1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63

    Mag Trainer Advice?

    I purchased a magnetic trainer today to get some exercise, become familiar with pedaling again, and test using the trigger shifters. I mounted the bike, started at 2/3 front/rear (so tenth gear? something like that) and worked my way to 3/4-3/5. Worked up a real sweat over 30 minutes, but I'm wondering if this will really be helpful when riding?

    Is using such a high gear on maximum resistance working the correct muscles for building endurance? If so I'm really a lot weaker than I had imagined. I know in actual riding you are supposed to build cadence (sp?) in low gears for climbing and open up to higher gears for down hill, but I'm not sure which practice is going to be best on the Mag trainer.

    Also, I was wondering if going imediately from 2/3 to 3/3 will cause damage? With the resistance so high I could actually use this for tabata sprints as long as I'm not causing too much stress on the parts.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 70sSanO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    475
    Coming from a road background the one thing I miss is being able to get out of the saddle on a really tough climb and stair step up a hill. It just doesn't work in the dirt.

    Since I come from a high cadence, and I can't stair step on a mtb, I find the opposite is more beneficial to me. There are times when being able to grind it out with low cadence power is the only way you are going to make it to the top. At that point all the spinning in low gears has long since vanished.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63
    Thanks for the advice. I'm still not 100% sure what settings are going to be best for building endurance, but I find myself using 2 front and 3-7 rear mostly. Changing front while riding on the mag trainer seems to put a lot of stress on the chain. the mag is set at maximum resistance so even letting off the pedals a bit while changing the front ring doesn't feel right. Either way I'm working up more of a sweat than sitting on the couch.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    282
    u should run drills, not just stick with one gear all the time, google or youtube cycling training schedules. they do intervals of sprinting, resting then other days do the zones. mtbiking is power+endurance so u should do all around exercises

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63
    I'll check them out. I just started back riding after 11 years of being a professional couch potato so any advice is a great thing. I've been on the mag trainer for 2 hours total today. Sadly it didn't come with a level block so all of my weight is thrown forward. The bike gloves help a bit, but my arms and chest feel tighter than my legs after about 30 minutes.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,625
    Their a couple of phone books under the front wheel. It's the same thing.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,928
    I use about 60% of an electronics catalog. I tore it at the height that just fit under my rear wheel.

    One of my old roommates was really funny about mag trainers. In real life, she's a biologist, but she worked for a bike shop for one summer because wtf. She says there are two kinds of used turbo trainers. There are the ones someone used twice, discovered they hated, and threw in the back of their closet, and there are the ones a racer owned, used for many hours a week over the winter, used at races, basically used up. (They do wear out, though it takes a very long time.)

    I guess I fall in between. I'm typing with my thumbs and don't have my log in front of me, but I spent a fair amount of time on my trainer this winter. It's just like cycling... except without any of the things that make cycling fun or more pleasant.

    I think it's important to approach trainer sessions with a goal. At least, unless you're one of those mutants who can happily sit in front of the TV pedaling Zone 2 for hours at a time. With all due respect, your goal is a bit of a wtf to me. Can you not get some exercise, become familiar with pedaling again, and get accustomed to your shifters outside? I see posts here from time to time from people who think they need to improve their aerobic fitness in order to ride trails. I don't think that's true, though. So maybe you won't climb as fast as some guy in lycra, on a $3000 bike, who's spent the last fifteen years trying to beat other lycra-clad adults around an arbitrary loop in a semi-abandoned city park. BFD. This is about you. If you want to ride trails, go ride trails. The fitness will come. If you can't finish a climb in the saddle, walk it. Try it again next time.

    It never means anything to me when people refer to gears by number. I don't know the direction you're counting in, your wheel size, your gear ratios. Although the fact that subjectively for you, it's a high gear is meaningful. I don't think pushing a high gear around is very useful. With a little practice, people tend to be more efficient at higher cadences. To put a number on it, that's 90 rpm, give or take about 10. Your muscles do have to learn the firing pattern, though. The other benefit is that you're a lot less likely to give yourself an overtraining injury, which does come up when people shove too-high gears around. The other other benefit is that you get more consistent traction off-road.

    My wife and I have a good laugh about stuff like tabata. Though, truth be told, I'm not even quite clear on the protocol, though I understand it's a kind of interval training that claims to be able to replace a much longer workout. That may be true, but as someone who does interval workouts on occasion, I can say that Zone 4 feels like dying, Zone 5 really is dying, and they both feel like they take a lot longer than I actually spend in them. I think interval workouts are also better done by someone who's done enough base training to have good technique and stable joints. Otherwise, you risk overtraining injuries.

    That said, Zone 2 on a trainer is incredibly boring. And without the wind passing over my body, it's really hot. (Get a fan! A big one.) So if you want to try some interval workouts instead, it'll be easier to get through your half hour.

    Off the cuff, here's a 30-minute workout to try:
    10 minutes Zone 2
    5 minutes Zone 3 (shifting to the next cog is usually enough for me)
    2 minutes Zone 2 (or just easy spin if you feel like crap)
    5 minutes Zone 3
    2 minutes Zone 2
    1 minute at max. effort (but be conservative about gear selection. Keep a good spin going.)
    5 minutes Zone 2 (or easy spin, or you could do 4 minutes in 2 and the last easier)
    Declare victory and take a shower.

    You could do the same thing on a bike path but if I had real trails or hills near me, I'd choose to do that instead and feel pretty comfortable that I was getting just as good use of my training time. And more importantly, it's more fun.

    On a bit of a tangent, I use my trainer on maximum resistance too. It seems to be quieter, and I can lower my power output to something realistic by using a relatively easy gear. I think resistance selection is a little bit of a silly feature, though I guess if someone only had road bikes with a 39/25 smallest gear, it could be nice to have some lower resistances available at the trainer head.

    On another side note, I use a heart rate monitor for structured workouts, and set zones using the field test on Joe Friel's blog. If you don't want to buy a heart rate monitor, you can also do it based on perceived exertion. Zone 2 is a level of effort you can keep up for hours. Zone 3 is a little hard, but sustainable for about an hour, and it's still fun, at least outside. The upper boundary of Zone 4 is the highest average heart rate you can sustain for half an hour. I can feel the lactic acid starting to collect in my legs in this zone, and it may give me a stitch in my side or some referred pain near my collar bone. I spike into it briefly pretty often on a trail ride, but sustaining it definitely sucks. Zone 5 is everything above zone 4, which is to say it's not sustainable, it makes my legs feel like crap, if I stay there for several minutes I sometimes feel nauseous, and it's very much a part of racing. (Still want to do tabata? ) If you do get a heart rate monitor, don't waste your time on the age-based formulas. The error band is wider than some of the training zones, so you can end up a lot further off your goals for your workout than if you just did it on PE. The cliche about amateur athletes is that if you were to ask us at any time what zone we were in, we'd probably be able to answer correctly. But we have a tendency to work too hard on easy days and not hard enough on intervals days; a heart rate monitor can be a great way to get some feedback when I start to drift. Though again - lately, I just go ride someplace fun, and let the workout take care of itself.

    Clearly I haven't had enough coffee... anyway, good luck!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63
    Wow AndrwSwitch, I feel like I just read a novel :P

    I have some excuses for using the trainer, though not very good ones. I bought it so that I could come home from my 3 14 hour days at work and jump on the trainer before bed. Also, getting used to the pedaling motion after 11 years of not even touching a bike was a big idea, though not really as effective because I'm not having to balance and therefore not really learning much.

    By the numbers I'm counting 1= granny, 3 = largest gear in the front and the opposite in the back, with 1 being largest and so on. I did an interval session last night following this video and just wanted to curl up and sleep afterwards:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeEH...T70XQ9eMaXcY7A

    I now see that the mag trainer isn't going to be as helpful as I wanted, but building up my pedaling form seems to be a good thing. At least I can hop on and read my college chapters while burning some of the 245lbs of spare tire.

    I feel like a little kid on my bike though. Do they make training wheels for 26" mountain bikes?

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,928
    LOL, I have a worse tendency to do that before I have my coffee.

    If balance is really that hard, drop your saddle so you can put your foot down more firmly. It wouldn't be a good way to ride long-term, but it shouldn't take you that long. Granted, my longest break was about six years...

    Lately, not even kids get training wheels. I think a lot of my teammates just chuck 'em when they get pedal bikes for theirs. Granted, their kids are on balance bikes pretty much as soon as they're walking, but you can get about the same thing by lowering your saddle.

    I've gone back and forth on the greater convenience of a trainer. If I have to set it up each time, it's almost definitely worse than just going for a ride. When I leave it set up, it's really about on par - I still sweat, so I still have to change and shower. But if it's dark or the weather sucks, I don't need to mess around with lights and I find I'd rather be on a trainer than be rained on heavily, although light rain isn't so bad with fenders and a cycling cap to keep it off my face.

    If you're close-ish to work and school, commuting by bike is also a great way to do some more riding without adding a lot of opportunity cost.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63
    I wish I was close enough to bike it. Technically I am (24 miles each way) but adding 3-4 hours of cycling to a 14 hour work day would not be fun.

    Next week I'm planning to mix it up a bit. I'll take the bike out and ride on the silver trail a bit, then Thursday night I'll hook it back up to the mag so that Fri-Sun (my work days) I can hit it for some training after work. It sure beats driving the extra 20 miles to the gym and grinding out an hour on the tredmil...

Similar Threads

  1. Wahoo Kickr Trainer: Is this the Trainer I've Been Looking For?
    By The Boz in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-12-2014, 06:25 PM
  2. advice please regarding using CycleOps Fluid2 trainer with mountain bike
    By mforness3000 in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-23-2013, 07:06 AM
  3. need to find a trainer... best deal? fluid trainer?
    By shugarbear in forum Where are the Best Deals?
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-17-2013, 09:24 PM
  4. Air pressure advice -- trainer tire.
    By GotoDengo in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-16-2011, 11:27 AM
  5. Personal trainer trainer courses
    By cabbgage in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-02-2011, 05:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •