Rider review: one week with the TrueBike

Honestly, I couldn’t wait for my TrueBike to arrive. I’ve entered a bunch of races and events this summer, including a few triathlons, with my main event being the Chase The Sun sportive – a 300+ kilometer coast-to-coast ride in the UK which takes place on the longest day, towards the end of June.

Plenty of time and opportunity to get fit, I thought. But, as the rain continued to come down and, somehow, the Dutch spring actually got colder and colder, I was starting to worry. So, when the TrueBike did arrive and was set up for me (kudos on the customer service), I breathed a sigh of relief and committed to riding every day for one week to kick off the training.

Day 1

I started with an easy 1h endurance ride, mainly as this gave me the opportunity to dial in the fit of the TrueBike, as well as find my way around all the features and the training screens. Ideally, I’d have all my bike measurements dialed in already and be able to replicate those on the TrueBike but I’m just not that prepared.

Fortunately, it was easy enough to adjust the saddle height and fore/aft, as well as the handlebar height and fore/aft. I saved the measurements in the app, as my wife may also use the bike from time to time, and I spent the rest of the ride scanning the various training screen presets. In the end, I opted for the “Show me the data” preset, which provides a full range of useful metrics, including cadence, power (10s, normalized power, max power), L/R balance, kCal burned and heart rate (current as well as average).

Day 2

Time for some intervals. The TrueBike synced quickly and easily with TrainerRoad, my training platform of choice, so I dived into a session of long intervals at just over my current, slightly embarrassingly low FTP. This is where I discovered one of my favorite features of the TrueBike – the ERG cushioning.

The session called for intervals at 280 watts, with short recoveries at around 120w. I often find my mind wandering during the recoveries and fail to see the interval approaching. Then, there’s a sudden jump from 120w to 280w, so I spend the first 20 second of each interval killing myself just to get up to speed and get back on top of the interval. 

But with the ERG cushioning, the TrueBike provides a short ramp between recovery and interval power, giving me the chance to gradually build for a few seconds. It makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.

Day 3

My plan called for an easy 75 minute recovery ride and the weather gods were not on my side, so the planned outside session became a TrueBike ride. Fortunately, my favorite football team, Everton (I know, I know….) were playing so I whiled away the time watching the match on TV.

I’ve always been extremely fussy in terms of bike saddles and now have an Adamo Road on all my bikes, including my TT bike and MTB. It just works for me, for some reason. So I swapped out the saddle from the TrueBike and replaced it with an Adamo Road and it was a great call. The stock saddle has been fine, but jumping on the bike for this ride felt like coming home… 75 minutes went by effortlessly and comfortably. If only Everton had performed quite so well.

Day 4

The riding legs were starting to come back to me, slowly but steadily. Every day, I was feeling stronger, so I decided I needed to test myself and my level. I’m no fan of the standard FTP tests, so instead I decided to see how well the TrueBike played with Zwift and beast myself on an individual TT up the Alpe de Zwift.

Needless to say, syncing the bike with the app was quick and simple. But what really stood out was the more realistic feeling of climbing I got from the TrueBike. I’ve ridden trainers from all the major brands before and have always found that climbing and sprinting (high torque scenarios) is when they feel most unrealistic – more like a spinning bike than an outdoor bike.

I’m sure the boffins at TrueKinetix can explain why the motor achieves this so much better than a flywheel and magnetic resistance, but all I can say from a user point of view is that I genuinely felt like I was pumping the pedals in search of the peak. I’ve not ridden a smart bike before but one huge advantage is just how robust they feel when you’re all over the bike on a sprint or a climb. My trusty TT bike (which is the one I used to have set up on the trainer) was safely stashed on the wall while I sweatily wrestled my way to a new FTP.

Day 5

Miracle of miracles. The rain stopped, so I took advantage of this temporary break in precipitation to head out to the local mountain bike trail. Time for someone else to try out the TrueBike.

My wife has been on something of a health kick of late. Nothing crazy, but eating healthier, taking long walks and doing a spot of yoga a few times a week. While she would never have dreamed of jumping onto my road or tri bike when set up on the trainer, she was more than enthusiastic about trying my latest gadget. Maybe because it looks more robust, or even that it “looks” more like the sort of bike you see in gyms; whatever the reason, she was comfortable enough to quickly adjust the saddle height and off she went for a 20 minute spin. 

Her verdict? “Yeah, I’ll do that again. I liked seeing how far I’d gone on the screen.” 

Day 6

Even crazier, the sun was actually shining. So I used the opportunity (as well as the fear of my first triathlon being less than a month away) to do the first ride of the year on my TT bike. Believe it or not, this is where the smart bike shines even brighter than the late-April sun.

Previously, I’ve had my TT bike set up on the home trainer as that’s likely to be how and where I’ll have the most opportunity to ride it. But that has meant that when time and conditions do lend themselves to riding it outside, I’ve spent almost more time taking the bike off the trainer and putting on wheels, blowing up tires and cleaning the bike after the ride so it’s ready to go back on the trainer as I’ve spent actually riding.

Often, I just didn’t bother. So, I’d either opt to ride inside anyway, or grab my MTB meaning I was pretty unprepared for the specific position and handling of a TT bike when racing rolled around. With a dedicated smart bike, that rigmarole and tough decision have gone. Grab the bike, go ride, put it back in the garage for next time. It’s that simple. Bizarrely, I can easily imagine myself training on my TT bike more this year than in previous years now that I have a dedicated smart bike for those indoor sessions.

Day 7

One of those days where work got the better of me and endless meetings and deadlines meant there was no time to train until after dinner. I may have called it a rest day on other occasions, but the TrueBike has me excited to ride, so I loaded up a tough but achievable session on TrainerRoad, got Netflix playing on the TV and smashed out another one-hour ride. Maybe tomorrow should be a rest day tho?

For all the features, the built-like-a-tank quality and realistic riding, the biggest benefit I’ve seen so far has been consistency. Having the right tool for the job – a dedicated smart bike for indoor training – just makes it so much easier and more enjoyable to jump on the TrueBike but also my outdoor bikes too. And, as we all know, consistency is the key when it comes to cycling gains.

So, that’s my experience. If you’re thinking about making the leap from a trainer to a smart bike, I hope this is helpful. And if you’re looking to invest in becoming a better, stronger and more consistent cyclist, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.