5 Train­ers for Rid­ing On­line

Smart units you can turn on, use to tune in to vir­tual rides and drop watt bombs on your friends

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Wa­hoo Kickr Snap and Climb Cy­cleops Ham­mer As smart train­ers go, the Cy­cleops Ham­mer is a heavy hit­ter. It sports a 9-kg fly­wheel, which is prob­a­bly the heav­i­est of any di­rect-drive trainer. Why so big? The pre­vail­ing wis­dom with a fly­wheel is that the heav­ier it is, the bet­ter, more re­al­is­tic the road feel of the trainer. Spin­ning up and coast­ing down just feel more nat­u­ral with a weighty wheel. An­other big num­ber as­so­ci­ated with the Ham­mer is 20 per cent, as in the grade the trainer can sim­u­late. It also has a max­i­mum re­sis­tance of 2,000 watts. The unit sends out data via ANT+ and Blue­tooth Smart. It uses that lat­ter pro­to­col for firmware up­dates. The Ham­mer is kind of heavy, 21.3 kg, but it has been de­signed with a han­dle to help you out when you need to move it. ( $850,Kickr Snap; $850, Kickr Climb $1,620 cy­cleops.com) This past sum­mer, Wa­hoo de­buted the Kickr Climb, a unit that holds your bike’s front fork. It can raise and lower the bike’s front end, mim­ick­ing grades as steep as 15 per cent and de­scents of -10 per cent. While other smart train­ers can sim­u­late the re­sis­tance you face when you ride a climb, they can’t put your body and bike into a climb-y po­si­tion. By mov­ing you up and down, the Kickr Climb al­lows you to work all the mus­cles in­volved in go­ing up the Alp d’huez, your lo­cal in­cline or Watopia’s ra­dio tower climb. The Kickr Climb only works with the lat­est mod­els of the Kickr di­rect-drive unit or the Kickr Snap. The lat­ter was up­dated ear­lier in 2017. The on-wheel Snap now has a higher de­gree of ac­cu­racy when com­pared with the pre­vi­ous model: it’s now plus/minus three per cent. Ex­pect to see the Kickr Climb in stores mid-jan­uary. ( live­to­playsports.com)

STAC Zero Pow­er­me­ter The loud­est thing on the STAC Zero trainer will be your bike: the chat­ter of the chain or the clat­ter of the rear derailleur that you should ad­just. Your rear wheel doesn’t touch any roller. In­stead, the rim spins be­tween two mag­nets, which cre­ate re­sis­tance. (You’ll need an alu­minum-rim wheel. Car­bon fi­bre won’t work.) For the power-me­ter model of the STAC Zero, the mag­nets are mounted on a strain gauge. As the mag­nets cre­ate re­sis­tance for the wheel, the wheel also ap­plies a force on the mag­nets. To com­plete the setup, you need to at­tach a mag­net to one of the rear wheel’s spokes. The unit reads the wheel’s speed as the spoke-mounted mag­net passes a small re­ceiver arm. By mul­ti­ply­ing the wheel’s speed and the force on the mag­nets, the ma­chine finds the watts you’re push­ing. The STAC can trans­mit those num­bers via ANT+ and Blue­tooth Smart. The whole unit is quite com­pact, mak­ing is easy to store and travel with. ( staczero.com) $590

Ki­netic Road Ma­chine | Smart Con­trol In 2016, Ki­netic made two of its train­ers “smart.” The Road Ma­chine and the Rock and Roll got the Smart Con­trol treat­ment: the ad­di­tion of elec­tronic re­sis­tance unit. It trans­mits and re­ceives data via Blue­tooth Smart. Ki­netic also has its Fit app, for IOS and An­droid, which lets you cal­i­brate the trainer and do nu­mer­ous work­outs to help you build your fit­ness through­out the win­ter. Ev­ery­thing is quite easy to setup. The Road Ma­chine pro­vides a max­i­mum re­sis­tance of 1,800 watts at 49 km/h. It also repli­cates grades of 10 per cent. For ex­cel­lent road feel, the ma­chine has a 6.5-kg fly­wheel. ( $825 kurtki­netic.com)

$960 Bkool Smart Pro 2 Bkool, a Span­ish trainer com­pany that has also de­vel­oped its own sim­u­la­tion plat­form, re­leased the Smart Pro 2 ear­lier this year. The on-wheel trainer moves data via ANT+ and Blue­tooth Smart. Hand­ily, the trainer comes with a USB ANT+ unit, giv­ing you the nec­es­sary tool to con­nect to your lap­top right away. Then, you can patch into Bkool’s sim­u­la­tion app (you get a one-year sub­scrip­tion with the new trainer) or an­other vir­tual-cy­cling sys­tem, such as Zwift. The Smart Pro 2 can mimic grades as high as 20 per cent and pro­vide a max­i­mum re­sis­tance of 1,200 watts. The yel­low splash of colour at the roller is a fun touch for a ma­chine that’s usu­ally all busi­ness. ( bkool.com)—ccm

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