As the weather dips towards the “it takes longer to get dressed and undressed for a ride, than I actually spend riding” category, and daylight becomes a valuable commodity, many of us will retreat to the basement to hammer out the miles in solitude. As one of the newer names in trainers, JetBlack is an Australian company that was founded in 1996 with a growing list of parts – though their trainers are their self proclaimed “heart and soul of the company. As their flagship model, the JetBlack Z1 fluid trainer has all the features you expect from a high end trainer, and maybe more.
Already an International IF Design and Innovation award winner at the 2012 Taipei Cycle show, see what’s up with the orange roller after the break.
Coming completely assembled right out of the box, the Z1 fluid is at the top of a full line of trainers down to the $134.99 S1 Sport Trainer. Of course, as a top tier product, the Z1 is quite a bit more expensive, but at $329.99 it’s still very competitive with other trainers at the same level.
Like any good trainer, the Z1 has a heavy duty steel A-frame construction that will stand up to full on sprints.
The JetBlack trainer mat and riser block aren’t included with the trainer, but as with any trainer purchase are a very good idea for protecting your floors from damage, sweat, and absorbing noise.
Only found on their higher end trainers, the Z1 includes JetBlack’s SRS or Smart Release System. Basically a fancy name for a quick release lever, once the trainer is adjusted to fit your bike with the standard dial on the right side, the quick release lever securely clamps your bike into place. The lever has a lot of power, and is fairly easy to use.
Maybe the most interesting part of the Z1 is the orange Hydrogel Roller. Instead of using a metal roller as found on many trainers, JetBlack claims the Hydrogel roller reduces noise by 55% and tire wear by 25-30%. Because of the unique properties of the roller, each trainer comes with an instructional tag specifying 1.5 turns of the resistance dial once it makes contact with the tire. The resistance unit itself is a fluid unit which offers progressive resistance up to 900 watts and a 2kg flywheel for lifelike road feel.
The photo at the top right shows the Z1’s adjustable feet that ensure a stable base.
Included with the trainer is a steel trainer skewer, and JetBlack’s No Time To Burn Training CD. The CD includes a coaching session designed by an olympic level coach with additional training sessions available for download. We’re already putting the hours in on the Z1, and will report back with our final thoughts on the Z1, though first impressions are quite good. In the mean time, JetBlack trainers are available in the US through QBP and Hawley.