So I went looking for an exercise bike for indoor training and apparently they have passed me by. These days they are called ergometers but, funnily enough, still look like exercise bikes.
I was looking, as always, for value for money with the only real criteria being that it had electric resistance rather than mechanical.
Enter the HAMMER Ergometer Cardio XTR which comes with a nice, easy to use computer with a total of 12 built in programs ready for use plus, of course, the ability to control your own workout. The built in programs include several mountain and valley profiles, pulse programs and individually controlled loads. The resistance is independent of speed and is adjusted to an exact wattage. This was exactly what I wanted as the aim is to use this for those long and slow HR training sessions.
All relevant training data is visible on a clear LCD display: distance, time, calories, speed, cadence, heart rate. The only downside is there is no connectivity other than a receiver for ANT chest straps. My BT 4.0 Mio HR Watch won’t work with it and there’s no feature to link to a smartphone.
One thing to watch out for; when using the built in pulse monitors which are on the handlebars I found that it registered 20 BPM less than the MIO which I know is accurate to within 1 or 2 BPM. Not to be trusted then, use your HR strap or watch.
It does fill a gap though. It can be used at home when the weather is too bad to go out and/or there’s just now enough time. It can be set up with profiles so other family members can set there own HR zones etc
The resistance (magnetic) can be varied from 40 to 260 Watts. Below 120 is practically freewheel but after that things get interesting.
The benefits I saw from using the Cardio XTR:
- Cardiovascular workout
- Improve endurance
and the other claimed benefits:
- Weight and fat reduction
- Strengthening of legs and buttocks
- Body shaping and tissue tightening
- Perfect ergonomics training
For the best possible adjustment to the individual body size the saddle and handlebars can be adjusted. The saddle height and forward position can be adjusted by a simple knob and the handlebars via a quick release clamp.
The Cardio XTR has adjustable feet and is easy to get level and also wheels so that it can be shunted around quite easily (it weighs over 100KG).
Inside I’m promised quality ball bearings and a precise permanent magnetic brake system with silent rotation. The 8 kg flywheel is driven by a steady groove belt. The dimensions are 100 x 54 x 136 cm (LxWxH) but it doesn’t fold away for storage.
I paid 499 CHF and got it from fitness4all.
Cyclemeter can be set up to use with an indoor trainer (there’s an indoor button in settings) but at the end of the session I had to copy across some of the data points like speed manually which is a bit of a pain but considering the price of the Cardio XTR I can live with it (fully integrated would have set me back 1500+).
Here’s the HR record from the first HR session (via Cyclemeter). The aim was to maintain HR at 120 or less (Zone 2 for me). I found a 120 watts setting was ideal and left me able to maintain a simulated 30kmph. I set a distance of 30km and it took just under 55 mins. I’ll do this at regular intervals and see if the time improves with the same settings. The science says I should see the speed go up over time without higher HR.