My love for ZWIFT

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of people in social media really hating on ZWIFT.

In my view, ZWIFT is probably the best thing to happen to bike racing since racing a bike. In a world where literally anything is possible in the technical age, why would you not get excited by the fact you could be a professional cyclist?

I see a lot of people saying ‘get out and ride your bike’ and ‘why would you sit staring at a screen pedalling when you can get out doors?’ Or ‘back when I was younger’ I’ve even seen a few old pros saying ‘when I started out racing…’ well, we’re not back when you were younger or even when you started out racing, we’re in the modern world with news, videos, the other side of the world and even unwanted opinions are at your fingertips.

The concept of eRacing and sports simulators are nothing new, tennis for two was created back in 1958 and was an incredibly simple game played on an oscilloscope. The first football game was in 1967 with Crown Soccer Special, followed by Grand Prix in 1969. The first cycling computer game was Cycling Manager released in 2001, today it’s called Pro Cycling Manager where you can pretend to be a manager of a cycling team, would you believe.

My point is, sports simulators have been about for a very long time. The biggest today would be FIFA or even Gran Tourismo, both of which you can still do in real life, if you were that way inclined. You can still go up the park or in the back garden and kick a ball around, I take my two year old to football classes each week. If you have a car you can go to a race track and drive it around for sport or leisure. Are you going to? Or is it simpler and easier to do it on a games console? Probably cheaper too if you bin your car in the gravel trap!

I saw a lot of people giving the World’s first professional eRacing team a lot of gyp, for what I could only understand was because they were not racing their bikes out on the road. I don’t get it? Why is that an issue? There’s so many eSports in which the winners are handed millions of pounds for just sitting and playing a simulator and you’re getting angry at someone for pushing their body to the limits on a bike and they’re not doing it properly because it’s not on the road? If these trailblazers inspire people to get on a bike and ride, indoors, outdoors, in a spin class, at the gym or just about anywhere they can, how is that a bad thing?

I wouldn’t want to go bike racing in real life because I would be nervous of not being accepted. Cycling can be so insular, so cliquey, so snobby that if you’re not dripping in Rapha or Cafe Du Cyclist on a bike you’ve had to remortgage your home in order to buy on finance then you might as well as not turn up. Then add to that the pressure of being dropped… No one wants to be dropped.

What ZWIFT offers me and many others is a chance to ride a bike an escape in a time and environment which suits me, does that mean I’m not a proper cyclist? Or am I just a person who likes to ride a bike as a form of fitness? I’m a dad of two who has a family life, I can’t commit each week to going out and doing century rides or even two hour rides in the saddle on the roads because sometimes, family life just doesn’t allow for that. What I can do though is get myself on the bike for however long in the garage and keep my fitness levels up, it offers escape without the need for leaving the house. I can put my kids in bed, have their monitors with me and still exercise knowing they are safe. It wouldn’t be the most practical to get out and ride for two hours after the kids are down. What I get from 45 minutes on ZWIFT, for me, feels like doing two hours on the road. Fair enough, I’ve probably not done the same distance, but I’ve not stopped pedalling, not stopped pushing and I’ve also not stopped for coffee and cake at any point.

Bradley Wiggins documented it in his book about his shed, heated the temperature of France in the Summer time pushing out 400 watts for 45 minutes was what Tim Kerrison believed Sir Brad needed to win the Tour, after months of training in his shed Wiggo achieved that goal and went on to be an Olympic Gold Medalist, again, this time on the road in the Time Trial. Fair enough, he did it on rollers but many professional cyclists can be seen on ZWIFT, Mark Cavendish is a user, Contador, Adam Yates, Alex Dowsett, Hannah Barnes, Danielle King and Leah Thorvilson who actually came through the ZWIFT academy, of course. All professional cyclists who use the platform. Tell them to go out and get on the road…

As I’ve mentioned the ZWIFT Academy, I might as well go on to explain for those who don’t know. Essentially, a competition in which the winner is handed a contract with a professional team. Which cyclist out there wouldn’t want to experience a professional team, even if it were just for one season? If I was told I was good enough just by riding my bike from my garage, what an experience that would be.

I’ve never known a computer based platform which offers someone so much freedom. Yes, you are confined to predetermined routes and can only go as fast as your legs will take you but what ZWIFT has done over its years is fantastic. I don’t know any other sport in the world which will allow you to get so close to being a professional. You can ride World Championship routes, with the pros or even, now, ride the prologue stage of the Giro d’Italia. The very stage which the professionals will be riding. You don’t even have to go to Italy for it, how amazing is that? How much of a fantastic opportunity is it?

If that doesn’t excite you and make you want to get on your bike and try ZWIFT out for yourself, then maybe cycling just isn’t for you.

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Wahoo Releases the ELEMNT ROAM GPS Cycling Computer

Quickly following the release of the limited edition ELEMNT BOLT, Wahoo have now released their ROAM GPS Cycling Computer.

It seems there is a new trend in cycling, in the form of adventure cycling, with clothing and bike manufacturers pump out glorious looking photos in hot landscapes with stunning scenery and sunsets, Wahoo have followed with this new GPS.

The ROAM, it seems, is here to help cyclists navigate around if they want to go off an explore a road or trail which they’ve not before. It has some cool New Smart Navigation features which will enable cyclists to do so, by guiding back to your original route, which has been pre-planned in to the ROAM, you can also create a new route on the fly, or help you find the fastest way home.

Other new features found on ROAM include an ambient light sensor that automatically turns the screen backlight on or off and adjusts the brightness of the screen and Quick Look LEDs through changing light conditions, indoors or out; and an integrated out-front mount (patent pending) that gives ROAM a clean, sleek look. ROAM’s interface includes several new Smart Navigation features accessible directly on the computer, including:

  • Get Me Started — Navigates cyclists to the start of their route
  • Back On Track — Navigates cyclists back to their route if they take a wrong turn
  • Take Me To — Allows cyclists to select a location on their ROAM using new pan and zoom functionality, and get directions to that location
  • Saved Locations — Easily route to locations saved on ROAM 
  • Route To Start — Find the shortest route back to the start of your rideRetrace Route — Reverse your route to navigate back to the start along the original route

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“As more cyclists are using their bikes to explore lesser-trafficked areas, or navigating while riding new roads or trails, we are so excited to offer ROAM — a computer purposefully designed to meet the challenges of cyclists around the world, especially navigating while riding,” said Chip Hawkins, Wahoo CEO and Founder. “With ROAM, we’ve taken our proven, intuitive, and easy-to-use ELEMNT platform — loved by all kinds of riders — and added features to create a powerful new tool that cyclists can use to guide them on every kind of ride.”

More than just being able to point you in the right direction when you get lost the ROAM also features a 2.7” colour display and 17+ hour battery life, for those days you feel like riding from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Other new features found on ROAM include an ambient light sensor that automatically turns the screen backlight on or off and adjusts the brightness of the screen and Quick Look LEDs through changing light conditions, indoors or out; and an integrated out-front mount.

ROAM is available today at WahooFitness.com and will put you back £299.99.

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Train like a Pro with Wattbike

This weekend saw the return of Former Road Race World Champion, Lizzie Deignan. After one year out giving birth to their baby daughter, Orla, Lizzie returned to racing at the Amstel Gold Race.

Lizzie turned herself inside out with 40km to go with a storming break, her efforts were not enough, with Canyon-SRAM’s Polish rider, Katarzyna Niewiadoma the eventual winner, attacking on the final climb of the Cauberg and holding off Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) who was in hot pursuit.

In an interview with Lizzie published on this site, she said she would forgo all other races to win the UCI World Championships held in her home county of Yorkshire, in September. Lizzie hopes to do this with the help of Wattbike which she claims to have been her go to training tool during pregnancy and beyond. Helping Lizzie to squeeze in training around naps and after bed time!

“I’m really excited to rejoin the peloton and to race with my new teammates at Trek Segafredo, first at the Ardennes and then fittingly back on my home roads for the Tour de Yorkshire. I can’t wait to race in front of the home crowd again! It’s been a whirlwind year off the bike to have baby Orla and I’m looking forward to the new challenge of racing while being a working Mum! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my sponsors including Wattbike. Having the Wattbike to hand throughout pregnancy and for my return to cycling has been invaluable – allowing me to carry on riding safely in all weathers and with a big bump! It remains my go-to training tool.” Lizzie Deignan

Wattbike, who last year returned to track success with the prolific and inspiring HUUB Wattbike Test Team hinted at more sponsorship opportunities for 2019 that are yet to be announced.

“At Wattbike we are all really excited to see Lizzie’s return to cycling, we have been supporting her for three years now. It has been great to see her using the Wattbike throughout her pregnancy and her training as she returns to form. We’re really optimistic about the future and cannot wait to see how it progresses”.
Rich Baker

After being founded in 2000 Wattbike launched its pioneering indoor power trainer in 2008. It is now an industry-leading manufacturer of indoor cycle trainers, with a proven heritage in performance cycling. Wattbike trainers generate the world’s most accurate power, technique and performance data, captured through cutting-edge analysis and with unrivalled accuracy. With a desire to create the ultimate indoor cycling experience and a reputation for true innovation, Wattbike trainers perfectly replicate the sensation of riding on the road for professionals and beginners alike.

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Pinarello Dogma FS is now available

In Treviso, Italy in 1952 by Giovanni Pinarello manufactured a bike three years later, the bike carrying Giovanni’s name, Pinarello won it’s first stage at the Giro d’Italia with Fausto Bertoligo Piloting the machine.

Jump in to the modern day and the bikes have been at the sharp end of the peloton at pretty much every Grand Tour since the founding of Team Sky. Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas all have a yellow one, with Froome also having a pink and red one along with their usual black.

Pinarello have been putting this Grand Tour winning nouse towards the classics campaign, most notably Paris Roubaix. First Pinarello released the K10 with rear suspension, but now they’ve gone a bound further with the Dogma FS with DSAS, or Dogma Smart Adaptive Suspension if you don’t want to use acronyms. The Dogma FS is the worlds first electronic front and rear suspended road bike.

The idea? To try and guarantee the unbeatable Pinarello handling and racing performance even on rough terrain. Pinarello claimed that this bike will help their riders bounce over the cobbles 5 kilometres per hour quicker than that of a rigid bike, with the rider expending a small amount less of energy.

The Dogma FS seemed to fall slightly short at 2019 Paris Roubaix with the first Team Sky rider across the line down in 21st place, 1 minute 40 behind the winner, Philippe Gilbert (and what a winner he was by the way). Team Sky’s race captain and Cobble lover Luke Rowe earned himself 8 world tour points, finishing down in 32nd, some four minutes 25 down.

The stiffness of the bike can be changed by an interface, on the down tube. From here the rider can switch the system on and off, switch between manual and automatic mode. Thanks to BlueTooth and ANT+ you can change these settings using your Garmin or Smartphone, handy when you’re hitting the cobbles hard.

All this is powered by an LiPo battery pack and circuit board which are assembled in the seat tube. It is equipped with a CPU that run the suspension control algorithms. It is able to collect data from gyroscopes and accelerometers to distinguish the road condition and change the state of the suspension itself.

If you think the pot holes on your local route are getting jus too much to bear, you’re in luck. Pinarello have now said that this bike is now available for you to buy, available in just four sizes (53, 55, 56 and 57.5) and one colour option of Matt Black (500) the frameset alone will cost you £7,500, the addition of Dura Ace Di2, Talon Bar and Fulcrum Carbon Wheels will cost you £12,000 with the bike. You’ll be glad to hear that if you place an order for your bike now, before June, it’ll be delivered in September, just in time to use as your winter bike…

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Wahoo Unveils New Limited Edition Colours for ELEMNT BOLT

Now regular cycling house hold name Wahoo has released limited edition colours for the ELEMNT BOLT on the first day of the Sea Otter Classic.

I’ve never used the ELEMNT Bolt, but two years ago I did try out the ELEMNT and loved it, back then I more than thought it was more than an adequate replacement for any Garmin which was on offer. Just seeing how Wahoo has taken off since then can only confirm that.

The ELEMNT BOLT, the world’s first GPS computer designed to be aerodynamically efficient, is equipped with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ dual-band technology, ELEMNT BOLT pairs seamlessly with all of your cycling sensors. It works with the free ELEMNT companion app, which allows you to set up your data fields, customise your profiles, track performance, and share ride data effortlessly — all without clicking through confusing menus. Plus, programmable LED QuickLook Indicators provide an easy way to see if you’re on pace with important performance metrics.

The new colours do not cover the whole BOLT, just the back, replacing the traditional grey, are a shocking pink and bright blue. “While the classic grey looks good on any bike, we know that some cyclists look for opportunities to use their bike to express their own style, and we want to help by offering more colourful options,” said ELEMNT Product Manager Megan Powers. “Our customers were especially clamouring for a pink BOLT, and in looking at the whole cycling landscape, it was clear that there was an opportunity to match many current bikes and kits with a blue BOLT. We’re pleased to offer Wahooligans these new Limited Edition colours, and hope they’ll help cyclists create their own unique on-bike looks.”

I’d have preferred colours which are not so gender splitting, orange, green, purple… maybe even yellow, green and polka dot white and red, to match that or the Tour de France jerseys.

Blue and pink just feels a bit boys and girls. I don’t feel as if it would be an addition to my bike or kit colours, however a nice bit of colour never goes a miss. So, more colour options, please Wahoo!

The Limited Edition BOLT colours are available for sale at WahooFitness.com now and cost £199.99.

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New bike day – LOOK e-765 Optimum

LOOK have announced the arrival of two new gravel bikes to their range – the 765 Gravel RS and e-765 Gravel – signifying the historic French marque’s arrival in the fast-growing segment.

The e-765 Optimum bike represents a brand new direction for LOOK, utilising the marque’s unrivalled carbon expertise and marrying it to the excellence of an integrated Fazua motor and battery system. The e-765 Optimum is made entirely in-house, and as a result carries with it LOOK’s potent performance DNA alongside the convenience of electrical assistance.

At the core is a fully-fledged carbon performance road bike – the carbon frame is made up of specifically optimised fibres laid up into an endurance-bred geometry that allows the e-road bike to meet the needs of its rider; stiffness and responsiveness where it’s required balanced by compliance and durability.

The frame’s seatstays are an important source of innovation – created using a new ‘3D Wave’ design that incorporates two deflections into the tubes, LOOK’s engineers have built an extra 15% vertical compliance into the rear triangle of the e-765 Optimum, compared to a standard carbon construction, supposedly resulting in a comfortable all-day ride.

Meanwhile, the e-765 Optimum’s neatly integrated Fazua motor and battery system produces assistance without disrupting the aesthetic of the bike.

Fazua’s motor and battery system is world-renowned for its integrated and lightweight design – the motor and battery adds just 4.6kg to the overall weight of the bike, with the entire machine weighing an average of 13.4kg. The motor will assist riders up to 25km/h, with four modes possible including a 400W ‘rocket mode’ selectable through the handlebar-mounted remote. More than enough power to give you a Chris Froome style boost up the Colle delle Finestre.

The close partnership between Fazua and LOOK has enabled the French brand to research their own power mapping profile for the electronic control unit, developed for optimum performance in a road riding situation following a year-long study into rider habits by LOOK.

The Fazua system has an integrated app, which allows the rider to turn your smartphone into a fully-functional bike computer, including GPS navigation, speed recording, as well as providing metrics on how they are using their battery power and motor, and temperature readings. Plus, the electrical system is completely detachable, converting the e-765 Optimum into an ordinary pedal-powered road bike.

Bernard Hinault, 5-time Tour de France Champion and LOOK Ambassador, said: “When the LOOK teams first spoke to me of their desire to develop an electric road bike made of carbon, I must say that I was surprised. However, the time spent engaging in the design process alongside the engineers, and in particular the first few pedal strokes on the e-765 Optimum convinced me immediately!

“It is a genuine revolution for any cyclist – I would never have believed they could retain all of the sensations of a 100% muscle-driven bike. It has become my benchmark bike!”

Two models will be available, featuring Ultegra Di2 and Ultegra groupsets, with immediate availability in Europe before spreading to other territories in the near future.

e-765 Optimum Ultegra Di2 – €7,699
e-765 Optimum Ultegra – €6,499

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Muc-Off launches No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant

Muc-Off, the leading manufacturer of bicycle cleaning and maintenance products worldwide, has announced the launch of their No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant.

‘No Puncture’ has been developed alongside some of the world’s top downhill and pro-peloton teams to give you the finest tyre sealant available. Compatible with tubeless ready and full UST wheels/tyres, the tyre sealants 140ml pouch design fits perfectly over a Presta valve to give mess-free installation. It can also be poured straight into the tyre if you don’t have removable valve cores.

The sealants formula contains cutting-edge microfibre molecules that fill bigger holes and tears, whilst advanced latex clings to the whole tyre inner for maximum protection and forms a tough instant seal over the hole.

‘No Puncture Hassle’ also contains a unique UV detection system that highlights any punctures a rider hasn’t seen during their ride. It’s biodegradable, non-corrosive to your wheels or tyres and easy to wash off with water. The formula also uses C02 compatible latex and is packed with antifreeze to stop it shrivelling up unlike some other sealants that ball up when used with C02.

Muc-Off Managing Director, Alex Trimnell, said: “We have tested ‘No Puncture Hassle’ under the most brutal conditions on the planet with 3 years of deep R&D using a wide group of our pro athletes from around the world. The formula we finally created is a result of 100s of hours of testing, the results of which have taken tyre sealant performance to a new level.

The feedback we’ve had from our professional riders has been awesome! We are really excited to have created one formula which works to the highest performance in all tubeless tyres, from Pro Road Racing to World Cup Downhill and everything in between. Oh and lastly, we really don’t like single-use plastics so would encourage all to use our 1 litre refill to fill up the pouches.”

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For more information on the No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant, and other Muc-Off products, please visit: https://muc-off.com/

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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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ZWIFT men’s cycling academy

Yes, that’s right. You’ve heard of the women’s cycling academy where ZWIFT pick the best women from their cycling platform and give the best one a place in the Canyon // SRAM pro women’s team.

Screen Grab ZA Launch 2

Well, ZWIFT have teamed up with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, as they expand their mission to find the next best in pro-cycling talent. The overall winner stands a chance of racing with the Continental Squad in 2018.

On 1st September, all graduates of the 2017 Team Dimension Data | Zwift Academy will unlock charitable donations to Qhubeka, funded by Zwift. Top performing graduates aged under 22 years will then progress to battle it out for a pro-contract on the Team Dimension Data Continental Squad for 2018.

Phase 1 of the Academy consists of a six week structured training program designed by elite coaches and a roster of group rides and races. From an anticipated pool of over 5,000 successful graduates, ten top U23 riders will be selected to complete an additional two weeks of riding and training. From this group, three top finalists will continue to the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka November training camp in Cape Town, South Africa, where one will earn the opportunity to race with the Continental Squad in 2018.

Screen Grab ZA Launch

“Zwift has proven itself to not only be a rigorous data and training platform, but also a place where cyclists around the world can come together, engage, and become better riders,” says Doug Ryder, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Team Principal. “We want to take part in this unique experience to not only identify and discover talent, but also to educate others about our charity partner Qhubeka, an organization that works to bring rural communities across Africa closer to nutritious food, clean water, schools, employment, and health care by providing them with utility bicycles.”

“Zwift has built a track record as a training tool used by top professional talent but we want to go much wider than this” says Eric Min, Zwift’s CEO and co-founder. “With 2017 enrollment in the women’s Canyon//SRAM Racing | Zwift Academy already open, we know with this expansion, we can create the largest online training community in cycling, where every participant of every ability is trained and coached into a stronger cyclist.”

So if you want to be riding for Team Dimension Data in 2018, get yourself on ZWIFT and get yourself riding! Someone has to win, so why couldn’t it be you?

Screen Grab ZA Launch 3

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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?

    img_0854
    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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