quality of the Kayak ergometer, but frustrated with the computer technology. I bought it for the whole package. The e-monitor program does give great feedback as you are kayaking. It also communicates well with the machine. All number continue with the exception of the stroke numbers. That will stop at 999, which is fine if you do short intervals or workouts on it. When your done you get all the feedback, which is excellent. However, the fitness log only saves the information on a daily basis. If you want to see how you are progressing, you have to constantly click on each day you worked out. The fitness log is not very usable, so I created my own fitness log on an excel program, so I can see how my numbers are improving from month to month.
Virtu-race - It's a pretty cool program to break up the monopoly of the basement workouts. It's kind of fun to be on a river with ultra rabbits by your side. They do stick with you and paddle slightly in front and behind you. The virtu-race is a little easier that the e-monitor program. Your watts and speeds will be a little faster. We really enjoy the program. It does not come with any fitness log. The feedback that you get at the end is all you get. It seems like they put out a computer program and left out some important aspects. I was looking for the whole package system with quality machine and excellent computer programming.
In all due fairness, I'm into biking and have a virtual biking system. I do both the racermate and realaxiom. The programs are outstanding. Bottomline, I was a little disappointed on the computer programming. However, they were willing to listen to suggestions and make some improvements.
Gray is very good at getting back to you on email and by phone. The overall customer service is great.
I would refer anyone to his kayak ergometer.
Now for the KayakPro Speedstroke Gym itself...WOW!
As an old flatwater kayak racer and now recreational kayaker in Nova Scotia, I was very impressed from the minute we opened the two boxes. My husband, a metallurgical engineer, was not only pleased with the quality of each of the components, but he was very impressed that instead of just giving you a bag of nuts and bolts, that each piece had the nuts and bolts in place so that all you had to do was take them out and attach the pieces and put them back. No mistake as to what goes where or trying to find a missing piece in a bag somewhere! Also, all the tools you need are included (except for a Philips head screwdriver needed to attach the ropes to the handle.) My husband had the Speedstroke together in less than two hours - I supervised and brought tea :)
Now for the best part...it truly is as close to getting on the water as you can get and there is no awkward feeling like being on an exercise machine. In fact, after only one day, my husband and I can already see that we are getting a better workout on the Speedstroke than in our recreational kayaks. Also, from my own perspective of one with a health challenge (MS), the Speedstroke will enable me to not only get a better workout, but will also allow me to easily workout on days that I might not be up to going out on the water and, better yet, it will enable me to workout all-year-round at my favorite sport versus having to find an alternative in the winter months.
We rate both Gray's service and the Speedstroke Gym as a 10++, I guarantee you will not be disappointed if you purchase one!
P.S. Make sure you assemble it where you want to use it as it is long!
The most useful exercise for me is the ability to REALLY fine tune my stroke. I use mirrors and video cameras to look at each aspect and then try to take that stroke out onto the water. I've been so impressed by the SpeedStroke that I just purchased 1 from Gray at KayakPro today. His customer service has been GREAT!
I would recommend this training tool to anyone serious about training and/or racing.
The stroke simulation to a k-1 type boat is quite realistic. There is a lot of adjusting to do for one to get comfortable on the seat. The "knotmeter" will have to be calibrated - there are instructions on the KayakPro website for this.
This is a pretty good way to stay in good paddling shape - or build up the endurance base for next season. I would buy another one if presented again with the decision.
A really great machine, and I can´t believe the similarity of the machine, compared to paddling on water! I am doing the Fish River Canoe Marathon back in SA in a months time with my daughter, thanks to the Speedstroke.
While living in Florida, I was able to trained while hurricanes did not allow me to get on the water; it allowed me to train with a tight schedule (when for 30min did not make any sense to get wet but a great difference at the end of they -even though I used to live right on the water). Nowadays, I moved to the Atlanta area: about 8 miles from Lake Lanier. Without the speedstroke I would be dead with such a cold winter and so far from the water!!!
I truly love it...
It's a great way to refine technique and it also lets you "test" every few weeks to check your progress. I increased my Time Trial output from 54 watts to 70 watts in 8 weeks of Speedstroke training-nearly 50% increased power.
Support from KayakPro has been excellent too.
First of all, you don't have to be a racer or even use a Euro paddle to benefit from the action of this machine. It works perfectly well simulating the greenland forward stroke -- to the point where nuances in the stroke, such as crunching at the end and snapping the paddle out of the water on completion, registers on the computer.
This season I sprung for the add-on software and so far have found it very helpful. The software produces a power curve that allows you to adjust your technique to the type of paddling you do, and even out your strokes. For a greenland paddler, this allows you to play with delivering power at the end of the stroke where the paddle is the most efficient at converting it to forward motion. For Euro users, you get a very vivid depictions of how quickly after the catch you accelerate the paddle and produce power.
As an added benefit it also provides a good platform to do certain stretches that are beneficial but hard to do off the water.
The other reviews were spot on about both the workmanship of the unit and the attitude of the company. This is a very helpful machine, even for non-racers.
A bonus is that more time can be spent training, and not transit to and from the dock and so forth. This is a big plus for me after 4 hours of commuting every day and 10+ hours in the office. Build quality is solid, except for the seat, which I find a bit flimsy. It has not failed. In the interest of disclosure, this paddler is 6'3" and 245 lbs. The speedometer can be calibrated pretty accurately, although this may take some doing.
Again, a really well built erg, with a very positive effect on being able to maintain paddling fitness off season, and develop that elusive foward stroke.
I've not used any other K-1 Machine to compare, but I can say that this speedstroke "feels" very much like paddling a K-1. I think the long length of the bench allows the rope to exit the pulley at very flat angles unlike some other machines that look more like C-1, or rowing machines adapted to a K-1 stroke.
I live in MA and keep it in the garage where it's cool to cold which I find more pleasant than in a warm basement.
I've been using the Speedstroke for one week, 5 sessions (it replaces the real thing while I wait for my new boat).
I must say that I am very happy with it. The machine is extremely well made; assembly was easy due to the excellent fitment of parts. The flywheel requires adjustments due to the magnetic contact for the computer.
Despite its size, the lightweight allows for easy moving around. I leave it close to a wall and slide it when I train to make the required space.
I find it replicates very well the paddling stroke. It promotes good form and technique of the Hip rotation, and torso, which requires good posture.
I'm fortunate to have a full gym at home. I make good use of all my equipment. The Speedstroke fits nicely in the puzzle. It measures up to the best of any equipment you can buy. If you are a paddler and want to train despite the weather 12 months a year, you owe it to yourself to get one.
I found that the machine recreates the full dynamics and motion of the paddling stroke whether you are a recreational paddler or racer using a wing paddle stroke and the resistance is adjustable. You can get one heck of a workout from this machine. You can do a variety of different types of workouts from distance, to intervals, to sprints. The only thing that is missing is the water and the waves.
It was easy to set up and light weight and easy to move around and is very stable with no movement of the machine while it is in use. It is well made and we have had no mechanical problems since we started using it.
I would highly recommend it for anyone out there looking for the perfect alternative when weather conditions or time is a factor in your ability to get a good practice in.
I use the KayakPro SpeedStroke and find that it simulates sea kayaking amazingly accurately if I make my adjustable paddle shaft as long as possible to increase the resistance. (On the advice of the always helpful Grayson Bourne I extended it so that the two halves overlap about 6". Before I bought my Speedstroke I tried all kinds of home-made devices, but this is the way to go!
Now I can both build up my endurance and improve my technique at home before I go.
The Speedstroke is not only great for specific strength and fitness training, but also for technique. I have set mine up with a mirror in front of me so I can practice technique and watch what I'm doing to ensure I am paddling technically correct. With no requirement for balance, no worry about wind and waves, it is a perfect tool to practice technique.
In the two months I've had the Speedstroke I've trained on it most days and I am amazed at the quality and workmanship of this machine. I can't see how anything will breakdown in the next 10 years - it really is well made. It is also equipped with a really handy computer that is a great training aid. It can be calibrated for different types of boats so it can be used by everyone. It tracks speed, distance and time, and it is amazing how close the times are to my times on the water, thanks to Grayson's calibration tips which come free with the purchase. The computer is perfect for long paddles or short intervals or even time trials - it's like having a coach in the room with you.
Living in Ottawa, Canada, the season is short (6 months). I believe that paddling year round is going to make a huge difference in my sprint racing results. I can also see how I will use the Speedstroke during the summer for a second short workout after an on-water workout, or on days when it is +2°C and windy in October. I may just say "not worth it, I'm going down stairs".
It is an amazing time-saver. For a one hour workout on the water, it takes me about 3 hours including travel to the canoe club and a shower. On the Speedstroke it takes 1:10 for the same workout.
Finally, the help and advice I've received from Grayson Bourne has made this purchase a great experience. I still E-mail Gray regularly and he is always helpful and a lot of fun to chat with about paddling. It's a lot of fun for a hacker like me to chat with a 5 time Olympian. His advice is priceless.
Do not hesitate to buy this machine. It is the best exercise equipment I've ever seen - for paddlers it's a necessity.
Using the Paddle Monitor software available through KayakPro allows one to personally coach oneself. The data are depicted in an extremely usable form so that one could work on technique and train without having the benefit of a coach or even training partner. The software program is sufficiently engaging enough to easily allow me to pass the time while I get in 5 - 10k on the erg.
Whenever I had a problem, calling the folks at KayakPro got me excellent service, especially at getting things up and running when I first got the erg.
Last November I had surgery on both my hands and went two months with no upper body workout at all. I started using the machine about 10 minutes at a time, a couple times a week. I started to train for cross country ski racing and still used the Speedpro once or twice a week with some pretty good workouts (up to 45 minutes at a time). In February '04 I was back in CA for another kayak race. I borrowed a surf ski that I had never paddled before. After getting over the instability (not being in a boat for 4 months) I started the race and went right to the front. I was paddling like I had been in a boat all year long...no BS...I raced with several guys all the way and then out-sprinted them at the end to win. So if you are looking for the high quality training machine and can't get to the water because of daylight, cold water, distance this is for you! Call Grayson and talk to him. Listen to him very carefully. He is a world-class paddler who knows the sport inside and out. He will not steer you wrong. DO IT!
The Speedstoke is as close as you can imagine to actaully paddling on the water and helps with focusing on torso rotation and technique. A terrific fitness device so that when you do get on the water all the muscle groups are tuned up and ready to go.
Unit has electonics to measure time, distance, max speed, average speed etc so you can really see if you are making progress.
While this is used by lots of Olympic and racing types it is also a great off water aide for even a 60 year old serious amateur like me!
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