How the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine Has Evolved – 40 Year Anniversary

Concept2 was founded in 1976 by Pete
and Dick Dreissigacker. The brothers bought an old farm in
Morrisville, Vermont that offered the space they needed at a price they could afford and they set up shop to perfect their new composite rowing oars. But winters can be long in Vermont and the brothers got itchy for a good way to train for their favorite sport. They nailed Pete’s old bike to the floor opposite a sliding seat, connected the two with a chain, and the first erg was born. The Model A Rowing Ergometer was launched in 1981. It was affordable and more like real rowing than anything else on the market in those days. Within a couple of months a Boston-based club called CRASH-B had the crazy and wonderful idea of holding an indoor race on the new ergs. Eighty-five winter-crazed rowers came to compete in the upstairs of the Harvard boathouse. Rowers began to show the erg to their non-rowing friends who found that it was a great way to get exercise, even if you weren’t a rower. But, when you’re a rower and an engineer, and you use a device regularly, you inevitably think of things that could be improved. So, we gathered together some improvements and introduced the Model B in 1986. The bike wheel was replaced with a custom flywheel and a smoother roller clutch drive, and the speedometer was replaced with an electronic performance monitor that was
accurate, self calibrating, and enabled comparison of scores from one erg to another. The seat was improved as well, though some on water rowers preferred a hard seat like in a racing boat. The CRASH-B Sprints continued and grew and other satellite races sprang up across the US and in Europe. We kept growing the erg ourselves and came up with some more improvements we wanted to make. The Model C featured a quieter flywheel and housing, lever-operated wind damper, adjustable performance monitor arm, a flex foot system, better seat and seat
rollers, caster wheels, and all for the same price as the B. It was also the first of our ergs to be easily separable into two parts for storage. Ever searching for ways to make erg rowing feel even more like on water rowing, we introduced the slides in 2000. Slides allowed the erg to move around
the athlete, rather than the other way around, and this is more like the dynamics of rowing a boat on the water. There were still a few improvements to
be made, and so, in 2003 the Model D was introduced. It featured a better disconnection system and an ergonomic handle. The D also came with a more
powerful generation of the performance monitor–the PM3. And then, for the first time, we introduced a new model without phasing out the older one, offering both Models D and E concurrently. The Model E offers a higher seat height for easy access and an even more rugged frame for heavy use facilities. With the E came the fourth-generation performance monitor with games and wireless connectivity. And finally, in 2010, we introduced the Dynamic Indoor Rower. Designed for competitive on water rowers , the Dynamic goes even further than the slides in providing the dynamics of on water rowing on an indoor machine. For team boat training, two Dynamics can be connected using a Link. It’s a powerful tool for learning to match power application on the drive. And that’s where we are today–selling the models D, E, and the Dynamic, all with the newest generation of our performance monitor, the PM5. It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years! Thanks for joining us along the way!

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  1. I love my Concept2 Model B.

    I'm still using it since I bought it brand new back in '88.

    Best piece of exercise equipment EVER!

  2. My favorite piece of gym equipment. I started on a hydraulic rower at the YMCA in Minneapolis in the sixties, graduated to the
    open fan version in the seventies and eighties because it was closest to mimicking actual rowing and am now enjoying the model E at our club here in Florida. Luckily, most gym rats stay away from the Concept 2. More time for the rest of us to enjoy
    one of the all-around best workouts in the room!

  3. Need to get a PM6 that provides better analytics. Seeing one’s average power curve as a graphic with 95% range about the mean would be so good for training. One should also be able to see the predicted split time, much more useful than accumulated time or avg pace. Lastly, the Erg itself should have a centre bracket below the pm5 to easily attach an elastic band for training. The handle grips should come in smaller diameters, the seat should be more ergonomic—cut out for seat bones, larger screen in high definition colour with touch for the pm6 with a lightning cable for iPhone. Make the phone bracket in two sizes, mine snapped trying to get my phablet in there.

  4. I first tried the Model B in 1988 when I was 14 years old. I had a part time job moving office furniture at SPAR Aerospace in Montreal (they built the Canada Arm for the space shuttle). The building was one of the most impressive facilities I had ever seen at the time. Built in the 60's but updated for the 90's. They had a gym onsite (which I found very unusual). They had lots of gear but the Model B caught my attention in a big way. I found the watt meter very intriguing and tried to see what I could pull… To the best of my recollection, I recall hitting about 87 watts average for the few minutes I was on it. But I do vividly recall how SMOOTH the unit was. Like nothing I had ever used before.

  5. Does anyone know where you could buy the cables i have the model c but i lost one of the cables now the monitor doesnt function anymore

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