Bicycle Trainer Recommendation Report

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Recommendation report written for Cal Poly triathlon team in 2009.

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<p>Bicycle Trainer Recommendation ReportGordon Withers, Student Coach of the California Polytechnic State University Triathlon Team</p> <p>June 1, 2009</p> <p>Prepared by: Leanne Lopes, Technical Writer Sam Reynard, Technical Writer Jenn Tan, Technical Writer Sara Wolters, Technical Writer</p> <p>Informational Abstract</p> <p>Informational AbstractThis report researches four different bicycle trainers for the Triathlon Teams group order. Each of the four bicycle (bike) trainers meet your minimum specifications and we recommend one based on the evaluative criteria. Our research includes websites, bicycle magazines, and personal interviews. This report concludes that the Performance Travel Trac Century Adjustable Fluid Plus Trainer best meets your needs.</p> <p>i</p> <p>Table of Contents</p> <p>Table of ContentsInformational Abstract................................................................................................................ i Table of Contents........................................................................................................................ii Table of Figures..........................................................................................................................iv Introduction to Bicycle Trainer Recommendation Report.................................................. 1 Scope .......................................................................................................................................... 1 Minimum Specifications......................................................................................................... 1 List of Options ........................................................................................................................ 1 Evaluative Criteria.................................................................................................................. 1 Sources....................................................................................................................................... 2 Discussion and Comparison of Bike Trainers ...................................................................... 3 Minoura Variable Fluid System (VFS)-G.............................................................................. 3 Cost ......................................................................................................................................... 3 Warranty................................................................................................................................. 3 Ratings.................................................................................................................................... 3 Assembly ........................................................................................................................... 3 Noise .................................................................................................................................. 4 Portability.......................................................................................................................... 4 Resistance .......................................................................................................................... 4 Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer......................................................................................... 5 Cost ......................................................................................................................................... 5 Warranty................................................................................................................................. 5 Ratings.................................................................................................................................... 5 Assembly ........................................................................................................................... 5 Portability.......................................................................................................................... 5 Noise .................................................................................................................................. 6 Resistance .......................................................................................................................... 6 Blackburn TrakStand Fluid Trainer....................................................................................... 7 Cost ......................................................................................................................................... 7 Warranty................................................................................................................................. 7</p> <p>ii</p> <p>Table of Contents Ratings.................................................................................................................................... 7 Assembly ........................................................................................................................... 7 Noise .................................................................................................................................. 8 Portability.......................................................................................................................... 8 Resistance .......................................................................................................................... 8 Performance Travel Trac Century Fluid Plus Trainer ........................................................ 9 Cost ......................................................................................................................................... 9 Warranty................................................................................................................................. 9 Ratings.................................................................................................................................... 9 Assembly ........................................................................................................................... 9 Noise ................................................................................................................................ 10 Portability........................................................................................................................ 10 Resistance ........................................................................................................................ 10 Conclusion and Final Recommendation .............................................................................. 11 Minoura Findings .................................................................................................................. 11 Nashbar Findings................................................................................................................... 11 Blackburn Findings................................................................................................................ 11 Performance Findings ........................................................................................................... 11 Final Recommendation ......................................................................................................... 11 Glossary ...................................................................................................................................... 13 Reference List ............................................................................................................................ 14</p> <p>iii</p> <p>Table of Figures</p> <p>Table of FiguresFigure 1: Image of Minoura VFS-G Trainer ............................................................................. 3 Figure 2: Image of Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer............................................................ 5 Figure 3: Image of Blackburn TrakStand Fluid Trainer ......................................................... 7 Figure 4: Image of Performance Travel Trac Century Fluid Plus Trainer ........................... 9 Figure 5: Summary Table of Evaluative Criteria................................................................... 12</p> <p>iv</p> <p>Introduction to Bicycle Trainer Recommendation Report</p> <p>Introduction to Bicycle Trainer Recommendation ReportThis report investigates four different bike trainers for the California Polytechnic State University Triathlon Team. For your order of approximately 25 bike trainers, we recommend purchasing the Performance Travel Trac Century Adjustable Fluid Plus Trainer.</p> <p>ScopeThis section details the minimum specifications, options, and evaluative criteria discussed in this report.</p> <p>Minimum SpecificationsYou specified that the bike trainers must: use fluid resistance, be portable, and cost no more than $275.</p> <p>List of OptionsAfter our initial investigation of bike trainers, we narrowed the choices to the following four: Minoura Variable Fluid System (VFS)-G Trainer, Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer, Blackburn Trakstand Fluid Trainer, and Performance Travel Trac Century Adjustable Fluid Plus Trainer.</p> <p>Evaluative CriteriaThis report will evaluate the following criteria to compare the four trainers: Lowest cost including shipping, Longest warranty, and</p> <p>1</p> <p>Introduction to Bicycle Trainer Recommendation Report Highest Road Bike Review or Mountain Bike Review rating as well as comments in reviews regarding assembly, noise, portability, and resistance.</p> <p>SourcesWe investigated each trainer by interviewing bicycling experts, reading bike retail websites, and reading bicycling magazines and their accompanying websites. We interviewed experts at Specialized, Arts Cyclery, and Foothill Cyclery, which are all San Luis Obispo-based bike shops.</p> <p>2</p> <p>Discussion and Comparison of Bike Trainers: Minoura Variable Fluid System-G Trainer</p> <p>Discussion and Comparison of Bike TrainersFor the following pages, we will discuss and compare each of the four bike trainers that we investigated.</p> <p>Minoura Variable Fluid System (VFS)-GThe Minoura VFS-G, pictured right in Figure 1, fits wheels sized 26 to 29 inches and weighs 9.0 kg (approximately 20 lbs). The following sections detail its cost, warranty, and ratings.</p> <p>CostModernBike.com sells the VFS-G for the lowest price at $236.94 including tax, standard shipping, and handling. Figure 1: Image of Minoura VFS-G Trainer (roadbikereview.com)</p> <p>WarrantyNone of the websites that sell the VFS-G offer a warranty or guarantee of satisfaction.</p> <p>RatingsDave Atkinson of Road Bike Review (2009) gives the VFS-G an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars. The following details comments from his professional review as well as customer reviews on assembly, portability, and resistance. Assembly The Minoura VFS-G requires a great deal of assembly, but according to Atkinson at Road Bike Review (2009), the process of assembly is straightforward. He also asserted that with each new bike he wanted to train with, he had to rebuild the unit based on the tire. To make this process easier, the necessary hex wrench comes with the bike, and the designers left a space on the frame to store the wrench.</p> <p>3</p> <p>Discussion and Comparison of Bike Trainers: Minoura Variable Fluid System-G Trainer Fortunately, after the user assembles the unit according to his/her tire, the gravity frame automatically adjusts to the bikes wheel. The weight of the user on the bike puts pressure on the tire, which automatically adjusts to keep the bike in place (Minoura VFS-G Variable Fluid System, 2009). Noise No reviews describe problems with noise. Kwrides at Bike Forums (2008) describes the VFS-G as whisper quiet and says that besides the chain, only shifting causes noise from the trainer. Portability The VFS-G maintains ease of portability. It carries well, folds flat, and can be stored when not in use. Resistance The VFS alone utilizes a hybrid of fluid and magnetic resistance. The fluid side features an internal vane system, which provides an exponential power curve to simulate the feel of an actual ride. The magnetic system accelerates the total power curve for building muscle (Minoura VFS-G Tire Drive Trainer, 2009). The total resistance for the trainer maxes out at nearly 600 Watts (Atkinson, 2009). A rider can utilize any of seven different levels of resistance while riding, according to ModernBike.com (2009). However, Atkinson indicates that the resistance remains too high, even at the lowest setting. Customer Kwrides at BikeForums.net (2008) agrees and claims he/she could not cycle above 80 rpm without quickly having to shift to the small ring to keep his/her heart rate down.</p> <p>4</p> <p>Discussion and Comparison of Bike Trainers: Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer</p> <p>Nashbar Adjustable Fluid TrainerNashbars Adjustable Fluid Trainer, pictured right in Figure 2, has a smooth fluid resistance unit with five levels. The internal flywheel creates a natural-feeling pedal action. This trainer has a wide stance frame with non-skid rubber feet to enhance stability and reduce noise and vibration. The bike attaches quickly and easily with an improved mounting mechanism complete with lined axle cups. A handlebar-mounted changer allows the user to easily change resistance levels. The trainer also includes a quick release skewer for optimal fit. Figure 2: Image of Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer (nashbar.com)</p> <p>CostThe Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer costs the least amount of money out of our four options. Nashbar, the only vendor of the trainer, sells the product at the price of $160.95, including shipping, on their website (BikeNashbar.com).</p> <p>WarrantyNashbar does not offer a formal warranty for the Adjustable Fluid Trainer, but they guarantee 100% satisfaction and allow refunds and/or exchanges.</p> <p>RatingsRoad Bike Review gives the product a 2.85 out of 5 rating. The following details information about assembly, noise, portability, and resistance. Assembly On Nashbar's website, both reviewers describe the Adjustable Fluid Trainer as easy to install and use. You can find a document with further information about assembly at http://www.nashbar.com/images/nashbar/web/PDFs/NBFTA5%20Adjustable%20Fluid%20Trainer.pdf. Portability The reviewers described this trainer as versatile, durable, and easy to set up. Users explained how they use the trainer especially in the winter; they did not specify any problems with portability. 5</p> <p>Discussion and Comparison of Bike Trainers: Nashbar Adjustable Fluid Trainer Noise Both reviewers explained the noticeably loud and bothersome noise, although it did not distract them to the point that they wanted to return the product. The user can reduce noise by setting the trainer on carpet and using a rear tire with a smooth tread pattern (Nashbar, 2005). Resistance Five levels of resistance provide users with the settings they desire to work out at various levels. For example, lower range settings are useful for warm-ups; middle range setting...</p>