Active turbo trainers are becoming more widespread; trainers which provide data feedback to the user. Minoura have approached things slightly differently, with their Live Training System that integrates via iPhone with their existing trainers to provide power readings.
These are the prices are the various elements:
Live Ride 760 trainer £299.99
Wahoo key £67
Speed/cadence sensor £49.99
HR strap £49.99
We gave the system a fairly comprehensive overview when Minoura first let us know about it (http://road.cc/content/news/63211-ride-your-favourite-routes-indoors-minoura-live-training-app) so I won't go too far into those details here. Basically, the system works using an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor, connected to your iPhone using an ANT+ dongle (Wahoo Key), which then, using the Live Training app, calculates your current power output, given the trainer's resistance setting. It works with any V-Series or LiveRide model - Minoura sent us an LR760 for this review; a magnet resistance type turbo.
There was some discussion as to whether to review each of these items separately but since the Live System is the thing most will be interested in, we felt it best to group it all together. All the parts can be bought separately and used on their own or with other devices/apps. Likewise, the app will work with any ANT+ dongle (although I believe the Wahoo one is the only licensed one at the moment) and ANT+ sensors such as Garmin or the integrated Trek ones. You're also going to want an iPhone mount, like the Minoura one I recently reviewed. http://road.cc/content/review/71712-minoura-phone-grip-smartphone-holder
As far as revolution sensors go, there isn't a lot between the different manufacturers. The frame sensors mount using rubber o-rings; what's slightly different here is that the main bulky part can be removed, leaving behind the mount so you don't have to fiddle around with the o-rings again if you want to save a bit of weight for a big event, or need to change the batteries. The EMF revolution detection is tried and tested and works just as expected here, with minimal faffing around getting the distance right. Being ANT+, my Garmin was able to pick them up too. Price wise, you're getting both cadence and speed sensors in one package, rather than one which does both. This makes the £50 quite a bit more attractive than competing sensors (it's worth noting, the app will work with just the speed sensor).
The Live Training app also shows heart rate, using ANT+ again. Minoura sent us their strap, which is a solid offering, adopting a soft plastic section with electrodes, like the ones that come with Garmins. I found I could scale the strap well to my small chest, with it remaining in place and comfortable throughout riding - something I often struggle with on other brands. Pricing is a little higher than others however, with very little to differentiate. I'd have thought most buying into this system would already have a suitable strap anyway, so you might be able to save £50 there.
A twin magnet turbo, the LR760, I found to be quiet, smooth, and very well built overall. The locking and tyre engagement are easy to use: a single plastic lever is used to close in and clamp the rear quick release, after adjusting on the other side to the correct distance. Tyre engagement is by means of two dials: one is adjusted until the roller is just touching the tyre, then a second, larger dial, with a quarter turn, applies the correct contact pressure.
My personal turbo is fluid resistance and I found the LR760 to have a similar feel; resistance is consistent with no vibration and a natural feel. Part of this smoothness is clearly down to how well constructed the unit is. A large 2.7kg flywheel is neatly machined and the stand remains well put.
One thing differing from my normal fluid trainer is the addition of a resistance dial. It's another thing to have to set up on your bars and I generally ended up staying on one setting and just using my gears, which worked fine.
The final part to the system is a £6.99 app. While £6.99 isn't a lot, I was surprised a token for the app wasn't included with the LR760 or at least offered at 69p, especially considering the app is useless except to those that have already paid a fair chunk into the Minoura ecosystem.
Thankfully, the app has been designed well and was a pleasure to use, so it's only the principle of the £6.99 that is the issue. The app auto-pauses when speed is zero or switched and a music app can be used in the background. All things said, you do get the £11.99 Sufferfest 'Local Hero' training video included, which is nice.
Three options are presented in the app: general, interval and course, all with exportable ride files (Strava, Twitter, Facebook, TCX). General shows time, power, speed, cadence and heart rate, and allows you to simply ride the trainer to your own desire. The interesting ones are interval and course.
Interval mode allows you to construct a session that it then presents in an innovative way. A ticker along the top moves along in time with the current interval, meaning you can easily see how much longer there is to go and what is coming next. It's the first time I've felt a smartphone wins over a bike computer, it's a much better way of visualising an interval session than most others can manage.
Course mode is where you can import a ride file (kml, gpx) and the app will attempt to simulate it by telling you what resistance to set the trainer at. It's a great little feature and works as intended - if a little boring just looking at a red line of your ride as you move in real-time. The only issue comes with setting the resistance and is the same issue I had throughout: having to fiddle around with the dial can be a pain and I much prefer to use the gears. You can get away with that during the other modes, but in course, where the resistance changes automatically, not changing it will throw off the power estimate. It's not a deal breaker but it would be nice if the trainer resistance were ANT+ too, and could be seamlessly adjusted.
Talking of the power estimation, I found it to be generally true to their +/-5% accuracy, which is impressive. I say generally because I tested the trainer with my Powertap and found that it was constantly around 20W below its reading, meaning the percentage accuracy changes depending on speed - the app is using a formula given the power curve of the magnetic resistance and wheel speed. At 200W though, considering both device's 5% threshold, the trainer is true to their rating and since consistent, useful for power intervals but not testing.
The Live Ride system is a package, which has a high price of entry if considered in complete form at retail (£473.96). I don't think many will be buying into the whole package in one swoop though, and will already have the sensors required to activate the system. That leaves the ANT+ dongle, app and LR760, which I've seen selling for around £255.
If you're one of these people who wants to toy with power in their intervals, I think the LR760 is a great option. You'll have to get the dongle, but that will no doubt come in useful with other apps, such as Strava. Add in the fact that you're getting a top quality turbo and it looks like good value to me.
Top quality turbo with excellent motivational tools in the package.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Minoura Live Ride 760 Training system (Wahoo key £67, speed/cadence sensor £49.99, HR strap £49.99, app £6.99)
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
We're reviewing a complete power training package here: turbo, sensors, app and dongle. It's aimed at those who want a turbo trainer that does power but who might already have a Minoura trainer or some of the sensors.
I was surprised as to how well the power estimation worked and thought the complete package is great - if a little steep.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stable 'H' frame with independent folding legs.
Quick release mechanism
640 Watts resistance at 25mph
Includes Free 'Sufferfest' download training DVD
It's a solid unit and very smooth in operation.
The trainer provides a smooth and natural resistance, that is consistant through the speed range. Power reads around 20W below what my Powertap said but given most peoples working range is within the 5% threshold issued.
Good solid build, I'm always a little wary of resistance dials though, they are easy to break as they dangle around during setup or transport.
Average for a turbo trainer really: 8.6kg.
Nice smooth and natural feel to the resistance, with zero vibration. If you're talking about the discomfort turbos are able to create then....!
This is a difficult one: in terms of the complete package reviewed, it's a little pricey for a power trainer, even if all the sensors will come in useful in other parts of your riding. Considering many will have a lot of the parts already, I think it's a good value option however, and even if not, you could get the LR760 with intention of getting the other bits down the line.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a turbo trainer: great. As a powermeter: solid performance too, I think it's consistently off by 20W but at least it's consistant.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality of the app design. I was expecting a quickly got out the door job given the relatively small user base and default purchase but it was a joy to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The resistance dial but that's just my preference of using gears instead.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, since I already have a way of measuring power.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes - if there had the ANT+ sensors.
About the tester
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,