SMOOTH, QUIET, PRECISE
WHETHER WE LIKE it or not, indoor training is very much a reality for Canadian triathletes. During the winter months you have no choice, but indoor training can also be a regular part of many people’s training routines. Those living in large cities might not be able to get out to open roads on a regular basis. But even triathletes who have easy access to good roads see the benefits of an indoor workout once or twice a week. These sessions can be extremely efficient, time wise, while also providing consistent conditions so you can accurately gauge your progress.
The bottom line is that Canadian triathletes are all-too-aware of the importance of an indoor trainer – it can be an integral part of your training equipment that can make all the difference when it comes to racing at your best.
Long renowned for their precise power meters, Cycleops has also been a major player in the world of bike trainers. The Hammer, released in 2016, is a direct drive trainer (you take the back wheel off and attach your bike right to the trainer, so the days of burning through rear tires are done) that is incredibly compact and quiet, compatible with pretty much any bike, easily connected through ANT+ and Bluetooth to pretty much any app and uses electromagnetic resistance that is responsive and can handle up to 2,000 watts at 20 mph and simulate up to a 20 per cent grade. Setting up the Hammer is pretty easy. It doesn’t come with a cassette, so you’ll need to put one on before you get started. For
most bikes all you’ll need to do is use a quick-release skewer and put your bike on the trainer (as if you were putting in your back wheel). There are a variety of thru-axle adapters that come in the box in case your bike requires that. There’s a small front wheel tray that helps keep the front wheel from moving around too much, too – it hardly takes up any space. There are a couple of arms that pull out from the unit for stability (they are quite wide, providing a very stable platform) that can be pushed back into the unit when you want to store it. The entire unit is extremely compact.
Once plugged in you can use the trainer by itself, but that’s kind of a waste considering how many apps are available that are compatible with the Hammer. Pairing the Hammer up to a computer or phone is quite easy through Bluetooth and, once you’ve done that, it’s worth trying the free (for 14 days) premium version of the Cycleops Virtualtraining app, which has lots of courses with videos you can either download or stream. You’re hardly limited to the Cycleops app, though – the Hammer is compatible with Zwift, Trainerroad and pretty much any other training app you might want to use.
The ride on the Hammer is amazingly quiet – according to Cycleops the noise level at 32 kph is 64 decibels. While we didn’t have any way of measuring that ourselves, suffice it to say that the Hammer is one of the quietest trainers we’ve ever used. There’s a huge 9 kg flywheel (the entire unit weighs in at 21.3 kg) that gives you a smooth, road-like feel. Since it comes from the same company that makes Powertap power meters, the Hammer provides very accurate power information.
Direct drive trainers like the Hammer and the Wahoo Kickr have become extremely popular, and it’s easy to see why. Easy storage, lack of tire wear and quiet, accurate performance are just a few of the benefits these trainers provide. It is a major investment, for sure, but the Cycleops Hammer is certainly worth it – it’s a fantastic unit that will help you race at your best.—km
Cycleops Hammer $1,620