Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine Review

Considering that its earlier rendition, the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine, is placed at the top of our best 5 rowing machines list, we naturally had great expectations from the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine, which comes with improved seat design, an upgradable PM5 fitness monitor and a better flywheel chain. Surprisingly, the Model E is an even better rowing machine, though it does have some flaws, including a rather high price tag. The positives and negatives of this machine will be analyzed in detail in the review below.

Technical Specifications

  • Resistance Type: Air
  • Dimensions:  96 x 24 x 20 inches
  • Machine Weight: 65 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 500 pounds
  • Storage:  Separated into two parts
  • Warranty : 5- year on frame/ 2-year on parts

Concept2 Model E IndoorShop now at

Ease of Assembly

The Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine comes with only 8 washers and 8 bolts, which are all that is required to put the machine together. Users of all ages could assemble the machine in less than 45 minutes. However, there are a few problems with the clarity of instructions in the user manual.


Made for commercial use, the Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine comes with an aluminum frame that has a clear coating at the top for increased durability. The handles and other parts are made of tough stainless steel, while the chain pulling the flywheel is made of nickel plated steel. Put together, these provide the perfect build, capable of taking heavy abuse for years on end. Indeed, users put this machine to heavy workouts (as much as 1.2 million miles of workout a year) daily, facing no problems whatsoever.

Ease of Use

Since the Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine is an air resistance type machine, it offers you greater resistance the faster you row. Hence, you can modify your workout simply by rowing faster or slower. However, if you wish to change the feel of the rowing machine further, Concept2 allows you to change the damper setting on the flywheel. It suggests a setting between 3 and 5 (out of 10) to ensure a good cardiovascular workout . However, if you’re seeking the experience of rowing a “heavy” boat, you can push the damper level above five, and then lower it when feeling fatigued.

Concept2 Model E ReviewSee more at

Parts and Operation

All parts of the machine work as they are supposed to, with no hints of creaking or other noises. The resistance, the handle and the seat are extremely smooth, which is to be expected in such a high end rowing machine. A further benefit is that the seat has been raised slightly, such that it is now 20″ off the ground. This not only ensures that those using wheelchairs or having bad knees can sit and get off the machine with ease, but also gives a better rowing experience to the average user.

Like the Model D, the seat is well padded on the Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine, but one can experience some discomfort when rowing for long hours. This can be mitigated by placing a detachable seat padding (offered by Concept2 as an add-on) or simply a towel on the seat while rowing. The handles are curved at ten degrees to ensure that one does not put too much pressure on the wrists while rowing. However, there is a chance of blisters developing, and therefore it is advisable (even Concept2 suggests) to wear gloves for the first few weeks. The footrests are excellent, catering to a wide range of foot sizes with their adjustability. They also come with pivoting function to allow the user his natural foot movement during workout.


Concept2 Model EThe Concept2 Model E comes with the latest PM5 monitor, the same used on the Model D. As such, it can monitor heart rate (through wireless polar heart belt or ear clip), strokes count, rowing motion, calories burnt and distance traveled, and can store these on the 2MB flash memory included in the monitor. Further, it has preset workout routines which the user can follow to ensure an even and regular workout. Further, it has three games, which can be used to make workouts fun without reducing efficacy.

The rowing machine comes with a logcard on which virtually every stroke made on the machine during its lifetime can be saved. This can then be transferred to a PC through a card reader, or to another Concept2 machine such that can carry your workout history wherever you go. The machine can also be connected directly to the computer for more in-depth real time monitoring. Finally, ANT technology ensures that a number of these machines can be used to simulate rowing races.

The PM5 monitor can be upgraded (unlike the one on the Model D) to ensure that the latest improvements are available to you regardless of how old your machine becomes.

Buy it at


The machine can be stored away easily by separating the monorail and the flywheel, and putting them up against each other in the prescribed position. In this manner the Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine’s footprint is reduced by more than half, and it can be put up against a wall, or in a closet.


  • Good build quality ensures that it can be used for both commercial and home use.
  • Excellent capacity, with support for users as tall as 7′
  • One of the best monitors available in rowing machines monitors virtually everything, and saves them for external use. It can also be connected to a PC.
  • Overall smooth functioning, with a raised seat for added comfort.


  • Hardness of handle requires use of gloves by beginners.
  • Large footprint when in use.

What is the Concept2 Model E good for?

As far as capacity is concerned, the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine supports up to 500 pounds, which is a record among rowing machines. Though this has not been verified, users above 300 pounds have used this machine intensively for years. Further, the length of the monorail is the same as that on the Model D, and hence, users will not have any issues using it, unless they’re taller than 7′.


While we were mesmerized by the capabilities of the Model D, the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine takes things an level higher. Along with the improvements and the upgradability of the monitor, Concept2 has ensured that the overall feel has been improved as well. Though we can’t say whether these make it the better choice than the Model D, since they have different price points and the Model E costs more, we can definitely say that the Model E is amongst the best air resistance rowing machines available today.

Learn more at