The Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5 is the best known and biggest selling quality rowing machines around – and for a good reason. It’s a solid, reliable rower and will last you for years, even with regular use.
The Concept2 is an air resistance rower, which means it’s action is smooth and will closely replicate rowing on water, it will also adjust to your effort involving the faster you row, the higher the resistance. In other words, it doesn’t matter how hard you pull; it will match your strength, no problem.
The construction is substantial and will put up with years of a punishment without complaint. These models are used in gymnasiums all over the world and therefore built to last. They’re also the first choice for the majority of rowing clubs and serious rowers – which says it all!
The rowing position is excellent, and the seat is very comfortable even for long sessions. If you’ve used a rower at a gym, it was most likely a Concept2. Many gym users buy a budget rower for home use and are disappointed – because it doesn’t feel anything like a Concept2.
Learn more in my complete review below
Product: Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5
Warranty: Frame 5 years limited, all parts two years limited
My Rating: 9.8/10
Affiliate Disclosure: We may earn commissions from purchases made through links in this post.
Model D Frame construction
The frame of this rower is a combination of aluminum and steel parts. The front base and legs are aluminum-made, while the monorail and back legs are steel-made, to support the user’s weight better. All metallic components come with corrosion resistant powder coating.
The machine features a 2-piece frame, which can easily be “broken” in two, ensuring its folding, to offer better storage possibilities. It should be stored vertically. When folded, it requires a storage space of 25 x 33 x 54 inches (W x L x H). In other words, it should fit in your average closet. The frame is easy to fold. You pull it up by the junction at the middle, in between the footplates, and it will fold in half.
When fully assembled, this Concept2 rowing machine is not extremely heavy. Plus, the front base also has transportation wheels, to facilitate the secure handling and to moving of the rower, when fully assembled and non-folded.
The rower’s bases are finished with levelers, ensuring maximum stability, even for heavier users undergoing intensive training sessions. The frame is also substantial, being able to support users up to 500 lbs (227 kg).
Just as any rowing machine, the Concept2 Model D is 8′ (244 cm) long, requiring a space of 9′ (274 cm). Since the majority of rowers are pretty tall people, the monorail is long enough to accommodate users up to 6’8″ (203 cm), or users with an inseam of 38″ (96.5 cm).
Anyway, if you’re taller, and you require a more extended monorail, you can opt for an extra-long one. Width-wise, the rower requires about 4′ (122 cm) for proper use.
Seat, Footrests and Rowing Handle
This air-based rower comes with a pretty basic, standard seat. The seat is not entirely flat, it features a bit of contouring, to ensure better positioning of the user.
It’s not a consistently padded seat, as too much padding for rowing may result in numbness or cramping, due to the generalized distribution of pressure. Additional padding is available optionally though.
The footrests of this rower are angle-adjustable. They’re long and wide enough to accommodate any foot size. Footrests have straps for securing your feet in place. This is an essential feature for beginners, who may encounter difficulties in keeping legs at full stretch and in the correct position for rowing. Also, users who have sustained an injury or suffer from specific disabilities may require feet secured in place when rowing.
One last aspect to mention regarding the resistance mechanism is the handle attached to the chain. This particular rowing machine is equipped with a hard plastic handle, with an ergonomic design, featuring a 10° curve, which results in a more natural grip. This reduces some of the stress on your wrists and forearms when rowing.
Model D Air-Resistance Rower
Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is an air-resistance rower. Air resistance functions by pulling a handle and spinning a fan flywheel. As the wheel turns, it must displace the air in front of it, which causes resistance. The faster you rotate the flywheel, the more air the fan must replace, and therefore, the more resistance you will feel.
Your resistance level is determined by how hard you row! Therefore, the faster and harder you row, the more resistance you will feel. It’s like how water resistance operates. And it’s different from magnetic and hydraulic-piston rowers. Air resistance rowers provide a quiet overall strength and are the preferred resistance type among all athletes of all levels.
Olympic rowing teams use the Concept2 Model D or E for their off-water training. Due to the accurate data recording and the ability to closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water.
The Model D air resistance provides a rowing motion much similar to like rowing on water, and there isn’t any lag throughout the rowing stroke. You will feel a smooth, even resistance from the start of the stroke to the finish.
Your rowing intensity determines your resistance level. As a result, the faster you row, the more energy you feel. This automatically adjusting resistance is known as ‘variable’ resistance. The Concept2 Model D resistance allows you to row at your own intensity/pace. The opposition will adapt accordingly.
This ‘variable’ resistance is perfect for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises. You can row fast or slow, and the resistance adjusts to your speed without having to stop and change any settings. It’s why you see Concept2 rowing machines in every CrossFit style gym.
Another great benefit of the Model D resistance is it is virtually maintenance free and straightforward to fix if there is a problem.
The resistance on the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is one of the best on the market. It provides smooth, stable variable resistance and can adjust with a different damper setting.
It is the chosen rowing machine by Olympic athletes, so who can say anything wrong about it? You’ll love the resistance provided by the Model D Rower.
Model D Damper Settings
Although the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine provides ‘variable’ resistance, users can still adjust the “feel” of the rowing stroke by adjusting the damper setting. Rowers can change the damper settings from level 1 to 10. These aren’t resistance levels; they account for the amount of air going into the flywheel, which affects the “feel” of the rowing stroke.
Like gears on a bicycle, the different “gears” will give you a different feel when you’re rowing. The higher settings (6-10) give you the feeling of a slower, more large boat, whereas the lower settings (1-5) give you the impression of a sleeker, faster boat.
The rowing motion is smooth and provides an experience similar to rowing on water. That’s one of the main reasons professional rowers use the Concept D Rower. The seat glides smoothly on the monorail, and the chain that pulls the flywheel doesn’t snag. It leads to a smooth catch, drive, finish, and recovery motion.
The only maintenance to make sure your machine maintains its fluid functionality is to keep the chain lubricated and cleaned the monorail periodically. These actions are incredibly easy to do, and there are instructions in the Model D manual to walk you through the process.
Model D PM5 Monitor/Control Panel
The Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine comes standard with a PM5 (Performance Monitor 5) control, which is the poster child for rowing machine controls. It’s simple to use and comes with plenty of functions.
The Concept2 Model D PM5 monitor is your “training partner.” It can track distance, 500m split (speed), time, strokes per minute, calories, watts, and so much more. It also can calculate the averages of all these metrics.
Start rowing without pressing any buttons on the monitor. And when the flywheel starts spinning it will power up and provide data.
5 Preset Workouts
Use one of five preset workouts or customize your workout routine. The display is plenty big, and the data is easy to read. It is also backlit, so you’ll be able to see the monitor in low light settings.
The Concept2 PM5 monitor has everything you need to know while rowing. The top section of the screen provides total time, strokes per minute, distance achieved, and 500m split time.
The bottom section of the screen allows you to choose from five different graphic displays.
The PM5 Monitor looks and feels very durable. The buttons feel like tough rubber that can take a lot of abuse. The lettering on the buttons looks like they’ll last a long time without fading away.
The monitor is attached to an adjustable arm, so you can move it up or down. It automatically starts when you begin to row and is powered by 2 D cell batteries.
Another bonus is the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine comes with a power-generation feature that provides power to the monitor while you’re rowing. Which will help preserve battery life?
Therefore, the Concept2 Model D PM5 is an excellent monitor that doesn’t receive any complaints. It is the best screen on the market, and it has an incredible number of features.
- It’s a graph that shows you how force varies between your legs, back, and arms during the driving motion of your row. It tells you if your rowing motion is smooth or not.
- Shows graphic display of your ship against a pre-programmed vessel; you can also set a previous workout of yours as the speedboat so you can race against yourself.
- It’s a graphic display in a bar graph format of the total watts of power generated during each phase of your workout.
Heart Rate Monitoring
You’ll need to have a compatible chest strap and a heart rate attachment (around $50), your heart rate will be shown on the monitor.
The PM5 supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for wireless heart rate monitoring. Be advised that “Bluetooth Smart” is a different technology than “Bluetooth.” Make sure your heart monitor is Bluetooth Smart compatible.
Tracking your heart rate gives you the ability to stay in target heart rate zones while exercising — the PM5 store’s heart rate data before and after workouts.
USB Drive & PC Connection
The PM5 comes equipped with a USB Drive. You can save and store records of your workout data using the USB drive.
‘Concept2 Utility’ is an online logbook where you can transfer the data for management and further analysis.
There are third-party programs available that do even more while your Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine connects to your PC. There are many different 3rd party features for the Concept2 PM5 monitor. You’ll find a ton of information on the Concept2 website.
The rowing machine is large when in use, but the size is cut in half when it’s taken apart for storage. To save floor space, all you should do is separate the monorail and the flywheel portion of the rower.
Then rest the wheel side of the rower on its “head” and make the monorail section “stand up.”It’s incredibly easy to do, and I’m honestly surprised that something so durable can be put away in a matter of seconds.
Model D Assembly and Maintenance
The assembly process of this rowing machine is far from being confusing. Seat, flywheel, footrests, and handlebar are already attached to the main pieces of the frame. All you have to attach are the support legs of the machine, its bases, and then connect the performance monitor. The box includes the assembly manual and tools required for this task.
The maintenance of this indoor rower is not demanding. The chain needs lubricating around every 50 hours of use with 20W motor oil, 3-in-1 oil or purified mineral oil.
The seat rail should be kept free of any dirt or particles that might impair the smooth movement of the seat. Also, make sure you keep the console free from moisture, so make sure to wipe the sweat or water droplets that might fall on it.
The machine is stable enough as it is. It doesn’t require placement on a mat. But, in case you place it directly on a hardwood floor, it’s best to use a mat, to prevent the floor from sustaining any damage.
- Assembled dimensions: 96L x 24W x 14H inches (244L x 61W x 36H cm)
- Stored dimensions: 25″L x 33″W x 54″H
- Seat height: 14 inches
- Product weight: 57 lbs (26 kg)
- Supported weight: 500 lbs (227 kg)
- Frame: Steel/aluminum, foldable
- Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
- Resistance type: Air
- Progress tracking computer: PM5
- Warranty: Frame parts five years
- The Concept2 Model D is one of the most respected brands in the rowing industry.
- It’s built solidly for commercial use and requires a minimal amount of maintenance. It will keep running smoothly for years.
- It holds its resale value very well.
- The rowing motion is very smooth and fits almost any user size.
- The PM5 monitor is one of the best monitors on the market!
- Easy to assemble and stores away in seconds.
- Concept2 has a dedicated online community and easy to find workout tutorials and instructions.
- Spare parts and service companies are easy to find.
- The manufacturer provides an excellent warranty.
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Best rowing machine on the market.
- It’s 8 feet long, so you’ll need a lot of space to use this rower.
- The seat can be uncomfortable for some people (cushions are available).
- The handle can be hard on the hands (wearing rowing gloves helps).
- The fan may be too noisy for some people.
Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine Summary
After reviewing the Concept2 Model D, I believe that it’s perfect for people of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels. Many people have used this machine for over a decade, and it’s still going strong.
Bottom line – I highly recommend this rowing machine. I promise you will not be disappointed with this rower.
The Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is built to last you a lifetime. Furthermore, it has the best performance monitor, a high resale value, and gives you an excellent full-body workout! Last but not least, it comes with an excellent price-quality ratio and unmatched durability.
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions, and the sharing of ideas.