Next best thing to a Computrainer?



cbjesseeNH

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Jun 10, 2005
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I have a Computrainer at home and a PowerTapPro wheel, so I'm pretty well set for rides indoors at home and outdoors,

But now I'm taking a job with a very long commute that will drastically cut into weekday indoor home and outdoor rides, and the job is in an in an area where riding outdoors is a deathwish (getting run over before being shot or stabbed would be doubtful).

I have a older bike I can bring to work and set up on a trainer to ride at lunch, before and after work, and I can haul my PowerTapPro wheel back and forth for data tracking.

What would be a good trainer to buy that gives me the option to change resistance as I ride, perhaps PC controlled, so I can plan varying indoor workouts?
 

cbjesseeNH

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Jun 10, 2005
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Yes- that is the best answer.

But I forgot to mention that money IS an object, so $500ish is the upper limit (unless I hit the Lotto).
 

shawndoggy

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Oct 17, 2003
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cbjesseeNH said:
What would be a good trainer to buy that gives me the option to change resistance as I ride, perhaps PC controlled, so I can plan varying indoor workouts?

Changing resistence: even with a static trainer you can increase resistence by shifting into a harder gear.

I've got a tacx imagic. It plugs into the PC and allows you to build workouts similar to the computrainers. One of the cool things you can do is build an interval session around HR, basically setting "on" and "off" intervals around a target HR (I know, I know, HR sux, etc... but it is kind of interesting to see how power declines at a given hr over time, etc.... great to show people why using HR for TT pacing is problematic, since you'll be way over threshold at first, even though HR is low, then at threshold rate threshold power falls).

Problem is that its power accuracy is poo, esp if you are taking the bike off of the trainer alot but even if you leave it on, it's sensitive to tire pressure. I've gone to just using it as a standalone and paying attention to the clock and using my shifters to vary resistence for interval work.
 

otb4evr

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Apr 22, 2005
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shawndoggy said:
Problem is that its power accuracy is poo, esp if you are taking the bike off of the trainer alot but even if you leave it on, it's sensitive to tire pressure. I've gone to just using it as a standalone and paying attention to the clock and using my shifters to vary resistence for interval work.
Not to highjack the thread, but...

SD, I have an IMagic also. As long as I do the coast down test every once in a while, this thing is *solid* in the virtual world WRT wattage...

I have even posted some comparison files.

pm me if you want to discuss, because I am curious about this...

Jim
 

shawndoggy

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Oct 17, 2003
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otb4evr said:
SD, I have an IMagic also. As long as I do the coast down test every once in a while, this thing is *solid* in the virtual world WRT wattage...

Well, I've got two issues with mine:

1: Calibration. While working with the brake pressure carefully, I can get a semi accurate reading at a given power. Usually I'll pick FT-ish power. But when I build an interval set in catalyst at power levels above and below FT, the numbers will be off. This issue seems to be (for me) somewhat cadence related -- at lower cadences (say 90ish) it's more accurate than at my preferred 105-115 cadence.

2: Accuracy. While even living with the calibration issue is potentially acceptable (i.e. if I'm only planning on using the trainer bike to do FT intervals and I'm pretty confident in the calibration at FT), the benefit of the imagic to me is to be able to leave a non pm equiped bike on the trainer all the time and to train with power. The problem is that without running the pm all the time in conjunction, I've got no idea whether I'm accurate at all. I also tend to ride at higher cadences (105-115), and for whatever reason, the higher cadence seems to flummox the tacx system.
 

otb4evr

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Apr 22, 2005
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shawndoggy said:
Well, I've got two issues with mine:

1: Calibration. While working with the brake pressure carefully, I can get a semi accurate reading at a given power. Usually I'll pick FT-ish power. But when I build an interval set in catalyst at power levels above and below FT, the numbers will be off. This issue seems to be (for me) somewhat cadence related -- at lower cadences (say 90ish) it's more accurate than at my preferred 105-115 cadence.
I tend to use the VR world and Real Life Videos. I have used the catalyst program to do MAP tests, and it tracks fairly well, but mostly I use it when I do my spin-down test.

I will say that the algorithm for the Blue Catalyst, which comes with the new RLV, is less accurate than the Green Catalyst, which is what my unit came with... In Fact, it is as much as 10% off when doing below 1.5% grades and above 4% grades. The farther away from that "sweet spot", the less accurate.

shawndoggy said:
2: Accuracy. While even living with the calibration issue is potentially acceptable (i.e. if I'm only planning on using the trainer bike to do FT intervals and I'm pretty confident in the calibration at FT), the benefit of the imagic to me is to be able to leave a non pm equiped bike on the trainer all the time and to train with power. The problem is that without running the pm all the time in conjunction, I've got no idea whether I'm accurate at all. I also tend to ride at higher cadences (105-115), and for whatever reason, the higher cadence seems to flummox the tacx system.
I have noticed a more consistent reading when I use a trainer-specific tire. Although, I have noticed quite a bit of creep when doing intervals above 300 watts, which for me is mid-tempo and up...

FWIW When hammering, my cadence is usually in the upper 90s to lower 100s...
 

otb4evr

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Apr 22, 2005
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RapDaddyo said:
What tire do you use?
RDO,

I use the Continental Ultra Sport Home Trainer. It works Fantastic...

I have heard that Tacx offers a Trainer-specific tire also, but I have no experience with that one...

Jim
 

Tom Fort

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Oct 29, 2005
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cbjesseeNH said:
I have a Computrainer at home and a PowerTapPro wheel, so I'm pretty well set for rides indoors at home and outdoors,

But now I'm taking a job with a very long commute that will drastically cut into weekday indoor home and outdoor rides, and the job is in an in an area where riding outdoors is a deathwish (getting run over before being shot or stabbed would be doubtful).

I have a older bike I can bring to work and set up on a trainer to ride at lunch, before and after work, and I can haul my PowerTapPro wheel back and forth for data tracking.

What would be a good trainer to buy that gives me the option to change resistance as I ride, perhaps PC controlled, so I can plan varying indoor workouts?

I am getting ready to start commuting again and was facing a somewhat similar situation.

I decided to get a second Powertap wheel, and looked around for a used one. I ended up finding a standard Powertap, fresh from a Wheelbuilder.com rebuild, for $350.

That would leave you $150 for a decent fluid trainer, and you wouldn't have to worry about any calibration issues, etc.
 

park

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Jun 16, 2004
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cbjesseeNH said:
I have a Computrainer at home and a PowerTapPro wheel, so I'm pretty well set for rides indoors at home and outdoors,

But now I'm taking a job with a very long commute that will drastically cut into weekday indoor home and outdoor rides, and the job is in an in an area where riding outdoors is a deathwish (getting run over before being shot or stabbed would be doubtful).

I have a older bike I can bring to work and set up on a trainer to ride at lunch, before and after work, and I can haul my PowerTapPro wheel back and forth for data tracking.

What would be a good trainer to buy that gives me the option to change resistance as I ride, perhaps PC controlled, so I can plan varying indoor workouts?
I don't know what your goals are but I think you could still get high quality training done on the CT even if it means having to the workouts later than you would like. Naturally, during the summer I've been riding mostly outside but one day per week I've been doing an intense interval session on the CT. In ergometer mode I do 4 four minute power intervals with four minutes rest between each. I try to keep cadence around 95 but toward the end it might drop slightly below 90, but since this is ergometer mode the wattage is still the same no matter what cadence you are doing. These sessions don't take that long, less than an hour, but I dread them because they are very hard. My heart rate is always above my usual threshold. Doing this little bit of intensity, along with days of moderate and light intensity has helped my time trialing a bunch. A friend of mine has been doing this routine through several 6 week cycles since the spring and people are saying he is on drugs. He is posting personal records in the TT this year and can hold close to 28 mph for a 40k. He is also winning most of the crits and road races in our area. Not bad for a guy almost 50. The ergometer mode is probably the least used feature on the CT because it doesn't use the graphic interface but I think it is the most powerful tool to help you increase power without spending hours and hours doing so.
 

SolarEnergy

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Aug 15, 2005
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I own a Flow, and will buy the iMagic interface for next indoor season. iMagic is great.

Though it may come at a price over $500.00, and would force the OP to link his trainer to a PC every time he wants to workout.

The Flow is cheaper, and its ergo mode is great. Not only can you adjust the resistance, you can also switch from one mode to the other (ergo to slope vice versa). So you can easily do intervals such as
15s 380w (slope mode)
15s 150w (ergo mode)
You switch from one mode to the other by hitting one button.

Power readout is completely off though. And it's not even consistant with itself. At 200w, my unit overestimates the power by more than 50w, at 350 it overestimate by maybe 10w.
 

shawndoggy

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Oct 17, 2003
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SolarEnergy said:
I own a Flow, and will buy the iMagic interface for next indoor season. iMagic is great.

Power readout is completely off though. And it's not even consistant with itself. At 200w, my unit overestimates the power by more than 50w, at 350 it overestimate by maybe 10w.

SE -- not sure how you can call it great? I bought my flow precisely for the ergo function... a trainer that will require x watts regardless of cadence? Awesome. Really, that's exactly what RD is trying to figure out with his trainer question.

The fact that it doesn't actually work is kind of a bummer tho.
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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shawndoggy said:
The fact that it doesn't actually work is kind of a bummer tho.
Don't you just hate it when a great concept doesn't actually work?;)
 

acoggan

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Jul 4, 2003
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park said:
during the summer I've been riding mostly outside but one day per week I've been doing an intense interval session on the CT. In ergometer mode I do 4 four minute power intervals with four minutes rest between each. I try to keep cadence around 95 but toward the end it might drop slightly below 90, but since this is ergometer mode the wattage is still the same no matter what cadence you are doing. These sessions don't take that long, less than an hour, but I dread them because they are very hard. My heart rate is always above my usual threshold. Doing this little bit of intensity, along with days of moderate and light intensity has helped my time trialing a bunch. A friend of mine has been doing this routine through several 6 week cycles since the spring and people are saying he is on drugs. He is posting personal records in the TT this year and can hold close to 28 mph for a 40k. He is also winning most of the crits and road races in our area. Not bad for a guy almost 50. The ergometer mode is probably the least used feature on the CT because it doesn't use the graphic interface but I think it is the most powerful tool to help you increase power without spending hours and hours doing so.

Welcome to my world! ;)

Andy Coggan (ergometer training since 1977..)
 

acoggan

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RapDaddyo said:
The Velodyne has an ergo mode, I presume (asked Dr. Watson)?

Yes, and that's essentially all I ever use. Once-in-a-blue-moon I'll ride one of the pre-programmed courses, or I might program in a course that I want to "experience" before actually racing (e.g., 1994 Duathlon Worlds in Hobart, Australia), but other than that it's "set it and forget it" (well, at least as much as one can forget things when suffering through 6 x 5 min at close to 100% of VO2max).
 

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