Space-age Pain Cave

Train­ers, and more, that will trans­port you to vir­tual rides

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Train­ers, and more, that will trans­port you to vir­tual rides

The lat­est crop of smart train­ers make it easy to es­cape the four walls that frame your in­door rides to dig­i­tal routes. Here are five ma­chines, each with its own strengths, as well as bonus two that you should con­sider when de­cid­ing how you’ll stay fit through­out the win­ter.

Tacx Neo Smart $1,900

The Tacx Neo Smart di­rect-drive trainer was ahead of its time when it launched in 2015. To­day, few of its com­peti­tors can ap­proach its abil­ity to sim­u­late rid­ing over gravel or cob­ble­stones that you face in Zwift. The ma­chine is quite quiet, ex­cept when it’s em­u­lat­ing bumpy sur­faces. The Neo Smart is easy to set up. It comes with a free­hub (Edco) that is com­pat­i­ble with Shi­mano, Cam­pag­nolo and sram, which makes in­stalling your own cas­sette easy. The ma­chine’s power me­ter is self-cal­i­brat­ing so you don’t need to per­form weekly or bi-weekly spin downs as you do with other ma­chines, such as the Wa­hoo. I found the power read­ings are con­sis­tent at high wattage. I wasn’t able to re­ally test its stated max­i­mum re­sis­tance of 2,200 watts at 40 km/h. I leave that to the stronger rid­ers. The power read­ing seemed to track be­tween five and 10 watts lower than my crankand pedal-based power me­ters. Pair­ing the trainer with Zwift was easy as the ma­chine is Blue­tooth and ant+ com­pat­i­ble. In ad­di­tion to the road-sur­face sim­u­la­tion, the Neo Smart mim­ics climbs beau­tify (up to 25 per cent) by adding the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sis­tance. When you head back down­hill on a vir­tual ride, the mo­tor en­gages to re­move re­sis­tance and add to the re­al­is­tic ride feel. There’s also a bit of a light show. An led light changes colour be­neath the ma­chine as your ef­fort changes. At first, I found the light dis­tract­ing, but it be­came sooth­ing as I got used to it. (—daniel­walker

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