The Smart Bike Trainer Revolution
It may seem an excessive superlative, but the "revolution" in cycling trainers has been a remarkable transition in cycling based training equipment in the last few years. Almost on a par with such breakthrough's as the disc brakes, electronic shifting or 29 inch wheels and 1x drivetrains. However, the smart trainer revolution has really been driven by 2 elements, the software options on the front end to exploit and leverage expanding hardware technology built into newer "smart" trainers. The increased emphasis upon power based training and this hardware design and technology, exploiting greater accuracy, convenience and realism has culminated in a fairly sophisticated and exciting cycling arena.
It is hard to say which has lead the other the software or the hardware but game-like environments such as Zwift, which has become a high profile influencer among the general cycling population, who were not typically exploiting early smart trainer software and hardware has led to better products and certainly more choices.
Smart trainer resources
- DC Rainmaker 2017-2018 Smart trainer rundown
- The Latest Smart Trainers 2017-2018 - Bike Radar
- Zwift Test Center - Dublin store & Alamo store
- Trainer's that work with Zwift, Trainer Road, and Sufferfest
- Other smart trainer software options
What is Zwift?
Zwift is a cycling trainer game that enables you to link your cycling trainer up your computer, your iPad and iPhone, letting you ride with other cyclists in a virtual environment, therefore helping to alleviate some of the boredom associated with indoor riding. Read more here
The demand and development of smart trainers has been driven by the front end software development, or it could be the other way round, but needless to say cloud-based multi-player training applications like Zwift have defintely redefined the indoor cycling training landscape (pun intended).
The Software Options For Smart Trainers
I am a recreational rider. Would I benefit from Using a Smart Trainer?
The benefit of training with power impacts all levels of cycling, and power based performance is measurement that will benefit to both beginners and experienced endurance cyclists and triathletes and racers. However, the caveat to this is that the data and measuremnt gathered by your smart trainer and/or power meter has to leveraged and used to be of any real benefit. This is where the time is needed by you or a coach to record, track and analyze the data to make descisions about your fitness (current and future), developing periodic training programs and workouts, and the response and sucess of such training. Power can reveal and be used for all of this but
Power Meter & Trainer Specials
Making Use of Training Data
When new power meter users start using power they are faced with a great deal of new data variables and definitions and increased volumes of training data. To levergage and exploit this data to ultimately improve and get stronger on the bike requires analysis and the ability to prescribe training programs and workouts based on the data over time.
The success of power based training depends upon as carefully controlled dosing and monitoring of training prescription, progress and resulting performance and phyiological change as possible. In other words, if you decide to start training with power, then an implicit commitment is established between the athelete and their power meter accuracy and relliability reported by James Spragg of Spragg Coaching in Road Cycling UK magazine.