Author Topic: MTB Home trainer Software  (Read 4641 times)

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2016, 11:53:53 AM »
I have now had my Home trainer for 14 days and so far it has been raining every single day since I got it so.............. Its been a huge success in many aspects, not only do you train more effectively than trying to get around in rain/mud/heavy winds. You can also jump on the system any time of the day, either early or late - No long transport time, its flat out cycling from minute one. Do I miss real cycling hell yes and this will never be the same as wind in the face, however as a combination with live cycling it can raise your actual level of strength quite a bit.

For all of you that are considering a home trainer I seriously recommend to buy a SMART trainer, they are not that expensive and the benefit from having your trainer software controlling the resistance of your trainer is mandatory I would say if you want to do some serious Watt training. Its also plain fun to upload your favourite track file to the software host and 12 hours later there is generated a 3D environment with all the slopes/resistance incorporated. It is just to jump on the bike, start the trainer software and enjoy your favourite ride.

What I would recommend based on my experience so far:

- A smart trainer for a start - This is the middle class trainer as recommended by DCrainmaker
  https://www.bike24.com/1.php?menu=1000%2C5%2C69;search=tacx+vortex;content=8;product=99376
  It will give you speed, cadence and power so no other sensors are required.
- A trainer mat
- A specific trainer tyre for your wheel size - They are quieter and will last longer
- An ANT+ FEC usb dongle for your laptop/desktop in order to connect with your trainer
- I'm using the Bkool Cycle simulator for the fun-/recreational part and I'm using the TACX IOS app for my power Watt training.
- If you have a Garmin 520/820/1000 you can control your trainer directly from your cycle computer

All in all maybe a few bucks for an initial investment but in the long run I do believe that the benefit will pay it back soon. I must say that I'm very happy with my purchase and in 14 days I have raised my FTP score about 10 percent. One thing you will have to keep in mind is the fact that unless you buy a very expensive trainer with build in free wheeling engine, there are no free riding on the trainer. You will have to pedal ALL the time and I can see, based on history from my Garmin, that I burn 25% more calories in 1 hour compared to normal outside riding.

I have been a good boy :)


My setup:




A rainy Saturday having fun with the wife in front of the big screen   :D




My best investment in a very long time and I look forward to the heavy snowstorms outside now.

Karsten

 

SportingGoods

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2016, 03:04:46 PM »
Thanks karstenhorn for this detailed feedback! Very interesting.
I think one key point I need is to get a training plan incorporated. I don't want to be messing around and get bored. Your setup looks very fun!

And for those using Strava, I just noticed this: "Premium cyclists get two free months of Zwift every year." Pretty cool. If you use indoor trainer 4 month a year, that's only 2 month of subscription to pay.

carbonazza

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2016, 03:13:32 PM »
...upload your favourite track file to the software host...
You mean a gpx file of a previous ride?

Very interesting read, thanks!
In 5ºC I'll probably reconsider indoor training :)

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2016, 12:49:57 AM »
Thanks karstenhorn for this detailed feedback! Very interesting.
I think one key point I need is to get a training plan incorporated. I don't want to be messing around and get bored. Your setup looks very fun!

And for those using Strava, I just noticed this: "Premium cyclists get two free months of Zwift every year." Pretty cool. If you use indoor trainer 4 month a year, that's only 2 month of subscription to pay.

Initially I was also very interested in Zwift and I did create a trial account. However I found their software very unstable and I was kicked off randomly(I use a Macbook). Based on the feedback in their support forum I'm not the only one having the same issues and to be honest, I HATE when software like this does not work....... I managed to play around with their training plans and to be honest not impressed at all. I rate Zwift the same as Bkool, 90% fun and 10% serious training. Again, the only system that I have found so far focusing on serious training plans is Trainerroad (Also recommended by DCRainmaker).

I don't use Strava at all so I don't know how well connected they are but in general all the software I have tried do advertise full connectivity to Strava.

Karsten

Lanz

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2016, 12:55:33 AM »
I've read somewhere that Strava soon will end cooperation with Zwift, so you'll gonna pay for it.

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2016, 01:08:15 AM »
...upload your favourite track file to the software host...
You mean a gpx file of a previous ride?

Very interesting read, thanks!
In 5ºC I'll probably reconsider indoor training :)

In Bkool you can use any of the common fitness file types like GPX, TCX, FIT etc. Bkool is the only system I have found where you can upload your own completed track and then ride it afterwards where resistance is controlled by the trainer software. The 3D part is fully generic but the slope part is very very realistic. If you have a camera on your bike that also stores GPS data in the metadata, you can create a full video track of your favourite track :D

Here is one of my favourite "racetrack" just around my home and it took 20 min for their system to generate a nice 3D track and it is very realistic indeed.



If you buy a TACX smart trainer and you have one of the newest Garmins, you can as a matter of fact ride a previous completed track directly out of your bike computer. However, there are lots of spikes in the metadata of a ride and the resistance will jump all over the scale and making it impossible to ride. When you upload the same track to Bkool, they are smoothing out the metadata and it works just perfect.

Karsten

SportingGoods

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2016, 02:03:54 AM »
That's good information! But now I'm even more confused  ;D

I thought that BKOOL was a package (trainer + software) but I see that you can use their software with any trainer. So it' another option to Zwift and TrainerRoad. I see a free version and a Premium for 8€/month. The cheapest of all 3.
You mention Fun with BKool. That's what I need.

Anyway, the last piece I need now to evaluate the software is... a trainer :)
I was pretty set on a basic trainer, but BKool seems to require a smart trainer to get the real benefits. I was very tempted with the fluid trainers (for their simplicity and silence), but those are not smart...
Undecided!

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2016, 02:33:03 AM »
That's good information! But now I'm even more confused  ;D

I thought that BKOOL was a package (trainer + software) but I see that you can use their software with any trainer. So it' another option to Zwift and TrainerRoad. I see a free version and a Premium for 8€/month. The cheapest of all 3.
You mention Fun with BKool. That's what I need.

Anyway, the last piece I need now to evaluate the software is... a trainer :)
I was pretty set on a basic trainer, but BKool seems to require a smart trainer to get the real benefits. I was very tempted with the fluid trainers (for their simplicity and silence), but those are not smart...
Undecided!

Yes Bkool do produce their own smart trainer now but they actually started out with the Bkool cycle simulator long time before smart trainers. Their simulator is fully compatible with any SMART trainer supporting ANT+ FEC connections. As a matter of fact I do not like trier trainers due to the fact that it is the weight of the rider creating the contact with the roller. In practical that means that you cannot stand in your pedals sprinting or pushing hard up a steep climb. TACX smart trainers are all fully compliant with Bkool.

Look at it this way, you can buy a cheap basic trainer setup for around 200€, that setup will ONLY give you some "dumb" resistance and you will have to get hold of all the other sensors separately. If you don't have speed, cadence or Power, you will have no measurement of your progress. In my opinion the most important sensor is the power sensor, that gives you a clear view of your training progress as well as being a mandatory tool for controlling your training sessions.

On the other hand, spend a little over 100€ more and you will have ALL the sensors build in and show me a Power sensor system that you can get for 100€? - Honestly I think it is an easy pick, the "fun factor" is very closely related to the fact that the software is controlling the resistance and I simply have to ride the bike like I do for real.

Karsten

carbonazza

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2016, 05:29:58 AM »
Does the power sensor measure both legs separately, getting some data from a cadence meter or something?
Or just the overall power?

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2016, 05:51:01 AM »
Does the power sensor measure both legs separately, getting some data from a cadence meter or something?
Or just the overall power?

I'm sure that the power readings are an average value as the power sensor is integrated into the electronics of the trainer itself. If you want an individual reading for left and right side I think that we are talking 1000€+ systems(Garmin Vector, Stages etc). :D

carbonazza

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2016, 07:55:03 AM »
I'll need to find another way then to clear an existential doubt that my left leg pushes significantly more than the right one :)

For now, the evidences for the doubt are the sole is peeling off from the upper always on the inside of the left shoe(on a Shimano, a Mavic and a Northwave pairs).
And when one pedal had issues(bearing, axle) it was twice the left one.

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2016, 08:04:15 AM »
I'll need to find another way then to clear an existential doubt that my left leg pushes significantly more than the right one :)

For now, the evidences for the doubt are the sole is peeling off from the upper always on the inside of the left shoe(on a Shimano, a Mavic and a Northwave pairs).
And when one pedal had issues(bearing, axle) it was twice the left one.

I will put it the other way around, according to many studies it is very uncommon to be equal strong in both sides of your body. I'm about 10% stronger in my left leg as measured on my friends Garmin Vector power meter. As a matter of fact it is not uncommon for proffs to compensate with different length crank arms just to handle that fact. The same goes for the length of your legs, one of them could easily be a little longer :D

I'm debating with myself to buy a dual power meter set but it is a bit expensive :(

Karsten

SportingGoods

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2016, 11:33:34 AM »
A real power meter is way beyond what I want to spend! But if you want left/right power, that's the only tool available.

Most smart home trainers providing power values actually do not have power sensors. They just rely on speed/resistance level combo. They know the power curve of their equipment, they calculate it but don't measure it.
So, this is just the same as a basic trainer equipped with a speed sensor. If you use a software which has calibrated your trainer, it will tell you the calculated power.

Then, I thought about smart trainers. And when I say "smart" I don't mean those who tell your speed/power, I mean those being controlled by a software. What they do is change the resistance. But thinking twice about it, that's not really what we want. What is important is to get in the right power zone, and this depends then always on you (how fast you pedal). If the resistance increases but you drop your cadence, or change gears to compensate, then you miss completely the point.

All that to say that I'll most likely just go with a basic trainer, good quality, silent (fluid resistance) and get the smart side of it with my speed/cadence sensors (Smart BT) coupled to a good software, calibrated on my trainer. I'll play with my gear (and legs) to get into the working zone I need to be in.

karstenhorn

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2016, 12:01:23 PM »
A real power meter is way beyond what I want to spend! But if you want left/right power, that's the only tool available.

Most smart home trainers providing power values actually do not have power sensors. They just rely on speed/resistance level combo. They know the power curve of their equipment, they calculate it but don't measure it.
So, this is just the same as a basic trainer equipped with a speed sensor. If you use a software which has calibrated your trainer, it will tell you the calculated power.

Then, I thought about smart trainers. And when I say "smart" I don't mean those who tell your speed/power, I mean those being controlled by a software. What they do is change the resistance. But thinking twice about it, that's not really what we want. What is important is to get in the right power zone, and this depends then always on you (how fast you pedal). If the resistance increases but you drop your cadence, or change gears to compensate, then you miss completely the point.

All that to say that I'll most likely just go with a basic trainer, good quality, silent (fluid resistance) and get the smart side of it with my speed/cadence sensors (Smart BT) coupled to a good software, calibrated on my trainer. I'll play with my gear (and legs) to get into the working zone I need to be in.

My question to you then; how will you know if you are in the power zones that you want to be in?

Digging into the world of power meters and how they actually measure/calculate your transferred energy to the wheel I think is beyond the intend with this thread :D However, if you go out and compare the big known brands into powermeters, you will also see variation in their readings. DCRainmaker have written tons of pages just about that specific subject - He also tested some of the smart trainers(including mine) up against professional power meter systems, and none were off by more than 5% and that is good enough for me. As a matter of fact I don't care how much it is off as I will still have something to train up against. I do rely a lot of his thoughts and comments and I agree with him in that you cannot train in a optimal way without some sort of power readings.

Karsten

SportingGoods

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Re: MTB Home trainer Software
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2016, 02:21:37 PM »
My question to you then; how will you know if you are in the power zones that you want to be in?
As I mentioned, software calibrated with trainers power curve will provide Power info, just the same as a smart trainer (from speed/cadence/resistance). Zwift and TrainerRoad provide this calibration even for non smart trainers.
The only difference is that the sensor is not necessarily integrated in the trainer.