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Old 08-01-09, 10:48 AM   #1
AdrianL
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Trainers?

I am beginning to think ahead to this winter. Last winter my riding was severely reduced because of cold and rain. I hate cold weather and I hate being cold.

How many of you use trainers during the off season months and what kind do you use? What should I look for in a trainer? For example, Performance is running one of their regular sales right now and they have several trainers on sale. One has fluid resistance that is adjustable for $160 and they have one very basic for $75. Is it worth the additional money or is it just a gimmick?

Thanks
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Old 08-01-09, 01:04 PM   #2
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I went with a basic wind trainer for the first few winters. It was noisy (very!), but it gave me a decent workout. After ~5 years the bearings on the flywheel disintegrated. Rather than getting it fixed, I replaced it with a much nicer one. (I gave the original trainer to a friend of mine and he was able to swap out the wind unit for a fluid unit for about $80.)

I've never tried Performance trainers, but fluid is not a gimmick -- wind trainers are noisy and magnetic trainers have a reputation for being quiet but wimpy. Fluid trainers are supposed to have a more accurate power curve (effort similar to being on the road) than other kinds, but cheap ones may leak.

If you're not sure whether a trainer is for you, I'd go with a cheap wind/magnetic one and try it for a season, then upgrade later. Or while you're using the cheapo you can keep an eye on Craig's List/eBay for a good deal on one you really want.
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Old 08-01-09, 02:35 PM   #3
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I have two cheap magnetic trainers. They are not wimpy. You change resistance by using the gears on your bike, and the speed of pedaling, and by the increase in magnetic field available through a cable that attaches to the bars.

It really helps to have a trraining DVD or two. Actually, they give one quite a workout, if you do as Coach Troy says.

That said, I HATE the trainers, and will do just about anything NOT to use them.

I have fitted out my old mtn bike with headlights and rear blinkie, and have figured out how to keep warm, pretty much. So, whenever possible, I will take an early morning ride.

Also, I sort of enjoy the spinning classes at the rec center - be prepared for lots of "older" ladies in great shape who will show you up. They do a LOT of standing, which I don't do while riding, and am not used to. Entirely different muscle set.

However, in a spinning class one can "cheat" just a bit, pretending to turn up the tension knob while not really doing that!! You can also do exactly what you want and sort of ignore the instructor.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-01-09 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 08-01-09, 02:48 PM   #4
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Mine is a combo - fluid/magnetic. Works well and the power curve is such that you use the gears to adjust tension. With that said I am in the same camp as DF - I HATE IT!!!!
I push myself to ride in the cold until there is ice and snow on the roads and then I stop.
I have not tried spinning classes but may do that this winter.

With that said - many of my friends like rollers, I have never tried them. But I still think they hate them.

One thing to note - on a trainer you get a much better workout - there is no drafting, no slacking off. I would say an hour on the trainer may be worth 1.5 to 2 on the road.
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Old 08-01-09, 03:07 PM   #5
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My personal opinion - especially if you are in Southeastern Louisiana - would be to invest in really good cold weather riding gear instead of getting a trainer. I know you said you hate the cold, but my experience (as a year-round rider in Seattle) is that really good gear makes all the difference in the world.

I've owned two trainers in my life, and felt I wasted my money because I didn't use them much at all. By contrast, I use my cold weather riding gear a lot.
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Old 08-01-09, 03:16 PM   #6
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My personal opinion - especially if you are in Southeastern Louisiana - would be to invest in really good cold weather riding gear instead of getting a trainer. I know you said you hate the cold, but my experience (as a year-round rider in Seattle) is that really good gear makes all the difference in the world.

I've owned two trainers in my life, and felt I wasted my money because I didn't use them much at all. By contrast, I use my cold weather riding gear a lot.
Have to agree.I ride in cold weather and used to have a few problems. Hands and feet being two of them. I use sealskins socks and gloves. These are waterproof and I find that if I can keep them dry- then they will not feel the cold (As Much) The other is the ears.I keep mine warm with a full face Ski Mask. The body and tights when the temp gets below freezing and Knickers if it gets near. And just an extra layer under a Water/Wind proof top coat and I am fine. I have no excuse not to ride in the Winter cold and wet but I do look for "Urgent" jobs to do round the house when cold- wet and windy combine together.
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Old 08-01-09, 05:18 PM   #7
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I have a Performance Adjustable Fluid trainer and a set of rollers. Both pieces of equipment have their uses. I do try to ride outside during the Ohio winters, when possible, but waiting for a good day to do intervals or cadence drills may take several weeks. I do resistance work on the trainer and use the rollers to develop technique and form.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:44 PM   #8
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I have the trainer and a rower. The trainer is a chore, just has to be done up here.

I actually like the rower.

I bought a used Concept 2. There are a few good brands, and with a little luck you can find one locally in good shape where the people just want it gone.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:54 PM   #9
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My personal opinion - especially if you are in Southeastern Louisiana - would be to invest in really good cold weather riding gear instead of getting a trainer. I know you said you hate the cold, but my experience (as a year-round rider in Seattle) is that really good gear makes all the difference in the world.
That's what I think too. A resistance trainer will definitely help you to find your boredom threshold.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:55 PM   #10
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Wait... the OP lives in Louisiana, how cold can winter be?

I have a Computrainer. It's probably the best computer interfaced trainer but I hate it. I'd rather ride outside in marginal conditions than be slaved to the trainer, any trainer. So I can't really recommend a good trainer, though I did try a Kirk Kinetic Rock & Roll trainer and it was very nice.
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Old 08-01-09, 07:06 PM   #11
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I have a cycleops, I have 800 miles to date on it (this year). I use it to warmup in the morning. Here in Cebu traffic is terrible and you need to be ready to ride when you venture out. I also use it for spinning & recovery. Its too Dang hot to ride afternoons and trqaffic is BAD till dark.
In the US I have a similiar set up and like to warm up on the trainer (I use a beater bike both places). Otherwise I 'take -off' as I don't have the willpower to give adequate warmup when on the road. I've had the older cyclops for about 4 years, probably 3000 miles, no problems.
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Old 08-01-09, 08:08 PM   #12
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Riding any of them sucks, but is sometimes the best available option.
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Old 08-02-09, 08:19 AM   #13
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No - it does not get as cold down here as it does up there but when the temps are in the mid to upper 40's and the humidity is around 65% and you are riding at about 15 to 18 mph, it gets cold. At least to me, it does. That puts the wind chill at 38*F. I can't speak for you guys, but to me, that's cold - at best - very uncomfortable.

Having said that, I am also not into doing things that are boring, like cutting the grass. Enough of you here have emphasized the boredom factor enough to turn me off of the trainer.

Last winter, the things I had a problem with were fingers, feet, and face / ears. I guess I can go to full finger gloves, better socks, and as mentioned above, a ski mask. It will certainly be cheaper. Just had a funny thought - I'll probably get a few curious people when I go into a store to try on a face mask with a bike helmet.

Thanks to everyone for your great opinions and information. They have all helped a lot.
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Old 08-02-09, 06:17 PM   #14
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Rollers. Nothing teaches smooth pedaling like rollers. I watch DVD'S of cycling, WSB (World Superbike) racing, Moto GP, etc. while riding to alleviate the boredom.
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Old 08-02-09, 07:21 PM   #15
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We've been "lucky" -if that's the word in a drought- to have had a couple of very mild winters
Then, our winters in general can be pretty mild compared to the rest of the country.

So, I haven't needed my trainer much but when I do, "Mine is a Kurt. Kurt Kinetics"
It's fun to get up in tallest gear I have and stand on it for as long as I can stand it.
It's more fun on the road...
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Old 08-02-09, 08:11 PM   #16
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I'd rather ride for an hour on a trainer (especially while watching TV or cycling DVDs) than ride outdoors at night in traffic while the headlight is dimming miles from home due to a low battery.
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Old 08-03-09, 01:21 AM   #17
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Winter riding outside beats trainers. I use layering. Polypro next to skin, then wool or polyester. Polypro doesn't hold water if something over it does to wick it away. Then either another open-weave layer or maybe a windblocker with pitzips (the former keeps you drier, but latter keeps you warmer).
Bib tights, with windblocker front panels. Longjohns underneath if necessary. Head covering (you probably don't need face covering), good windproof gloves or mitts, wool socks, maybe neoprene shoe covers.

The best trainers are KK and 1UpUSA per reviews.
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Old 08-03-09, 06:42 AM   #18
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No - it does not get as cold down here as it does up there but when the temps are in the mid to upper 40's and the humidity is around 65% and you are riding at about 15 to 18 mph, it gets cold. At least to me, it does. That puts the wind chill at 38*F. I can't speak for you guys, but to me, that's cold - at best - very uncomfortable.
I'm in the same boat. I just got into cycling this summer and I'm wondering what to do this winter. I live in NW Tennessee, and like the OP, we have a lot of temps during the winter of 40 to 45, but with 70% humidity. Let me tell you, I'm from Ohio and have lived here since 83', it's not the temps that get you, it's the humidity. That 40 degrees at 70% cuts you to the bone. I've worked outside all my life, and I would rather be in Ohio at 25 degrees than what we have down here. Brrrrrrrrr. Makes me cold just thinking about it. The dampness just gets to ya.
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Old 08-03-09, 07:36 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=Eclectus;9409034]Winter riding outside beats trainers.............................QUOTE]

Agreed. My only concern is road condition. Having ridden a motorcycle through two winters I have experienced the real dangers for 2-wheeled vehicles with "black ice."
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Old 08-03-09, 07:56 AM   #20
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" I used to think there was no difference in the exercise from stationary bikes and from riding outdoors. Then one day I noticed: outdoor riders would often include an extra loop or go a little longer, while stationary bike riders always quit just as soon as the timer went off!" Dr. Kenneth Cooper

SE Lousiana? Ride all winter - use the indoor trainer in the summer!

Anyway, I've spent as little time possible on a set of these over the last 25 years. Recomended (if one can't get out for a real ride).

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Old 08-03-09, 08:37 AM   #21
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If I lived in South-Eastern Louisiana I would ride my bicycle 10 months of the year and ride the trainer for 2. And those two would be July and August. I spent summers in Shreveport growing up and I can tell you, it's pretty darned hot.

As it is I live in Minnesota and ride year round. I did 40 miles on New Year's Day. You just have to dress right. Oh yeah, and run studded tires.

All the preachy stuff aside, I have an adjustable magnetic trainer. A cable clips to my bars and I can vary the resistance both with my gears and the trainer to get a nice level of effort at the cadence I want. I don't mind riding the trainer when the weather is ultra-crappy. I TIVO the bicycle races on Versus over the summer and watch them while I am on the trainer.

I have a 1982 Fuji Supreme that is dedicated to the trainer. This way I'm not swapping skewers and moving stuff around. Find an old bike your size -- even a Varsity would be fine, and just keep it on the trainer. Nothing kills the will to spin the pedals like having to spend time setting something up.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:54 AM   #22
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I have ridden trainers -- the big electronic ones in exercise rooms. On the whole, root canal is much more pleasant for me. Also, if they can't take me to work or the store, what good are they?

With a light Gortex hooded raincoat, 38 and raining is quite pleasant, or at least better than having to drive -- in fact, I'm undoing buttons to vent heat. As they say, there's no bad weather, just bad clothing.

I admire all of you who managed to ride trainers. I could never make myself do that. If unpleasant things are indeed usually good for us, then trainers are a great idea.

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Old 08-03-09, 10:45 AM   #23
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There always has to be a contrarian to balance out the opinions. I like to ride the trainer/rollers and do so all year long even if it is fabulous outside. If the weather is inclement or dark, then the riding inside option is obvious.

To get my head right about riding indoors, I focus on what I want to accomplish with my riding and what unique features indoor cycling on a trainer provides that I cannot get or have difficulty achieving outside. I take into account the risk of riding in the dark, windy, cold and rainy / slippery conditions as well as specific terrain that I would need IF I were to do the same routine outside.

The other thing I do to make it more interesting is to break up the trainer ride into various intervals of different cadence, gearing, heart rate, standing and sitting and hand positions. I use different bikes on the trainer including road, TT and track. I listen to music but sometimes I do not and focus on what I am feeling and work on technical aspects of pedal stroke.

Riding the trainer is a more efficient use of my time than getting ready for a road ride and I need a lot less stuff, creams, lotions and etc.

If one wants to visualize the trainer as boring, it will be. I choose to make it an interesting alternative that has advantages I cannot get on the road. YMMV.
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Old 08-03-09, 12:57 PM   #24
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I bought a used Concept 2. There are a few good brands, and with a little luck you can find one locally in good shape where the people just want it gone.
I was hoping to find a decent used rowing machine, but balked after reading some online reviews. They're much more expensive than a bike trainer, so I haven't been willing to risk it yet on my budget.

Can you share more info? How long have you had it? How often do you use it? Any other insights would be helpful.
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