CycleOps Science: Resistance vs Inertia

CycleOps Science: Resistance vs Inertia

Ever wonder how our CycleOps indoor bike trainers work? What makes them unique over other brands like Kurt Kinetic, Tacx or Wahoo Fitness? Easy. It all comes down to science.

In this three part series we’ll be diving deeper into the science of our trainers. This week we're starting with a quick review on physics.

Lesson 1: Resistance vs inertia.

As depicted by the graphic below, resistance is the feeling of pushing against a force – like grinding up a hill. 

Bicycle Resistance vs. Inertia

When it comes riding inside, resistance and inertia are still at play – even though there aren't any hills. On a trainer, forward momentum (aka: inertia) is created by pedaling. This momentum simulates the increased speed that you would experience out on the road with a bump in power output or simply riding down a hill. Additionally, the momentum created by pedaling is responsible for smoothing the resistance created by the trainer so the rear wheel doesn’t decelerate unrealistically and provides that true-to-the-road feel.

To create resistance, we have a wide variety of resistance units that build friction, which in turn simulates riding up a hill or into the wind. We'll have more on resistance units in Lesson 3.

Want to learn more? Take a look at our full line of indoor trainers. And if you're ready to bring your inside ride to life, add in our CycleOps VirtualTraining software.