Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review

Concept2 is known for producing excellent fitness equipment, including some of the best rowing machines that are used by Olympic athletes to train upon. The Concept2 Model D is one such rowing machine, which retails for a high price, but comes packed with features that are not available in perhaps any other air resistance type rowing machine. However, to critically study its features and find the unavoidable flaws, it is necessary to scrutinize the machine on important parameters, namely build quality, control panel, ease of use, capacity, ease of assembly and dimensions.

Technical Specifications

  • Resistance Type: Air
  • Dimensions:  96 x 24 x 14 inches
  • Machine Weight:  57 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 500 pounds
  • Storage:  Separated into two parts
  • Warranty : 5- year on frame

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Concept2 Model D Indoor rowing machine is considered the best-selling indoor rower in the world with almost every user appreciating it. Concept2 Model D has a perfect customer rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars with 750+ customer reviews mentioning that they’re completely satisfied with the device. This is a very significant number because customer reviews always give you the most reliable information based upon practical experiences.

Why is the Concept2 Model D the best –selling indoor rower in the word, though its price isn’t cheap? Following are the convincing reasons that make many people spend a not inconsiderable sum of money for buying it.

Ease of Assembly

According to a majority of users, the rowing machine is extremely easy to assemble. Having a total of about eight washers and screws, which have to be put in place using the wrench that is included, the machine can be put together by anyone, even an amateur. As far as the included user manual is concerned, that is easy to follow as well.

Excellent Structure

Many users regard the Model D as the best in terms of build quality. There are no cheap parts, with the front and the monorail being made of aluminum and the rear legs being of steel. There is a matte look to it that makes it appear really premium. Looks aside, most users testify to the fact that the Model D can provide premium service for years. This is especially important to note because as you progress, your strength will gradually grow, and therefore put additional stress on the machine. The good thing is, no matter what your strength level is, the Model D can take it all.

The manufacturer of Concept2 confirms that: “The Model D is efficiently engineered and will last a lifetime. The Model D you buy is the same machine used by Olympic- and elite-level athletes to train for their sport — it’ll take the abuse of heavy training day after day”.

The superior build of the machine ensures that some of the creaking noises that one associates with rowing machines are not present in the Concept2 Model D rowing machine, though the fan noise and the comparatively large footprint which are inherent characteristics of air resistance type machines, are present.

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Ease of Use

The Model D is among the easiest air resistance rowing machines to figure out. It has a central pull system and a sliding seat, both of which are extremely smooth. The entire mechanism is extremely smooth – the resistance of the machine, the sliding of the seat on the monorail and the pull system itself.

Good Parts

As far as comfort is concerned, the footrests are curved at an angle and contoured so as to make them the best for rowers who want to stretch their ankles. Further, some users commented that the design appears to have been made with barefoot rowers in mind, since the contouring of the footrests are even more comfortable when working out barefoot.

Regarding the seat, the slightly tilted design ensures that if you are always in the right posture, which is important for getting the maximum out of rowing. Further, the seat is padded and contoured, so you never have the sensation of discomfort when working out. A problem however is that the seat gets harder as more workout is carried out. This can become a slight issue for those who engage in heavy workouts, but the manufacturer has a solution for this in the form of an extra seat pad that costs about $5.

Another point which the manufacturer itself warns against is the risk of blisters forming on your hands when you’re just getting started, even though the handles are covered with molded rubber grips. This happens because the hand is not habituated to gripping things tightly. This can be easily fixed by wearing gloves, though you have to make sure that you retains a good grip while using them. Once you get the hang of it, there should be no trouble using the pull mechanism.

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Advanced Display

The device comes with one of the most sophisticated control panels/monitors called the Performance Monitor 5 (PM5), which displays virtually every bit of information the machine could possibly collect. From the bottom part of the display, you can choose five different types of display, namely, All Data, Force Curve, Bar Chart, PaceBoat and Large Print. Using a heart belt from Concept 2, you can see your heart rate displayed on the screen as well. It begins recording data after about one minute of rowing, which is not really much of an inconvenience.

The quality of the monitor is excellent, with the buttons being of especially high quality. Even better, it is powered by you – the power it needs is generated by your rowing, so you actually don’t need to recharge them ever.

Finally, there is the Log Card, which is an insertable card which allows you to carry your exercise statistics with you, such that you can insert it into another Concept2 Model D machine and have your existing workout statistics at your fingertips. It can also be connected to a PC or Mac, and various compatible programs can be used to provide further data regarding your workout.

Ease of Storage

Even though it is quite big when assembled, it takes up relatively less space when folded. This is essentially done by separating the monorail and the front part and resting the machine on the end that has the air resistance setup. The folding process usually takes you not more than half a minute, and the reassembling process is equally easy.


  • Commercial grade build quality ensures that this machine can take heavy abuse for extended periods of time without suffering from decline in performance.
  • Easy to learn and use due to simple design.
  • Highly sophisticated control panel that provides you with virtually all the data you need.
  • Very easy to store.


  • Like all air resistance rowing machines, it makes a lot of noise.
  • Requires large storage space.


The Concept2 Model D is an excellent device if you’re looking for a premium air resistance rowing machine. Indeed, with its top of the range features, ease of storage, assembly and excellent built quality, it can be considered the best air resistance rowing machine available. This rowing machine delivers an effective cardiovascular workout that will increase your fitness level and tone your physique and therefore it is great value for money.

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