If I were to sum myself up as an athlete I would simply say, “I like fitness.” I played traditional high school sports, I was once a runner, had a brief stint with rock climbing, I attend a CrossFit gym, and in the summer you won't catch me anywhere but on mountain bike trails or pushing watts pedaling up Vermont hills. This being said, I don’t consider myself a true "cyclist". So why do I love the BikeErg so much?
- It works. I have seen many athletes share this exact phrase. There is no coasting. If you aren’t pedaling, you are slowing down. With a clutched flywheel, there is no option to coast along, you are constantly having to push down and pull through the pedal stroke to be propelling yourself forward. The damper on the BikeErg acts like gearing, and if you are using a fairly high drag factor, you will feel every waking pedal stroke. I tend to train in a lower drag factor of 65-70, and if I bump that up I quickly feel that lactic acid build up.
- Connectivity. Chances are you’re familiar with our LogBook. Being able to see where I stand in the world or in my age group certainly gives me some motivation. My true loves at the moment are Zwift and Sufferfest. Both apps are absolutely amazing, for very different reasons. In Zwift, I am riding along in a virtual world with (or against!) thousands of people. I sign up for virtual races, group rides, and find time flying by as I try to keep up in this virtual world. SufferFest, as the name so gently infers, is a training app that absolutely makes you work. After doing a 4-part test, there is a plethora of workouts to choose from, which are giving you target wattage outputs to hold for seconds, minutes or in increasing intervals. For anyone that’s been near me during one of these workouts, they will know quite quickly I’m not on a recovery ride. Sufferfest also includes a bit of humor that just makes the pain a hair more tolerable. (You usually don’t expect to be chased by a T-Rex in the middle of a HIIT workout.)
- Watts. If you’re new to Concept2, or old to cycling, training with watts make sense. When using the BikeErg, I prefer to use watts as a unit of power. I can easily compare my sustained or maximal outputs to others, or efforts from a real life effort that I can see I've uploaded to apps like Strava. You may have heard people talk about their "Functional Threshold Power" (FTP) or the world record for watts sustained in an hour. When using Zwift, the common calculation used is watts/kilogram. This rating best dictates your movement. A 90 kg athlete producing 200 watts will be going uphill a bit slower than a 60 kg athlete producing 200 watts. I also will use watts when training on the RowErg or SkiErg, but for cycling I find using watts to be the best measure for training. I almost never use pace, kilometers per hour (kph) or miles per hour (mph) because those measures aren’t reflecting other factors such as wind, road conditions, etc. Watts are your true measure of power.
- Variability. You absolutely can argue this is available on all three Concept2 ergs, but I really like the BikeErg for how much I can vary how I use it and how much I get out of it. If you’re not interested in training for an hour but you want to blow your legs up, try 1 minute max effort. This is that jelly feeling we hate to love. If one round isn't enough, try intervals or a 4k. When I train for an effort such as average wattage for 30 minutes, I may have a goal cadence of 88-90 rpm, but I can adjust the damper like gearing and make myself hold a similar wattage at a higher or significantly lower cadence. The damper working more like gearing really allows you to train specifically for anything from endurance to higher cadence, hills, sprints, etc. With various ways to connect, you can really stayed entertained.
- Inclusive. Whether you are "Mr. Quads" or "Mrs. Quads" or you want to cycle to get back into shape, the BikeErg is for you. Like all Concept2 ergs, the BikeErg is as hard or as easy as you want to make it. If you want to cycle at an 80 rpm cadence but you need a lighter setting, you can adjust the damper. If you want to feel like you’re pedaling through mud, the BikeErg has you covered. With a quick release on the seat and a twist of a knob, you can switch between a 6’5” tall individual right to someone who’s 5’3” and it doesn’t matter if you’re training for a triathlon or just starting a fitness regimen, the BikeErg can work for you.