It has been about four years since I first seriously took up cycling. From the early days where I could only ride a few kilometers per trip to the round-Taiwan cycling challenge years ago, I have developed quite a regular cycling habit. However, with the tremendous workload before I retired plus the occasional adverse weather condition, I can hardly keep up with the regular exercise.
At the time of retirement, I plan to spend more time on cycling. However, the truth is that my time has actually been taken up by all those tedious housework and it is quite impossible or not worthwhile to take a ride in the countryside. To save me from deteriorating health condition, how about doing indoor cycling?
Indoor cycling is not a new thing and it is used to be deployed in body fitness and professional cycle training. With the technologies advancement and information available in the Internet, you and me can now have access to these type of training.
Some background on Bike Trainers 淺談自行車訓練台
A bike trainer is required for indoor cycling. Low end trainers exist in the form of bike rollers or magnetic/fluid resistance trainers with prices ranged from HKD 1000 to 3000.
A bike roller is consisted of three rollers mounted on a rectangular frame. There is no other supporting structure and the rider has to pedal continuously in order to keep the bike stay on the roller.
Magnetic/Fluid resistance trainers utilise magnets/fluid to provide the required pedalling resistance. A supporting frame with a small roller and resistance generating unit is used for mounting the rear wheel to the trainer. A steel rear wheel skewer is provided to match with the frame mounting clamp. As fluid resistance trainers use either silicon or other fluid in the resistance unit, they operate more quietly and provide a better pedalling experience. On the other hand, they also come with a high price tag.
Despite bike roller offers not much pedalling resistance as the other trainers, it requires the rider to be more focused and maintained balance while pedalling. This in turn help to improve riding techniques and coordination.
Magnetic/Fluid resistance trainers provide much stronger pedalling resistance up to around 2000W and are suitable for intensive cycle training, cardiorespiratory endurance training. Rider can change the pedalling resistance via remote control cable to suit his training needs. As the bike is mounted onto the trainer frame, rider can be more focused in maintaining the cadence and power delivery.
Similar to the magnetic/fluid resistance trainers, there are also the “Direct-drive” trainers that eliminate the “tyre-to-roller” contact and offers much better accuracy, pedalling response and riding experience to the riders. Noise level is also lower due to the use of fluid resistance unit in most of these trainers. Another key feature of these “Direct-drive” trainers is the inclusion of various sensors to provide instant pedalling information like speed, cadence and power for reference and analysis. With such sophisticated features, “Direct-drive” trainers are also more expensive at HKD 6000 or above.
Nowadays, trainer manufactures have embedded microprocessors to their products so that bike trainers can be controlled with professional cycling training software package. Another emerging trend is the development of virtual cycling software like “zwift” for virtual cycle training and online racing. With such powerful features, they definitely do not come cheap, ranged from HKD 5000 to over above HKD 10000.
近年，科技發展一日千里，不少廠商亦相繼加入微處理器以成為智慧型訓練台，透過適當的軟件來控制訓練台的阻力，以提供專業的騎乘訓練。此外，另一類的互動線上虛擬騎乘軟件如 zwift 亦陸續登場，提供訓練及即時的聯缐比賽。如此強大的功能，價格亦相當高，由 HKD 5000 至萬多元不等。
My target Bike Trainer Setup 我的騎乘設置
For long-term training and usage needs, I plan to get a magnetic/fluid resistance smart trainer. In case I subscribe to any of the online cycle training or virtual cycle racing services in the near future, I don’t need to replace my bike trainer.
On trainer selection, I will focus on the following factors:
- Trainer connectivity support 訓練台連接基際的支援 – Ant+, BTLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)
- Trainer control standard compliance 訓練台控制標準的支援 – FE-C (Fitness Equipment Control)
- Resistance level in Watt 訓練台阻力功率
- Compatibility with online cycle training software 線上訓練軟件共融性
- Price 價格
- Product quality 質量
- Product support 產品支援
- Have vision on product development 產品長遠發展
My shortlisted trainers are:
- Wahoo Fitness KICKR Snap
- CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer
These two smart trainers perform roughly the same against all of the above selection criteria. Wahoo Fitness is a young and dynamic company who make a number of innovative products. CycleOps is an old brand (well, just 15 years!) with good reputation.
Since “KICKR Snap” is not available in the Asia region, I finally decided to get the “CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer” at USD 599.99.
由於 “KICKR Snap” 沒有輸出至亞洲地區，我最後選擇了零售價 599.99美元的 “CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer”。
It just happened that there is a promotional discount for the CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer available in CRC (ChainReactionCycles). I got mine for around HKD 3700 with free delivery to HK within 5 days.
剛巧網店CRC (ChainReactionCycles)有優惠及免運費，我用了大約3700港元買入一台 Magnus Smart Trainer，五天內送抵香港。
Here we come the unboxing:
Replace the original rear wheel skewer with the trainer supplied steel skewer. The Quick Release (QR) lever should be on the left-hand side of the wheel.
Follow the user manual to assemble the Magnus smart trainer. Clamp the rear wheel of the bike to the trainer and prepare for the trainer firmware update.
Install the “PowerTap” App to update the trainer firmware.
As I’m using Apple iPhone, search for “PowerTap Mobile” in AppStore. Use “PowerTap” to detect the CycleOps Magnus smart trainer and firmware update will be triggered automatically.
於手機安裝 PowerTap App 為訓練台作韌體更新。
我用的是 iPhone，在AppStore 下載 “PowerTap Mobile”。利用 PowerTap 找尋 CycleOps Magnus 訓練台並自動作韌體更新。
Upon completion of all the required setting, let’s go for a ride.
Having used the Magnus Smart trainer for slightly over one week, I found the riding is very smooth and with a reasonable road feel. As for the noise generated, I think CycleOps has done a good job to maintain it at an acceptable level.
用了這部 Magnus Smart trainer 一個多星期，騎乘起來頗流暢，路面感覺也不錯。在噪音方面，亦抑制於一個合理水平。
Based on my personal observation, there are some minor things that you, as the rider may need to consider in order to enhance your cycling experience with indoor bike trainers:
You will be sweating all over while riding indoor with trainers. Towels will help to keep you dry and stay alerted. It also prevent any damage to the bike frame as well as the floor by your sweat.
The high intensity indoor cycling will cause excessive loss of water and electrolytes. Remember to drink water and supplement with electrolyte drinks as appropriate.
One or several fans will also keep the room ventilated and lower your body temperature.
For those who is using non-direct drive bike trainer like me, you also need a riser block for the front wheel to keep the bike levelled or to simulate climbing. Since mine is not yet delivered, I have used two wooden blocks for the levelling.
Last but not least, if you are also using non-direct drive bike trainer, remember to keep the rear tyre pressure according to the trainer specification. As each of these trainers will have it own resistance curve based on a specific tyre pressure to simulate road riding and the calculation of power, you should stick to the recommended setting to ensure trainer accuracy (90 – 100 psi for Magnus)
最後，如果你也不是使用飛輪傳動的訓練台的話，請注意車輪的胎壓。這類訓練台內置的功率裝置是依據特定的胎壓計算踩踏功率，請參考產品規格或使用手册的要求。我這部 Magnus 需要 90 – 100 psi 的胎壓。
My next attempt will focus on how to use my Wahoo Elemnt (or any FE-C enabled cycle computer) to control my CycleOps Magnus smart trainer for cycling workout. Stay tuned for my coming blog updates. Enjoy riding !
下一步我將會探討如何利用我的Wahoo Elemnt 碼錶去控制這部CycleOps Magnus 智慧訓練台作騎乘訓練。大家要留意我稍後的網誌更新。