The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review


Click here to buy the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine on Amazon.

The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 is made by Concept 2 Inc. an American company in Vermont. In 1976, the company started making rowing oars. In 1981 they created the first Concept 2 indoor rowing machine, which became the top-selling rowing
machine in the world. Olympic, college, and high-school athletes use the Concept 2 for they’re off water training. It is also found in many fitness and home gyms.

The Concept 2 is easy to assemble and folds into 2 pieces to put away and store. It is an air resistance rowing machine that will adjust the resistance the faster and harder you row. The dampers change the feel of rowing like the gears on a bike. It is a low-impact full workout that fits all heights and weights. The Concept 2 is commercial grade, so it is well made to last. It also has a great following, so it will be easy to find workouts and apps to make your workouts fun.

Is it easy to assemble?

It is very easy to put together. The installation requires putting together the front legs with eight screws and attaching the monorail end with the flywheel end. The wrench tool is included with detailed instructions. It should take about 20-30 min. The box is about 75 lbs. Lifting the box is the difficult part. There are also videos on the Concept 2 website to help. I would not recommend professional installation.

What type of resistance is the Concept 2?


Click here to buy the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine on Amazon.

The Concept 2 is an air resistance rowing machine. The resistance is very similar to rowing on the water. The spinning flywheel attached to fan blades creates the resistance. Pulling the handle of the rower spins the fan blades to make wind. Creating more wind makes the handle harder to pull. This means that the resistance is determined by how hard and fast you pull. The resistance will adjust to your intensity and pace. Air resistance rowers provide a smooth resistance and are the preferred rowing machines among athletes. The USA Olympic rowing teams use the Concept2 Model D for off water training. Also, many local High School and college teams use them for practice.

What does adjusting the dampers do?

The dampers adjust from 1-10. The damper setting controls the amount of air going into the flywheel. This changes the feel of rowing. Dampers are like gears on a bicycle. The higher settings (6-10) give you the feel of a slower, heavier boat. It feels like rowing with passengers. The lower settings (1-5) gives you the feel of a sleeker, faster boat like rowing by yourself. You will be able to experiment using the different settings once you purchase your own Concept 2.

What parts of the body does it work out?

Rowing is a low-impact whole body workout. For more information go to my previous article on “ 9 reasons to choose rowing for your workout routine.”

This is a great video to watch. It is a lesson from Olympic rowers on the proper rowing technique and how to use the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Does the Concept 2 fit all height and weight ranges?

The weight capacity for the Concept 2 is 500 pounds. There doesn’t seem to be any height limitations for shorter users. The monorail length is 54.0″ (137cm) and can fit an inseam length up to 38.0″. Users up to 6’8 have used the Concept 2 with no issues. They do offer an add-on extension that is 5”.

Is the Concept 2 comfortable to use?

The seat is contoured and padded. If you find it uncomfortable, you can use a towel for extra cushion or use a seat pad. The seat tilts, which help maintain an upright posture. It is also 14” off the ground. So it is easy to get on and off. The handle has rubber grips for conformability, but you can always wear gloves. The footrests are flexible and your feet will not slip while rowing.

Is the Concept 2 noisy?

Due to the resistance type of the Concept 2, it can be noisy. The harder you row, the louder the sound of the fan gets. You will also hear the sounds of the seat rolling, the pulling of the handle and the fan. Most people were able to hear the TV over the rowing sounds. If the sounds are too loud you can use ear buds to block out some noise. The seat glides smoothly and the chain doesn’t snag. This leads to a comfortable, realistic rowing motion.

Does it fold up, and is it easy to store?


Folded Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine. Image from Amazon

The concept 2 can be taken apart for easy storage and folds up to 25” x33”x54”. You can separate it into two parts and store it standing up. It is very easy to do and takes only seconds to put away. It also has wheels and weighs 57 pounds, so it is easy to move.

How much space is needed to use?

In use, the Concept 2 is 96”x24”x14”. It takes up quite a bit of space. It is recommended to have 9’x4’ are of space.

How do I maintain my Concept 2? How to lubricate the chain?

These instructions come from the Concept 2 website:

Wipe the monorail after use with a non-abrasive cloth. You should also use non-abrasive cleaners. Do not use acids, bleach, or coarse abrasives.

Weekly: Every 50 Hours of Use

Lubricate the chain with a teaspoon of rowing machine oil, 3-IN-ONE® oil, or 20W motor oil. Apply oil to a paper towel, and rub the paper towel along the entire length of chain. Wipe off the excess. Repeat if needed. Only use chain lubricant oil.


Image from Temple News 2014 Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Monthly: Every 250 Hours of Use

Inspect the chain for stiff links. If stiff links are found, and if lubrication does not help, replace the chain.

  • Check the connection of the chain to the handle for wear. If the hole has become elongated, or the U-bolt is worn halfway through, replace the entire connection.
  • Tighten the shock cord if the handle does not return all the way to the fan enclosure. See Shock Cord Adjustment.
  • Check screws for tightness, including those used for assembly.
  • Loosen or tighten the nuts on the PM5 arm joints as necessary. See Performance Monitor Arm Tension Adjustment.
  • Check for dust inside flywheel with a flashlight. Vacuum if needed. See the Flywheel Opening and Cleaning instructions.

What does the fitness monitor track?


TM5 Image from

The Concept 2 comes with a standard PM5 (performance monitor 5). It tracks distance, speed, pace, calories, and watts. Once you start rowing the fitness monitor starts working. It has 5 preset workouts, customizable workout routines, and games. You can also find workouts in my previous post,“5 Indoor Rowing Workouts and Tips.” The  PM5 has brief rowing lesson to show you the proper form. It is also backlit so you can see it in the dark. It can also track your heart rate with a heart rate monitor that is Bluetooth Smart compatible. The PM5 supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for wireless compatibility. It also has a USB that allows you to save your workout data. You can transfer your data to an online logbook on the Concept 2 website. There are also some Concept 2 apps to help you get more out of your workout.

Is the durability comparable for the price?

The Concept 2 is commercial grade. This means that is built to withstand all the use it will get at a fitness gym. The machine is made well with a steel base and rear legs. The front and I-beam monorail are made with aluminum and the seat track is stainless steel. If there are any problems with the machine, contact their helpful customer service. They also provide a troubleshooting section in the instruction manual.

Where do you buy replacement parts?

Replacement parts are available on their website or by calling 800-245-5676.

What kind of warranty does the Concept 2 have?

The Concept 2 has a limited 2-year or 5-year warranty. The complete warranty information is here. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. You will only pay for the shipping and the cost of the machine will be refunded.

What is the Price?

I recommend you purchase the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 from Amazon. Click here to view the current pricing on Amazon. Be sure to check the price on Amazon or other websites. There are discounts but the price does not fluctuate much. Make sure you are looking at the correct model. You want to make sure it is a model D with the PM5 monitor. Make sure the Concept 2 is in stock before ordering. Check for free shipping. If the price is lower, with the shipping, it will be the same price. I recommend purchasing an exercise mat to protect your floor from sweat and scuffs.


The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 is easy to assemble and made by one of the best brands in rowing machines. It is also easy to store away. It is built specifically for commercial use so it is high quality and will last. The rowing motion is very smooth, so much so that Olympic, high school and college athletes use them to practice. The PM5 monitor is one of the best fitness monitors on the market.

The Concept 2 has a great website and online presence and makes it easy to find workouts and apps. The popularity of the Concept 2 makes it easy to find and share information. It also has a great warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. It is ranked as one of the best rowing machines on the market.

The size of the machine can be a problem. You need a lot of space to use the machine. The seat could be uncomfortable and could feel hard through multiple uses. The handles can be rough for first-time users. The fan can also be noisy and will get louder the harder and faster you row.

If the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 is right for you, I recommend purchasing from Amazon. Amazon is a reputable site and they offer free shipping and special deals when you pay with an Amazon store card. You can also get it assembled at home if you are mechanically challenged. Look under Amazon home service, rowing machine assembly for more information.The Concept 2 has received 93% five-star reviews and 918 customer reviews.

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