Help me understand my home trainer...
I am not new to cycling but am just starting in racing, training and whatnot.
I wanted to concentrate some of my training on some specifics such as intervals, I purchased a home trainer (to be able to do it at nights after works in weekdays, in poor weather, and to benefit from constant conditions (no hills)).
Unlike most trainers, mine (the Elite Qubo Power Fluid) has no resistance setting and manual states resistance should only be changed through gears.
Does this mean that gears only set the resistance and that overall speed is meaningless and that I should only worry during training about my RPMs, my cardio, and overall duration or workout/exercise?
Also, what do those graphs actually mean? (I know it is mostly marketing bullsh*t but it has to mean something):
Thanks and sorry if my question are too silly or if I am posting in the wrong forum (maybe this one is *only* about nutrition and the actual exercises not the tools required to achieve them)...
I've personally never used this trainer you mentioned, but i presume that it functions like many similar ones. That is, as you increase the velocity of the rear wheel the resistance increases to make it harder so that it is 'like' cycling on the road (where as your speed increases, drag increases on you).
The graphs suggest/show how much power is required to go at those speeds on that trainer. There will be variations on this to do with the size of your tyre, the pressure in the tyre, etc.
Does that help?
Speed and distance are meaningless on a trainer. What is relevant is duration, intensity and cadence. This is also true when training on the road. Note that training plans indicate level of effort (RPE, HR, Power) and durations, not speeds or distances. Speed and distance on the road are only loosely related to effort and duration because of all the variables that exist riding outside.
I'm not an expert by any means, but I've been trainer training this winter and know a little about it.
On a bike, your speed and distance can be influenced by all sorts of things, like whether you going uphill, downhill, smooth vs. crappy roads, etc. etc.
The trainer eliminates these variables.
The distance you go is determined by how many times the drum in contact with the wheel goes round and round. Divide by time expended, and voila, speed.
The good trainers have a reproducible speed to power curves. At a certain speed, it will require a predictable amount of power. The power curve can also be influenced by the type of tire and if it's properly inflated, and if the tension setting of the drum against the tire is proper.
I have a Kurt Kinetic and a pseudo power meter which factors in the rolling resistance and gives a pretty accurate power level.
If you notice, trainer workouts go by all sorts of stuff: rate of perceived effort, heart rate or power. They never go by speed, at least none that I've ever seen. The favored training guide these days is power.
If you felt like it, you could take speeds on the trainer and calculate what power you generate at each speed. Then you could train by power, kind of.
If this explanation seems simplistic, it's because it reflects my level of understanding. I'm sure others will chime in with more and/or better detail.
Hope that helps.
Edit- what Looigi said. He beat me to it.
Help you understand your trainer?
It's a torture device used by deranged masochists to inflict insipid pain on themselves.
The next step is buying a power meter so you can measure that pain.
Seriously, though, as the other posters have already stated your trainer does have variable resistance - the faster you spin it, the harder it is to push. Similar to being outside.
So you use your gears to adjust your cadence to what you want it to be so you "ride" at the effort/power level you want to put out for the workout you're doing.
When you go to races, look around at the trainers in use. They'll almost all be fluid trainers without "variable resistance".
Thank you all!
With all that, I should be able to figure it all out (I just mounted the trainer, the bike on it, and rode it barefoot for 5 minutes to give it a try... so I have lots or figuring out by myself yet to do).
This thread is helpful for me, as I've had misconceptions on the concept of speed on a trainer. I use my wahoo bluetooth speed and cadence sensor and thought that whatever speed at a given gear would be similar to what I'd experience outside, but the few times I've been outside I've gone "faster" (I won't rehash, I had another thread recently). In the absence of power measurement, I use those other measures to give me an approximate idea of my fitness progress (I've only done long steady efforts, so when I feel like I'm going easy on a gear/cadence as far as my HR and effort go, I increase gear).
I'm in agreement with much of what has been said above, but to clarify:
Having a bike computer that displays speed when using a trainer is an extremely useful thing, even if there is only a weak relationship between speed on the trainer and speed in the real world. The speed displayed on the trainer can be converted to the power you are producing by using the first graph you posted. This is a very important training tool. Cadence is very nice to know when using the trainer, but speed is more important IMO.
During my recent research on trainers before purchasing a Kurt Kinetic I learned the following: With some trainers, even if the power you determine from your speed and the graph is not totally accurate when compared to a real power meter, the power at a given speed is consistent from session to session (assuming you didn't switch to a different tire, you used the same tire pressure, and the trainer's tension adjustment was the same). This allows you to train according to power when using the trainer without having a real power meter. Of course, then you don't know your power when you're out on the bike, but at least you can train within the proper zones when using the trainer.
I don't know if the power curve published by your trainer's manufacturer is accurate (I didn't research that one), so you might want to do a google search and try to find out if other users have compared theirs to a real power meter. Hopefully, the same search can give you an idea if power will be consistent from session to session. For the Kurt Kinetic, people have posted that the power curve is pretty accurate and consistent, so I have been using my computer's speed reading to train within specific zones.
To maybe clarify or maybe muddy, I ride rollers with a fluid resistance unit. I don't have a power meter on the bike or a power graph to convert speed to power. Nonetheless, I watch my speed carefully because it's an analogue for power. It does not compare to speed on the road in any way, but it is useful to compare trainer sessions. On the rollers, I watch speed, cadence, and HR. I record all these things with a device, in my case a Polar watch, and upload the result to software on my computer. Thus I can keep track of my training sessions to assess progress, training state, etc. I have many years of data, which is endlessly helpful. Cateye and Garmin have similar devices. You'll need a rear wheel pickup.
After you get in 10 or 20 hours on the trainer and get used to it, you might buy Carmichael's Time Crunched Cyclist. He has a good test there to set training zones and some suggested training programs that are very useful for someone just getting into using a trainer to improve performance with theory and practice. Highly recommended by many on this forum.
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