Tech Week: 5 new smart trainers, cycling computers, and power meters
Up your training game with the latest gear for indoor and outdoor riding.
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Garmin Edge 1040 Solar
Battery life is one of the most crucial stats for any cycling computer these days. Can it stand up to an all-day gravel race so you can make your entire effort Strava official? Or can you set it on your handlebar mount and forget about charging it for a week or more of riding? If the answer to your current computer is no, Garmin has one you should take a serious look at.
The Edge 1040 Solar delivers Garmin’s top end cycling GPS tech and adds in a new solar charging feature that can seriously extend the battery life — by up to 42 minutes of additional charge for every hour ridden. That brings the total to 45 hours under heavy usage, and up to 100 hours in battery saver mode!
Garmin’s usual in-depth training metrics and analysis are still here too, giving you more ways to track your training and progress in addition to all the navigation tools necessary to find your way around a new route and back home again.
$750 (computer only); garmin.com
Elite has long been a big name in cycling trainers. Now the Italian company’s years of expertise have gone into making its most advanced smart trainer ever, the Justo. It builds upon the features of Elite’s previous benchmark Direto XR-T trainer, and adds in the form factor of the compact Suito-T model.
A new more sensitive OTS sensor in combination with a 22% heavier flywheel helps the Justo measure power even more accurately than before, down to 1% accuracy from 1.5%, as well as higher accuracy in difficult to measure scenarios like high cadence, low power, or high speeds on shallow gradients. Speaking of gradients, it still replicates up to 24% gradients and better replicates a real world feel through “Flex Feet” that build side to side movement into the trainer.
It also features lower noise, less plastic in the construction, and a 33% narrower form factor when folded compared to the Direto XR-T, in addition to two channels of the latest Bluetooth Smart connectivity. This is by far the most advanced Elite trainer yet.
$1,199; available January 2023; elite-it.com
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM
With its larger formfactor than the ELEMNT BOLT and 2.7-inch screen, the raison d’être for the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam has always been navigation. For the computer’s second generation, Wahoo has enhanced those features.
The computer now features dual band GPS, which means greater accuracy, especially when under the cover of a forest canopy or trying to spin your way out from under downtown skyscrapers. It features an upgraded 64-color, high-contrast display, allowing more information to legibly fit in one data screen. There’s also now 32 gigabytes of onboard memory for storing routes, maps, and workouts so you should never have to delete anything.
The ROAM also now has the samd convex style buttons used in the BOLT as well as USB-C charging, while maintaining the same waterproof rating as before and maintaining a 94-gram weight.
Zwift is so synonymous with indoor training at this point that riding a trainer is sometimes referred to as “Zwifting.” But even with that name recognition, Zwift faces a technological hurdle in getting people set up in its virtual world. Not everyone knows where to start with smart trainers, so Zwift went ahead and made its own.
The Zwift Hub trainer may as well be called “Zwift in a box.” It’s an easy to assemble design that lets riders get set up quickly. And it comes at an incredible price of $495, with an installed cassette, that beats name-brand competitors for this product category. And it has competitive specs as well: 2.5% power accuracy, 1,800-watt maximum, and simulated 16% gradients.
But even if you know what you’re doing when it comes to researching for trainers, the Hub’s enticing price, coupled with its reasonably advanced specs, makes it a good choice for just about any cyclist, and especially a budget-conscientious one.
Stages drive side power meters for 12-speed Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace
Non-drive side crank arm power meters had already been available from Stages for the latest generation 12-speed Shimano road groups. Now the Colorado brand’s power meter tech is coming to the drive side. Like other third generation power meters from Stages, the 12-speed Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace crank arm power meters are accurate to 1.5% and feature active temperature compensation for consistent performance across weather conditions, as well as being water resistant.
Like all Stages Power Meters, they’re built and individually calibrated in Boulder, Colorado. And if you already have a non-drive side power meter, you can easily turn your system into a dual-sided one by getting the matching drive-side crank.