The Genius Multiplayer, with soon-to-be-released VR 4 software, is a comprehensive training system.
The trainer is mains powered but the resistance unit works wirelessly via the software on your PC. This is where the magic happens and the version 4 software is a significant step up from the current 3.7 version. It will cope with real world variables, such as wind resistance and direction, as well as gradients, and you can buy a steering frame so you can corner.
Training options are numerous: use set courses with virtual scenery, or upload one of your own GPS recorded rides then ride it in virtual reality using Google Earth – without the potholes, crazy drivers, ice, wet leaves and other hazards of winter.
If you want to get more ‘real’, use one of the TacxFilms, featuring Classics like the Tour of Flanders – ride at the same pace as the pros, but scale the power needed according to your fitness.
You can race other riders on any course anywhere in the world via an internet connection, there’s more analysis data than you can shake a stick at – viewable in various graphs and tables to monitor your progress – and despite its complexity, calibration and setup are quite quick – only a matter of minutes each time.
If you can’t afford the £1,300 Genius, the £575 Flow will also allow you to use the VR 4 software. The Flow uses an electromagnetic brake rather than a motor brake and doesn’t communicate wirelessly with your PC but if you can cope with that you will end up with a relative bargain.