It appears that 2016 is the year of the smart trainer. Last year, smart trainers like the Wahoo Kickr have appeared on the market. These trainers connect to your computer or phone via ANT+ or Bluetooth, and allow you to control the resistance either manually, or with a software program.
Conversely, “dumb” trainers have no resistance or require that you set it manually. Having any resistance at all makes for a tough ride. Like riding uphill. Forever. Cycling is much more dynamic than that — killer hills always have the downhill on the other side to look forward to. Smart trainers bring that indoors.
The perfect combination is that there are now software apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad that bring a game like experience to these smart trainers. So it’s now not up to you to (a) force yourself into some intervals by pushing buttons, and (b) keep yourself from getting bored.
Zwift is a massive-multiplayer game that allows you to ride in real time with people all over the world in a few different locations. I’ve recently been online with over 1000 riders at once.
TrainerRoad works with videos like SufferFest and have programs that sync up with them to match the difficulty levels dictated by the program in the video.
Both services run about $10 per month. Worth it to me, though I may be wanting to suspend those memberships come spring time. Hopefully they’ll accommodate that.
Personally, I use (and love) Zwift. Here’s a screenshot of me and about 1000 of my closest friends riding into the sunset. It has great game features like KOMs and sprints. You can ride with your actual friends as a group, and even draft off each other.
It’s made all the difference in getting me on the bike this winter.
Riding with a computer brings some new requirements for equipment for your setup. Here’s what I’ve got in my basement workout station, which has two categories — things to hold the electronics, and things to contain the sweat…
1. iPhone handlebar mount – you’ll want your iPhone on your handlebar to use the Zwift companion app. This allows easy controls so you don’t have to reach over to your computer to choose turns and send “Ride on” encouragement messages to your friends. Your phone will get dripped on with sweat. Which is basically kryptonite to your phone. Protect it with a cover.
2. Blackburn Sweat Net – If you ride indoors, and work up a sweat, this is a must. It’s basically a thong-shaped towel that stretches between your handlebars and your seatpost and catches any of the sweat that is destined for your expensive bike. The first year I rode indoors, I didn’t use this, and sweat found its way into the ferrules for the shifting cables on my carbon frame and gummed them up pretty good.
3. and 4. Table created with an electronic keyboard stand and shelving. It’s helpful to be able to reach the computer to deal with problems, and start things off which is why a tall table like this that goes in front of the handlebars (out of sweat range) is great.
5. Wahoo Kickr — Smart Trainer
6. Treadmill Mat – protect your floor and carpet from bike grease and your sweat. If you don’t believe me, you will the first time you step on your sweat puddle in your stocking feet.
See below the picture for where to buy…
Are you on Zwift? It can be hard to spot friends in the crowd, but keep an eye out for me on there and give me a “Ride on!”‘
WahooWahoo provides Campy devotees with a solution for using their bikes with its KICKR trainers with the KICKR Campagnolo Adapter. This freehub is compatible with nine, ten, and eleven-speed Campy cassettes -- install it yourself or have a trusted mechanic take care of it and you'll be ready for punishing indoor workouts in no time.$69.99 from Competitive Cyclist
Wahoo FitnessAs the leaves take on the bright hues of autumn and begin to fall, shorter days and plummeting temperatures force you to finally concede that it's time to outfit the indoor cycling haven. Give those trainer doldrums a kick and boost your winter training routine with the Wahoo KICKR SNAP PowerTrainer. When you're stuck indoors and out of the snow, it does its best to make you feel like you're riding outside with options to create specific, power-based workouts for effective training sessions. The first thing you may notice about the KICKR SNAP is its weight: at a claimed 38 pounds, it's not the lightest trainer available. But the KICKR SNAP isn't trying to be the lightest or the most portable. Instead, it includes a 10. 5lb high-inertia flywheel with an easy-to-use wheel-on design to mimic the feel of the road to a maximum wattage of 1100 watts. Once you get set up, the KICKR SNAP Power Trainer's built-in power meter and resistance unit is controlled wirelessly by Android, Windows, or Apple hardware devices with Wahoo's training app and an impressively comprehensive list of online training sites. It's compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth 4. 0 as well as most smartphones and computers, so you have your choice of devices and training apps to use with it. It measures speed, distance, and power at a claimed accuracy of +/-5% without additional sensors. You can choose to set your desired power or resistance yourself or sync the trainer to your training app and not worry about anything but keeping up through the resistance changes. Though it's foldable, the KICKR SNAP Power Trainer needs to be connected to an external power source and must be controlled by a separate device, so it isn't the trainer you'll want to bring with you for pre-race warm-ups. Use the KICKR SNAP for its accuracy and for quality indoor workouts that will maintain form carried from summer into late autumn, build winter base miles, and have you ready to get back outside for the races of early sprin...$699.99 from Competitive Cyclist