Race tech: Garmin-Transitions warming up on unusual new trainer

No need for a rear wheel with the LeMond Fitness Revolution

Garmin-Transitions riders are using an interesting new trainer from LeMond Fitness to warm up before time trials at this year's Tour de France. 

Unlike usual stationary trainers, the new Revolution omits the rear wheel entirely in favour of its own dedicated drive unit. This includes a cassette of your choosing (8- to 11-speed Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo), 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 onto the trainer, tighten the skewer and start pedalling. 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. 

Team physiologist Adrie van Diemen also cites its more realistic feel, saying 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."

Instead of using your own rear wheel, you simply mount your frame directly onto the trainer

Granted, we've heard that numerous times before and it's unclear at this point exactly what makes the Revolution different in that respect, but its other features make it an interesting item. Riders will no longer have to worry about tearing up expensive race-quality tyres, mountain bikers can use their standard machines (if they have a 135mm quick-release rear hub) without having to worry about the rumbling of knobbly tyres and the complete setup will also take up a bit less room.

The well protected toothed drive belt should require little – if any – maintenance

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 on the ground, and while louder than magnetic or fluid units we've tried, the giant progressive wind resistance unit doesn't make nearly as much noise as we were expecting it to. We've also heard that LeMond will offer an optional power-measuring add-on.

The large-diameter fan also doubles as the high-inertia flywheel

Potential downsides include a high price, 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, 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 a race.

Garmin-Transitions riders are using the new LeMond Revolution trainers for pre-stage warmups

We're slated to receive a test sample in late August so we should have a full review ready to publish shortly thereafter.

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