Rowing machine choices

With the winter approaching all too fast, my wife and I are setting up a home gym so that we can maintain some semblance of fitness over the winter when running and paddling days are at a premium.

So, the question to you wise p-netters comes down to a choice between a Concept 2 (with a PM3 display) and a VO3 Pro rowing machine.

I know from years on this site that many of you swear by the Concept 2, but has anyone used a VO3 Pro? I am leaning toward the VO3 because of its electro-magnetic control and I realize that the more complicated a machine is the more likely it is to have issues.

I thank you all in advance for your input.

Get the Concept2: you know they’re good products when virtually every rowing team uses them. I’ve never seen a VO3 rowing machine in any erg room; maybe they’re good, but I think some rowing team would have already figured that out.

concept 2 or kayakpro
There are also paddling ergs, from Kayakpro and others.

shovel the walk.

we don’t get that much snow here
only slush. Too tough to shovel and it makes a mess of your shoes.

Good point about all of the rowing teams using the Concept 2. I will do more research.

Never seen or heard of Vo3
It looks mechanically very much like a copy of the Concept 2. That might indicate something there.

I’ve had a Concept 2 for 7 or 8 years. It’s used regularly - several days a week when I’m being good, and once or twice a week when I’m not.

I just suffered the first failure since I’ve owned it. I had to change the batteries on the PM3 last week.

It’s quality.

Another vote for Concept 2
Thanks. I think they stole the basics of the Concept 2 and made the resistance wheel electrically adjustable instead of the lever. That is the what I have been able to digest from my research.

Great exercise, but not relevant to
paddling, running, swimming.

We used to have to spend hours on primitive hydraulic versions of rowing machines. Probably time misspent.


– Last Updated: Aug-21-14 8:25 PM EST –

I know the Concept 2 is regarded as the "standard" model of rowing machines. When in 2007 I was looking for a machine to train on in preparation for the next spring's Yukon River Quest canoe race, I had the opportunity due to my work travel to check out many different types of machines in gyms and exercise equipment sales stores all around the country. I tried many different kinds, including the C2, several times. The C2 is a fine exercise machine, with looks and noisy chain best suited in a gym environment.

After I read about the Waterrower, it took me a while to find one to try. I loved it. What sold me most was the feeling of the realistic catch, as it is a catch in a chamber of real water. It is smoothly operating and of course the sound of swishing water is as realistic as it gets. It is effective for me to train hard for a couple of hours at a time and It keeps me in shape over the winter months prior to the marathon Yukon races, and has subsequently done so for four trips to those races, with more to come.

I am able with a simple modification to use the Waterrower as a single blade paddle off to one side. It can do that because the drive mechanism uses sturdy but flexible webbing, rather than the chain of the C2. I used a C2 in a large gym setting for a two weeks at a time, on two separate occasions. Apparently someone before me attempted to use the pull bar off to one side like a paddle, as there was a groove worn in the plastic housing where the chain drive goes. But the chain rattles and ripples along and it just does not have the right feel of actually paddling a canoe.

I know there are now machines that are designed for single blade paddlers, but I am happy with the Waterrower as is. On top of that, my wife doesn't complain too much with it in the family room, because at least it has a nice wood construction, rather than a piece of metallic industrial gym equipment.

Concept 2 one-arm row
I use a Concept 2 in the gym, haven’t used any others. I like to row with one arm to work on torso rotation. I have to lean sideways slightly to keep the chain centered, but not so much that it is awkward. The old ones were easier to grip with one hand than the new ones, but it still works.

concept 2 kayak adapter
I’ve used one of these for years to train on days when I can’t get OTW…