Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Review

Rowing machines have always been popular for low-impact workouts other than a top rated spinning bike that is also easy on the knees.  Now you can have a solid, ergonomic, low-impact machine for your home with as many or as little bells and whistles equipped with all of the latest technology.


  • No-impact cardio
  • Sophisticated monitoring system
  • Durable construction
  • Nickel plated chain
  • Responsive flywheel and adjustable damper
  • Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
  • Easily assembled
  • Easily stored

No-Impact Cardio

One of the best things about row machines is that they are no-impact machines. If you have experienced a lower body injury, have knee trouble, or are new to working out, rowing is a no-impact workout that will be easy on the knees but still blast that heart rate up.

Sophisticated Monitoring System  Rowing exercise machine

The Concept 2 Model D Rower comes equipped with a PM5 monitor. The PM5 is accurate, has a backlight for better visibility and night rowing, comes programmed with games for a little more fun, it has USB capabilities so you can track your workout for later review, and can also track your heart rate in real time via a wireless heart rate chest band.

This monitor is thinner than earlier models, can power up faster than its predecessors, you can view workout summaries and totals by date or type, and the USB tracking feature is new as well. It is also not necessary to use the Concept 2 USB. Any USB will do.

Durable Construction

The Concept 2 machines are what Olympians and elite-level athletes use to train for their sport, so you can be sure that it can withstand the daily abuse of heavy training.

Nickel Plated Chain

The nickel plating looks attractive and allows for longer periods of time between oiling. If maintenance isn't your strong suit, this nickel plating will help ensure that each workout is as silky smooth as the last, even if you forget to oil the chain.

If you are unsure how to maintain your Concept 2 Model D, the manufacturer has put together a maintenance schedule that can be found on their site. Following this regimen will also ensure that you do not void your warranty.

Responsive Flywheel and Adjustable Damper

The Concept 2 will respond to your effort on each and every stroke so that you remain in full control of your exertion and resistance. The flywheel contains a spiral damper so that you can easily adjust the airflow, thus changing the feel of the stroke to suit your preference. This new construction also decreases noise while maximizing a smooth glide.

Adjustable Footrests and Ergonomic Handle rowing machine workout

The Model D has easily adjustable footrests for quick readjustment. They can accommodate a wide range of shoe sizes and tightly secure your feet with an adjustable strap.

Many rowers have a straight bar handle that forces your wrists and arms into an uncomfortable rowing position. The Concept 2 features a ten degree bend in the bar resulting in a much more natural arm and hand position. This slows down fatigue and decreases the risk of injury.

Easily Assembled

The Concept 2 Model D with PM5 ships in one 70-pound box and takes only eight screws and about thirty minutes to assemble. The assembly tool (allen wrench) and materials (screws, washers, and parts) are shipped with the machine and come with a beautifully illustrated assembly diagram. Not only that, the Concept 2 website has an assembly video that walks you through assembly step-by-step! It just doesn't get any better than that.

Easily Stored

The Model D comes equipped with a quick-release framelock mechanism. There are no tools required to separate the machine into two pieces for easier storage. The machine is assembled with caster wheels on the front foot, so that, once it is reconfigured into its storage position, you can wheel it into the storage space.


The Model D is 96" (244 cm) long by 24" (61 cm) wide. The seat sits at 14" (35.6 cm) high. The machine can accommodate up to 500 pounds and itself weighs a total of 57 pounds.


There are many accessories you can purchase to accompany your Model D and PM5 including:

  • Android and iPhone connection kits
  • Smartphone cradles
  • Heart rate equipment
  • Slides
  • Dynamic links
  • Covers
  • Floor mat
  • Seat pad

Connection Kits

The PM5 connects, either with a cable or wirelessly, to your smartphone in order to sync with your performance monitoring apps. There is a kit for Android and a separate kit for iPhone.

If you intend to connect wirelessly, then you can skip the kit and just purchase the cradle.

Smartphone Cradle

This cradle attaches to the top of the PM5 and can accommodate phones from 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) in width to 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in width. That means that even an iPhone 6+ with a case will fit in this cradle.

Heart Rate Equipment

The Concept 2 website has a varied list of watches and belts that you can order that are compatible with the PM5. If you already have a Polar or Garmin heart rate monitor then you are already setup. With this option you can totally see your heart rate on the monitor while you are working out. Pretty sweet deal.


Slides are housing mechanisms that simulate rowing on water.

Dynamic Links

Coupling slides with dynamic links allows you to connect more than one rower to simulate true crew rowing and train as a team with accurately simulated conditions.


You can also purchase a cover to protect your machine when you're not using it, a floor mat to protect your floor when you are using your machine and also to keep it from sliding, and you can also add a seat mat to make for a more comfortable workout session.

Pros and Cons

This machine pulls a strong 4.9 star rating from Amazon, and rightly so. Constructed by a highly regarded brand, solidly build, quickly and easily assembled, requiring low amount of maintenance, and featuring a fluid rowing motion, makes this machine great for both beginners and experts. The PM5 monitor is one of the best workout monitors on the market and will quickly become a workout partner, not just a tracker.

The only negatives users experienced were the amount of space needed to fit an eight-foot machine, parts arriving to their homes with slight defects (that were easily fixed), the roughness of the handle for new users, and how noisy the flywheel can be when you're working hard.

Pricing concept 2 erg

The Concept 2 Model D is available in both light gray and black and is competitively priced with other similar machines. Considering the price of a yearly gym membership, owning your own machine is well worth the money.

There is a limited warranty included with the machine that covers frame parts for five years and all parts for two years. Keep in mind, though, that not personally and regularly maintaining your machine can mean voiding your warranty.

In Short 

Whether you are brand new to exercise, have experienced a sport-related injury, or are training as an athlete, the Concept 2 Model D with PM5 is the machine with the most features for the most reasonable investment. You will not be disappointed.


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