First Look Review – Technogym's new indoor bike
Nick Busca has spent more than a decade longing for the perfect turbo set-up. With Technogym’s new offering, the Ride, he believes he's found it
When I started using a turbo trainer, more than ten years ago, I was putting the thing together and deconstructing it all the time: put the bike on, climb on, train, climb off, take the bike off, repeat. After all, simply leaving the prehistoric turbo parked in the living room or bedroom was always a no go. It was a chunky, ugly piece of kit. To make things worse, on that turbo, I was of course using the same bike I was riding outdoors, and without much cleaning between sessions.
Then I moved to a slightly bigger flat, and I was lucky to get an “office” – where I placed a desk, a laptop, and my bike. I was constantly on the turbo trainer. It was a good set-up, too: I kept my TT bike on it for indoor sessions and I used the road bike for outdoor blasts. However, even this semi-idyllic set-up had its downsides. I can recall countless occasions where I had to stop my session and get something I had forgotten: to turn on the smart turbo trainer, for instance, or the fan, the tablet with Zwift, my music and Netflix. At times, I even forgot to put on my pedal-based power meter – what a faff.
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I’ve always dreamed of a stationary bike with everything I needed built in. First, I’ve always wanted an indoor set-up on which I can properly train, and that means performing effective low cadence, high-torque workouts, as if I were climbing L’Alpe d’Huez. Second, I wanted a bike that can upload the session to my training software as soon as I press the stop button. And third, I wanted a bike where I can watch that last season of Kobra Kai, a show that my wife and daughter can’t stand. I know: quite a stretch. Or is it?
As it turns out, not really. Because with the Ride, the Italian gym equipment colossus, Technogym, has created something that matches my dream pretty closely. The company has plenty of experience in indoor bikes, having previously produced the Bike (more tailored to spin classes) and Cycle (their comfort line). Now, with the Ride, they have upped their game towards those cyclists who don’t have a stationary bike yet, but want to train at home, and maybe compete on Zwift and Rouvy.
Their idea is simple and effective: having an all-in-one bike on which you can train effectively, without forgetting the entertainment and social aspect. From a design perspective, the Ride looks like the evolution and the fusion of the Wahoo and Tacx Neo bikes: a solid, steel frame developed for a rider to be able to push big watts. The Ride can also support 0-1,000w within 0.5 secs if you’ve got enough creatine phosphate in your quads. At the same time, the Ride’s dark grey colour, which features a sandblasted paint job with two layers of powder coating to add durability, gives the bike a classy look. Finally, its 22-inch screen offers an immersive experience.
From the screen you can choose a wide selection of performance-oriented apps to start your session: Training Peaks (where your structured workout can be visualised and followed in real time), Zwift, Rouvy, Kinomap, Globeracer, FullGaz; but also Strava, GCN, Netflix, Apple TV, and Eurosport. If you want to track your friends racing in the real world to get extra motivation, you can even tune in to Endu and the Ironman tracker. Those apps that are fully integrated, like Rouvy, do not require a set-up to get started. You just plug the Ride in, turn it on, and off you go. On the other hand, the apps that are compatible but not integrated, like Zwift, would need to be connected via USB (you can still follow your avatar on the Ride’s screen).
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At the same time, if you don’t have a scheduled session, or you want to spice it up with some variety, Technogym uploads three new workouts to their app every week. They’re led by a trainer and work like remote cycling classes. However, differently from standard spin classes, these can be tailored to your FTP (Functional Threshold Power, the maximum power you could sustain for one hour) or to a specific road gradient, for instance if you live in a flat area and need to train for a hilly sportive.
In order to match any anatomical shape and build, the Ride has also been conceived with bike fitting in mind. Its crank lengths can be adjusted (170, 172.5 and 175 mm), and if you’re cycling on a frame size 50 to 58+ cm, you can quickly translate your outdoor bike measurements onto the Ride. A final tech detail also makes the riding experience even more real. A smart switch on the hoods lets you choose between endless gear ratios when you ride in climb mode (who doesn’t want an extra gear on a climb?) or among different intensity targets if you’re cycling on ERG mode – which controls the power output by adding or removing resistance.
Related: You're not imagining it, cycling indoors is harder than cycling outside
The drive system works through a two-stage transmission (timing belt and Poly-V belt) which activates the electromagnetic brake, while the power is calculated through a torque flange sensor that works with optical readers. The Ride comes with a pair of SPD flat pedals and trainer cage as standard, but you can replace it with Look and SPD-SL systems. That means I can still forget to put on my pedals before I use it, but that’s my bad. With a bike like the Ride there’s no excuse. I can get a pair of cheap pedals, leave them on, and rely on their power numbers.
Of course, as a stereotypical Italian, I still dream of a bike that can make me a cup of coffee. And Technogym being Italian as well, I’m sure that if they’re not into it yet, at least they must have given it some thought. Because the Ride really can do everything else.