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Concept2 Model D Rower Review

Quick Take

The Concept2 Model D is popular machine because it provides durability, unlimited resistance, and engaging programming at a manageable price point. It features an American made steel frame, and variable air resistance. The benefit of an air resistance system is that resistance increases with the rower’s intensity—a feature that makes the Model D is suitable for athletes at all training levels. The Model D makes our list of best rowing machines pretty much every year. The Concept2 Model D is available in two powdercoat colors: light gray and black, selling for a sticker price that’s typically just a touch under the $1,000 mark.

Pros

Easy Assembly & Storage
Air Resistance
Wireless Heart-Rate Data

Cons

Size
Some Maintenance Needed
Plastic Monitor Arm

Our Review

Concept2 rowing machines are forever well reviewed for an assortment of reasons, and the Concept2 Model D is no exception. Solid construction, quality training metrics, quiet operation, and a significant weight capacity are all items that push the Model D to the front of the pack. This is not a tech-focused rower. It’s not putting a big display screen in your face and letting you follow along with class instructors. That said, it is still a connected rower, so to speak. It is built to allow for rower-to-rower racing, and you can even link up to an online leaderboard to see how you stack up against other rowers training on the Model D.

 

Concept2 has long now been the benchmark of the rowing category, and the most common choice of professional rowers around the globe. With the growing popularity of water rowers, one would think that professionals would have opted for that option, however it seems the vast majority of pros prefer the feedback of the Concept2’s air resistance. Adding to the benefits, the Concept2 Model D has an added damper that allows users to bump up the baseline resistance of the machine.

 

The fact that the Concept2 Model D rower doesn’t fold is likely to be a hindrance to those with smaller workout spaces, as is the larger overall footprint of the machine when compared to other rowers on the market. The Concept2 Model D measures 96 inches long and 24 inches wide—a fair bit longer than many other rowers on the market. It can be separated into two parts for more compact storage, but this isn’t as easy as being able to fold the machine up and out of the way.

Positives

Is this the best rowing machine for you? Here are some features that make it a top seller.

 

  • Easy Assembly: Assembling the Model D only takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • Air Resistance: The air resistance system produces minimal noise while sending out a nice breeze. A damper lets you adjust the airflow to alter the feel of the strokes and the resistance changes in response to rider effort. The more intensely you row, the more resistance is generated. This makes the Model D appropriate for novices through top rowers.
  • Performance Monitor: The backlit Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) sets Concept2 rowers apart from competitors. It is sophisticated, yet easy to use. It includes games, workouts, and session feedback. Wireless connectivity makes transferring the workout data very easy.
  • Optional Slide: Concept2 slides (sold separately) are an option for on-water simulation. The slides attach to the rower machines with bungee cords and suspend them for a floating sensation. For team training, the slides can connect multiple Concept2 rowing machines.
  • Ergonomic Handle: The machine’s ergonomic rowing handle has a 10-degree bend, which supports a natural rowing position.
  • Wireless Heart Rate Data: The PM5 works with ATN and Bluetooth to show heart rate data.
  • Low Profile: The seat is just 14″ from the ground.
  • Adjustable Footrests: Footrests are adjustable to fit a wide range of shoe sizes.
  • Easy to Store: The Concept2 rower divides into two sections for easy storage. No tools are required.
  • Transport Wheels: Caster wheels at the front of the rower make it easy to roll into position.
  • High Capacity: The maximum user weight capacity is 500 pounds.
  • Good Warranty:  The Concept2 Model D is covered by a limited five-year warranty on the frame and two-year warranty on the computer and moving parts.

 

Negatives

Why wouldn’t you choose this popular ride? When considering the Concept2 collection, some people choose the Model E or the Dynamic instead because they are more durable for heavier use. Here are a few potential drawbacks of the Model D.

 

  • Size: Measuring 96” long (244 cm) and 24” wide, this rower has a large footprint compared with others. For example, the Concept2 Dynamic measures just 76” long by 24” wide.
  • Some Maintenance Required: This rower has a good quality nickel-plated chain. It is partly exposed and requires occasional oiling. Some riders report that they need to oil the chain every time for the smoothest ride.
  • Plastic Monitor Arm: We like the monitor arm feature because it lets you bring the monitor close to the machine or keep it out of the way. On other rowers, the screen is fixed too far away to be useful. That said, the arm on the Model D is plastic, and therefore not particularly durable. Metal arms are used on the Model E and the Concept2 Dynamic rowers.

 

Our Conclusion

The Concept2 Model D is a smart choice for home use. It’s understandably the best-selling rower in the world because it provides great value, durability, high quality engineering, and a useful computer monitor. It’s our favorite rower that costs less than $1,000. Sure, there are more impressive rowers out there, but nothing in this price range comes close.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many workout programs does the Concept2 Model D indoor rower have?
A: The Concept2 Model D rowing machine has 10 workout programs built into the PM5: 5 standard workouts and 5 custom workouts.
Q: What are the folded dimensions of the Concept2 Model D rower?
A: The Concept2 Model D indoor rowing machine can be separated into two parts, making it 25" x 33" x 54" (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm) for storage.
Q: What are the assembled dimensions of the Concept2 Model D rower?
A: The Concept2 Model D rower with PM5 is 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm) when assembled. It needs 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm) of space when in use.

Rating: 95%

Specifications

Resistance Type

Air

Resistance Level

10

Programs

10

Bluetooth

Yes

Dimensions (inches)

96" L x 24" W x 14" H

Folding

Yes

Maximum User Weight Capacity

500 lbs

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