Concept2 Rower Not Running Smoothly: 7 DIY Steps to Fix

concept 2 rower not smooth
concept 2 rower not smooth

I have no doubt that the Concept2 rowing machine is one of my personal greatest purchases for home Gym equipment.

Just like other Gym equipment that I have, the rowing machine may sometimes encounter problems that need to be addressed.

And significantly, the main issue associated with the Concept2 is that the mechanism becomes sluggish, losing its smooth, effortless motion and might even unable to count correctly.

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What Causes the Sluggish Movement?

To keep it short, there can be multiple reasons for this. But the most common reason is due to lack of lubrication.

The chain needs to be lubricated regularly to maintain the smoothness.


The chain between the handle and the resistance wheel/flyweel is one of the most critical components.

This chain is connected to the flywheel and when we pull the chain, it will roll the flywheel and generate resistance at the same time.

Although the metal chain is strong, the chain are reliant on lubrication to minimize friction which will eventually cause sluggish movement.

Over time, the lubricant will require reapplication as it evaporates or being removed unintentionally during our exercise.

When the layer lubrication is reduced, the rowing machine will become sluggish as the chain not able to move freely.

Read: How old is your Concept2 Rowing Machine?

Fixing Concept 2 Rower Not Smooth Problem

When I am attempting to fix this frustrating maintenance problem, there are several steps I take to make sure I resolve the issue the first time around.

Step 1

Firstly I will clean the machine. This is firstly to make sure that I have a clean and usable piece of equipment that makes it much easier and nicer to use. I will fill a bucket with soapy water and wipe down all of the points of contact of the rower.

I will pay special attention to the seat, footer and the handles, which I will be using every time I get onto the rower.

preparation before cleaning concept2 rowerg

Step 2

Next, I will focus my attention on the chain itself. Typically I will refrain from using too much soapy water on the chain to make sure that as little soap as possible can work its way into the chain rivets.

Besides, the soapy water might degrade the rower chain over time if you use it regularly.

Before that, you will need a clean cloth to remove the “old layer” of oil or residue.

Normally I will rub it with a clean cloth as image below:

Clean The Chain Using Dry Cloth

Step 3

Sometimes rubbing the chain with just clean cloth might not be efficient enough to remove stubborn dirt on the chain, I will also use clean water in this case.

After the chain is cleaned, now is time to reapply new lubrication oil on the chain.

concept2 lubrication oil

One thing to avoid is to apply too much oil on the chain as it might start dropping on your seat!

Also remember to pull the chain slowly so that the oil can be applied evenly throughout the chain.

Normally I will also let it sit for around 5 minutes for the oil to penetrate and absorb greatly.

After, you may test your machine and try if the sluggish movement is now gone.

concept2 rowerg machine smooth test

Step 4

If the steps above did not work well and the problem still persists, it may be due to a mechanical issue that requires DIY troubleshooting.

First, remove the cover of the rowing machine so that you are able to see clearly what’s inside the flywheel.

There are four screws holding the cover tightly, as you can see in the image below, so unscrew them.

concept2 rowing machine cover

There is a metal belt between the flywheel cover, simply loosen the screw that holds the metal belt tight.

The screw is located in a place where you might not be able to easily identify it, check image below:

concept2 rowerg machine screw

Next, remove the cover of the flywheel to check if there is any extra thing inside the flywheel.

Sometimes, insects or spiders may make your rowing machine their home and locate their “furnitures” inside.

concept2 rowerg machine cover removed

Step 5

If you did not notice any abnormality but the problem still persists, I am afraid that you might need to open the entire flywheel.

It is not an easy task, you might need a plier or a wrench to complete this task.

Note: The nut below is very difficult to be removed based on my experience.

concept2 rowerg machine remove nut

Step 6:

As there is small part of the chain is covered, you might want to remove the cover below to check if anything is trapped inside and causing resistance to the chain.

Please take note there is an IC board that you might not want to damage it.

Hence, open the cover gently.

concept2 rowerg machine ic board

Step 7:

Also, remove the “front cover” and you will see there are two white ropes inside.

Kindly check if anything physical item is trapped inside.

If everything is good, install the cover back.

Tips: This cover might be difficult to be closed back as you would need to attach it to the “black metal” in the image below.

concept2 rowerg machine front cover removed

Regular Maintenance

As you know, regular maintenance is needed for most of the home Gym equipment.

Concept2 rowing machine has no exception, you will need to lubricate the chain to make it smooth.

Also, remember to replace your PM5 monitor’s batteries when it is at a low level, here is how to check the battery level of your PM5 monitor.



  • Hadwin Blair

    Hi, I am Hadwin, a Gym lover and have set up my own home Gym for daily use. Empower Gym Equipment! I share my real personalized experiences on the Gym equipment!

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