Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

William Kent




rowing, watercraft, ergometer, rider, racing


The ergometer is a stationary rowing machine that is used to simulate the motions of watercraft rowing. It can be used for the technical improvement of one's strokes, or simply for exercise. This can be a great convenience because it allows the user to row indoors—making it a useful substitute for practice when the weather is not row-permitting. The disadvantage of ergometers is that their prolonged use can lead to great boredom, much like the long term effects of using treadmills and stationary bicycles. In recent years there have been various attempts at redesigning ergometers with the goal of making them more fun to use. The leading solution has been to give the erg wheels and implement a drivetrain, so that the erg works similar to a bicycle, while still being powered by the original rowing motion of the rider. This design has sprung up in 6 or 7 places worldwide, while two designs have moved to the mass production stage. These products are very different from each other, but neither really grasps the rowing motion to its fullest. They also cost upwards of $1,000. The purpose of my project is to design and build a “rowing vehicle” to be used on land that is easily operated, yet still mimics the correct rowing motions found in the use of a racing shell.