I love cycling, but I don’t love the pseudoscience, bull-crap gear culture that comes with it. There are so many products that pop up promising to solve some problem inherit to your inability to ride fast that it can make your head spin. Not to mention they tend to cost more than the average american’s mortgage payment. So I was less than surprised when stumbled upon this tweet yesterday:
— CyclingTips (@cyclingtips) October 23, 2017
“An Australian invention that brings the indoor trainer, outside.”
So it’s boring as hell, and smells like dog breath and fetid ass? Seriously, who has ever gotten off their trainer during the winter and thought, “damn, I really wish I could keep doing this when it’s warm out.”
The AIRhub is a wireless self-powered resistance unit designed to be used outdoors and on the road. The unit is controlled by a smartphone app that allows users to program how much resistance is applied during a training session.
In practice, what that means is that the AIRhub is designed to slow the bike down. While this effect is somewhat analogous to applying the front brakes, the AIRhub does it automatically and silently, just like a smart indoor trainer. In addition, there is a choice of five different modes for modulating the resistance of the AIRhub to different kinds of workouts.
Well, if that doesn’t sound like absolute torture I don’t know what does. I for one, often find myself out on a nice ride thinking, “if only I could simulate the experience of a 30 mph headwind or some brake rub!”
Let’s not overlook the inventor’s inspiration for this absolutely insane product, which came from doing group rides on mountain bikes and riding around with water in his inner tubes:
Another aspect that was important was the way that the system behaved on the road. “I had been doing funny things for a number of years, like using heavier tyres, adding weights to my rims, filling my tubes with water, or going on a bunch ride with a mountain bike.
“If I used a heavy tyre, it would give me a certain kind of road feel. If I added weights to my rims, the road feel would be completely different. Putting water in my tubes was different again, but it wasn’t until I developed the first prototype for the AIRhub that I found the road feel and load I was looking for. It still felt a lot like a racing bike but I could give it a few percent extra. And the faster I went, the harder it got.
All for the low price of $1,500:
Terrain Dynamics sells the AIRhub direct to customers via its website for AUD$1,950 (~US$1,530), excluding shipping. That price includes the wheel along with all of the accessories described, plus a two-year warranty.
The companies FAQ page is a real treat:
I FEEL A TAPPING. WHATS UP WITH THAT?
That means it’s working. It’s normal for a light tapping to be felt when resistance is applied.
That’s just the feeling of you realizing you paid $1500 for a broken wheel simulator.
I KNOW IT WAS BUILT FOR ROAD RACERS, DOES IT WORK FOR TRIATHLETES TOO?
The AIRhub will work even better for Triathletes. More training in less time. It allows high quality training in the Aero position to become safe and easily achievable. No need to travel for miles to find safe roads. Long high intensity sessions can be done on a bike path.
Come on now, I’ve yet to meet a triathlete who needed any artificial means of slowing themselves down.
For real though, want to ride harder? Pretty straightforward, go faster or find a road that goes up. Don’t worry, even the professionals haven’t run out of miles-per-hour yet and the mountains, at least the Rockies where I ride, aren’t set to erode away for a few hundred million years. So you should have enough time left to get a challenge out of them. And if your group ride is too slow, find a new one before you spend your hard earned cash on this generator hub that doesn’t even come with a light.