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Concept 2 Dynamic erg: A review

March 21, 2014

Quack! Quack!

The first thing to say about Concept 2’s Dynamic erg is that it isn’t going to win any awards for aesthetics. In fact, its design looks rushed, almost as if it has been cobbled together from spare parts from a steel factory. It manages to appear both boxy and insect-like, quite a feat! In comparison to the other rowing machines out there, both static and dynamic, it is quite the ugly duckling.

First impressions

One thing to be aware of is that it takes some assembling. So if you are thinking of putting it together as quickly as a model D or E, be aware that it will probably take you more time. There are more moving parts and it is more involved.

So, the first impression I got when I sat on the beast for the first time was that it feels weird. Because the footplate moves independently to the seat you get an unsettling illusion of movement – almost as if there is a boat underneath you.

Now, I’m blind, and would consider myself a serious rower, having stroked 4s, 8s, quads and doubles. However, because out on the lake there is no auditory feedback from the land, I rarely get a sensation of speed. Speed is largely a phenomena experienced when observing static objects in relation to yourself. If you can’t see static objects, or hear them, you can’t sense speed. You can however sense acceleration, which is a different feeling. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that sitting on the Dynamic is rather akin to sitting in a single scull.

Fan and feet

Before I talk about how it feels to take a stroke on the machine, I would like to point out that I do like where the fan is positioned. Is under the rail, just to the left of the seat. This gives quick and easy access to the dampener in order to change the drag. The drum also has a plastic cover it to shield you from the onslaught of cold air emanating from the fan.

It took me a long time to get the foot stretchers in the right position. I’ve no idea why, but it took ages to feel comfortable. I found that my feet were in a completely different position to what I would find them in if using a static erg.

The strokes

The first thing I would say is that it feels weird. I’m used to hammering down the rail as hard as I can. If you do that on this machine without paying attention, you can bet your favourite pair of shorts that you’re form will suffer. Because the legs push the foot stretchers forward, then the seat moves back, I had the tendency to pull the handle at the same time as driving. This resulted in an unbalanced stroke and a dip in power.

It certainly pays to think, to adopt a good rowing stroke in order to move things smoothly. When you get used to the rather surreal movement, rowing is much easier – but I would stress that the machine does reward a technically good stroke.


Because of the relatively short travel – you’re not hurling your body up and down a slide, you’re exerting force in order to move the foot stretchers, seat and handle in a fluid and strong way. Because of this, it is easy to find yourself caught in a high stroke rate. I feel this is fine, providing form and power can be preserved – in fact, it makes short pieces a little easier. However, I rowed 10k and found myself pretty shattered. Long pieces are much tougher on this machine than its static counterpart.

So, in conclusion I will offer the following pros and cons to Concept 2#s £1190 creature.


Promotes a technically good stroke
It’s fun!
Feels more “watery” than a static
Has a small footprint, smaller than any dynamic erg


Feels sloppy at the catch

Do I regret selling my trusty model D? No. Whilst the Dynamic has its faults, I feel it is of enormous benefit to those who wish for more than an aerobic workout. I like the fact you can’t bully it like a static, and that you have to think not just mindlessly beast. The machine utilises hips and core more effectively than a static, and the fact that the handle doesn’t helpfully return to the front is a bonus.

Of course, Rowperfect and OarTech have their offerings – I am sure that those machines are better than the Concept 2 offering. However, the Rowperfect is much more expensive, and the Oartech takes up more space. But the most important point is that Concept 2’s performance monitors are still the only ones that I can use – with the Row Dataapp installed on my Iphone, and my Iphone connected to the PM, I can get realtime speech output.

This all said, I will still use the model E in the gym, because it’s nice!


From → Fitness, Rowing, Sport

One Comment
  1. Curious to know what you would recommend to someone ready to purchase a rower but struggling with which is best to have. I have tried both, however the Dynamic has limited access for me which makes it hard to really compare the two. (Space is not an issue)

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