Garmin-Transitions riders are using an interesting new trainer to warm up before time trials at this year's Tour de France from LeMond Fitness.
Unlike usual stationary trainers, the new Revolution omits the rear wheel entirely in favor of its own dedicated drive unit that includes a cassette of your choosing (LeMond says it's compatible with 8-11-speed cassettes from Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo and 130mm or 135mm OLD), a toothed low-maintenance (and presumably quiet!) serpentine belt drive, and an enormous encased resistance fan that doubles as a high-inertia flywheel – simply remove the wheel, drop the rear of the bike on to the trainer, tighten the skewer, and start pedaling.
For Garmin-Transitions mechanics, this means not having to carry an entire team's worth of dedicated trainer wheels and one fewer step to carry out when the rider is ready to head to the start house. However, team physiologist Adrie van Diemen cites its more realistic feel, saying that the riders have less of a need to adjust the timing of their muscles as opposed to being out on the open road.
"The idea behind this is that when you're riding on the road, you have inertia and so you have acceleration and deceleration in every pedal stroke," he said. "That gives you the 'feel' of cycling."
Granted, we've heard that numerous times before and it's still unclear at this point exactly what makes the Revolution different in that respect but its other features alone make it an interesting item: consumers will no longer have to worry about tearing up expensive race-quality tires, mountain bikers can use their standard machines (sorry, quick-release 135mm OLD only) without having to worry about the rumbling of knobbies, and the complete setup will also take up a bit less room.
Moreover, the rear axle's lower height makes wheel risers a thing of the past as the bike sits perfectly level when the front wheel is sitting directly on the ground and while louder than magnetic or fluid units we've tried in the past, the giant progressive wind resistance unit doesn't make nearly as much noise as we were expecting it to.
Garmin-Transitions riders are using the new LeMond Revolution trainers for pre-stage warmups and while they're seen atop front wheel riser blocks here, the rear axle of the trainer is situated so that the bike is level when the wheel is resting right on the ground.
We've also heard that LeMond will offer an optional power-measuring add-on, too.
Potential downsides include a high cost given the amount of hardware involved (though it will include a Shimano/SRAM-compatible 10-speed cassette), the possibility of having to readjust shifting adjustment on today's more finicky drivetrains (or swapping cassettes for multiple bikes running different transmissions), and storage. As the LeMond Revolution doesn't fold at all, it's going to take up a lot of room when it's not in use or when stowed in the back of your car on the way to an event.
We're slated to receive a test sample around late August so we'll hopefully have a proper review ready to publish shortly thereafter.