Which cycling trainer should I buy

Basic equipment: What you need as a racing cyclist - and what you don't

Racing bike, cycling clothes, shoes, helmet, speedometer - the optimal start to a new hobby depends on the right basic equipment. Cycling is not a cheap hobby, unfortunately. Nevertheless, you should not save in the wrong place when it comes to equipment. Otherwise, frustration or, in the worst case, injuries are inevitable. Above all, the equipment has to meet one criterion: It has to suit its owner.

Stocking up on professional material right from the start makes about as much sense as driving a Formula One car as a novice driver. Newbies will initially hardly benefit from the advantages of a feather-light, super-stiff wheel worth a small car - except perhaps in terms of motivation. In addition, the following applies to the beginning: comfort over sportiness. Choosing a wrong sitting position because it is too stretched out is a typical beginner's mistake.

Test the racing bike now without risk! To the shop!

1. Adjust the racing bike correctly

An investment that pays off in the long term is professional bike fitting. Instead of adjusting the bike and thus the sitting position by the thumb or using some rule of thumb, a computer system calculates the optimal angles for knees, shoulders and hips. Postural errors and the most common "cyclist problems", pain and tension in the neck and back, are prevented from the start.

The 100 to 300 euros can therefore be money well spent for many. Of course, you can also do without this investment. Another, albeit crude, method is to measure the length of your stride and subtract ten centimeters from it. This should result in the seat height - which is usually measured between the center of the bottom bracket and the horizontal saddle. Another variation is to take the stride length times 0.885.

More information on the correct setting of the racing bike

2. Get used to the bike

You have to learn to move a racing bike quickly and safely. The low weight and the special geometry make it extremely agile, which means that switching from other bikes takes getting used to. Concentration and bike control are particularly important in strong cross winds, wet road conditions or fast descents. It is therefore advisable to approach the correct handling of the bike slowly and carefully.

If you add balance or braking exercises to your normal training from time to time, you will soon be much safer on the road. For example, the following points are important in fast corners: The head controls the movement - so the view goes where you want to go. High in, flat out - the curve is first approached on the outside, then you pull inwards.

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Basic equipment for the racing bike: clipless pedals take some getting used to

But be careful: never lay across the middle of the lane, otherwise it will be dangerous with oncoming traffic. The speed has to be right when entering the curve, because (hard) braking is taboo - otherwise there is a risk of falling. The position of the crank is also important. The crank arm facing the center of the curve stands vertically upwards. This means that the pedal cannot touch down when you put it into the curve.

Even getting off the pedals, or rather clicking off the pedals, has to be learned. Clipless pedals are not only useful, after all, they ensure optimal power transmission. Above all, they are one thing: they take some getting used to. Theoretically, it is very simple: the foot is first turned outwards and then the shoe is pushed sideways out of the holder. In practice, this can become a problem faster than expected without practice. A tip for the first attempts: With some manufacturers, the release resistance of the pedal can be adjusted manually; less is here - for starters - more.

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3. The minimax principle

On the go, the motto is: as little as possible, as much as necessary. It is essential to have two tire levers, an air pump or compressed air cylinder, a replacement tube and sufficient drinks.

A cell phone and a little cash should not be missing in an emergency. Optional are a mini tool and - depending on the weather - a wind vest or rain jacket as well as arm and leg warmers. In addition, of course, there is food. Water in the drinking bottle, bars, gels, bananas, rice cakes - or whatever you like. All of this usually fits in your jersey pockets.

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4. The training

A subject area that fills entire libraries and in which - similar to material - religious wars are fought is the right training. Depending on how ambitious your own goals are and how good your fitness level is, it may make sense for one or the other to have an expert write a training plan for you or to scroll through literature yourself. Real racing bike novices without a solid basic level of fitness should, however, heed the following three principles: 1. Instead of trying to slavishly stick to any standard training plan, you should listen to your body in the beginning. How does he react to the unfamiliar stress? And what terrain do I like? 2. Basically: drive regularly and don't forget to take breaks.

The initial euphoria tempts to overdo it, but first the foundations have to be laid. Three tours a week - two after-hours, a long weekend trip, for example - are sufficient for now. The body should slowly get used to the new stress. Regeneration between stresses is accordingly important. 3. If you want to drive fast, you should first be able to drive for a long time. In other words: Before the speed increases, the distances first become longer.

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Basic equipment for the racing bike: the material

The racing bike market is becoming increasingly confusing. New categories, new trends, electronic or mechanical switching, braking with disks or on the rims - the options are increasing all the time. Even the “classes” into which racing bikes can be divided are not entirely clear. One try:

Race: These racing bikes are designed for one thing above all else: driving fast. However, “sub-categories” of this go in completely different directions. On the one hand, there are lightweights, racing bikes that only weigh around six kilograms and are often used in cycling marathons in the Alps. On the other hand, there are the aero racing bikes, which are particularly noticeable because of their special tube shapes that offer the least possible contact surface for the wind and great system integration.

All-rounder: Most of the “entry-level” racing bikes in the 1000 euro class fall into this category. Their geometry is usually balanced, not too sporty and stretched.

Comfort and Gravel

Comfort: These bikes are often called “marathons”, they are primarily designed for long distances. Compared to the competition bikes, their geometry is much more relaxed and therefore usually more upright.

Gravel: This is a still young type of racing bike and, to put it bluntly, a hybrid of a comfort-oriented racing bike and an all-terrain cyclocross bike. As the name suggests, a gravel racer is designed for driving on gravel and dirt roads. Its extremely large area of ​​use and the fairly upright seating position make it interesting for many racing bike beginners and commuters. The same applies to cyclocrossers.

Basic equipment: Which switching groups for the racing bike?

Shimano, Sram or Campagnolo? When it comes to switching groups, it often becomes ideological.

Functionally, they are all good. Look, feel, switching speed or braking power - these are the differences. And of course the cost factor. Shimano's 105 group, which is also highly recommended in terms of price-performance, often dominates the cheaper bikes. One step above, mostly from bikes in the 2000 euro class and above, the Ultegra group in particular is installed. Here Campagnolo launched a new competitor in 2016: the Potenza.

The newcomer was completely convincing in our tests. The other options are: mechanical or electronic shifting? Rim or disc brakes? The former is always cheaper. Disc brakes cannot be retrofitted; they usually have better braking properties, especially in wet conditions, but are heavier and require more maintenance. Heavy drivers should make sure that the windows are larger than 140 millimeters.

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What gear ratio do I need on a racing bike?

The choice of translation bandwidth can be decisive. Once the standard was: 53 and 39 teeth in the front, 11 to 23 or 25 teeth in the back. This variant is still widespread in racing today. With normal bikes, however, the compact, 50/34, and the semi-compact, 52/36, are becoming increasingly popular.

These also make more sense, especially for beginners. If you are new to the high mountains, you should usually rely on a compact crank and a cassette with a 28, 30 or even 32 tooth pinion.

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Which clothes are useful on the bike?

For racing bike beginners, it is usually not about trends, but about basic equipment - and that is relatively clear. At least for the summer season: helmet, cycling shoes, sunglasses, socks, functional undershirt, bib shorts, jersey, wind vest, rain jacket, arm warmers, leg warmers, cycling gloves.

This covers a very wide weather and temperature range. A tip on the side: special and post-season sales as well as collection changes offer great opportunities to get bargains. Clothes, colors, cuts - that's one thing. But other purchases are really crucial. The connection points between man and machine are very important: the combination of cycling shoes and clipless pedals as well as the saddle. You shouldn't save here. And before you buy, the general rule is: try it out.

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Where can i save?

Many manufacturers offer high discounts on discontinued models or remaining stock in autumn or winter. This applies to the consignor Canyon, for example. The French from Ekoi are very often well ahead in the price-performance category among accessory companies.

Discount campaigns run almost constantly on their homepage, so that cycling shoes and helmets are often offered for well under 100 euros, jerseys for under 30 or long gloves for under 20 euros. Of course, discounters such as Lidl and Aldi also offer cycling clothing and accessories from time to time. Here it depends on the individual case, not all products are recommended.

This article was published on November 12, 2017.