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Pain cave indoor trainer setups

6thElement

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Jul 29, 2008
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In honor of @Full Trucker I hereby start this thread.

He's busy checking out lots of different apps with his newly acquired Kickr Snap.

Back last March during the first lockdown my wife and I put together a pain cave for us both.
  • Our old road bikes
  • Kickr Cores each sitting on old yoga mats
  • Cheap 32" Roku HD TV's to connect our laptops to, which then connect to the trainer via BT
Since then we've both been using Rouvy software on our Windows laptops to control our Kickr trainers.
We chose it because:
  • Liked the idea of having real video to watch of the actual ride we're doing
  • No need for the social aspect of Zwift
  • No interest in online racing, but it does exist in Rouvy
  • We're not following training plans, just using the setup to ride indoors when we can't ride outdoors
Rouvy isn't as polished or popular as Zwift appears to be (never tried it) but we like being able to ride all over the USA and world. RIght now we're working our way through all 50 states alphabetically.

edit: An advantage to Rouvy for us was also the price, one subscription allows you to add family members. So it cost us about $65 combined for 6 months when they actually started charging for the current app in November. We had the first 6 months for free as the software was beta/trial.

thumbnail_20200527_074601_resized.jpg
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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Thanks for starting this. I look forward to hearing setups and maybe seeing photos as well, if people are game.

My setup is all ghetto all the time. I have a Sunny Health Amazon spin bike set up with a similarly ghetto amazon cadence sensor. I use an old monitor connected via usb-c to my phone, and on the phone I use the Peloton App for different classes. It's super ghetto but it's phenomenally nice to have access to gym-quality classes in the basement.

My space also has a rowing maching and some kettlebells. I'd love to grab some resistance bands too. I also have my kid hauler/townie/hybrid bike set up on a resistance trainer, but I can't really figure out why I'd want to use that over the spin bike. Both setups are virtually identical geometry wise, but on one I'm wearing out the tires, grips, and have less control over resistance....so I default back to the spin bike.

I keep debating a smart trainer to hook my real road bike to, but I'm resistant as I'd need the expensive trainer, the expensive subscription, and another expensive cassette as my roadie is AXS....
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
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This downstairs space also has weights and a small weight bench, but that's all used by wifey about 10000% more than me. Swapping bikes off and on of a trainer would definitely be a pain in the ass. My old road bike was 10 years old and I kept getting death wobble on descents. So I'd put together a new roadie in 2019 and then in February last year we'd just put together a fancy new roadie for my wife, so her old bike became spare too.

What speed,size is your AXS cassette?
 

I Are Baboon

nuts of sashimi
Aug 6, 2001
30,835
4,460
MTB New England
My current setup.
  • Wahoo KICKR
  • Trek Madone (normally my tri bike would on there but that bike needs maintenance)
  • 46" TV with Roku and ALL the streaming services
  • TrainerRoad for the workouts and trainer control, controlled by the app on my smartphone
  • Two fans
  • Ridiculously narcissistic race medals and trophies cluttering up the room

I started training indoors during the cold seasons in late 2015 when I decided to start racing. Prior to that, I didn't pedal at all during the winter.

 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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In honor of @Full Trucker I hereby start this thread.
Great idea! I probably should have just started a thread back when I started that PM thread with you and @Toshi. You did give some good advice in that PM, BTW:

Might be worth reading through this if you're coming in to this cold.
Work out what app you want to use with it, if it's a Core it will pair over bluetooth to your laptop using the app.
Find yourself a fan to blast air at you, it gets warm riding indoors without the normal airflow to cool you.
Have a towel on your bars because you'll still sweat like a SOB.
Glad that @I Are Baboon popped in here as well, stoked to see his setup. He had some good info about Trainer Road specifically in the GMT today.

I'm still working out what my wants/needs are, and trying All The Apps. Rouvy and BKOOL down so far. Both have video content that is linked to a GPS/X file of a ride, so you can watch a POV video of the "ride" that you're doing, and the app tells the trainer to increase/decrease resistance based on the elevation profile of the ride. It's WAY more engaging than just spinning in your basement. Both apps also have "workouts" that you can do, not tied to a ride/video/GPS track. BKOOL has a workout builder, which enables you to create a workout profile based on target power zones, then it'll tell the trainer how much resistance to provide for each segment of the workout. How neat is that? That's pretty neat.

Not sure what's next, but I'm keen on trying Zwift, Sufferfest, Trainer Road, etc.

Training Peaks has been mentioned, and I for some reason thought it was another app that can control the trainer, but IAB doesn't think it is. He uses it IIRC and it's a training aggregator for him that gives a holistic view of all training activities from ride to run to swim.

I'll get a pic of my setup today.
 
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rideit

Bob the Builder
Aug 24, 2004
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In the cleavage of the Tetons
I too am trying to figure out which way to go. Subscribed.
I got on the kickr yesterday for the first time this season, it was sad. I averaged about 180 watts for about 40 minutes, with a peak 400 watts or so. But it was just a shakedown ride, I wasn’t really pushing it. Two years ago I rode over 90 days on the rollers, I am sure there is a better structured way to achieve what I gained then with less saddle time..
 

Full Trucker

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Notes about getting started with a smart trainer for @Sandwich and anyone else looking to jump into it:
  • I found a pretty good deal on a relatively inexpensive Wahoo KICKR Snap on Craig's List. YMMV, depending on where you are. Loads of people probably still self-isolating and building out home gyms and stuff.
  • My mid-2010 MacBook Pro only supports Bluetooth, not Bluetooth Smart, so I had to buy an ANT+ dongle to empower it to control the trainer. So if you're gonna use an older device to run the trainer, see if it supports the newer Bluetooth stuff. If you do have to get an ANT+ dongle, get one with an extension cord. I got one on Amazon for ~$20-30 or so. I run the extender cable along the top tube, and it hangs off the back of the seat over the trainer and picks it up pretty good. I tried other places and it would drop the signal occasionally.
  • Apps on my phone will control the KICKR with zero additional setup and hassle, but I wanted the screen of the laptop available to watch and sync with the ride videos and such. Note: I could definitely see using the phone to control the trainer for a "workout" and having a sweet ski or skate video playing on the laptop, and not have to dick around with the ANT+ dongle at all.
  • Getting an actual dedicated trainer tire was clutch for me. I use my gravel bike, and the big, fat, soft tires didn't push the watts accurately. And probably more importantly, the trainer was SHREDDING the 40mm wide gravel tire like woah. I had been wanting a better set of wheels for the gravel bike anyways, so I found a decent set of Shimano wheels on CL, mounted those with the gravel tires, and am using the heavy/cheap wheels that came with the bike on the trainer with a trainer tire. Using an actual road bike with a road bike tire is probably totally adequate.
  • WRT accuracy of watts and shit: if you're doing the social thing or the racing thing, getting accurate readings is likely clutch. But if you're not "racing" then accuracy can be kind of whatever, so long as the thing is consistent. Like, maybe it reads 30W too low, but if it consistently reads 30W low then you can still get a sense of fitness improvement over time.
  • After sweating buckets onto my basement floor, I got a rubber "fitness equipment" mat and it seems... way better. Also a fan. Definitely get a fan.
  • Having a place for all your devices to live within reach is pretty fucking clutch... I bought a little platform for the laptop that attaches to a camera tripod for like $15, and now the laptop is within reach as I can situate the tripod over the front wheel. I had a tiny little portable magnetic tripod for holding a phone that I just magnet to my bike workstand for holding the phone. Works pretty good.
I did get a little nerdy on acquiring ecoutremont for my setup, but I'm still probably less than $500 all in, unless you count that wheelset and rotors I bought. I'm choosing not to count that, since I wanted better wheels anyways. My plan with the wheels (for the time being) is to just swap the cassette over when I am able to ride outside. But, since I generally will choose dirt over road if outside riding is available, this seemed workable for now.
 
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Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
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Sleazattle
I have a Saris trainer in my living room, because I don't behave room for it anywhere else. I run the Zwift app on my phone and cast to my TV.

I just rotate the bike up and out of the way on the axle mount when not in use.
 

I Are Baboon

nuts of sashimi
Aug 6, 2001
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you can watch a POV video of the "ride" that you're doing, and the app tells the trainer to increase/decrease resistance based on the elevation profile of the ride.
I was wondering how that worked, so it is similar to TrainerRoad, only it sounds much more interesting. There is certainly nothing exciting about TrainerRoad. You don't watch a course or route....you see a clock and a line progressing on the screen. This was my workout last night, and this is what it looks like on the screen along with the metrics. The hills on Rouvy sound like the equivalent of my harder intervals on TrainerRoad. This workout was hard, BTW. 4 x 8:00 at 100% FTP. The last few minutes were a grind.

20210115_131747.jpg


Training Peaks has been mentioned, and I for some reason thought it was another app that can control the trainer, but IAB doesn't think it is. He uses it IIRC and it's a training aggregator for him that gives a holistic view of all training activities from ride to run to swim.
I use Training Peaks as a calendar, basically. My coach uses it a lot more to analyze my data. I basically use it for his benefit. I go there just to see what workouts he's assigned me. As he sees me progress through my workouts, he'll assign tougher workouts or make me take another FTP test (which I am due for). My workouts all sync to TrainingPeaks upon completion (from TrainerRoad for indoor rides, from Garmin for road and MTB rides, swims, and runs).

The Wahoo app can also control the smart trainer for basic use.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
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I was wondering how that worked, so it is similar to TrainerRoad, only it sounds much more interesting. There is certainly nothing exciting about TrainerRoad. You don't watch a course or route....you see a clock and a line progressing on the screen. This was my workout last night, and this is what it looks like on the screen along with the metrics. The hills on Rouvy sound like the equivalent of my harder intervals on TrainerRoad
That's why my wife and I liked Rouvy, yes you're still a hamster on a wheel, but at least you're "seeing" the actual route you're riding.

All of the famous European climbs are on there and most of the big US ones. Vaguely in your neck of the country we've done Greylock and Whiteface in the last couple of weeks. The biggest we've attempted was this:


I cracked with an hour to go, my wife finished it though.
 

6thElement

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Full Trucker

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I was wondering how that worked, so it is similar to TrainerRoad, only it sounds much more interesting. There is certainly nothing exciting about TrainerRoad. You don't watch a course or route....you see a clock and a line progressing on the screen. This was my workout last night, and this is what it looks like on the screen along with the metrics. The hills on Rouvy sound like the equivalent of my harder intervals on TrainerRoad. This workout was hard, BTW. 4 x 8:00 at 100% FTP. The last few minutes were a grind.

View attachment 155129
Rouvy and BKOOL have similar things as well, in addition to the video-based stuff. Just a chart with various power zones on a timeline that you watch... and then the app adjusts the resistance of the trainer to keep you in the power zone for that portion of the workout.

Rouvy
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 12.50.10 PM.png


BKOOL
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 12.49.55 PM.png



I use Training Peaks as a calendar, basically. My coach uses it a lot more to analyze my data. I basically use it for his benefit. I go there just to see what workouts he's assigned me. As he sees me progress through my workouts, he'll assign tougher workouts or make me take another FTP test (which I am due for). My workouts all sync to TrainingPeaks upon completion (from TrainerRoad for indoor rides, from Garmin for road and MTB rides, swims, and runs).
Gotcha, that makes sense. Might be worth noting that in the Rouvy "Workouts" section I see a category for "My Training Peaks Workouts" so I think there's some two-way functionality there, where Rouvy would push a completed workout to TP but your coach could likewise schedule a workout for you in TP and it'd show up in Rouvy for you.

The Wahoo app can also control the smart trainer for basic use.
Yeah, though I'm not sure you can you "program" a workout in Wahoo app, you can just manually increase/decrease trainer resistance with the app.

I failed in Hawaii, but the hardest ride I've done was the Angliru. That was just stupid steep.
I have read reports that Rouvy is BRUTAL on the trainer resistance, like it sets the resistance of a "12% grade" much higher than other apps. General consensus I've seen is Zwift resistance is like 50% of what Rouvy's is. But there's also a way to adjust that in Rouvy, I've read.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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This downstairs space also has weights and a small weight bench, but that's all used by wifey about 10000% more than me. Swapping bikes off and on of a trainer would definitely be a pain in the ass. My old road bike was 10 years old and I kept getting death wobble on descents. So I'd put together a new roadie in 2019 and then in February last year we'd just put together a fancy new roadie for my wife, so her old bike became spare too.

What speed,size is your AXS cassette?
12, 10-33. It'll be an extra $185 unless I swap the cassette seasonally, which could work, but not for rainy days.
 

6thElement

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But there's also a way to adjust that in Rouvy, I've read
I think it's the other way around, Zwift has the ability to adjust trainer resistance but you still have to put out as much power to ride their climbs e.g. grind at 50 cadence in your lowest gear doing 200W with it at 100% or spin at 90 cadence doing 200W at 50% in a "harder" gear.
 
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6thElement

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12, 10-33. It'll be an extra $185 unless I swap the cassette seasonally, which could work, but not for rainy days.
Yeah unfortunately with 12 speed there doesn't seem to be a cheap shimano splined cassette option like you can do with 11/10 speed.

Wife has the same cassette on her bike, even cheap from Taiwan it still cost $140. Thankfully her old one on the trainer is 11 speed and mine is 10 speed.
 

Full Trucker

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Feb 26, 2003
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I keep debating a smart trainer to hook my real road bike to, but I'm resistant as I'd need the expensive trainer, the expensive subscription, and another expensive cassette as my roadie is AXS....
Wouldn't a wheel-on smart trainer eliminate the need for another cassette? My Wahoo KICKR Snap is a wheel-on deal, should be able to stick a road bike on it ¡no problemas!
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
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Sleazattle
Rouvy and BKOOL have similar things as well, in addition to the video-based stuff. Just a chart with various power zones on a timeline that you watch... and then the app adjusts the resistance of the trainer to keep you in the power zone for that portion of the workout.

Rouvy
View attachment 155131

BKOOL
View attachment 155130



Gotcha, that makes sense. Might be worth noting that in the Rouvy "Workouts" section I see a category for "My Training Peaks Workouts" so I think there's some two-way functionality there, where Rouvy would push a completed workout to TP but your coach could likewise schedule a workout for you in TP and it'd show up in Rouvy for you.


Yeah, though I'm not sure you can you "program" a workout in Wahoo app, you can just manually increase/decrease trainer resistance with the app.


I have read reports that Rouvy is BRUTAL on the trainer resistance, like it sets the resistance of a "12% grade" much higher than other apps. General consensus I've seen is Zwift resistance is like 50% of what Rouvy's is. But there's also a way to adjust that in Rouvy, I've read.
I ditched Rouvy because if the on/off resistance. It felt like there was no inertial effect of carrying speed into a hill. I had to downshift before hitting a hill.
 

6thElement

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I ditched Rouvy because if the on/off resistance. It felt like there was no inertial effect of carrying speed into a hill. I had to downshift before hitting a hill.
How long since you tried it? It seems to have that to me now as I can carry speed into the hills and if they're short enough power over or slowly downshift as I lose speed.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
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How long since you tried it? It seems to have that to me now as I can carry speed into the hills and if they're short enough power over or slowly downshift as I lose speed.
A little over a year ago.

But I find that I really enjoy fucking with people on Zwift.

Oh a group ride? Let's latch on and break this fucker up.
 

Full Trucker

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I think it's the other way around, Zwift has the ability to adjust trainer resistance but you still have to put out as much power to ride their climbs e.g. grind at 50 cadence in your lowest gear doing 200W with it at 100% or spin at 90 cadence doing 200W at 50% in a "harder" gear.
Yes I think you're right, I had it backwards. Zwift is the app that allows a global "XX% Trainer Resistance" setting that makes things easier i.e. "gives you more gears" or whatever.

That said, the thing in Rouvy I think I was thinking of is "Reality Level" which is only available in the Training Mode.


And then in BKOOL I think there's a way to decrease slope angles for a ride/workout.

They all have their cheats and crutches.
 

6thElement

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Jul 29, 2008
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A little over a year ago
Try it again if you liked it otherwise. I've had it since April and there's been plenty of app updates, just had another yesterday fixing something or other.

It's not perfect on the website or the app. As you can't right click open in a new tab when browsing the map of routes I always have to open another table and search for a ride that looks promising. I wish they would make a little details popup if you hovered over a route and allowed right click open in a new tab. I guess I should see if they have a suggestions page...

edit: I think some of the old web posts and even on their website refer to their "old" app, I think there is just the RouvyAR version now...
 
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Sandwich

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Wouldn't a wheel-on smart trainer eliminate the need for another cassette? My Wahoo KICKR Snap is a wheel-on deal, should be able to stick a road bike on it ¡no problemas!
Yep, a wheel on might suffice, plus they tend to be cheaper. I worry about wearing out the tire, but I guess I've been looking for a reason to upgrade!
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
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Yep, a wheel on might suffice, plus they tend to be cheaper. I worry about wearing out the tire, but I guess I've been looking for a reason to upgrade!

There are significant structural differences between an on/off wheel trainer. Always found the on wheel ones to be noodly. My off wheel trainer is much stiffer and much more enjoyable to ride.

I don't have a single fast twitch muscle fiber in my body so I tend to mash pedals at 60 rpm. If you are the spin at >90 rpm kind of person, you may not notice the difference.
 

6thElement

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Wheel on will be a lot noisier if that matters. Although with a large fan they generally make plenty of noise too.
 

Full Trucker

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There are significant structural differences between an on/off wheel trainer. Always found the on wheel ones to be noodly. My off wheel trainer is much stiffer and much more enjoyable to ride.

I don't have a single fast twitch muscle fiber in my body so I tend to mash pedals at 60 rpm. If you are the spin at >90 rpm kind of person, you may not notice the difference.
Can confirm. I clock in at 2 Benjis and an Abe on the fat-o-meter, and when I have occasion to stand on the pedals the KICKR Snap feels flexier than an early 90s Judy SL.

But also, I don't really smash 'em like that all that often, so it's mostly fine. I do think eventually if I really take to this "indoor cycling" thing I'll want a wheel off trainer.
 

Full Trucker

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My setup / pain cave:

B202676F-3168-4CAC-9096-AEB1A00D92F0.jpeg


Basement workshop doubles as indoor trainer space i.e. where I put my Peloton. Bikes all hang in the wall opposite the skis, so to the right of frame. Not a garage, but it goes.
 

Full Trucker

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Tried Zwift for the first time last night, and first impressions are that it's the best app I've tried so far. The user experience is far better i.e. searching for rides, events, workouts, etc. is much easier on this platform. The app seems to control the trainer resistance quite a bit better than the others I've tried as well. The game graphics are smoother and better than the video and graphics of the others, at least on my 10-11 year old MacBook. I haven't tried the 'social' aspect of it, and I get that some folks may not want/need that part. I did read that if you choose to do a 'workout' (like something that IAB posted) that you still can ride in a 'group' and the app will change the trainer resistance so you hit your zones, but the app also "keeps the group together" by virtually "evening out the power" for all the riders in the workout... so if you want you can still feel like you're in a peloton even if you're pushing 100w and others are 200 or 300 or whatever. So maybe that's kinda neat? There's a group of guys on another forum (TGR) that have a couple group rides a week, gonna try and join for one of those.
 

amishmatt

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Sep 21, 2005
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My setup is something like 4xboy's (as in, it's in my bike storage/workshop area) except I have a decent old flat panel TV. It's in my detached, non-heated garage, so it's cold AF this time of year, and I ride in a jacket for a while, and even use a small space heater aimed at my feet until I warm up. I run Zwift from my phone with a lightning/HDMI cable and play music from an ipad to my stereo.

I mostly do workouts on Zwift these days, as I find free riding pretty boring. Some group rides are ok, but there's usually so much bitching about the pace that they just annoy me after a while. Intervals keep me pretty focused and the music helps a ton. If I can't get outside to ride on the weekend, I'll do a longer steady output ride and throw on a movie or tv series to pass the time.
 

Sandwich

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Hmmm...there's a kickr snap available local, and my commuter bike is just sitting there.....
 

Sandwich

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I have like 1500 miles on the spin bike according to its speedometer...been a good little trip.