Concept2 BikeERG Review – 2020

Kristen (Kacey) NelsonKristen (Kacey) Nelson

Last Updated: August 25, 2020
Concept2 Bike ERG review 2020
The Concept2 BikeErg is the latest addition to Concept2’s lineup of sport-based ergometers. The BikeERG is an indoor cycling bike that features the same flywheel and Performance Monitor as the Concept2 Indoor Rowers and SkiErgs. Concept2 has long been an industry leader in air resistance machines for both rowing and cross-country skiing. The BikeERG brings all the benefits of cycling and air resistance in one machine that you can use in your own home.

Air resistance is created as air is conducted through the flywheel to create literally unlimited resistance. As you pedal harder, more air is sucked into the flywheel which then generates more resistance. This means stronger riders will naturally produce air resistance responsive to the power in their pedal stroke. The BikeERG also includes a damper similar to the Concept2 rower, the damper changes the amount of air allowed into the flywheel. The damper on the BikeERG works like a gearing system on an outdoor bike — you can adjust the resistance via the damper lever and/or your pedal stroke. Concept2 first designed their rower ERG which has been durable and provided consistent results for years. Then came the SkiERG with similar functionality. As the indoor cycling industry has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, Concept2 has now added the BikeERG to provide the most responsive indoor cycle on the market.

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Who It’s For: Athletes familiar with Concept2 machines who appreciate the ERG design and unlimited air resistance

The Concept2 ERG has several key features that make it a good buy for users who:

  • Want top of the line quality and durability
  • Are looking for an air resistance bike that will strengthen and condition any athlete
  • Know how to use the damper
  • Appreciate the sleek design and compact footprint
  • Know how to use the PM5 Monitor
  • Desire to compete with other Concept2 owners
  • Want the benefits of air resistance even if it is a little noisier than magnetic resistance
Pros
  • Sleek and lightweight, you can place this bike anywhere
  • Preferred by CrossFit athletes and others familiar with Concept2 machines
  • Offers unlimited resistance with both damper and cadence control
  • PM5 Console is backlit, battery powered and easy to use
  • Console has 5 screen options
  • Priced under $1000, this is an excellent bike for the price
  • Sturdy design will support up to 300 pounds
  • Looks good in any home or garage gym
  • Easy to move
Cons
  • Limited 5-year frame and 2-year parts warranty
  • Newer machine; not as familiar to many riders
  • Flywheel resistance is noisier than magnetic resistance

FeaturesSpecifications
  • Unlimited, customizable air resistance
    • One of the benefits of air resistance is it is unlimited since the harder you pedal, the more air moves through the flywheel to create responsive resistance. The BikeERG also features a damper that regulates the amount of air allowed into the flywheel. The damper acts as a “gearing system” to adjust the difficulty of each pedal stroke.
  • Compact footprint, lightweight bike
    • The BikeERG is only 48” long and 24” wide, making it a compact piece of fitness equipment. The bike weighs only 68 pounds but will support up to 300 pounds.
  • Quiet operation due to belt drive system
    • Unlike chain drives which are quite noisy, the belt drive system on the BikeERG reduces the noise output when pedaling.
  • Does not require a plug; console is battery powered
    • The bike itself does not require electricity to operate. The PM5 Console requires two D-cell batteries; power to the console is supplemented by rider power when pedalling so the batteries last extremely long in the console.
  • Extensive PM5 monitor is the same as on the Concept2 Rower and SkiERG (programmed for pedaling instead of rowing)
    • 5 Data Screens:
      • All Data screen
      • Force Curve screen
      • Pacer screen
      • Bar chart screen
      • Large print screen
    • Console displays: distance, speed, pace, calories and watts
    • Console is backlit and can be seen in low light conditions
  • USB Flash drive included
    • Download your workout data to track your progress, or compete and compare online with other BikeERG users
  • Wireless HR tracking with ANT+ and Bluetooth
    • Syncs with both ANT+ and Bluetooth chest straps
  • Smartphone cradle included

Construction:

  • Footprint: 48” L x 24” W
  • Seat to pedal: 31-40”
  • Crank Length: 170mm
  • Q Factor: 15.5cm
  • Polygroove belt drive with self-tensioning system
  • Welded aluminum frame with steel feet
  • Black powder coat frame; gray anodized posts
  • Bike weight: 68 pounds
  • Max User weight: 300 pounds
  • Bike saddle and pedals can be swapped out
  • Smooth air resistance flywheel
  • Damper lever on flywheel
  • Flywheel clutch cycling system
  • Belt drive for quieter operation
  • Does not require a plug; console is battery powered

Console:

  • PM5 Console requires two D-cell batteries
  • PM5 has five screens
  • All Data screen
  • Force Curve screen
  • Pacer screen
  • Bar chart screen
  • Large print screen
  • Console displays: distance, speed, pace, calories and watts
  • Console is backlit and can be seen in low light conditions
  • USB Flash drive included
  • Wireless HR tracking with ANT+ and Bluetooth
  • Supports machine to machine racing
  • Syncs with ErgData app
  • Smartphone cradle included

Functionality:

  • Air resistance is virtually unlimited
  • Damper lever acts as a “gearing system”
  • Clutch flywheel maintains a smooth rotation
  • PM5 monitor provides instant workout feedback
  • 4 Adjustment points for the right bike fit
  • Does not require electricity
  • Chain free drive is much quieter than comparable systems

Warranty:

  • Frame Parts–Five Year Limited Warranty
  • All Parts–Two Year Limited Warranty

Concept2 BikeERG

In-depth Review of Concept2 ERG


Construction

Concept2 BikeERG frame overview

Frame

Aluminum Frame with Steel Stabilizers
The Concept2 BikeERG has an aluminum frame which keeps it lightweight but strong. The total bike weight is only 68 pounds due to the aluminum construction. Steel stabilizers in both the front and rear of the bike support the frame and hold it steady while in operation. Leveling feet on the rear stabilizer also help hold it securely on your floor. There are large wheels on the front stabilizer so you can tilt and roll the bike as needed. We appreciate the lightweight frame here — other bikes can be difficult to move when they breach 100 pounds of total weight. The BikeERG will support up to 300 pounds of rider weight though, so the aluminum is light but still strong. The bike has a black powder-coated texture which protects it from rust and damage.

4 Points of Adjustment
The Concept2 BikeERG has four points of adjustment for the perfect bike fit. Riders can adjust the seat up and down as well as forward and aft. The handlebars also move both up and down as well as forward and aft for the perfect torso extension. Match the length of the Concept2 BikeERG with the top tube of your outdoor road bike for comparison. The handlebars and seat can be set parallel with each other, or raise the seat and drop the handlebars for a more aggressive, aero position. Q factor is 15.5cm and the pedal cranks are a standard 170mm. The seat has a height range of 31-40” from the lowest pedal.

Basic, Flat Pedals
The BikeERG has simple, flat pedals. These will work with any athletic shoe. There is not an adjustable strap to hold your foot on the pedal. Most riders swap out the pedals for those they typically use. The pedal crank threads are standard and will support most indoor or outdoor bike pedals. The seat can also be swapped out as needed.

Plug
The Concept2 ERG does not plugin. The console is battery powered. You can place your Concept2 ERG anywhere without needing close proximity to a wall outlet.

FlyWheel

Concept2 BikeERG flywheel
Air Resistance FlyWheel with Damper
The flywheel on the BikeERG looks and feels very similar to the flywheel on the Model D rower. It is not overly large, which keeps it low and out of the way. The flywheel is protected by a firm plastic drive cover that allows air to flow in and out. Unlike other air bikes, you cannot see the fan blades on the BikeERG and neither the blades nor the flywheel are very large. However, Concept2 has perfected their flywheel designs over 40 years to provide consistent, measurable air resistance.

Saddle

Comfort and Design
The Concept2 ERG saddle is comparable with other racing saddles. This isn’t the most comfortable saddle ever, but it can be swapped out for any road bike saddle.

The design of most indoor and road saddles is narrow and not overly padded. At first, this feels uncomfortable, but when riding hard or long distances, you want less friction points between the saddle and your posterior. This is why these racing seats tend to be pretty narrow. Also, too much padding can also increase your risk of both saddle sores and germ buildup — so the BikeERG, like other racing saddles, is lightly padded, with a sweat-resistant surface material that can be wiped down to sanitize.

Two Seat Adjustments
You can raise and lower the saddle as well as move it forward and aft. Ideal positioning keeps a gentle 25-35 degree bend in the knee with the foot flat in the pedal.

Finding the right fit on a bike is very important. If your seat is too low, you will hurt your knees; if it is too high you’ll feel it in the groin! We love that the BikeERG seat will both raise and lower as well as move forward and aft so you can find the right height and angle.

Handles

Concept2 BikeERG handles
The handlebars on the Concept2 BikeERG are different than what we’ve seen on other indoor spin bikes and air bikes. Rather than feature a circular or semi-circle design, these handles are split and look more like road bike racing handles than spin bike handles. There is a horizontal grip on either side that extends directly from the handlebar stem. From here, a vertical grip extends upward for a higher grip while another handle drop low – simulating riding in the “drops” on a road bike. The multiple handlebar positions allow riders to sit upright or lean forward for a more aggressive stance. The horizontal bars are placed in line with the console so when hand position is here, you have direct line of sight to the PM5 monitor. The handles are coated with a sweat-resistant surface for protection and, like the saddle, can be wiped down after use to sanitize.

Console/Controls

Console

Concept2 BikeERG console

Display

The PM5 display screen will light up as soon as you start pedaling. The monitor is powered via the rowing motion and uses batteries as supplemental power. This backlit screen looks simple but actually has extended functionality. There are several screens you can use on the PM5.
The home screen displays:

  • Just Ride
  • Select Workout
  • Games
  • Memory
  • More Options

5 Display Screens

The PM5 monitor is the same as on the Concept2 Rower and SkiERG (programmed for pedaling instead of rowing). This console has five display screens:

  • All Data screen
  • Force Curve screen
  • Pacer screen
  • Bar chart screen
  • Large print screen

Ride Metrics

The console displays: distance, speed, pace, calories and watts

  • Console is backlit and can be seen in low light conditions
  • The Main Menu screen lets you quickly access preset workouts, save favorite workouts, and review past workout results

USB Flash Drive Compatible

The PM5 will automatically store your workout data on the internal memory in the monitor or you can upload it to a USB flash drive. Using Concept2’s free Concept2 Utility software, users can upload data to an online logbook or transfer data to a Mac or PC. Concept2 BikeERG is compatible with FAT and FAT32 USB formats only.

Racing

The PM5 supports wired machine to machine racing, or upload your data via a USB flash drive to compete with other athletes.

Optional Accessories

The Concept2 BikeERG now includes a phone caddie with your bike purchase. This will hold your phone securely during your workout. Other optional add-ons include:

  • BikeERG Water Bottle Holder
    • A water bottle holder clips to the inside of your handlebars to hold water bottles conveniently between you and the monitor.
  • Toe Clips
    • Zefal toe clips attached to the front of your pedal to hold your shoe on the pedal more securely.
  • Tablet Mount
    • The tablet mount attaches above the PM5 console to you can watch, compete or view a training program of your choice on your personal tablet.
  • Floor Mat
    • The floor mat sits beneath your bike to protect your floors from any movement from the bike — and catch the abundant sweat that will drip down during a killer workout!
  • Heart Rate chest straps
    • Both a Bluetooth Polar and Garmin chest strap are available as add ons from Concept2.

Functionality

Performance

The Concept2 ERG provides a smooth ride. While the belt drive system does reduce noise a bit, this is still an air resistance flywheel, so there is a bit of whirring noise while riding. However, the BikeERG creates a smooth cadence and the rhythmic nature of the fan is actually soothing while riding. As always, we love the PM5 monitor because it is both easy to use and provides lots of training options. It’s also nice not to have to plug the bike in — you can place it anywhere. We frequently test and ride tech-enhanced equipment with screens and video content, etc. While these are engaging, the video programs often take a few minutes to get started. You have to turn the bike on, wait for the app to fire up, choose your program and wait for it to load before you begin riding. With the BikeERG, just get on and start to pedal — the PM5 automatically starts and you are ready to go. There’s no wait time, buffering time, or lag time when getting started. Also, the four adjustment points on the BikeERG make it a very comfortable bike to ride. Pretty much any size user should be able to find the right fit on the BikeERG. We like the additional accessories, but we’d prefer to see pedals that already have a toe clip for safety. This is an upgrade we strongly recommend. But, you can ride the BikeERG with any athletic shoe — cycling shoes with cleats are not required. As with all Concept2 equipment, the BikeERG is a quality machine that provides a comfortable, challenging workout for riders of all conditioning levels.

Concept2 BikeERG damper

Resistance

The BikeErg has two ways you can adjust resistance. The damper setting on the side of the flywheel — and your pedaling cadence — both affect the amount of resistance. You can adjust the damper but keep your cadence the same for a moderate resistance increase, or you can keep the damper setting stable but increase cadence to add resistance from the air fan. By adding both more damper resistance and a higher cadence, you increase resistance even more.

Concept2 provides the following examples of how to adjust resistance using the Damper and your own Cadence.

  • 1.Varying Damper Setting:
    • 1.Set the damper to 1, and pedal at a cadence of 60 rpm for 30 seconds.
    • 2. Move the damper to 5, maintaining the same cadence of 60 rpm, and pedal for 30 seconds, paying attention to your output in pace, watts or calories.
    • 3. Bring the damper back to 1, and pedal for another 30 seconds, again watching your output.
    • 4. Back to damper 5, 30 seconds at 60 rpm.
    • 5. This can be repeated multiple times to create an interval workout. You may choose a different cadence to maintain if 60 rpm is too slow, but keep the same cadence throughout the exercise.
  • 2. Varying Cadence:
    • 1. Set the damper to 3 and leave it there for the entire exercise.
    • 2. Pedal at a cadence of 60 rpm for 30 seconds.
    • 3. Keeping damper at 3, increase cadence to 80 rpm for 30 seconds.
    • 4. Return to 60 rpm, still at damper setting 3.
    • 5. Back up to 80 rpm for 30 seconds.
    • 6. This can be repeated multiple times to create an interval workout. You may choose a different damper setting if you prefer, but keep it the same throughout the exercise.

As you can see, both the damper and pedal cadence affect resistance. When you increase your cadence, more air moves through the flywheel which creates more resistance. When you open the damper up to level 10, a maximum amount of air passes through the flywheel, creating maximum resistance. Be aware that when the damper is set to higher levels, more air passes through which creates more noise.

The resistance on the BikeERG is a little different than on the SkiERG or Model D rower. Rowing or skiing at a higher stroke rate does not necessarily mean you are producing more power. This is because there is a recovery phase in the stroke. However, the BikeErg is different because your pedal stroke is continuous, with no recovery phase. This means the faster you spin, the more power you will be producing.

Concept2 explains that riders should regard adjusting the damper as similar to adjusting gears on a bike. When you are on a flat road, you can make pedaling harder by increasing gears; the damper does the same thing – it makes the pedal stroke feel more challenging.

PM5 Workouts

Concept PM5 console

Wireless Connectivity
The PM5 supports both ANT+ and Bluetooth, so it will sync with most chest straps.
Concept2’s ErgData app can be downloaded on your phone and will sync with the PM5 to save and store your workout metrics
Daily Workouts
There are several pre-programmed workouts on the PM5. The PM5 has basic riding programs as well as cycling challenges that are engaging — even on the black and white screen.

Training Logbook
Concept2 also offers support to riders who want more accountability. The Concept2 BikeERG online logbook can be downloaded to record your workouts. There are different challenges offered throughout the year, and you can work towards the Million Meter Club. Here is a link to the Concept2 logbook.

Additional PM5 Functions
Concept2 provides abundant information on the PM5, how to use it, and how to access the programs you want. For more information, follow this link to the Concept2 PM5 functions page.

Noise Level

As we mentioned, since the BikeERG is an air bike that uses a flywheel, there is a bit of noise when in use. This bike isn’t as noisy as comparable AirBikes with large open flywheels and thick blades; but it is louder than a magnetic spin bike. Since the bike uses a belt drive instead of a chain drive, it is quieter than the Concept2 rower. But the flowing sound of air through the flywheel is a part of using this bike. While you can find quieter bikes that have magnetic resistance, the air resistance on the Concept2 BikeERG is the main reason people use and enjoy the BikeERG.

Storage / Folding

Concept BikeERG frame
The Concept2 ERG bike does not fold up. There are wheels under the front stabilizer so you can tip the bike and gently roll it out of the way. Remove any water bottles or phones before moving your bike. Thankfully, the BikeERG is lighter weight than comparable spin bikes and doesn’t have a plug that drapes down, so it is much easier to move.

Concept2 BikeERG

Bottom Line:

As with other Concept2 equipment, we find the BikeERG to be a quality training tool. This lightweight bike will support up to 300 pounds of rider weight, includes the PM5 monitor for extensive training, does not require electricity to operate, and uses air resistance to create a very realistic riding experience. The combination of a damper and your pedal cadence control the overall resistance, so there’s no need for buttons or settings of any kind. The advantages of this system are a very natural feeling ride that responds instantly to your power and cadence. The addition of a damper makes it so you can control the resistance to a certain degree when pedaling, so it isn’t all cadence alone. This gives the rider more control over their ride and their resistance.

The BikeERG has a powder-coated black frame with a relatively compact footprint that will fit in any corner or home gym. It does not require electricity to operate. The PM5 monitor is battery operated but rider power-assisted, so the batteries will last a long time. We love the extensive functionality of the PM5 monitor — but it can also be as simple as you want it to be. Just get on and start to ride and the PM5 provides instant metrics on your cadence, speed, distance and time.

If you are interested in a bike that offers the advantages of air resistance, doesn’t require electricity, has a small footprint and can be used by anyone — the Concept2 BikeERG is an excellent option.

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