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Virtual Reality Turbo Trainers

mtb1975mtb1975 Posts: 33
edited September 2010 in Training, fitness and health
Hi Guys

Looking for some opinions here...

Virtual reality turbo trainers, the expensive ones that you link up to a pc and ride real routes - are they worth it?

For use during the week to save going out in the dark bad weather on unsafe roads.

Does the novelty wear off quite quickly or does it mean you can train harder/more realistically for longer?




  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    I think you'll get diverse opinions on this one.

    Obviously, there are many good turbos on the market that will do the job for much less money, so you don't need one.

    But if you have tried an hour on a turbo and just cannot hack it like me, then i'd say yes it may be a good investment for you.

    I have a Tacx Fortius and use the Real Life Videos which are an additional cost. But i find i can ride a route from start to finish which can take up to 3 hours without a problem. It is quite realistic in the sense that you can ride the routes based on how you feel - you can select hills or flats to do intensive intervals if you want to or just ride easily etc... The quality of the RLV's is pretty good especially the new ones. You will need a fairly modern spec computer to run the VR software. In many ways it has replaced the winter bike.

    You can also use them as a standard ergotrainer but you still must attach to the PC to make it work. So if for some reason you have PC problems then you can't use it at all. There is a good support forum on the Tacx website for troubleshooting and general info. I suggest you have a browse there.

    There is probably some additional time to setup/put away compared to a standalone but nothing significant - approx 5min.

    I'd suggest you got a demo of one from your local Tacx dealer before shelling out.
  • colintcolint Posts: 1,707
    Do they measure power output ?
    Planet X N2A
    Trek Cobia 29er
  • Tacx i-magic and fortius measure power but a lot of people set the calibration with a powertap to get it spot on.
    Also if you have a GPS like garmin edge you can upload your own routes and ride the same elevation profile although i-magic can only simulate 3.5% gradient with the motor brake.
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    mtb1975 wrote:
    Hi Guys

    Looking for some opinions here...

    Virtual reality turbo trainers, the expensive ones that you link up to a pc and ride real routes - are they worth it?


    I've been thinking the same thing myself for a few months now.

    If you are going to use a laptop I would say you might as well use your own recordings of the T d F or Olympic road races or whatever . Unless you really need to have the power output calories etc.
    Your bike computer will give you all you need really if you fit the sender to the rear wheel and stays.

    I have been thinking about taking a video of my Sunday route this weekend. I'll just use my regular stills camera 30 frames per second 640 def should be good enough. Then i can turbo train on my normal cycle routes over the same distance and time.h
  • mtb1975mtb1975 Posts: 33
    Thanks for the great, fast responses. After a bit more research I'm leaning towards something like the Elite RealTour Elastogel Trainer (CRC for £320). As I don't need all the advanced recording, HRM features....still searching so will keep updating!
  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    Someone on the forum recently bought one of these Elite RealTour Elastogel Trainers and was less than impressed with the VR side of things. See thread
    As a straightforward trainer it was good and has the advantage that you don't need a pc connection for it to work.

    If it's really the VR you want on that kind of budget the the Tacx I-magic is considerably better as far as i'm aware.
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    I am a real fan of the Tacx Fortius. I have been using mine for 2 years now and am as engaged as the day I got it.

    The Fortius is doing a lot more than just showing you a video of a route when riding the Real Life Video, it has all the telemetry data of the route (hill gradients etc), which is then replicated via the motorbrake, so that as you ride through the course the resistance is changing as the it would in real life. The faster you ride, the faster the video plays.

    It is very realistic, I rode Ventoux many times on the RLV, and when riding it in real life this spring I did a time of within 5 mins of my Fortius time.

    Fortius is much better at replicating the resistance of the steep mountain climbs than I-Magic (which uses a magnetic resistance unit rather than a motor as in the Fortius), Fortius can replicate a climb of around 14-15% and still be pretty smooth, it gets choppy after that until you learn to pedal very smoothly.

    The power function of Fortius' Catalyst program means you can do very good power based intervals, ie, I can do 2 x 20's at set power, and the Fortius will take care of controlling the resistance to make sure you stay at your preset power output, so you can just focus on pedaling and not worry about keeping at your power output.

    As said above, you do need to factor in a good PC and a monitor (I use a 32" LCD) to get the most out of the RLV's, but I can easily do 4 hours of pretty tough riding on it, which I couldn't do on a standard turbo.
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • chrisw28chrisw28 Posts: 187
    I find the VR just helps you stay on the trainer for the designated amount of time you are training. I don't know about you but I found it easy to just step off my rollers when I got bored (and I got VERY bored on rollers, hence why I sold them on fairly quickly). If you have a set route on your VR trainer its much easier to finish after completing it.

    Just my 2p. :oops:
  • Hi - I see this post has been used for a while, but I've spent the whole day trying to find out if the IMagic (T1900) can be used as a Multiplayer? Looking to buy 2 with my partner so we can train hard over the winter months in preperation for next summer.

    I've seen an answer on the Tracx Q&A section stating the below, but the on-line retailers are telling me that I need to go for one of the more advanced/expensive options and it would be good to know of anyone who has tried it. This is the response on the Tracx website:

    Can i use i-Magic trainer together with the Multiplayer sw

    Yes you can. You should always remember that

    1. There is no difference in the software of the VR Trainers. The i-Magic and the Fortius both use the same software (called Fortius Software)
    2. The difference between a Fortius and i-Magic trainer is only in the MOTORBRAKE.
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