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Now these trainers add a level of complexity to everything you intend to do with them but also have associated benefits. You will need to access and in some cases pay for the additional software on an ongoing basis, you need a computer or device to use the software on, plus you may need add-ons for extra features. The Bkool’s software allows you to interface with the trainer via Bluetooth sensors and create workouts, ride against others and also ride along with footage of courses along with the varied resistance relative to the course you are watching.

The trainer itself works on a swing-arm principal whereby the rider’s weight is what keeps the bike on the roller. The clamping mechanism is simple and effective and the unit folds quite flat for storage, however discount canada goose jacket wholesale does not have a huge footprint which makes discount canada goose jacket wholesale a little unstable under heavy efforts and even a little rocky on mounting. The unit weighs 12kg which makes it portable, but the need for power and a computer limits that portability. When riding, the software displays all the parameters you could possibly need including power, although the power cannot be calibrated and can be dependent on the tyre pressure and riding position due to the swing arm mechanism. So while the power readings may not be accurate enough for real power enthusiasts, it should be acceptable enough for most. The software really is the big selling point for this unit along with being relatively inexpensive (in this market segment) so if this is something you are interested in I would urge you to have a closer look at the software and the available options in the various subscription modes to see if it is the system for you.

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Wahoo Kickr

As with the Bkool the Wahoo Kickr is a computer controlled trainer. It is a direct drive trainer, so there is no tyre wear or power transmission issues. The Kickr is solidly built and is adjustable to suit wheels from 24 to 29 inches and weighs in at 21kg which, together with its need for power, does limit its portability somewhat. The Kickr’s resistance is controlled electronically by the free Wahoo app for mobile devices. It is easy to set up and can have you off and rolling in a few minutes. The Kickr gives power data and also has a calibration function for ensuring accuracy; this coupled with the direct drive system allows for accurate repeatable power sessions. The app gives the ability to train in four main modes; resistance, erg, level and Sim mode. The Kickr can also be used without the app; as long as it is powered it will still give a realistic power curve when used in association with a bike’s gears. The Kickr is an expensive piece of kit at an RRP of $1399, so it would definitely suit those that have a real need for an indoor trainer with extra features. It is however firmware upgradeable to hopefully future-proof it and should also allow any extra features and functions to be added should they be developed. Wahoo have also made their system very open to allow it to access lots of other software systems and computers. It is Bluetooth 4 and ANT+ compatible so can send information wirelessly to any compatible phone or bike computer. The Wahoo fitness app also allows you to record and store your workouts and keep a history of your training. The Kickr is reasonably quiet but certainly not silent, and its large heavy flywheel gives a good road feel. Again due to its expense and the vast range of compatible applications it would be worthwhile spending some time digging deeper if you are considering the Kickr.

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Tacx are one of the premier ergotrainer companies, sponsoring several Pro Tour teams and offering an extensive suite of trainer products. At the top of the Tacx range lies the virtual reality trainer models including the i-Genius reviewed here. This trainer certainly hurts the bank balance but offers a huge range of training options to keep a rider coming back during the cold winter months. The i-Genius requires a fairly decent computer to run the software which drives the trainer. The software connects via an ant+ dongle to the trainer and also allows wireless control and navigation of the software via a handlebar mounted pad. The trainer is a conventional A-frame assembly but with an electric motor brake unit, which allows the software to fully control speed and resistance, even simulating downhill sections of a ride by driving the rear wheel. It is necessary to run the software in order to use the trainer, which limits portability and increases setup time before a ride. The flip side is that there is a plethora of data available to keep the rider engaged during a ride. Feedback on power, cadence, speed, energy consumption, heart rate, distance and more are all visible as instantaneous figures or graphed in real-time. The power figures displayed were comparable to those delivered by the Stages power meter cranks on the bike. In a similar fashion to a Powertap hub, the cadence is cleverly calculated by the software analysing the fluctuation in the power occurring during a revolution of the cranks.

The i-Genius can be used in a free-ride format where the user selects gradient or power figures via the handlebar mounted control. Several more engaging options are also available such as purchased training videos (e.g. train with Cadel Evans) or GPS rides, where the power levels are controlled via the software to match the terrain you are seeing on the screen in front of you. There were too many features to be able to test during this trial including: online multiplayer racing, user-made Google maps courses, steering control and fitness testing protocols.

The i-Genius frame had a good level of compliance allowing the bike to rock and roll an appropriate amount, the quick release wheel clamp was solid and did not creak and the unit folds nicely flat allowing for easy storage and portability. Where this trainer was let down was the resistance modulation, particularly at high power and/or low cadence. Under these conditions, the top of stroke dead spot, became very apparent and pedalling smoothly became virtually impossible. This was a significant frustration with the trainer and it seemed the only way to avoid the problem was to ensure a high cadence was maintained whenever the power was set higher than 300w. The benefit of this being a software controlled trainer is that future upgrades to the power/resistance control could hopefully address this flaw.

The i-Genius is a trainer for those who will be spending a lot of time riding indoors and wants a system that offers plenty of entertaining and engaging options to keep them coming back for more. Additionally to the heavy purchase price there are ongoing costs: licensing for the multiplayer features must be purchased after the first year and training videos are purchased through the Tacx website.

Distributed by Apollo

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