TrueKinetix developed a unique stationary bike for cyclists serious about matching indoor training efforts to those out on the road. The TrueBike fitness bike doesn’t look unique on the outside. But inside it is missing a flywheel, instead relying on a precision-controlled motor and robotics to mimic that true road riding feel…
TrueKinetix TrueBike indoor training powered by robots
The secret to the TrueBike’s more authentic feel and realistic training is the absence of a flywheel, replaced by an advanced robotically controlled electric motor – adjusted 1000x per second.
Riding indoors never feels quite like riding out on the road, and while distractions like watching movies, immersive virtual environments with real ride feedback, or even the simple movement feeling on rollers can dull the boredom, they still don’t truly recreate the ride experience. Any athlete who trains indoors & outdoors has seen the real power output differences (no matter how calibrated your powermeter is, study suggests >20% power drop indoors) and has experienced fatigue sooner inside on the trainer.
So, TrueKinetix founder and Ironman triathlete Bas van Rens wanted to create an indoor trainer to more accurately recreate outdoor road riding, so he figured out that he would need a flywheel that weighed over 400kg. That obviously wasn’t realistic, so he set out creating a computer-controlled motor that could mimic real riding.
Robotic motor training
The result is the TrueBike, with a motor that once you tell it your weight, carries out a complex series of calculations while you are riding in a virtual environment (like Zwift) to determine resistance at the pedals, how the bike would coast & spin down, how to react to braking, and how difficult it needs to be when you start again.
Part of the success of TrueBike’s robotically controlled motor seems to be the different muscles that we engage on a lightweight flywheel inside, vs. the true road experience outside. Its optimized resistance is better able to mimic that same load on your muscles for more accurate training. I tried spinning for a bit on the TrueBike, and while you can’t probably notice the difference while sitting and spinning, stand up on the pedals and it truly does feel more like riding a bike than a trainer.
The TrueBike itself doesn’t seem so exceptional at a glance. It pretty much looks kinda like any other stationary trainer. The important bits are all tucked inside that relatively boring plastic cover. But this this is about training, not aesthetics.
Its heart is the smart ‘brain’ motor controller which is the robot in their story – using advanced algorithms to constantly calculate the proper resistance based on 10,000 measurements taken every second factoring in rider weight, gear selection, pedal position, real braking on its brake levers, virtual ride slope, road surface, even virtual wind hitting you. It then is said to even “learn from your individual pedal strokes to further optimize its motor”.
Beyond everything inside that you can’t see, the TrueBike is still fully adjustable to recreate your same on-road fit. It uses a standard road bar, saddle & pedals, plus road Q-factor cranks available in typical lengths when you buy it. Saddle height & fore/aft position and bar stack & reach are easily adjustable with a hex key, and use a simple scale marked out in 1/2cm increments. It’s not a super quick way to switch it around, but pretty much the same process you’d use to replicate fit on one of your regular bikes, too. The fitness bike also specifically has some flex built into it so it feels more natural when you get out of the saddle to sprint.
More into the true details, the TrueBike is designed to resist up to 1500W out of your legs while climbing at 10 km/h (6 mph). Its resistance is based on a 53/36 & 11-23T gear combo, but presumably that could be adapted to mimic your preferred gearing through software.
Its full color 10″ display gives direct, live feedback on stats like: speed, distance, time, elevation, power, cadence & pedaling efficiency. It also includes its own workout programs, allows you to custom build your own, or can be connected to most online programs. Connectivity is all through ANT+ and the FE-C protocol to pair with heartrate monitors and online immersive training programs (Zwift, TrainerRoad, BigRingVR, etc…)
TrueBike pricing & availability
The TrueBike has been developed down two separate paths – one for the at home user, and one for a true professional training environment. This Home 1.0 version we saw and took a spin on at Eurobike is just now shipping to early pre-orders for 3000€, including the bike ready to train with the integrated smart tablet display. Most users will probably connect it to an additional (separate) larger screen/TV for an immersive training experience, with performance data & control on the tablet. TrueKinetix wasn’t sure on an exact delivery timescale for customers who order now, but expect it towards the end of the year or early 2020, depending on continued demand.
And if you are feeling pro? That professional version is going to cost you around 15,000€ which does give you a stronger motor/higher power levels, but also includes much more of a training development interactive experience. But it is still basically the same mechanics that is available to the Home user at a much more attainable price to take intelligent indoor training to the next, robotic level.