Since the lowly mag trainer was first introduced, there hasn’t been a whole lot of new developments to the tech. SportCrafters’ prototype trainer is set to change that. While the SportCrafters proto isn’t the first to offer progressive resistance, it’s appears to be one of the first mag trainers to offer fluid like feel without the, uh, fluid. Not only is the resistance improved, but the way the resistance is applied to the rear wheel creates a system that is both easy on tires, and nearly impossible to get it to slip.
With the goal of making the trainer competitive with the top models on the market, SportCrafters is honing in on the new design with plans for production by 2015.
Details plus a video of it in action after the break…
At first glance the trainer looks pretty complicated, but the beauty is in the details. The secret is in the auto compression design so the roller that touches the rear wheel actually increases pressure with torque. That means when you’re sprinting it’s exerting high pressure to keep the tire from slipping, but when you’re soft pedaling it’s not wearing out the tire. Under normal pedaling there is only 10 pounds of force on the tire. The bike’s rear wheel drives a roller which is attached to the flywheel through a Poly-V belt, like you would find on your car’s serpentine belt. The grooved underside will keep the belt from walking back and forth as well as adding to the second design goal of the trainer – low residual drag.
The trainer utilizes a two stage magnetic resistance device that changes the magnet gap to provide smooth, progressive resistance. The video above was to demonstrate both the drive mechanism, but also how difficult it is to try and get the tire to slip – with the trainer’s own designer giving it his all. In addition to excellent resistance and low tire wear the trainer also offers excellent road feel since the flywheel is geared smaller than the drive drum it offers better coasting effect from a relatively small flywheel. All of this tech is packaged in a rear wheel trainer stand that will be slightly different than what you see here for production. The design is patent pending and will be competitively priced with other trainers in its category and is expected to hit the market next Fall.
One of the best features of the SportCrafters Omnium is how small and portable the rear wheel trainer actually is. To make it even more portable, SportCrafters is introducing a new hard shell case that is designed for a perfect fit and made by a local instrument case manufacturer. Not only will the case protect the trainer during transport, but it is also designed to function as a step to get on and off the bike since the Omnium sits up a little higher than the average trainer. Available in 4-6 weeks, the case will retail for $150 and is rated as a step to 250 lbs.