SpeedStroke Gym

I bought a SpeedStroke Gym last year and I’ve been making good use of it during the Winter season. I recently read a great review of the SpeedStroke Gym by Erik Borgnes that was posted on surfskiracing.com. I noticed in Erik’s review that the SpeedStroke Gym he was using had a seat height adjustment feature. I think this is a great feature since I sometimes feel I am seated a little low on my machine. For some reason, my earlier version of the SpeedStroke Gym does not have this height adjustment feature. I was wondering if anyone out there has a new SpeedStroke Gym and can comment on the seat height adjustment feature? Thanks!

Seat adj
I have a new GYM and had a Classic for several years. The seat adj is just three different positions to screw the seat -that’s all- no magic. I am pretty ssure you could do the same just by creating new wholes or something in your machine.

It seems you are paddling a Sea Kayak; thus, I don’t see to raise the seat like in ICF-k1 (3 to 4 inches height) if you are going to be paddling a sea kayak just 1 or 2 inches height.


Ice man - Thanks for the feedback. I think I many need to put some foam on the seats for the height adjustment. I’m 5’ 6" and I have a really short torso. I think an inch or two above the machines fixed seat would put me in a better position on the foot braces.

Semi-related idea - exerciser conversion
I’ve been tossing around a couple of ideas for converting a NordicTrack to a paddling exerciser. It seems you can get them free just about anywhere and I have a couple “freebees” to experiment with. Has anyone else done this?

Found old thread with details
Here’s an old thread with details on my nordic trac conversion and a link to some pictures…



It works pretty good but doesn’t have the same exponential resistance you would get from paddling a boat or a Speedstroke. Basically you set it for a specific resistance and you get a very good kayak specific workout at that level.

I have hit higher heart rates on the erg than paddling out on the water. But when I paddle harder mostly what happens is the cadence gets very high.

The cat now knows to stay well clear!

I don’t use it as much as I should in the winter, partly because it makes time stand still. If I’d paid a few grand for a store erg maybe my motivation would be higher.


Questions about the design
It looks like you put a lot of thought into it, but there are a few things I’m wondering:

  • Why so long? It seems that it could be much shorter, perhaps with the rollers just a few inches forward of your feet. Is there a reason why that wouldn’t work?

  • I’m thinking of using a much shorter “paddle”, probably an abbreviated GP shape ~36" long, with pivots on the ends that would allow for a canted stroke. I assume it would require a higher tension setting, but other than that, can you see any problems with that idea?

  • It seems that webbing might work better over the rollers than cord (more surface to grab the rollers), though it would require using a wider tension pulley underneath. What do you think?

Design considerations
Why so long? I paddle wing and the mechanics of the stroke sweeping out favor a more true to boat on water feel with a longer design. A short rope may interfere with the return stroke as the paddle is lifted high. Also the pulley underneath on the bungie really has to work to keep the slack out of the rope, a shorter design would not allow as much range. The SpeedStroke benchmark erg is also long.

Shorter “paddle”… You’ll see in the pictures that there is a shorter “paddle” in the background which was my original thought like yourself. Again the interplay between how much the upper hand is pushing vs how much the lower hand is pulling require the point of pull on the paddle to be out where it is. A short paddle would be all pull and no push.

Webbing vs rope… the original design had a full loop wrapped around the rollers. Even with the guides it would run off the edges. My father-in-law (retired engineer) suggested a straight out and back path for the rope which I was initially skeptical off. I had thought you’d need more friction but how it is the rope quickly bites (a strong catch) and there is no slipping.

Apart from the linear vs exponential resistance this comes pretty close to a good paddling simulator. Just be careful as you start going since there is a lot of resistance right off the line, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder when I attacked too hard.

Hope that all makes sense and helps.


Great job!

Flying wheel
It’s all about the flying wheel -to have a realistic water/wing stroke. The hardest part to reproduce.

Yeah, it definitely does help
I’m hoping I can come up with are more-or-less “bolt-on” conversion that wouldn’t eliminate the original function, though ultimately I may end up building a more integrated setup.