There are rowing machines, and then there’s the Concept2; the industry’s top rowing machine. Meant for the avid rower, the Model E offers a precision build, the industry’s best monitoring system with the PM5, and a 5-year warranty with the ability to hold users up to 500-pounds in weight.
The Concept2 is unmatched in the industry.
Concept2 Model E Features
- Performance Monitor 5
- Caster wheels for easy transport
- Accommodates users up to 500 pounds
- 20-inch frame height to allow for usage at all ages
- Preset workouts and games to keep users rowing day after day
- Wireless heart monitoring capability
- Flywheel and damper for quiet rowing
- Adjustable footrests with ergonomic handle
- 15 minute assembly
- Weight of 65 pounds
Easy to Assemble
Starting with assembly, the Concept2 Model E is one of the easiest models I’ve ever assembled. In total, assembly took around 15 minutes, but this partly since I have put together the model d before and they are almost identical in assembly. I do want to caution users about the weight of the shipping box.
The box itself weighs 94 pounds, so you’ll want someone to help you bring it into your home.
Once you unpack the contents you might be worried they have forgotten something. But do not worry there is only meant to be 3 boxes. In the bag of parts, you will notice they have even included the screwdriver required to complete the assembly process. Not many rowing machine manufacturers include the tools.
There are 9 simple steps to follow to have the rower ready to go:
Step 1 – fasten the front legs to the fan mount.
Step 2 – Fix the seat stopper at the rear of the central rail.
Step 3 – Put the clip onto the rear support legs and attach to the beam.
Step 4 – Fix the rear legs to the beam using the screws provided.
Step 5 – Slide the plastic sheathing out from the performance monitor arm so that you can slide the wire inside.
Step 6 – Slide the wire in the monitor arm and fix it onto the fan mount, then put the plastic sheathing back on to hide the wire inside.
Step 7 – Fix the monitor arm in place by putting 2 screws through the fan mount.
Step 8 – Attach the wire to the monitor and connect the monitor to the arm using the bolt provided.
Step 9 – Attach the central rail of the rower to the main front fan end by simply slipping them together and clipping in place using the easy lock catch.
The final product weighs just 65 pounds after being assembled. You’ll notice that this machine is very sturdy and much bigger than the Model D. The main difference between these two models is the Model E has a much higher seat height, but we’ll discuss this more briefly.
Adjusting the Concept2
Built with an ergonomic design concept, the Concept2 is very comfortable, with a 20-inch seat height, adjustable footrests and a handle that is ergonomic. When sitting on the rower for the first time, you’ll want to adjust the footrests so that they’re comfortable for your foot size.
You’ll also notice that the seat is much higher at 20”.
This design allows those with less mobility to easily get on and off of the Model E. Most rowers have a seat height that is just 11”, like the Model D, and this means older users or those with injuries will struggle to get on and off of the rower. In comparison, the Model E’s seat height is on par or slightly lower than your average kitchen chair.
And, the padded seat is very comfortable.
The monorail allows for users up to 6’5” in height to row with ease. If you’re taller than this, you’ll want to opt for the longer monorail to achieve full range of motion. Users that have an inseam of 38” or more will need the extended monorail.
Construction and Build
Most rowing machines can’t accommodate heavier users, but the Model E can hold users up to 500 pounds in weight. This high weight, compared to less than 300 pounds as seen with most rowers, is due to the construction of the Concept2.
The model e was the rower used by the current world’s strongest man Brian Shaw while setting a 100m sprint rowing record. He is 6’9”, weighs 420 pounds and the rower still managed to withstand his strength and he set the record time of 12.8 seconds!
First, the support legs are made from welded steel to accommodate added weight. The chain and cord is nickel-plated steel to ensure long-lasting quality while being fully enclosed to limit maintenance and lessen the risk of injury.
The flywheel has a damper design to reduce noise production when rowing.
I found that rowing on carpet is optimal. Wood floors do not absorb sound as well as carpet, so you’ll notice that the rower produces more noise when placed on these flooring types. It’s not a massive increase in noise, so it’s not a big issue. If you are concerned about this issue then you can get a rowing machine mat which ensures it doesn’t slide, protects your floor and reduces the vibration noise.
The monitor arm is made from aluminium and can be tilted for the perfect viewing angle. The arm on the model e is fixed in position so you wont be able to move the arm up and down like you can on the model d. The arm is also longer than the one found on the model d version making it even easier to see the display and reach it while your feet and fixed into the foot pedals.
A double powder coat provides a glossy finish and ensures that the Concept2 has fewer scratches and blemishes even after extended use.
You can separate the assembly for easy storage when you’re done rowing. All you have to do is simply release the catch connecting the front and rear ends of the rower together.
The PM5 Performance Monitor
The Performance Monitor 5 provides the industry’s most advanced monitoring system. While monochrome, you’ll have complete control over your workout while being able to monitor advanced metrics, such as:
You’ll also be able to change the display. Requiring two D cell batteries for operation, the Concept2 also allows for Bluetooth Smart wireless heart monitoring. I do love when a rower has Bluetooth allowing for wireless heart rate monitors as there is nothing worse than pulling the cables out of the monitor mid row due to the wire getting tangled on the handle.
Using a USB flash drive, you’re free to export all of your workout data to a PC for further workout analysis.
Games are included so that you can play a game when taking a break. These games are simple in nature, and include:
- Fish game
- Target training
Racing mode allows you to connect with workout partners around the world to race against each other. I personally love this feature as it gives me a chance to row against my brother.
Note: Air resistance allows you to dictate the level of resistance of the Concept2. The faster you row, the more natural resistance will be produced.
This rower is fairly low maintenance thanks to the nickel-plated chain. Some rowers seem to become stiff overnight however the model e only requires a little bit of oil every 50 hours.
Concept 2 do recommend that you check the machine over thoroughly every 250 hours to make sure that everything is in working order and all nuts and bolts are still tight.
I normally wipe off the monorail after every workout with a cloth just to make sure it stays clean and smooth when rolling on the seat.
- Solid construction
- Advanced monitoring and racing mode
- High seat height
- Accommodates tall users
- Easy assembly
- High price
- Larger than the Model D
All Concept2 Models are expensive, but this is the cost of a rowing machine that is used by Olympic athletes. The Model E is larger than the Model D and other models due to the higher seat. This isn’t much of a concern, and the higher seat allows for users to easily get on and off of the Concept2 – which is a major benefit for injured or older users.
The Concept2 also offers a 5-year frame and 2-year moving parts warranty.
If you’re serious about rowing, the Concept2 Model E is one of the best rowing machines on the market.
The quality is exceptional and I’m sure that if this model managed to with the world’s strongest man as he set a new 100m sprint record then it will easily be able to take anyone else.
Another model that is worth looking at is the Vantage Velocity. It is about the same price as the model e but is foldable which may make it more appealing to you.