Virtual ride - my dream of the future.........- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Hill eater
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    Virtual ride - my dream of the future.........

    Nothing beats the wind in your hair and the vitamin D of being outside, but a good virtual ride could be fun also.

    This dream was inspired about 6 years ago after my wife and I competed against each other on linked screen mountain bike video games at an arcade. You could pedal and lean the bike, steering was good, and the downhill trail graphics were a bit blockie but passable. It was top fun, and my tech interested mind began to expand upon the possibilities. But tech has been slow to improve.

    There are some home trainers that have virtual experiences out there now, but they are still too primitive for my liking. I'm 39 now, before I'm 60 I want the following. I expect the tech to available at local Gyms well before then, but be too expensive for the average consumer at home for years.

    Here is what I want.........

    A bike trainer with MTB/Road interchangeable bars, on pneumatic arms that give realistic force feedback for all types of terrain.

    The ability to lean the bike relative to gforce, auto adjusting resistance for hills that mimics the real course you might be riding. This would need to be very accurate to allow for real time racing online in a fair and repeatable manner. Be able to powerslide, wheelstand, bunnyhop, etc.

    Wrap round virtual glasses linked to head cam that moves the view with your head, so you can look at your mate you are riding with, wink at him and say "race you up the next hill".

    Other things would be like online gaming is now, you would form regular group rides, races, or just have a solo or random spin.

    Ride the tour course, real courses as tough as they are to ride for real, or MTB on the moon in zero gravity, whatever. MTB around the world, ride through a different country every day, with friends, or different people, or solo. Perhaps challenge yourself on a regular course and race against a ghost image of your best ride.

    This virtual exercise experience would be great for other sports also, but would still suck for swimming, and beach volleyball would be lacking something

    Dream on................
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  2. #2
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Funny. I dream about riding my bike outside. You know, on dirt. I hope I'm not dreaming differently when hitting 60...
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  3. #3
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    Would the system also have a pneumatic arm to perform endos while in the gym? What about mechanicals, could you say strip off your rear mech. and have an unplanned 2 hour hike a bike out? I guess the machine would have to lock you inside in the event of that. Maybe they could line the inside of the machine with thorns and banches that will randomly shoot out so you could still get the scars associated with MTBing.

    I'm half messing half serious here. For me, a big part of riding is being outdoors and a lot of the time it's about being away from other people so an environment like you suggested wouldn't appeal to me personally.

    I see this being simliar to people who take spin classes at the gym and then try to liken it to me being out on my road bike and talk the talk. Yes they were pedaling in their spin class, and some cyclists also take spin classes, but in my book you're not experiencing the same activity that I am if all you do is take spin classes and haven't been on a bike since you were a kid or your last vacation were you rented beach cruisers.

    I'm not an elitist at this though, anyone out on a bike is great to me regardless of how serious or not they are, it's what each individual wants to make of it. But I think high tech, very realistic mountain biking simulators won't ever become wide spread. Maybe to supliment dry spells like roadies using indoor trainers when it snows, but given the chance I think the population that would want the highly realistic experience will just go outside and ride.

    Who knows, maybe there is a demand and 20 years from now I'll be the only guy actually in the woods on a trail. Fine by me . Interesting idea though.

  4. #4
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    There's a video of this amazing VR machine for racing. I think mostly built for rally racing. Huge hydraulics. Think a racing seat and three huge screens wrapped around the main vision of the occupant suspended in a cradle with four huge hydraulic cylinders on each corner. The guy wrecks at the end of the video and the thing is jumping off of the ground. I'll try to find it when I get home and post it up. This just reminded me of that.

    I don't know, I think I know the exact game you're talking about, it's downhill racing. I've walked past that game many times and played it once waiting on air hockey. I can't say would ever worry about playing it again.

    Interesting, slightly philosophically thoughts just popped into my head. So, video games are a sort of virtual reality. There are things you can experience, although not fully usually, in video games that you might or very well couldn't ever get a chance to do in real life. So where would you draw the line on what you might want to do in real life and interesting things you might want to try in VR (not anything crazy, realistically, just think really good arcade game). For example I race my car on occasion and have a car that I specifically use for that, but being worked on right now so no racing for me : ( But at the same time me and a bunch of friends get together on occasion and go to Game Works and hop back and fourth between multiple very good (or just fun) racing games. You can drive a Suzuka in a Ferrari 355 Challenge for a few bucks, that's pretty cool.

    There are just certain thing's that should be done in the flesh to be truly appreciated. ; )

    While it would be an incredible experience to drive around Suzuka in a 355 Challenge, even if I had the money it would probably be cost prohibitive. There are many other tracks I would rather go to, and drive anything on them. Many other places I would rather go see things I could go do, hike around, bike around. I will go drive around the Nurburgring at some point.

    What about the idea of virtual reality for those that would never experience some things in real life? I find that idea really exciting too.
    Last edited by Trouble Maker; 07-13-2007 at 06:32 AM.

  5. #5
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    To skunkty14

    I see your point and agree to aspects of it, but perhaps the people who unfortunately have to buy the pollution masks from chainreaction because they live in polluted cities wouldn't mind riding inside.

    I do at least 5 hours outside per week myself, I'm lucky to be able to, my lifestyle and work location dictate that my other 5 hours training a week must be inside a gym.

    Also the fact that you could ride a simulation of awesome tracks you could never afford to get visit.

    I have done a bit of O.S. travelling, but getting my family to support me while I ride the Tour De France route, is not gunna happen in reality, but virtually ?

    Anyway, it's just a discussion point, thanks for your contribution
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  6. #6
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    Your on my track Trouble Maker
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
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  7. #7
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    Hey, I take spinning classes. : (

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble Maker
    Hey, I take spinning classes. : (

    And I probably should too slim down my heavy a$$. I wasn't intending to take a dig at spin classes, from what I've been told it's a great workout. I just referenced it in the context of people who only take spin classes, and never ride an actual bike. No offense was intended.

    Hey, if you check around I actually fall into two groups; snobby, posuer roadie wearing flashy jerseys some days, and dirtbag, beer swilling, toking mountain biker. I figure I lie somewhere in the middle; I guess that makes me a beer swilling dirtbag in posuer jerseys who's a snob. Or maybe just a fat guy on a bike.

  9. #9
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    If riding is so important to you, why don't you dream of a job, lifestyle, and location that allows you to actually ride!

  10. #10
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    I always thought a real rider could upload some visuals and energy data into a computer real time for the spin class, so all the poor souls could feel real.

    But I get to be the uploader.

  11. #11
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    Hmmmm, so much negativity, I thought after my opening statement we could avoid the "but outside is better" ****, obviously I agree.

    This is a different experience, that you can't ride out the front for, even if you move.

    I love riding outside, it's awesome......................but what I'm talking about is a different and added experience.

    So get with the program and add something of value, or piss off for a ride.

    Lets end the real is better ****.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skunkty14
    And I probably should too slim down my heavy a$$. I wasn't intending to take a dig at spin classes, from what I've been told it's a great workout.
    Sarcasm/joking doesn't come across well on the net sometimes (on my part here). I realized you were making a joke and I was joking back.

    Yeah, it is a great workout, you should try it sometime. I started going to get/keep in shape after the ski season before I started really riding, and it turns out I really liked it. I just started mountain biking this year and wanted to be able to go tackel a shortish (6mi) loop my first time out easily. I also like pushing my physical limits sometimes, running until failure, pushing until failure in spinning classes. Spinning is all about pushing yourself to what you feel comfortable with that day, I really like that part of it. You put the resistance where you want it. Also any class worth taking, the instructor will be very cool about you doing what you are comfortable with and emphasizing this, especially to any new people. It's a lot easier to make it over to my apartments gym (where I take the class) after work sometimes than it is to load the bike up, drive up to the trail, unload the bike, ride, load the bike back up, drive home, unload the bike. Then I still have to shower, my evening is shot, even to just run errands. I can go spin or run near my apartment and still go out to a lateish dinner. Having a specific times/days when the class happens helps to motivate me to get to it even more sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love actually going and riding, it's just time prohibitive sometimes when in my life I have a hard time finding time to even run or spin (both take less time/effort) and don't even do those as much as I should (mostly on the weekdays). It's great to fill in a couple of weekdays with spinning or running so I'm still getting a workout. Also I'm a huge fan of cross training, I bike (mountain), spin, run, need to add swimming sometime soon. You'd be surprised about the different muscles you will use in even just running compared to biking (talking just legs here).

    I'm no trainer or anything (but my sister is so I could ask her to be sure), but I've always heard people say that you won't really cut a lot of weight in a short amount of time by doing only aerobic workouts (relatively speaking compared to other types of workouts). Also the better you keep track of what you eat and how/when you eat it, the better. Obviously doing something is better than nothing, but I have seen how easy it is to get discouraged from lack of (fast) results because people go about it incorrectly or expect too much. Might wan to do a little research on it if you are serious about it.

  13. #13
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    I agree, and add, that my 5 hrs a week in the gym make me fitter and more able to enjoy my trail time and racing.

    Also I'm fresher for a ride, more than if I'm on the bike every day.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old
    We grow old because we stop playing.

  14. #14
    Motion activated
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble Maker
    There's a video of this amazing VR machine for racing. I think mostly built for rally racing. Huge hydraulics. Think a racing seat and three huge screens wrapped around the main vision of the occupant suspended in a cradle with four huge hydraulic cylinders on each corner. The guy wrecks at the end of the video and the thing is jumping off of the ground. I'll try to find it when I get home and post it up. This just reminded me of that.
    I do a lot of virtual on-line racing. Although there are no g-forces, a good force feedback wheel & 3D-shutter glasses creates a very immersive experience IMHO. You can even get head tracking for cheap now-a-days - less than $200.

    The 3D glasses are really incredible as it gives you a virtual life sized 3D image with a good CRT monitor. They work with existing video cards and 95% of existing games and only cost about $70 IIRC.

    If you haven't already, checkout LFS (Live for speed). Not to be confused with NEED for speed, it's one of the best serious simulators out there. There is a very active forum on that site as well. At peak times, there are 100-200 people racing LFS online.

    http://www.lfs.net/

    Auto racing is pretty close to a virtual reality experience with todays technology. And being able race at the drop of a hat without leaving the house is priceless.

    It's made me a faster MTB DH'er as well. Teaches you how to find traction (camber), pick fast lines & control your weight distribution though the corner.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  15. #15
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    You should try real, live racing sometime.

    Go to a local auto cross sometime, cheap and close (usually). Even if it's just to go and hang out. Chat it up with a few people, if your really interested you'll probably get offered a ride along (and if not, just ask). Don't be offended if they say no, some people aren't as comfortable, or comfortable at all with another person in the vehicle while trying to hit a time.

  16. #16
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    If you want to ride indoors, get a track bike and find a velodrome.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble Maker
    You should try real, live racing sometime.

    Go to a local auto cross sometime, cheap and close (usually). Even if it's just to go and hang out. Chat it up with a few people, if your really interested you'll probably get offered a ride along (and if not, just ask). Don't be offended if they say no, some people aren't as comfortable, or comfortable at all with another person in the vehicle while trying to hit a time.
    I've autocrossed my Miata a few times, but I didn't find it that exciting at the time - big parking lots don't have much in the way of camber changes. Karting (on real karts) was a lot more fun. I was planning on getting a shifter kart, but honestly virtual racing gives me 90% of the experience without the expense and hassle. Not to mention the selection of tracks and cars.

    Here a little vid of LFS with a motion simulator.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRdF0wOBi4w

    Here's a video of the tire deformation modeling in LFS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0ABK1g3mjg
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  18. #18
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    Great that you've tried actual racing! I definitely prefer a real track, but it's time and cost prohibitive so I usually suggest autocross because it's much less expensive, costly and intimidating.

    A shifter cart a some point would be a blast.

  19. #19
    I railed it like Kong
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    I like the idea of being able to ride real rides around the world. Like hitting major DH resorts anywhere, back to back would be trippy. I't would be hard to simulate the actually feel of G's and falling though, wouldn't it? And of course the first unit would be 150 million dollars.

    Hell, i'd be happy for a good quality Xbox 360 mountain bike game. Figure that out first.
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