The Concept Two, or Concept II, Rowing Ergometer is a home rowing machine that requires no electricity or pesky plugs, is simple in design and rigidly constructed, and gives a whale of a workout for paddlers of all types. The only manufacturer, located in Vermont, makes these rowers for crew teams and gyms nationwide. When you order a new machine, you are getting the same superb quality device used in these arenas. The key is the stroke. A long chain without any annoying catch allows smooth, rhythmic pulls and the seat glide is well tuned, making for a quiet and ergonomically correct workout. Like paddling, it uses trunk muscles (latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior and posterior deltoids), and thus is not as hard on the spine and arms as one would imagine.
One neat feature about these workouts is that they are extremely adaptable—anything ranging from a leisurely row to stretch and get the blood flowing, to a serious all-out broiling body temperature bloodbath. The choice is yours. Customer service is exemplary, and this company knows its mission: it makes the Concept II only, and services it well. And other than oiling the chain on occasion, there really is no other maintenance for this device. The computer automatically turns on when you row, and records time, distance, speed, and cadence. You can track your progress by computer link if you desire, and even race another boat on the computer if you desire. This permits pacing to accomplish new personal best times. The machine does fold in half, and although still fairly large, could be stored on one side of a bedroom or in a large walk-in closet.
The Concept II Rower has been discussed many times on Paddling.net, and I suggest a through search of the Advice archives, as well as viewing the manufacturers website. I have owned the machine for about a year, and honestly, have no complaints about it other than the fact that it makes me sweat and groan from a workout well tuned to my paddling avocation. Highly recommended.