Minoura LR760 Trainer - MSRP $380

The Minoura LR760 trainer is the second trainer in Minoura's LiveRide series. It shares many of the same features as the top of the range LR960, with one exception. The LR760 utilizes a mono leg design instead of the infinitely adjustable U-leg design of its older sibling. The mono-leg design is still quite durable keeping the trainer extremely stable, and for the money saved, is a great value. Like the LR960 the LR760 makes use of a dual Neodymium magnet and a quick release remote shifter. Both offer an industry leading thirteen resistance levels, that can be adjusted with a turn of a knob. Unlike traditional magnetic trainers, which typically use Ferrite magnets, Minoura makes use of Neodymium magnets in their trainers. The rare earth magnets are known for not fading or losing strength and can be adjusted from an easy setting to near impossible, giving the rider plenty of resistance and the ability to replicate real world feel. Minoura also has available a smartphone app that interacts with the LiveRide trainers, called LiveTraining. Minoura's app is an interesting solution for not only recording your training sessions, but replicating your real world routes, indoors. The app is also able to show your wattage output real time using calculations based on the rollers load characteristics.

First though, lets take a look at the LR760 - out of the box you'll quickly notice that the fit and finish of the LR760 is top notch. Made in Japan and able to withstand the rigors of any dreaded long winter indoor training sessions. The trainer's frame is constructed of steel, providing a good stable base, yet remaining relatively light. There are rubber contacts where the trainer touches the floor and they work well to keep the trainer in place. Some assembly is required - You'll need to install the flywheel unit and roller pressure adjusting knob to the frame. The process is pretty straight forward and instructions are included. As a bonus, the Minoura LR760 trainer also comes with an adapter you can install to accommodate smaller diameter wheels so your young kids can use their bikes on the trainer as well.

Once the LR760 is assembled, setting up your bike doesn't take long. Once you've got the bike in place, the quick hub clamp handle locks your bike into the trainer. The hub clamp handle is large enough that it makes it a quick and easy operation. Then it's just a matter of adjusting the distance of the flywheel to the bike wheel and attaching and adjusting the remote tension shifter to the handlebars. Once you have it all dialed in it's very easy to get your bike in and out of the trainer without having to make any further adjustments. When you are done with your indoor training session, it simply folds up and is easily put away.

As expected from a higher end trainer, the LR760 is stable as a rock and the ride is smooth, even when we were standing and stomping on the pedals at high cadence. The Neodymium magnets that are used in the Minoura LR760 make use of a unique stair step design that makes it possible to adjust tension and resistance. With 13 settings from a simple twist of the knob, it offers a more realistic riding experience. The downside with previous magnetic trainers is that the resistance wasn't progressive. With the LR760 you get the power and resistance commonly found in fluid trainers but are able to adjust the resistance on the fly and even maintain it under load. Chances are you won't outgrow this trainer. And since this is a magnetic trainer, it still remains one of the quieter trainers available.

LiveTraining App - $9.99 MSRP

The LiveRide series of trainers are not only the best Minoura trainers offered, they're also designed to work with Minoura's LiveTraining App. Available for $9.99 in the Apple App store, you can record your speed, cadence, power output and all cycling computer functions like any other cycling computer. The App's real appeal is that it also lets you simulate real courses on your iOS device while training indoors. The app requires an ANT+ compatible dongle, currently we're using a Wahoo Key ($69 MSRP), speed and cadence sensors ($49.99 MSRP), and a heart rate strap ($59.99 MSRP). This is all needed to be able to get the full functionality out of the LiveTraining program. The Wahoo key is quite common and compatible with a range of other apps, and if you already have an HR strap, and or speed/cadence sensors already, they'll most likely work just fine with the Wahoo ANT+ key.

The Live Training App was easy to setup and turned out to be a very useful tool. If for nothing else, it's great motivation for those long monotonous and tedious hours indoors on the trainer. The app is well designed and offers three training modes - Course Simulation, Interval, and Free Riding mode. All three modes are great indoors, but can also be used outdoors sans the trainer if you wanted to.

Course Simulation Mode

In Course mode, the app guides you and the LR760 to simulate a virtual course while training indoors. You can create a course by riding the a route with the sister app, LiveCycling and sending the course to LiveTraining, or you can import a route with a KML or GPX file. The feature worked well enough, but you do have to constantly change the resistance level with the adjustable bar mounted knob. A little cumbersome at first, it gets more familiar the more you do it, and is an important task that keeps the trainer and app synchronized to your course. The app tracks you as a red dot along the route as you pedal through the course and will show you your calculated watts, speed, cadence, and heart rate. The power is calculated with a formula based on the power curve of the magnetic resistance and your wheel speed. Minoura does claim the wattage number is within +/-5% accurate, but we would suggest the numbers only be used to track your progress. It's probably not an accurate way to test your real watts.

Interval Mode

Interval mode allows you to design specific training workouts based on target intensity and time, building in rest periods to help develop better muscle and cardiopulmonary functions. The patterns of repats and rest, is cleverly shown on the screen in a ticker type fashion that represents how much time is left in the current effort. A great way to visualize your interval session, the screen also shows your watts, cadence and heart rate.

Free Ride Mode

If you're just looking to get on the trainer and pedal, then Free Ride mode is for you. In Free Ride, you'll simply get speed, cadence, heart rate, and your wattage output numbers on the screen. Granted, the wattage is not as accurate as the high dollar power meters out there. The basic setup of the LR760 and app is a great way to get a baseline and track improvements throughout the season. The setup becomes a very helpful tool that's comparatively easy on the pocketbook and a lot easier to justify than, say, the Powertap or SRM. The LiveTraining app will allow you to save all workouts and even allows you to export workouts directly to services like Strava, Facebook, twitter or as a TCX file wirelessly from the iOS device.

Some things to note with the app - a nice handlebar mount for your iphone or iOS device would be ideal, we just used a stool positioned in front of the bike during our testing as there are no mounts yet for the iPhone 5. Which leads to our next comment, yes, the app will work with an iPhone 5, if you use the lightening to 30-pin adapter available from Apple. Otherwise most other iOS devices with the 30 pin connector should work fine with the Wahoo ANT+ dongle.

Bottom Line

The Minoura LR760 sits in the sweet spot of Minoura's lineup for someone looking for a trainer that is well constructed, durable, and provides plenty of resistance. The advanced Neodymium flywheel and 13 way adjustable resistance knob allow a great range of progressive resistance, yet remaining fairly quiet. Sitting just one rung below Minoura's top end LR960 model, with similar specs, and a friendlier MSRP, the LR760 is an excellent trainer. Combined with the LiveTraining iOS App, Wahoo Key, and sensors the LR760 turns into an extremely useful real time interactive training tool.

MSRP: $380
Weight: 18 lbs
Decible Reading while in use: 91
Resistance Type: Magnetic
Wheel Sizes: 24" - 700 x 40c

[*]Magnetic - Neodymium magnets, 13 levels of resistance
[*]Quiet! Able to train into the night while the rest of the house sleeps.
[*]Interactive with LiveTraining - Course Simulation, Intervals...
[*]Relatively inexpensive wattage training

[*]High price of entry if you consider the price of the trainer, app, and needed attachments
[*]LiveTraining App not included with trainer