Become your own test subject.
The CycleOps Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle is the tippy-top of the indoor training hierarchy. This is because its seamless integration with CycleOps' revolutionary VirtualTraining program allows you to recreate the effect of an outdoor ride with the control that researchers enjoy in their laboratories. Become your own test subject by tailoring the conditions of a virtual outside world in your own living room.
Having the breadth of data tracking, virtual terrain options, and training plans comprised by CycleOps' VirtualTraining program is amazing, but we admit putting the system together is taxing. You have to plug the included Ant+ USB stick into your computer, tablet, or device, and then you have to download the VirtualTraining program. See? Pretty tough.
The Phantom 5 doesn't include a computer because it's designed to work solely through VirtualTraining. If you're looking for an indoor trainer that doesn't require an additional device and program, check out the Phantom 3, which offers all of the data but without the quick connection to VirtualTraining.
The Phantom 5 shares the Phantom 3's compatibility with most Garmin Ant+ and PowerTap products, but it adds Bluetooth Plus to up the ante even more. The range of data collection means that, though, we've mostly focused on its winter applications as a foul-weather friend, the Phantom's precise metric gathering (an industry-leading +/- 1.5%) makes it an ideal platform for a regimen that lets you manage all of the external variables for training or testing your form, regardless of the conditions outside. The beauty of riding in your living room is there are no wind or road obstacles to skew your times.
But we admit: the thought of riding indoors while staring at the wall isn't terribly appealing. CycleOps agrees, so it's throwing in a free, two-week trial of CycleOps VirtualTraining. With VirtualTraining, you can happily ignore all of the workout information accumulating on the Joule while enjoying the scenery of virtual courses the world over. Or, if you don't have a flair for the exotic, you can actually create your own virtual training route to celebrate summer on your favorite local loop all winter long.
The Phantom's fit is adjustable at four points. The saddle moves fore and aft and the seatpost can be raised and lowered. The handlebars receive the same treatment: fore and aft, up and down. You can also swap your saddle and pedals from road bike to stationary cycle. It's not an exact replica of your outdoor friend, but the Phantom 5 lets you create a fit and feel that closely mimic — if not virtually mirror — your beloved machine. But don't worry, it's only really cheating if you get caught. Your bike never has to know.
The Phantom's frame is made of steel, the old standby, and the base consists of a pair of steel chevrons with adjustable feet for a stable platform whether you're mashing, grinding, or just virtual-noodling. Its 48-pound flywheel is situated at the rear, so you don't gum it up with sweat. (We still recommend having a fan set up nearby, because you also don't want to gum-up anything else.) The handlebar-mounted bottle holders will keep you supplied with plenty of water to sweat out, and CycleOps' inclusion of a freewheel means you can literally coast during virtual descents.
- Steel frame
- Chevron-shaped base feet
- ANT+ and Bluetooth Plus functionality
- Pairs with CycleOps VirtualTraining program
- +/- 1.5% metric accuracy
- 48-pound flywheel
- Compatible with 9/16 pedal axles
Reviews & Community
What type of resistance management does the phantom 5 use and how does it work with virtual course tools. Is it magnetic (silent) and does it adjust itself using virtual training tools?
If its anything like my Cyclops 400, its a friction resistance. There's an arm with a felt pad that presses against the flywheel, and is controlled via the head unit.
Best cycling investment ever
I purchased the 420 pro 2 years ago, basically the same as the phantom 5 but without Bluetooth. It has logged many hours without any problems whatsoever. After about 3,000 miles I looked at doing maintenance, but it needed nothing, the chain was still in specification, I am still on the original battery. I use it with virtual training and with Zwift, works like a charm. It is solid and I believe the best value by a long shot compared to other makes. For those complaining and having problems, you need a bit of technical savvy to use this machine to it's full extent, then it can do anything and everything any other trainer can do. If you are not technically inclined, you may need support, however I cannot comment as I never needed help. Best cycling investment I have ever made. Better interval training sessions than on my road bike outside, as they are programmed to my exact needs without any road distractions.
Solid Hardware locked to so-so software
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I am a trainer junky. I ride my KK Rock&Roll at least three times a week and sometimes more if I can?t get out and was looking for a way to keep wear off my road bike. Having a dedicated stationary bike with resistance appealed to me because it would let me focus on my power goals and keep the miles off the bike.
The CycleOps Phantom 5 bike itself seems nice. It is built like a gym spin cycle, solid, good looking, and can probably last the 10 years of the frame warranty. I don't really have any issues with the bike itself. Keep in mind though, the electronics only have a 1 year warranty and the bike is a paperweight without electronics.
The problem is this bike is not based on the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro (or Cycleops 400, 410 or 420 models that preceded it) which are well supported by third party software. So if you use TrainerRoad, PerfProStudio or Zwift, you can get the power meter to connect but not the resistance, making it useless.
On the CycleOps Phantom 5, CycleOps decided to stop supporting other training software now that they have their own at $10 a month (or more). Before you buy this bike, go download virtualtraining.eu and try that out with your current trainer and see what you think. Can you live with this software and its cost for as long as you have the bike? Is it compelling enough to make you want to ride indoors? I didn't think so but everybody is different.
Works Well For Me
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I have had my unit since January and I had a few issues getting it up and running. The instructions aren't great and it was unclear just what interface device would be best to use. That said, technical support both on the phone and via email was helpful. They recommended a Galaxy Note 10.1 and that combination has worked well. I had a bit of a mechanical issue early on with the rear axle moving forward but technical support and I figured out what had happened and once adjusted all was well. Operationally it can be a bit quirky at times but all and all it works great. It can't read your mind and so sometimes it will tighten the resistance a bit too aggressively if you back off but then it reduces it quickly as well. This machine is the easiest way to do intervals imaginable. While I have not used the virtual reality function with video that many times when I have it has worked fine. Yes, it has frozen once but I was trying to do other things on the tablet at the same time. Some routes seem to have better data than others but that isn't surprising since many are user uploaded. Considering the range of devices and operating systems that can work with the unit it is reasonable that some work better than others. Perhaps I have had fewer problems because I bought the device that was recommended and use it almost exclusively with the trainer. Regardless, all and all I am very pleased with my purchase and everyone else in the house appreciates the lack of noise emanating from the basement when compared to when I would attempt to watch TV while riding my Kreitler Rollers w/headwind kit!