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Turbo Trainer Advice

skavanagh.bikeradarskavanagh.bikeradar Posts: 1,097
edited November 2007 in Training, fitness and health
Hello all, I'm thinking of upgrading my turbo trainer and am wondering if the units that automatically adjust resistance to give a 'road feel' are okay for doing threshold type intervals on? My current unit has a resistance adjustor, if I want to simulate a hill I just wack it up to make life hard. how does the same thing work on a machine that auto adjusts resistance?

Posts

  • I know there are other Turbo related posts, but someone must have some experience in this area that they can pass on??!!!
  • Richie GRichie G Posts: 283
    I'm keen know about this too! Just searched every Turbo thread i can find and this isn't mentioned, so help us out guys! :D
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    By 'automatically adjusts resistance' I think you must mean a turbo which has a power readout, and which enables you to pre-set the power? These effectively automatically adjust the resistance so that you generate the pre-set power.

    You can do any kind of intervals on such turbos. (I'm sure they all have a 'resistance' or 'gradient' mode which allows you to manually set the resistance anyway.) If you want to pre-set the power, then you just have to know what power to pre-set in order to put yourself under the right training stress.

    Hope I've understood your question?

    Ruth
  • Richie GRichie G Posts: 283
    Just looking at the blurb for a CycleOps Fluid 2. It says: 'Infinite resistance curve increases wattage as you increase speed'.
    I take that to mean that the harder you pedal, the higher the resistance? As the OP says, you'd expect that if you want to simulate a hill you'd just whack up the resistance. I'd be concerned that i might end up pedalling a too slow a cadence - i like to spin small gears. Hoping someone on might own one and enlighten us!
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Richie G wrote:
    Just looking at the blurb for a CycleOps Fluid 2. It says: 'Infinite resistance curve increases wattage as you increase speed'.
    I take that to mean that the harder you pedal, the higher the resistance? As the OP says, you'd expect that if you want to simulate a hill you'd just whack up the resistance. I'd be concerned that i might end up pedalling a too slow a cadence - i like to spin small gears. Hoping someone on might own one and enlighten us!
    I need one of those puzzled-looking smilies that scratches its head!

    I don't interpret the CycleOps blurb as you do Rich............... but I may be wrong. I'd interpret it as your power output increases with speed. This could be against a constant resistance - driving the same resistance (or force) 'faster' means you're doing more work per second (more power). The resistance isn't higher if you pedal faster, but you are generating more power.

    If you like to spin small gears, you should set the resistance low and pedal fast. If you wanted to make it harder, increase the resistance and continue to pedal fast!

    Ruth
  • I have a cycleops 2. I find that the speed I go on the turbo pretty well matches the speed I go on the road. I have a rear wheel mounted Speedo. It does simulate the road feel pretty well. You can of course change gear up or down to increase cadence.

    With my previous trainer you could pedal really fast and reach impressive “speeds” :o , with the cyleops this is not possible you faster you go the harder it gets.
  • Richie GRichie G Posts: 283
    I see! So if for instance you want to simulate a hill, you use your gears? I guess it would give a better idea of what speed you are doing- i'm planning on getting a rear wheel mounted computer with a cadence sensor so i can try and simulate what i'm doing on the road better.
  • Okay, so at the moment if I want to simulate a hill I select a resistance and gear that feel hard and reduces my rpm.

    On one of these 'automatic' resistance units I do what exactly? Pedal faster? Sorry for being a bit thick but I'm really conceptually stuck in the mindset of 'harder = whack the resistance lever up a bit".
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Oh dear. I'm really making a mess of explaining this. :(

    When you ride any bike, anywhere, on the road, a turbo or a hill, you ride against a resistance. That could be air resistance, rolling resistance or gravity if you're on the road, or on the turbo you ride against the resistance between the roller and your tyre. There is no other type of resistance on a turbo, just the resistance of the roller. That doesn't matter though, because it doesn't matter what type of resistance you're riding against, the training effect will be the same.

    So if you want to simulate a hill on a turbo, all you have to do is to increase the resistance to add in the effect of having to work against gravity. If you stay in the same gear, but whack up the resistance, then you will have to pedal slower to maintain the same effort level as before you came to the 'hill', just as you would on the road. So I suppose you could say you were simulating a hill.

    However, if you whack up the resistance and then changed down your gears on the turbo, you could maintain the same cadence against the higher resistance - but you wouldn't be doing any more work than before. You back wheel speed would have reduced but you would have the same cadence, for the same effort so you wouldn't really have gained anything by whacking up the resistance.

    Skavanagh - I'm still not quite sure what you mean by these 'automatic' resistance units. Maybe you could say which turbo you're considering and it would be easier to discuss in reference to that? If your turbo was capable of constantly varying the resistance to maintain the same power (whatever the cadence/gear) then if you set a high power to simulate a hill, and you pedalled faster, it would reduce the resistance (effectively flattening he hill) so that your power didn't increase.

    Personally I've never felt it necessary to replicate 'hills' on a turbo. All there is is more resistance or less resistance, and if you improve at pedalling against more resistance, you'll be a better hill-climber.

    Ruth
  • Not sure this will help but....
    I have a tacx flow. You can 'set' the Watts and ride at any cadence whilst the machine maintains the same watts. If you pedal quicker it feels lighter , if you pedal slowly it feels heavier (and then finally loses traction)( and there are other websites that suggest that the watts function neither repeatable or reliable but for me its been fine - as long as you standardise the tyre pressure and tension and pedal smoothly - stomping can make things slip)
    Or you can ride as a normal bike, changing gears as desired and keeping a comfortable cadence - you get a speed or watts readout.
    If I want to slow cadence (50-60) and heavy work I put my bike in a bigger gear and use the 'slope' function (which isn't a slope really but more an adjutsable additional brake) to increase tension/effort sufficiently.
    you don't have to use the 'automatic' function - in fact I dislike it (tho' my hubby loves it!)
    Hop ethis is of some help. try getting to shop where you can see /try one - its hard to explain over the net!
  • Richie GRichie G Posts: 283
    Think a trip to Julie's Cycles after work may be needed! Think i'm gonna have to try one to get my head round this! I'm just after something that i can do consistant training sessions on, with a view to improving for TT's. Was hoping that i could equate trainer efforts to roadwork, but maybe i've got to forget that and get hold of some tried and tested trainer sessions.
  • thanks for the input so far. Let me repose the question now that I know that I'm talking out of my hat......."Which turbo trainer would be best suited to a budget of under £200 that allows the rider to do interval training that would be suited to increasing her ability to climb for sustained periods and/or improve 25 mile TT performances".

    I'm guessing this is a can of worms..........................................
  • When I got my Cyclops 2 I got a free DVD training for TTs by Carmichael Training. It’s pretty good. You can use it with the trainer, and it does make me work harder than I otherwise do on trainers. Maybe this still comes free. I am very impressed with this model. It doesn’t have bells and whistles but does work well. I have young kids so the absence of pretty bits to fiddle with and break is a distinct advantage. It looks like it will last for years.

    I have no commercial interest in this product. If you are in a club see if someone would let you have a go on theirs.
  • Richie G wrote:
    Think a trip to Julie's Cycles after work may be needed! Think i'm gonna have to try one to get my head round this! I'm just after something that i can do consistant training sessions on, with a view to improving for TT's. Was hoping that i could equate trainer efforts to roadwork, but maybe i've got to forget that and get hold of some tried and tested trainer sessions.

    For what you describe any turbo trainer will work. Consistancy lies in the set up and effort(ie tyre pressure/tension against wheel/ heart rate monitor or RPE scale etc.
    .
    You get more 'bells and whistle' the more you pay, and perhasp a more stable/strong rig too. If you are laready very very good you might find that some models run out of resistance but I'm gussing you're not because you sound to be starting lower down teh field so to speak.

    Clubs and patient bike shops will help you undersatnd and decide what you need. I've been very pleased with the tacx flow but heard good things about cycleops stuff too. Music /dvds help to provide focus as does having some kind of progressive plan (your own or from a Dvd or the internet) but are not everyones cup of tea. Unless you're cycling out of doors you'll need a fan - Even I need a fan! (and for teh wits amongst us that is fan as in blow air not fan as in supporter!!) :lol:
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    thanks for the input so far. Let me repose the question now that I know that I'm talking out of my hat......."Which turbo trainer would be best suited to a budget of under £200 that allows the rider to do interval training that would be suited to increasing her ability to climb for sustained periods and/or improve 25 mile TT performances".

    I'm guessing this is a can of worms..........................................

    Any turbo in the £100-£200 price bracket will be more than good enough so I wouldn't agonise over it too much. Something like a Tacx Sirius would be fine.

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • I'm looking at the cycleops range - the fluid2, magneto, and the mag+. The magneto is supposed to automatically adjust the resistance to suit as you ride - which I cant figure out how it works, but according to roadcycling.co.uk it works very well and delivers a realistic road feel.
  • As far as i ever understood, never using it, the magneto just has a resistance that is pretty non-linear with speed, like cycling on the road against air resistance - you keep going up the gears and spinning the wheel more as it gets harder and harder, faster and faster, with the range being enough that you will run out of power before you run out of gears.

    I think.
  • I suspect it has some form of variable magentic clutch, driven by the rotational speed of the unit, as opposed to a fixed one or at least on that is moved by the handlebar mounted lever. So the faster the unit rotates, the close the plate and the magents become, therefore the greater the resistance. Hopefully it has ultimately enough resistance, not that I'm ever gpoing to "test" a turbo to ist limits.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    nmcgann wrote:
    thanks for the input so far. Let me repose the question now that I know that I'm talking out of my hat......."Which turbo trainer would be best suited to a budget of under £200 that allows the rider to do interval training that would be suited to increasing her ability to climb for sustained periods and/or improve 25 mile TT performances".

    I'm guessing this is a can of worms..........................................

    Any turbo in the £100-£200 price bracket will be more than good enough so I wouldn't agonise over it too much. Something like a Tacx Sirius would be fine.
    I agree with Neil, any turbo in your price range will be perfectly adequate for your needs. If Carlos's explanation for 'automatically adjusts the resistance' is what you meant when you started the thread then I don't think it's worth worrying about. The turbo is just designed to feel like you're riding on the road as the speed of the back wheel varies. TBH, I think that 'feature' of a turbo is neither here nor there. Who cares how 'fast' you go on a turbo?

    Anyway, it's what you do on your turbo that will critically affect your performances, far more than the type of turbo you have. Turbo trainers do vary in their 'feel', noise level and stability (some seem very 'flimsy' to me and your bike ends up moving a lot as you ride on it) so it's worth trying them out if friends or your LBS will let you.

    Ruth
  • The only point I would make Ruth is that some of thr cheaper ones dont have enough resistance, so whilst how "fast" you ride on a turbo is irrelevant until you run out oof gears and spin out. The cheap one I own has that problem, however, the borrowed Tacx one I am using this week has a much higher resistance. That said, I try to ride it in as high a gear as possible since the momentum of the rear wheel helps to smooth things out.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    The only point I would make Ruth is that some of thr cheaper ones dont have enough resistance, so whilst how "fast" you ride on a turbo is irrelevant until you run out oof gears and spin out. The cheap one I own has that problem, however, the borrowed Tacx one I am using this week has a much higher resistance. That said, I try to ride it in as high a gear as possible since the momentum of the rear wheel helps to smooth things out.
    I agree, Steve, it would be pretty darn useless if you can sit in your top gear on the highest resistance and pedal a high cadence comfortably. I've heard of people wearing turbos out so that this was the case and I know the resistance of one of mine was dropping as it leaked oil, but do some brand new turbos suffer this problem? I'd be surprised if any new turbo trainers costing >£100 were like this?

    Ruth
  • Agree, though when you look into the details, there are diferences in the max Brake Power they generate, for example, the Tacx Sirius is "only" 490watts, whereas the Swing is 900. So if you can generate say 600 watts in an interval effort then potentially its not going to suit. Few of us can generate 600w mind even for a few seconds. The Tacx Satori is supposdly a high power unit specifically for pro riders to warm up (with a max rated BP of 900 watts also)

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ProductDetail.a ... %20Trainer

    though I'm not sure about the new thinking of high resistance and low cadence.....
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    I read the Armstrong training book and he said about highering your front wheel to simulate the angle of climbing a Hill. If your top tube is vertical then you can higher the front wheel and get the top tube angle to slope between 5% -15%. Maybe using a spirit level or something. Your body sits on the bike differenty when climbing and uses different muscle groups.
    If you fall off then "you haven't seen me; right!"
    Cheers Jerome
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    jerry3571 wrote:
    I read the Armstrong training book and he said about highering your front wheel to simulate the angle of climbing a Hill. If your top tube is vertical then you can higher the front wheel and get the top tube angle to slope between 5% -15%. Maybe using a spirit level or something. Your body sits on the bike differenty when climbing and uses different muscle groups.
    I'm not convinced that in the grand scheme of things that's an important factor in improving climbing, Jerome. The most significant challenge about climbing is that you have to work against gravity, not that your riding position is suddenly different, especially on a climb of only 5-10%. So losing a bit of weight and increasing your power output with your turbo on the level are the first things I'd go for.

    Ruth
  • Here's one for the RST boys...

    Looking on the Cycleops site as I'm in the process of buying a new turbo, it shows a power vs wheel "speed" graph.

    The points are for the Magneto and the Fluid2:

    5mph 10mph 15mph 20mph 25mph 30mph
    Mag 25w 75w 150w 250w 325w 420w
    Fluid2 50w 100w 150w 250w 350w 550w

    How close to riding on a flat road in 0 wind speed conditions are these? I am assuming (though the site is not clear on this ) that the units are designed to replicate such conditions. I cannot see the benefit this, other than knowing your approximate power output by measuring your speed whilst using it. Problem is that you cannot replicate hills with high resistance and low wheel speed, which at least means you can wear out chainsets / tyres more evenly. There are more powerful units such as the Tacx swing and the Satori rated at 900w of brake power which is more than enough for a club rider
  • Went for the fluid2 plus a Cateye rear wheel and cadence computer - I cannot change the resistance of the unit, and its looks roughly calibrated to give the same resistance as flat riding conditions, so I can ride indoor "time trials" on it, which might have some reference to the real thing. Anything to provide additional motivation is going to help.
  • Lots of useful info all. I'm still not sure what to go for mind you. Steve, what type of riding are you going to be doing on the turbo? I did a long session on it at the weekend at at aerobic threshold which felt much harder than being out on the road. This is my old unit which has a handlebar resistance lever permanently set to high - I use my 7 speed block to alter cadence/HR.
  • Lots of useful info all. I'm still not sure what to go for mind you. Steve, what type of riding are you going to be doing on the turbo? I did a long session on it at the weekend at at aerobic threshold which felt much harder than being out on the road. This is my old unit which has a handlebar resistance lever permanently set to high - I use my 7 speed block to alter cadence/HR.

    Don't know yet - I am about to plan a winter schedule for mainly TT goals for 2008 season. I've got Sally Edwardes's book, Friel, Arnie Bakers smart cycling and a couple of Bicycling Mgazines books as guides. Overall I am going to use it for endurance for November, anbd then Dec through to Feb will increase the number of intervals sessions. I expect I will end up doing them anyway, because sitting on a turbo spinning along at the a contstant effort is just too mind numbing for me. I am dreading doing 2x20's on it as I know they will be hell, much harder than actually racing.
  • I'm working on the basis that that is a good thing, part of the toughening up process....
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    I think the highering of the front wheel is good because when you're climbing; your seated position is different especailly when you get out of the saddle. If your going to do a big ride in some Mountains then there is nothing better than doing hills on the road of course; this method is no supplement for that. As a once a week thing, raising the front wheel up is not a bad idea. I guess the answer with "training for the hills" is losing weight and increasing power but also increasing your power output in the right muscle groups. If you do the flat drag strips then this method is no use. You would do your Turbo Training on a bike set up in your Time Trial position.
    I've hopped on my Time Trial bike when I'd only been training on my road bike and my butt killed me; ripped the untrained muscles to bits.
    This method is a way for some early season Hill Training just before the season starts.
    Try it, it might be good.
    Don't fall off though.
    Cheers Jerome
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
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