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Looking for a new trainer to keep my winter training interesting.

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking for a new trainer to keep my winter training interesting.

Old 09-12-10, 06:33 PM
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Looking for a new trainer to keep my winter training interesting.

So the last few years I fell off big time, and couldn't spend the time I should on the trainer keeping a good base up. I just simply cannot keep interested in it. I find it infinitely boring, and kinda like a hampster in a wheel with no real idea of what is going on. My setup is rather basic I admit. Just a wind trainer with a speedo hooked to the rear wheel of an old bike manipulated to mimic the geometry of my road bikes. So I am looking at getting a trainer that reads power output to keep me more in tune with my training, and to better benchmark my performance. I was wondering what would be a good one to buy. There seems to be a few out there with a large variance in price. It starts at a KK unit, with one of their power meter computer setups, from there it goes to Cycle Ops Power Beam, to a Computrainer, to a Tacx. Has anyone used any of these higher end setups, and how did you find the experience from it. These will all be a somewhat sizable investment, and if it is worth it to spend the extra money I will. I hear lots of good things about KK, but I have not heard much about their power computers, and if they are any good at all. Thanks in advance guys.
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Old 09-12-10, 06:36 PM
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The KK power computer just takes your wheel speed and converts that to a power output from their formula, which is model specific.

https://www.kurtkinetic.com/powercurve.php

All I did during the winter was remember the speeds which corresponded to the power that I was trying to stay at instead of getting one of those computers.
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Old 09-12-10, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaPodio View Post
The KK power computer just takes your wheel speed and converts that to a power output from their formula, which is model specific.

https://www.kurtkinetic.com/powercurve.php

All I did during the winter was remember the speeds which corresponded to the power that I was trying to stay at instead of getting one of those computers.
Yeah it seems like this method is the least accurate, and only marginally better than my speedo/wind trainer setup. I don't really want to do an all out $1000+ trainer, but it if the KK is out, that's about where I am at.
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Old 09-12-10, 07:48 PM
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I would recommend getting a used powertap rear wheel for less than $500 (or you could get a new wired one from competitive cyclist for around $600) and just use it on your current trainer. You'll have very accurate power numbers (much more accurate than the KK which are just formula based) and you'll be able to use it on the road too. It's a much more useful set up.
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Old 09-12-10, 10:03 PM
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I agree with using a PowerTap wheel instead of getting a fancy trainer, and then you can use it on the road as well. In terms of the actual trainer, I like fluid trainers such as the Cycleops Fluid2 and JetFluid Pro.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:33 AM
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I have also considered that as well. I don't like the added mass that is involved with the powertap wheels though. I am holding out for the pedal based power meters that are being developed that weigh almost nothing. Also the Computrainer also shows allot more information than just power output, I would assume the Tacx does too, Powerbeam not so sure. It gives you information to help you smooth out your pedal stroke, and perfect your crank angle. The other thing is the VR programs of the higher end systems seem like they would help engage one into an inside work out.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:37 AM
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I live in Wisconsin and do lots of indoor training. I have 2 "high end" training systems.

I have a KK Road machine with about 25 Spinervals and CTS Training system DVD's (many bought on Ebay). For me, the DVD's make the system. You do what the coaches tell you and you will improve. I wouldn't use it if I didn't have the DVD's. For example, every winter I do the 2 months CTS Progressive Power series which is a twice a week power building program. The KK trainer without the DVD's would be torture for me. I do have a powertap on my bike but you could easily do these with a simple bike computer and then copy the power to speed chart from KK web site (ie. 20mph on the bike = 260 watts or whatever the chart says).

I also have a Tacx Fortius virtual training system (2nd bike). I have about 10 of the Tacx virtual reality videos including quite a few of the mountain stages. I use this mostly for some of my longer trainer sessions. I have done 3-5 hour trainer sessions climbing in the mountains and it kept my interest. It is really fun to climb the Tourmalet in my basement. I also love the ergovideos like "Training with Rabobank" where you have to keep up with the power output of the Rabobank riders for 1 hour. The Tacx system is expensive in part because you need a pretty good computer system to run it. The build quality is moderate and some people have found it to be quirky but I think this is because they don't have a good enough computer for it.

If I could only choose one system, I would pick the KK system because it is built better and it is cheaper but I love both systems. I alternate them all winter (and on rainy days).
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Old 09-13-10, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by OCLV Assassin View Post
I have also considered that as well. I don't like the added mass that is involved with the powertap wheels though. I am holding out for the pedal based power meters that are being developed that weigh almost nothing. Also the Computrainer also shows allot more information than just power output, I would assume the Tacx does too, Powerbeam not so sure. It gives you information to help you smooth out your pedal stroke, and perfect your crank angle. The other thing is the VR programs of the higher end systems seem like they would help engage one into an inside work out.
oh please.
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Old 09-13-10, 11:57 AM
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I'd go with the KK trainer. The calculated power based on speed is fine for intervals as it is reasonably consistant and accurate to within +/- 10% or so of actual power. The extra info you get from the computrainer is mostly a gimmick and won't make you a faster rider.

You should probably try the DVDs as well. Staring at a powermeter output for 20min vs looking at a speedo isn't going to make riding a trainer more tolerable.
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Old 09-13-10, 12:12 PM
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I'd look at jrobe's recommendations closely.

I have CycleOps trainers, with power/etc readings from my SRM. I watch race DVDs, watch cam clips/footage, and (regular) movies for longer rides.

I've used the Tacx (nice because you can step up resistance for testing purposes, otherwise it's a bit cheap feeling), Computrainer (I don't remember much about it).

Personally I want a trainer that allows me to rock my bike, either free motion rollers or a KK Rock N Roll (or KK-like) setup. Since I have an extra trainer frame (2 complete trainers and a frame with no resistance unit) and access to a plasma cutter and welder (although I don't know how to use it, someone else does), I may try and create a KK R&R out of the extra trainer "chassis".

The other thing you can look at is the PowerTap/Cycleops trainer. If you use their head unit, you can "record" rides (off your PT hub or other Ant +Sport power measuring units) and replay them on the trainer. Then your resistance goes up and down like it did during your actual ride. If you have a helmet cam, you can record rides and just hit play at the right time (whether burned to DVD or saved as a file on your computer). I think for the trainer you're looking at mid-upper $2k range.

a year round trainer user,
cdr

Last edited by carpediemracing; 09-13-10 at 12:17 PM. Reason: hit space bar by accident, which posts the post
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Old 09-13-10, 12:12 PM
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I have the 20 minute TT Spinerval DVD with my KK Rock and Roll - its awesome.

I know what I'm asking for Xmas this year - wifey, you reading this?
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Old 09-13-10, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
.. accurate to within +/- 10% or so of actual power...
much to my disappointment, having a KK for over a year and recently acquiring a powertap, this is probably closer to +/- 5%.
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Old 09-13-10, 12:48 PM
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another vote for the PT and keeping your current trainer.

last winter i got power in the form of a PSIMET custom PT SL+ wheel. i already had the KK road machine.

having power during the trainer session really gave me focus and motivation. when spring time rolled around i was in the best cycling shape of my life. later.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:04 PM
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Added mass of a power tap? Are you mountain climbing on your stationary trainer?

Even if it never sees the light of day at least the PT gives you that option.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird View Post
Added mass of a power tap? Are you mountain climbing on your stationary trainer?

Even if it never sees the light of day at least the PT gives you that option.
No, the other poster suggested I use the PT wheel while riding outside. I suppose I could, but I am really holding out for the MetricGear system to be released. https://www.metrigear.com At 50g total, can't really beat it. I already have a Garmin 500 too, so I have a ANT+ head unit already. I am sorry if my weight comments bother some of you. I admit it is a sickness. I just got my main bike under 15lbs, now I am already trying to figure out how to drop under 14lbs.

CDR, and JROBE, thanks for the input. It is info like that that I was looking for. A local guy has a computrainer, he offered to let me try it out sometime. I think I may take him up on it. Either way I need a new trainer, something quieter. I am thinking a nice CycleOps, or KK, and call it a day. I have a few older Spinervals maybe I just need to buy some more. They really work well, but I feel like I need some data to help keep track of my progress. I also would like to do longer inside rides, and they don't really facilitate that. For that matter it's hard to watch anything with my loud wind trainer. I have to crank the speakers awful loud, and it annoys the rest of the household so with my current setup an hour is about all I can pull of anyway. I really miss those long 3hr+ rides in the winter. That seems to be where I gain the most fitness from.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:43 PM
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don't hold your breathe.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
don't hold your breathe.
This.
Just get a Fortius, hate it, and sell it on eBay for half the cost so one of us trapped in Scandinavia can buy it.
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Old 09-13-10, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OCLV Assassin View Post
CDR, and JROBE, thanks for the input. It is info like that that I was looking for. A local guy has a computrainer, he offered to let me try it out sometime. I think I may take him up on it. Either way I need a new trainer, something quieter. I am thinking a nice CycleOps, or KK, and call it a day. I have a few older Spinervals maybe I just need to buy some more. They really work well, but I feel like I need some data to help keep track of my progress. I also would like to do longer inside rides, and they don't really facilitate that. For that matter it's hard to watch anything with my loud wind trainer. I have to crank the speakers awful loud, and it annoys the rest of the household so with my current setup an hour is about all I can pull of anyway. I really miss those long 3hr+ rides in the winter. That seems to be where I gain the most fitness from.
I use earbuds, with a 1/8" extension cord thing, so I can listen to whatever while riding the trainer. I have two fans on in the room, one sounds like a quiet vacuum cleaner, the other sounds like a fan. I am conscious of the volume since it's easy to keep turning it up over a 3-4-5 hour ride.

As a long time trainer rider (I started on a RacerMate2 in the fall of 1983 and have used trainers regularly ever since then), the biggest loss for me is the standing and rocking bit. In fact, for me anyway, I rock the bike "backwards" when I stand on the trainer. This is not good.

When I ride outside after a lot of trainer time I always weaken quickly standing (esp under duress, where I'm over FTP anyway).

If you have power on the bike (PT etc) then you can get a rocking setup, either KK R&R or free motion rollers or homemade R&R. Measure power using whatever you use (PT etc) and you'll have a lot of good data.

Personally I wouldn't wait for any pedal power system right now. If you have that kind of money, get an SRM or a Quarg and go from there. I'm going to try servicing my SRM stuff shortly (battery replacement, wired unit) and if that works, then it's a big thing out of the way as far as SRM drawbacks.

cdr
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Old 09-13-10, 03:02 PM
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Is it bad to stand up on regular trainers? I have a Fluid 2 but am now starting worry that standing is breaking my bike, trainer, or both.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I use earbuds, with a 1/8" extension cord thing, so I can listen to whatever while riding the trainer. I have two fans on in the room, one sounds like a quiet vacuum cleaner, the other sounds like a fan. I am conscious of the volume since it's easy to keep turning it up over a 3-4-5 hour ride.

As a long time trainer rider (I started on a RacerMate2 in the fall of 1983 and have used trainers regularly ever since then), the biggest loss for me is the standing and rocking bit. In fact, for me anyway, I rock the bike "backwards" when I stand on the trainer. This is not good.

When I ride outside after a lot of trainer time I always weaken quickly standing (esp under duress, where I'm over FTP anyway).

If you have power on the bike (PT etc) then you can get a rocking setup, either KK R&R or free motion rollers or homemade R&R. Measure power using whatever you use (PT etc) and you'll have a lot of good data.

Personally I wouldn't wait for any pedal power system right now. If you have that kind of money, get an SRM or a Quarg and go from there. I'm going to try servicing my SRM stuff shortly (battery replacement, wired unit) and if that works, then it's a big thing out of the way as far as SRM drawbacks.

cdr

Your making me think the Rock and Roll, may be the way to go. I also just switched to SRAM cranks, so I could always pick up an SRM Red crank for training on I suppose, then switch back to the regular crank for races. They install so much easier compared to my old KCNC cranks I used to use. They just weigh a bit more.

Originally Posted by djpfine View Post
Is it bad to stand up on regular trainers? I have a Fluid 2 but am now starting worry that standing is breaking my bike, trainer, or both.
I've never heard of such things ever happening. I imagine if you are a big strong clydesdale maybe, but not likely.
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Old 09-20-10, 05:40 AM
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Well after much research into this, I think I am going to buy a KK Road Machine Pro, with the heavier flywheel. I am also going to buy a Powertap rear wheel. So I guess I am saying you guys are right, I should of just listened to you in the first place.
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Old 09-20-10, 06:11 AM
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You're in Ohio? Why don't you just ride outside all winter?
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Old 09-20-10, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by pmt View Post
You're in Ohio? Why don't you just ride outside all winter?

Have you ever been in Ohio in the winter? It gets down to -20s on occasion, and snow. The big problem for me is daylight. I work 9-6 mon-sat. So soon I will have none.
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Old 09-20-10, 10:02 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by pmt View Post
You're in Ohio? Why don't you just ride outside all winter?
I'm in the snow belt. Riding outside on a road bike in the winter isn't happening a significant portion of the time.
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Old 09-20-10, 10:06 AM
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How about the Lemond Revolution? I have the 1Up, but I'm keeping my eye on this new trainer. I plan to ride the trainer a lot this winter, so I'm wondering if this trainer is worth the upgrade. I already have a PT.
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