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Model B Restoration

Jan 12, 2015


An abandoned Model B "Before"

Concept2 takes great pride in supporting our customers from the Model E all the way back to the Model A. This means that we continue to sell spare parts for older models and provide support to keep equipment running and out of landfills. Our goal is to promote and encourage the growth of rowing. Often, refurbished indoor rowers allow individuals who do not want to buy a new indoor rower enjoy the sport. We thought we would share one great story (of many we’ve received) of a neglected erg that found a new home. With a little bit of money, patience, and some guidance, Tristan Armesto turned a derelict Model B into a shiny racing machine.

Tristan Armesto

Tristan Armesto is a Canadian rower at Hanlan Boat Club in Toronto where he competes as a Masters B and lightweight sculler. Tristan is very passionate about environmental sustainability, including recycling, reusing and restoring goods where possible. He believes this is a must these days, in contrast to the normal practice of disposing of products that do not work anymore and replacing with new items. Tristan’s green living led him to pursue this project.

Hanlan Boat Club is a 40 year old non-profit organization currently undergoing an ambitious 10-year expansion plan, including building a completely new boathouse. Currently, limited available space strains the indoor rowers, which receive extensive use until they become practically inoperable. Tristan found this particular Model B during the club’s fall clean-up. It was in pretty bad shape, hidden under a pile of unused equipment in the furthest and darkest corner of the boathouse. It was a serious candidate for the dumpster, but when he discovered that all the parts were still there, he asked if he could take it home and try to repair it for his own personal use. Some of his teammates made fun of him, because it really was a pile of rusted junk. But he saw some potential there.

Makeover Details

As Tristan explains, “the Model B has a very attractive design: It looks light, but it's solid. Then, there is the truthfulness and clarity of each element. The vintage industrial look of it is fascinating. Everything is functional, and you can really see how the machine actually works.”


First, Tristan cleaned it up to get rid of the soil and loose rust. Then, he tore it apart to make a list of the parts that needed to be replaced. He found help through the Concept2 website, blogs, and from staff at Concept2. While waiting for parts to be delivered, he started deep cleaning, scraping, sanding and painting. It didn’t take long to assemble the parts once they arrived, and he was off and rowing!

After a few workouts, he noticed a difference in drag factor on his Model B compared to the newer models. He learned about the two sprockets on the Model B, damper position and speed. After a little research, he tried to get the equivalent drag factor by setting the damper half-way open. With a little experimenting with a custom-made detachable speed ring, he got the feel that he was looking for.

Other Updates

  • The original chain guard was in very bad shape, so he created one with some plastic tubing wrapped around the cleaned metal structure of the component.
  • The original monorail was deeply rusted, so he adapted and installed a new aluminum plate. (He had to re-position the seat casters to absorb the 3mm thickness of the additional aluminum plate.)
  • Finally, for the sake of mobility and transportation, he installed a soft rubber swivel plate caster at the bottom of the wheel cage to prevent scratches. This worked seamlessly with the upgraded foot casters he ordered online.


  • Total cost in parts: $173.50
  • Other supplies (painting, sanding, custom-made parts): $65.00
  • Labor: 38 hours
Model B "After"

Thank you, Tristan, for sharing your story! We certainly don’t expect customers to go to such great lengths to rehab machines, but we applaud the gumption of those who take on the task! We’re always happy to help, whether you’re upgrading a monitor or replacing a seat roller. We’ve even had our first request for our latest Performance Monitor, the PM5, to be retrofitted to a Model A—a machine that is, at minimum, 29 years old. We’ll continue to provide the necessary parts to keep those flywheels spinning…hopefully for another 29 years, or more!

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