Concept 2 Model D review

Walk into a gym anywhere in the world, find the cardio room, and you’ll see a fleet of Concept 2 machines. They are the Rolls Royce of rowing machines, used by Olympic- and club-rowers alike. Here’s our Concept 2 Model D review.

RRP: £860

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Amazon price (US): $945

Concept 2 Model D review: Rowing

The reason Concept 2’s are popular for two main reasons. They’re durable and they work really well. Rowing machines are a great way to give your body a full workout. It’s one of the few exercises that builds strength as well as improves cardio. And the Concept 2 Model D is top of its class.

See also: The 5 BEST home rowing machine of 2017 and our WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine Review.

Getting started on the machine is easy. Just sit on the seat, strap your feet in, and pull on the handle. The PM5 monitor will then automatically switch on and start displaying data about your row. The Model D comes with 10 different resistance settings, putting you in control of your workout’s intensity.

The resistance is set by an air-based flywheel that mimics the real thing. Just as an oar experience more drag the harder you pull, you will feel more resistance the harder you pull Model D’s air flywheel wheel.

I’ve been using this model a couple times a week for over six months. Meaning I’ve has tens of thousands of stokes on the machine. Each of which has been as smooth and steady as the very first. The Model D achieves this reliability in-part due to a nickel-plated chain which enables its machines to function smoothly for longer periods between oiling. See also: Concept 2 vs WaterRower: We pitch the Model D against the Natural Rowing Machine.

Concept 2 Model D review: PM5 Display

Concept 2 Model D review 4Rowing machines are very basic regarding UI. They all offer monochrome monitors that display raw data and little else. The Concept 2 Model D features a PM5 display, that’s attached to an adjustable arm. While the interface isn’t the most friendly, the PM5 has a lot of functionality. It comes with multiple preset rowing modes including traditional modes that let you chose the distance or time you want to row for. There are different interval/HIIT modes for more advanced users too, as well as several games to keep training fresh and interesting.

The PM5 pairs with your Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth too. This lets you enter your own bodyweight for individually adjusted data points. You can also buy a clip that sits on top of the PM5 and use your smartphone as a second screen to display additional rowing information. The other main benefit of the app is that it logs your personal workouts – perfect for when you share your machine with others.

It’s worth noting that while the PM5 isn’t the most advanced display, Concept 2 machines are built to allow users to retrofit newer monitors. Meaning if/when an improved Concept 2 monitor does come out you will be able to upgrade with ease.

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Concept 2 Model D review: Durability

These are the same machines that you will find at your local gym or health club. That means they are used, and mistreated, multiple times a day by people of all builds. And they still last years. To put your mind at rest further, Concept 2 machines come with a 2-year warranty on moving parts and a 5-year warranty on the frame. Providing you don’t abuse this machine, it’s going to last and serve you at home for many years.

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Concept 2 Model D review: Storage

If you have to space in your house. We recommend leaving the Concept 2 Model 2 assembled and ready to use at all times. Having to unpack and assemble equipment is a big workout turnoff. That said, the Model 2 has been designed so it can be stored easily. It comes with a quick release clip that separates the machine at the halfway mark, making it easy to fold. It also features two built-in wheels at the toe of the machine, which makes wheel it’s 26kg mass from A-to-B easy for everyone. Finally, it can also be stored vertically – saving a lot of floor space.

Concept 2 Model D review: Verdict

The Concept 2 Model D is the best indoor rowing machine you can buy. It’s build quality and performance are unrivalled. The monochrome monitor is a little old fashioned but this is an industry-wide problem. If you want to give your body a full workout in the comfort of your own home, there isn’t a better piece of fitness equipment available than the Concept 2 Model D.

Not looking to spend too much on a home rowing machine? Check out our JLL R200 review (£164) or the JTX Freedom Air Rower (£495).

Concept 2 Model D review: Specs

Overall Length96 in (244 cm)
Width24 in (61 cm)
Seat Height14 in (36 cm)
Monorail Length54 in (137 cm)
Users with an inseam of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or more may require an extra-long monorail. Contact Concept2 for more information.
Chain or CordNickel-plated steel chain
Chain/Cord HousingPartially enclosed
Power RequirementTakes two D cell batteries. During your workout, the monitor draws power from the spinning flywheel to extend battery life.
Maximum User Weight500 lb (227 kg) as tested by Concept2.*
*300 lb (135 kg) as tested per European Stationary Fitness Equipment Testing Standard EN 20957-7.
ConstructionAluminum front legs, steel rear legs
Monitor ArmABS plastic. Pivots for storage and to adjust monitor height. Monitor angle can also be adjusted.
FinishPowder coat
Color SchemeLight gray or black
StorageCan be separated into two parts for easy storage
Space RecommendationsAssembled: 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm)
With Clearance for Use: 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm)
For Storage: 25 in x 33 in x 54 in (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm)
Machine Weight57 lb (26 kg)

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David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include,,, and is his new project.


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