An overlooked aspect of rowing machine ownership is maintenance - if you want your rower to function optimally, you have to look after it. Thankfully Concept 2 rower maintenance is pretty easy to get to grips with.
In this article I’m going to run you through the Concept 2 rower maintenance work I do to keep my three rowing machines running well, even despite the fact that they get used for around 90 hours per week.
With such heavy use, my Concept 2 rowing machines get FILTHY, so I’m well used to cleaning and maintaining them!
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Ideally, oiling the chain is a two-person job. One pulls the chain out to full length and checks the links, whilst the other applies the oil. If you don’t have a person to help you, don’t worry - you can pull the handle to full length and then secure it under a weight, keeping it in place whilst you oil it.
Here’s how I do it…
There’s also a cool little device you can get on Etsy called a ‘chain lube caddy’. It holds the handle in place whilst you oil along the length. Pretty cool little device, but arguably a bit unnecessary!
The oil I use (and have without issue for 20 years) is the 3 in 1 oil. It allows you to precisely oil the sections you need to oil and keeps the operation clean and tidy. If you ever apply too much, simply wipe it away with a good quality kitchen paper.
I do this about once every 6 months.
Making sure the monorail is clean allows for the smooth action of the rower. If you don’t clean the monorail, dust and debris can collect along its length and this disrupts the seat glide during use.
I have always followed the Concept 2 advice of using a basic glass cleaner and a cloth to wipe along the monorail. This keeps it dirt and dust free.
I personally clean the ones in my gym every week, but they get huge amounts of use. For the home user, I think once per month would be sufficient, unless, of course, your rower is in a particularly dusty spot!
The rollers are in contact with the monorail, so any debris on them will make the seat ride on the monorail bumpy.
I clean the rollers by moving the seat along the monorail and wiping them with a toothbrush as they move. It helps to keep them clean.
The rollers only need to be cleaned occasionally - once every 6 months or so. As long as you are keeping the monorail clean the rollers won’t get dirty. I probably clean mine once per year unless something gets stuck in there, which is incredibly rare.
The flywheel is not likely to get dirty really, because it’s protected by the cover and it is moving regularly, which stops much settling on it.
That being said, once per year (or more if your rower is in a dusty environment), it needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
The best way to clean the flywheel is by removing the cover and hoovering the dust off it. This video below shows exactly how to do it - it’s not a difficult job.
This depends on the amount of use you give it - more use means less cleaning because dust won’t settle as much.
It also depends on where you live. If there’s a lot of sand or dust in the air, it’ll need more regular cleaning.
I clean my flywheels annually, which is about right. Concept 2 suggests every 250 training hours, which is roughly once per year based on 30 minutes of use per week.
The handle should be cleaned after every use. A simple wiping over with an antibacterial spray works just fine.
It’s worth checking the fixings on the handle and keeping an eye out for signs of wear and tear, which will mean the handle needs replacing. You can find replacement parts in this list.
The monitor arm is likely to loosen and slip over time, so making sure the bolts are kept tight is important. It’s an easy job and one that only needs doing when the monitors start to ‘sag’. It depends on how often they are moved up and down, but you’d probably only have to do this job once every couple of years.
Replace the batteries when required. Obviously, this depends on use, but my machines have commercial levels of use (all day, every day) and I probably change the batteries once or twice per year on them. It’s a basic monitor so isn’t very power-hungry!
I’m a big believer in prevention is better than cure when it comes to cleaning, so regular maintenance means that you don’t ever really need to do a deep clean. I do a general clean of the machines every week, do the monorail and oiling a couple of times per year, and have an annual service where I do a deep dive on it.
Of course, this depends on where you live and the environment the machine is stored in. For example, if you live in a hot, dry, and dusty place (Arizona and the Canary Islands, I’m looking at you) and the machine is stored outside it probably needs more cleaning than it would in an apartment.
If the air is salty and quite moist, like by the seaside and the rower is stored in a garage, you might need to look after it more too.
If it is kept in a clean, dry environment you’ll only need to clean it monthly. More regular use means more regular general cleaning of seats, monorail, and handles.
Essentially, stay on top of the Concept 2 rower maintenance and it’s a much easier job. It’ll also last you a long time and give you many years of effective use.
|What to do?||How often?|
|Oiling the chain||Every 6 months|
|Cleaning the monorail||Every month|
|Cleaning the Rollers||Every 6 months|
|Cleaning the Flywheel||Every 12 months|