It wasn't that long ago that the common cyclists sat on the roller trainer in the winter and stared at the wallpaper for hours. Today, even in summer, you can hardly get them off the Smart direct-drive cycletrainer when they compete with real opponents from all over the world on real virtual courses. A realistic riding experience including climbs and descents as well as sophisticated training software makes riding indoors both highly addicting and great fun. » Read more
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When the days get shorter and the roads more slippery, when temperatures drop and rain and snow fall from the sky, then many dream of a training camp in the south and let the training slip. Or they use their cycletrainer or exercise bike. You don't need a pair of gloves and hats there, just to get home soaking wet and frozen nonetheless. And even in summer, you'll save yourself annoying traffic lights and darkness and can do extremely precise interval training and performance tests indoors.
Have you always wanted to ride the legendary mountain stages of the tour on your road bike? This is also possible with the current Smart Trainers with matching videos or virtual reality software. Just make sure your trainer has ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. Depending on price class and equipment, the various cycletrainers from manufacturers such as Wahoo, Tacx, Elite, CycleOps, LifeLine or Kinetic today are characterized by watt-accurate measurements, low volume and a variety of adjustment and transmission options.
One of the simplest and best proven, but also most challenging possibilities to train with a road bike, MTB or fitness bike at home is the free roller trainer. However, riding on those three rolls requires a lot of concentration and a sense of balance. As this type of indoor training does not require any disassembly and improves both endurance and bike control, it is still very popular, especially for warming up before competitions. The robust training devices can be stored and transported in a space-saving way and are now also available with integrated magnetic resistance and sensors. This can be used, for example, to simulate intervals and inclines. The data on speed, power and frequency can then be read out and analysed via an app for example. Such free roller trainers are particularly suitable for simulating the driving experience on the road as accurately as possible.
With the classic cycletrainer, the rear wheel is attached to the trainer via the rear wheel hub and placed on a resistance roller with a connected flywheel. Depending on the model and price class, different intensities or gradients can be simulated using appropriate magnet/electric or fluid brakes. Magnetic brakes are based on a very simple physical principle in which the magnetic field brakes more strongly when the current flow increases due to higher speeds when driving. The braking force can also be regulated manually. A major advantage of these bicycle trainers is that they can be operated without electricity. In contrast, those with electro-magnetic units usually require electricity, but offer computer-controlled automatic regulation.
The resistance of fluid cycletrainers is created by completely immersing the flywheel in oil. The higher the speed, the higher the resistance. And this resistance can be easily regulated via the gearshift. It should be noted that when the rear wheel rests on rollers, slight wear of the tire cannot be avoided. In order to reduce the wear of the road tires, there are special low-cost non-slip and abrasion-resistant training tires.
In recent years, they have become much more affordable and popular for hobby athletes and can be used without special tires: cyclterainers with direct drive (e.g. Elito Direto X, CycleOps H2). Since the bike is mounted directly on a cassette on the trainer without a rear wheel, both the tire change and the higher noise level of the classic exercise bike are eliminated. Usually no special calibration is necessary and the watt measurement is very precise.
You can turn your bike training on a cycletrainer into a special experience without any modification and even without a bike. Permanently installed trainers like the Tacx NEO T8000 are particularly quiet and precise and allow high performances and inclines.
In principle, Smart Trainers, whether with or without direct drive, as free rollers or with magnet/electro or fluid brakes, can be defined by not only providing performance data, but also enabling the resistance to be regulated via a device or app. By specifying a certain number of watts or an incline, different training forms and distance profiles can be simulated. However, current models can do much more. Apart from generally important factors such as stability, realistic driving feel and low volume, which are also influenced by the weight of the flywheel, smart rollers are characterized by a gigantic range of transmission and connectivity options. Via Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ the Smart Trainers communicate with your Windows or Mac or feed iOS or Android Apps like Strava, TrainingPeaks or Garmin Connect with all kinds of performance and training data.
The Smart Trainers are especially attractive due to the new possibilities of interactivity. Video simulations with original recordings (e.g. Bkool, Rouvy, Tacx Cycling App) give you the chance to ride legendary races, stages or ascents on the screen and simulate the effort and ascent. Sophisticated training apps like TrainerRoad or The Sufferfest make you a better cyclist in your living room, as they measure your performance like a personal trainer and provide you with a training program. Addictive virtual road racing video games like the industry leader Zwift literally open up a whole new world of cycling. On virtual courses, you can compete against friends and strangers from all over the world and set new records or simply enjoy the sense of community.
ANT+ antennas and Bluetooth sensors can make any exercise bike smarter. Phone holders and display stands help you to have the information always at hand. Since training on a cycletrainer is sometimes a very sweat-inducing and not quite noiseless undertaking, sweat covers, floor mats and even smart fans (like the Wahoo KICKR Headwind), which can specifically adjust the airflow to your speed and body position, help. For that special riding and climbing feeling, new gadgets like the indoor incline simulator KICKR CLIMB can be used to simulate real inclines and descents by installing the fork in it. And for all multitaskers, workaholics or creative people, there are also matching bike desks so that you can train your legs and head at the same time and make good progress on all fronts.