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Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine

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Concept2 Model E
concept2 model e rower
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500 lbs65 lbsAirFrame: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
Console: 2 years

Concept2 offers some kick-ass air rowing machines. In fact, you’ll see these in many gyms and there’s a good reason behind it. They’re simply rock-solid rowers, with a high user capacity and simulate pretty closely the rowing of an actual boat.

Now, since we’ve already reviewed the Model D, which is one of the most popular, we dedicate this post to the Concept2 Model E. There aren’t many differences between the two models actually, but nonetheless, there are some differences. For example, Model E is slightly heavier than Model D. It also stands a couple of inches higher, and features a fixed, thicker console arm. Anyway, in the section below we’ll focus on each and every feature of this machine.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 96L x 24W x 20H inches (244L x 61W x 51H cm)
  • Product weight: 65 lbs (29 kg)
  • Supported weight: 500 lbs (227 kg)
  • Frame: Steel / aluminium, foldable
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Air
  • Progress tracking computer: PM5
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years, Parts 2 years, Console 2 years

Drive and resistance

Just like any other rowing machine with an air-based resistance mechanism, the Concept2 Model E generates resistance via a flywheel fan. The resistance generated depends on the force behind each rowing stroke. In other words, the harder you pull, the more resistance you will get. concept2 model e resistance systemHowever, the resistance system of this machine also features a damper, which allows you to adjust the airflow within the flywheel’s enclosure, offering more or less overall resistance. There are 10 resistance values on the damper. The optimal aerobic training is achieved while using the 3-5 settings, the top settings offering a really consistent workout.

In case you’ve been wondering, the air current generated by the spinning of the flywheel fan is not directed at you as you row. However, in case you would like to use this air current as a cooling factor during your workout, there’s an accessory called CBreeze which can direct it at you. This accessory is not included with the rower though.

The flywheel fan isn’t particularly loud. It produces a “swish” sound with each stroke, sound that shouldn’t cover a normal conversation or the sound of your TV. The flywheel is actually designed to minimize noise, promoting a smooth feel to the rowing stroke.

The drive system involves a bungee cord that passes over a system of pulleys, enclosed within the front section of the machine. This pulley system makes the connection between the flywheel and the pulling chain. The chain features a nickel plating finish, which allows for longer periods between oiling. It is connected to an ergonomic handle made of hard plastic, with rubber foam grips to prevent any damage to the hands. The handle features a 10° angle, which promotes a natural motion and posture of the hands and arms, minimizing the stress on the wrists and elbows.


The Concept2 Model E incorporates both steel and aluminum parts. The monorail is made of extruded aluminum, with a stainless steel seat track, while the support bases of the machine are made of welded steel. All metallic parts are double powder coated with anti-corrosive paint, featuring a glossy, elegant finish. The flywheel enclosure is made of high-impact ABS thermo-plastic.

The frame is foldable. A quick-release mechanism facilitates the connection and disconnection of the monorail from the front part. For storage, it requires 47″L x 27″W x 54″H (119.5 x 68.6 x 137.2 cm). When fully assembled, the machine has a footprint of cca 8’L x 2’W (244 x 61 cm). For proper operation it requires about 1′ (30.5 cm) clearance at the rear, and 1′ (30.5 cm) of clearance on each side.

The standard monorail included with all Model E units is 54″ (137 cm), designed for users with an inseam up to 38″ (96.5 cm). In other words, a standard unit should be able to accommodate users up to 6’6″ – 6’7″ (198 – 201 cm) comfortably. However, there is the option of replacing the standard monorail with an extra-long one, designed for taller users.

The machine’s bases are steel-made, with plastic caps on their ends, and rubber stabilizing pads. The front base also features caster wheels, in order to facilitate the relocation of the rower. However, the machine is not extremely heavy, being easy to lift and move around. On the other hand, the maximum supported weight of this rower is 500 lbs (227 kg), which points out clearlyconcept2 model e seat that it has a very solid construction, a rower made for commercial use.

The support legs of the Model E are quite a bit taller than in Model D, providing a seat elevation of 20″ (51 cm). This makes it much easier to acquire the rowing posture, especially for users with impaired movement or articulation problems. The seat top is made of hard plastic material, with an anatomically contoured design, promoting a correct and comfortable position for the user.

Last but not least, the footrests equipped on this rower are fixed, with an angle of cca 45°. Their size is adjustable, being able to accommodate feet of all sizes. They also feature straps to secure the user’s feet in place and avoid any potential injuries.

Performance monitor

Just as Model D, Model E comes with the PM5 performance monitor. This unit tracks speed, pace, distance, time, calories and wats. There are five display options, such as all data, bar chart, large print, force curve and paceboat. You can set your own targets for values such as time, concept2 PM 5 consoledistance or interval. There are 5 Standard workouts preset in the unit, including 2000m, 5000m, 10000m, 30:00 min, and 500m/1:00r (interval training for 500m rowing and 1 minute of rest). There’s also a list of 5 Custom workouts.

In terms of entertainment, the console offers 4 games, including Darts, Target Practice, Fish Game, and Biathlon. Although these are not exactly the most extraordinary game apps you’ve ever seen, they can still help clear the boredom, in case you want to undergo a prolonged training session.

The PM5 console features a USB port, offering the possibility to record results, and export them to your Online Logbook, or to your PC or Mac. The Online Logbook app also allows you to compete with others, or take part in various incentive training programs. One important aspect to mention here is that the unit is only compatible with FAT or FAT32 USB flash drives. So, if your USB is formatted in NTFS for example, you might want to reformat it as FAT32, in order to be recognized by the console unit of the rower.

The PM5 unit can wirelessly track your heart rate, being compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart HR chest strap transmitters. A HR chest strap is not included though.

One last aspect regarding the Concept2 PM5 unit refers to its power generation. It requires two D-type batteries, but during your workout it draws power from the spinning of the flywheel.

Assembly and Maintenance

The resistance and drive mechanisms of the rower are completely assembled and operational, and come already connected to the front part of the frame. Footrests and seat are also already mounted. In other words, all you have to do for assembly is attach the support legs (or bases) to the front and rear parts of the frame, connect the two main parts of the frame together and attach the console. The whole assembly process shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. The box includes the tools required for this task, along with quite an explicit owner’s manual.

In terms of maintenance, there are a few actions required. Before each use the monorail should be wiped with a piece of cloth to remove any particles that might cause nicks to it. Chain should be lubricated after every 50 hours of use. Also, after each 250 hours of use, you should check for stiff links on the chain, and vacuum the the flywheel if it has accumulated too much dust.

The Pros

  • Extremely durable frame, with a user capacity of 500 lbs;
  • Corrosive resistant finish;
  • Elegant design;
  • Monorail can accommodate users up to 6’7″, but can also be replaced with an extra-long one;
  • Foldability;
  • 20″ elevation from ground level, offering a comfortable mount/dismount for physically impaired or elderly users;
  • Excellent ergonomics;
  • Adjustable air resistance system, with 10 levels of resistance;
  • Advanced performance monitor with 10 preset workout apps, and 4 games;
  • USB port for workout data transfer;
  • Offers the possibility to track your progress online, compete with others, or take part in various training programs via the Online Logbook;
  • Quiet machine;
  • Extremely easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Great warranty package.

The Cons

  • Footrests, although adjustable, they’re not pivoting. Their angle is not adjustable;concept2 model e air rower
  • Console arm is fixed, you can only adjust the angle of the monitor on the arm, but not the angle of the arm.


The Concept2 Model E has all the qualities of a commercial grade rower. It’s a machine fit for users of all levels, from beginner to pro. Whether you want it as an alternative for your aerobic training, or to train as a professional rower during off-season, it can surely help you achieve or maintain your desired physical shape. Also, in case you want a machine that can help you lose weight, this rower can help you burn at least 2-3 pounds per week or even more, depending on the length of your training sessions. And finally, it comes with an excellent price quality ratio, and unmatched durability.

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