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Why a Computrainer ? A mini review

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I said to myself I wouldn’t ‘sell’ the Computrainer and I still hold that in a little reserve but something I read this week has prompted me to write this, one of the reasons I hadn’t owned one up to now was buying it outright was outside my budget or justification to my partner, I would have preferred the option of interest free credit, it has never been offered – until now !!

Don’t misunderstand, as I said, I am not here to ‘sell’ the CT, they sell themselves and its Simon’s job anyway, my aim was to use it, tweet and blog about it and hopefully encourage a few to buy one because of the results or usage. However, I have had mails from friends/triathletes asking for advice/feedback, so as the offer of interest free credit runs out at the end of the month, here is the info I have passed on to others.

A year or two before I became the amateur face of Computrainer for 2011 owning one had been in the forefront of my mind, I love the indoor trainer, I love the toughness of sitting there mentally knocking out hours, knowing the hard work pays off. I also love knowing in the really crap weather I can happily sit there for 3-4 hours, yes its tough, but so is Ironman.

If you need any convincing on the uplift in indoor training and the benefits just do a search for ‘triathlete indoor training’ and it’s the new outdoors lol, the pro’s copied me I am sure Indoor training

In winter, it’s easy to justify using one, summer not so for some, but when you are a family man like me and getting fully kitted up for a 2 hour ride can add that 15 mins you don’t have, I would rather get 2 hours indoors than 1.45 outside and then spend 5 mins of that with no data due to freewheeling or traffic lights.

Having a machine you can replicate terrain and ‘pain’ indoors makes this type of session an easy choice, especially in my case if my partner is out at kickboxing, meeting girlfriends or working late and I am the designated babysitter, I can’t go anywhere, the garage is 1 minute away and the baby listener comes with me.

In the brief review below I have tried to simplify the first 7 months with mine against others I have owned. This is also a cut of the mails I have sent a few times to people asking me for feedback.

Pros

Software, awesome and thank god -SIMPLE, I have had expensive Tacx turbos in the past and they are very time consuming, can be very buggy, don’t fully test releases causing issues if you set your computer up to automatically accept updates.

If you look at the websites for Tacx they are full of people moaning about how inconsistent the software is. CT is a piece of cake to load, currently I am using a laptop with Vista (which everyone knows is rubbish !!) and haven’t had one issue in recording data or uploading it to Training Peaks.

Hardware, I use my full aero TT set up (not TT helmet :-)), before I got the CT on any other turbo I previously owned, cheap or expensive, once you fix the rear wheel and get on and lean forward onto the TT bars, the roller and tyre have some separation, plenty of squeaking, not on here, the way its clamped, its not too tight to squeeze the rear stays but has a locking mechanism that stops you from moving. Means I have been using my full race position set up for months now.

Roller – I liked my Elite Mag Wireless roller but this is better, about as good a roller I have ever used, solid, runs true and makes practically no noise.

Feedback – the main thing with the CT is the ability to calibrate each time so you know its a consistent recorder of info to base your training on. This builds up over time and you can then repeat sessions against yourself as it allows you to ride against previous workouts. Improvement is easy to gauge.

Training Applications – 4 types

Headset, out of the box you can put it together, no PC and set up the head unit and use it like a normal turbo, it stores power, HR, speed etc and you control the power from the head unit – schimples !!

Coaching Software – CS – this is headset driven with you controlling power but linked to a PC you have a readout in graph form, a bit like the ones I have been putting on my blog, in real time though, you can see ave/actual/max for everything and the graph scrolls past as you cycle.

3D software – this is a visual representation of you on a bike in a virtual environment and you can load any course you want, the software comes pre loaded with all IM courses and around 25 other famous races around the world along with ramp tests, TT’s and other courses, like mad mountain stages. The power and resistance come from the course elevations etc and you use your gears to control the cadence you need.

Real Video – this is a paid for optional extra, you purchase a DVD of an IM course you want to do and it puts you on the course as a rider and as the course changes the power resistance changes to take in the course, awesome to ride and gives some variability to the riding in the winter when you want to do 3-4 hours, and I have done a few. I think all CT’s come with one, you can probably request the one of your choice, I have tried Wisconsin, St. George and Lake Placid, yes all hilly but its not supposed to be easy.

Purchase terms – the reason I am writing this blog entry – I would like to be in the market for one right now, I have always had to resist as I couldn’t afford one outright but before the end of August its interest free on monthly terms, always a bonus in my eyes.

Support and after service – Simon is extremely approachable and is always at the end of a phone/mail/tweet etc. He is very outward in his social networking and prides himself on customer service, whereas with other major indoor trainer manufacturers, you need to deal with the retailer and then the supplier who just play one another off. Plus it has a decent parts guarantee.

Cons

The price, it can scare people off, its is expensive if you think of it as just a turbo.

It’s not, I know now, it’s an investment, I can’t guarantee by paying a premium for it will make you will use it more but it’s actually the options available that make you want to use it more.

Looks – not really a con but if you think you are getting something that looks like it came from the starship enterprise then you are barking up the wrong tree, this is functional, solid and looks like a turbo.

And lastly, it pretty much needs to stay up permanently in the garage, there are a couple of cables to connect up to get it all working, cadence, power, HR. Taking it apart each time you use it would be a ball ache. Yes, it can be taken down each time if you have a small house, but then you will have wasted all the time you saved over getting ready to go out on the road !

It will take the heavies from Simon to get mine back lol, but if you want more info, please call him, the number is on his Website, for anyone in the US, don’t know if you can get the same deal but call RacerMate

I have read a number of other reviews of the CT and they are all clear on one thing, if you want focus and improvement, it’s a clear choice, choice is yours.

You won’t see anymore selling from me, just using, and man I am using it !!

Rosey

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