We brought together a mix of riders with different aims for next session, but all of whom want to spend a little or lot of time over the winter on a trainer. It is always nice to get new views on kit as it is being tested.
We lined up the Minoura V130, which we have hung onto a little longer just to see how it fared against some stiff opposition between a traditional competitor in the form of the Tacx Booster, and a high tech rival in the Bkool BCycling trainer. Warm ups and warm downs were offered on the Elite Arion parabolic rollers (Madison, £299.99).
The Minoura (£179.99, Zyro) fared well earlier this month, and we were impressed by how quiet it was, even when undertaking some pretty brutal Sufferfest workouts. It is a simple frame and flywheel in comparison to the more designed and integrated look of the Tacx Booster.
The Booster (£260.99, Fisher Outdoor Leisure) is a hop up from the original top-of-the-line Satori trainer (which I have been using for many years). The Booster pushes the flywheel weight up to 2kg from the Satori’s 1.6kg unit. This comes with eight magnets and a commensurate boost in the possible resistance wattage, from 960 to 1050. The built-in mechanism offers protection for the unwary handler, removing the danger of burnt fingers after a hard workout.
The BKOOL BCycling (£399.99, i-Ride) takes the integration and smooth design one step further with it’s egg-shaped shroud enclosing a flywheel with up to 1200 watts of resistance. But the really interesting part of the BKool system is the online training and racing which combines with the remote resistance adjustment and weighty flywheel to offer some extremely realistic winter training. Online videos from rider eyeviews and the ability to upload your own local loops (having logged them on your smartphone), or test yourself against other peoples rides means that your interest should no wane when you are forced indoors to ride.
Having plugged the Bkool into the power it will adjust the resistance automatically based on the course you are riding. The interesting design variation that is immediately apparent with the BKool is the lack of adjustment of the roller against the rear wheel. More normally the roller is pushed up against the rear wheel. The BKool does away with this and instead relies on only the weight of the rider sat on the bike pushing down onto the roller. Intitial impressions of all the test team were interesting because the BKool was marked out as the most natural feeling trainer, providing a near road like quality to its ride.
We will look at the Tacx and BKool in more detail later this month, as well as the Elite Arion roller, but so far we can say getting together a group of friends and riders to test trainers leads to a very entertaining and tiring night. Assembling a weekly group of buddies to train together certainly removes the temptation to skive off and avoid a training session. If you have some newbie roller riders as well you’ll certainly get some entertainment as they try and master one of the more difficult winter training skills.