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VR trainer recommendation needed...

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VR trainer recommendation needed...

Old 01-29-13, 09:39 AM
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VR trainer recommendation needed...

Hi guys,

I've been scouring the Internet and reading reviews and articles on the various VR trainers out there, but I'm looking for a few real-world use stories to help me decide. I am looking to start getting more serious with my training and give myself a way to ride more when the weather or my schedule doesn't allow for outdoor rides.

The entertainment factor is important to me -- I definitely get bored on indoor trainers and like the idea of the VR riding. So far I'm looking at the Computrainer and the Tacx Genius.

The Computrainer seems to be a slam dunk from a training standpoint - rock solid hardware, great reputation, etc... -- however, the software, even with the new version, seems to be lagging way behind the new offerings out there. However, I'm really attracted to the ErgVideo products, so that is making me lean towards CT. Also hear a lot about Golden Cheetah but I am not very familiar with it...

The Tacx Genius seems to be the leader from an entertainment standpoint - more geared to online multiplayer, Google Earth rides, etc... I'm also intrigued by the steering input feature and the motor that simulates downhills -- however, I've read so many terrible reviews of the software/hardware that it is hard to feel good going with Tacx.

So my question - as of today, with the latest and greatest software/add-ons/optional programs, which of these two trainers would you go with? First priority quality and variety of training (something I can grow into), second priority entertainment (I hope to spend quite a bit of time on the trainer). I am proficient in technical stuff so I don't care about ease of setup when it comes to the software...

I'd love to be able to ride some famous courses (Tour stages, Euro races, etc...) as well as cruise around some cities/areas I don't get to ride in real life...

Thanks for any insights you can provide.

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Old 01-29-13, 11:07 AM
Because I thought I could
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Have you used either of these systems? Ridden an Erg video? I'm lucky there is a very well-run CompuTrainer center in town that runs structured programs through the late fall into early spring, so I've used both straighth CT (probably the lamest user interface in the world but it actually works) and Erg video in group settings (everything from fellow recreational cyclists trying to get better to competitive racers and tri-geeks). CT works well, but there are a number of competing systems out there or in the pipeline; depending on your price point and needs, they may be preferable. The least expensive seems to be one of the Kurt Kinetic trainers (known & stable power/speed profile) coupled with an add-on sensor and Trainer Road software.

dcrainmaker has reviews of several of these systems and has more in his pipeline; if you have not checked his site, definitely do so.

Golden Cheetah is an open source (I think) free power analysis software. Has many features of Training Peaks and the stand-alone WKO software. I've been using it for several years. I have a PowerTap wheel, and I use the power & HR data from outdoor rides and indoor; the indoor sessions helps me calibrate how I do in a controlled environment vs. the road. You can also use Training Peaks free on line web site, and other sites (Strava, Garmin Connect, maybe the MapMy-whatever) are adding power and history data so you can analyze and track performance over time.

None of these tools will make you faster without alot of work on the bike. A friend who is a successful Masters TT racer has never used power, GC, CT, or Erg. He has the discipline and experience to train without it. But if it motivates you, sure, why not. I geek out on the numbers (that doesn't make me faster, either). I do have a much better idea of where I do well, by how much, and how to get better. Recently, I've tried ignoring the power display in real time to work on my mental aspects; I tend to ride the numbers too much, so what I "know" my max was becomes "what my max is" even if I could go a bit harder.
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Old 02-23-13, 12:32 PM
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For what it's worth.. just got another piece of my Computrainer rideserver software functional today.. the server is now sending an xml array that the client is taking and turning into java objects that it can use to act on such as track which server a person has the fastest round trip time to.

I've been a bit slow working on it lately because I've been spending all my time working and when not working I've been spending time helping a family that suffered a parent's worst nightmare and when not doing that I've been preparing the local charter school lottery system for this year's lottery which I do as a volunteer. Need more time!

Hopefully I'll be able to get it functional and released soon so that I can let people start riding against each other with the multirider software. If things work out it looks like I may be able to accomplish this without having to license any 3rd party API's which means I can release it free.
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