We’re big fans of some of the high-end trainers out there, especially the Kurt Kinetic and CycleOps models, but it looks like there is a new high-end trainer to rival these guys – the Bkool Pro Turbo Trainer.
Admittedly, the Bkool trainer isn’t just a trainer that you slot your bike in and then start pedaling away – it’s so much more than that! With an amazing FREE simulator you can connect up with your laptop or tablet and enjoy literally thousands of videos and riding sessions, as well as ride alongside your friends wherever they may be in the world!
Virtual training simulators are fast becoming the perfect solution for those of you wanting a totally realistic experience. And while we’ve cycled endless kilometers on our various trainers, the fun we’ve had with the Bkool Pro has taken our enjoyment levels up a level – or three! The simulator is downloadable from the Bkool website and is perfect for Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPad and Android tablets.
Who the heck are Bkool?
Great question! You probably haven’t heard of Bkool if you’re in the US, as they’re based in Europe, originally from Spain I believe. But they have fast become one of the bestselling models out there, at least in the high-end segment. And when you compare what you get with the Bkool versus other trainers in the same bracket, you’ll see you’re getting a whole lot of trainer for a whole lot LESS $$$!
Some of the major benefits out-of-the-box with this Bkool trainer:
- The simulator has an amazing 3D World, with almost every race route in the world for you to ride.
- It comes with some amazing features – see below for the full list.
- It’s HALF the cost of similar trainers pushing a virtual world, notably models like the Tacx iGenius.
- Your trainer comes with 1 year of Premium membership, which lets you team up with friends, enjoy thousands of sessions and routes, and other various features (see the full comparison between Premium and Basic here).
Here’s a taster of what the Bkool trainer is all about…[youtube width=”600″ height=”370″]http://youtu.be/zSxRT2boveY[/youtube]
What impressed us about the Bkool Pro?
As we mentioned above, the Bkool Pro comes with a virtual training simulator that really does take the realism up a level. You might have been impressed with the Rock N’Roller from Kurt Kinetic, but this trainer is in another league.
But it’s not just the simulator we were impressed with.
First up, this new Pro model is an improvement on their Classic model, meaning it’s a little quieter, more stable (with extendable support legs), and has an in-built cadence system that eliminates the need for an external device (the Classic trainer needs an external device). There’s also an electromagnetic braking system to be impressed with, which ensures the Bkool software controls your resistance, especially useful when climbing hills.
Even setting up the trainer is easy. It just slots together; you replace the rear skewer in your wheel (as you do for any decent trainer these days), and then pop it on the trainer (it also comes with a front wheel support). You then just register on the Bkool website, download the simulator, and then plug in the trainer and connect with your supplied ANT and USB.
The USB lets the Bkool software and trainer wirelessly communicate with each other so that your ride data (your cadence and power) can be tracked and used by the software; in turn, the resistance levels are automatically adjusted according to the route you selected. Pretty impressive eh?
In addition to that easy setup, you’ve got a very powerful trainer; powerful enough to ramp up 1200W of energy on a progressive curve. It makes your riding session feel like you are out there on the road, which is what any of us indoor cyclists are really after, right? The electronics on this baby are quite impressive; basically it’s the result of combining biomechanical engineering with the most powerful cycling software.
And once you’ve wrapped up training for the day, it’s easily fold-able so can be stored away out of sight if needed.
It didn’t take us long to be convinced by this trainer!
Why you should consider the Bkool Pro Trainer
If you’re seriously looking to ramp up your indoor training sessions, then the Bkool Pro is as good as you’re going to get. We mentioned the iGenius from Tacx which is its equivalent, but the Bkool Pro is definitely better value.
It’s certainly high-end, which means you’re going to pay around $650-$700, but for a virtual trainer that’s pretty well unheard of.
It’s also easy to see how you can become addicted to indoor training with this baby; we played around with some of the very cool software and routes but there’s plenty more to discover and we have a feeling we’ll be enjoying this trainer long into Spring / Summer…
An awesome trainer, and highly recommended.
NOTE: We are aware that the European version of the Bkool website has a free trail offer, which ships you for free. However, this is not currently available in the US, though the guys at Bkool told me it is definitely on the cards. If so, I think this will make the Bkool Pro unbeatable.