Photo illustrating damper adjusting dragfactor on the Concept2 RowErg® indoor rower.

The Flywheel Damper

A flywheel is spinning inside the housing. The damper has a setting of 1–10 indicating how much air is let into the housing by each rowing stroke. The high setting 10 slows down the spinning flywheel faster – deceleration. The low setting 1 makes it easier to spin up the flywheel. Think of damper setting is similar to a bicycles gearing.

Remember that damper settings is NOT a resistance level. A low setting feels like rowing a fast sliding racing boat. A high damper setting feels like rowing a big and slow tour boat.

The actual resistance in a rowing stroke depends on how hard you pull the handle when using your legs, back and arms. The faster you spin the flywheel by pulling hard the more air resistance the flywheel will generate. It is recommended to start with a damper setting of 3-5.

The damper setting is referred to as ”Drag Factor”. By rowing and adjusting the damper setting you can read out precise and calibrated drag factor digits on the PM5 display.

The flywheel noise level is relatively low depending on exercising intensity. Normally is has a quiet operation that allows listening to music or TV.

Closeup of the Concept2 PM5 backlit performance monitor on the RowErg®.

Performance Monitor PM5

The monitor turns on and off automatically and stores all your performance data in an internal memory. A brief rowing technique lesson with animation is built in. It has a list of 5 preset workouts and 5 custom workouts. It also has 5 training games.

The PM5 performance monitor provides you with lots of accurate data and graphics from your rowing workouts. Your performance is displayed as distance, speed, pace, calories burned and watts. You can adjust monitor height and angle.

The PM5 can wirelessly monitor your heart rate during the training if you wear a compatible heart rate monitor belt.

The monitor can display information in 11 languages. The features of the PM5 can easily be updated by firmware.

The monochrome screen is backlighted for increased visibility. On the backside you can attach an USB flash pen for external storing of your workout data (logbook). The monitor comes with two long lasting D-CELL (LR20) batteries – no need of a wall socket. The monitor draws power from the spinning flywheel to extend battery life.

See how to use the PM5 performance monitor.

Concept2 RowErg® indoor rower disassembled for easy storage with a small footprint.

Easy Storage & Handling

The Concept2 RowErg® rowing machine consists of two detachable parts – the monorail and the front frame with the flywheel housing. It does not fold, but splits into two parts without using tools. The monitor arm pivots for storage.

A special frame lock mechanism makes it easy to separate / assemble the rowing machine within 10-20 seconds and without the need of tools.

The front foot has caster wheels so you can easily move the rowing machine around by lifting in the monorail. Storage dimensions are 25 in x 33 in x 54 in (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm).

See my unboxing video of the Concept2 RowErg® Model D with PM5 performance monitor.

Closeup of the sliding seat on the Concept2 RowErg® indoor rower.

The Sliding Seat

By using a sliding seat the rower applies the power of his legs when rowing. The seated position makes rowing a low impact sport. Seat height above ground is 14 in (35.6 cm).

The seat is designed through extensive testing and feedback to support the rowers weight and let the rower move freely. Maximum user weight is 500 lb (227 kg).

The material of the seating surface is made of semi hard rubber because a too soft seat can result in reduced blood circulation and numbness.

Stretching and experimenting with some light padding (a towel, bubble plastic or a foam seat pad) might help you to get used to the seat.

The seat is sliding smooth and silent on the monorail fitted with a stainless steel track capsule. The seat carriage is fitted with top and bottom rollers. It is important that loose or long clothing can not get caught in the seat rollers. Moving seat rollers can injure fingers, children or animals. Never stand on the sliding seat.

The ergonomic handle on the Concept2 RowErg® rowing machine.

The Ergonomic Handle

The handle is not straight but bend 10° downward to allow a natural arm and hand position. Both sides of the handle are covered with rubber for a solid grip.

Hold onto the handle with straight wrists and not a too strong grip. Depending on skin condition and workout duration some rowers might get blisters in their hands. Over time the blisters are followed by calluses which will offer protection. Some people prefer wearing gloves.

The handle is attached to the nickel-plated steel chain. It is easier to reach the handle when placed in the handle hook. To prolong the life time of the shock cord you should let the handle rest against the fan cage when the machine is not in use.

Do not twist the chain. For maintenance lubricate the chain with a teaspoon of the provided oil on a cloth for every 50 hours of use. Beware that an oil soaked cloth can burst into flames.

The Flexfoot footrest on the Concept2 RowErg® indoor rower.

Footrests and Flexfoot Straps

The footrests have 7 height position holes to accommodate a wide range of shoe sizes. They have a heel cup and are adjustable in length. Foot width is adapted by the footstraps. It is not adjustable with regards to how far apart your feet will be.

Beware that normal running shoes have a thick high impact cushioning in the heel and that it can change the angle of the feet. A too high heel position might irritate your Achilles tendon at the finish of the stroke. As a personal choice you can also row just wearing a thick sock.

Position the footrest setting in a hole no. so that the strap crosses over the ball of your foot. You may want to adjust your feet higher if you row without shoes. Adjust your feet lower if you are less flexible or if your gut is in the way.

If your feet position is set too high, you limit your length towards the flywheel. In general you want your knees to be near your arm pits at the catch position.

The straps are easy to tighten by pulling in the straps. Release the straps by flipping the little buckle.