Roadbikereview is reviewing several trainers this month and the range is quite varied this year. Some are portable and some take up a small room. Some are quiet while others roar like a jet plane taking off. Some are affordable while others cost as much as a bike. The Lemond Revolution is not portable, roars like a jet and costs as much as a beginner road bike. Yet it does have appeal because it exhibits the most realistic pedaling action of all. It feels like you’re actually pedaling on the road. So if that’s what is ultimately important to you, then read on.
What we have here is a fresh approach at a bike trainer. It eliminates the rear wheel and the bike attaches directly to this trainer. So you need a compatible cog installed on the trainer to get proper shifting. Shimano, Campy, SRAM, 9-10-11 speed… make sure you get the right one. So switching different bikes onto this trainer is not as practical as most other trainers. Also, you would be really blessed (as we are) if your wheel cassette position is identical to the trainer’s. In this case, there will be zero derailleur adjustment required when mounting to the trainer.
When all is set up, the rider is rewarded by a very realistic pedaling experience. It’s just like pedaling outdoors in wide open smooth tarmac. If that is really, really important to you and you’re tired of wearing out tires on the trainer then you may have found the right product for you. Of course, there are compromises so read on. If you’re looking for a quiet trainer that you can set up in the living room with any of your bikes and you want it portable and under $300, this may not be a good option.
- Price is $499. $549 with cogset
- Weight: 32 lbs
- direct drive eliminates the wheel and tire interface from the trainer
- Resistance is fan based.
- interface between bike and trainer is locked and solid.
- does not wear out the tire
- pedaling action with coasting is very realistic because of the massive flywheel positioned at the edge of the fan blades
- extremely sturdy and stable under heavy pedaling and out of the saddle efforts
- bike is level and does not need a trainer block to prop up the front is not required
- wind resistance is light during start up and progressively gets heavier as load increases. This is much more realistic than fluid, magnetic or friction resistance.
- performance data will be available soon with a Lemond Power Pilot for $350 with calibrated watts downloable through USB
- unbelievably noisy specially at higher output levels
- need for small derrailleur adjustments is a possibility if your wheelset cog alignment does not match the trainer’s.
- one really has to choose between using this with a 9-speed or 10-speed (aka road or mountain bike). Changing cog sets is not convenient
- 29er mountain bike will be slightly raised on the front end
- Rear thru-axles on modern mountain bikes are not compatible
- does not fold up for easy transport. This plus the 33 lb weight means it’s not that portable
- your old bike computer with rear wheel sensor will not pick up mileage because there is no rear wheel.
Bottom line is this trainer pedals better than any other trainer before it. It spins up easy, it coasts well and loads up to 700 watts in a very realistic manner. The pedal to trainer interface is rock solid so there’s no squeaks, creaks and disconcerting movement and flexing. So you are free to just pedal and coast, go on anaerobic intervals or go virtual Pyrenees climbing with your DVDs. This unit offers more realistic pedaling than any trainer, roller or spin bike we’ve tried.
Of course all is not a bed of roses. Noise, portability, compatibility with different bikes are all downsides. And it’s not cheap either at $550. But we feel that it still delivers a solid value for the right buyer.
So it could be a 5-star product if you are the right buyer just looking for the best pedaling action. But the list of weaknesses is long so make sure this trainer fits your usage and requirements.
The right buyer is one that puts thousands of miles on a trainer using a dedicated trainer. When noise is not a big concern for this buyer but the uncompromised pedaling feel is, this is where the Lemond Revolution trainer delivers.