What You Need to Know about the Concept 2 Model C Rowing Machine

What is it about the Concept 2 Model C rower that has made it a favorite of rowing enthusiasts since 1993?

Rowing is the perfect exercise for an all-around, low-impact workout. It can help build a strong back and increase your endurance. But of all the rowers on the market today, we wanted to look more closely at the longstanding popularity of the Concept 2 Model C rowing machine.

Comparison Table

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What Is Concept 2 Model C Rowing Machine

rowing machine at the grass

Image by Stefano Ferrario from Pixabay

Concept 2 is a longstanding name in the rowing machine business. For over forty years it has been a fixture at gyms and among rowing clubs. The Concept 2 comes in a series of models, including the Model D, Model E, Model C, and others.

Concept 2 began with two avid rowers in the 1970s who began making their own oars. By the early 80s they were producing indoor rowers.

As we take a look at the Model C, we go back to 1993 when it was first produced. It is hard to believe the Model C is 25 years old and still a favorite of many indoor rowers. It had wood handles representing the past and plastic pedals representing the future.

An enclosed flywheel could be adjusted for resistance with a lever. They continued to manufacture new Concept 2 Model Cs until 2003. The fact that it is still in demand speaks of its timeless quality and effectiveness. Concept 2 products are an industry standard for commercial gyms and competition forums.

They consistently last 20 years or more, and replacement parts are affordable when needed. This is a primary reason the Model C continues to be sought after. The machine's ability to measure distance rowed and calories burned is more accurate than many competitors.

It disassembles in two easy pieces for storage between workouts, and like all Concept 2 rowers, it has a feel that simulates moving through water.

Product Specs

The Concept 2 Model C has a length of 8 feet while measuring 24-inches wide. A designated area of 9x4-feet is needed to row the machine.

The user capacity for the Model C is 500 pounds. For heavier users seeking effective exercise, it is useful, because many of Concept 2's competitors come with a 250-pound weight limit.


Investigating the price of a Concept 2 Model C rower can be tricky, because they have not been produced in many years. However, their proven effectiveness and durability leave them in demand.

In some cases, the machines re-sell at almost 100 cents on the dollar; this is great for owners looking to buy, but it can work against seekers looking to buy new. New Concept 2 rowers, such as Model D and Model E sell for around $$$ or event more. The good news is the going rate was lower between 1993 and 2003 when the Model C was in manufacturing.

Even if a Model C holds much or its value, you can still be patient and find good, used Model Cs for around $$$. For many, even a used Concept 2 Model C can last longer than a cheaper rower bought new. And if it doesn't work out, you will have no problem reselling the Model C to get your investment back.

It is not uncommon for one Concept 2 rower, though pricey, to outlast multiple cheaper alternatives.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion
  • Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine
  • Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

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  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Durability
  • Warranty

The Concept 2 Model C, as well as its counterpart, the Model D, have quick release features to assemble and disassemble the machine quickly. It comes apart and two manageable pieces and can be quickly reconnected. Assembly time is literally seconds.


  • Durability and longevity
  • One-step setup and take-down
  • Accurate measurements on monitor


  • Not currently manufactured
  • The air/flywheel resistance of the Concept 2 can be louder than water or magnetic resistance machines.
  • The Concept 2s are pricey and buying a Model C used can still sport a significant price tag.

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The Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine utilizes full-motion rowing to burn calories and increase strength. The resistance can be controlled with a turning knob, and an LCD monitor tracks your strokes, time, calories burned, and more.

The digital monitor helps keep rowers on track, and the functions continually repeat to let you monitor various individual goals as you exercise.

This rower uses a hydraulic cylinder with hydraulic fluid to create resistance. The cylinders are engaged when the rider pulls back on the handle.

Foot pedals keep your feet moving on non-slip surfaces. Straps are added to saddle your feet and provide a secure feeling during your workout. Non-slip handles provide support and a comfortable grip.

The weight capacity of the Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine is 350 pounds with a fully padded seat. The slide rail on the Sunny Health and Fitness product is 40 inches.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Durability
  • Warranty

The purchase of a Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine comes with an option for expert assemble. You can purchase the assembly package for around $90. Typical assembly time is four hours. The expert assemblers will move package leftovers to your trash when finished.


  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable, secure grips for hands and feet


  • The bases do not have adjustable stabilizers
  • The Machine is limited for taller users over 6 feet.

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The Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms offers a low-impact workout for your entire body, including quads leg muscles, back, shoulders, and arm muscles.

Stamina is a well-known producer of rowing machines, each of their products has a perk or a unique offering. In the case of the Stamina 35-1215, the machine is compact while still offering a full range of motion.

It uses a hydraulic cylinder for resistance with adjustable tension controls. The rower offers a full range of motion with a natural rowing motion. A thick, comfortable seat compliments pivoting footrests.

The single-button monitor shows your distance, speed, rows, calories burned, miles rowed, and more. When assembled, the machine is 48x32.5x27.75 inches.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Durability
  • Warranty

The frame features a five-year warranty with a 90-day warranty on parts and accessories.


  • Broad 2-inch tubular steel
  • Single-button monitor is easy to use
  • Padded seat and pivoting footrests


  • The two-inch steel is great for sturdiness, but some think it is too heavy. 
  • The unit weighs 52 pounds.
  • No locking mechanism for the seat.

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The Velocity CHR-2001 Rower uses a Drum Magnetic Control with electronic tension to create resistance and build muscle strength and stamina. The machine is made with an aluminum frame with an ergonomic seat.

The seat features molded foam padding that eases lower-back stress. Non-slip foot pedals provide secure footing.

An LCD display provides pulse rate, time, rows, calories burned, and more. A heart-rate monitor is a useful bonus feature with a chest strap to monitor your heart while exercising.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Durability
  • Warranty

The Velocity CHR-2001 Rower features a one-year warranty.


  • Housed internal mechanisms
  • Easy assembly


  • Magnetic resistance unnatural and inaccurate on displayed measurements
  • Short warranty for a high price tag

Conclusion on the Concept 2 Model C

After all these years, the Concept 2 Model C is still a champion among rowing machines and one of the all-time greats. With the only concerns being its availability-as it is no longer produced-and the warranty options available for a used purchase.

Rowing is a low-impact activity for rowing enthusiasts and weekend calorie-burners alike, so why not use one of the best machines available for all rowers?

Concept 2 continues to be a primary producer of quality products in the rowing arena, but if you are not willing or able to spend around $$$ for their Model E or similar prices for the Model D, you should truly consider returning to the Model C for one of the best, longest-lasting rowers ever marketed.

Featured Photo by Kyle Kranz on Unsplash

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