by Jamie E August 17, 2018

Concept2 is one of the most renowned indoor rowing machine manufacturers in the world. Their models are designed to suit the needs of serious rowers, they are elegantly designed and made of the highest quality materials, and they are built to last a lifetime.

It is never an easy task to decide which rower is the best for your needs, especially when it comes to high-end rowers which come with lots of features and, you guessed it, a hefty price.

In this post, we’ll review details of the key features of the Concept 2 Model E rowing machine so you can decide whether it is the right pick for you.


Pros

  • Resistance and damper setting simulate real on the water rowing.
  • PM5 Monitor helps visualize all your data.
  • Best value on the market.

Cons

  • More expensive than the Model D.
  • Advanced functionality not necessary for some people.

Indoor Rowing Machine with Man Concept2 E

Key features of the Model E

The Concept2 model E is a top-end rowing machine, and can be used by children, amateurs and professional athletes alike. The key characteristics of the Model E are:

Resistance type

The Model E is an air-resistance rowing machine. Air-resistance is both the strongest technology and gives the closest feel to rowing on water. The amount of air displaced by the wheel is correlated to the strength of the pull, offering virtually infinite levels of resistance. Isn’t that amazing?

Perfect for HIIT workouts

The endless levels of resistance that can be achieved with the Concept2 Model E make it perfect for High-Intensity Interval Training. This model is commonly used by Olympic caliber rowers for HIIT workouts.

Damper level setting

Apart from changing the level of resistance, the Model E gives you the ability to change the ‘gear’ setting. There are 10 damper levels, where 1-5 are easier and provide the same feeling as rowing on a boat alone, while levels 6-10 feel like rowing with passengers.

Resistance feel and noise

As this model uses air-resistance technology, it makes a natural-sounding sough, just like the wind. Most users of the Model E say they find the noise undisturbing and soothing. When it comes to the resistance, as described by Model E users, it is strong, smooth and balanced, one of the best on the market.

Concept2 Model E - your virtual trainer

The Model E comes with a PM5 monitor, the best display currently available on the market. The control panel of the Model E is basically a virtual assistant for your rowing sessions, being able to:

  • Monitor your form while rowing and provide advice on how you can improve
  • Track your training sessions, providing detailed statistics on your past and current performance
  • Let you compete against previous sessions and set new records
  • Keep track of your heart rate
  • Even have fun and play a number of games while rowing
You can also customize your rowing session, set different levels of intensity, length of training, damper setting etc. And while doing it, monitor the duration, calories burnt, distance covered, strokes per minute and more.

The ‘PM5’ display allows five different ways of data visualization

  1. ‘All data’ - compared to the other four options, this one provides additional information of your current performance;
  2. ‘Force Curve’ - in this mode, your ‘virtual coach’ will show whether your rowing motion needs improvement and what you can do to reach smoother, more balanced strokes;
  3. ‘Bar Chart’ - as the name suggests, this mode shows your performance through bar charts, resembling a music player equalizer;
  4. ‘Large Print’ - for those with eyesight problems, you can increase the font and size of the data. Data previously shown on the top side of the display will now cover the whole display;
  5. ‘Pace Boat’ - this mode sets you against a previous rowing session that you did, letting you compete against yourself. Now isn’t that motivating?

Furthermore, the Concept2 Model E is equipped with ANT+ technology making it pairable with any heart rate monitoring device, wirelessly.

The Model E PM5 is also USB compatible, so you can save your training history and favorite settings and transfer them to a computer or other Concept2 device.

Quality build, endurance and comfort

The model E is built for intense use in boat houses, gyms and other sporting facilities, so purchasing this rowing machine for personal use means it will last you a lifetime.

Clearance Floor Space: 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm)

One proud user shares that after using it for close to five years, averaging around 1.3 million meters and using it at least three times a week, the Concept2 Model E has never wavered nor had issues.

Welded, nickel-plated steel with a double powder coated exterior, the Model E has no match when it comes to quality of materials used. 

The only contestant on the market is its older brother, the Model D, let’s examine the key differences and similarities between the two.

Comparison between the Concept2 Model D vs Model E indoor rowers

To the uninformed, the two models might seem identical, however, there are a few key differences. Watch this video made by Concept2 describing the differences between their two models:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=6B3RKBFRKcI

Here is a list of the main differences between the two models:

Model D Model E
Seat Height 14 in (36 cm) 20 in (51 cm)
Machine Weight  57lbs 65lbs
Storage Footprint 25 in x 33 in x 54 in 27 in x 47 in x 54 in
Chain Enclosure Partially Enclosed Fully Enclosed

Cost Difference Between Model D and Model E

The first thing you will notice when comparing the two is the price. The average price of the Model D goes for around $950 while the newer Model E costs around $1160. That is a $200 dollar difference. However, when purchasing a rower that will last you a lifetime, such a slight difference in price may not be a defining factor in your decision.

See Price


Size and storage

The Model D has a storage feature making it easier to fold and store. If you live in a small apartment, the Model D might suit you better. The Model E can also be folded, but due to its size, it will take a bit more space.

Model E Storage Footprint: 27 in x 47 in x 54 in (68.6 cm x 119.4 cm x 137.2 cm)

Height difference

The seat height of the model E is exactly 20 inches, which is the same as the height of an average chair or a wheelchair, making it a great choice for anyone who has mobility or balance problems. This makes the Model E the only Concept2 rowing machine with a raised height such that you are not rowing almost on the floor.

The Concept2 E is made of higher quality materials

The materials used to make the Model E are of higher quality as well. For example, the legs are made of welded steel and the exterior frame is double powder coated for a shiny finish. Since the Model D uses some aluminum in the frame construction, it has a lighter overall weight than the Model E.

As a result, the Model D will be easier to maneuver and transport at only 57lbs compared to the more robust steel constructed Model E at 65lbs.

The chain is nickel-plated for longevity which also leads to reduced maintenance since oiling intervals are not required as often. The chain housing of the model E is fully-enclosed for safety.

Summary of the key differences between the Model D and E

The height of the seat, the monitor arm, and display functionality are the three main differences between the Concept 2 Model D and E. If you’re looking for the best rowing machine you can get, the model E should be your choice as it is built with stronger materials and has more versatile assistant and display settings.

When it comes to other rowing machines in this price range, the Model E has no match with the closest in quality being the BodyCraft VR500 which, however, comes at almost double the price.

Although the Concept2 Model E is slightly larger than the Model D, it is still capable of being folded and stored in a relatively small space. It can be disassembled into two parts with a quick release and moved to a closet or corner. 

Concept2 Model E Folded for Storage 27 in x 47 in x 54 in (68.6 cm x 119.4 cm x 137.2 cm)

User Testimonials:

Here is what users of the Concept2 Model E have to say about this rower:

  • “I found about the model E through Youtube and decided to give it a try as the reviews I read online were praising it. I was a marathon runner but had to quit due to terrible arthritic pains. The model E arrived in two days through USP, the unpacking was easier than any IKEA furniture I’ve packed so far. The design is beautiful and the stretch of the bench can be extended for taller people like me, I’m 189cm. I’ve been using it for 7 months and love it.” by Beagleman
  • “I chose the model E because it has no magnet resistance, only air-resistance, which is better. I love the concept2 company, it’s way of building rowing machines and its customer support, I can always contact them through phone or chat if I have any questions. They built their products to last you for decades and don’t save up on R&D. Highly recommend.” Mark

Find out where to buy the Concept2 E indoor rower.

Jamie E
Jamie E

Jamie enjoys mountain biking and road cycling. She trains for races and travels, exploring new and exciting routes all over the globe. When not on her bike she is reviewing products related to her favorite outdoor activities. As an amateur chef, she is often seen at farmers markets buying the freshest organic fruits and vegetables. Cooking fabulous dishes at home or while camping outdoors has become a passion. She has not met an olive oil that she didn't like.



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