TECHNOGYM MY CYCLING
In recent years, smart trainers like the Wahoo Kickr and the TacX Neo have led the way, and it is difficult to go past an indoor trainer those of us who seek fitness but have to fit it around other life commitments, like family and work. Would TechnoGym’s pedigree of trainers–having developed the iconic SPINTRAINER from the 90s–mean that the MyCycling can compete with the modern-day smart trainer? We unboxed it to find out.
TechnoGym have certainly channelled the aesthetic needs and wants of many high-end cyclists; the unit is compact and sleek and with a weight of 18kg, on the lighter side for a smart trainer. The silver alloy body and large (5kg) magnetic resistance flywheel–which has a maximum power output of 2100w and maximum slope of 15%–are matched with subtle graphics; in essence this is a trainer that would look the part in an art gallery. Setting up the unit was a ten minute affair; simply select where you’re putting it (near a power cord or grab an extension lead if required), pull out the stabilising legs (which fold up neatly for storage), select the correct adaptors, and away you go. The MyCycling comes with standard QR mounts and 142x12mm through-axle. The trainer is supplied with an 11-speed Miche cassette, and is operated through the MyCycling app, downloadable through the apps manager on your smartphone.
Once I had set up the trainer and downloaded the app (available for both Android and Apple products), the first thing to do was to complete a testing session in order to calculate power-based zones to be used with the sessions on the app. For those who know their threshold value for an indoor trainer, you can skip this point, however with the MyCycling app being accurate within +/-1%—it's more accurate than most crank and pedal-based power meters. Though it was equipped with an 11spd cassette and the main test bike was running SRAM Eagle, the direct drive resistance meant that gearing difficulties weren’t really an issue: just find a cog that works and turn on the App. TechnoGym offers two tests to assess threshold power: the TechnoGym Maximal Test (requiring a heart rate monitor) and the Functional Threshold Power test. As we had a heart rate monitor and had previous experience with lab-based graduated exercise testing, I selected the maximal test. After 5 minutes spinning at a self-selected wattage, the test protocol increases power at a rate of around 15w/min until exhaustion. Anyone who has completed a lab-based VO2 test knows what the step test is like; and the MyCycling test is spectacularly similar to the lab-based tests; if anything the power steps seemed smoother and less clunky than the Lode machines in a lab. Once your cadence has dropped below 85 or you have straight-up blown up your test is over, and the MyCycling app assesses the result for heart rate data, and computes your threshold result from this. Considering it’s an algorithm rather than blood lactate testing and/or gas exchange methods, I was surprised that the VO2 max estimate matched up to previous experiences in the lab; and the MyCycling was right on with my current threshold power and heart rate. Upon the completion of the test, the app gives you a list of this data including cadence at threshold, power at threshold, max power, VO2 max, threshold and max heart rate and automated heart rate zones. Put simply: it’s a data junkie’s wet dream. With reproducibility in mind, I completed the test twice and had different results, however this is more likely a result of differing environments and variables (test completed in ambient 36 degrees versus 26 degrees, with one test completed fresh and the other, flogged) than inaccuracy of the trainer. The Functional Threshold Power test emulates the standard 20min power test pioneered by Allen and Coggan, typically undertaken by athlete’s training with power metres on the road; and upon completion of the test automates a threshold power wattage from the 20min average. This test has the advantage of not requiring a heart rate monitor
INTO THE SESSIONS
Once you have completed the test, it’s time to delve into a variety of programs and sessions. The App has multiple programs, including training plans for a variety of goals. Programs range between one week and