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Turbo Trainers - computrainer / Tacx etc etc Help!

BigGar35BigGar35 Posts: 30


  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    Also worth looking at the Cycleops Powerbeam - it uses wireless powertap technology and you can pre-program sessions at e.g. 300 watts for 60mins and just churn away... you will do 300 watts no matter what gear or cadence. There's also the Tacx Bushido that has this ergo/wireless function but I wouldn't set much store by its power mesasurements unless calibrated with a powermeter.
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • BigGar35BigGar35 Posts: 30
    edited December 2011
  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    Why do you want it to link to a PC? It has its own handlebar-mounted computer, but you can download your training data back to WKO+ on your PC
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    I can't tell you how the Computrainer, or Cycleops compares to the Tacx, as I've never used one, but I can tell you about the Tacx, specifically the I-magic.

    Tacx have 3 models of PC linked of turbo trainer, the I-magic, the Fortius and the New Bushido.

    The I-magic comes with same 'Fortius Software' as the Fortius, The hardware is a more traditional electromagnetic that that can simulate up to 5% hills before it starts using 'virtual speed'. Connects via USB, needs mains plug

    The Fortius comes with the Fortius Software, the hardware is a motorbrake than has the ability to simulate up to 15% (iirc) but also has the ability to power the rear wheel, I.e it's simulates going down hill. The I-magic requires your to still pedal, with the resistance set low. Fortius connects via USB, needs mains plug but also feeds it's excess energy back into the grid.

    The Bushido is a wireless ergotrainer, It's supposed have the best feel motor/brake unit yet. Doesn't require any power as it self generates. The PC link is a additional addon that comes with the Tacx training Software. (TTS)

    The Fortius software lets you ride around 4 VR worlds (with a veleodrome and MTB course available at additional cost), the catalyst component is a pure numbers realtime/data logging training environment (train by power, pre-entered course profile, free ride etc). The Real Life Video lets you ride around a one of the available filmed course profiles (or part of it) at your own speed. The more watts/faster you go the faster the footage matches your speed. The Analyst section allows you number crunch the saved results of your training.

    The TTS software doesn't have the VR world stuff, but does link into Google Maps. You can download gps tracks etc and ride those rides, etc. Has the RLV, catalyst and analyst.

    I use a I-magic with either catalyst or the RLVs. While the VR worlds are fun at first, the graphics aren't great, (compared to what real games can look like on the same hardware) it can be a pain to get a PC fast enough to run them smoothly. However the VR leagues do race on them if you wanted to get competitive.
    Last night I did 1:40h riding the Tilff Bastogne Tilff RLV without feeling bored. The RLV's are one area that Tacx's are often seen as better than the computrainer, and in general the software is more polished than computrainer. (I believe the hardware is still serial port based)
    The new 08, and 09 RLV's are HD and look great - demos videos available here:
    The ergovidos are power training, i.e keep up with Rabobank on their training loops, - these end up been a bit of farklet training as your forced to push hard when they push hard. With both the ergo and RLV's is possible to reduce/raise the course/profile difficulty by percentage to find a suitable level (i.e I can't ride 100% rabobank as I'm not a pro!)

    While I've got an I-magic I actually started with a Tacx flow, and managed to get a second hand I-magic head unit & software. The flow has power and a load of other functions built into it's head unit. Lots of people use them with spintervals or other training DVD's. This might be a better, and less costly starting point.

    The power reading produced by the flow/imagic/fortius all vary when compared to real life, (+/- 30watts) but can be made consistent via warm up, same PSI, same tightness of roller and calibration before each ride etc which is the important thing. It's also possible to rent a power meter to compare how close the your setup is.

    If it you first winter training it might be better using the 'black book' a simple turbo / some cross training and HRM to build a great base. Use the saved money on decent kit to get out on the road, then next year upgrade.
    I nearly always prefer to be out on road, especially for longer zone2 rides, however the RLV make them possible indoors.

    One thing I would say about the computrainer is that it's more American based than the Tacx system, so getting one could be very difficult.

    I've no idea of your location but if your close to Southport your welcome to come and have a play.
  • BigGar35BigGar35 Posts: 30
    edited December 2011
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    The Fortius had issues with the 110V supply in the states when originally released, but it (hardware wise) has always worked well in Europe with the much higher 240/220v levels.
    With 110v the motorbrake didn't have the power to provide a smooth resistance level, leading to a choppy ride. Unfortunately searching the Tacx forums can bring back a lot of old issue that have been solved with new drivers, firmware and software releases.
    The RLV are really the highlight training on the Tacx system - it means I can actually stay on the turbo for more than 30mins.

    BTW: i tend to mention this in ever thread I mention the Tacx system in, but compared to the UK sell the equipment cheap. (German store in Euro but no import duty etc thanks to the EU). The Flow and I-magic upgrade can be had there for cheaper than a standalone flow in the UK.
  • BigGar35 wrote:
    Am leaning a bit towards the Fortius but on the forum (mainly USA users though) I've seen a lot of people having reliability problems

    Remember that most users never go near the forum - you only hear on there from the ones who have a problem.

    I had a problem with my Fortius unit when it started to randomly brake then release - i tried the forum for help but in the end when i contacted Tacx support they sorted it out very quickly - turned out to be a loose wire inside the plug connecting the power supply to the motorbrake.

    I'd agree with Kinesin that the RLV's and especially the ergovideos are the best thing about the Fortius/I-Magic. I run the Rabobank ergovideo at 100% and my current (limited) ambition is to get through the first part without stopping - it's really hard for someone of my ability. But that's the key - it's motivational for me in a way i couldn't manage on a standalone turbo.
  • BigGar35BigGar35 Posts: 30
    edited December 2011
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    I trained for Alp d'Huez just by hard tempo / threshold rides. You just need to train your body to push hard for an hour at a constant power output. Throw in many hills in as you can and you'll be fine physically. Then it's just a case of getting the right ratios on the bike, (triple or compact and a 25 or bigger at the back) :D

    Having the computer in front of the Trainer means that your not limited to just the RLV's to keep the interest up. You can watch anything that can be download/copied. DVD, tour highlights etc etc. It all helps! - very useful when working out on the rollers.
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    Kinesin has given a very good summation of Tacx VR trainers, the one thing I would add is the extra resistance availble with the Fortius is worth the extra outlay.

    I have used my Fortius for over 3 years, lotys of RLV's through the winter, and all my 2x20's and 6x4 intervals are done on Catalyst, which I find very useful.

    I have ridden several climbs in real life that I had trained on on the Fortius RLV's and all have been suprisingly accurate. The Randa climb in Majorca, Ventoux, Telegraph and Galibier; all were ridden in the same gear as on the Fortius, and in a time within only a handful of minutes of the RLV times I recorded. If you get up it on the Fortius, you can be confident you will get up it in real life.

    My Fortius is set up permanently with a dedicated bike, PC and 32" TFT mounted in front, so the cost is pretty high, but it is never a chore to ride it.
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • Can someone help me please? I own a Tacx Cosmos trainer and am encountering real problems with the rear wheel slipping either when the gradient get above 3.5% - 4% or the power gets to 180+ watts. I have put on a Tacx trainer tyre to try and fix the problem but that doesn't help much either. I've also experiemented with differnet tyre pressures and tightening the roller on the wheel! V frustrating and v disappointing :( . Should be delighted if someone can help where I'm going wrong please.
  • Sounds like you have inadequate pressure on the tyre.

    Turn the adjuster screw until the tyre just touches the roller - release the mechanism and then tighten 3 full turns before putting the mechanism back on to the tyre. You should see the tyre visibly deformed by the roller. You should have about 90 - 100psi in the tyre.

    Does the Cosmos have a calibration function like the Fortius where you pedal for a few seconds and the system gives you a figure + or 1? If so, adjust the tension screw until you achieve a +1 or thereabouts figure.
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    scapaslow wrote:
    Sounds like you have inadequate pressure on the tyre.

    That's what I thought. The roller should very visibly dig into the tyre. I use 110-115psi on 23mm tyres.

    I found trainer-specific tyres to slip the least of all the things I have tried on there, but I just use normal worn-out road tyres now. There's a bit of a squeak starting from a standstill, but no slip in use.

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I'd get a wired Powertap and a Tacx Satori...
  • I have done as you suggest and get a calibration reading of -1.2. To ge this to +1 as you suggest do I increase pressaure on roller / rear wheel or reduce it please?
    Thanks for your help
  • Increase pressure and/or higher pressure in tyre.
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    You want to get a setup that is known and repeatable to get consistent results.

    I put 110psi in a 23mm tyre, and as said below, adjust the roller so that it just touches the tyre, then drop the roller away, do 3 (I do 3.5) turns of the adjuster knob, and then engage the roller on the tyre. You should have to put quite a bit of pressure on the lever to engage the roller, and see an obvious deformation where the tyre meets the roller.

    Another thing to do, especially with the Tacx trainer tyre, is give the tyre a good clean with meths or alcohol to remove the waxy residue they seem to come shipped with, and it's worth doing this every now and then to remove any oily residue that comes off the drivetrain.

    I don't know about the Cosmos, but the Fortius can also give a choppy ride that can seem like tyre slip if the cadence sensor is not reading correctly. Make sure that it is as close as possible to the crank magnet, and reading consistently.
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    For information I ride with conti turbo tyre at 140 PSI and two turns, after calibration normally comes in at -0.7

    The GF uses her normal Bontrager at 120 PSI & 1.5 turns, however at the moment her peak power low enough that she can't cause slippage. RLV winter training should fix this 8)
  • Thanks guys - the tips seem to have done the trick! Rod
  • BigGar35BigGar35 Posts: 30
    edited December 2011
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    Firstly have you updated the software to the latest revision?

    Check your tyre pressure, you want at least 100psi, I run 110psi.

    Secondly, when calibrating you only need to put it a very short pedal revolution, just enough to start the wheel turning. If you continue to pedal this will cause the error. It is a spin down test, so you are just helping the motor to start the wheel rolling, any further input confuses the matter.

    The recommended tension on the rear roller as mentioned earlier is as follows:
    1. Release tension on roller completely.

    2. Back off the knob a fair distance by turning it clockwise.

    3. Push the lever back on (be sure roller does not touch tyre).

    4. Turn knob counterclockwise until roller barely touches tyre.

    5. Release tension on roller completely.

    6. Turn knob anti-clockwise 3 full turns more.

    7. Engage roller tension.

    8. Run calibration.
    Complicating matters since 1965
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