Concept2 Model D Rower Review

The Concept2 Model D is popular for combining durability, unlimited resistance and engaging programming at a manageable price point. It features a steel frame made in the USA and uses air resistance against each stroke. Because the air resistance increases with the rower’s intensity, and can also be altered with a damper, the Model D is suitable for athletes at all training levels. The Model D made our list of best rowing machines for yet another year. A backlit performance monitor called ...
9.5 Total Score
Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

Comfort
9.5
Console
9.5
Stability
9
Value
10
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Concept2 Model D Rower Review
Concept2 Model D Rower Review

The Concept2 Model D is the world’s best-selling indoor rowing machine. It’s especially gained popularity within the Crossfit community, where it’s emerged as the cardio machine of choice. It’s great for rowing team training too because units can be linked together. The Model D uses air resistance to meet all fitness levels and can be used with a slide to simulate water training. This product is built to last a lifetime and is priced under $1000.

The Concept2 Model D is popular for combining durability, unlimited resistance and engaging programming at a manageable price point. It features a steel frame made in the USA and uses air resistance against each stroke. Because the air resistance increases with the rower’s intensity, and can also be altered with a damper, the Model D is suitable for athletes at all training levels. The Model D made our list of best rowing machines for yet another year.

A backlit performance monitor called the PM5 provides preset workout programs and rowing games. It tracks data such as distance, calories burned and pace. These data can be transferred to other devices either wirelessly or with a USB flash drive. The PM5’s wireless capabilities support heart rate monitoring and machine-to-machine racing too!

The Concept2 Model D is available in two powdercoat colors: light gray and black. It sells for $900 plus shipping.


Positives:

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

  • Made in the USA: Concept2 rowers are made in the USA. The company is headquartered in Morrisville, Vermont and offers tours of its state-of-the-art factory.
  • Easy Assembly: Assembling the Model D only takes about 20-30 minutes. The basic work involves twisting eight screws to attach the machine’s aluminum legs.
  • Air Resistance: The air resistance system produces minimal noise while sending a nice breeze. A damper lets you adjust the airflow to change the feel of the stroke, and the resistance also 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 can work with ATN and Bluetooth to show heart rate data.
  • Low Profile: The seat is just 14″ from the ground.
  • Adjustable Footrests: Footrests on the Concept2 Model D rower are adjustable to fit a wide range of shoe sizes.
  • Easy to Store: The Concept2 rower divides into two sections for easy storing. No tools are required to take the machine apart for storage.
  • 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. (For instance, they use steel legs instead of aluminum.) 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 each time for the smoothest ride. The chain on the Model E is fully encased.
  • 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.) However, the arm is plastic. 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 costing less than $1,000.

Concept2 Model D Rower Specifications:

Overall Score:9.5
Resistance:Air
Monitor:PM5
Upright Storage:Yes
Programs:Yes
Weight Capacity:300 LBS