need the group's opinion on new Saris Trainer

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by tmctguer, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    I am very intrigued by the new Saris Power Beam Pro stationary trainer.

    http://www.saris.com/p-355-powerbeam-pro.aspx

    It allows for user programmable sessions via their power-based software tool, and it will even simulate 1-10% gradients.

    it ain't cheap, though.....$1,200 MSRP.

    but given that winter is here along with daylight savings time, and i spend 1 or 2 hours a week on a stationary trainer (using a powertap, and some of Allen & Coggan's power workouts), i believe it could be a very useful device.

    i want to get some opinions of the folks on this forum: expensive toy, fantastic training tool, same results with normal trainer & powertap, etc.

    thanks in advance !
     
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  2. bubba 02

    bubba 02 New Member

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    I have the pre-gen powerbeam,(kind of like the new model), although the new model is alot nicer, I think for the amount of time you ride it would be waste. I barely use mine,only in the dead of winter. Its alot of money for only 2 months.. I've recently gone to the saris magnetic rollers, and for me to put in a level four training session and watch the 2008 tour de france dvd is challenging enough..



     
  3. Bailsibub

    Bailsibub New Member

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    TMC, how about just buying a Powertap and a fluid trainer (Fluid2)? You can get both for the same price as that new Powerbeam, and you'll have watts all the time (on the trainer and outside).
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I'd second this. Just get a PowerTap equiped wheel, an indoor trainer and a cheap tire. The $15 Conti's from Sports Mart work a treat on the trainer ;)

    Note the fact that the PowerTap hub lineup has changed recently and are wireless - so the slightly older Pro and SL (wired) may start going for a few $'s less. The newer SL+ has ANT+ capability so you can do all the fancy stuff with the Garmin 705 (I think) if you desire GPS, altitude etc etc. There's also an updater kit for the older 2.4 SL's for the ANT+ functionality should you want it.
     
  5. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    I have powertaps on both of my bikes already. And I have a stationary trainer at the office & home.

    hence the dilemma.....is the programmability of workouts worth all that money? sounds like the vote is 3 "no's", 0 "yes's" so far.
     
  6. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    To address your question, for the kind of money Saris wants for their unit I'd go with a Computrainer...Appears Saris' price point is just below a retail priced Computrainer, but Ebay has CTs in the box selling for what Saris is trying to get for theirs...
     
  7. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    For 1 to 2 hours a week, save your money.

    I don't see why you would need a programmable feature - if you've already got a PT, you can make workouts at whatever power level you like.
     
  8. Bikeridindude

    Bikeridindude New Member

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    He said he already has a PT and trainer, but for the price this thing is going for you can get a computrainer and have way more options.

    If you're having motivational trouble getting through 2 hours of training a week, you might be better off spending that money on a full-on entertainment center.
     
  9. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    the thing i do not like about the Computrainer is that you've got to be connected to a PC. that is not very convenient given where & when I ride a trainer.
     
  10. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    :confused:
    One of my clients has had one for over a decade and it's never ever been connected to a PC.

    Sure if you want to use the online functions but it's not needed to operate the CT.
     
  11. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    If you really need the ergo-mode stuff (without the possibility of virtual reality enhancements), then it's an option. Keep in mind that even with the ergo mode, you still have to do the work regardless. I think most of us are motivated enough to get through these workouts on our own.
     
  12. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    i must not fully understand how the Computrainer works........i thought you needed to connect it to a PC in order to get the great visuals (e.g., videos of real terrain, racing against other virtual cyclists, etc.). i will revisit their site (maybe call them) to clear up my misunderstanding of their product.

    As to the motivation & need to work, i fully understand interval training and regularly utilize L2 - L5 workouts from the Coggan & Hunter's book on training & racing with power meters.

    thanks for everyone's opinions.
     
  13. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you need to connect it to a pc to get the "great" visuals. But the handlebar controller is all you need to get ergometer mode, 10 levels of fixed resistance mode and a handful of preprogrammed workouts.

    I've been using a CT for over a year and logged nearly 200 hours on it last winter. I connected it to my laptop maybe half a dozen times all winter to play with some microinterval work. The graphics don't really excite me that much and I'd just as soon listen to music or watch a good movie while I workout on the CT as chase the computer generated racer. IMO the best thing about the CT is ergo mode where you can set and forget the power during an interval and that doesn't require a PC connection.

    So yeah, you'll want to connect a PC if computer graphics and simulated race courses are important to you. But you don't need a PC to get great workouts including ergometer mode workouts with the CT.

    -Dave
     
  14. kopride

    kopride Member

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    I have a PT and saris fluid trainer, which work for me but I saw a review of two new compu-like trainers in this months Bicycling magazine, one by Elite and another by ?. They liked both, both had great graphics, but significantly, they allow you to e train in a group. In other words, it is like a multiplayer video game where you compete against other riders and can see them racing with you. seemed cool. The price point is similar so look at them as well.

    My issue is just wear and tear on the bike from spending so much time on the trainer. Even with a fan and a "bra" to catch the sweat, I sweat all over it. I also keep a beater tire on the bike throughout the winter, but in summer indoors, I don't always feel like changing my tire so it does increase wear on my rear. And my rear PT hub sounds like crap. How much of it is related to clamping the back too hard is hard to say. For me, Saris's new stationary bike with a PT is starting to have some appeal. My wife rides indoor only and it would eliminate the need to have two bikes in our small room. As always, it comes down to what you want to do on a limited budget. Given that I am set up, it is hard to invest this kind of money. But the idea of scheduling rides with others on line seems like something that might keep me more interested. It is basically a forum like this plus you ride with the guys you share info with. If you are riding with someone, virtually; it certainly stops the Tyson type fraud from going on and you can see what someone else is doing who is progressing faster.

    But for now, it is tough for me to part with a few grand just to keep from getting a little more bored.
     
  15. velobob

    velobob New Member

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    Having a Computrainer (or similar) allows you to focus on the suffering and not on trying to maintain a specific power. If your cadence changes the Computrainer adjusts and keeps the power load (ie the power you have to push) the same. You don't have to hook it up to a computer but if you do it makes short intervals, ramped intervals, surges, etc a lot easier as you don't have to fumble around with increasing and decreasing the wattage load through the handle bar controller. Another added benefit of using computer workouts (and they are very easy to create) is that you can repeat the exact same workouts and over time slightly adjust the watts as you get stronger. I have created / purchased a library of workouts which I just refer to in my training plan by short names.

    For indoor training I'd rather have a computrainer than a power meter hands down. Having both is a bonus. Computrainer makes you work and power meter gives you the feedback.
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Except that the power readings are subject to some error due to changes in tire rolling resistance, changing trainer resistance, etc. - all the things that the Computrainer spin-down calibration tries to get rid of but doesn't seem to, as evidenced by the various work-arounds out there.

    So there's no guarantee that Tony in Tokyo and Larry in London are racing with an accurate power reading.
     
  17. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    here is how I do my trainer workouts today: after reading, Coogan & Hunter's book, I typed many of their L2 - L5 workouts in LARGE FONT. i bring a copy with me of the workout i plan to do and set the printed copy next to my bike. I complete each section of the workout and track my mini-intervals by hitting the "interval" buttons on my Powertap.

    The printed page is overkill for just a 1x or 2x 20 Sweet Spot Interval. But other workouts are a bit more complicated (e.g., the "race winner" workout, of some with 2 min @ 110% FTP, 1 min @ 106% FTP, 1 min @ 102% FTP, etc.). So, the printouts help keep me organized & focused as I am pedaling on my trainer.

    This is why the programability of the Saris Pro Beam looked attractive in the first place. As an added bonus, I would get the reliability of a Powertap to go with the programmability that would keep me organized.

    After reading the posts on Computrainer, I called them today and I understand their set up now. I don't think I would be happy spending $1500 for a new unit and not connect it to a PC (by the way, between 12/1/08 & 12/23/08, Computrainer is knocking approx. $200 off their normal price for the Computrainer Pro model.)

    And I really like the "digi-riders", as well as the real videos of actual rides. Plus, there are hundreds of courses other Computrainers have uploaded that are available for use. But if I go Computrainer, I've got to pick up a cheap lap top so I can use the graphical interface. now we're close to $2,000.

    so i REALLY value the programability of Saris Pro Beam and Computrainer, and really like the graphical interface of Computrainer. But i don't know if i like it enough to spend an extra $900 for a complete Computrainer set up.

    again, thanks for those who have chimed in.
     
  18. velobob

    velobob New Member

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    One more thing to consider - Computrainers hold their value extremely well - incredibly they fetch on average around $1200 used on eBay.
     
  19. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    The Computrainer folks told me that they have been in business for about 30 years. i had no idea they had been around so long. they have a great story to tell and it seems like a first class product.

    i don't mind paying good money for a quality product. both Saris & Computrainer seem to be in that category.

    I am just starting to read about Tacx Trainers. As I understand, they offer a unit similar to the Computrainer, except possibly with less features, but a lot less money. it is probably worth considering that unit just to make sure I make an informed choice.
     
  20. strader

    strader New Member

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    Does anyone know how to upload of workouts on the Powerbeam? Does the head unit have a USB interface? I'm wondering if they just released it with standalone functionality to get it to market fast, and will develop software support later on to compete with Computrainer. If so it could be a very interesting piece of equipment. The head unit certainly looks a lot better than the Computrainer.
     
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