Hammer Time – The Hammer Series returns

With four days until the Hammer Series returns, the start list for Hammer Stavanger and Hammer Limburg is taking shape with some big names put forward by the competing teams. 

Racing for Quick-Step Floors in Stavanger and having one of the seasons of his life is former Paris-Roubaix winner and current Tour of Flanders champion Niki Terpstra. With such a strong one-day racing pedigree, the Belgian team will be hoping to add Hammer victory to the successes they have recorded in the opening to their season.

For the following weekend in Limburg, Tom Dumoulin, Team Sunweb, returns, following his defence of the Maglia Rosa at the Giro d’Italia. BMC Racing Team will line up a full-strength squad including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and Richie Porte. John Degenkolb will lead Trek-Segafredo.

Roy Hegreberg, Race Director, Hammer Stavanger, said: “The line-up of riders taking part in Hammer Stavanger is fantastic. To have multiple national champions mixing it up with Classics riders in the forms of their lives should make for really exciting racing. I’m confident the riders will enjoy riding on the very best roads Stavanger has to offer and it will make a memorable experience for fans and viewers alike.”

I certainly think so! If you didn’t catch the Hammer Series last time it was awesomely amazing with a nail biting and very close finish which crowns Team Sky champs.

All three races taking place this year will be streamed live on social media, with Facebook, Twitter and DailyMotion all hosting video feeds. This means that unlike other pro-cycling races, fans anywhere in the world will be able to watch the Hammer Series live, on any device and without being charged for access. To watch the action from Hammer Stavanger, the first race in the season, head to https://www.facebook.com/hammerseries/, https://twitter.com/hammerseries and http://www.dailymotion.com/hammerseries

If you’ve never seen the Hammer Series before and want to know how it works.. well, you better get a cup of tea and read the below, if you have and you just want to see some nice photo’s just skip down to the bottom of the page. if all of that is just simply too much, here is a video explaining it all. Believe me, the racing is infinitely better than the video!

Teams are made up of seven riders, but they can field only five riders in each of the three races. While traditional cycling races have individual riders as stage and classification winners, the Hammer Series is all about teams.

The Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint are points races in which riders will attempt to win points for their team.

Each team’s finishing positions from days one and two are combined to determine their starting place on day three’s Hammer Chase, a team pursuit against the clock.

HAMMER CLIMB

It takes place over multiple laps of a short circuit. On every lap, riders will earn points for their teams depending on their position when they cross the line. The higher the position, the more points. The team with the most points will win the Hammer Climb.

HAMMER SPRINT

Again, it takes place over multiple laps of a short circuit and riders can earn points for their teams by placing as high as possible at the end of each lap. The team with the most points will win the Hammer Sprint.

HAMMER CHASE

This is the decisive race. It is a team pursuit over several laps of a circuit. The participating teams will be ranked by adding together their positions in the first two races, with the lowest total being the top team.

For safety, they will then be split into two groups: the top half will go into Finalist Group, and bottom half will go into Runner-Up Group. Teams in the Finalist Group can challenge for both victory in the Hammer Chase and overall Hammer Series event. Teams in the Runner-Up Group can challenge for the Hammer Chase win, but not overall victory.

Teams in each group will set off at fixed time intervals decided by their ranking.

The team who complete the time trial in the fastest time will be winners of the Hammer Chase.

The team who cross the finish line first in the Finalist Group will be the winner of that Hammer Series event.

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Wahoo and BMC buddy up!

Wahoo Fitness Announces Official Partnership with BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team

UCI Cross-country World Cup team led by Titouan Carod and Lars Forster will be riding with Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS computers and heart rate monitors for the 2018 racing season

Wahoo Fitness, the leader in connected fitness devices, today announced a new partnership with BMC Mountain Bike Racing team, led by rising talents Titouan Carod of France and Lars Forster of Switzerland. Through the partnership, the BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team will be training and racing with Wahoo’s aerodynamic ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computer and the TICKR Heart Rate Monitor throughout the 2018 UCI World Cup race season.

 As an official partner of BMC’s elite cross-country mountain bike team, Wahoo will deploy two foundational elements of its product ecosystem into the team’s world cup-winning strategies: the ELEMNT BOLT – the easiest to use and most feature-rich bike computer on the market, and the TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, for measuring critical race-winning efforts.

With a strategic roster aiming for Tokyo 2020, the BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team heads into the 2018 World Cup season with five straight overall series victories under its belt – a streak which began in 2013. With Wahoo devices measuring rider efforts in 2018, the team will be looking to secure a sixth overall World Cup title, while adding victories at the National, European and World Championship races.

The BMC Mountain Bike Racing team joins pro cycling teams BORA-hansgrohe, Katusha, Team Sky, and JLT-Condor along with professional triathletes Jan Frodeno, Lionel Sanders, and Heather Jackson – all of whom leverage Wahoo’s leading-edge fitness technologies for gains at the highest levels of professional sport.

“The supreme customisability, user-friendliness, and overall reliability of the Wahoo BOLT, along with the easy integration with our training platforms are all features that have been in high demand for our team members,” says BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team founder and director Alex Moos. “We’re proud to partner with a brand who understands these specific needs of elite bike racers while training or competing.”

“Adding podium regulars on the UCI cross-country World Cup circuit to the Wahooligan family has long been a goal of ours,” says Chip Hawkins, CEO of Wahoo Fitness. “And we couldn’t be happier to introduce the BMC Mountain Bike team to our growing stable of the fastest men and women in road cycling and triathlon, all of whom depend on Wahoo devices to measure and plan their race-winning efforts.”

Wahoo Fitness has created a full ecosystem of sensors and devices for the runner, cyclist or general fitness enthusiast. Wahoo Fitness’s award winning line of Bluetooth Smart products include the KICKR and KICKR SNAP indoor bike trainers, the ELEMNT, ELEMNT BOLT, and ELEMNT MINI smart bike computers, the world’s first smartphone connected bike computers, and the TICKR family of chest-based wearables. The TICKR family, composed of the TICKR, TICKR Run and TICKR X, combine heart rate training with advanced motion analytics.

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Bradley Wiggins Motor Home for sale!

British Car Auctions, later this month, are giving bidders the chance to win Bradley Wiggins former motorhome.

Bradley Wiggins Sporthome for sale at BCAThe coachbuilt Sporthome by McLaren is based on a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 2.1 with manual transmission.  It was commissioned by Sir Bradley in 2014 and while finished in white, has been vinyl wrapped in Team Wiggins colours of blue with chromed wing mirrors and bull bar and 8-spoke alloy wheels AND it’s only covered 5,500 miles!

Wiggo Van 006

The Sporthome features bespoke red, white and blue leather seating with ‘Wiggo’ detail on the headrests.  The custom GB-inspired interior includes a double bed, combined shower/toilet, integrated kitchen area with fridge, cooker and wash basin, overhead lockers and a storage area/repair bay for cycles. It doesn’t finish there either, in the seating area, which has two swivel seats, fold down table and five TV screens (two of which have Sky, obviously).

To say it’s understated on the inside would be an understatement, garish dashboard styling is not one to my taste, but then again who am I to question the king of the cycling mods? If you wanted a motorhome perfect for the cycling get away then what better one to have, you would imagine that there’s everything you would need to make yourself feel like Wiggo himself – minus a few Olympic gold medals…

The Sporthome will be offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on Thursday 21 September from 11.00 am.  To see the full catalogue listing and images online at bca.co.uk.

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Veloforte – nutrition bar

Veloforte sent me three nutrition bars to try out and I have to say, I’m glad they did! These little bars were super tasty, packed full of energy and easy to digest. Wonderful.

They sent, The Di Bosco, Ciocco and The Classico.

Di Bosco, meaning from the forest, is a mix of red berries, strawberries, sour cherries, rosemary, lemon, honey and some added extras like almonds and pistachios. I think this one is my personal favourite, I say think because they’re all super tasty

Ciocco is packed full of dates, almonds and cocoa. With The Classico being more of a citrus affair accompanied with almonds honey and spices.

I have to say from the off, the bars are delicious. Truly, they have a good mix of ingredients, they’re not stodgy, get stuck in your teeth or even feel like they’re too heavy to have when your really pushing on the pedals going flat out. The layer of rice paper on the top of the bar too is wonderful.

There is a down side though, the packaging is such that they’re super fiddly to get in to. On the bike it can be a bit of a faff, especially if you’re it confident with both hands off the bars not looking where you’re going… they take a fair bit of concentration and are probably better for when you’ve stopped and are at the cafe.

In all, I really rate these bars, I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on and if they can bring out a couple more flavours. Just sort out the packaging a little, please!

You can purchase the bars from the Veloforte website, here

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Merckx restoration – Part 1: The Setup

Eddy Merckx, a name which everyone in cycling knows, the hard Belgian who won Grand Tours for fun and made everyone else look like amateurs.

On top of his ability on the bike after his retirement Mr. Merckx carried on his good name by creating beautiful steel frames that were provided to teams in the peloton. These classic steel frames can be worth a fortune today, if in good condition and of the right era.


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Imagine my disbelieve when I go to take the rubbish out of my East London flat and there, in front of me is an Eddy Merckx bike. Sitting there a little bit worse for wear desperate for some TLC. No quicker was the rubbish thrown out, the bike was back up on my balcony looking a bit happier to be in the sunshine. I couldn’t believe my luck. A Merckx frame and it’s just begging to be restored. Lucky me.

I quickly set about the research of the Merckx frame desperate to know what year, model, how the bike should look and how to restore it. However a few things didn’t quite add up. I couldn’t quite figure it out…

Frame numbers are on the bottom brackets of a Merckx bike, I found a really useful website that would allow me to see which classic Merckx I had. Wonderful. However, the frame number on this Merckx didn’t match. ‘What’s going on here?’ I thought, is this some sort of super rare Merckx?

A bit of history for you – in the 1970’s Eddy wanted to cash in on his name, he wanted to produce more bikes than his factory could. To facilitate this along came British bike manufacturer, Falcon. In February 1973 they released a series of frames which were ‘approved’ by Eddy Merckx, each bike sold a lump of money would go to Eddy for allowing the bike to carry his name and Falcon would get the rest, good for the goose and the gander. What was the case though is that a lot of these frames were cheap, build them quickly and cheaply, sell them for as much mark up as possible to cash in on the Merckx name. The steel was of a lower quality, it was heavy and the only thing that made this bike a Merckx, not a Falcon, was the decals which were stuck on the bike.

What I had sat on my balcony was a Falcon. A sheep in wolfs skin. A Falcon in Eagle feathers. I had been duped.

Enthusiasm knocked and feeling slightly subdued I wondered what to do. I could just take the bike back down to the bin store, no harm done, leave it there for the next person to be passionate about it. Then I realised – this is still a bike, an awesome commuting bike. A bike I could still do up and be proud of. It actually has its own little interesting story. People still buy knock off Piccasso’s thinking they’re the real thing, right?

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So – over the next few weeks / months I’m going to be turning this slightly rusted, Merckx approved frame in to something I can be proud of and you dear reader can follow the story here. Right from getting the parts to its first finished ride!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas as the restoration progresses and of the whole idea! So tweet me, comment on Instagram, comment, like and share on Facebook and also below.

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Smith The Route Helmet

The chaps at Smith sent us pedal pushers over one of their ‘The Route’ helmets. When they did, they asked me which colour I would like, their charcoal black or bright orange. Using this for the commute I chose bright orange and I’m glad I did. I’m convinced the colour got me noticed on the road and stopped me from being hit by a car turning right and not looking. I’m not saying that is the reason you should buy this helmet, what I am saying is think what purpose you’re buying your helmet for. Be it weekend Road riding, track racing or on the commute, colour and type should always play a part.

“The Route helmet represents a movement within Smith to bring the award winning technologies found in our popular Overtake helmet to the everyday rider.” Said Graham Sours, Smith Helmet Category Manager. “We ride on the road and commute by bike and these new models exemplify all of us as cyclists in our own unique way”. So let’s see what Graham is talking about shall we?

  • Who are Smith?

In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. For over 50 years, SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.

  • Comfort

This Smith helmet comes with MIPS technology, this is basically a plastic layer between your head and the inside of the helmet.

This layer helps to reduce the tension which the helmet can put on your head. When you tighten your helmet it’s not just the inner band on the helmet that tightens but the whole of this layer meaning the pressure is spread all around your head and not just at the band contact points.

All added up this makes the helmet extremely comfortable for a longer ride and you don’t have that classic head strap mark across your forehead when you take it off, that’s a plus!

The MIPS® lining also reduces rotational forces that the brain is exposed to during oblique impacts to the head.  When combined with MIPS®, the helmet liner is separated from the head by a low-friction slip plan that allows the head to slide during impact and may reduce instances of traumatic brain injuries.

  • Ventilation

There certainly are 18 large air vents on this helmet and the all important vents at the back to allow the air to flow over your head keeping it cool. It also includes anti-microbial X-Static performance liners with Reactive Cooling, ultra light single layer webbing, and a VaporFit™ adjustable system for increased comfort and it works!

I have to say, the times I wore this helmet I always felt nice and cool and arrived where I needed to be a little less red faced.

Another area where The Route scores well.

  • Would I buy one?

Yeah, I would. I think the design is good, it cools well and is very comfy to wear.

It’s much more of a commute helmet over one for a weekend road warrior, as it’s not as sleek for some. However it’s durability, comfort and the bright orange is great for the commuter in the hot summer months!

The Route is available in many colour choices, for £129.99 with MIPS technology and £109.99 without. My advice, spend the extra £20, it could save your life.

Well done Smith.

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Erdinger – Performance enhancing beer

img_1626Have you ever been on a long summer ride and at your half way point had the thought “I really fancy a beer, there’s nothing I want more right now than a beer. I can’t I’m cycling, I cannot drink and ride, that final climb will kill me off. Better got for the coffee instead.” It’s the right and safe choice.

Well intrepid cycler, we’ve been searching the shelves of our local supermarket and we are pleased to bring you this, Erdinger Alkoholfrei. Yes, your pigeon German is correct, alcohol free.

Why am I telling you about Alcoholic free beer though? You’ve seen all that before, well, in Germany (where else?) this was launched as a drink for athletes. That’s right back in 2001, Erdinger has been doing the rounds in endurance sports circles.

Sounding like an early bit of soft drink propaganda as being a performance booster, each 0.5 litre bottle has 125 calories and can help preserve normal muscle activity, reduce tiredness, promote physical and mental performance and have positive effects on the cardiovascular system.

img_1629With no chemicals, artificial colourings, aromas or indeed any other additives, this cold, crisp beer will help you conquer that final climb with vigour… Apparently.

Josef Westermeier, Marketing and Sales Director of Privatbrauerei ERDINGER Weissbräu said, “With ERDINGER Alkoholfrei, we have an excellent beverage which tastes fantastic, contains numerous healthy and purely natural ingredients, and is isotonic. The ideal drink therefore for athletes and people with an active lifestyle.”

An isotonic beer, well Josef, we will raise a bottle of Erdinger Alkoholfrei to that. Cheers.

 

 

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Gtech eScent electronic mountain bike

When the guys from Gtech got in touch with us here at Pusher of Pedals, asking if we were interested in riding their brand new Gtech eScent, the answer was a resounding yes. If you’ve not seen our review on their hugely impressive road bike, you can see it here, but for now – the eScent.img_1599

First off let me tell you, I’m no mountain biker and this review is purely about the ride to and from work which I’ve been doing on the eScent, you can find one of my rides on the eScent by clicking this link here. In general, on the road, I found it comfortable, easy to ride and with the battery in it’s “Max” setting an absolute breeze.

img_1601The Gtech eScent is said to be a bike for seasoned mountain bikers or beginners to the sport whether your on the trail or using it, as I did, to commute. with a 36v high torque motor governed by a built in computer, the bike knows when you’re lacking on power and gives you that extra little boost to help you either up a climb or down the road. It has Shimano gears, big old RockShox on the front, hydraulic disk brakes and huge 27.5″ tyres add to that a 36v Lithium battery for 30 miles of cycling and you’re well on your way.

So let’s take a little closer look at what the Gtech eScent is actually like on the 9 miles from Notting Hill Gate to my flat in Bow.

  • First Impressions

img_1598They’re mixed, as a road biker, the bike looks huge, feels slightly awkward and just doesn’t feel right. However, that’s a road rider, not a bike rider. It’s impressive to look at. Just look at those huge 27.5″ tyres which are 2.5″ wide for added grip off road, the monster Rockshox and the disc brakes. I’m not a huge fan of disc brakes in the pro peloton (I won’t get in to it) but on the road commuting they can be a life saver, out on the trails equally so.

Gtech seem to have looked at what makes bikes good and applied that to the eScent.

  • What’s it like to ride?

One of the good things about this bike is that Gtech send it to you pretty much ready to ride. You take it out the box, twist the handle bars in to the correct position, tighten them up, adjust the saddle and away you go. This pretty much allows you to show your bike off instantly and when people ask the inevitable “can I have a go?” The quick release on the saddle means you can give them a quick yes and send them on their way.

But on to ride comfort…

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Huge tyres and RockShox suspension.

Comfy, as you’d expect from a bike which has front suspension along with seated suspension. The big chunky tyres also add a good bit of bounce meaning that on the road you’ll have one of the smoothest commutes, ever.

The bike feels well balanced too, handling feels light and easy and considering the bikes length and size, it’s sharp when it comes to steering. The extra little shove from the electrical motor makes taking your hands off of the bars easy and gives you a little bit more confidence.

  • Hydraulic disc brakes…

These are powerful brakes, very, very good. Being hydraulic they feel very smooth, the added bite from the disc means you can stop on a six pence from the bikes cruising electronic speed.

On the trails it means you can easily snap the back end round with one of the best skids you’ve done since you were 7 years old. It’s so much fun.

On one of my commutes home I had endless joy coming across horse guards parade, letting the electronic motor taking me up to full speed before snapping the back end round and seeing the dust cloud I created. I don’t think the guards were too pleased though…

  •  This electronic motor?

It’s the same motor which is in the original Gtech bike, why redesign the wheel? It’s high power and torque is great for assisting you up the climbs. Let’s not get this confused. This is not a bike you turn the motor on and just go, the motor on this bike is for assistance. To make it work you must pedal! Granted, you don’t have to put much power through the pedal, in fact the less power you put in, the more assistance you’ll get from the motor.

It works by a very clever little computer chip reading the effort you put in and adjusting the motors power accorodingly. All you need to know is it works and it works very well.

  • Gears? On an electric bike?

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Yeah! Shimano gears at that! Only on the rear though, being a mountain bike, there’s only one gear on the crank and it’s relatively small.

When on the flat road, you find yourself wanting a few extra teeth to enable you to get a bit more speed.

On the rear though the derailleur makes sure that you snap in to gear quickly and with minimal effort.

img_1608The cables are also internal, mostly, so that they don’t get covered in mud when your out on the trail. Smart thinking. I say mostly because they have to pop out somewhere and they do so, near the bottom bracket. Most Road internal gears come out on the rear fork, I understand these coming out where they do though. This is where the motors cables comes out leaving holes in your frame to a minimum and not reducing its strength.

  • How long do you get on that battery?

Of course, that depends on how you use it. You can ride the bike like a normal, everyday bike with the battery turned off. This just means you get not assistance from the motor. But the bike is heavy, it’s 19kg. Which ever way you cut it, that’s heavy. So maybe on the downhills you’ll have the battery off but on the uphills, you’ll probably want to turn it on!

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.57.38

If you’ve opted to turn your battery on, there are two modes to choose from, ‘Eco’and ‘Max’. Gtech claim you can get 30 miles out of one charge. I’d be inclined to believe them if you left it in its ‘Eco’ mode. The ‘Max’mode though will drain your battery quicker.

The battery has been redesigned from the old one. It now has a much, much more user friendly LCD screen, displaying what mode the battery is in and how much charge is left. It still has a big green on button but the charging has been changed. Instead of plugging a cable in to charge the battery the battery now has its own housing unit which it stands in charging away.

I have to say, the battery is so much more easy to use, there’s no more trying to shield the lights from the sun to see what mode your in. The bright LCD display has vastly improved userbility.

  • Would you buy one?

The question I would ask is, what ami buying one for? The trails or commuting?

Commuting on it I always felt a bit embarrassed, it’s like driving a Land Rover Defender through central London each day. You’ve got this amazing machine fully capable of all this off road capability and I’m cycling down the CS2 fully tarmaced and smooth… a little bit pointless really.

Looking at the £1,895 price tag, this may discourage me further form the point of buying on for the commute. There is, however, no denying that this is a wonderful machine and people do buy Land Rovers and drive them in the city… I’d be very tempted.

 

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Strava – Join the Club

Hello,

I just wanted to write a quick update to let you know I’ve started a Strava club, you can find the link here if you would care to join in!

I’ve only been uploading my commuting rides on there at the moment – I’d like to be able to link people together from all over and hopefully bump in to fellow commuters along the way who also commute from East London in to the City and Westwards!

As the community hopefully grows then maybe we can start organising weekend rides and further on from there, who knows. The possibilities are as far as the miles in your legs! Endless.

It’s a place for all you bike-curious lot. New, old, seasoned cyclists to mediocre lycra lovers. All are welcome, all are accepted and absolutely no one is judged!

Look forward to you joining the pedal pushing club!

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Wahoo KICKR + ZWIFT Review

What’s the point? Surely cycling is all about the great outdoors, getting out there with other riders, giving them a wave as you go by, grabbing a cheeky toe every now and again all the wind rushing through your hair?

Well, I have to say, I am a bit of an indoor cyclist. I do my fair bit of spinning, my local is at Cyclebeat. They’re based in Monument/Bank and I’ve been a member for almost two years now. I find spinning a great way of maintaining a base level of fitness and helping you build technique as well as a higher average watt pushing power, which is what we’re all after right?

The reason I mention Cyclebeat is because they’re great – their instructors are great and what they do is unlike any spin class I’ve been to. They have a Beat Bored in front of the 50 bikes in the class (Basically two big TV screens), which shows your bike number, cadence, power output and converts that in to a total number, which builds throughout the class. You’re then ranked against your other indoor cycling buddies, “It’s not a competition.” the instructors always say at the start. It is. It always is. If bike number 17 is two points ahead, I’m chasing him down. If bike number 23 is coming up after me, I’m going to turn myself inside and out to keep them at arms length and try and break them before I do.

img_0855So I completely get the point of indoor cycling. What I like about going to spin is that I have to go there, I have to get on the spin bike and after the class I can then leave. So why do I need an indoor bike trainer coupled with what is basically a game? This is the question I asked myself. Now I’m not comparing the two because that would be worlds apart, however, could I replace spin with a Wahoo KICK + a ZWIFT account… hmm… That got my head itchy.

The guys at Wahoo were ever so gracious in sending me over a KICKR to try out, a bit of background on the KICKR, you’ve probably seen Chris Froome and his mates warming up and down on the turbo before they go out and kill it in a time trial? Well Team Sky are all riding on the Wahoo KICKR, the most advance turbo trainer in the Wahoo fleet. Basically with a fly wheel, electromagnets and some wizardry, it controls the resistance you feel and it’s your job to work against that.

I must state now, I only tested the KICKR with ZWIFT – I did not test it with the Wahoo app. So that was a ZWIFT test only.

  • What was the set up like?

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    Pram in the background is optional

Pretty easy actually, I pulled the full 28kg’s of turbo trainer out of its box and placed it on the floor, luckily enough the KICKR comes with a handle on it which makes it slightly easier to put it where you want. Unfolding the legs was simple enough and there’s even some adjustable feet on the bottom of the KICKR to make sure it’s as level as possible.

When it’s in position the KICKR puts it weight to good use and hunkers down so that it’s not wobbling all over the place as you ride.

Attaching your bike is as simple as replacing your rear wheel, which you’ll have to remove before you latch on to the KICKR, fret not, it’s 11 speed gear hub is very good and you’ll thank it for 11 gears when you’re pushing up a climb! Without teaching you to suck eggs, before you take your own wheel off it’ll be easiest if your chain is sat on the smallest cog so it just slots back on the smallest cog on the KICKR. The quick release skewer which comes with the KICKR fastens tight and secures the bike firmly in place.

As a side note, I have to admit I felt a bit nervous getting on first time as I wasn’t sure whether the bike would be nice and stable as I got on. In fact, as soon as I was on I was able to take my hands off the bars and felt instantly at ease.

  • Easy to pair with ZWIFT?

    img_0861
    Solid blue light – you’re connected

Well, I have to admit, I was left scratching my head a little bit. I started by downloading the Wahoo Apps and fiddling about with that. I had to do a run down for the KICKR to make sure it was fully calibrated – sprinting up to 33kph and then letting the flywheel run down. Once that was done, I was clocking about on my laptop for ages wondering why, oh why, I couldn’t pair the ‘effing thing to my laptop. After about ten minutes the penny dropped. There’s a little cog in the top right corner of the ZWIFT screen, I had to click on that and choose my laptops internal Bluetooth. Once that was selected the KICKR paired instantly.

So yes, it’s very easy to pair with ZWIFT if you’re not an idiot like me.

  • What’s ZWIFT like though? Should I just ride my bike?

OK I get it, you’re riding you bike indoors, what’s the point? Plus you’re looking at a screen, who is that avatar there? It’s not realistic. The thing is, the ZWIFT avatars never claim to be realistic, they know you know you’re looking at a screen. Even the ‘gameplay’ reflects this, on the loop which I did I took a right turn ended up going down a tube station and cycling along the London Underground and ending up popping out near Box Hill… Now I need to try and figure out which those stations are in real life as I got to Box Hill in minutes!

Look – as long as you get that you’re effectively playing a game to test your fitness, you’ll love it. I did, I thought it was great, genuinely great. I couldn’t wait for my next ride. I didn’t want my ride to end but after eight weeks of being off the bike and no training (I have recently become a father and it becomes really quite tough to keep the training and riding up) I was in a pretty bad way, embarrassingly! I don’t know how Chris Froome manages it…

If you’ve not got the hours to ride your bike, ZWIFT it, you just have to.

  • So what’s the £999 KICKR like, would you buy one?

img_0870It’s amazing, when you hit a hill, you feel it just as you would in real life, the gradient builds on your gear, you feel the resistance in your legs, pulling for a lower gear. Tapping out a tempo. Brilliant.

Wahoo claim in their PR mumbo jumbo that at 61db it’s their quietest KICKR and that all you’ll hear is the pounding of your heart and breathing not the fly wheel… Erm, well… If your heart sounds like a World War II all clear air raid siren then I guess that’s true. The fly wheel does make a noise, a noticeable whirr as it goes around. However, when you’re in the pain locker you’re not hearing it, you’re focusing on your effort.

The only draw, is the noise. If your child is sleeping next door, like mine, I was constantly worried that a big effort would wake him up.

I absolutely loved riding the KICKR, it felt so realistic. It did make me think, I could cancel my spin membership and just buy a KICKR. Get my money back in the long run… However, I did find the idea of training in my living room a little bit uncomfortable, I kept glancing at the sofa thinking, I could just be on that. I lacked that extra little bit of motivation which you get from getting up and going to the gym.

As a fitness tool, I don’t think you could as for much better. The good news? There’s a cheaper option! Only £499 for the Wahoo SNAP. Bargain. Good job they do free shipping if you spend over £55!

You can buy a KICKR from the Wahoo website here

You can view the Wahoo Turbo Trainer range here

Checkout the ZWIFT website here

You can see about Cyclebeat here

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