Concept 2 Rowing Machine Model D PM5 Review

Table of Contents

The Concept2 Model D is a personal favorite and a clear favorite amongst the customers of Amazon. This rowing machine is expensive but well worth the money. Read on for a comprehensive review of the Concept Model D rowing machine.

6 new from $1,139.99
as of May 13, 2024 3:23 pm
Last updated on May 13, 2024 3:23 pm

Is Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Worth the Money?

Short answer – YES. There are many great features of this machine which we will look at in more detail in the following categories – resistance, PM5 monitor, the machine itself, storage, comfort, and warranty. This is the most popular and best selling indoor rowing machine used by competitive rowers and everyday people too.

Key Features

  • Smooth to use 
  • Quiet
  • Performance Monitor 5
  • Comfortable seat, large footrests
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Separates into two for storage
  • Small footprint
  • Max user weight of 500 pound
  • 5-year warranty

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D with PM5

6 new from $1,139.99
as of May 13, 2024 3:23 pm


  • Integrated Device Holder allows you to keep your Smart Phone or Tablet securely in place. Compatible with over 40+ apps.
  • 14-inch seat height fits most uses. Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
  • Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and low-impact workout; flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
  • Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row. Bluetooth and ANT+ functionality to connect wirelessly to apps and heart rate monitors.
  • Easily separates into two pieces for storage. Caster wheels make it mobile. Construction: Aluminum front legs and steel rear legs.


The Concept2 Model D uses air-resistance which is simply a fan flywheel that spins when the handle is pulled. As it spins the air in front of it is displaced which results in the resistance.

To increase the resistance you need to spin the flywheel faster as more air is displaced it becomes harder.

Likewise, if you need to decrease, slow down how fast and hard you pull the handle and the flywheel will slow, decreasing the resistance.

Is air resistance the best type? All resistance types can be argued about which is better but they all have their features. I find that air resistance gives rowing a very smooth and even style of resistance that is quite similar to the real thing.

The only real negative about air resistance is that it can be quite noisy.

Flywheel and Damper

If you aren’t happy with the ‘feel’ of the rowing stroke with the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine then you can adjust it with the damper setting. This is not the same as adjusting the resistance.

You can change the damper settings from 1 to 10 which changes the amount of air that can enter the flywheel. This, in turn, changes how the rowing feels.

This is personal preference here so I recommend having a play with all levels until you find the one that feels right. Just like riding a bike with gears, there is always one setting that just feels right.

Performance Monitor 5

The Performance Monitor 5 is the console included with the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine. This is the most advanced monitor available and is incredibly accurate and easy to use. PM5 Concept 2 rowing machine computerThis is one of the most desired features of this rowing machine!

Data Tracking

The Concept2 Model D PM5 monitor tracks distance, 500m split speed, time, strokes per minute, calories and watts and can also calculate many averages based on these metrics.

Monitor Features

Backlit this monitor is easy to read in lowlight conditions as well as normal lighting. The display is large and data easy to read.

By starting to row the monitor will automatically power up and track the data. There are also the options to choose from 5 pre-set programmed workouts or to customize your workout.

There is also the option to play a game or to take a brief lesson in the proper rowing technique.

Heart Rate Monitor

You will need to have your compatible chest strap and heart rate attachment which is bought separately. It is displayed on the monitor along with the other workout metrics.

In addition to this you the PM5 supports ANT+ as well as Bluetooth Smart for wireless tracking of your heart rate. Another consideration when purchasing a monitor – Bluetooth Smart Compatible.

The PM5 displays your heart rate as a bar graph every 10 seconds and stores the data for after as well.

USB Drive

With a USB flash drive you can store your workout data and access it on your computer. This is great for tracking your workouts and fitness levels!

Storage & Dimensions

The dimensions of the Concept2 Model D rowing machine are as follows:

  • Overall Length: 96 inches (244 cm)
  • Width: 24 inches (61 cm)
  • Seat height:14 inches (36 cm)
  • Monorail Length: 54 inches (137 cm). This fits inseams up to 38″
  • Nickel-plated steel chain
  • Maximum user weight of 500 lb (227 kg)
  • Assembled: 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm)

In terms of storing the rowing machine, this model has a quick-release frame lock mechanism. This makes it easy and without tools to separate the machine and store it. There are also transport wheels on the front which can help to move the assembled machine.


The Concept2 Model D is super comfortable to use as far as rowing machines go. Let’s take a look at the 3 key components, seat, handle and footrests.


The seat is contoured and padded which is quite comfortable. Most rowing seats are pretty rigid so if you do get a sore behind then try using a folded towel or even a thin cushion.

Featuring a slight tilt it is easy to maintain the correct posture and rowing technique.


Equipped with molded rubber grips and ergonomically designed this handle is easy to use. The handle also has a 10-degree bend to it allowing the user to row naturally and comfortably.

Of course for those completely new to the exercise type may find some discomfort in the first few weeks while you get accustomed to using it. If the issue is ongoing you can always look at wearing gloves to soften the handle further.


The footrests accommodate a large range of shoe sizes and are adjustable. They are flexible and allow the user to get their shin vertical.

Extremely comfortable to use barefoot and with shoes and the footrests provide enough grip to stop you slipping.


Putting together the Concept2 is easy to do, with the total assembly taking 15-20mins.

The rower only needs 8 screws and washing and can be assembled with a wrench which is included.


The frame comes with a 5-year and parts come with a 2-year warranty. These warranties are effective from the date of purchase. The  Model D  is built to last but it is nice to have a decent warranty on the machine.

The only negative thing we can say about the Concept2 Model D is the price. Mainly the fact that not everyone can afford this machine. It is worth the money if your budget does allow.Concept2 rowing machine

Bottom Line

The Concept2 Model D is well worth the money and is the best selling indoor rower in the world for good reason. Elite athletes train using this quality machine and it is well suited to everyone wanting to get into rowing.

The physical fitness benefits of rowing are fantastic although I’m sure you already know this if you are considering the Concept2 Model D. So I guess the question is, which color are you going to buy? Light gray or black?

9 Total Score

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is a personal favorite and a clear favorite amongst the customers of Amazon.

Performance Monitor 5
  • Available in light gray or black
  • Sturdy, well built rowing machine
  • 5 year warranty
  • Easy to store
  • Many features with the monitor
  • Price

Jason was a former bodybuilder who dedicated a significant part of his life to the sport. Although now retired from the competitive bodybuilding World, he still coaches a select few clients and is a full-time health advocate to the readers here at Fitness Equipment Reviews!

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