What's Cool In Road Cycling

Product Test: CompuTrainer

Being a product testing guy has its perks (unless it’s testing a Carbon saddle on a rough road…), and it hasn’t been much more evident than when we received the latest version of the Computrainer from Racermate, complete with 3D and Coaching software (but not including the soon to be released software that, along with a mapping program, lets you build training courses based on almost any street in the country!).

See the COMPUTRAINER VIDEO Clip. This is a great clip that really shows off the software features.

The problem I have now is that I will be using this thing from winter base training right through to high intensity intervals as the season approaches. It basically takes away all my favorite excuses. We will be giving you a report card on this and other products through actual use as we come through the winter! And so you don’t think this is a paid Advertisement, this thing wasn’t free!!!

Computrainer actually produced it’s first trainer (we believe the very first wind trainer on the market) some ** years ago. Over the years they decided that a quiet version was needed and also came to the conclusion that by using electromagnetic resistance (rather than fixed magnets) that they could not only produce a much higher quality machine, but by applying a little technology and varying the current, they could actually vary the resistance. They also have more than a few Tech savvy people and thought of a way to take all the variables (weight, rode slope, rolling resistance, wind etc) into account to produce an ergometer that gives you the closest thing to rode riding you can get (minus the traffic, stop signs and weather…). The result is a product that is simply far better than anything else on the market.

From the minute you open the box you get the feel that this isn’t the same old trainer.

It is a solid piece of equipment and very well made. As part of Floscan, the people that design and build computrainers are the exact same folks that make fuel flow instruments for aircraft (talk about quality being critical!) and have always answered to a higher build quality standard that the other mass-produced bicycle products out there. Simply put, this thing is built not only to greatly exceed the performance other units but also out last them, which is nice because I have been pedaling along with other trainers that have sprung leaks (fluid type) and caught fire (Mag type).

The unit set up is actually pretty simple, and it is made easier by design. Notice the bar mount

that allows you to have a cyclocomputer without hassle (something my Tacx trainer ignores requiring the head unit to flop around on a stool…). The bike can be set up for the first time in @15 minutes (it’s easier for future use, couple of minutes tops). The stand is solid. It could use a quick clamp mechanism rather than the “screw in to the wheel” type, but that is really minor. The cables plug into a very nice resistance unit, and the separate (and very heavy duty) power conditioner plugs into an outlet. The handle bar unit and control panel is the hub and once it is set up, the only things that need to be plugged in are to the wall outlet and to your computer (I use a lap top). After entering your personal details into a very easy software package, you are ready to go.

I am sure you have read about all the coaching features and the tons of information feedback that this unit has (and it does). DON’T LET IT SCARE YOU! While the Computrainer is used at high end coaching centers and by loads of professional trainers, IT IS ABSOLUTELY USABLE by the everyday enthusiast!

I think most people see the price tag and read about the clinical usage and just assume they will be overwhelmed by it all and instead opt for a simple trainer that might have a basic wattage function and a heart monitor and think they made a good decision (That was me, and I basically wasted 600 bucks…). By using the spinscan function

in and of itself, you are already leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. Add to that a pulse power and cadence functions (measuring your efficiency at a given cadence and heart rate) and you find yourself not simply reading a bunch of numbers (which is what happens to most duffers like me), but actually getting better at cycling by working on your pedal stroke, and not simply guessing any more about what your most efficient cadence is, but knowing without a doubt. Toss in great graphics,

and the ability to race against a ghost (complete with drafting) and or your last performance and this is an absolute dream machine. And don’t think it will be too confusing to use, as scrolling between screens is all done at the touch of a button on the bar mount.

Right out of the box and within the first few uses, this thing provides benefits that you should find for more valuable than that new light wheel set or frame upgrade you were thinking about!

In the weeks that follow, you will read first hand about some actual performance gains by a guy that, like most of you, has real world priorities (yes I have another job…) and does things like skip training days due to travel (or because I feel like skipping) and doesn’t have a coach that costs thousands of dollars following me around in a team car (although I do bug Rick Crawford for tips now and again). The future reports will show real benefits from an everyday cyclist like yourself.

Have fun!

Charles Manantan

They’ve even got a solid Performance Improvement Guarantee that states if you’re not pedalling at least 5% faster after using the CompuTrainer, they’ll refund your money. There are some Terms & Conditions, but it’s nice to see ’em standing behind their gear.

Find out more at the CompuTrainer Website

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