CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer $1,299.95
Don't let winter keep you down.
When looking at indoor trainers, we tend to look for a few things -- a realistic feeling flywheel, lateral stability, low noise levels, and programmable training features. Not surprisingly, the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer encompasses all of the above and then some.
Starting with the most rudimentary functionality, the PowerBeam Pro Trainer is both foldable and portable. The setup of the base is beyond simple, and with CycleOps' quick-cam locking mechanism, getting the bike in and out of the trainer is a fast process. Basically, all that you need to do is to position your rear axle to the mechanism and then turn a dial. That's it, and you're ready to ride. And once you get going, those around you will be pleased that the PowerBeam Pro is ranked as one of the quietest trainers in the CycleOps lineup. Furthermore, CycleOps states that the PowerBeam Pro is its most stable trainer, leaving you to live in the pain cave during heavy intervals -- not worrying that you're going to tip over. However, we still recommend using the Climbing Riser Block if you intend on getting out of the saddle for any duration of time. And even if your floors aren't particularly level, say when you're subjected to the basement, the trainer features a single-leg leveling adjustment in order to compensate for uneven surfaces.
For the actual aspect of rolling, CycleOps included its PowerTuned flywheel. This heavy wheel creates a mimic of true rolling by optimizing inertial effect. What does this mean? Let's have a little physics refresher course. Inertia is the tendency of an object to resist a change in motion. So, when force is typically applied to a common flywheel, resistance is felt, but dead weight creates dead spots in the wheel's motion. This means that the trainer feels more like you're pushing against a resistant cylinder than riding a bike. However, by precisely tuning the design of the flywheel, CycleOps has eliminated this feeling, and accordingly, it's created a proper, real-world feel. Additionally, the PowerBeam's roller is constructed from smooth, machined alloy that minimizes tire wear and slippage. So, you forget about the days of running heavy, tan-colored training tires.
Now, with the basic stuff out of the way, we'll jump into features that can only be described as just 'cool.' The PowerBeam Pro trainer not only comes with built-in PowerTap power meter, but it's also compatible with any ANT+ CPU. If you don't ride with a CPU, we recommend our PowerBeam Pro with Joule offering, but if you already have a Garmin, SRM, CycleOps, or any other ANT+ compatible head unit, you'll be able to share your training data with the PowerBeam Pro. Additionally, with a CPU, you gain all of the same functionality of a PowerTap power meter. So, you can view real-time data like your power in watts, power zones, peak power, caloric work in kilojoules, cadence, heart rate, ascent, gradient, time, distance, and way more. Even better, all of this data is transmitted wirelessly with ANT+ technology.
And while all of this is incredible, the standout feature of the PowerBeam Pro has to be its training software capabilities. With this trainer, you gain access to CycleOps' Virtual Training software. This enables you to select from a huge database of rides, or you can set your own ride with either your's or Virtual Trainer's GPS data. Once your ride is selected, you simply download the ride data to your ANT+ stick, select training or race mode, and then the trainer's resistance levels will adjust for the virtual road's gradient and difficulty. On top of this, you can view your route on your computer's display. And when your ride is completed, your data will be stored on your own Virtual Training profile for review or for comparison against others. Basically, the software is simple to use, and takes away much of the inevitable boredom that stems from the hours of staring at a wall while in the saddle.
The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer is available in one size and in the color Black. The trainer includes CycleOp's Virtual Training Software, as well as an ANT+ USB stick for wireless PC connection. Please note that the PowerBeam will accommodate both road and mountain bikes, however, 120mm axle spacings are not supported. Sorry track bikes.
What community has to say
Can anyone please share their thoughts on...
Can anyone please share their thoughts on this product. It's hard to find individual reviews that are recent.
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I have had mine since last winter, and have used it a good amount. The trainer, itself, is really nice (same frame etc as all of the nicer Cycleops trainers. The setup was pretty simple, but the old VirtualTrainer software was pretty dated (this is now updated with an ITunes version that's super easy to use). The functionality is great, and being able to ride actual routes (around the world) keeps you motivated. I despise riding a trainer (usually stick to rollers - almost as bad - but it's just not the same workout) and this is as tolerable as I've found.
The old software was just lousy. The new ITunes version let's you stream routes, so you don't have to download 2gig maps off the web.
The powertap resistance unit doesn't react instantaneously. It can take a few seconds to respond to a steep pitch during a ride. This doesn't affect anything, other than it helps you cheat the route a bit!
Overall, I'm extremely pleased. I've used some of the other VR trainers that are out there, and this is the most solid/stable/"it just works"-ish version I've seen. If you have to ride the trainer a fair amount, it's a worthwhile investment, especially since Saris/CycleOps is so great with standing behind their product.