One of the new trainers we are testing out at the shop is the Tacx Cosmos. I’d seen this product at Interbike and it usually draws a crowd, especially with the Virtual Reality package hooked up. I’m always hearing people say “wouldn’t it be cool if you could ride a race course on your trainer” and I tell them, yeah, someone makes that…
My first impressions of the Cosmos are mixed. Disappointment #1 – as an MTB racer who trains a lot on the road I was really bummed to find that adjusting the rear wheel resistance unit to adapt to different wheel diameters requires disassembly and reassembly with an adapter plate under the motor mount. I often like to put my MTB on the trainer but with the Cosmos you pretty much have to select one wheel diameter and stick with it for a while. This is necessitated by the tight clearances between the wheel and the drum, as you can see in this photo. Other than that the mechanical setup was pretty easy.
On the plus side, one very convenient aspect of the Cosmos is that the rear axle clamp and the resistance unit are both on cam-operated clamps analogous to a quick release so once you get them adjusted it is a very quick step to lock in the wheel and clamp down the drum. Here is a shot with the blue lever pushed down and the resistance drum engaged.
That silver thing you see is no ordinary magnetic or fluid resistance unit, but rather a motor. This enables the resistance to adjust according to either the pre-programmed training routine or a race course (when using the VR upgrade package). The workouts are easy to create on your PC using the software that comes with the unit. You can set the profile by power, heart rate, or gradient. So far I’ve only tested power. I’m still trying to figure out which HR transmitter works with the Cosmos, more on that later. The product support information is silent on the subject. I have just about every brand available so I’m sure I have the right one somewhere in my pile.
Finally here are a couple of shots, showing the whole setup and a close up of the world’s largest handlebar unit. It has a solid feel and the buttons are easy to use when cranking hard, so I don’t mind the size although I wish the straps were a bit longer to wrap around the taped part of the bar. They go on fast though, using O-rings, similar to the crank magnet and the sensor, so setup is once again pretty easy. Tacx definitely seems to have done their homework on this aspect of trainer usage.
In an unrelated note, I’ve been testing out a nifty product called the GelBot. If you use energy gels such as Hammer gel but want to make life a little more convenient, check this out. It has a small reservoir nested in the cap of the bottle where you put the gel. Squeeze the bottle with the nozzle shut to get the gel out, or open it like a standard bottle to drink the water. The only downsides I saw were that the nozzle is pretty large compared to most bottles, and there is enough flow resistance in the gel port that in cold weather I expect the gel would be too viscous and would be hard to squeeze out. But for a simplified solution in warm weather this would spare you some messy gel packs in your jersey pockets. Pretty clever I’d say. I think GelBot is a super option in a TT where you need some energy supply, but not too much, and only want to carry one thing. They are sold by Hydrapak.