Bike Gadgets Guide
Bike training tech’ gadgets have come a long way. There are a lot of options depending on your budget and what you want to know as you ride, or when you get home and upload to your computer.
Standard bike computers offer functions such as speed distance and time. They gather information from sensors, most are wireless to reduce the chance of snagging wires and also for neater looks. Standard non-GPS computers offer all the basics at a lower cost than a GPS compuiter.
Tracked GPS computers ditch the sensors and use satellites instead, to track speed, time, distance and routes. Using satelites instead of on the bike sensors means that GPS computers are easy to fit as well as wasy to use. GPS computers allow far more detail to be gleaned from rides and online training platforms such as Strava make full use of data collected from GPS.
Heart Rate Monitors
Heart rate monitors are a useful training aid, often used in conjunction with power meters by those who take their performance seriously. Some GPS computers can log HR data using a chest strap which transmits via Bluetooth, the GPS computer stores the data ready for upload to training platforms.
Ideal for multisports athletes and anyone who trains / races lots of different activities. Sports watches usually offer GPS tracking and heart rate, some offer metrics for swimming and running as well as recovery, heart rate zones etc.
Being able to train at home when the weather is terrible, or you fancy a change, is a real bonus. Even the most basic trainers or rollers can give a decent workout and replicate to some extent riding on the road. More realistic feeling trainers can make it more enjoyable or painful, depending on how you view training. Specific tyres for trainers which work with the rear wheel in the bike are designed to grip the trainer roller and wear much less than regular road tyres. A large cooling fan is also a great accessory to reduce sweating and a trainer mat is ideal for catching sweat before it pools the floor. It's also important to clean the sweat from your bike after your home work out - bike components can corrode through being exposed to salt from sweat.
Home trainers which can connect to online platforms such as Zwift are known as Smart Trainers. Smart trainers can be wheel-in or wheel-out depending on the model. Resistance is either through fluid displacement or flywheel which can both offer very realistic ride feel. Smart trainers can replicate terrain on Zwift and make riding on a trainer much more interesting. Online racing through Zwift has also become more popular in the last couple of years, this utilises Smart Trainers to the maximum.
The next step up from Smart Trainers is a Smart Bike. Smart bike’s offer a complete bike and trainer in one neat package. Fully adjustable in every dimension, even crank length, Smart Bikes are great if you want to keep your road bike for the road.
Not all bike gadgets are designed to monitor or help improve performance. Trackers such as the Sherlock GPS Tracker allow your bike to be located in the event of it being stolen. A hidden gps tracker is ideal for keeping your irreplaceable bike in your possession, lightweight and unobtrusive, trackers are the fit and forget technology you won’t regret should your bike be stolen.