Concept2 is a name that anyone using a gym will know - even if not interested in rowing machines. They're such a part of the gym furniture that the place just wouldn't look the same without it. But does familiarity breed contempt?
When I started out in the world of computing back in 1980 as a lowly computer operator, the saying went 'you'll never get fired for buying IBM'. IBM were the giants in IT and surely could never lose their place at the top of the pile. The industry got so used to them being around that I think IBM grew complacent and, then famously didn't invest in the early days of the PC believing there was no future in them - the rest, as they say, is history.
So what about Concept2? They've been around since the early 80s and dominated pretty much since then. As a user of their machines for over 20 years I have to admit to getting a little bored of them at times - there it is, I've said it :0) When others such as Waterrower and First Degree came along, they were new, exciting and tempted us away from the tried and tested gym favorite.
The grey of the Concept2 looked a little dull against the beautiful wooden Waterrowers, or slick, silver aluminum and bright blue tanks of the First Degree models. When you're number one everyone is looking to catch up and knock you off top spot. And that's great news for us users of rowing machines.
But... while the new boys on the block flattered to deceive and win market share, Concept2 didn't stand still.
Yes, they still look a bit functional but the new PM5 performance monitor came with features to wet our appetites. More PC-compatible functions and online capabilities, but most of all, they were still attached to the most dependable rower with the most authentic rowing action going.
And that's what keep me coming back to Concept2 and my old faithful, the Model D. As much as I enjoy putting the others through their paces and trying new innovations, my Model D still delivers. Yes, it's a little noisy due to the air resistance (certainly not the smooth, quiet seat sliding up and down the beam), but boy does it feel good.
Nothing has quite the authentic pull than a Concept2, no dead spots, a constant resistance with no slacking off you can get with hydraulic rowers, and a machine that just keeps going and going. So yes, I do enjoy rowing on a variety machines, but getting back to my Model D is like sleeping in your bed after weeks of sleeping on a hotel bed - nothing can beat it.
So while no one used to be fired buying IBM, I can say confidently that no one is ever disappointed when buying a Concept2. And at $945 they're an absolute steal :0)
Also see Model D vs Model E.
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Roy Palmer is an athletics coach, teacher of The Alexander Technique and a rowing fanatic.