If your going to spend $1k or more on a Rower, you want to make sure you get the right machine.
I have spent many hours on both machines in this showdown: the Concept2 Rower and the AssaultRower Elite.
In this article, I’ll break down Pros and Cons of each brand and help you make a final decision whether you’re an athlete, home gym athlete or a gym owner.
A Side-By-Side Comparison
- Less Expensive
- Damper Setting: drag factor can be changed
- More Mobile: Less Sturdy, but Lighter
- Disassembles into two pieces easily
- Smaller Foot Print: Narrower Base & Shorter
- Seat Slightly Lower, Relative to Feet
- Harder Seat Pad
- Rail & Seat Lower to the Ground
- Lower Chain Entry Point
- Less Upright: Feet more in front
- Faster Chain Recovery (Recoil)
- Folding Screen Mount Arm
- Covers Meters & Calories Slightly Quicker
- Fewer Ghost Calories & Meters
- Backlight Display & Memory
- More Options for Custom Intervals
- Pace & Calories not on the Same Screen
- Cals/Hr. Metric Available
- More Expensive
- No Damper or Tension Adjustments
- Well Grounded: Studier, Weighs More
- Does not disassemble
- Bigger Footprint: Wider Base & Longer
- Seat Slightly Higher, Relative to Feet
- Softer Seat Pad
- Rail & Seat Higher from the Ground
- Higher Chain Entry Point
- More Upright: Feet more underneath
- Slower Chain Recovery (Recoil)
- Non-folding Screen Mount Arm
- Covers Meters & Calories Slightly Slower
- More Ghost Calories & Meters
- No Backlight Display or Memory
- Less Options for Custom Intervals
- Pace & Calories on the Same Screen
- Cals/Hr. Metric Not Available
Performance Metrics | Which machine is harder to get meters / calories?
One of the most important things for competitive athletes to consider, is if you will be using this machine to race against other people.
If you plan to compete in online qualifier style events, like the CrossFit® Open, then the erg accepted in that competition that covers the most ground at a given output will clearly have a leg up.
In short, the Assault Rower is bit harder while holding at a certain intensity.
In other words, at a given metrics (e.g. Heart Rate) you will likely cover a bit more meters and calories on the Concept 2 machine.
How much? Well, it varies slightly based on the pace and duration of the event, but if I had to guess…
How much harder is the Assault Rower than Concept 2?
• 2-3% in Easy Aerobic Work
• 7-9% in Max Effort Sprints
This claim is based upon my personal data, so those numbers will likely be different for you, yet it’s very likely that Assault’s rower will be marginal more difficult to cover ground on.
The last thing I will mention, is the heart rate data included the rollover.
In other words, I stopped rowing at the 2:00 mark in each window, but recorded the metrics once the meters and calories stopped accumulating.
The Assault Rower rolled over about 3 Calories and 40 meters.
The Concept2 Rower rolled over 0-1 Calories and about 30 meters.
In other words, in shorter time trial settings the percentage difference is closer to 10%. My 250m Time Trial on the Concept 2 was 42s versus 47s on the Assault Rower. That’s a massive 11% difference.
Who are you? Why are you buying?
If you are an affiliate or commercial gym owner…
Factor 1: Price
You’re likely be buying multiple machines, so the cost can balloon quickly.
After tax and shipping, you can get a Model D Concept 2 Rower for about $1000.
The AssaultRower Elite is currently listed at $1500 with free shipping.
Factor 2: Durability
Durability is just as -if not more- important than price since members will using the machines multiple times a day, every day.
If you have to replace parts or entire machines periodically, that adds up quickly.
With regular maintenance, Concept 2 has a great reputation for durability, and the many of the rowers that were first bought by affiliates and other gym are still in use today.
The Assault Rower very well could have similar durability, but since the machines hasn’t been around long, it remains unproven.
Factor 3: Maneuverability
If you are a commercial gym, chances are you set your equipment on a space on the floor and never move it. In this case, the more sturdy, heavier, bigger AssaultRower will likely be an advantage.
If you are a CrossFit affiliate or small studio gym that has a flexible floor plan and open space, you will likely want equipment that moves (and stores) with ease. In this case, the lighter, smaller Concept 2 will likely be the way to go.
If you shopping for your home gym…
If you are limited in price and space, and you want a piece of equipment that you can stow in a closet, Concept 2 is the way to go.
If you prefer a softer seat, more upright ride and plan on giving the piece of equipment a permanent home in a corner of your workout space, then the AssaultRower will be the way to go.
If you are competitive CrossFit athlete…
The thing you sure care about most is your performance.
The last thing you want to do is buy an erg and then find out you have to work harder to hold the same paces as your competitors.
Or worse, you find out after submitting your workout scores that the company hosting your event rejects your brand of equipment entirely. …which is exactly what happened in the past with Xebex rowers in the CrossFit Open.
My advice would be to go with the single company that CrossFit LLC has written into their rulebook: Concept 2.
You’ll be faster and your scores will never be in jeopardy of being rejected.
If you want to reach your potential in the Sport of Fitness, you must have elite fitness. In other words… conditioning.
That’s why this program focuses on the “3 Kings” of Cyclical Movement: Rowing, AirBike & Running.
Cyclical Supremacy is all about building your engine so you can express higher levels of performance in all types of workouts.
Are you ready to build a massive engine and reign as Cyclical Supremacy?