CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D Machine Review

Concept 2 Model D
4.8 / 5 Reviewer
Design4.8
Features4.8
Price4.8

If you are looking for a rowing machine that you can depend on, I would recommend the CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D. This is an indoor rower that comes with many commercial-grade features that you can bring right into your home.

It is a machine that fitness centres, gyms, and training clubs use. And I was lucky enough to try one. Here are my thoughts on this wonderful machine.

Overview of the CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D

The CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D is the company’s best-selling rowing machine that has been around since 2003. It continues to enjoy the trust of professional rowing teams, sports centres, fitness clubs, and gyms the world over.

Its design guarantees the same workout that you can get from many boathouses. Today, the Model D has become the standard when it comes to the submission of scores for recruiting or for indoor rowing competitions.

A strong nickel-plated steel chain connects the seat to the flywheel mechanism of the Model D. There are dampers on the flywheel system that allow users to fine-tune the air resistance levels that they would like to work against. The steel chain comes partly enclosed, allowing for ease of maintenance.

The frame comes in solid steel with a black powder finish. The front legs feature lightweight yet durable aluminium. The rear legs come in solid steel. The monorail is 137 centimetres long. It can accommodate persons whose inseam is less than 96.5 centimetres.

The Model D features the PM5 performance monitor. It also comes with ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity. Such design elements allow the Model D to communicate with other wireless devices, including other CONCEPT 2 Rower models that have the PM5 computer. It is perfect for team training or for simulating a realistic rowing experience with your friends.

The CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D may take about 30 minutes to assemble. Folding it for storage is easy, however. CONCEPT 2 designed the indoor rowing machine to fold in two without the need for a special tool. Disassembling it is also easy using a unique frame lock mechanism.

There are many reasons why professional rowers, schools, and gyms trust the Model D. I will let you in on some of these reasons in the following section.

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A Closer Look at the Features of the CONCEPT 2 Model D

Innovative Flywheel and Damper Technology

I always have a strong fascination for machines that do not put a limit to what my body can do. I admire those that assist me in achieving my fitness goals. While I do have my special preference for a water rower, having an air resistance flywheel-operated machine is a lot better than magnetic resistance.

For me, the only advantage I get from an indoor rower that uses magnetic resistance technology is lower noise levels. Yes, it can be music to the ears. And if you are already familiar with the quiet hum of electric vehicles, that is how a magnetic resistance rowing machine will sound like.

My issue with such machines is that they prevent me from pushing myself harder. If the maximum resistance available on the machine is 20 kilogrammes, then there is nothing else that I can do. I would always go for 30 or 40 kilogrammes of resistance in my routine. It would be impossible to do that if the machine limits my efforts to only 20 Kg.

That’s not going to happen with the CONCEPT 2 Model D. Like the other rowing machines that I was fortunate enough to try, this indoor rower feels like the real thing. Of course, I would have loved to hear the sound of water splashing around a drum to make it more realistic. Regardless, the flywheel mechanism on the CONCEPT 2 Model D is more than enough to simulate a rowing experience.

There are dampers, too. I can adjust the amount of air that the blades of the flywheel generate. This should come in handy for those who would like to go easy on their training. And if you decide to push yourself like I do, opening the dampers can give you the cardiovascular workout that you need.

The perfect rower that professionals trust

PM5 High-Performance Computer and Monitor

CONCEPT 2 comes with the PM5 high-performance monitor. What I love about this on-board exercise computer is its “Just Row” Mode. It allows you to row for as long as you want and without any limits on your rowing speed and force. It is like rowing on a calm lake where you can take a gentle cruise before pushing to the limit.

What I find very interesting in the PM5 is its storage capabilities. It already has a built-in memory which you can import to the CONCEPT 2 ErgData app. And in case you do not want to go this route, then you can always insert a USB flash drive into the PM5’s port. You can then upload the fitness data into your computer.

When it comes to the information that it displays on its screen, there isn’t anything new. You still get the Stroke Rate, Calories, Watts, Pace, Distance, and Time, among others. The good news is that you can always compare previous data with your current one right on the PM5 display.

The on-board computer relies on 2 D-cell batteries to operate. This is if you are not rowing the machine. Once you sit on it and start rowing, the energy coming from the flywheel will help power the PM5. This extends battery life.

Sturdy Build and Ergonomic Design

The CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D features a commercial-grade construction. It combines two of the world’s strongest and most durable metals: aluminium and steel. It does come with ABS plastic for the PM5 arm.

The steel monorail is about 137 centimetres long. People who have an inseam length of 96.5 centimetres may not be able to use the Model D. The good thing is that CONCEPT 2 has a solution for it. You can purchase a longer monorail to attach to the flywheel base.

From the leading edge of the front legs to the rear, the Model D measures 244 centimetres. It is long; although, it is narrower by a few centimetres than most of the rowing machines I have tried. When used, the Model D rowing machine requires a floor area of at least 274 centimetres long and 122 centimetres wide. This provides ample space allowance on all sides.

The nickel-plated steel chain driving the flywheel is a noteworthy feature of the Model D. It is durable and allows for easier maintenance. It also facilitates a more seamless rowing experience.

Assembling the Model D takes some time. Disassembling it is rather quick, however, with the inclusion of a frame lock mechanism. It also folds in two, allowing you to store it with ease. And while the Model D weighs a hefty 26 kilogrammes, its integrated transport wheels make storage a breeze.

The Model D comes with a padded seat and ergonomic handle. CONCEPT 2 designed the handle to come with a 10-degree bend. This helps you row with the natural position of your hands and arms. The footrests are adjustable, allowing different people to use the indoor rower with ease.

ANT+ and Bluetooth Connectivity

In case you haven’t noticed, this rowing machine from CONCEPT 2 is the “Model D”. This begs the question, are there other “models” under the CONCEPT 2 series? The answer is yes. There are the Models A, B, C, and E and the Dynamic. As it turns out, the Model D has been around since 2003. Concept 2 updated the Model D sometime in 2006 at the same time the company introduced the Model E. Four years later, the brand introduced the Dynamic.

This is important because one of the main selling points of this rower is its wireless connectivity. It utilises the ANT+ technology to communicate with the Model E and Dynamic. What this means is, if you have several Concept 2 rowers that range from the Model C to the Dynamic, then you can simulate a race. It is also great for training as a team.

And since the PM5 also comes with Bluetooth wireless technology, connecting with your other devices is easy. You can install the Concept 2 ErgData app on your smartphone or tablet. Synchronise the fitness or rowing information on the PM5 with the app. You can then review and analyse your data anytime, anywhere.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Real-time rowing and fitness data in a large display
  • Smooth operation with very minimal noise
  • Requires little maintenance and very easy to fold without the use of tools
  • Durable and sturdy construction that accommodates individuals weighing up to 227 kilogrammes
  • Comfortable seat, handle, and footrests
  • Wireless connectivity with other CONCEPT 2 models, apps, and other devices
Cons
  • Does not come pre-assembled; requires about 30 minutes to assemble
  • No built-in heart rate monitor
  • Occupies a great amount of floor space

Should You Get It?

Professional rowing teams, schools, fitness clubs, and sports clinics rely on the CONCEPT 2 Rower Model D to provide their members with a realistic rowing experience. This is an indoor rower you would want to bring home, too.

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