Yesterday, the bike finally was ready for pickup. I was able to pick it up at the headquarters where the bike is developed and also put together, which is only 40km from my house. This bike is produced by a small startup company, only 100 or so have been sold in 2020 in the Netherlands and Belgium, which is also their max production capacity. But current plans are to expand production and also offer in the US. They are now producing version 2.0 after receiving feedback from the early adopters.
The unique claim is that this is the first robotized bike. The crank is connected to a motor by a chain and there is no flywheel. Every split second the software measures the forces applied on the pedals and uses AI to predict what you will do next, in order to offer the same ride feel as what you would experience outside.
What I am wondering is how this differs from the Neo Bike where the simulated flywheel also means that the resistance is being adjusted throughout the pedal stroke. I guess it is all about the algorithms used to control the resistance. What TrueKinetix has developed is a way to use robotics to simulate physical movement. It is applied first to a indoor bike, mostly because of commercial reasons, but the same algorithms are also applicable to simulate robotic weightlift machines for strength training without weights or indoor rowers.
Anyway, my experience so far is that I immediately ordered one back in December after having booked a demo at their headquarters. This bike is really about the ride feel and after reading their claims, I had to try it out and see what it was about. I was using a Kickr Core so that is what I have to compare, and the difference is noticeable. Maybe the best way to describe it is by what you sometimes hear in reviews of trainers, how it is so smooth. Of coarse all these trainers feel smooth as in that there are no abrupt pulls on the crank, but the smoothness of the Kickr feels like a more constant resistance with the pedals accelerating down fast, the moment that I apply power, while on the TrueBike it really feels like there is this gigantic stone wheel at the back that you are spinning and when you apply a big force on the pedal there is a lot of resistance to push into.
Now the first thing I need to do is calibrate my Assioma pedals to show the same power as the TrueBike, at first glance it looks like there is a 2-3% difference. Unfortunately the Truebike gives lower power than my pedals. Will calibrate to the TrueBike for practical reasons, but also because they claim it to be 0.1% accurate .
Here are some specs:
- Build-in rechargeable battery, regular usage is enough to keep battery charged with no need for external power.
- Two ride feels: TrueBike and Spinbike. With Spinbike it simulates how a regular trainer would feel like.
- Three ride modes: Road / Power / Control. With Road, you can choose the incline and it simulates the resistance accordingly. Power is a ERG mode with set power, still need to test more, but it looks like for what ride feel is concerned it functions a bit like the Kickr in ERG mode: shift to high gear for riding on flat and low gear for riding on an incline.
- 12" display in front of you that you can control with the keys on the handlebar. All the regular data can be shown like power/cadance/speed/gear/HR, both as a numeric value and in a graph. There is also a polar plot of the resulting torque applied to the crank.
- I can use the Garmin computer to ride a route and it will adjust the incline according to the route. It also connects to Zwift and Trainer Road, allowing it to be controlled as usual.
- I still need to have a tablet or phone for the workout details in TR. During the workout, the TrueBike screen shows the target power, current power and a graph of the historic power. But it does not show things like future target power or how long the current interval is.
These are some reviews of the early version: