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Indoor Trainers, websites, power etc etc.....

nickrandall1982nickrandall1982 Posts: 12
Hi all

Ok so firstly I appreciate that this might be the culmination of a number of threads, comments etc but I wonder if you can help?

It's becoming increasingly apparent that with work, the weather etc, that getting enough time on the bike (outside) is proving difficult so looking at indoor trainers. Making that decision has so far been the easy bit (!!) as I must admit I'm beginning to lose the will to live having done hours of research and basically going round and round on different models, training websites etc.

There seems to be two options (correct me if I've wrong here?):
1) Standard basic turbo's + separately purchased power meters, heart rate monitors etc
2) Turbo's with all the above built in

So here is basically what I'm after....
1) Quiet(ish) trainer
2) Budget of around £250-£350 for everything
3) I would like to monitor results, output etc so would be great to have some sort of ability to download and view data

At one point I narrowed it down to:
1) Tacx Flow – Like the inbuilt computer and the ability to upgrade
2) Elite Qubo Wireless (a little towards the higher end of budget) – Again computer and ipad app etc appealed
3) Elite Supercrono Power Fluid – good reviews, quiet etc but presume when then need to invest in extras

Outside of this there seems to be a lot of discussions about Trainerroad/sufferfest, would these provide me with the platform to download/store the data?

Essentially this is a fairly wide post, I appreciate that, but in an effort to narrow things down, I guess I’m after something along the lines of:

1) Anyone’s experience of using the above trainers? Good or bad?
2) Whether it’s better to use the in-built computers of say the Tacx or add an additional computer?
3) If so, how and with what do I connect the trainer to something like Trainerroad for with example?
4) How do the training videos work? Can all of these trainers be run to videos? I like the idea of them to break up the boredom.

Really appreciate any help or assistance here? The other option is if anyone knows a good bike shop in London that can explain all the options that would be great. So far I’ve just had sales talk…or if there's any good posts on this forum already that might cover this??

Cheers

Nick

Posts

  • jotkojotko Posts: 457
    Hey,

    I was in a similar predicament and with a similar budget. I went for trainerroad with the virtual power rather than a posh turbo, I expect what it is doing is the same. The TR software is excellent, highly recommended. Read through the thread on here for loads of info.

    Anyway, here is all the stuff I go to set myself up on trainerroad -

    Turbo:
    I bought an Elite Supercrono Power Fluid Turbo - £150 on offer at Halfrauds. Its great, very quiet and loads of resistance. I am sure you can buy better but for more money but I cant fault it.

    Gadgets:
    To use trainer road you need the following:
    Garmin Ant+ USB stick, £26 amazon
    Garmin GSC10 speed/cadence sensor, £28 amazon
    If you want heart rate get one of these (you dont need it for TR to run though)
    Garmin HRM, £27 amazon
    I actually got the speed/cadence and HRM with my Edge500 but have listed the prices of buying seperate,

    Software:
    http://www.trainerroad.com/ - £6 per month

    So, the whole lot cost well under <£250 and I couldnt be happier with it - currently killing myself on the tour of sufferlandria on trainerroad, great motivational tool. You can see the rides in the link below.
  • twotyredtwotyred Posts: 822
    edited January 2013
    £250-£350 isn't enough to get you accurate power measurement from either a bike power meter or a turbo power meter so buy a good turbo like a Kurt Kinetic Road machine where speed is a reasonable indicator of power then capture your data using something like a Garmin plus Garmin Connect and/or go the TrainerRoad/USB receiver route as above.

    If you don't want to be tied to Trainerroad or want something that you can capture data with on the road then try to squeeze something like a Garmin 500 into the budget.

    Sufferfest videos easily integrate with Trainerroad by just dropping the video file into the Trainer Road window.
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    3) I would like to monitor results, output etc so would be great to have some sort of ability to download and view data
    .
    .
    .
    Outside of this there seems to be a lot of discussions about Trainerroad/sufferfest, would these provide me with the platform to download/store the data?

    Nick

    Hi Nick, my question in response is "why?". I don't mean that in a negative way, I mean that in the "what do you want to do with it?" way. You've mentioned Trainerroad and this is a good start for tracking progress assuming you conduct regular, repeatable tests using the same protocol every time. You'll be able to see improvements in your fitness in terms of a coarse metric like FTP. If you're interested in monitoring your training load more and measuring multiple aspects of your fitness (CTL for example) then tailoring your program to maximise your benefits from time on the bike, then something like Golden Cheetah or WKO+ (or the TrainingPeaks website) are your friends.

    Unless you're familiar with using a power meter (or a virtual one in Trainerroad's case) then I'd keep it simple to start with and stick with something like Trainerroad and use the in-built plans. Its also worth having a read through Alex Simmons blog for some really useful information on power based training, tips and tricks, plus if you go back to his 2007 entries and then read forwards, a very inspirational story.
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    twotyred wrote:
    £250-£350 isn't enough to get you accurate power measurement from either a bike power meter or a turbo power meter so buy a good turbo like a Kurt Kinetic Road machine where speed is a reasonable indicator of power then capture your data using something like a Garmin plus Garmin Connect and/or go the TrainerRoad route.
    True, but as long as its "consistently inaccurate" then it doesn't matter. For example if you do a FTP test and Trainerroad says you've got a FTP of 250w through its virtual power calculations and then 1 month later you re-do the test and have then got a FTP of 300w, you rightly state that your fitness has improved and by something around 50w, assuming that you have the same conditions for each test.

    Whether that 300w FTP is actually a 300w FTP is where the inaccuracy comes in but that's only really an issue if you're trying to target a specific actual power output, e.g. to improve a time trial result where power output is directly associated to your result.
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • I went for a Tacx flow which was within my budget at the time. I liked the option of setting a fixed power which then adjusted resistance to my cadence although I also have used the other option of varying the resistance manually so that the faster you pedal the greater the power. I was able to calculate my FTP and slowly saw it climb. For the power to be consistent I have found it essential to create the same tyre to roller pressure, using the same tyre pressure every time. The unit has a calibration routine but I've found that, on it's own, this doesn't give consistent results if the tyre to roller pressure isn't consistent.

    The trouble has been that I really hate using the turbo whilst just peering around at the garage or looking at the display. All I really think about is how slowly time is passing and the pain! I have now upgraded to the VR i-flow with Tacx VR software 4. Early days yet but already I have found that it transforms use of the turbo from something painful to something painful but enjoyable. As well as the virtual reality and film rides you can create your own rides which integrate with Google Earth and street view. The catalyst mode allows you to create more formalised training routines and use the off the peg fitness routines.

    This isn't meant to be an advert for Tacx! You buy the VR upgrade and find that the supplied VR Basic is just that, little more that a demo really. E130 for the advanced version (which would be better called the fuller version). E30 to use the option of creating your own routes using the google earth plug in and I haven't looked into the cost of the multi player option. You need a fairly up to date computer with a decent graphics card to get the most out of some of the modes esp the virtual reality rides.

    Sorry I can't compare with other turbos
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Trainerroad plus a DVD helps with the motivation. Or a Sufferfest vid.
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • Hi all

    Just wanted to say thanks for the feedback here, it really is appreciated! I think it all just proves there definitely isn't a straight forward "right" answer with these and seems like people can be drowning in figures, details etc.

    In terms of why I want the data, well I guess if I'm honest my current training revolves around outside once a week during winter (the weekends) and then basically sitting on a bike for 3-4hrs. Useful sure but it suppose it would be nice to get a little more technical and begin to look at having set training patterns and schedules. Honestly fairly new to the whole process of power meters etc, so well am working on the basis of learning as you go, taking the plunge as such.

    My local Decathlon seems to have a really good deal on the Tacx Flow so heading in that direction i think...

    Cheers

    Nick
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Just one thing to add, having a clear training plan will help too. If you walk into your turbo dungeon knowing that you'll be doing 6*5 min intervals, you're much more likely to do it and therefore have a good workout. If you don't you'll either not bother or you'll end up doing the "easy" workouts or not pushing yourself and so you'll get less out of the training.

    As you say, most people (me included) only have a few hours to spend training during the week so its vital that we get the biggest bang for our sweat :D
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    I have the tacx, im brand new to cycling but it is fantastic, I can now cycle from san francisco to napa (if i were able)
    Living MY dream.
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