On Test: CycleOps PowerSync indoor trainer

The CycleOps PowerSync is an indoor trainer with an onboard power meter to accurately measure your training efforts. The trainer is operated by your iOS or Android device via the VirtualTraining software. We'll be buzzing away in the early mornings of winter to bring you a full review of the PowerSync trainer and VirtualTraining software in July.
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Assembly


The instructions to assemble the PowerSync left me a bit puzzled but I managed to put it together without much fuss. I had the trainer up and running within 10 minutes of unboxing.


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To attach your bike to the trainer, you need to use the supplied QR skewer. The PowerSync is designed for rear axle spacings of 120, 130, and 135mm. The PowerSync is compatible with 650b, 700c, 26", and 27" wheel sizes but not 29ers or 650c sizing. If all you have is a 29er, then you'll have to go for another CycleOps trainer like the PowerBeam Pro which supports the larger wheel size.

Features


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The PowerSync stand is a familiar A-frame structure. A built-in PowerTap power meter sensor promises accuracy within 5%. The main unit is designed to communicate with devices through ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart (not both), so pick wisely.

The neat thing about this electronic trainer is that the resistance can be controlled by software, allowing for the simulation of various route gradients or training programme intensities.

The CycleOps VirtualTraining comes with pre-existing and user generated training programmes and routes (some with video of the road ahead). You can even compete against your friends and strangers. A number of Hubbers have already been using the VirtualTraining software. Read about their experiences here.

The CycleOps PowerSync retails for R11,595.


Manufacturer's specifications

  • ANT+ (Model 9912) or Bluetooth Smart (Model 9913) compatible.
  • PowerTap power meter equipped for +/- 5% accurate power readings.
  • Some assembly required.
  • Features clutch knob for perfect roller to tire tension each ride.
  • 2" resistance unit roller allows for 650b, 700c, 26", and 27" wheel sizes.
  • Does not fit 29ers or 650c wheel sizes.
  • Precision-machined alloy roller reduces tire wear and slippage.
  • Noise level at 20 mph is a quiet 69-70 decibels.
  • Electronic resistance unit allows for programmable workouts.
  • Controlled resistance lets you set your slope, power, and other metrics.
  • Eccentric leveling feet allow for easy adjustment on uneven surfaces.
  • Comes on the CycleOps foldable Classic frame with spring loaded, bolt-action lever.
  • This trainer is designed to fit common road and mountain bike frames with included steel quick release skewer and has three settings for rear dropout spacing: 120mm, 130mm and 135mm.
  • Trainer tire recommended.
  • CycleOps VirtualTraining compatible.
  • The PowerSync is intended to be used with an iPad or Android tablet running the CycleOps VirtualTraining application and does not come with a computer.
  • Cadence sensor and ANT+ stick sold separately





28 Comments

Mongoose!, Jun 24 2015 08:46

This is really awesome training tools. (as also the Power beam Pro. Online racing is great and big fun. Riding video routes with controlled resistance is quit realistic and time passes quick. But for me there is a down side also. I cannot use my Power beam without a app. And apps cost money. Every month so I was quit disappointed once I realized that I was unable to use (power reading / setting the resistance manually) my R12k toy without an monthly paid app. Cycleops Virtual Trainer offer some free ride option, but the main goal is to rather demo the app. And only limit it to a 20 minutes session which is quit useless. So if you consider buying one, also be prepared to be sucked into the world of greedy apps.

Madone69, Jun 24 2015 09:01

If i am not mistaken,you can use the trainer with a joule and control the resistance that way, without software.

Zwift is currently also free and control the resistance,but it has limitations.

Ride on :)

NISI, Jun 24 2015 09:04

This is really awesome training tools. (as also the Power beam Pro. Online racing is great and big fun. Riding video routes with controlled resistance is quit realistic and time passes quick. But for me there is a down side also. I cannot use my Power beam without a app. And apps cost money. Every month so I was quit disappointed once I realized that I was unable to use (power reading / setting the resistance manually) my R12k toy without an monthly paid app. Cycleops Virtual Trainer offer some free ride option, but the main goal is to rather demo the app. And only limit it to a 20 minutes session which is quit useless. So if you consider buying one, also be prepared to be sucked into the world of greedy apps.

I don't go the online racing route ,just the joule gps to control the unit-no monthly fees(perhaps a bit more bring)

Mongoose!, Jun 24 2015 09:04

If i am not mistaken,you can use the trainer with a joule and control the resistance that way, without software.Zwift is currently also free and control the resistance,but it has limitations.Ride on :)


But Joule is expensive and I already have a Garmin.

TrailRat, Jun 24 2015 09:33

Mongoose, seems like you're still battling???? Go look at Peripedal. www.peripedal.com. This is about as simple as it gets for controlling your cycleops powersync.

Works like a charm for me

Mongoose!, Jun 24 2015 09:50

Mongoose, seems like you're still battling???? Go look at Peripedal. www.peripedal.com. This is about as simple as it gets for controlling your cycleops powersync.Works like a charm for me


Thanks.
Will it works with an ant plus desktop setup?
So the Power beam only has ant plus.
No Andriod or Ipad/Apple - only desktop with Windows 7

Highly appreciate thanks!

dazzavazza, Jun 24 2015 09:58

recently got the powersync and the joule. great combo i can recommend, however it has to be noted the software and applications are 20th century. there is the virtualtraining online portal, then there are 2 additional thick applications you need installed on your pc, namely poweragent and virtualtraining. if i had a garmin i supect there would be little need for the joule, but the joule adds value as all the data is available and it easily controls the indoor trainer. In addition to the web app portal, and the 2 applications, there is an additional app for your phone to sync the Joule.....I have nothing to compare this experience to for indoor trainers and software, but it is far from ideal.

The whole point of all these gadgets is the data and what you do with it, unless you buy purely to get indoors and out of the cold and rain, now i need to figure this out for myself to see it can help me train more effectively or gain power etc......wish me luck!

SiriS, Jun 24 2015 10:06

Thanks.
Will it works with an ant plus desktop setup?
So the Power beam only has ant plus.
No Andriod or Ipad/Apple - only desktop with Windows 7

Highly appreciate thanks!


My Power Beam is Bluetooth...

TrailRat, Jun 25 2015 05:45

I have a powersync ant+ , garmin edge 810, Peripedal on my laptop linked to a large flatscreen, as my setup.

Peripedal can be loaded with any custom work out and control your powersync or kicker etc, I have ported almost all the sufferfest videos over.

Peripedal will show all metrics during training, store metrics for later analysis, post metrics after workout to your strava and/or training peaks profile.

Wife runs another user and bike profile, we alt training days and she uses the same equipment setup but with different bike.

The 810 is not required, use it only because I am a tech geek and I can. Beauty on ant+ is that you can have multiple measuring devices linked to a single transmitting device ie heart rate monitor and/or cadence sensor and/or powersync.

So my pain cave consists of:
Software: $75 once off, 3 yrs ago
Powersync :R10.5k
Flatscreen: 32"
Laptop: corporate block
Bike:...well

Mongoose!, Jun 25 2015 06:37

What is the price of a Joule 3.0?

Guess the 1.0 and 2.0 will not be able to control the resistance on the Power beam?

I am not after the GPS function of a Joule, only want to control the resistance of my Power beam.

Marius, Jun 25 2015 07:34

I also want to race online with the hubbers, but all this techno mumbo jumbo is all to confusing.. 

BicyclePower, Jun 25 2015 08:33

Just to clarify the comments re the Joule to control the PowerSync trainer, there are two options, the Joule GPS and the Joule 2.0 (same features just no GPS) these units will control the trainer. Garmins cannot control the trainer as they do not have the capability to "talk" to the trainer, they can only "listen" so your Garmin will display the same data as a Joule but will not be able to adjust the resistance.

 

In terms of apps, without a paid up subscription to the CycleOps Virtual Training app you can still do the freeride option, and that is limited to 1h, once the 1h is done, you can restart and do another hour should you wish.

 

You are not tied into the monthly subscription either, you can buy 1 month and not use it again for 6 months then renew again when you want to. This is a setting in the app when you sign up - auto renew is a default setting so be aware to change this to "off" when you sign up.

Speeltyd, Jun 25 2015 08:55

This is really awesome training tools. (as also the Power beam Pro. Online racing is great and big fun. Riding video routes with controlled resistance is quit realistic and time passes quick. But for me there is a down side also. I cannot use my Power beam without a app. And apps cost money. Every month so I was quit disappointed once I realized that I was unable to use (power reading / setting the resistance manually) my R12k toy without an monthly paid app. Cycleops Virtual Trainer offer some free ride option, but the main goal is to rather demo the app. And only limit it to a 20 minutes session which is quit useless. So if you consider buying one, also be prepared to be sucked into the world of greedy apps.

Jeez guys - it's only $6 pm! No train smash - and the apps are wonderful - such a wide selection, all the stats, .... and is maintained, thus always up to date. Come on now, if you can afford R12k for the trainer, R100 pm is nothing! I enjoy mine to the hilt!

BicyclePower, Jun 25 2015 09:01

Hi all, just to be clear, the PowerSync (which makes use of the classic series trainer frame shared by the CycleOps Fluid 2) will accommodate 29" wheels, the concern is the size / volume of the wheel, wheels below a 2.1" will have clearance above that the tire will make contact with the ground, all that is needed is to raise the trainer, maybe some tiles inserted under the trainer feet will help....

 

here are images as to what i am referring to.  

 

BicyclePower, Jun 25 2015 09:08

As for the comments on the subscription fees guys you are by no means forced to buy the CycleOps Virtual Training application when buying the trainer !! other software packages include Zwift (free to use for now), TrainerRoad (+/- $10/mth), PeriPedal (costs unknown) and many others i am sure. the CVT app is one of the cheaper apps out there !!

 

CVT also allows free ride for 1h where you can control the trainer via a tablet/phone, this is FREE (limited to 1h) if you want to exit then reenter the app to do a longer workout you welcome to do so. 

Mongoose!, Jun 25 2015 09:24

Jeez guys - it's only $6 pm! No train smash - and the apps are wonderful - such a wide selection, all the stats, .... and is maintained, thus always up to date. Come on now, if you can afford R12k for the trainer, R100 pm is nothing! I enjoy mine to the hilt!


Well my destop version cost $15 a month. Or R183 per month or R2196 a year.

BicyclePower, Jun 25 2015 09:30

Well my destop version cost $15 a month. Or R183 per month or R2196 a year.

actually CVT for desktop is only R1454 (based off current exchange) for the year if the year is bought in advance.

 

15/mth month - month

12/mth for a 6 month contact

10/mth for a 1 year contact

 

http://www.cycleops....ng/apps-pricinghere is a link 

Mongoose!, Jun 25 2015 10:06

actually CVT for desktop is only R1454 (based off current exchange) for the year if the year is bought in advance. 15/mth month - month12/mth for a 6 month contact10/mth for a 1 year contact http://www.cycleops....ng/apps-pricinghere is a link

R183 a month sir. Can forward you my credit card if you like.
Thought at first the month to month option was the better option with no future obligation. Will review it now for a cheaper option.

this will be my last comment on this, as it is not my intension to high jack this review.

been using my power beam since September last year. It is really an awesome training tool. The app Virtual Trainer is also cool.

MTB TG, Jun 25 2015 01:29

My Kickr is pricy, but still number one :-)

shanewilson, Jun 26 2015 10:50

The KICKR is the bomb. Height adjustable from 24" thru to 29"er. Literally hundreds of apps as the API is entirely open source. Quiet as well. Sure you have to remove the back wheel, but makes power much more accurate. Some of the apps do attract a monthly fee and some are just on the app store as a one off. The higher price is justified. Sure I am biased but when you add in all the other stuff you have to spend on many other trainers - you get pretty close to the KICKR anyway.

BicyclePower, Jun 26 2015 10:57

The KICKR is the bomb. Height adjustable from 24" thru to 29"er. Literally hundreds of apps as the API is entirely open source. Quiet as well. Sure you have to remove the back wheel, but makes power much more accurate. Some of the apps do attract a monthly fee and some are just on the app store as a one off. The higher price is justified. Sure I am biased but when you add in all the other stuff you have to spend on many other trainers - you get pretty close to the KICKR anyway.

CycleOps is in the same position with their API and being an open source for other trainers. readers should not get caught into thinking that just because they have a CycleOps they MUST use the CVT software, this is NOT the case. one simply needs to buy the hardware (cycleops, wahooo, tacx etc) and then sync in with the various software options out on the market as they feel suits their needs best.

 

this review is two fold, one to review the hardware (powersync) and two the CycleOps virtual training application that is also open to many other trainers out on the market. 

rouxtjie, Jun 26 2015 11:17

My Kickr is pricy, but still number one :-)

Why? because you bought one?

 

The KICKR is the bomb. Height adjustable from 24" thru to 29"er. Literally hundreds of apps as the API is entirely open source. Quiet as well. Sure you have to remove the back wheel, but makes power much more accurate. Some of the apps do attract a monthly fee and some are just on the app store as a one off. The higher price is justified. Sure I am biased but when you add in all the other stuff you have to spend on many other trainers - you get pretty close to the KICKR anyway.

I am not sure if you know this but so are the cyclops trainers...ito API

 

PS how much more accurate is the kickr? 1%, 5%, 10%....seeing as though you said much, I take you meaning its so much that its noticeable and have done the comparison 

 

Oh and what other stuff are you talking about...My setup works fine with just the trainer and the bike...what else is required that you get bundled with the kickr?

shanewilson, Jun 26 2015 03:10

DCRainMaker did a comprehensive test last year with a number of other high end devices and for the most part the variations where negligible but sure comparing between e.g. stages cranks etc vs KICKR are not the most scientific method. However with wheel off design and no tire etc involved the direct chain to device will give better readings when calibrated properly.

 

That said if not calibrated the variations can be huge...

shanewilson, Jun 26 2015 03:11

On the API question...thats great coz the more software the merrier. I was just responding to some earlier comments in the thread. Some homework would have revealed that though.

SwissVan, Jun 26 2015 03:41

This is really awesome training tools. (as also the Power beam Pro. Online racing is great and big fun. Riding video routes with controlled resistance is quit realistic and time passes quick. But for me there is a down side also. I cannot use my Power beam without a app. And apps cost money. Every month so I was quit disappointed once I realized that I was unable to use (power reading / setting the resistance manually) my R12k toy without an monthly paid app. Cycleops Virtual Trainer offer some free ride option, but the main goal is to rather demo the app. And only limit it to a 20 minutes session which is quit useless. So if you consider buying one, also be prepared to be sucked into the world of greedy apps.

EDIT:

Sorry Mongoose I got my Joule's mixed up (Did not realize there was a version without gps).

The price I mentioned of $50 is for the joule computer without gps.

The Joule gps is way more expensive +/- $269

 

Not quite correct, if you buy the powerbeam with a cycleops joule bike computer you can control the resistance via gradient or watts from the computer on your handlebar without any internet connection. The joule costs $50 if you buy it separately. When I bought my powerbeam a year ago it was offered as part of the package. I've used it plenty and only use the app for the online races or to download test data.