Saturday, October 16, 2010

High-end Trainers vs. Pedal Force Simulator

It is not enough to get the resistive power right; one also has to get the pedal force due to acceleration of the mass right.  

Outdoors, the force from the foot accelerates the mass of the rider and bike while forces from wind, gravity, and rolling resistance act on the rider.  High-end trainers get the average resistive power right but ignore the effect of acceleration of mass.  The foot feels a force, but the problem is that the force the foot feels is not the force the foot feels outdoors. Muscle activation is wrong.
This is an absolutely important point.  It's a subtle difference that makes all the difference.  It is not enough to get the resistive power right; one also has to get the force due to acceleration of the mass right. 

The consumer's test is to ride up hill.  Does cadence naturally fall as it does outdoors on a hill?  Does the resistance feel right climbing out of the saddle?  When it does, the consumer knows they are on a simulator and not a trainer.  They go from training to ride a trainer to training to ride outdoors.  Effectiveness of indoor training grows by leaps and bounds.

Typical Demo

A typical demo starts with a rider setup on the Pedal Force Simulator.  We go through the menus on the display and pick a flat course.
Start by riding up hill.  Ride seated for a while.  Get out of the saddle and climb for a while.  We pick a slope that matches a local hill with which the rider is familiar.

Setup a flat couse.  Come up to sprint speed.  Sprint seated, sprint out of the saddle.

Ride a cyclocross course.  The course has grass, pavement, sand, and a very short, steep uphill.  The course icon gives a rider some warning that the surface or slope is going to change so a rider can shift to the appropriate gear.

Setup a kilo course.  Do a standing start.

Explain the Workout concept.  Follow the display to conduct the Workout.  Workouts are recorded in a way that each Workout can be retrieved from the database.

Select the "Downhill with Tailwind" course.  "Yes, I am warmed up and feeling good."

At this point, the difference between a Pedal Force Simulator and a trainer is very clear.

Status Update

Several people have expressed an interest in investing. Although they have not said so directly, it seemed that the required investment was out of their comfort zone. Some were experienced in the biking market, some not. All have had a favorable reaction to the presentation.

The process typically begins with an email exchange and continues with a webinar presentation and a sales call where several local people are invited for a demo.  Business discussions follow.