Thursday, August 25, 2011


In preparation and anticipation of a long and brutal winter here in Kansas (can't be worse than this summer), I began researching and considering purchasing a bike trainer.  One of my early goals for this winter and next year is to ride more often to improve my bike splits.  As I see it, the bike is where I will be able to improve the most, in the shortest amount of time (God, I hope....).  I know many people that have indoor trainers for their bikes, and really swear by them during the winter months.  Although not as enticing as a ride outdoors, they still give you an option of getting your ride in, despite the conditions.  I am interested because I will have no excuse not to ride... I mainly researched about the type of trainer (magnetic, fluid, inertia), and the brands and products available.  One thing I really was looking for was getting the most "bang for my buck," as they say... I don't know who "they" are, though.

After looking into the pros and cons of each type, I decided on getting a fluid trainer.  From what I've read, they have the most road-like ride experience.  The only downside from what I can see is the resistance, or lack there of, with fluid-based trainers.  I plan on building leg strength this winter on the trainer, or as much as possible, so this was kind of a letdown.

I looked into the usual suspects for brands:  Cycleops, Kurt Kinetic, Blackburn, etc.  I was impressed by some of their products, but not necessarily their price tags. I really can't justify spending $300+ on a trainer as a student.  Let's not even mention the $1500 Computrainer, which looks SUUUWEEET!

While reading some of my junk mail one day, I stumbled across Performance Bike's newsletter.  I was curious to see if the site had any specials on trainers, and turns out they did.  They carried the mainstream brands, but also the "Travel Trac" brand, one that I was unfamiliar with.  After doing a little research and checking out some reviews, I became really interested.

Travel Trac had a good priced (for me) fluid trainer on the website, and for a few bucks more, they had a fluid trainer + resistance (mag).  The added resistance covered my only concern of using my gears for resistance.  After reading some good reviews, I was sold!  Also got free shipping and $70 off because I was a new customer.

A week goes by, and it arrived today!!!

First time ever a package arrived before the "anticipated delivery date"
I picked it up over lunch at my apartment, and had to spend the rest of the day at work/school.  When I got home at 7, I got right to work getting everything set up!

Everything unpacked and ready for a bike!
After about 15 minutes of me skipping the directions, I finally gave in a checked them.  My bike was set up on the trainer 3 minutes later...Pssh... men... am I right, ladies?!

Like my riser block?
I can't wait to try it out!  I have a feeling the "newness" factor will wear off, and will begin to feel like running on a treadmill.  Right now I don't care, because this winter there would be no alternative.  I am really excited to try some new drills, like one-legged sprints, to work on my pedaling economy (nerdy).  All in all, price was definitely right, performance sounds good (judging from reviews), and I get to train throughout the winter!

I have some other projects for the bike, although not too big.  I finally got some new tires, and will be re-taping my handlebars soon!

Going with a "red" theme (CHEAPEST AVAILABLE)...
Sidenote:  If anyone has some killer indoor workouts, please email me! or tweet me a link!  Or post in the comments! I need to book up my winter training plan!!!

Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Very, very cool!!!! Indoor workouts? I got none.. I just need some motivation! HAHA

Mark said...

A trainer really is essential. And I'm actually a bit stunned at how much I've been using mine this summer (GASP!). Sometimes it's just nice to not have to wear a helmet or shirt. Plus you get an increadible amount of control over your workout.

ScottyB said...

Very nice setup. I got a loaner magnetic trainer from a friend but may go fluid at some point.

One thing I've learned is that a large towel or rug to lay underneath you is key if using on carpet. Expect a nice 2 - 3 foot radius of sweat spray.

As for workouts. Right now I basically target 5 mile splits and try to hit certain speed averages. Intervals would probably be a wise option.

Do you have a speed/cadence sensor on your bike now that you have the Garmin?

Jr said...

No sensor yet, but that will be on the way very soon, along with a quick release kit and possibly a cadence sensor for running, since I will be forced indoors for some runs in the winter months. Right now, I don't have any structured workouts for the bike, but I will be wanting the data from the trainer rides this winter.

sa499 said...

A fluid training is quiet, but no outside resistance control (i.e. only through gears). A mag trainer is loud, but you can control resistance. I'm pretty sure about all of that...How does this trainer integrate the two? Is it loud? (To be totally honest, that's my main concern w a trainer.)

Jr said...

It is really quiet, which surprised me. I have used while watching tv, and haven't had to adjust the volume at all. The trainer itself was designed with added resistance, which can be increased in 5 different levels by adjusting the handlebar control. It still isn't as much as I would like, but it definitely is tough in the higher gear + higher resistance. Like i said, I haven;t had any complaints lately.

Jr said...

*Any complaints so far... I've only used it a couple of times. The only thing I am working on now is adjusting the right height of my "riser block" aka phone books.