Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

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friar1610
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Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by friar1610 »

I asked a similar question in a thread about Peleton bikes but was taking the thread off-topic. So here’s my question in its own thread:

I regularly used a Concept 2 rower, alternating with spin classes, at my gym in the pre-COVID days and have considered buying one for home use as I may not rejoin the gym. Until reading about the brand in the other thread, I had never heard of Hydrow. Based on a very quick look at their web site it appears sleeker and pricier than the C2. I’m curious if anyone has done a live comparison of the two brands and, if so, what were the results? I frankly don’t see much more I could want out of a rower than what I’ve experienced with the C2 but maybe I’m missing something.

I’m an old guy just trying to keep in decent shape, not training for the Head of the Charles. I would likely use a home rower 3x per week for 30-45 minutes at a time.

Thanks.
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jaj2276
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by jaj2276 »

I have never used a Concept 2. I have used a Hydrow (in fact I own a Hydrow). I'm a member of the Facebook Hydrow group. This question comes up often in that group so here's a summary of the replies:

-- Concept 2 is the gold standard of rowers for actual rowing teams (colleges, olympics, etc.).
-- Hyrdow is just as good as Concept 2 but of course adds in all these additional costs that college teams, olympic trainees, etc. don't need.

Basically if all you're doing is looking for the rowing workout, Concept 2 is the way to go. If you enjoy the community aspect of working out (you mentioned Peloton) or need any bit of motivation to workout and/or improve, then Hydrow might be the better option. This of course then comes at a cost.

I've attempted workout programs (gyms, at-home videos (Total Body), etc.) and I don't think I've ever made it past 2 months with any of them. I got my Hydrow on June 3 of this year (I was sucked in by the marketing of Hydrow's claim that rowing works 86% of the body) and I've rowed at least 5 days/week since then.

If you have a bike you do for spin that's not a peloton then you probably are good to go with a C2 for your rowing portion.
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friar1610
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by friar1610 »

jaj2276 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:34 pm I have never used a Concept 2. I have used a Hydrow (in fact I own a Hydrow). I'm a member of the Facebook Hydrow group. This question comes up often in that group so here's a summary of the replies:

-- Concept 2 is the gold standard of rowers for actual rowing teams (colleges, olympics, etc.).
-- Hyrdow is just as good as Concept 2 but of course adds in all these additional costs that college teams, olympic trainees, etc. don't need.

Basically if all you're doing is looking for the rowing workout, Concept 2 is the way to go. If you enjoy the community aspect of working out (you mentioned Peloton) or need any bit of motivation to workout and/or improve, then Hydrow might be the better option. This of course then comes at a cost.

I've attempted workout programs (gyms, at-home videos (Total Body), etc.) and I don't think I've ever made it past 2 months with any of them. I got my Hydrow on June 3 of this year (I was sucked in by the marketing of Hydrow's claim that rowing works 86% of the body) and I've rowed at least 5 days/week since then.

If you have a bike you do for spin that's not a peloton then you probably are good to go with a C2 for your rowing portion.
Thank you - excellent summary.
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strafe
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by strafe »

Concept2 is the gold standard, and has a good app ecosystem for workout and tracking functions.

Hydrow is double the cost upfront + $38/mo in perpetuity. Who knows what resale value will be.

I would get the concept2
Kagord
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Kagord »

$38/month sounds a little pricey. Our kids row club provided C2s and laptops, and they were connected for all sorts of things from training to competition events off season, so it does have that option. Internationally, it's a very friendly community. I don't do any of that though, it's just me and the 500 rate.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Shallowpockets »

The Concept 2 has a good online community and monthly challenges. Any time of year you can post your age group times also and see others and perhaps that is a motivation. Go look your age group up now. Records exist for many different distances.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by friar1610 »

Kagord wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:57 pm $38/month sounds a little pricey. Our kids row club provided C2s and laptops, and they were connected for all sorts of things from training to competition events off season, so it does have that option. Internationally, it's a very friendly community. I don't do any of that though, it's just me and the 500 rate.
I don’t need any of the interactive stuff for rowing workouts. I’m perfectly happy with a podcast to listen to.

I do subscribe to a fitness site for at-home cardio/resistance/flexibility workouts but all the workouts (of which there are a LOT) are canned, on -demand, not live and interactive.
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BogleFan510
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by BogleFan510 »

Own a C2 and also found my neighbors dissassembled one in bulky trash, reassembled it and it worked perfectly, so I donated it to a needy person. Ive had mine almost 30 years with no problems, no repairs needed. They are so solidly built, a simple design, rails, bolts, chain, flywheel. Highly recommended (rowed Freshman year in college).

Can someone mention the best App ecosystem? Considering looking into that.
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heartwood
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by heartwood »

I bought this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017H ... UTF8&psc=1
on Amazon a couple of months ago.

I'm in my 70s, very familiar with Concept 2 from my gym (now closed after 28 yrs).

This is not a Concept 2, but the price is a small fraction.

I do 1000m (5 minutes) 3 - 5 times a week.

It took me about an hour to assemble with some of the best instructions I've ever seen.
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friar1610
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by friar1610 »

heartwood wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:42 pm I bought this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017H ... UTF8&psc=1
on Amazon a couple of months ago.

I'm in my 70s, very familiar with Concept 2 from my gym (now closed after 28 yrs).

This is not a Concept 2, but the price is a small fraction.

I do 1000m (5 minutes) 3 - 5 times a week.

It took me about an hour to assemble with some of the best instructions I've ever seen.
How does it compare with the C2 in terms of performance, feel, sturdiness, workout satisfaction?

(I’m also in my 70’s. So I probably don’t need a rower that will last 30 years.) :?
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MDfan
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by MDfan »

Just got a Hydrow last week. Really enjoying it so far. I've never used the Concept 2, but I like the bells and whistles of the Hydrow. Much better overall body workout than the Peloton (I had a Peloton for 2 years and sold it when I started having lower back issues). I like the fact that the Hydrow gives you both an upper body and cardio workout. Also lots of off the rower workouts (similar to Peloton). I'm 59.
Millennial
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Millennial »

jaj2276 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:34 pm -- Hyrdow is just as good as Concept 2 but of course adds in all these additional costs that college teams, olympic trainees, etc. don't need.
Former collegiate rower and current C2 owner here, so note potential bias.

I think this misses the biggest point - C2 is the only rower which gives reliable and comparable results. It lets you determine fitness levels of athletes in a way no other rower does. A 2k on any C2, back to the model A, can be compared to any other. It makes the numbers mean something to coaches, and they know what it translates to on the water.

That said, none of that probably matters to the OP. But more than cost or features, that is why you every collegiate rowing room and olympic training facility has only C2s.
Millennial
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Millennial »

The C2 is the gold standard - well built, solid machines that are a pleasure to work out on. In this case, I think it's also likely the boglehead choice too - these things hardly depreciate. Buy one today for $900 and sell it in 10 years for $750 if you no longer use it.

C2 is also an excellent company that stands behind the machines with great customer service, helping you repair machines when needed and supplying replacement parts at fair prices.
BogleWogle
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by BogleWogle »

Another vote for the Concept 2 rower.

1.5 million meters and counting on mine with zero issues.
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heartwood
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by heartwood »

friar1610 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:18 pm
heartwood wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:42 pm I bought this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017H ... UTF8&psc=1
on Amazon a couple of months ago.

I'm in my 70s, very familiar with Concept 2 from my gym (now closed after 28 yrs).

This is not a Concept 2, but the price is a small fraction.

I do 1000m (5 minutes) 3 - 5 times a week.

It took me about an hour to assemble with some of the best instructions I've ever seen.
How does it compare with the C2 in terms of performance, feel, sturdiness, workout satisfaction?

(I’m also in my 70’s. So I probably don’t need a rower that will last 30 years.) :?
Amazingly solidly built with sturdy components and hardware (pins, etc). It's not a fan apparatus like C2, but rather a magnetic flywheel. Perhaps slightly lower to the floor and the placement of the pull handles maybe a bit lower. It does feel different in a way I can't say. The performance monitor is a rudimentary LCD display of one item at a time (time, reps, etc, not distance), but seems accurate.

If I did not have C2 experience for 20 years, I'd say it's great. Even with C2 experience, it's great, at roughly 12% the price. Amazingly so to me. I'll stress I'm only doing 5 minutes a day, several times a week, not 30 - 45 minutes or more. I'll use the ~$1400 price difference for cases of wine!

Amazon shows its available next week. Some C2s are available shortly after that or in January.

I'm well satisfied with no regrets after 2 months.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by exigent »

Concept2 all the way. Our Model E is now 12.5 yrs old and pretty much as good as new. And this is with multiple college rowers in the house. Forget all that interactive subscription crap. Get the gold standard and just stream Netflix if you need a distraction.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by wordsmith11 »

Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
exigent
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by exigent »

wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:00 pm Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
I’m a C2 diehard, so take this for what it’s worth, but... I wouldn’t touch a Water Rower with a 10 ft pole.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by wordsmith11 »

exigent wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:01 pm
wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:00 pm Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
I’m a C2 diehard, so take this for what it’s worth, but... I wouldn’t touch a Water Rower with a 10 ft pole.
...because?

(Should note this would just be for exercise, not training for actual crew, etc.)
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Sourc3 »

wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:00 pm Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
I’ve used one for over a year through their rental program. I ended up sending mine back. I’m not a serious athlete, so I just wanted a machine that would give me a full body workout in 30-45 minutes. I got the Bluetooth module and signed up for the CityRowGo which is supposed to be like a peloton experience.

I have to say, the classes sucked after first few because there is no intermediate level equivalent. I would either be bored or about to pass out. I was not a fan of getting on and off the machine every 90 seconds. I also wished there was a guided program so you could row at your own pace.

Overall, if you’re looking for some tech and community to get you motivated, this is not the machine for you. I’m seriously considering Hydrow for reasons I cited above.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by exigent »

wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:07 pm
exigent wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:01 pm
wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:00 pm Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
I’m a C2 diehard, so take this for what it’s worth, but... I wouldn’t touch a Water Rower with a 10 ft pole.
...because?

(Should note this would just be for exercise, not training for actual crew, etc.)
There’s an excellent online community, online logbook functionality, virtual teams for motivation, etc. The logbook comes into play for lots of seasonal challenges (announced on their website) and that sort of thing. It’s also the common measuring stick for rowing fitness, even if you’re not into competitive rowing. Most gyms (aside from Orange Fitness) use C2 so it’s the “standard” — and there are also indoor rower competitions available in most major cities if you ever decide to try and win a medal. :-)

And... Beyond all of that, the resale value of C2 rowers is *excellent*, far better than any other brand. The downside is that you pay near-new prices for used rowers (even outside of pandemic times) but the insurance that provides is great. If you buy one and fall out of love, you can re-sell it for a good amount and minimize your losses.

You can also find a number of free training programs. I recommend the Pete Beginner Plan (google it) for starters, and then graduate to the Pete Plan itself.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by SquawkIdent »

Millennial wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:41 pm The C2 is the gold standard - well built, solid machines that are a pleasure to work out on. In this case, I think it's also likely the boglehead choice too - these things hardly depreciate. Buy one today for $900 and sell it in 10 years for $750 if you no longer use it.

C2 is also an excellent company that stands behind the machines with great customer service, helping you repair machines when needed and supplying replacement parts at fair prices.
+1

C2 is the gold standard...period. There is no comparison and these machines are built like tanks. If you want the best look no further. There’s a reason why it’s hard to buy a used one...no one ever gets rid of them and they never breakdown.

Now...back to pulling the chain as the annual Holiday Challenge is in full swing...
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by forgeblast »

Concept 2 is a work of art. Love it. I row at least once a week along with running, and kettlebell workouts. Its a quality machine that you can get your money back easily. Just look at facebook marketplace they are always going for the same price you paid for them. They are also used in most gyms and last! Easy to put together and stores easy too. Highly recommend.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by anon_investor »

+1 for the C2. I got mine a couple of years ago. I bought an iPad stand for it. Very happy.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by simplesimon »

exigent wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:16 pm
wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:07 pm
exigent wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:01 pm
wordsmith11 wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:00 pm Any experiences with Water Rower? Looks like a piece of art and water provides the resistance and meditative sound. Getting ready to pull the trigger but it's a 6-8 week lead time for shipping. :( https://www.waterrower.com/
I’m a C2 diehard, so take this for what it’s worth, but... I wouldn’t touch a Water Rower with a 10 ft pole.
...because?

(Should note this would just be for exercise, not training for actual crew, etc.)
There’s an excellent online community, online logbook functionality, virtual teams for motivation, etc. The logbook comes into play for lots of seasonal challenges (announced on their website) and that sort of thing. It’s also the common measuring stick for rowing fitness, even if you’re not into competitive rowing. Most gyms (aside from Orange Fitness) use C2 so it’s the “standard” — and there are also indoor rower competitions available in most major cities if you ever decide to try and win a medal. :-)

And... Beyond all of that, the resale value of C2 rowers is *excellent*, far better than any other brand. The downside is that you pay near-new prices for used rowers (even outside of pandemic times) but the insurance that provides is great. If you buy one and fall out of love, you can re-sell it for a good amount and minimize your losses.

You can also find a number of free training programs. I recommend the Pete Beginner Plan (google it) for starters, and then graduate to the Pete Plan itself.
WaterRower also requires a bit more maintenance with the water tank to keep it clean. It’s also not as accurate for performance tracking if the water is at different levels. That said, I have a friend who owns one and she likes it.

I got a C2 a couple months ago to supplement my lifting. The community and support is huge and amazing!
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Millennial »

heartwood wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:01 pm I'll use the ~$1400 price difference for cases of wine!

Amazon shows its available next week. Some C2s are available shortly after that or in January.
I think you are seeing third-party sellers with marked up prices on the C2. MSRP is $900. You can buy the unit at MSRP by joining the C2 wait list and buying from them, or by checking Rogue Fitness - they do FCFS "drops" several times a week. If you really want one quick, check out the r/Concept2 subreddit - some guy there made an app to alert you when rogue has them in stock.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by craigers »

concept2 is by far the better machine from a mechanical reliability and price standpoint. There are plenty of Peloton type apps that work with the Concept2 machine. Concept2 has an open architecture so there are many apps that work with the machine.

Here's a good peloton type app

https://www.teamregatta.com/

Here's a good list of other apps that work with the machine (many are free)

https://www.concept2.com/service/software/apps
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by tm3 »

I've used a Water Rower and I prefer the C2. My gym had a Water Rower that sat unused. It was replaced by a C2 and pre-virus there sometimes was a wait to get on the C2.

I will echo that C2 is the gold standard and that the consistent data with the ability to compare is a lot of fun and a motivator.

C2 customer service is top-notch.

I have not used a Hydrow but in rowing machines, unlike other fitness equipment, C2 stands alone. Nice, for a change, to have a clear cut purchase decision!
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Kagord »

The Hydrow is magnetic, not water, but I understand the confusion here. I guess they are prefacing it with "Hyd" because of the monitor that can display someone actually rowing on water.

I'd say the only competitive advantage/differentiation to the Hydrow is for a "Peloton" experience and it's quieter. I.E. They are selling engagement for a beginner, and yes, it's a gimmick. Hire some happy motivational rowers to be on the payroll, pay some Youtubers and other social media outlets, create some buzz, and hit the market.

The Hydrow machine doesn't appear to be offering any advantage on a row stroke from what I can tell. It's just there weren't any rowers on the expensive subscription model, and someone thought they could make a market here and is having a go at it. I just can't see any adoption rate on the Hydrow by people who actually row, as Concept is entrenched with the measurement baseline for getting on teams and scholarships. However, maybe they will be successful in the home fitness market.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by jhfenton »

Millennial wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:12 am
heartwood wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:01 pm I'll use the ~$1400 price difference for cases of wine!

Amazon shows its available next week. Some C2s are available shortly after that or in January.
I think you are seeing third-party sellers with marked up prices on the C2. MSRP is $900. You can buy the unit at MSRP by joining the C2 wait list and buying from them, or by checking Rogue Fitness - they do FCFS "drops" several times a week. If you really want one quick, check out the r/Concept2 subreddit - some guy there made an app to alert you when rogue has them in stock.
You beat me to it. C2 Model D's are $900 + $45 shipping (from Concept2). I bought my Model D in spring 2019, so there was no waiting list. (But I was on the waiting list for 8 weeks for the Concept2 BikeErg I bought this summer.)
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Iorek »

I was looking for a rower this past summer so I have seen a few of these discussions and it's funny to me how often someone will raise the question and someone will answer by saying "C2 is the gold standard. End of discussion."

I got a Hydrow and I love it, but I will absolutely agree that if you want to train as part of a crew team, or if you want to compete at the indoor world championships, or even just compare your times to someone else's times on the internet then C2 is the gold standard.

However, there is a whole world of people out there interested in rowing as fitness and not rowing as competition. Bruce Smith, the CEO of Hydrow, is both a former coach of the US national team and also the head of the largest community boathouse in the country. He's not trying to replace C2s for people who are in the sport, he's trying to bring a whole bunch of new people into the sport.

And Hydrow is fantastic for that. It is quieter, more attractive, sturdy and well-designed (For example, I'm sure not everyone agrees but but many people find the catch more natural). And yes it has some of the gamified gimmicks, if you want badges or followers, or leaderboards during a race. Some of those things may be important to some people (especially being able to pace someone else on a leaderboard).

But the key is instead of staring at the wall you have a nice 22" screen with someone else on the water (maybe Boston, maybe Miami, maybe London or somewhere else) who is giving you coaching-- form tips, encouragement, etc. And those athletes coaching you have been on boats at the Olympics, World Championships, etc. Some of them have been long-time rowers and some were championship athletes in other sports who switched to rowing, but both have interesting perspectives.

Sure maybe you don't need any coaching or encouragement or anything but the wall to look at it and all this extra stuff would be a waste of money. But I've been on the C2 boards and I've seen plenty of people say that it's difficult to maintain motivation and training when you are just erging, and recommending things like RowPro. (And sure RowPro plus a C2 is still less than a Hydrow but it's also nowhere near as engaging).

There are some interesting reviews online from establishing rowing people, like Dark Horse or Training Tall, who do comparisons between the two machines if you are interested in their perspectives.

tl:dr if you love your C2 you should stick with it, if you are new to rowing and/or need additional coaching/motivation/scenery and don't mind the extra costs, you should look at Hydrow.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Jarhead38 »

A friend of mine has a Hydrow; I use a Concept 2 at the gym.
AFAIK, the drawback of the Hydrow is you cannot adjust the drag, whereas on a Concept 2, you can adjust it from 1 to 10.

In general, I see that many rowers will recommend setting the drag at about 125 and for me that is achieved by setting the "lever" on the Concept 2 at 5.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by simplesimon »

What I like about Concept2 the most is that it's very established, the products have proven longevity, and when one does need support in fixing or maintaining their rower, the company has an excellent track record at doing so for a very low cost.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by jaj2276 »

Jarhead38 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:38 am A friend of mine has a Hydrow; I use a Concept 2 at the gym.
AFAIK, the drawback of the Hydrow is you cannot adjust the drag, whereas on a Concept 2, you can adjust it from 1 to 10.

In general, I see that many rowers will recommend setting the drag at about 125 and for me that is achieved by setting the "lever" on the Concept 2 at 5.
You can adjust the drag on a Hydrow. The default setting is 104 which is supposed to imitate a single skull rower in the water. The drag can be set anywhere from 0 to 300. Not sure how that compares to the 1-10 Concept 2 range.
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Re: Fitness Rowers: Hydrow vs Concept 2

Post by Kagord »

jaj2276 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:56 am
Jarhead38 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:38 am A friend of mine has a Hydrow; I use a Concept 2 at the gym.
AFAIK, the drawback of the Hydrow is you cannot adjust the drag, whereas on a Concept 2, you can adjust it from 1 to 10.

In general, I see that many rowers will recommend setting the drag at about 125 and for me that is achieved by setting the "lever" on the Concept 2 at 5.
You can adjust the drag on a Hydrow. The default setting is 104 which is supposed to imitate a single skull rower in the water. The drag can be set anywhere from 0 to 300. Not sure how that compares to the 1-10 Concept 2 range.
The Concept 2 sounds similar, the setting (0-10) on the damper isn't the actual drag factor, you go into the utility and set the damper to the drag you want. The number 0-10 on the damper is meaningless as actual drag, the drag is affected by various environmental factors, so the computer tries to calculate actual drag based on sensor inputs. In row clubs, I think you'll find 110-135 drag used, depending on gender and which regatta ranking you are at. I target a drag of 130, and for longer hauls like a 6K or 10K try to target a 2 minute 500, much harder on the 10K.
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