Indoor Trainers

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Ssushi, May 5, 2003.

  1. Ssushi

    Ssushi New Member

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    I'm thinking of buying an indoor trainer. Could anyone give me a quick rundown of the situation?

    1) Are there different types?
    2) What do you get when you spend more?
    3) How quiet are they?
    4) Any recomendations for make / model?

    Cheers

    Ssushi
     
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  2. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    There are many trainers out there. All will work and all provide more than enough resistance for just about everyone. Sprinting might be an exception.

    Resistance units vary considerably. They are:

    1) Fan, or "turbo." A small fan or dual fan catches air and increases resistance exponentially, the same way the wind slows you on the road. Strengths: Exellent road feel, good resistance, inexpensive. O'Bree used a cheap turbo trainer that was several years old to do the majority of his hour-record training!!! Weaknesses: LOUD. What??? Fans are LOUD!!!

    2) Magnetic: The "mag" trainers. Some have very high resistance (Tacx). Magnetic fields create the resistance, and moving them closer together creates more resistance. Strengths: Quiet, strong resistance, fairly cheap. Weaknesses: No exponential increase in resistance. Inaccurate road feel, mags are not very smooth.

    3) Fluid: Fluids are newer than mags or fans. Fluid sealed in a chamber creates resistance against impellers inside the unit. Strengths: Great resistance and road feel, very quiet. Weaknesses: LEAKS!!! Cheap fluid trainers will leak almost guaranteed, spilling oil on your floor. The best is the Kurt Kinetic. Expensive, but worth the money.

    4) Friction: There is a new entry, the 1UP trainer. Many claim it is fantastic, with excellent feel, quiet, and great resistance.

    5) Electronic: The Computrainer, Tacx, and Cateye are most common. Strengths: Quiet, wattage data, good resistance. Weaknesses: Expensive, possible accuracy/calibration errors, same road feel as mag units (non-exponential).

    Any of these will work. By far the most important variable in your fitness is how hard you train. Doing hard workouts on trainers is one of the absolute best ways to get fast on your bike. Whatever trainer you get, make sure that you will use it!!!

    Also, it is very important to use very powerful fan(s) to cool you. You will generate tremendous body heat (unhealthy) and puddles of sweat without one.

    The most important aspect of trainer work is knowing exactly what you are going to do and for how long. For example, a 20 minute warmup, progressively raising pedal cadence, then 6 x 4 -5 minute intervals at 92-95% of max heart rate, then 20 minutes of cooldown. Having a plan breaks up the workout so you only have to focus on a few minutes of a given activity at a time. Don't just jump on the trainer and ride for an hour. You will burn out mentally very quickly that way.

    You can spend $100 on a fan unit to well over $1000 for a high-end electronic unit. Figure out what features are most important. $100 fan units work great but again, are very LOUD!!! With all the other trainers, you pretty much get what you pay for.

    Racers absolutely need a trainer to warm up at races. I recomend a very cheap, used fan or mag unit for this. The more beat up and worn out (as long as it works), the better!!! Keep your high-dollar trainer at home. Thieves love to steal trick equipment, especially when you are in the middle of a 60 minute crit!!!

    Don't be afraid to spend $300 or more on a good trainer, especially if you are serious and will be doing lots of hard workouts!!! With trainers, you really get what you pay for!!!
     
  3. Ssushi

    Ssushi New Member

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    Thanks for the help J-MAT - that helps no end.

    Still a tricky choice though,

    Ta

    Ssushi
     
  4. Shibumi

    Shibumi New Member

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    Have a look at the tacx i-magic (a virtual reality trainer). I'm thinking of getting one, based on the reviews I've seen on another mb. Cost in the UK is around $500. My only concern is that I might never want to race in the real world again!
     
  5. rv

    rv New Member

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    the kurt kinetic trainer uses fluid for resistance, but it is sealed and has a magnetic drive system. I've had one for over 2 years and its great. and do like I did and buy the extra heavy fly wheel for an extra $30 or so. 20mph on the kurt feels just like 20mph would on the road.

    do a web search for ...kurt kinetic, read all about it, reviews too.
     
  6. Ssushi

    Ssushi New Member

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    I spoke with a chap in a bike shop who said that my tyres would last 1/2 hour on a trainer (Continental GP attacks). So now i need a new back wheel to change over .... this is turning out to be expensive...!
     
  7. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    I've built, raced, and maintained cars, bicycles, and motorcyles over the years. Bicycling is without a dought one of the most cost-ineffective sports to be in. Bike parts and clothing are way out of line price wise, compared to other sports. For example, I could buy a stock Chevy 350 or 454 motor for $300-500, dump $1500 in parts and have a respectable, high-erformance racing engine for less than an Ultegra-equipped road bike!!!

    Cycling is a total financial commitment!!!

    Get a decent trainer and dedicated trainer wheel. Use cheap tires. I've used Conti's on trainers, and they will last a lot longer than a half hour. More like many months of 2-4 workouts a week!!! They will wear, like any tire, so use cheap tires.

    You need to have extra sets of wheels, clothing, etc. Cycling is very expensive. The money spent on a good trainer is probably the best spent of all. Nothing will help you improve your performance like stationary training. Doing 5 minute intervals at 25-30 mph (~ 2.5 miles) is hard to do on the road. I can't find a flat 2.5mile stretch of road that isn't littered with traffic lights, traffic, potholes, or other obstacles. This takes away from your concentration. Training indoors allows you to work very hard without having to navigate through typical road hazards.

    If you are serious about cycling, dump $300+ on a quality trainer, and get a dedicated trainer wheel if necessary. Use powerful fans to cool you, and put blocks of wood or telephone books under your front wheel to simulate climbing. If you live in England, the weather can often be foul. You seriously need a good trainer if weather prevents you from riding outside.

    Get a good trainer!!!
     
  8. Shabby

    Shabby New Member

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    True, but you can now get trainers which stick onto the rims, for about A$100 more. They can also be used with knobby tyres for mountain bikes.
     
  9. Ssushi

    Ssushi New Member

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    Thanks for the re4sponses to this and other threads J-MAT, in summary:

    New Bike troubles Thread: I've been raod biking since Feb and the 200 Km race is organised and in teh wicklow mountains in Ireland. I say "race" but it's not really - it's neither a fun run nor race. I train 2-3 times a week in the mountains and am reasonably conditioned. I will be using my old bike for it though.

    Cleat setting Thread: I have Look peddles and am still getting knee problems so maybe theres more to this than the set up. I'll see a Dr I think.

    This tread: Looks like I'll have to front the cash. I agree whole heartedly about the cost of this sport. I'm absolutely gobsmacked about the cost of some mechanical bits and pieces and the the rest of what you need.

    Thanks for all responses, they've helped a lot.

    Ssushi
     
  10. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Ssushi:

    I'll address all three issues here:

    1) For the 200km, be sure you are used to 200 km of riding. If not, your knee pain might be the result of doing too much too soon. If you are not used to hills, 2-3 times a week of climbing may be too much as well.

    2) As for your knee and cleat set-up, going to a doctor will most likely be a waste of time and money. If you go to a doctor with knee pain, you will be told to stop riding, take some NSAID's like Motrin/Advil, or a be given a prescription for Feldene, and come back in two weeks. What's that going to do for your form??? If your cleats are not set up properly, and they are the reason for the pain, the problem will never go away until you get your cleats set up properly. You could go to your doctor 1000 times and as long as the cleats wrong, you will still have pain.

    Look at Erik Dekker. The finest doctors/specialists in Holland can't make his knee pain go away. He is a tough case for sure, but the point is doctors can only do so much.

    As good as doctors are, they know absolutely nothing about setting up bicycle cleats (unless they specialize in bike fit!!!). All they can tell you to do is stop riding. Proper "bicycle fit" is not taught in any medical school!!! Go to a high-end shop that specializes in road racing, preferrably one that is owned by, and has experienced racers working there, and have them set up your cleats FIRST. Back off your miles 50% or more, and don't climb. Don't sprint, and only ride easy in the small ring for 30-60 minutes or so for a few days. If the knee feels better, gradually increase your mileage and slowly introduce more speed and climbing.

    If the pain doesn't come back, you know what the problem was.

    If the pain comes back with properly set-up cleats, you may have done too much too soon, resulting in acute tendonitis (most common) or other soft-tissue inflammation. If this is the case, you will have to back off until your body can handle the load. To get to the pro/elite level, this takes many years of consistent training!!!

    The body can only handle so much at a time. It's better to climb or do speedwork in small amounts and recover/grow, than to do large quantities, only to get injured/overtrained and have to take time off!!!

    Only you know what's right for you. If you want to see your doctor, see your doctor. Only you can make this decision.

    3) Spend the money on a good trainer. You will not be sorry. Trainers are excellent for re-habbing injuries and developing speed/power. They are one of the most important pieces of equipment a rider can own!!! $100 for a turbo/fan (loud) or $300+ for a quality fluid/friction trainer. There is really nothing good for the most part in between!!!

    Good luck!!!
     
  11. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

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    I have a fluid trainer.

    Good points: quite and smooth.
    Bad points: It is pretty hard at the start till the oil warms up.

    Tires do get worn but no more than any other trainer that sits on the wheel. It has never leaked.
     
  12. Ssushi

    Ssushi New Member

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    Thanks for the input!

    I trierd the hill climb that I was struggling with again on Fri and nailed that sucker. I think that I'm just getting used to getting out of the saddle and that... I was well chuffed at the top. ;0)

    I#bve been recommended a fluid trainer by my local shop - I'm on good terms with them so I reckon they must have good ones in. I'll have to buy a new wheel and then I'll be sorted - except for a HRM - will the cash flow from my wallet ever slow down with this sport???? (rhetorical question - I think it won't.... heh)

    Again ta for the responses.

    Ssushi

    PS My knees are causing me less pain as I progress, I think you was right J-MAT - I just need to have the peddles set and not go climbing long and hard so often, trouble its the hills I love!

    Cyall
     
  13. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Ssushi:

    Get you cleats set up ASAP if yo have not already done so.

    As for the trainer, ask your shop what they will do if/when the resistance unit starts to leak. Fluid trainers are great, but there is only one that I would reccomend, and that is the Kurt Kinetic. The Kurt is the finest fluid trainer on the market, and has an excellent reputation. All the others are questionable, and like I said before, are almost guaranteed to leak oil all over your floor!!!

    Your knee sounds like maybe you were doing too much too soon. To do well in cycling, you have to be in it for the long haul. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time!!!

    Good luck with everything!!!
     
  14. Roquen

    Roquen New Member

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    Do all the trainers hold the bike the same way? or are there ones that wont damage tyres/wheels?
     
  15. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Some trainers work off the rim, but these are not quality units. Trainers are not hard on wheels. Tires wear. To use a tire is to wear a tire.

    Spending the money on a quality trainer is very important. You can get good results from a fan/turbo for $100 U.S., but they are loud. For everything else you get what you pay for. The best trainers out there are around $300 U.S.
     
  16. Shabby

    Shabby New Member

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    Crap!

    Minoura, who are one of the market leaders here, make a rim trainer which works fine, is durable and does whatever you want.

    I'd rather save my tyres for actual road miles than leave a pile of rubber on the floor.
     
  17. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Shabby:

    Even if Minoura are the "market leaders" in your area, what does that prove???

    Microsoft are the world-wide O.S. and software market leaders, but they make a generally crappy product. Any hacker with more than 4 hours of "training" can easily exploit the holes in Microsoft-based software. Microsoft are always trying to cover their ass with security patches all the time. Of course, if you get hacked and suffer damage, patches created afterward are of little value.

    A rim drive trainer might be ok for a recreational rider who needs something to ride when it rains, but you will not find the highest-quality trainers using rim-drive technology.

    The trainers designed for racers generating the highest power outputs utilize the traditional tire-to-roller system.
     
  18. Roquen

    Roquen New Member

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    What problems are there with the rim ones????
     
  19. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Everything boils down to preference. Some people are happy with a single-speed beach cruiser, and others are not happy unless they have a $4000 road bike.

    Most people don't use trainers to optimize performance. They just use them to ride after work, or when it rains, or to warm up before a ride/race.

    If you have ever undertaken structured stationary training, training that is harder than you could do on the road due to cars, obstacles, etc., You can appreciate the differences in quality trainers. When you are attempting 6x5 minute intervals 5-10 beats below you maximum heart rate, the last thing you need to worry about is tire/rim slippage, and the crappy, lumpy feel of a mag resistance unit.

    High resistance settings cause tire slippage. This means you have to crank down the pressure on the roller until slippage does not occur. What would that do to a rim???

    Applying pressure to the side of a rim causes lateral stresses on the wheel, which does nothing good for it. Look at the high-end trainers out there. None of them use rim drives.

    I'm sure rim-drive trainers work fine for most people, but I still can't recommend anything but the best trainers for all riders. The extra $100-200 you spend to get a quality unit will make all the difference in the world when it comes to your indoor training.

    Outside of your bike purchase, the next single most important piece of equipment you can own is a quality trainer. I would rather have an Ultegra-equipped bike and a good trainer instead of a Dura-Ace bike and a crappy trainer.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Unlike some things, with trainers, you really do get what you pay for. The best trainers cost more, but they are worth the money.
     
  20. gcheck2

    gcheck2 New Member

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    i have and like very much a 1up trainer.
    cnc machined hw that's reliable and works great for me
    www.1upusa.com
     
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