When I bought the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine fluid trainer two winters ago, I also got the bike computer that goes with it. The main purpose of the bike computer was to begin my foray into “training with power,” even if it was “power by math,” meaning the bike computer used a math formula to determine watts. Everything I read during the research and continue to read now says that the wattage is very close to real. “Close enough” was good enough as long as it was consistent.
I did find the power readings to be consistent. But I really don’t like the bike computer as a bike computer. Many reviews you might read comment on the non-user-friendliness of the screens, which I find to be absolutely true. There are just too many buttons to push, and the screen is too dark to read inside on my trainer in the winter (and fumbling with the backlight is really bothersome). And then….this was the kicker….the thing didn’t work at all during my one main race last summer…that really sealed the deal for me that this piece of gear needed to go away. (BTW, I sarcastically maintain that I bonked on the run because I went too hard on the bike because I didn’t have any data telling me I was going too hard other than my heart rate spiking…but I got that under control, and I still bonked. Well, that and it was hotter than expected, and I went out waaaay too hard on the swim, and a few other things).
So anywho…I dumped that Kurt Kinetic bike computer and have gone ANT+ gear all the way.
It all started back with the Sufferfest’s Tour of Sufferlandria. That’s how I found out about Trainerroad.com, and how you can really train with power on the cheap….and a truly useful manner. So, I geared up with a Garmin ANT+ USB Stick, although I recommend you get the mini-version from Suunto simply because it’s smaller and looks like it will stay out of the way better. Then I got the ANT+ Garmin cadence/speed sensor (super easy to install!) and an ANT+ Garmin Heart Rate Monitor (the “premium” version!”). As I went through the Tour of Sufferlandria, I really like the feedback I was getting with the (formula-based) power reading and heart rates and all that on the computer screen in conjunction with the Sufferfest workout….Really, that is really cool and you should check it out!
With my new-found love for the cadence/speed sensor and Heart Rate Monitor, I started looking for the perfect headset/computer to give me readouts when I was off the trainer and away from the computer screen. Alas, I found the Timex Global Trainer for $150 on Amazon! (seriously…$150 new without the HRM). Wow! I remember drooling over that when it first came out for $300. Now it’s sitting on my desk waiting to be used. I did some basic setup with it and learned how to use the most basic functions, and so far I like it (although the battery life seems short at this point….we’ll see about that this summer).
I am now quite happy with my data products. It cost a few bucks to upgrade to ANT+ gear, but I like it so far. They were all so easy to setup….and I didn’t have to run any wires or anything. And I can finally dump that Kurt Kinetic bike computer!
I wonder if I’m missing the opportunity to jump a tech-generation and go straight to the bluetooth products. But ultimately, I think it will be three years out til there are some good bluetooth products for Android (I’m no apple-fanboy). And, frankly, I don’t feel like keeping my 4.3″-screen-phone always out and viewable for for every bike ride.
For now, I’m quite happy about my gear.