Author Topic: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?  (Read 977 times)

Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« on: October 01, 2019, 05:24:37 pm »
As above.
Free travel on TfL is proving too much of a temptation on my commute on rainy days.
The pounds are piling on, and my waistline has increased to the point that it is about to be allocated its own postcode.
Talk to me about your experiences of the bits of kit in the subject field.
Pls & Thx.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 05:39:54 pm »
I have a bog standard turbo trainer, which has come in handy over the years for physioterrorism; voodoo ergomics; occasional fettling where you need to test a drivetrain under load; and at one point, pedalling a vintage bike indoors while wearing some of Kat Jungnickel's creations.

I'm in awe of anyone who can ride a bicycle on rollers.

I haven't tried these newfangled computer game things, but they must be marginally less dull than a turbo trainer.

I'm generally of the opinion that unless something's likely to hurt and need to stop without warning, I'd rather be riding in the pissing rain.  At least for an hour or so.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2019, 05:44:19 pm »
Have and still use both rollers and smart trainer.

Rollers much easier to setup/put away if you don't have space to leave them permanently in whichever room you use. Much more effective than you would think for something with no resistance -still provides a good workout. Challenge is finding a way to not get bored by putting yourself through different sprint then relax challenges. (I use mine with a single speed and you can develop some good cadence skill which does carry over to normal cycling).

Smart trainers come at a much much higher price but provide much more variety of workout. Basically on the smart trainer I can easily ride for an hour whereas on rollers its a mental challenge to get beyond 30 minutes. Main annoyance of smart trainer (of mine at least) is having to regularly calibrate it since its a tyre/roller friction model.

Turbo trainer (which I used to have) now seems to have none of the benefits of either of the above. Doesn't have the balance stimulation of rollers or the full stimulation of smart trainer.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 05:48:25 pm »
^^
I'm mostly with you on the above points.
But, for me, that can be up to 3 hours daily in the wet.
In addition to which, I have a Paul Smith suit, which I've only worn twice, before transforming into  the Pillsbury Doughboy.
I'd quite like to wear it again.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 05:50:47 pm »
Have and still use both rollers and smart trainer.

Rollers much easier to setup/put away if you don't have space to leave them permanently in whichever room you use. Much more effective than you would think for something with no resistance -still provides a good workout. Challenge is finding a way to not get bored by putting yourself through different sprint then relax challenges. (I use mine with a single speed and you can develop some good cadence skill which does carry over to normal cycling).

Smart trainers come at a much much higher price but provide much more variety of workout. Basically on the smart trainer I can easily ride for an hour whereas on rollers it a challenge to get beyond 30 minutes. Main annoyance (of mine at least) is having to regularly calibrate it since its a tyre/roller friction model.

Turbo trainer (which I used to have) now seems to have none of the benefits of either of the above. Doesn't have the balance stimulation of rollers or the full stimulation of smart trainer.
Thanks for that. That's useful information.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2019, 06:18:09 pm »
I have http://www.insideride.com/buy/emotion-h]these rollers from insideride.com.
Purchased about 10 years ago. Not cheap, but does have variable resistance levels on them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFQdLLKxiww

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2019, 06:27:21 pm »
it depends on your objectives. rollers are good for an easy(ish) spin, but limited in their range of resistance. a good smart trainer is the best and most universal solution for any kind of workouts. i need to look at the screen while doing a workout, otherwise i can only last half an hour max. if you start doing some sort of structured program, it will get you fitter in a time efficient way. but all the hard work still must to be done by your-committed-and-consistent-self.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2019, 06:33:52 pm »
We finally plunged headlong fully into smart training last winter. We have a spare room that's pretty much dedicated to this, with side-by-side wheel-off trainers, each connecting to Zwift on large screens in front of our bikes. It's immersive, fun, hard-work, sometimes frustrating (there's a lot of radio going on in a small room- ANT+, Bluetooth, WiFi) and actually quite sociable as we join in with online group rides, and we're getting to know the regulars on those.

You can get quality workouts, all the links to other fitness apps you could want, and masses of stats to wank over admire at your leisure.

We spent the entirety of last winter indoors, and ventured out into the world straight into a 200; the fitness we'd gained seemed to translate pretty well to the road.

Shame my mental health fell to bits and I stopped riding, but that was nothing to do with smart trainers :).

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 06:38:50 pm »
..rollers are good for an easy(ish) spin, but limited in their range of resistance.
You can get a very good workout* on rollers, plus the added benefit of improving
bike-handling ability. :thumbsup:
 
*I have some Sufferfest and Chris Carmichael dvds to workout with.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 06:51:24 pm »
I tried wheel on trainers and all the faff of keeping the tyre pumped up, squealing of the tyre on the turbo and need for either a power meter or some sort of algorithm annoyed me. 

I tried rollers and agree that they are an excellent training tool.  Kids love them.  I came off twice in a small space and decided that I could not take the risk.

Smart trainers, wheel off are brilliant.  Ok, my bike handling skills are not getting a workout but I commute a bit and ride outside.  Wheel off makes them much quieter and the smart resistance change makes life so much easier.

There is a wide range of training material.
I like Trainerroad which is great for workouts and training plans.

I like BigringVR for beautiful scenic rides with real life videos and nobody else around.

I dislike Zwift because it is full of people being the sort of idiots I avoid when out riding and it still looks artificial

Sufferfest is also good but I am not into racing particularly.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2019, 07:03:50 pm »
What’s your budget and tolerance for boredom? How much time do you want to spend per day/week on them?

I can manage up to an hour on a turbo but can’t justify the extra for a smart trainer.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 07:56:52 pm »
The tyre squeal on the friction smart trainer was solved by using a training specific tyre (at least for me).

The main drawback is the limited gradient recreation. Currently mine maxes at 8% which does dull down some of the more serious hill climb route recreations. The equivalent wheel-off model claims 25% so I have been pondering an upgrade.

I have done some of the rides offered by the manufacturer (Tacx) including some PC video based ride but have just as much fun uploading the gpx files of my own regular and holiday rides and following the virtual map display on an Android tablet.

It (and I would suspect most Ant+ trainers) can be made to follow the gradient of routes on my Garmin, so in theory no app on a mobile or PC required. The only disappointment I found with that is that Garmin haven't made it also visually follow the map when used in that way.

The unsaid in all this discussion is regardless of the trainer type, is the sweat. You don't have the same airflow as an outdoor ride so you will need to protect your floor and protect your bike. The plus since it is indoors is you can use those old worn lycra shorts that are no longer fit for public viewings, so I have a box of old kit thats used just for indoor training.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 08:15:55 pm »
I have the Tacx Bushido smart.  It talks ant+ and Bluetooth. It is self powered so it can be placed anywhere without worrying about plug, cables, and sockets. I generally use it on the patio, with a handlebar mount for the iPad. I use the free TACX app and create workouts based on the stuff I read in Fast after Fifty by Joe Friel.

I have a cheap wheel with a trainer tyre on. It's quick enough to swap over and tends to stay on the bike during the week. On weekends I swap back to the road wheel and try and ensure to get out on longer rides throughout the winter unless there's a risk of ice. The Brompton sees outdoor miles during the week.

If I had the space I'd get a cheap second hand bike for the turbo, and leave it setup.

I tend to only use the turbo from November to April with the first few weeks just getting used to high intensity work again and transitioning back into the structured routines.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 08:29:52 pm »
I did a trial session on a wahoo kickr core the other week. I really couldn't believe how good it was; the erg mode and flywheel system means you can pretty much programme the watts the machine will extract from you, in intervals or steady state. They aren't cheap but I'd think very hard about saving for one, maybe used, once I have a proper job. The difference between it and the magnetic units I've used a few times was night and day.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2019, 09:11:28 pm »
if you want to dip your toe into the waters of smart training, you can use a simple turbo trainer at first; I think the software can usually cope with a default resistance level somehow.

For years I used rollers in the winter and I would recommend a geared bike; you can easily do intervals by simply swapping between the small chaining and the big ring.  IMHO its the next best thing to riding a smallish fixed gear on the road for improving your 'souplesse', and it improves your bike handling too.

I don't especially like turbo trainers but if you use a proper turbo tyre some of the downsides are very much reduced.  I suspect it is less so with modern wheel-out smart trainers but it seems to me that  the hallmark of someone who has spent the winter on a turbo is often a rather 'mashy' pedalling style and an inability to steer the bike in a straight line any more.

With any kind of trainer sweating is an issue; with some rollers you can get a fan which links to the rollers and provides both breeze and resistance, but it is a fiddly/expensive scheme vs a cheap electric fan.   

If sweat gets onto the workings of your bike/trainer, it will cause dreadful corrosion, so best to keep it off, wash the bike (more often than you might expect to have to), or use a dedicated bike for the trainer which you don't mind ruining.

The other enemies are noise and boredom.  If the trainer is noisy (and most rollers/turbos are) it can be rather antisocial to use such a machine (on anything other than a solid concrete floor) and more to the point you can't watch TV or listen to music unless headphones are used, and headphones soon get unpleasant once you start sweating.

One of my mad ideas is to convert a old turbo trainer to a 'wheel out' device instead. I think this can be done by installing a chain (or v-belt) drive from a  dummy hub to the roller instead of the usual arrangement. Some engineering is required, obviously.  I have an idea that getting the gearing right may be an issue so I might use a 3s IGH with a cassette mounted on it; this way there will be three 'resistance ranges' set by the IGH gearing, which can perhaps be used as a proxy for 'gradient changes', even if the resistance in the trainer isn't remotely variable.

cheers

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2019, 09:18:20 pm »
I've actually seen someone doing Regents laps on their turbo bike; it was completely wrapped in foil. Presumably their Sunday best was in the shop.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2019, 10:07:56 pm »
How noisy is the Tacx Bushido smart? It was on my list as a possible purchase (especially as Wiggle currently have it for £275).

I'd rather buy that than a direct drive turbo (which are considerably quieter when it comes to vibration noise - the big fan you need makes a lot of noise regardless of the turbo type used).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2019, 10:26:11 pm »
IME electric fans also vary considerably in the amount of noise they make.  Some are a fair bit quieter than even a fairly quiet home trainer is, and of course if they produce a well directed stream of air, they can be positioned further away from you too, so they won't compete with TV/radio/music so badly.

Another idea I have is to suspend small loudspeakers overhead/to each side, so that they are closer to you than normal, almost like 'overgrown headphones' if you like; again the proximity means they will be heard more clearly over other sounds.

cheers

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2019, 10:34:10 pm »
Smart trainers win hands down as a concept, but you need to ask yourself what software you are going to use it with. If you are competitive, the Zwifts-a-like are the way to go, then there are training apps, like trainer road that are good for building up towards something but boring as a party political on their own, or the crossover like stuff such as sufferfest, now only available as an app (I have the old school sufferfest vids which, in conjunction with Trainer Road is my preference)

Basically, there's a sub on top of the purchase price that you need to factor in to the cost.

I may be thinking of upgrading my Tacx Ironman (which is a re-branded Genius, a motor braked device capable of simulating up to 20% slope - you don't need that on a trainer - and powering downhill - another useless trainer feature)

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2019, 10:37:39 pm »
even the quietest trainers make vibration noises at least in certain ranges. the just released neo 2t* has rhomboid shaped dynamo magnets to reduce this effect, but i can still feel it vibrating. then there are drivetrain, fan and panting noises, and motivating music/video on top. it's not a quiet affair when you are pushing proper.

*which replaced my four failed flux'es (that worked fine until they didn't)..

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2019, 10:57:29 pm »
^^ Yes.

Our trainers (Elite Drivo) are very quiet - but for some reason, fboab's makes the CH pipes under the floor rattle at a particular speed.

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2019, 11:41:24 pm »

I may be thinking of upgrading my Tacx Ironman (which is a re-branded Genius, a motor braked device capable of simulating up to 20% slope - you don't need that on a trainer - and powering downhill - another useless trainer feature)


Having spent the last hour or two looking around, it's likely to be on the for sale board ver' soon, once I've worked out what to charge for it, if anyone wants to get ahead of the game and make an offer,  I'm open for suggestion. Trainer was bought Nov 2015, I'm pretty sure I've still got the box and can scrabble everything together. may be cosmetic scratches as I hang it from an 'ook when not in use.

Quote
https://support.tacx.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000458249-Documentation-and-models

Description:
The T2060 IRONMAN Smart is technically an identical trainer to the T2080 Genius Smart trainer, but rebranded as an IRONMAN trainer. The T2060 is a bundle including the following products:

Tacx Trainer software 4  <<Shite
World Championship Kona - DVD << ditto
T2028 ANT+ Antenna
T2022 handlebar control unit <<fairly irrelevant



Works fine (or did back in February). Can't remember what I paid, think it was £700-ish, has to be worth some fraction of the midrange ones around £700 now.  What that fraction is, I don't know yet.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2019, 11:48:17 pm »
Our trainers (Elite Drivo) are very quiet - but for some reason, fboab's makes the CH pipes under the floor rattle at a particular speed.

Poltergeist with an aversion to PE.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2019, 12:09:27 pm »
You can fix the vibration issues with the sorts of rubber mats that halfords sell to cover the garage floor (my turbo was quiet for me, but caused vibration noise in the neighbours house!).

I have a Tacx Bushido smart, a Tacx Booster (dumb trainer) and some Elite rollers. I got them all secondhand - £175, £60 and £30 respectively if I remember right.

The smart trainer has less flywheel effect, so it's more mashy than the dumb one, and so it's hard to ride with reasonable power below about 75 rpm. It also has a floor below which the resistance won't go for a given gear ratio of bike - when I put my TT fixie on it I couldn't do the recovery intervals because with a big gear (54x16) the power wouldn't go below 140W.
The dumb trainer was OK.  Initially I used it with "virtual power" (where Trainer Road uses a resistance curve and a speed sensor to compute power), and then I got power meter pedals. You have to change gear to adjust the resistance, and it's a bit of a pain if you're supposed to do a set W, but your gears make you do 105rpm or 80 rpm and it's just too difficult.
I've tried the rollers a few times. I need to ride them in a doorway, which means I can't do it in the garage. I'd be wary of riding them and watching TV as I reckon I would fall off. You need to change gear to get resistance, and I don't think they will give much above 300W. I've been intending to learn to ride them so I can use them for TT and CX warmups.

Any of these need a fan.  I have an 18" rotary fan, which is OK ish, and I always have towels to hand! The Trainer Road community loves these fans, and there's a discount code somewhere in the thread.
https://forum.trainerroad.com/t/uk-users-looking-for-a-lasko-fan-check-this-out-thanks-to-hugo1/9554


Re: Rollers, Turbo trainers or Smart trainers?
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2019, 12:21:41 pm »

 I'd be wary of riding them and watching TV as I reckon I would fall off.



Hahahahahaha

From the "Recovery" section of the Sufferfest "Rubber Glove" FTP test



(not saying I could do any better you understand....)