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Head To Head: Power Trainers

We compare two power meter-equipped trainers that can help precisely dial in your indoor workouts.

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We compare two power meter-equipped trainers that can help precisely dial in your indoor workouts.

CycleOps PowerBeam Pro
$1,200, Cycleops.com

vs.

LeMond Revolution with Power Pilot
$1,049 with cassette, Lemondfitness.com

Resistance

CycleOps: The PowerBeam centers around CycleOps’ smooth fluid resistance unit. It is unfailingly consistent through a pedal stroke when riding steady, and quickly up-scales the resistance during intervals. The resistance is almost as consistent as the Revolution when sprinting.

LeMond: The Revolution has earned widespread praise for its road-like resistance—and it lives up to the hype. It provides smooth resistance when riding at a consistent pace but it really shines when accelerating. It doesn’t produce any of that familiar “skipping” feeling under a big sprint.

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide To Incorporating A Bike Trainer Into Cycling Workouts

Usability

CycleOps: The trainer securely clamps the bike in place with a couple of quick turns of a dial, creating a sturdy base for the bike. After a ride, the legs and resistance unit fold and the PowerBeam collapses small enough to store behind a sofa. Syncing the computer control unit to the PowerBeam is a simple five-minute process.

LeMond: It is loud enough to drown out the TV and gets even louder when riding hard. A cassette and quick-release stay mounted to the trainer and the bike mounts directly, with the trainer replacing the rear wheel. It’s quick and simple, and the Revolution creates a remarkably solid foundation. It does not, however, collapse.

RELATED: A Guide To Bike Trainers

Power Measurement

CycleOps: The PowerBeam has strain gauges—ultra-sensitive measurement devices used to read power— integrated into the resistance unit to measure effort. It can also be preset to dictate power levels for a workout. CycleOps reports accuracy of +/-5 percent, twice the margin of error of its road power meters.

LeMond: Instead of using strain gauges to directly measure power, the Revolution’s Power Pilot accessory measures the speed of the resistance fan and barometric pressure to calculate power. In addition to wattage, Power Pilot also records speed, heart rate and cadence.

RELATED: How Watt-based Training Can Improve Your Cycling