Trainer (direct drive) in the cold / temperature drift?

trainer

#1

Hi all
I was wondering if any of you knowledgeable lot, have any experience with using a direct drive trainer in a cold environment?

I can only train in my shed, which can occasionally be below freezing. I currently have a Tacx Vortex, which has really bad temperature drift, especially when it’s cold. During my last workout (60 min) I calibrated it 4 times (!) and got different numbers every time, indicating that something (likely temperature) had changed.

I would like to upgrade to a direct drive trainer, as I imagine it wont have similar problems? Have any of you tested this?


#2

I haven’t personally tested really cold variations but for the tacx flux direct drive and others it is recommended to calibrate after around 8-10 mins when the trainer is warmed up, so there is obviously some drift due to temp.

see the quote below taken from a dc rainmaker review of the tacx flux

So let’s start with that warm-up period and analyze what’s happening there. As with all trainers (that allow it), I always do a calibration prior to starting my ride. That’s effectively calibrating against the current air temperature, in the event it changes. For me, it actually doesn’t change much – so it’s more of a formality. What Tacx (and most other trainers) are actually looking for after that 10 or so minutes is heating up within the trainer that can impact things. By that point parts have warmed up and stabilized.


#3

The higher end Elite trainers use an optical torque sensor to measure power, at least the Drivo and Direto use this system which isn’t subject to temperature fluctuations. It’s one of the reasons I went for the Direto as all my other Power meters suffer to a greater or lesser from heat build up in my shed.

I had a Vortex for a short period but it went back after a few uses as it wasn’t the greatest trainer for many reasons including the one you mention.

https://www.elite-it.com/en/innovations/Optical-Torque-Sensor


#4

Ahh yes, that is a really good point! That should not be susceptible to temperature drift. Maybe I should be on the lookout for a good deal on a Direto. I was considering the Tacx Flux S, simply because it is the cheapest of the direct drive trainers, but the extra outlay might be worth it.


#5

An update:
I wrote Tacx and asked how the Flux S would perform in the cold. Their reply was that it should perform fine, but they strongly advise against storing a trainer in freezing temperatures, saying it will very likely destroy the electronics. At the very least, it should be covered in heavy blankets when not in use.

This is likely correct, as my Vortex did die last spring. (a friend had a spare electronics module that I bought cheaply). Since I currently don’t have anywhere else to store a trainer in a practical way, I think I have to make do with my Vortex for now.