Stationary stand generators: are they real?

James Marks

New Member
Nov 29, 2016
Shepherdstown, WV
Let me start by saying I apologize if I'm duplicating another thread. I'm a new member and I'm looking into cycling to try to get back in shape. I also happen to be an electronics enthusiast. Has anyone looked into or tried one of these stationary stands that's supposed to provide enough power to run a TV or charge a cell phone? I think it would be cool if I could setup my iPad or TV while I'm riding at home.

I have a vintage Motobecane road bike I inherited from my grandfather. I'm not sure it would be the best for any stationary setup. Any feedback is welcome.
I've built one.
ought a small car alternator, replaced the pulley with a roller.
Welded a stand to a bike and got a slick tire to provide friction drive. Ran it against a 12V motorcycle battery, then ran some stuff off that.
It's a gimmick.
Indoor riding is boring to where you almost wish it was deadly.
Friction drive is noisy and inefficient.
Easily available alternators don't do that well on RPMs easily available from a bike.
If I were to settle somewhere off-grid I might be tempted to build up something better.
Find a rim that'd work well with a drive belt, then fit an appropriate pulley to the alternator.
Preferably find another alternator that'd do better on bike-related RPMs.
I'd prefer not to use a two-stage gearing.

Don't worry about the bike. Any friction drive setup will cause wear to the tire. The more watts you aim to collect, the more friction you need.
But tires are easily available. A trainer tire might last longer.
Dedicated indoor riders occasionally cause corrosion damage to their bikes, brought on by sweat dropping from rider onto bike. There are special covers you can buy to protect the bike if you should get smitten.
Like dabac said...boring to the point throwing yourself off a cliff becomes a nice fantasy. Now, if you really need or want a little juice that badly, buy one of the military surplus hand powered or foot powered rigs. They're bomb-proof sturdy and the guys that have them are usually more than ready to sell the things after trying to use them for 1/2-hour and suffering a coronary. Unless they are survivalists. In that case, buying an entire coal-fired power plant might be less costly.
I really appreciate the feedback. I have a nice area to ride around but I'm not so confident in my bike or cycling abilities anymore to be dealing with some of these hills. Figured I'd build up a little strength before I get out there and show off. The skinny road bike tires and the old French gears are not something I'm really familiar with. I grew up with mountain bikes. I had thought about a pedaling stand before, something I could do at work. When I think of the military rigs you're referring to, I think of the units I had seen on the Windstream site. Seems like these concepts have been around for a long time. Again, thanks for the input.
Yeah, West Virginia mountains can be both steep and long. They hurt! I'm just North and West of you in Ohio and I've raced in just about every city in West By God. Parkersburg, Morgantown, Huntington, Charleston, Clarksburg, Wheeling...good times.

If that is your bike in your avatar pic, it's either two sizes too large for you or set up all FUBAR. I would suggest a visit to a decent bike shop for a quick fitting and maybe a trade-in on something that:
a. Fits you perfectly.
b. Is geared for the climbing requirements of your terrain.

Both will significantly increase your comfort and make your training / riding much more enjoyable.
...The skinny road bike tires ...

Not much to those. Keep the tire pressure up. Use a pump with a pressure gauge until your thumb gets calibrated.
Invest more effort in "going light" for all foreseeable bumps. Should come naturally to an old MTBer - unless you're one of those who rode MTBs on roads for the looks of things.

..the old French gears are not something I'm really familiar with..
Not much to those either. But a pic or a make&model would make it easier to advise.
French can get a bit scary when things break.There are a couple of places on a bike where they preferred to use less common standards.
.. I'm not so confident in my bike...
In that case, handing it in to a reputable shop for a service and a tune-up would be a better fix than logging some trainer miles.

.. I'm not so confident in my .. cycling abilities anymore ...
Handling skills or stamina?
Making the pedals go round is about the only thing you train on a stationary bike, and that should be pretty far down on your list of concerns.
If you're simply feeling through-and-through rusty, find an empty parking lot somewhere.
Ride circles, figures-of-eights.
Go slow, practice tight turns. Both standing and seated.
Build some speed, practice braking.
The front should be your first choice.
Don't stop until a rear wheel lift no longer scares you.
Read up on the Rules of the Road.

And The Rules too:

Might want to check hand signs for pack/peloton riding too.
You never know when you pick up company.

..I'm not so confident in my .. cycling abilities anymore to be dealing with some of these hills.....

Many road bikes - even with freewheels, which I suspect yours is - are geared kinda high for the average guy.
But being out on the road is so much more rewarding than stationary riding that I suggest you go for it anyhow.
Enjoy your rookie status and use it to dismount w/o embarrassment when the going gets too tough.
Being stubborn here can easily lead to overexertion injuries, and a serious break in your training schedule.

.... Figured I'd build up a little strength before I get out there ..QUOTE]

Road riding in general isn't as much about strength as it is about stamina/endurance.
So keep your cadence - pedalling pace - in the 80-100 rpm range and your effort level where talking is getting difficult but doable and go at it.

Might want to start with fairly short sessions until your butt has gotten acclimatized to the saddle.

....before I get out there and show off....
If you deliberately try to show off, anything that happens is on you. That's an attitude that invites disaster.