Puck Computrainer: $2034
Magnatic Sensor: $1,862
For 30 years the Computrainer from RacerMate has been the gold standard of the bike trainer industry, possibly the most accurate and durable trainer on the market. The folks at Computrainer created the first windtrainer back in the 1970s, then started the electronic trainer era with the first ergometer available to the public for indoor training. Originally geared towards cyclists, it didn’t take the company long to figure out that triathletes were their best clients, and Computrainers quickly became a standard accessory for triathletes around the world.
It is not unusual to meet athletes who have had a Computrainer in their basement for 15 to 20 years. The trainers are virtually indestructible and can always be upgraded to the latest version. The software has gone from primitive 2D graphics to the live video courses over the years and you can download or purchase almost every Ironman or Ironman 70.3 course in the world, a great way to prepare for a race. Computrainer also provides an innovative SpinScan program that allows you to monitor your pedal efficiency and make marked improvements on your cycling. A few years ago the release of the Computrainer One software made it much easier to use almost all of the features available for the Computrainer, including courses, pacers and multi-rider competitions. The accuracy of the Computrainer makes it a great tool for testing, too, so you can keep track of your improvements along the way. The company is so sure you’ll see improvements that it offers a money back guarantee if you don’t improve your power by 20 per cent and your speed by four to six km/h.
But things have become a lot more competitive in the trainer market over the last few years and many of the Computrainer features that were once industry-leading like pedalling efficiency, left and right efficiency and power comparisons, a variety of courses, along with all the power metrics are standard on other high-end trainers, too, which seemed to hurt the popularity of the Computrainer in the triathlon community. Some new innovations due before the end of the year are likely to put Computrainer back at the cutting edge of the trainer industry, though. (And, as mentioned, all Computrainers will be upgradeable to be able to utilize these features.) The incorporation of WiFi and Bluetooth will make the Computrainer a more popular option for those who have been drawn towards units with easy connectivity and put Computrainer back at the top of the industry.
By Kevin MacKinnon