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Vulcan Scull Rower Review (2024)

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Quick Overview

The Vulcan Scull Rower is a high-quality, budget-friendly rowing machine with similar specs to the popular Concept II. It offers a feature-rich monitor, a comfortable seat, and an adjustable damper. It also stores vertically for space savings and delivers solid overall performance.

Overall Rating: 9.1/10

Build Quality: 9.1/10

Performance: 9.3/10

Monitor: 8.9/10

Portability & Storage: 8.9/10

Price: 9.4/10

Who It’s Right For

  • Someone looking for a high-quality rower
  • Those looking to save money
  • Someone who doesn’t care about tracking data

Things to Consider

  • The monitor isn’t as advanced as Concept II
  • It has a lower weight capacity than Concept II

If this page opened and your first thought was, “Wow, that looks like the Concept II,” you’re not alone.

Concept II has arguably been the face of indoor rowing machines for many years – it’s the gold standard for performance and durability.

However, there are other capable, high-performing rowers that are less expensive, including the Vulcan Scull Rower I’m reviewing here.

This machine offers a stable and smooth experience with familiar adjustability and an easy-to-use monitor.

But there are a few things to consider, especially when compared to the Concept II.

In this review, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Vulcan Scull Rower. Let’s dig in.

Vulcan Scull Rower

Vulcan Scull Rower
Vulcan Scull Rower
Vulcan Scull Rower
The Vulcan Scull Rower is an affordable, high-quality rower with strong features, a heavy-duty design, and a solid monitor.
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In my opinion, a rower is the best piece of conditioning equipment out there. Not only does it provide a true full-body workout, but it’s accessible to just about everyone, regardless of age, fitness level, etc.

I use a rower almost daily and have tested numerous types and models, including air rowers, water rowers, magnetic rowers, and more.

The Vulcan Scull has a traditional design that most are accustomed to. I’m a fan (no pun intended) of its performance and find it superior to Concept II in some ways.

Its heft and overall stability is immediately apparent, and I appreciate how easy to is to operate.

While the monitor has improved over the first generation, it still lags behind the Concept PM5, and there are some other points to consider.

Let’s have a look at the specs and jump into the review.

Specs

  • Frame Material: Steel & hardened plastic (on cover pieces)
  • Frame Dimensions: 94″ long x 25″ wide
  • Seat Dimensions: 12″ wide x 10″ deep
  • Rail Length: 47″
  • Handle Length: 18.5″
  • Weight: 81 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Design: Flywheel/Air Resistance
  • Assembly Time: 30 minutes

Overall Build Quality

One of the first things you’ll notice with the Scull rower is that it’s overbuilt, in a good way. At 81+ lbs, it’s one of the heavier rowers in this class, especially compared to the 57 lb Concept II. While this makes it a bit more challenging to move around, the stability more than makes up for it. You can row as hard as you want on this and likely not experience any movement.

Vulcan Scull Rower Build Quality

Although the rower weighs more than several others, the 350 lb weight capacity is less than the 500 lbs you’ll find on Concept II, Xebex, etc.

Like the Concept, the Scull uses a nickel-plated chain, which presents as high-quality. I recommend occasionally oiling the chain with a silicon lubricant to ensure optimal performance and limit wear and tear.

You can do this, along with any other maintenance, underneath the frame via a removable shield. That said, you shouldn’t have to worry about much ongoing maintenance outside of oiling, which is more of a recommendation than a requirement.

Vulcan Scull Rower Chain

Flywheel & Damper

The Scull rower uses air to create resistance, which is funneled through a flywheel by a damper. The easiest way to think of it is this: you pull the handle, which spins the flywheel. The damper controls how much air gets into the flywheel. The more air in the flywheel, the more energy is required to accelerate from one stroke to the next.

Vulcan Scull Damper

The Vulcan Scull has 9 damper settings, with 9 being maximal air intake and 1 being the lowest. While the Concept II has 10 settings, I haven’t noticed much difference. After all, the intensity you generate on a rower is primarily measured by how hard you pull – not the damper setting.

Aesthetically, I like the look of this damper, but I can also see where others may not since skulls aren’t for everyone.

The Monitor

The latest Scull monitor is a nice improvement over the first generation. Visually, it’s a great-looking display. I love the backlighting, and the layout is easy to understand. I also appreciate the premium-feeling raised buttons.

The biggest improvement to this monitor is that it’s bluetooth compatible, allowing you to pair other apps for data tracking and more. It also includes a much nicer cell phone holder on the top.

Vulcan Scull Rower Monitor

To activate the monitor, you can press a button or just start rowing. From there, you can continue rowing or select from seven other program, including 20/10, 10/20, and 10/10 intervals. You can also set goals for time, distance, and calories, which count down until you reach the goal.

Here are the stats the Scull tracks:

  • Time
  • Watts
  • Calories
  • Stroke Rate
  • Time/500m
  • Distance (meters)
  • Average Watts

Additionally, Vulcan includes a chest strap to measure heart rate. You can display your heart rate on the monitor using the Pulse function.

The owner’s manual includes a comprehensive overview and instructions for using the monitor.

Seat and Rail

The Scull seat is made of dense molded foam and offers an ergonomic design for comfort. The pad is fairly firm and feels very durable. It also provides a grippy texture to reduce slippage. Overall, it’s a comfortable seat, but those who prefer long rides may want something slightly softer.

Vulcan Scull Seat

The seat slides along an aluminum rail with two plastic rollers attached under the seat. At 47″ long, there’s plenty of length for a full stride for nearly every rower. The contact between the rail and rollers is consistent on both sides, providing a very smooth ride.

Vulcan Scull Set Roller

Footrests & Handle

The footrests on the Scull rower have a similar design to others, with adjustments for foot size and preferred tightness. A sliding sole accommodates various foot lengths across 7 positions. Unless you’re training with multiple people, this is a set-it-and-forget-it feature, but it’s straightforward to adjust if needed.

Vulcan Scull Footrests

Each footrest includes a nylon strap for tightness and different foot widths. It’s also easy to use, and the nylon is thick for solid durability.

The handle on this rower looks nearly identical to the Concept II. It’s different from the first generation in shape and materials, and I think it’s generally an improvement. I like the rubber coating – it offers a nice texture for grip, even when sweating. It’s slightly shorter than Concept at 19″ vs 19.5″, but it’s splitting hairs in terms of performance and comfort.

Vulcan Scull Handle

Storage & Portability

Like others, the Vulcan Scull can be stored upright to save space in your gym. It’s also portable with two wheels on the front base. By lifting it from the back, you can tilt the rower upward and wheel it wherever you plan to store it.

I recommend sliding the seat all the way forward before tilting. I often forget this and get surprised when it slides and crashes into position.

Storing the Vulcan Scull Rower

One thing I would love to see is a swivel arm for the monitor mount. As you can see in the image, the monitor extends past the damper by several inches. With a swivel arm or something similar, you can recapture that space, allowing you to push the rower closer to a wall and save even more space.

The Scull is also one of the heavier rowers, which may be relevant for some users. It’s easy enough to move around using leverage and the wheels, but it’s still something to consider.

Performance

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the performance of this rower. I appreciate the heavier construction and find it one of the sturdiest rowers I’ve tested. I’m not a heavy weight by any means, but all out sprints on lighter rowers, including the Concept can cause the rower to shift on the ground. I haven’t experienced than on the Scull.

Using the Vulcan Scull Rower

The flywheel, damper, and chain drive combine for a smooth rowing movement throughout the entire range of motion. The seat roller is also very smooth, providing good motion from catch to finish.

I wouldn’t mind a slightly wider handle, but it’s generally good and comparable to other high-end options.

Assembly

Assembling the Scull Rower took me about 30 minutes, not including the unboxing. It’s a straightforward process with good instructions. The legs were the most challenging part, and I highly recommend assembling the machine partially in the styrofoam, as the instructions suggest. I assembled mine on the ground, which probably added 5-10 minutes.

Price & Warranty

The price of the Scull rower is one of the most compelling reasons to consider it. As of this review, it’s priced at $850 but on sale for $680. That’s an absolute steal – even at full price, it’s more affordable than most rowers in this class.

Vulcan offers a life warranty on the frame, two years on moving parts, and 90 days on soft parts, which includes straps, etc. This is a solid warranty program, in my opinion. However, you can extend it for $89 if you want. Given the standard warranty, I don’t see a need to do that, but it’s there for additional peace of mind.

Vulcan Skull Rower vs. Concept II Rower

Vulcan Scull Rower
Concept II Rower
Product
Product
Vulcan Scull Rower
Concept II Rower
Dimensions
Dimensions
94″ L x 25″ W
95″ L x 24″ W
Weight
Weight
81 lbs
57 lbs
Weight Capacity
Weight Capacity
350 lbs
500 lbs
Damper Settings
Damper Settings
9
10
Warranty
Warranty
Lifetime on Frame
5 Years on Frame

The Concept II is the most well-known rower in the industry. Its a staple in CrossFit gyms around the world and is a popular home gym option. It is the gold standard that all other rowers strive for, so how does the Vulcan Scull stack up?

In terms of construction, the Vulcan is beefier and heavier than the Concept. Dimensionally, they’re comparable, but Vulcan outweighs the Concept by around 24 lbs. However, Concept has a higher weight capacity of 500 lbs vs. 350 on the Vulcan.

The heavier Vulcan weight has pros and cons. On the plus side, it’s very stable and less likely to move around during maximum-effort sprints. However, it’s slightly more cumbersome to move around given the extra heft.

The Concept II PM5 is the best monitor in the game, no questions. It’s easy to use, tracks data, and links with other Concept rowers for races. But the Vulcan monitor is the next best monitor, in my experience. I like the layout and bright display, and the stats track similar to the PM5.

As far as performance, the Scull offers an experience consistent with Concept. The motion is smooth and generally comparable.

The warranty on both machines is good, but Vulcan’s is slightly better with a lifetime warranty on the frame compared to Concept. That said, Concept has delivered an exceptional product for decades with a stellar track record, and their parts are affordable and readily available.

In terms of price, Vulcan is the less expensive choice. Depending on any sales, you can expect to pay between $200-$370 less than the Concept II rower. The Scull ships for free, which the Concept does not.

Ultimately, both are excellent rowers. If you demand the best, want to track data, and have a larger budget, I recommend the Concept. However, if you just want a great rowing experience at a lower price, the Vulcan Scull is one of the best options.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent price point and value
  • Heavy-duty construction increases stability
  • Fluid motion with consistent performance
  • Solid, easy-to-use monitor tracks the most important stats
  • Familiar handle with ergonomic shape
  • Upright storage for saving space

Cons

  • 350 lb weight capacity is good, but lower than Concept II
  • Monitor doesn’t maintain history like the PM5
  • Heavier frame is slightly harder to move around

Final Thoughts

The Vulcan Scull Rower is one of the most value-packed rowing machines on the market. I love its heavy, solid frame, and the overall performance is on par with more expensive rowers.

While the rower doesn’t have as many features as the PM5, it’s still one of the better ones I’ve used.

I think there is room for small improvements, including the swivel arm mount and handle width, but these are minor in the grand scheme.

For the money, I don’t think you’ll find a better option. The warranty is solid, and you’re looking at roughly $200 in savings compared to the Concept II after shipping.

Vulcan Scull Rower Rating

Build Quality: 9.1/10

Performance: 9.3/10

Monitor: 8.9/10

Portability & Storage: 8.9/10

Price: 9.4/10

Final Verdict

Overall: 9.1/10

Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.

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