General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Bike trainer vs road speed Rss Feed  
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2010-08-07 9:36 PM

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Subject: Bike trainer vs road speed
I live in the city where the roads are congested and rough; I rarely if ever get to bike on open roads. I'm training almost exclusively on a Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer on which I average a mediocre 27.4km/h or around 17mph. How would this translate on a flat and fairly smooth road during fair weather? In general, are you faster on the road or on a bike trainer, all else being equal? By how much +_?


2010-08-07 10:02 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
You are infinitely faster outside, b/c your speed is zero inside.
2010-08-08 12:04 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
I'm sure this varies quit a bit, but I can hold 22mph on my rollers in heart rate zone1, not so much outside.  Just based upon my outdoor and indoor sessions, for me indoors is probably a good 4mph faster will the same effort.

Edited by tomcho 2010-08-08 12:04 AM
2010-08-08 12:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
juxin - 2010-08-08 5:36 AM

I live in the city where the roads are congested and rough; I rarely if ever get to bike on open roads. I'm training almost exclusively on a Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer on which I average a mediocre 27.4km/h or around 17mph. How would this translate on a flat and fairly smooth road during fair weather? In general, are you faster on the road or on a bike trainer, all else being equal? By how much +_?


I, also, used a cycleops fluid 2 trainer for years and found that, on flat roads in fair weather (low to no wind) I was averaging the same pace as on my trainer.

The trainer will make you very strong, both mentally and physically, if it doesn't kill you first mentally!
2010-08-08 3:57 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
Your trainer speed is your trainer speed. Your road speed is your road speed. Rarely, if ever, do the twain meet.

Don't even try. What is the wind, temp, stop sign, traffic lights, humidity, and elevation changes of the trainer versus outside? Even with all that my trainer speed tends to be less than outside speed.

Compare your trainer speed to previous trainer speeds and your outside speed to previous outside speeds and don't try to compare apples and oranges
2010-08-08 6:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
I train on a Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer, and my road speeds on mostly flat roads with no stop signs are 1-2 mph faster than on the trainer.


2010-08-08 7:30 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
If you want to compare, get a power meter for both.

Wheel speed is not useful for comparing trainer rides with outdoor rides.

As far as comparing to other people with the same brand of trainer.... Have the two been calibrated to one another? Do you have the same amount of resistance?  Are you using the same gearing?  Do you have your tires set to the same pressure? 

Furthermore, differences in weight, frontal surface area, and technique affect real speed, but not wheel speed on the trainer.  Even if you had two people who could spin the same trainer up to the same speed for the same amount of time ... if one is 120 pounds, has a super aggressive aero position, good pacing, and is very skilled; while the other is 280 pounds, rides like a sail, paces poorly, and wastes energy by poor riding skills ---  their difference in speed on a real bike outside would be dramatic.  In other words, the relationship between "trainer speed" and their road speed would not be the same for the two example individuals.
2010-08-08 10:06 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
monkeyboy64 - 2010-08-08 7:59 AM I train on a Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer, and my road speeds on mostly flat roads with no stop signs are 1-2 mph faster than on the trainer.


KK here too and I'm 3-4mph faster on the road than on the trainer.  However I use power on the trainer not RPE or speed.  I have the KK CPU that will provide accurate power reading.  I do believe that it can also be used on the Cyclops fluid trainer with slight mod in the formula values.  Much better way to train on the trainer.


Edited by Donto 2010-08-08 10:08 AM
2010-08-08 10:20 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
I've got the same trainer as you, & my outdoor speeds (on hills) are about 2mph faster than inside. Obviosly, numerous variables can affect the exact difference.
2010-08-08 10:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
I think  can get a pretty fair comparison between the trainer and a nonstop time-trial type effort on a flat course. Note that this is a CONTINUOUS effort with no stops and no coasting, which is very unusual for a typical outdoor bike ride - I only encounter this type of riding during races on a closed course or on my trainer.

I can hold close to a continuous 23mph on my trainer for over an hour if I'm going hard the whole way. In 2 Oly tri courses last year, my bike split was 23.8 on a flat course and 22.4 on a course with hills, and I'd say my fitness was pretty similar. So at least for me, my road speed is very similar to my trainer speed on a TT-type continous effort.

But compared to a more typical ride with coasting, stops, fast accelerations to not get dropped, etc., I definitely go faster by about 1.5-2mph while moving on the road. I attribute it more to the resting time than the trainer providing more resistance than the road.

Both the KK and Cycleops are calibrated to simulate real acceleration on a flat road as you go harder, and I think they do a pretty good job. You can download power-speed estimation charts to estimate your power if you don't have a PM but do have a speedometer. 


2010-08-08 10:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
Donto - 2010-08-08 10:06 AM
monkeyboy64 - 2010-08-08 7:59 AM I train on a Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer, and my road speeds on mostly flat roads with no stop signs are 1-2 mph faster than on the trainer.


KK here too and I'm 3-4mph faster on the road than on the trainer.  However I use power on the trainer not RPE or speed.  I have the KK CPU that will provide accurate power reading.  I do believe that it can also be used on the Cyclops fluid trainer with slight mod in the formula values.  Much better way to train on the trainer.


I know about the KK attachment that estimates power, but I think that a regular speedometer might be a better investment for similar money for the trainer.  

The KK power estimator will give you your power output on the KK trainer, but again, it's limited to performance on the trainer itself. To extrapolate your trainer power numbers to real-world riding, you'll need a $$$ powermeter on your road bike. A speedometer which costs the same as the KK monitor, can be used both on-off the trainer, and while on the trainer, your speed correlates to your power. Less speed, less power. 




2010-08-09 10:08 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike trainer vs road speed
agarose2000 - 2010-08-08 11:59 AM
Donto - 2010-08-08 10:06 AM
monkeyboy64 - 2010-08-08 7:59 AM I train on a Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer, and my road speeds on mostly flat roads with no stop signs are 1-2 mph faster than on the trainer.


KK here too and I'm 3-4mph faster on the road than on the trainer.  However I use power on the trainer not RPE or speed.  I have the KK CPU that will provide accurate power reading.  I do believe that it can also be used on the Cyclops fluid trainer with slight mod in the formula values.  Much better way to train on the trainer.


I know about the KK attachment that estimates power, but I think that a regular speedometer might be a better investment for similar money for the trainer.  

The KK power estimator will give you your power output on the KK trainer, but again, it's limited to performance on the trainer itself. To extrapolate your trainer power numbers to real-world riding, you'll need a $$$ powermeter on your road bike. A speedometer which costs the same as the KK monitor, can be used both on-off the trainer, and while on the trainer, your speed correlates to your power. Less speed, less power.


The KK bike computers (wired and wireless) are full function CPUs not just a power measurement device.  Granted the power is not useful on the road but if most of you training is on the trainer then power can be used.

"The Kinetic Wired Power Computer is designed to give you accurate power (watt) readings when you are using a Kinetic Trainer. All other functions (speed, distance, cadence, calorie burn, altimeter, etc) are accurate both on and off the trainer. Because of this, the Kinetic Power Computer is an excellent choice for a cycling computer both on and off the trainer."
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