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Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 17:01
by Dougie
Have you bought something or tried a product that you though others should hear about. Share you experiences here.
One website that you may have come across is DC Rainmaker. This fellow is quite the reviewer. Take a look.

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 17:06
by Dougie
Recently I asked one of our Clubmates about their thoughts on the new online/virtual trainer product ZWIFT.

It is certainly appearing to be gaining some traction. I haven't used the program so I thought I would post our "masked reviewer" or better yet "The Secret Pro's" take on Zwift.

Hi Dougie

I have had a look at Zwift and have the following comments:

• it is a video game with very good graphics (but I am not a video game fan); I prefer the real race footage of Sufferfest and even more just the plain screen info layout of Trainer Road. A proper trainer session requires clear instructions, good feedback and should aim at concentration rather than distraction.
• it requires entering info by keyboard or tablet as you ride to control your effort and partake in the “rewards” offered. SF and TR basically just provide effort and cadence requirements with some very useful instructions on style, breathing and technique. TR does provide for changing effort levels by changing your FTP during the ride if required.
• it only has one course format that includes sprinting, climbing, drafting etc enabling you to measure and compare your performance over time and with other participants. SF and TR offer many different workout formats based on different durations, intensities, and activities such as sprinting, climbing, time trailing etc. SF and TR also offer a variety of training plans based on different goals and riding types.
• Zwift and SF current show heart rate. TR plots heart rate on screen so you can see the cardiac arrest approaching!
• it requires your FTP but this appears to require using a separate app. TR and SF have formats for determining your FTP in a stable repeatable manner.
• it can control a smart trainer (I have a Wahoo Kickr - expensive but brilliant) with effort changes that sync with the course. TR also structures its workouts around your FTP and controls a smart trainer accordingly, meaning you just ride, suffer and change gears in hope (usually false) of easing the suffering. SF relies on subjective interpretation of effort levels, i.e. your own honesty.

I am impressed with the simplicity of TR (it hides a lot of sophisticated planning in the workouts) and with its ability to sync with the SF videos. The SF effort levels take on a new sense of suffering when directly linked to your FTP!

Zwift provides more of a game environment but could becoming boring with repetition of the same format. The racing against others obviously is meant to avoid this.

Hope this makes sense. Let me know if you want more info or to discuss. Obviously these programs are not really aimed at rollers and rely on power measuring for best outcomes. Quite a few non-smart trainers have virtual power calculations that can be used with these programs.

All the best
The Masked Reviewer

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 24 Jun 2015, 11:04
by Dougie
Club Mates,
The Masked Reviewer has been at it again. Take a look at their latest post on "form". Please be seated!
Thoughts, opinions, violent objections?

Riders, Please Be Seated

I, like most I suspect, learned to ride a bike with a combination of introductory sage advice (ignored with the impatience to learn), then someone controlling my bike from behind impatiently yelling the same advice (ignored by the adrenalin panic), and then, when having mastered not falling over, slowly improved my riding skills all by my self over the years. That is until recently when the deluge of bike riding advice found in the various medias started to question, undermine and even ridicule my riding technique, or lack thereof.

During the resultant ongoing re-learning to ride my bike with “good form", I encountered one small bit of information that impressed me with its simplicity, obviousness and effectiveness; the action of simply sitting on the bike seat using the obvious posterior bones of the pelvis in order to achieve effective pedalling. The important thing being to maintain contact between the two posterior protuberances of the ischium (part of the pelvis) and the saddle at all times whilst seated and pedalling.

Why? By deliberately gluing these two bones to the seat and not just having a general sense of your backside planted thereon, the body above can concentrate on not wasting energy, and the body below, (legs, knees, ankles, feet) can concentrate on the most efficient use of energy.

The Body Above, stabilised at the hips by the immobility of the pelvis, can relax and become still around your breathing. No energy wasting rocking of the hips, heaving of the shoulders, locked arms and tense grip of the bars. Just enough curving of the lower back with core strength to suit where your hands are on the handle bars in order to maintain the seat bone pressure.

The Body Below, stabilised at the hips by the immobility of the pelvis, can dedicate itself to the machine-like function of pedalling. No energy wasting sideways movement of the knees and ankles. No inefficient transfer of power through legs trying to accommodate unstable swaying hips. Just the rhythmic rising and lowering of the knees in a straight vertical line and the legs and feet pushing the pedals forward over down back and up in an uninterrupted flowing circular motion.

The sources of this piece of sage advice say it provides the most efficient use of available energy for pedalling whilst seated by separating the body into relaxed above and active below. It also helps to avoid sore back, shoulders, neck, arms and hands, saddle sores, abrasions, and other undercarriage wear and tear. Most importantly, it lets you look smooth, maybe even effortlessly fast, like a pro. I have found my riding has improved and discomforts have decreased. I am still trying for the look ...

All the Best
The Masked Reviewer

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 24 Jun 2015, 19:30
by marc2131
Not that I don't trust the DHBC Masked Reviewer, but I watched the GCN review too, just to make sure.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I tried to download Zwift Island to my mobile phone but without success. It won't let me register. Keeps asking me to log in instead. Pointless.
This 'game' is supposed to be a free download until the end of the year. If anyone has any suggestion how to overcome my problem, let me know please. Zwift looks like fun.

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 24 Jun 2015, 21:49
by Colin Campbell
Zwift only works on a PC or Mac, not mobile devices. Trainer Road works on a PC, Mac or iOS devices. The Masked Reviewer missed that salient point!

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 24 Jun 2015, 22:33
by marc2131
Thanks Colin.
Still couldn't find zwift on the apple App Store but found something else called Full Gaz which uses real video footage.

Re: Product Reviews - Bought something? Tells us about it.

Posted: 25 Jun 2015, 11:44
by Colin Campbell
Zwift is only available through their website. Let me know what Full Gaz is like.