The Wattbike and Other Indoor Cycling Trainers
What else would I start with? There are lots of products on sale to help your training while you are indoors; they all fall into one of these categories: Turbo Trainers, Rollers, and Indoor Trainers. The Wattbike is an indoor trainer, but I have owned all three.
I still use my rollers. I have Arion Digital Rollers, although recently the “Digital” part of them has failed to work. I no longer can get my rollers to communicate with the very useful, if slightly primitive, handlebar mounted unit. This does mean I have lost the ability to change the resistance of the rollers, and I can no longer monitor speed or power, but that’s not the point. Despite losing this I still value my rollers highly. They are a great tool to improve balance and core strength. I try to complete at least two sessions of about half an hour per week on them (usually my recovery rides). But they are not limited to short rides. Intervals are possible with practice. Check out some of the YouTube videos of people cooking while using them. Get that good and you’ll never need to worry about sideways movement while on the road again.
A Clarke CCTS was my first and only turbo trainer. It did what I needed it to; offered me an indoor option when I didn’t want to go outside. It was very basic, for a turbo trainer, it didn’t have much in the way of resistance settings and lacked any of the digital wizardry like virtual reality displays or internet linked competitions. Turbo trainers are great for grinding out intervals. You can do intervals on rollers, but you have to be an expert on them to get the results via intervals that you do with turbo trainers. If you want the virtual reality of climbing Alpe D’Huez with your friends, in a race, be prepared to spend about a grand.
The Wattbike is more than other indoor trainers. Most indoor trainers are built for people who want to use a bike to lose weight inside. The Wattbike is a reliable, effective way to utilise your power output to train. The benefits of training with power vs heart rate will be outlined in next week’s review, but there is a reason why so many companies are rushing to develop power meters for your bike. I have a television linked to my laptop linked to The Wattbike. This gives a heads-up view of my statistics but I can of course load up other programs which gives me virtual reality like some turbo trainers.
I, of course, use The Wattbike for all my indoor training. But what do I tell my clients? It really depends on how much you want to spend. If I was going to buy a new unit of any of the three types of trainers, it would be rollers every time. You can do intervals, you can warm-up on them, and your cycling will improve greatly alongside your balance and core strength. Just don’t be put off if you struggle at first, practice really does make perfect.
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