Computrainer Pro 3d Review

April 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

If you’ve been into cycling training for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt come across the Computrainer.  The Computrainer features power-based training, customizable courses, pedal spin analysis, and much more.  

I purchased a Computrainer at the beginning of last summer in part because I knew my work hours would limit my training and in part because it looked really cool.  I sold it several months back because, at the time, I wasn’t planning on getting back into triathlon and, if I had decided to, I live in San Diego so weather is rarely a problem.  In the time I had it, here’s what I thought:

Setup/Breakdown.  The initial set-up can be a bit confusing.  The directions included are not the clearest and it took a bit of guess work to get it going the first time.  After you figure out the settings and how to get it going, it is fairly easy to get set up again.  If you plan on using it on your main training bike, beware that all the cords and attachments (in addition to causing quite a mess), will probably take you about 5-10 minutes to set up each time you’d like to use it (assuming you didn’t leave them attached).  Overall, it’s not that big of a hassle, but it does take quite a bit more time than a traditional trainer.

Power Monitoring.  This feature is one that separates the Computrainer from most other trainers.  The power display provides a constant readout of your wattage output which is a great feature for training.  When you combine this feature with the customizable courses and resistance training, this is a very valuable tool.

Resistance & Customizable Courses.  This was far and away my favorite feature of the Computrainer.  Now, in order to create the customizable courses specific to certain roads (e.g. your favorite local ride), you have to purchase the TopoUSA software and racermate companion which allows you to create routes in TopoUSA and then convert those routes to Computrainer routes.  The Computrainer will translate elevation changes into increased resistance to create the sensation of a true outdoor ride (something that no traditional trainer can do).  If you don’t want to buy the software, there are many courses available for download for free, including all the Ironman courses.  

Spin Scan.  Have you ever wondered if you have an efficient pedal stroke?  Well the Spin Scan will let you know pretty quickly.  It analyzes your stroke and uses graphs to show you where your points of emphasis in your stroke are which can help you to have a more rounded stroke.  Pretty useful tool. 

Overall, the device is far and away the best trainer on the market.  I have the Blackburn Trackstand Ultra as well, and although this is a great stationary trainer, it’s not even in the same league of sophistication as the Computrainer (of course, the $1300 price difference might help to explain some of this variation).  The Computrainer is a product best suited for serious triathletes (e.g. training for a half ironman or higher) who have limited time and/or live in an area with inconsistent weather.  Of course, having an extra $1600 or so lying around doesn’t hurt either.

I very well may end up purchasing another Computrainer later this year in order to assist with my training after I start work.  I really like the device, I just wish it had a wireless cadence meter and handlebar computer.  


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Ride # 3 review Recovery Weeks

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