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Founded1976; 48 years ago (1976)
HeadquartersMorrisville, Vermont
The headquarters of Concept2 in Morrisville, Vermont
A line of Concept2 "Model C" indoor rowing machines

Concept2, Inc. is an American manufacturer of rowing equipment and exercise machines based in Morrisville, Vermont. It is best known for its air resistance indoor rowing machines (known as "ergometers" or "ergs"), which are considered the standard training and testing machines for competition rowers and can be found in most gyms.[1]

Competitive events rowed on Concept2 rowing machines include the CRASH-B Sprints (which style themselves "the world championship for indoor rowing"),[2] the British Rowing Indoor Championships competitions, and the CrossFit Games events (including the CrossFit Open and qualifiers).[3] Concept2 also manufactures oars for sculling and sweep rowing, as well as two other flywheel-based exercise machines: the SkiErg[4] for cross-country skiing and the BikeErg[5] for cycling.



Concept2 was founded in 1976 by rowing brothers Dick and Pete Dreissigacker.[6] The two brothers trialed for the American team for the 1976 Summer Olympics. While preparing, they modified their oars with carbon fiber in an attempt to go faster. When they were not selected for the team, they founded the company and started selling carbon fiber oars. Their first office was in the back of a bread truck until they bought a farm in Morrisville, Vermont, United States.[7]





When the Dreissigacker brothers first began selling oars, they were well-received by the rowing community. Concept2 quickly established itself as a major players in the market, and in 1991, the company came out with oars with asymmetrical blades. These were dubbed "hatchet" blades, and became popular so quickly that, by 1992, most of the Olympic crews were using them.[8] Many elite rowers use Concept2 oars, and along with Croker oars, they make up the majority of oars used in international competition.

As of May 2024, Concept2 manufactures oars with a variety of blade designs, including their Comp, Fat2, Smoothie2 Vortex Edge, Smoothie2 Plain Edge, Big Blade, Macon Blade, and Bantam Blade options.[9] The company also provides various options for oar handles[10] and shafts (including Ultralight, Skinny, and Skinny Costal (Scull Only) options).[11]



Ergometers are called such because of how they measure power output (Greek: measuring work).[citation needed] Competitive athletes rarely refer to the machines as "indoor rowers," but use the names "erg" or "ergo" as abbreviations for ergometer. Concept2 sells a variety of ergometer machines, including various models of the RowErg, as well as the SkiErg and BikeErg.


Old Model A version
Concept2 equipment at the headquarters gym area.

In 1981, the Dreissigacker brothers had the idea of making an indoor rowing machine (the Model A) made mainly from bicycle parts. It had a moving seat and a flywheel which used air for resistance. At the time, the indoor rowing machines on the market cost $3,000, but the brothers (with help from friend Jon Williams) sold theirs for $600.[citation needed] The product was an instant success, with numerous iterations having been released over the years including the Model B (1986), Model C (1993), Model D (2003), Model E (2006) and Dynamic (2010).[12]

The Dynamic RowErg, first released in 2010, is unique among its peers due to its having a moving foot stretcher rather than a moving seat. This sets it apart from other RowErg models and results in less body mass movement, simulating on-water rowing more accurately.

Until 2006, the company produced and sold only one model of indoor rower at a time. That changed in August of 2006 when Concept2 began selling a new prosumer-oriented Model E alongside their Model D. The Model E had higher and sturdier legs than the Model D, as well as a higher price. In early 2021, it was announced that the Model D and Model E would be discontinued and replaced by the "RowErg" and "Elevated RowErg" respectively. The "RowErg" will be identical to the black Model D, with only the name and graphics changing. The "Elevated RowErg" will be exactly the same as the "RowErg", but will have taller front and rear legs, meaning the seat will be 20" from the ground, rather than 14". The renaming of the Model D is partly to achieve consistency across the range, with the SkiErg and BikeErg. [citation needed][13]

Various modern models of the RowErg are used for indoor rowing events such as BIRC and CRASH-B. In 2018, CrossFit officially named Concept2's D & E models the official spec rowers for The CrossFit Open and Games.[citation needed] This followed an investigation which discovered that rival manufacturer Xebex's machines were "significantly easier than the competition standard," resulting in an official declaration that the Concept2 was the specification manufacturer.[citation needed]

Friction-prone areas of Concept2 ergs (like the chain) are coated with nickel for longevity of the parts. Nickel coating also assists in lubrication and maintenance.[citation needed]



In June 2009, Concept2 introduced the SkiErg. The SkiErg is a ski ergometer that helps build strength and endurance specific to Nordic skiing. The SkiErg uses the same mechanical concept that the company's indoor rowers do, but the user is in a standing position pulling on two handles emulating the double-pole technique found in Nordic skiing. Each pull engages the arms, shoulders, core, and legs in a downwards "crunch" making it a total body workout. It places greater physical demands on the triceps, chest, and abdominal muscles, in addition to the strong engagement of the back muscles that both exercises share.



The Concept2 BikeErg is a stationary bike that was introduced in 2017. It uses a flywheel similar to the one found on Concept2's indoor rower and SkiErg.[14]

Performance Monitors

Early model performance monitor, model PM1. The PM1 was available from 1986-1995.[15]

Over the years, Concept2 ergs have come with different display models called "Performance Monitors." These monitors provide the user with data on stroke rate, split, duration, calories, meters, and more. The most current Performance Monitor is the Performance Monitor 5, or "PM5." This monitor was first introduced in August 2014 and ships with all new RowErg, SkiErg, and BikeErg models.[12][16]



The Concept2 DYNO was an air resistance strength training machine sold by Concept2 from 2001 until 2007. It was designed for bench press, leg press, and seated row exercises and used a flywheel to provide resistance.[17][18]

Online logbook and world rankings


Starting 1999, the company began facilitating a community of home-based rowers who maintain online logs hosted on the Concept2 website. Their performances are ranked in real time on the Concept2 website. The total number of meters logged in the 2014 season (May 1, 2013 – April 30, 2014) exceeded 10.2 billion, by over 47,000 users. There are hundreds of clubs that rowers may affiliate with when registering with the ranking system. Meters can be logged on the indoor rower, on water, on the SkiErg or on snow. Concept2 also hosts year-round online challenges aimed at motivating rowers.

Online challenges


Concept2 organizes a number of challenges throughout the year. Many of these reward consistency and total meters instead of speed, giving an extra incentive to work out regularly.[19]

Virtual Team Challenge


The Virtual Team Challenge (VTC), runs every year from January 1–31.[20] Each team completes as many meters as they can collectively between 12:00 a.m. January 1 and 11:59 p.m. January 31.[20] Virtual teams (not based on or around a specific physical location) can be made up of anyone from anywhere who wants to participate—friends, family, co-workers, old schoolmates, rowing teammates, and so on. Teams can also be real "clubs" with a physical location.[20] Participants are only allowed to record meters from the Indoor Rower the SkiErg. Greenwich Crew from Cos Cob, CT currently holds the title of the Virtual Team Challenge, winning for three consecutive years in 2018, 2019, and 2020. [20]

See also

  • Media related to Concept2 at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Winchester, Ed (2002-02-22). "Gjessing rowing machine". Rowing News. 9 (1). Independent Rowing News – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "C.R.A.S.H.-B. History". www.crash-b.org. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  3. ^ Toland, James (2014-03-23). "Concept2 Rower Makes Open Debut". games.crossfit.com. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  4. ^ "SkiErg". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  5. ^ "BikeErg". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  6. ^ "Peter Dreissigacker". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  7. ^ ZALKIND, MARGOT (2021-06-16). "VERMONT: A LOVE STORY - Concept2". Vtmag. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  8. ^ Miller, Bill. "RowHist-Equipment". www.rowinghistory.net. Archived from the original on 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  9. ^ "Blades Overview and Loading Profile". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  10. ^ "Handle Options". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  11. ^ "Shaft Construction". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  12. ^ a b "Timeline". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  13. ^ "RowErg Support". Concept 2. 11 May 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-08-01.
  14. ^ david (2017-07-06). "BikeErg". Concept2. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  15. ^ "PM1 (Performance Monitor 1)". Concept2. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  16. ^ "Performance Monitor". Concept2. Retrieved 2024-05-13.
  17. ^ "Concept2 UK Dyno page". Concept2. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  18. ^ "Concept2 US Dyno service and support". Concept2. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Concept2 Online Challenges". Concept2. Concept2. 14 May 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d "Virtual Team Challenge". Concept2 Logbook. Concept2. Retrieved February 6, 2015.