FreeMotion S 11.0 is an alternative to the Cycleops 300 Pro Indoor Cycle or ProForm Tour de France bike for those of you looking for a stationary indoor cycle, with the accuracy of measured power/watts, for home training.
Note: the Proform Tour de France bike has the very inaccurate “Estimated Power” that will disappoint anyone who rides with a power tap or other measured power device on their road bike.
There seems to be some confusion in the marketplace about how this new crop of indoor cycles measure power. I’ve been following all the advancements as the Host of the Indoor Cycle Instructor Podcast and feel I have a pretty good understanding on this topic.
People want to know how much work they are actually doing on an indoor trainer and most of the IC manufacturers are building cycles with the option to display Watts, along with RPM and other information that can be calculated like estimated speed, total calories burned, etc…
The first Indoor Cycle with power was the CycleOps and it features their Power Tap hub integrated into the flywheel – which uses strain gauges to measure the force you are creating to display your work output. Excellent system, very accurate and for many who can afford one – the perfect indoor trainer. But the CycleOps was too expensive for health clubs / studios to consider for indoor cycling rooms with 20-30-60 or more bikes.
Enter Keiser and their M3 indoor cycle.
Keiser’s M3 was revolutionary in that it displays a riders wattage at a price point that competes with many commercial bikes like the Spinner NXT. How Keiser could offer Power, while keeping the cost down, was through the use of estimated power. To estimate the amount of power being created by the rider the engineers at Keiser programmed the computer on the M3 with an algorithm that looks at the resistance system’s position (gear position) and the cadence (RPM). The computer sees these two inputs and looks at it’s internal power chart which says; gear 13 at 90 RPM = 240 watts – and then displays it on the screen. This is accurate enough for a group cycle class, but the system is far from the accuracy many training endurance athletes are looking for.
Next Schwinn began offering their AC Performance series of indoor cycles with the same type of estimated power. The Proform TDF bike uses a similar system. All three of these brands offer a reasonably accurate system of displaying your wattage, but they all fall short when it comes to accurately.
FreeMotion and their new S series of indoor cycles are accurate because they measure, not estimate, the force you create. They do this through a strain gauge in the left crank arm which measures the twisting force you create and the computer applies your cadence and displays the wattage… simple, accurate and without the need for frequent calibration.
I’ve been teaching on FreeMotion s 11.9 bikes for the last 9 months. The 11.9 is the commercial version with an aluminum frame. My understanding is that the S 11.0 has a steel frame but uses the same computer option. Update: all the FreeMotion bikes use the same Power console – FreeMotion S11.0 review link . I really wish that they would make the drop handle bars standard on all their cycles cause I really like them 🙂 The Freemotion S11.0 Indoor Cycle comes with the dropped bars.