How the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine Has Evolved – 40 Year Anniversary

Concept2 was founded in 1976 by Pete
and Dick Dreissigacker. The brothers bought an old farm in
Morrisville, Vermont that offered the space they needed at a price they could afford and they set up shop to perfect their new composite rowing oars. But winters can be long in Vermont and the brothers got itchy for a good way to train for their favorite sport. They nailed Pete’s old bike to the floor opposite a sliding seat, connected the two with a chain, and the first erg was born. The Model A Rowing Ergometer was launched in 1981. It was affordable and more like real rowing than anything else on the market in those days. Within a couple of months a Boston-based club called CRASH-B had the crazy and wonderful idea of holding an indoor race on the new ergs. Eighty-five winter-crazed rowers came to compete in the upstairs of the Harvard boathouse. Rowers began to show the erg to their non-rowing friends who found that it was a great way to get exercise, even if you weren’t a rower. But, when you’re a rower and an engineer, and you use a device regularly, you inevitably think of things that could be improved. So, we gathered together some improvements and introduced the Model B in 1986. The bike wheel was replaced with a custom flywheel and a smoother roller clutch drive, and the speedometer was replaced with an electronic performance monitor that was
accurate, self calibrating, and enabled comparison of scores from one erg to another. The seat was improved as well, though some on water rowers preferred a hard seat like in a racing boat. The CRASH-B Sprints continued and grew and other satellite races sprang up across the US and in Europe. We kept growing the erg ourselves and came up with some more improvements we wanted to make. The Model C featured a quieter flywheel and housing, lever-operated wind damper, adjustable performance monitor arm, a flex foot system, better seat and seat
rollers, caster wheels, and all for the same price as the B. It was also the first of our ergs to be easily separable into two parts for storage. Ever searching for ways to make erg rowing feel even more like on water rowing, we introduced the slides in 2000. Slides allowed the erg to move around
the athlete, rather than the other way around, and this is more like the dynamics of rowing a boat on the water. There were still a few improvements to
be made, and so, in 2003 the Model D was introduced. It featured a better disconnection system and an ergonomic handle. The D also came with a more
powerful generation of the performance monitor–the PM3. And then, for the first time, we introduced a new model without phasing out the older one, offering both Models D and E concurrently. The Model E offers a higher seat height for easy access and an even more rugged frame for heavy use facilities. With the E came the fourth-generation performance monitor with games and wireless connectivity. And finally, in 2010, we introduced the Dynamic Indoor Rower. Designed for competitive on water rowers , the Dynamic goes even further than the slides in providing the dynamics of on water rowing on an indoor machine. For team boat training, two Dynamics can be connected using a Link. It’s a powerful tool for learning to match power application on the drive. And that’s where we are today–selling the models D, E, and the Dynamic, all with the newest generation of our performance monitor, the PM5. It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years! Thanks for joining us along the way!

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