Teaching to a room full of new Indoor Cycles with power & cadence monitors is awesome, if your club has made, or is ready and willing to make the investment. So what are the options for adding metrics to conventional cycles like the Star Trac Spinner® Pro, NXT or those made by Schwinn and others?
Let's get this part out of the way. At this time there is no, known option to add a power meter (that displays watts) to any Indoor Cycle that wasn't designed with power as an option. I get that question a lot.
How about a speed/distance meter? Nope. You can't accurately measure speed and/or distance by measuring the rotations of the flywheel. Could you install a bicycle computer and would it display something like speed/distance? Yes, but what you're seeing is nonsense. Years ago I watched my club add cheap bike computers to our NXTs in preparation for an indoor triathlon. It was comical to watch everyone spinning away like hamsters on crack, trying to reach their required distance. Please don't waste your time or money on this.
What can be added is a cadence (RPM) meter to display a riders pedaling speed. Not the same as power/watts, but it would make a big improvement to your class and simplify your cuing. I've talked to dozens of instructors who really aren't interested in teaching to power... but they almost all appreciate cuing to RPM and having everyone seeing their cadence.
Your options for installing a cadence meter to an indoor cycle are:
- Wired Cadence Computer (NOT Recommended) - you'll need to run the wire down to the sensor added to one crank arm and the computer either needs to be attached to the cycle's frame (because the handlebars move) or you'll need to leave a bunch of cable slack so you can raise the bars. Looks tacky and I guarantee someone will rip off the wires no mater how carefully you route them.
- Wireless Cadence Computer - I like the big numbers on this CatEye Wireless Speed and Cadence Bicycle Computer.
- A wireless cadence sensor used with an iPhone or Android device. The picture at the top of this post shows the Wahoo Cadence Sensor which works with any of the dozens of free cycling Apps. Installation couldn't be easier > you just stick it on one crank arm and pair it to your phone. There aren't any magnets. This might not be the best option for a studio, but would be perfect for anyone training at home.
Speaking of Wahoo - I hear they are coming out with their new TICKR HR Strap - a Heart Rate strap that transmits both ANT+ and Bluetooth. Why this is important is your iPhone/Droid doesn't pickup ANT+, only Bluetooth. In the past you'd need to purchase a Wahoo ANT+ Key, a "Dongle" to plug into your device to read ANT+ signals. It's supposed to be out in a month or so and I'll let you know if you're on our newsletter list. You can join for free if you aren't.
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