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Where to start with simulated cycling?

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Where to start with simulated cycling?

Old 09-09-22, 06:38 PM
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Bogey Speedwell
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Where to start with simulated cycling?

So, both I and my wife have gotten into cycling over a year ago, and winter is a bit challenging for outdoor activities for our interest. I purchased a cheap spin bike last year, and while it was fine for me she lost interest rapidly. My thinking was a smart bike instead of a trainer so we could share the bike and use some interactive or simulated riding throughout the Wisconsin winters

Not thinking of using it for training per say but more an enjoyable physical pass time with some exercise benefits. I get it, Dr Google is my friend, but honestly not sure what to to research any more, since it seems like everything is an ad or has promotional links. Honestly have no idea what I am looking for or where to start.

Not sure what works with what, and while I am budget conscience, I always feel I got screwed by going cheap and it ends up costing me more.
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Old 09-09-22, 08:08 PM
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smart bikes are probably fun and i'm sure the owners will chime in but were it me and my wife road as well i'd be investing in a pair of smart wheel off trainers and hook the bikes up and ride together, side by side. what better way to be with your wife.

recently zwift came out with a killer deal so visit the zwift site. there is sure to be some info there on how to get started. there is a member here that i think rides with his wife side by side but not sure exactly how he hooks it all up.
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Old 09-09-22, 09:16 PM
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If you can go down the "two smart trainers and bikes side-by-side" route, that would be he most "fun" and interactive, as you could both ride at once and together, instead of having to share a single smart bike.

That may even workout cheaper. For example a KICKR Bike is around $5000, whereas a pair of KICKR Core trainers is around $2000 (give or take, depending on where you live). You'd then just need a device each (eg: Apple TV) and TV screen each. Oh and two subscriptions. You could go cheaper with two wheel-on trainers, but I'd truly recommend a wheel-off direct drive model.

If you're simply after enjoyable entertaining exercise, that's what I would recommend anyway.
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Old 09-09-22, 10:59 PM
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A Kick Bike is $3000. It's never been $5000, unless we're talking funny money.

I've done the dumb trainer with powermeter pedals, direct-drive trainer, and smart bike. If you have the money then the smart bike is the way to go. Less fuss, smoother action, zero worrying about cassette, frame or drivetrain compatibility.

I use my Kickr Bike with Rouvy, then when my wife wants to ride together, it takes a few seconds to switch over for her while I use my backup bike on my Kickr. We set up a race on Rouvy can draft off each other. There are also training and group ride modes that let you tweak individual difficulty or get a rubber-band effect for weaker riders to more easily stay with a designated leader, respectively. You only need one subscription with Rouvy that can be shared with 3 other accounts, so it's cheaper than a competitor like FulGaz and for her, more compelling with real routes to ride vs the totally artificial virtual roads of Zwift and RGT. Rouvy runs on almost anything, although a computer or Apple TV seem to be the best options.
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Old 09-10-22, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
A Kick Bike is $3000. It's never been $5000, unless we're talking funny money.
Yeah. Funny money. Actually it's a slither under $6000 in funny upside-down money! 😧

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Old 09-10-22, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
smart bikes are probably fun and i'm sure the owners will chime in but were it me and my wife road as well i'd be investing in a pair of smart wheel off trainers and hook the bikes up and ride together, side by side. what better way to be with your wife.

recently zwift came out with a killer deal so visit the zwift site. there is sure to be some info there on how to get started. there is a member here that i think rides with his wife side by side but not sure exactly how he hooks it all up.
ok definitely glad I asked, had no idea they can be linked, thanks

The Zwift account is per person, not per household? For some reason initially assumed this would be like a Netflix where you could select the user.
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Old 09-10-22, 05:59 AM
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Zwift is per person. You can pause the subscription after winter.

Big news is Zwift will be selling a smart trainer for $500 next month.

Kickr Bikes are about $3000 unless one enjoys paying double.

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Old 09-10-22, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
So, both I and my wife have gotten into cycling over a year ago, and winter is a bit challenging for outdoor activities for our interest. I purchased a cheap spin bike last year, and while it was fine for me she lost interest rapidly. My thinking was a smart bike instead of a trainer so we could share the bike and use some interactive or simulated riding throughout the Wisconsin winters

Not thinking of using it for training per say but more an enjoyable physical pass time with some exercise benefits. I get it, Dr Google is my friend, but honestly not sure what to to research any more, since it seems like everything is an ad or has promotional links. Honestly have no idea what I am looking for or where to start.

Not sure what works with what, and while I am budget conscience, I always feel I got screwed by going cheap and it ends up costing me more.
if you have road bikes you like there's two options: wheel on or wheel off trainers. In my experience buying a wheel on trainer is a waste since many seen to "graduate" to wheel off. There are some good wheel off smart trainers available for pretty reasonable prices. Expect to spend anywhere from $600 to $1000 for a good one. Then you'll need two subscriptions to a riding program, like Zwift. Then it's ride on time. Set them up side by side, use two devices, like ipads, laptops, etc and you can see the avatars riding side by side.

Same with Rouvy, which is a service that uses videos of rides in place of CGI. Either of these programs really help take the boredom out of indoor riding.
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Old 09-10-22, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
ok definitely glad I asked, had no idea they can be linked, thanks

The Zwift account is per person, not per household? For some reason initially assumed this would be like a Netflix where you could select the user.
To be clear, yes you have to pay for each user. I don't recommend going down the path of doing only 1 account and then futzing with your in-game weights for each rider. If you really don't care about how accurate the in-game dynamics are, racing competitively, riding at the same time, or easily looking at separate activity data, I guess you could pick a weight in the middle of both of you and get by for a while with 1 account.

Further, yes, you can select which USER to logon with when you start Zwift, so you wouldn't need separate applications or computers to run off of. But that presumes you're paying for 2 accounts.
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Old 09-10-22, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist View Post
Yeah. Funny money. Actually it's a slither under $6000 in funny upside-down money! 😧

this one is a smidge cheaper.
https://www.rei.com/product/142195/w...bike-simulator
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Old 09-10-22, 09:28 AM
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Currently, 1 USD = 1.46358 AUD

This website has a lot of objective info, and isn't an ad-server:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com
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Old 09-10-22, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post

Not thinking of using it for training per say but more an enjoyable physical pass time with some exercise benefits.
Peloton would be another option for casual entertainment/exercise in a convenient one-stop complete package. I have a Wahoo Kickr Bike which I use with Zwift, Rouvy and Wahoo SYSTM/RGT. But I don't think I would go down that path if I wasn't training seriously. That's not to say it wouldn't be fun for casual use, but it would be overkill.
A mid-range wheel-off smart trainer is the middle ground here and would probably work well for you if you don't ride much over winter and don't train in the summer i.e. set your bike up on it over the winter months.
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Old 09-10-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
Zwift is per person. You can pause the subscription after winter.

Big news is Zwift will be selling a smart trainer for $500 next month.

Kickr Bikes are about $3000 unless one enjoys paying double.
I saw the link for the Zwift direct drive smart trainer, looks cool, little unsure if I want to invest the time into changing the bike(s) on and off. It would be nice to use occasionally through the spring, summer and fall during inclement weather.

is there a huge difference or advantage, between a smart spin bike like a peloton or echelon vs the Wahoo Kickr smart bike?
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Old 09-10-22, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
I saw the link for the Zwift direct drive smart trainer, looks cool, little unsure if I want to invest the time into changing the bike(s) on and off. It would be nice to use occasionally through the spring, summer and fall during inclement weather.

is there a huge difference or advantage, between a smart spin bike like a peloton or echelon vs the Wahoo Kickr smart bike?
Huge. Depends on what you enjoy.

The peloton bikes are designed for spin class - type exercise. You change resistance with a knob. Similar to a wheel-on dumb trainer.

The smart trainer bikes are designed for riding in a virtual world. The resistance is managed by the application, going up a steep hill on Zwift (or other) the pedaling gets harder, downhill easier.
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Old 09-10-22, 11:34 AM
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In addition to automatically changing resistance, smart bikes like the Kickr Bike have shifters. Unique to the Kickr Bike is the ability to tilt to reflect gradient changes when riding.

Smart bikes, like smart trainer but unlike the cheaper spon bikes, also measure power accurately so you'd actually be traveling at believable speeds given effort.
​​​​​​
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Old 09-10-22, 12:49 PM
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I had a Kurt fluid trainer for many years. It worked ok: the fluid simulates wind resistance, so a faster wheel spin increases the resistance. Shift to a harder gear, or spin faster, and the resistance increases realistically. Good.
But it rolls on the bike's tire, so the trainer roller needs to be adjusted so that the tire doesn't slip. Even my expensive road bike tire was slightly uneven, so there's a vibration. Not too loud, but noticeable. The tire didn't get damaged when I sat and pedaled at moderate power, but would slip if I tried to sprint -- I didn't want to crank up the clamping force too much.

In the winter, my bike was on the trainer, in front of the TV. And I still found excuses not to ride.

Now I have a Kickr, but haven't tried Zwift yet. It's easy to put the bike on the trainer, take the rear wheel off and use the cassette that's on the Kickr. There's a phone app to control the trainer in different modes, either simple 1-10 resistance levels, target watts, simulated hill grades, or interval sessions. It's very quiet. I can do easy pedaling or all-out efforts. It's good.

I still don't use it that much. I should try Zwift this year.
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Old 09-10-22, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
Huge. Depends on what you enjoy.

The peloton bikes are designed for spin class - type exercise. You change resistance with a knob. Similar to a wheel-on dumb trainer.

The smart trainer bikes are designed for riding in a virtual world. The resistance is managed by the application, going up a steep hill on Zwift (or other) the pedaling gets harder, downhill easier.
ok, definitely see the difference now!

Originally Posted by surak View Post
In addition to automatically changing resistance, smart bikes like the Kickr Bike have shifters. Unique to the Kickr Bike is the ability to tilt to reflect gradient changes when riding.

Smart bikes, like smart trainer but unlike the cheaper spon bikes, also measure power accurately so you'd actually be traveling at believable speeds given effort.
​​​​​​
perfect, thanks.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
I had a Kurt fluid trainer for many years. It worked ok: the fluid simulates wind resistance, so a faster wheel spin increases the resistance. Shift to a harder gear, or spin faster, and the resistance increases realistically. Good.
But it rolls on the bike's tire, so the trainer roller needs to be adjusted so that the tire doesn't slip. Even my expensive road bike tire was slightly uneven, so there's a vibration. Not too loud, but noticeable. The tire didn't get damaged when I sat and pedaled at moderate power, but would slip if I tried to sprint -- I didn't want to crank up the clamping force too much.

In the winter, my bike was on the trainer, in front of the TV. And I still found excuses not to ride.

Now I have a Kickr, but haven't tried Zwift yet. It's easy to put the bike on the trainer, take the rear wheel off and use the cassette that's on the Kickr. There's a phone app to control the trainer in different modes, either simple 1-10 resistance levels, target watts, simulated hill grades, or interval sessions. It's very quiet. I can do easy pedaling or all-out efforts. It's good.

I still don't use it that much. I should try Zwift this year.
thanks👍
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Old 09-10-22, 01:55 PM
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The kicker bike did not exist when i got my kicker. but, even if it did i would still go with the kicker for a few reasons:
  1. size, kicker bike is the size of a...bike which means i need a place to keep it. currently i am limited to the garage and have 3 cars parked inside. my little spit does not take up so much room that i have to put the kicker away each time but when not using it for extended periods of time i just stow it away under a work bench.
  2. price, the kicker bike is way more than i care to pay. the kicker for me was ~700 that i bought on sale on line in 2019. the bike did not exist at the time, other brands may have had one though.
  3. hassle of getting the bike on/off. i don't consider this to be a hassle really. after doing it a few times it becomes very easy and fast. 15 seconds to get the wheel off, 30 seconds to get the bike mounted. in winter the bike usually remains mounted unless i get lucky with weather. i am willing to put up with the hassle.
i'm not knocking the bike solution, i am pretty confident that it is a great solution, it is just not for me. maybe when i get much older but at 55 i can handle having just a wheel off trainer.

when my daughter starts her job after college i get her room and guess where i will be riding...
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Old 09-12-22, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post

is there a huge difference or advantage, between a smart spin bike like a peloton or echelon vs the Wahoo Kickr smart bike?
Yeah big difference as already explained by BTinNYC. The standard Peloton Bike is a simple spin bike with manual resistance knob. The Peloton Bike+ does have electronically controlled resistance/power so you can do more accurate power interval training, but it's not designed for simulated road cycling like the smart bikes and trainers are. Peloton would appeal more to someone looking for a simple, but motivating aerobic training program. Smart bikes and trainers appeal more to keen cyclists looking to compliment their outdoor riding and training. I use my Wahoo Kickr Bike with Zwift and Rouvy for virtual racing/riding and Wahoo SYSTM for structured training intervals. It's pretty much the current gold standard for simulated riding. I do also have a direct drive Smart Trainer (Elite Direto X) that I used to use before I bought the Kickr Bike. The Smart Trainer is certainly more cost-effective (£500 vs £3000), but I prefer the convenience and flexibility of the Kickr Bike. For example it can simulate any gear ratio combination and riding position. Also no mess from the drivetrain.
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Old 09-15-22, 05:56 PM
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Virtual world and actual fun in Zwift
(Its marked Strava, because my Zwift rides load into the training app Strava)

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Old 09-15-22, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
So, both I and my wife have gotten into cycling over a year ago, and winter is a bit challenging for outdoor activities for our interest.
Am I correct in assuming that both of you have bicycles you ride on the road in good weather? Why not just get a wheel-on smart trainer, or even two if you plan on riding side by side? Two of them would be considerably less expensive than a dedicated "smart bike".
HINT: if you do decide to get two Zwift subscriptions, you can use their phone app (Companion), 'follow' each other, and then create a 'meetup' and invite your partner. It can be set up so that no matter how fast you actually pedal, your avatars will ride at the same speed. Great if one of you is faster than the other. You can even make everyone else on your route disappear, so it looks like you have the virtual world to yourselves.
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Old 09-15-22, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Am I correct in assuming that both of you have bicycles you ride on the road in good weather? Why not just get a wheel-on smart trainer, or even two if you plan on riding side by side? Two of them would be considerably less expensive than a dedicated "smart bike".
HINT: if you do decide to get two Zwift subscriptions, you can use their phone app (Companion), 'follow' each other, and then create a 'meetup' and invite your partner. It can be set up so that no matter how fast you actually pedal, your avatars will ride at the same speed. Great if one of you is faster than the other. You can even make everyone else on your route disappear, so it looks like you have the virtual world to yourselves.
Yes we both have bikes, originally my though process of the smart bike was I may be more inclined to ride it at night or in rainy weather in spring summer or fall when my bike isnít on the trainer. i.e. itís 7:40 PM and dark here now. I seem to always be working and Just closed the laptop from answering work emails. A ride would be awesome but binging the bike inside to set it on the trainer may be something I would pass on; However the price of the smart trainer appeals to me greatly over purchasing a smart bike for sure.
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Old 09-16-22, 05:10 AM
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I would go for a compromise and get a "wheel-on" smart trainer like the Wahoo Kicker Snap. Five minutes to install or remove the bike from the trainer and it's in a ready to ride state, small footprint when not used, plus these are the lowest cost smart trainers. The cons are; noisier than more expensive trainers, puts hard miles on the rear tire, and they generally can't deliver the maximum type of resistance - the Snap's simulation tops out at a 12% grade.
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Old 09-16-22, 04:30 PM
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Just my opinion.

Smart Wheel-On Trainer (light use)

Tend to wear out rear tires
More noise
Quick to load up the bike, and no gear adjustments


Smart Wheel-Off Trainer (regular use)
Rear wheel and tire removed, no wear.
More quiet
May have to slightly adjust gears when loading bike and reinstalling wheel

Dedicated Smart bike (Constant / any time you feel like it use)
Always ready to go
Very quiet
No adjustments or loading the bike onto trainer.

Lastly, don't compare the Smart bikes to the obvious brand named Peloton.
The Peloton is a fancy spin bike that runs it's own brand of subscription based software.
Smart Bikes can run software from many different vendors. This same software flexibility exists with the Smart wheel on or off trainers.

Disclosure
I have the Wahoo Kickr Bike.
I use my Wahoo bike computer to control it during workouts.
The Bike computer also controls my cooling Fan while I ride.
I use FulGaz software when I want something pretty to watch while biking. (55" TV Infront of bike)

An expensive setup, but I ride/train indoors many times per week as guided by my cycling coach.

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Old 09-16-22, 05:13 PM
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I ride indoors a lot due to my wifeís health. I got the Kickr bike after years of using all the other options thru the years. Itís by far the best way to go. You can set up gearing. I ride all the different cycling appís I find Rouvy the most engaging. I do a lot of group rides and Rouvyís group rides are the most engaging ones. Zwift has turned into a race orientated. Not a great fit if you just want to enjoy a ride as you do in real life.
I look at the Kickr bike as cheap compared to buying an actual bike plus a trainer. As actual bikes donít do good long term on a trainer.
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