Questions About Smart Trainers

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by StormStrikes, May 24, 2020.

  1. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    Okay, I have questions (big surprise, right).

    Does anyone on here use a smart indoor trainer? If so, which one?

    What is your experience with it?

    I don't really want to, at this time anyway, sign up for Zwift or TrainerRoad (though I would lean to TrainerRoad) as I can create workouts on Garmin Connect. Does anyone have any experience with using a smart trainer with Garmin Connect? I am wondering, though I currently see no way to do so, if Garmin Connect can control the workout the way TrainerRoad or Zwift would do so.
     
  2. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Mod Team Tavern Member

    20,325
    8,584
    113

  3. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    Ahhh, yeah, well I still have my Garmin Edges, but I have been using my Garmin watch, but I could pair it and it should respond the same. I have a speed sensor and a power meter on the bike, my hope was that when I started a Garmin Connect workout, Garmin Connect would be able to control the resistance (or however Zwift and TrainerRoad do it) of the trainer. That way I could just sort of set it and forget it.

    Though, having never used a smart trainer before, I am not sure how all that works anyway.
     
  4. Merlincustom

    Merlincustom Senior Member

    1,601
    388
    83
    I think what Rola said. I use a dumb trainer with TrainerRoad, and I use their virtual power that mates to whatever trainer you have. I also have a Stages left power meter, and that reads a few watts higher than virtual power, but I don’t use it on the TR app because I didn’t have the power meter when I started TrainerRoad three years ago. When I did my last FTP assessment I ran the Stages power meter through the Garmin head unit on the indoor rides setting and also virtual power through the TrainerRoad app, which is how I discovered that the Stages ran a little high. I’m on the fence about getting a smart trainer. I’m curious about how erg mode would feel.
     
  5. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    I too am still kind of on the fence as I have a dual sided power meter already on the bike. I am not sure what the advantage, if any, would be to having a smart trainer since I have the power meter already.
     
  6. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Mod Team Tavern Member

    20,325
    8,584
    113
    ERG mode is deceitful. They say it takes the same energy/power to climb as when it is not( I choose climb since that's were it's most evident in effort level) . I can spin up a 13-17% grade....ok in ERG mode and REALLY work hard when it is not, I mean REALLY struggle at those percents of grades and the legs burn intensely. The Wahoo allows you to set trainer difficulty as well. The default is 50% ( when using Zwift ) which seems odd to me. Honestly, probably like many other folks I was not aware this this was even an option for a long time and can only changed while inside Zwift. Mine is currently set to 80% ish. @Hazy actually showed me this. We've done a tone of "meet up" rides in Zwift and I've really enjoyed that feature.

    I also use the Stages left side power meter just not on my trainer bike. I have found Zwift tends to be pretty generous on the wattage vs what I see out in the wild on the road.

    I know you said you make your own training rides but there is something for a structured workout or even doing a free ride in NYC in which the smart trainer loads you up. It is one of the best investments I've made to be very honest.
     
  7. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    I hear what you are saying Rola. A few months after I started riding, I signed up for TrainerRoad and used that all of the first winter and it made a HUGE difference in my performance when the following spring came around and it was not long after that, I believe, I went to Florida and did my very first century with John_V.

    All of the workouts I create are, in part, based off what I remember from TrainerRoad and I tend to respond better to a structured type of workout.

    I haven't used Zwift (I signed up very early in the beta testing part) in a while and it has changed quite a bit. THAT's the one place I can see a smart trainer being very useful I just don't know if it would work for me as well as TR.

    My hope was that, somehow, Garmin Connect would be able to control a smart trainer much in the way that Zwift does so I could just design my workouts there and not have the monthly recurring service fee, not that it is that expensive or anything, just wanted to keep things simple.

    I got a long road ahead of me to get back to century distance riding and I want to try and do it better this time as I was never to sustain anything more than a roughly 15 mph average on a century ride. I did 50 mile rides with a 17 - 18 mph average, but somewhere between about 65 - 70 miles onward, I fell off pace hard and never could figure out why.
     
  8. Merlincustom

    Merlincustom Senior Member

    1,601
    388
    83
    What’s new in TrainerRoad since you left is Plan Builder. Rather than picking your own Base, Build , and Specialty plans over a 28 week cycle, with Plan Builder you just input the date of your event, answer some questions about its duration, etc., and Plan builder structures a training routine targeted to get you to the event with peak fitness. I had it in my calendar for a century at Saranac Lake in August before the virus hit, so I never got to start it since I won’t be doing any group rides this year. The structured stuff really works.
     
  9. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    I do structured workouts, but TR can have you on the trainer for multiple hours on some rides in their plans. 30 minutes to an hour is about my max, maybe a little more. I focus more on HIIT style structured workouts and is what I did when I worked up to my first century. I can't remember the last time I spent more than, if I ever have, an hour and a half on the trainer.

    When I was signed up for TR, nearly all my workouts there were an hour or less. I save the multi-hour rides for when I can get on the road. That all said, the one thing I have learned about myself since I first started cycling is I respond, physically and mentally, much, much better to a structured workout
     
  10. Merlincustom

    Merlincustom Senior Member

    1,601
    388
    83
    There are no rides in the TR plans that are longer than 120 minutes, even in their Century plan. They do have any number of rides that are much longer though if you're just poking around for something to do. I think they go up to 6 hours.
     
  11. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    Ahhh. They did not have the plans when I was last signed up, so that may have been what I was seeing. I anticipate I will sign back up for TR, so I may have to see if I can eeek out a 2-hour trainer ride.
     
  12. Merlincustom

    Merlincustom Senior Member

    1,601
    388
    83
    I have some TR rides posted in Did You Ride Today thread. Let me know if you want a free month. I have 11 to give away.
     
  13. StormStrikes

    StormStrikes Member

    1,712
    347
    83
    Man, I looked at those workouts and I am reminded why I went with TR in the first place. Some tough but very structured workouts.

    I ordered a QuadLock mount for my phone (my phone holder I have been using for the past 5 years or so, has been outgrown by the latest phones and their larger size (OnePlus 7T), so I can run TR on it. I cant use my PC because I run Linux on all my home PC's and I am not setting up a VM just for TR.

    Yeah, if you wouldn't mind, I would love to have one of those free months. I am not working out tonight as I pretty much toasted my legs last night but maybe tomorrow I can do the ramp test and see where I am at.
     
  14. Merlincustom

    Merlincustom Senior Member

    1,601
    388
    83
    Scotty, send me a message with your email and TR will send you an email.