Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winter Training goes Virtual

Ever since the Nintendo Wii revolutionized video gaming by combining actual movement with video gaming I've wondered how long it would be until cycling got into the action. The future is now. I met a Belgian teacher from Riyadh who told me about the latest Virtual Racing trainer offered by Tacx. Check out the advert video down below to see all that it has to offer. I think it runs about 1200$, but found it for 1100USD on Ebay. Considering that a high end Cycleops trainer costs 500 bucks, 1200 isn't totally out of line...is it? Heck, 1200$ just about covers one season of fuel and trail pass costs for a hardcore ski-dooer. Not that I'd actually know, mind you. Or what do you think? Is an old-school, tech free trainer and a box full of Carmichael dvds a better investment? (I'm fully expecting some retro-grouch hardcore year round bike commuter type to comment on how real men train in the winter the old fashioned, way - outdoors. But, I'll risk Brad's wrath with this post anyway)

4 comments:

  1. VR training is actually old news really... Computrainer has been around for many years and has offered the ability to build your own 3D courses for quite sometime... you can even take a GPS route and covert it to a Computrainer course. A company called Netathlon really rmped uped VR training several years ago with courses such as the Atlanta 98 olympic course, Kona Triathlon course, and othe VR courses... over the years this company has revamped its software and now looks pretty nice really www.fitcentric.com to see a peak... Tacx also jumped on board with VR trainers over 5 years ago now with IMagic and the new Fortius trainers... I still say the best bang for the buck is Computrainer and a ergvideo.. www.ergvideo.com you WILL suffer if you have your threshold set properly and you WILL be stronger.. Not cheap as the trainer is $1500 US and the videos are $45 a pop... my Computrainer is pushing 6 years old now and it still runs like new... for more fun Computrainer also offers real live course videos... they are generally triathlon courses that play at the speed you are riding.. so far I only have the Kona Iron Man.. but it is very cool... as for Fitcentric, you can also join online and race/ride with others..

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  2. interesting. One of the impressive things about the Tacx is it feeds power to a battery powered motor that kicks in to drive the rear wheel when simulating downhills, or when drafting behind competitors. It also responds to turning the handlebars so that you actually are involved in taking corners and stuff. Does the Computrainer have those features?

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  3. I may be a retro grouch, but if I had the cash, I'd love to have one of those.

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  4. Computrainer does not offer the steering feature like the Tacx. I am just after the watts really for training though, I could see the steering making it more "fun" though... Be wary of the Fortius, I am not sure if it has been fixed or not,but up until last year there was an issue where the motorbrake on North American models of the trainer would never let you exceed 26mph going downhill.. it was related to the fact that the European countries run on a different power supply system then North America.. this may have been fixed though...

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