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Concept 2 Rowing Machine - Is it the best brand?

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The Concept II Rowing Machine

We've been both amused and frustrated to see the phrase "Concept 2 is the best rowing machine" on online fitness forums for the last few years. This is a totally subjective statement, and we believe it's not correct.

Just to be clear, we have access to the Concept 2 through our wholesale accounts but we choose not to buy it because it is both over-priced and now superceded by some better machines from the bigger fitness brands.

I’d like to draw an analogy here for perspective.

To say Concept II is the best rowing machine is like saying Volvo is the safest car. Yes, that used to be true, but is long since outdated. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Volvo made a name for itself as making industry-leading safe cars, and they left their competitors for dead. Ditto the Concept II was ahead of its time, and was the “go to” rower in the ‘90s.

However, car manufacturers, from Mercedes and BMW through to Honda and even Toyota, soon worked out that safety resonated with consumers, and introduced incredible safety features into their cars, and today we have a car market where no objective car expert could say that Volvo was any safer than many other cars in the market.

Time has moved on, other cars have caught, and passed, Volvo in safety credentials, but Volvo retains the reputation from its past.

So too with Concept II. No doubt, it was an amazing rowing machine, but there are many others brands which have evolved where Concept II has not.

The 2 main features which make the Concept 2 a perennial part of rowing folklore are its reach and its length. You can lean all the way forward, as you would in a real boat, and start the rowing stroke from a long way forward. And you can row all the way to the back, even if you’re tall.

There are plenty of cheap, home fitness-rowing machines which don’t have those attributes. But there are plenty that do.

At the time of writing this article, we reference both the York R302 rowing machine and the York 7000 R1 Rower, both which have these features in spades, but more quality and features to boot.

So in closing, in our opinion, when you read “you must buy a Concept II rower” in a forum post somewhere, remember, it was true a decade ago, but you can do better now for less money.