Things have been pretty busy as of late – with trying to knock out some big ticket items for work before the holidays, so tonight’s post is going to a be a bit brief.
First up was my first ride with the LeMond Revolution Trainer. I had left on on Sunday with the trainer functionally setup, but my bike still off to the side. As I mentioned then, the Revolution Trainer is different in that when you mount the bike to it, you remove your back wheel. The bike then mounts to a pre-installed cassette on the trainer itself (unless you purchased a trainer without the cassette):
Of course, if you cycle a fair bit, removing the wheel isn’t hard at all, and doesn’t take terribly long (less than a minute). Though, for my Cervelo Time Trial bike, the wheel actually exits out the back, versus dropping down. This means there’s a bit more finagling to get it out. Again, not hard, just would be somewhat annoying if you did it on a daily basis. For me, it would sit on the trainer during the week, with my longer rides outdoors, so it’d be a once weekly thing.
The only times I had used the Revolution Trainer in the past was when I was on a show floor of some sort (Interbike, ANT+ Symposium, etc…). Thus, my experience was never on my own bike, nor in a space where I could judge feel and compare noise.
First up was the feel. And it’s rather astounding.
It literally does feel like you’re riding on the road. Sure, I had remembered this from the past, but when you just jump on the feeling is astounding. When I say ‘riding on the road’, I mean that as you accelerate or decelerate, the bike responds in the same way as being outside. For example, if I just stop pedaling, the bike will literally glide – just like as if I was outside – for a rather long time. It’s so cool.
It also means there’s no resistance setting/configuration – everything is done via the wind unit on the side, which counters your efforts. This is beneficial in that you legitimately have to hold the wattages you produce, you’re not just ‘along for the ride’ like in a computerized or specified resistance trainer unit. In those scenarios you don’t have to focus as much on maintaining a given wattage, since the trainer does that, but in the Revolution case, it’s just like outside where gearing and cadence play a part.
Speaking of wattages, I had the Power Pilot all hooked up. This is the head control unit that receives data from the Revolution Trainer. In my case I paired it to my regular Garmin ANT+ HR Strap (though they included their own in the box), and then paired it to the existing cadence sensor that was on my bike (they also included their own, but I didn’t feel like adding yet another ziptied sensor).
Most impressive was how close the wattages were, by the end they were within 3w of the Quarq Cinqo I had on there. I didn’t spend a significant amount of time re-calibrating my Quarq on this ride, other than just a quick back-pedal before and and a few minutes into it again doing the same.
And finally, for the noise.
Let me be clear about this (said shouting over sound of trainer): This thing is loud.
Anyone who tells you differently isn’t in an enclosed room. Sure, on a show-floor it sounds fine, and probably even in a wide open space, or larger room.
But in my little trainer room, it echoed like a beast. A really angry beast.
I didn’t hear anything on the TV. Perhaps it didn’t even include an audio track at all. Hard to say.
But…it did at least feel awesome. 🙂 It’s cool to ride something so different than other trainers, and it really does feel different.
And for now, that’s where I’ll leave off. The full review is of course coming in a bit, but I want to get use it like normal and then put all my thoughts together. And don’t worry, I’m fully planning on posting a video showing (audibly) the noise differences between trainers.
Until I do post that review, you can pass your time watching me on TV.
Well, maybe me on TV.
I actually have no idea if I’ll be in there, but I intend to watch and find out (as should you).
As part of the Urbanathlon series in Chicago, New York and San Francisco they’re going to be showing the first race (Chicago) tonight (Tuesday) on the Universal Network at 8PM EST. That’s where you normally find all the other triathlon goodness, so you should know where it is by now.
I’m looking forward to it! Let me know if you see me!
Thanks for reading!
FYI – in case you haven’t seen this NY Times article yet:
link to nytimes.com
any suggestion for a good quiet trainer? my cheapo one isn’t exactly quiet and my apt is small. thanks!
As a Revolution/Power Pilot user with a powertap meter I was glad to hear that your wattages were very close. Was wondering if you did some spin down calibrations on the power pilot prior to riding. When spin down calibration became possible on the Pilot my correction factor changed quit a bit altering wattage on the order of 15-20 watts. Also curious to what your correction factor is, and it would be helpful if you mention in your full report how reproducible your spin down calibrations are. Mine seen to vary quite a bit, consecutive spin downs always give different values. Thanks
anonymous #2 — a few years ago i was in search of the quietest trainer out there. i wound up going with the 1upusa.com trainer. when used with a trainer tire like the continental home trainer, the drivetrain (chain on cassette) makes more noise than the trainer.
i can hold a phone conversation at 210 watts without the noise being a problem, and music/tv is easily heard. i operate it in an enclosed space.
a trainer-specific tire and a rubber mat below the trainer will help any trainer to be a little quieter, but some are more quiet than others.
wind-/fan-based trainers tend to be noisier.
the 1upusa also offers very good feel as far as trainers go (large flywheel, long coast-down), but it still feels like a trainer. it sounds like the lemond is a huge step up in that regard, but the downside is the noise. it’s not a good trade-off for me.
Tut tut Ray,
Small chainring and small sprocket 😉
Looking forward to the full review 🙂
That website looks a little shakey to me.. I’ll have to check it out. I just have an ascent wind trainer. I ride a mountain bike so I have changed the tires on the bike and I have a mat.. still have to turn up the tv pretty loud to hear it over the trainer. Thanks for the advice!!!
their website sucks, but what matters is the product. if you are coming from a wind trainer, you will be amazed at how quiet it is — floored, really.
i hope you at least have a slick on your MTB when riding your trainer. that will be smoother/quieter.
the 1upusa is easy to operate hands-free when putting your bike in (mine basically stays there all winter, so this is not an issue), and it adjusts to accommodate all sizes of tires.
look up reviews on their product. there are many good trainers out there, but most have some negatives. the 1up is pretty much universally positive. i’ve found — in my experience — that for $300 it is about the equivalent of $500 or $600 models from a brand that more heavily promotes itself….and in some cases better than offerings in those regions.
it’s a small business; when you need service, you talk to the right people immediately. in 4 years of use (with 2 of those being pretty hard use of indoor workouts all winter, intervals @ 400+ watts), i’ve had amazing success with it.
you may not buy it, but it is worthy of consideration.
thanks for the follow up with me. i’m waiting until after the first of the year (tax $$!!) and i’ll prob end up getting it. i have hybrid tires on my mountain bike because i ride a lot on the asphalt paths through my town and i don’t want to constantly change between mountain and hybrid.. just seems easier that way. quiet is my goal though- so i’m really grateful for the info!!!
something to keep in mind: consider getting an old wheel. often these can be found for free or nearly so. the quality doesn’t really matter — but it will enable you to have a dedicated wheel for training (you might want to save your good cassette(s), and you can keep a slick trainer tire on there which makes a HUGE difference on a trainer in terms of performance AND noise).
this may be the ideal situation. check out craigslist or look for folks with bikes that are not being used or going to be tossed out.
if it’s the same size, it will work.
weight doesn’t matter at all.
something to consider.
personally, i use a dedicated wheel for my road bikes & trainer.
Here’s my problem with that. I don’t want to set up an entire new wheel (too much $$) or swap tires all the time (pain in the neck) so I went to my trek store and got a couple of their cheap tires ($18). figured if they wear out, it’s ok bc i haven’t spent much on them. Think I should be doing this different?
you want something easy, cheap, and quiet. it’s totally your call. for me, finding a beater wheel was super cheap (turned out to be free in my case), and it is no trouble for me to swap the wheel on the bike.
the trainer tire lasts forever, and i place a premium on having a quiet trainer experience. yes, i had to buy a special tire ($30) and a dedicated cassette/wheel. it was worth it to me.
if i had to switch tires on a wheel, that’s more of a pain (though not hard). i’ve been using the same trainer tire for 2 seasons with a LOT of hard use. a trainer will eat through lesser tires more frequently, so in the long-run using normal tires could cost you more.
however, not everyone wants a dedicated trainer wheel. i get that. the downside is switching tires more frequently. it’s not necessarily cheaper in the long-term, but if one never wants to switch a wheel then it makes sense.
again, totally your call. i was just making a few suggestions.
all the best,
thanks eric. you’ve been a huge help. i’ll prob spring for the extra cassette/trainer set up when i have the money. quieter trainer is ideal for me. swapping out the rear tire is a pain for someone like me because i don’t have anything to hold my bike up while i change tires and my place is tiny. but, i probably won’t be changing often so i’m sure once i get the hang of it, it won’t be so bad.
spending $30 on a tire compared to changing them all the time does sound pretty good. i really appreciate all of the advice. really helps when it comes from someone who has real life experience. thanks again!!!
Wondering if you could comment on level of resistance the Revolution provides. You said it is a very realistic, road-like feel riding the Revolution – so would you say that it is roughly and equivalent feeling or amount of work to riding outdoors? I ask specifically because I wonder what doing big gear intervals on this would feel like. Easier, harder, or roughly the same as when riding on my old Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer. Thanks!