Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine (With PM5) Review

Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine (with PM5)
Our Rating
4.8/5
Concept2 has been making world-class rowing machines since 1976. Used commercially and privately, Concept2 rowing machines have found favor with CrossFitters and “real” rowers who often use them for indoor training. Concept2 Model E rowing machines are also synonymous with the sport of indoor rowing and are used in the world indoor rowing championships.
PROS
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Higher seat placement
  • Available rail extensions
  • Quality of display monitor
  • Wireless heart rate data
  • Divides in two for easy storage
  • Ergonomic handle with 10-degree bend
CONS
  • Quite a large footprint
  • Higher price range
  • Heavy to move around

Attention!

Concept2 has now discontinued the Model E rower and you are no longer able to purchase it from them or their partner stores. They have also changed the name of the Model D to RowErg. This name better aligns with the companies other products, the SkiErg and the BikeErg. Although you can no longer purchase the Model E, there is an option to purchase a RowErg that stands 20” off the floor (the same as the Model E) if you prefer this height to the lower 14” model. 

Resistance Type and Model

The Model E indoor rower from Concept2 is available with a black or grey finish. The rower is 96” long and 24” wide with a clear coat finish which gives it a glossy appearance. 

Using Concept 2’s unique chain and fan resistance system, you can instantly vary the drag of each stroke by opening or closing a damper located on the side of the fan housing. The damper levels vary from 1-10 with 10 being the most difficult setting, providing the highest level of resistance. 

C2 Model E damper

The rowing stroke on this rower is smooth and controlled making it one of the best performing rowers on the market. 

How to set the perfect Concept 2 Damper setting 

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 244 x 61 x 51cm (LxWxH)
  • Resistance Type:  Air/Flywheel
  • Length: 96 inches / 244 cm
  • Width: 24 inches / 61 cm
  • Max Supported Weight: 227 kg
  • Color: Choice of grey or black
  • Storage: Separates into two parts

Display/ Monitor

One major feature that sets the Model E apart from rowers made by other companies is the PM5 performance monitor.

The monitor displays information about every aspect of your workout including stroke rate, stroke power, speed, calories burnt, predicated workout finishing time, and elapsed time. It is also compatible with most heart rate monitors and will display your heart rate if you wear a heart rate chest strap.

You can then download your workout stats into a USB flash drive to send it directly to your PC or tablet via blue tooth. PM5s can also be linked to allow head-to-head races.

The PM5 monitor is pre-programmed with several workouts and you can also create and save your own.

C2 Model E PM5 monitor

The motor is attached to a long metal monitor arm. Unlike the Model D, the monitor arm of the Model E is fixed in place and cannot be moved. This can be a little annoying as you cannot adjust the height to suit your preferred viewing preference. On the other hand, it’s made of metal )unlike the arm on the Model D which is made of plastic) so it´s less likely to get damaged. 

Build Quality

The Model E is one of the most durable pieces of exercise equipment around. If you maintain its upkeep, it will easily become a life-long investment. It’s strong, compact, and can take a pounding from the world’s greatest athletes. 

The Model E features a nickel-plated drive chain and enclosed fan which are both hardwearing and easy to maintain. The rowing handle is ergonomically curved for comfort and the seat is contoured for the same reason.

To take your rowing experience up a level, Concept2 offers optional slides that are compatible with your rower. These slides are designed to simulate the feeling of rowing on the water by moving the rower back and forth whilst you row. Not only are they great fun but can also improve your rowing workout, allowing for a quicker catch and higher stroke rate. 

They simply attach to the rower with the use of bungee cords and can be used for single rowers or connect to multiple Concept2 rowing machines to create a team boat slide. 

Comfort and Capacity

One thing you will notice instantly if you compare the Model E with the Model D is that the E seems much larger. This is because the seat height is 20” from the ground compared to the 14” seat height of the Model D. 

Many users may not see any difference in usage and will be quite comfortable using either machine. However, those that are elderly or very tall may find that the Model E is easier to use. 

The higher seat and rail are also very useful for those that have balance and mobility issues as you will find it easier getting on and off of the seat. 

The seat slides on highly polished rails and duel rollers provide a smooth rowing action. Your feet are comfortable but firmly secured in flexible footplates fitted with quick-adjust foot straps.

Assembly

Assembly of the Model D is super easy and will most likely take you around 20 minutes (if not less) to have it up and running. 

Here is a video showing you just how easy it is.

Storage

C2 Model E folded

Weighing in at 65 lbs. the Model E is 8 lbs. heavier than its’ Model D counterpart but unless you are going to move your rower regularly, this difference is not especially important. Also worth noting, that although the Model E is taller, Concept2 recommends the same working area for both machines. So don’t think you will have to make more room for the Model E. 

The Model E can be split into two parts for easy transport or storage and can also be stood upright when not in use to save space. It’s extremely easy to do, no tools are required, and takes about 5 seconds. This is a useful feature if you exercise at home and don’t have a lot of space.  

Price and value

The Concept 2 Model E with PM5 performance monitor costs slightly more than the model D but, given its larger size and more luxurious finish and appearance, it’s easy to see why.

However, apart from the size, there is no real difference between the two models. Their functionality is pretty much identical and both are built to last as life-long investments. With that being said, unless you prefer having the higher seat you should just opt for the Model D and save some money. 

Warranty

While the Model E might seem like a lot of money, it’s important to remember that Concept2 rowers are backed with a 2-year standard guarantee, a 5-year frame guarantee, and are very hardwearing. 

Used properly and serviced regularly, a Model E rower from Concept2 should last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts On The Concept2 Model D (should you buy?)

The Concept 2 Model E with PM5 performance monitor is a top-quality exercise machine that looks as good as it functions. It’s slightly more expensive than the Model D but, if you require a higher seat, or just want a better-looking, higher-profile rower, the Model E is a great choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Concept2 Model E

Why has the Concept2 Model E been discontinued? 

The Model E has been discontinued by Concept2 as they have decided to streamline their product range. They have also decided to change the name of their Model D rower to RowErg. This name is more fitting for the company as it is now aligned with their other main products, the SkiErg and the BikeErg. 

What is the difference between Concept 2 Model D and E?

The main difference between the Concept2 Model D and E is the height of the seat. The Model E stands at 20” tall while the D stands at 14” tall. Other differences include the monitor arm, which is made from metal on the E and plastic on the D, and the finish of the machines with the Model E being glossy and the D having a mat finish. 

Are concept 2 rowers any good?

Concept2 rowers are amongst the best rowers in the world. Widely recognized as the industry standard and the preferred rower of choice for athletes and commercial gyms. Indoor rowing world records can only be attempted on a Concept2 rower for them to be classed as official times. So yes, they are very, very good. 

How long will a Concept 2 rower last?

With good upkeep and maintenance when needed, you can expect a Concept2 rower to be a life-long investment. 

How do you assemble a Concept 2 Model E?

Assembly of the Model E can be performed by one person and can be completed in around 10-30 minutes depending on how handy you are with tools. Concept2 has made a handy tutorial video which you can watch above.