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Does anyone use Computrainer?(11 posts)

Does anyone use Computrainer?AllisonHayes
Sep 18, 2002 6:55 AM
Which package do you use?

What do you like/dislike about it?

Would you recommend it?

Anything else?


I'm sure SOMEBODY does. nmSteve_0
Sep 18, 2002 7:14 AM
I really, really, really like itDougSloan
Sep 18, 2002 7:16 AM
Despite a healthy does of burnout lately, I really like the Computrainer I got about 6 weeks ago. It has improved my fitness a full 33% in that time.

I have the full 3d Pro package. I set it up on a fast computer with a 19" screen, and built up a dedicated steel bike and mounted the whole thing to a plywood platform, rigged up with 3 fans plus a ceiling fan. I can play mp3's over the computer sound system while riding the 3d courses, all while watching the baby right next to me. For a busy parent, it does not get better than that.

Last night I did an 18 mile, very difficult repeat hill training session (alien crop circles course), and compared to 4 weeks ago, my average wattage improved 48 watts over one hour, but at the same average and peak heart rates. That's huge, reflecting about a 2.5 mph speed increase. I've whopping real life improvement in that time, too.

I like the fact that you can see, all at once, instant, average, and peak: speed, watts, cadence, and heart rate. You can experiment with breathing and its effect on heart rate. By holding the same wattage, try different techniques and see if pulse drops, reflecting increased efficiency. Great feed back.

I like the fact that, compared to most trainers, you pre-program the workout, so you are not making decisions on the fly what to do next. It's more similar to doing a ride on the road with other people.

You can record a performance and then ride against it, and the program shows both of you on screen. Good motivation and analysis for testing.

While there are many courses already prepared, and you can manualy create your own, they are about to release software to allow you to use Topo USA 3d to lay out a course over real terrain and then convert it to a CT course. I can't wait.

There is one feature that is both good and bad -- no coasting. Even on a 15% descent, you'll still need to make about 100 watts to go 25 mph, where in reality you'd be going 50 mph coasting. So, it does not reflect reality; but that's good in a way, too, because you get a "denser" workout.

I'd highly recommend it to anyone, but particular those who cannot get out as often as they'd like. I'll take some photos of my setup post them in the next day or so.

I really, really, really like itrbb
Sep 18, 2002 7:22 AM
may I ask what that 3-D setup costs?

Sep 18, 2002 8:20 AM

They were on sale last month.

re: Does anyone use Computrainer?Rich_Racer
Sep 18, 2002 7:34 AM
I was thinking of getting rollars - partly because they're cheaper but also because I thought it might help improve my technique over the winter. But would I not get anywhere near the fitness benefit?? How is the computrainer set-up? (excluding bike).

Rollers and CompuTrainer = apples and orangesScot_Gore
Sep 18, 2002 8:48 AM
Rollers are a tool that all cyclist, be they recreational to competitive can justify the expense and find benefit. IMHO Computrainers are more appropriate for the competitive cyclists and are priced at a level that only the seriously commited or seriously wealthy should be looking to get one. Doug is a good example of the right kind of rider to be finding benefit on a computrainer.

If you're a high performace, highly motivated cyclist OR moneyis no object. Get a computrainer.

Computrainers are fitness enhancers not form enhancers.

All of the above is just me opinion, you should use your own judgement.

Rollers and CompuTrainer = apples and orangesRich_Racer
Sep 18, 2002 1:24 PM
I've only been cycling 'seriously' for a few months but have done bit for years. I'm switching 8 years of rowing! Rowing teaches how important technique is in endurance sport, on top of fitness - hence why I'd planned to get rollars this winter. Regardless - I just can't afford $1300 for a computrainer even though I think I'd love one!

oldie but...Luis
Sep 18, 2002 9:33 AM
I've had a Computrainer for 11 years--the one that runs through a Atari box (or something similar) into a tv. I've looked at upgrading, but feel that for me--nowhere as scientific or hardcore as Doug--the older unit does just fine. I'm sure they can be had inexpensively. I really enjoy being able to compete against my last ride and being able to keep track of my times and watts on the same course.
They're a great company, too. I've always had quick answers and service when it was needed.
re: Does anyone use Computrainer?tigermilk
Sep 18, 2002 9:45 AM
I agree with Doug on the merits of the Computrainer. I picked one up in April to help me rehab my leg. I busted my hip in a crash and the exercise bike was boring. The CT allowed me to ride my road bike without threat of injury. I couldn't walk, but I could certainly cycle.

I ride the CT 3-5 times a week and on the weekend if the weather is bad. I find it provides great motivation. Outdoors you are affected by the weather, traffic, intersections. Indoors you have a controlled environment for repeatability. Plus you have the added benefit of quantitative output (power, heart rate, cadence, etc) to gauge your improvement.

My only dislikes about it are that you have to pedal on the down side of hills so there is no such thing as recovery (which is good in some respects - trains the heart better), 1-5 minute intervals at 100%+ of LTHR are better done outdoors than on the CT IMO, and I sweat so much my gloves and shorts are soaked.

I use the Pro3D model and have contemplated getting the coaching software. The interface of the coaching software was lousy, so spending $130 just to get it to export the data to Excel was a bit pricey. Rather put that amount towards a PowerTap.

I wholeheartedly recommend it. I'm a rider who doesn't race (but will next year) and have improved quite a bit from it. You find them on ebay every now and then (that's where I got mine) and can get one for less. Mine was $900 for a 2-3 year old model. The other nice thing is they seem to hold their value. I can probably sell it 2 years from now for what I paid, or at least close to it.

Anything else? They just released the new Topo software which allows you to take actual roads and convert them into a CT course. You'll get actual elevation changes. This is great for practicing a race before the actual event.
Sep 18, 2002 10:28 AM
I've created hill interval courses, and place a 15% descent section for the recovery. That works pretty well, allowing some easy spinning in between hard parts.

Can't wait for the Topo software.