Makers of smart home trainers are at the cutting edge of technology and cycling these days. Indoor pain caves are all the rage. With interactive home trainers, large computer screens linked up to programs such as Zwift and big floor ventilators, indoor cycling has become more challenging and ‘gamified’ than ever before. The home trainer market is getting saturated though, and it’s less easy to distinguish between the real benefits of one trainer over the other these days. But the Bkool Smart Air is different, bringing an extra level of real cycling simulation into the world of pain caving.
One of the main gripes about interactive trainers is that the entire activity has little to do with ‘real’ cycling. The bike’s rock solid on a home trainer, and that’s not really what cycling is about. Due to the absence of lateral movement, you really don’t have to be able to balance at all to be able to sit on a home trainer. We obviously don’t want to encourage nasty home trainer-related accidents, but a bit of movement would be welcome, to add to the realism. This would definitely be welcome while sprinting as you’d expect the bike to move from side to side under the stress of your Cavendish-like efforts. And that’s exactly the special feature the Bkool Smart Air provides.
Bkool Smart Air: a moving experience
The new Smart Air is Bkool’s top of the line model and its minimalist design reflects this status. The black tubing and sleek looks will complement any modern racing bike. In keeping with the best new models of smart trainers, you have to remove your rear wheel and mount a cassette directly onto the home trainer. You attach your rear wheel mountings to the trainer with a quick-release. This is a highly efficient system and allows resistance from the home trainer to be accurately applied and directly onto the chain. An added advantage of these types of trainers is that they are by far the quietest devices on the market, most convenient for those of us living in apartment blocks with sensitive neighbours.
But the most unique feature of the Bkool Smart Air is indeed the amount of lateral movement the device affords. Once correctly installed, you can tilt the bike six degrees to the right and six to the left. That might not sound like a lot, but it makes all the difference and gives an extra dimension to hard efforts, unlike any other trainer.
And that’s not all this machine has up its sleeve. While most smart trainers can handle a maximum of 2,500 watts, the Bkool Smart Air can handle 3,000. Rather unnecessary if you ask us, but we’d be happy to talk to any riders who find 2,500 watts in the sprint not enough… This is also the very first home trainer which simulates deceleration during a (virtual) descent. The Smart Air automatically adjusts to the gradient, as it does when you climb up virtual hills.
Interested? The Bkool Smart Air goes for no less than a cool €1,150. A bit of an investment, but then your pain cave will be considerably more realistic! (See also: Get fit in no time thanks to this Pain Cave essential)