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Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 1 Oct 2020, 12:23pm
by rmurphy195
Age is now creeping up on me (or rather, has arrived in a rush!) so the colder weather leaves my poor old bones feeling a bit stiff. Not to mention I no longer relish the "challenge" of riding on slippery frosty roads!

So I wondered about an exercise bike - then had the thought that since the riding position is likely to differ from my normal bike, this might not work.

So then I wondered about a trainer - nowt expensive, maybe something like this (

But there have got to be disadvantages, right? First off, a cheapo back tyre (suspecting that the special trainer tyre wouldn't work too well on the odd day I do take the bike out).

Then I thought - what about the stresses and strains on the bike's frame, especially as I get on and off (steel-framed tourer)

Then I thought - is there a trainer I can use with the Brompton?

Opinions, anyone?

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 1 Oct 2020, 1:11pm
by djnotts
Swopping wheel easier than tyre, so a cheapo rear wheel for the trainer tyre a good option I think. I have an even more basic similar piece of kit and find it ok for the odd day I don't go out.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 1 Oct 2020, 1:39pm
by peetee
I had an exercise bike which had enough adjustment in bars and saddle to exactly replicate my riding position. The bike was left outside a house marked ‘free to collector’ but I did spend a bit of money on it with a bottom bracket shell converter, 2nd hand cranks, pedals and brake levers for about £30.
I set up a pair of fans from a scrap computer on the end of the digital display and powered by a 6v battery charger.
It was perfect for what I wanted.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 7:28am
by cyclop
How about buying some better winter kit,not necessarily a cheap option but,IMO,infinitely better than using a turbo.Agree nevertheless about prolonged icy conditions(unless you have a forest on your doorstep which I,m lucky to have).In the past,when I had to use a turbo,I had one set up permanently rather than faff about mounting one.It was a basic tacx trainer,no frills.I did purchase a real cheapie,£55-00 or so ,unbranded and it showed,so don,t go too cheap.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 8:30am
by TrevA
I can’t stand riding the turbo. It can be made a bit more exciting by using Zwift, but you really need a smart trainer for that. I will continue to ride outside for as long as I can. The right clothes make a difference, not necessarily expensive - Decathlon do a range of cold weather gear. If there’s a chance of ice, then I’ll stick to council gritting routes. Go on your local council’s website and search for the gritting map. Round our way there are some quite rural bus routes that get gritted.

I have used a Wattbike and it can be set up to mimic your riding position and has quite a realistic road feel, but they are expensive. If you have to use a turbo, then the more interactive you make it, the more interesting it will be. I still wouldn’t use one though.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 9:16am
by Nessie23
rmurphy195 wrote:So then I wondered about a trainer - nowt expensive, maybe something like this (

Opinions, anyone?

I have that exact turbo trainer purchased about 5yrs ago to keep fit thru winter. However, i seldom used it for the following reasons:
1. Faff to set up and dismantle.
2. Set-up usually resulted in (minor but annoying) injury. Trapped finger in A-frame & pinched skin between thumb & forefinger with cam spindle lock. I am mechanically minded but this kept happening!!
3. Once set up it makes an annoying whine in use.
4. The ‘power adjustment’ is very agricultural and i gave up on the claimed 7 settings but there is hi-lo differentiation.
5. No speed readout. My bike computer runs off the front wheel which is obviously stationary on the turbo.

Having said all that, i decided to reclaim it from the spiders in my shed a few weeks ago and give it another go.
Yes, i pinched my fingers again but i am getting more efficient with set up. I am on lookout for dedicated turbo rear wheel (it does wear tyres). I use headphones to drown out the whine (but still worry about the neighbours) and i plan to set up a cheapo bike computer to run off the turbo drum to avoid more set up faff with the bike.
In summary, i will persevere with the turbo as i have it but i would not spend £100 on a new one. There is absolutely no pleasure in using it and no substitute for actual cycling, but it can serve as a keep fit aid.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 9:25am
by Mick F
No competition as fas as I'm concerned.

You have to concentrate and keep pedalling to stay on! :D
Not easy to learn, but if you set yourself up in a doorway, you can use your elbows to steady yourself to get going.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 12:41pm
by simonhill
Just saw an exercise bike in a charity shop. £25. Didn't try it, but it looked a reasonable, solid, old fashioned type. Might give it a try if it's still there next time I go.

If the OP could find something like that might be worth a try.

Personally, I'd ditch the bike and take up walking for exercise, why risk injury. Bring the bike out once the weather gets better, you'll quickly get back into the swing. Actually, personally, I'd head somewhere warm for the winter, but not an option for most.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 12:57pm
by TrevA
I think it’s important to keep riding. I had to have 4 months off the bike for medical reasons. I thought I’d kept myself fit by walking up to 5 miles a day, only to find that when I got back on the bike my cycling fitness had completely disappeared. Before the break I could easily ride 50-60 miles at average 15-16 mph on a solo ride. On my first ride back, I went out with my wife, did 20 miles and was totally wiped out, I could barely average 12 mph and she dropped me up every little rise. It took me 3 months to get back to full fitness. If you stop riding in winter, you’ll be on a constant rollercoaster of gaining and losing fitness. Riding the turbo will help but there’s no substitute for putting the miles in on the road.

I can count the number of days when it’s too dangerous to ride in a year, on the fingers of one hand, so why stop all winter?

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 3:26pm
by gbnz
TrevA wrote:I think it’s important to keep riding.?

I'd agree that nothing will replicate the bike, in respect to precise muscle use, retention, development etc.

But even an exercise bike is beneficial. I've had to give the bike, swimming,upper & lower body weights, even the X Trainer a miss for 6.5 weeks due to medical issues. But 75 minutes a day at 90% + max heart rate on an exercise bike, six days a week has been beneficial, improving resting heart rate and so on

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 2 Oct 2020, 4:33pm
by simonhill
Maybe an idea of the OPs current level of fitness/distance/etc would be useful.

If he is at his peak of fitness, then a lay off will be detrimental, however if he is a leisure rider unconcerned about targets and bests, then is it so bad if he spends the first few weeks of spring getting back to his cycling prowess.

I ride a lot in the summer, then overseas up till mid December. Hardly touch the bike till end of Jan when I'm off again. First few days hurt a bit, especially if big hills, but otherwise OK.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 4 Oct 2020, 11:56pm
by rmurphy195
Thanks all - I gues I needn't worry about damaging the bike frame, since noone seems to have had such a problem?

Likewise no experience of a trainer suitable for Brommie!

Cheers - Richard

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 6 Oct 2020, 6:17pm
by simonhill
On a whim, I decided to buy the £25 exercise bike from the charity shop. As I said, very solidly built, in "Western Germany", which presumably dates it to before the wall came down (pre 1990's). It turns a front wheel on which you can wind down a 'brake' to give resistance. Mechanical speedo and very upright position. Horrible padded saddle.

I adjusted the saddle and took it for a spin. Can't see me doing any long distance stuff on it, but half an hour here and there on wet days will do nicely. Could be invaluable in lockdown or quarantining.

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 24 Oct 2020, 9:37pm
by rmurphy195
Its a howling gale with rain out there!

So I'm re-thinking this and I'm beginning to like the idea of the rollers.

With rollers, would I need to use a different/tougher rear tyre?

Reason for question - there'll be days when an hour or so riding outdoors to take advantage of odd spells of decent weather, then on other days take one look outside and use the rollers instead, without faffing about changing wheels or tyres (but on the other hand save unnecessary wear and tear on my nice, comfy, and irreplaceable Voyager Hypers!)

Appreciate I'll need to develop a technique for the rollers, but that's another little challenge on the way ...

Re: Exercise bike v trainer

Posted: 24 Oct 2020, 9:53pm
by Syd
Being busy at work during Covid I cancelled my gym membership but needed something to keep me going those days I work from home (so no cycle commute).

What started one as quite basic has evolved to Zwift, running on an Apple TV 4k, through a projector onto a 100” screen ( more immersive) and take part in the TT’s and races to further increase that involved feeling.

Given limited time it gives a move intense workout that a have time to be out on the roads for.