There are over 100 listed rowers on Amazon, and the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5 outshines them all! While in the higher price range, “you get what you pay for.”
The Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5 is a commercial grade rower that is virtually indestructible and is sturdy enough to be used in health clubs, boathouses, and various training facilities around the world. As a result, it’s the ideal full-body workout machine for your home. Beginners and professionals alike swear by this rower, and it’s even formed a strong following with its users.
Product: Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5
Warranty: Frame 5 years limited, all parts two years limited
My Rating: 9.8/10
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It’s a Resistance Type 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.
The Concept2 Model D or E is used by Olympic rowing teams 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 all the way 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 resistance 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.
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 adjust 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, heavier boat, whereas the lower settings (1-5) give you the impression of a sleeker, faster boat.
Like other air rowers, the Concept2 Model D noise level is a bit loud for some users. You will hear a ‘whooshing’ sound every time you row, which is just the wind created inside the flywheel.
Users can listen to music or turn the TV volume up to drown out the noise. The Concept2 noise level won’t be loud enough to disturb anyone in your house.
Another consideration of air rowers, especially the Concept2 Model D, is the overall size. Air rowers are notoriously long which is ideal for big users, but they do require a large workout space.
Concept2 recommends an exercise area of 9′ x 4′.
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.
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 is connected 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 manufacturer has a solid reputation, so you would expect this rowing machine to be extremely durable and your expectations would be right.
The Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is commercial grade and comes in a matte or black finish. It’s built tough to withstand the punishment of constant use at a health club. So, don’t worry about it breaking on you anytime soon.
Nothing about the machine feels cheap (there are no cheap plastic parts). The base has steel rear legs, an aluminum front, and an aluminum I-beam monorail with a stainless-steel seat track.
- What good is a machine if it’s tough enough to abuse, but it isn’t comfortable to use.
- Model D has a contoured and padded seat. Therefore, making it comfortable for most users.
- Depending on your weight and the average length of workout time, you may need to make some minor adjustments.
- Because of the slight tilt of the seat, it makes maintaining proper upright posture more natural relative to a plain, flat seat.
- The ergonomically designed handle is built for comfort and has molded rubber grips.
- New rowers should expect to get a few blisters on their hands during the first few weeks of use. It’s due to the handle made of rubber which allows for a more efficient rowing stroke. To help with this issue, I recommend wearing rowing gloves to make the grip feel softer in your hands.
- The footrests have a unique design which allows the rower to get their “shins vertical” (even if their ankles aren’t flexible). Your feet won’t slip out while rowing.
- It’s your preference whether you row barefoot or with shoes, the footrests appear to be suitable for either.
- 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.
- 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.
- Per the instruction manual, the weight capacity of the unit is 500 pounds.
- Many users well over 300 pounds have used this rowing machine with no problem and still felt the rower was robust and sturdy.
- In-Use: 96″L X 24″W X 14″H
- Seat Height: 14.0″
- 25″L X 33″W X 54″H
- 57 Pounds
- Just remember the Concept2 rower length is 8’, so you’ll need extra room for when you lean backward during your stroke (unless you are less tall).
- It is easy to assemble and only requires eight screws and washers (wrench included).
- 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, and it gets harder after years of use (cushions are available).
- The handle can be hard on the hands (wearing rowing gloves helps).
- The fan may be too noisy for some people. It will get louder the harder and faster you row.
Final Thoughts on the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5
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!
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