Solid Quality. Smooth and Steady Ride. Compact. But… Say What? by Steve Mabry
Spring weather getting you down? The way the weather has been tracking this April, it could be time for a (sigh) new indoor trainer.
The Revolution trainer breaks away from conventional design by replacing the entire rear wheel with the trainer unit, providing a solid, direct connection from the bike’s drive train to the trainer.
Combining a sturdy platform with adjustable rubber feet and a belt driven, oversized resistance fan, wheather you are seated or standing, the Revolution allows for a direct, smooth and powerful feel throughout your pedal stroke. A heavy flywheel drives the fan once you start pedaling, which provides inertia for the fan and keeps the pedaling action smooth and consistant.
Similar to wind resistance, the bigger gear you push, the more resistance the fan creates and the more inertia the flywheel generates. You could say it's as close to the real thing as you can get while pedaling indoors on the road to nowhere.
Back in December when I first caught sight of the Revolution trainer, it gave me the spark I needed heading into the deep winter. I was thinking: this year I’m going to keep my fitness intact. I mean, who doesn’t need a new trick to keep that cycling base we all want come springtime, especially when springtime in Crested Butte, Colo. can mean 12-inces of snow on April 18th (sigh-more time on the trainer).
Hooking the bike up to the Revolution trainer was relatively easy and the connection was solid. I’d recommend buying the model that includes the rear cassette (unless you have a spare laying around) because removing the rear cassette from your wheel before each training session isn’t very convenient. Once in place on the trainer it required a minor rear derailleur adjustment to get the shifting running smooth.
Pedaling on the Revolution was butter: smooth as an endless strip of fresh blacktop. The overall quality of the Revolution is top shelf. No doubt, it’s built solid for many years of riding your favorite imaginary roads. With 12 (sigh) weeks of training on it, it shows no signs of fatigue whatsoever. The bearings are smooth and it feels as solid as day one.
But be aware, when standing up to attack on your imaginary friend (mine is named Gustavo), at full speed, the fan on the Revolution sounded like the turbo thrusters firing up on the Millennium Falcon.
I quickly realized the volume of my TV blaring Phil Ligget’s voice from my 2005 Tour de France DVD could barely out climb the noise created by the fan on the Revolution. Nearly as fast as I noticed the noise, my wife (who never restrains from letting me in on her insightful thoughts) shared the same conclusion. I wouldn't be getting any encouragement from her to spend more time on the trainer.
The positive side is that the oversized fan created a volume of air large enough to dry my sons hockey gear placed a few feet away and did a great job circulating the air in my 2500 square foot house.
Solving the noise problem wouldn't be easy. You could go the way of a fluid resistance trainer, which are very quiet but you risk a catestrophic hydrolic oil spill in you living room. The loud fan system has it's benefits.
Depending on how much privacy or sound proof space you have available, the Revolution is a very fine trainer with hands down the best, most directly integrated bike-to-trainer connection system I've experienced and the flywheel driven resistence fan provides a pleasantly realistice feeling ride. The unit is reasonbly light at 30lbs and compact enought to pack in the trunk for race day warm ups.
Despite sounding like a space craft getting ready for warp drive when it's wound up to full speed, it would be tough to find a better performing trainer than Lemond's Revolution.
Price: 549.00 (w/10 speed shimano 105 cassette) or $499.00 W/O www.LemondFitness.com