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My $400 "WattBike" (CycleOps Indoor Cycle)

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My $400 "WattBike" (CycleOps Indoor Cycle)

Old 08-14-18, 10:09 AM
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carleton
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My $400 "WattBike" (CycleOps Indoor Cycle)

It seems like a lot of track racers and teams are going for the WattBike as an indoor training solution.

3 times I've converted an old CycleOps spin bike to a world class track sprinting workstation. I found 2 of them for $400 or less on local craigslist ads. All had working power meters.

The key is to get your favorite bars on to the bike as to standard "aero bars" or 44cm drops with fake hoods are not great for standing start efforts. With my mods, you can use any bars (road, track, or aero bars). You simply add a 1 1/8" "steerer" to the unit.

Note the thick silver sliding rails for adjustment. The handlebar rails are the same as the seat rails. To create a steerer tube, simply buy a replacement Long Seatpost (which oddly isn't on their website anymore...crap) and take it to your favorite welder (Seth Snyder of Snyder Cycles did mine). Have him/her lop off the bent part and then weld on a 1 1/8" sleeve. That is your steerer tube.



Now you can attach any stem. I suggest a stem that points downward. The only downside is that it might not go low enough for riders of much shorter than average height. It'll still be very useful, but if you want suuuuuper deep, it may not work.











Depending on how old the spin bike is, it may have the friction control on the top tube or via cables. Top tube is good because you don't have to deal with cables. Cables are good because you can now use a bar-end friction shifter to control the resistance at the bars. Great for modulating resistance while still in the drops during the effort (e.g. simulating motor pacing).

Let me know what you think!
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Old 08-14-18, 10:14 AM
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And, yes, they can take a beating.

I'm over 230lbs and make over 2000W and pull on these rigs like I'm trying to rip my arms off. They don't budge.

Here is one pic from a unit that I made when I lived in Portland (you can see it in the background).





This pic is from a workout that I did in Kirk Whiteman's studio on a CycleOps indoor cycle (not modded).




They can handle abuse.
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Old 08-14-18, 10:27 AM
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elegant solution!
I did something similar many years ago to our Serotta fit machine so we could use aerobars / 31.8 bars.
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Old 08-14-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
elegant solution!
I did something similar many years ago to our Serotta fit machine so we could use aerobars / 31.8 bars.
Thanks!

I think it's a good option for serious trackies who can't get to a velodrome regularly but would like to do all-out efforts. Most rear wheel home trainers can't handle over maybe 700w before slipping.

The 50lb flywheel makes it great for steady efforts, too. Feels the most natural of any system I've tried (I haven't tried them all, though).

I also like the fact that one doesn't have to attach/detach the track bike to it. This was a pain with the Cateye CS1000. The downside is that you need space to put a gym quality (and sized) spin bike.

My guess is that it's at least 200lbs. Two strong people are needed to lift it. But, it tilts and rolls easily on the hind wheels (rollerblade wheels).
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Old 08-14-18, 11:16 AM
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Found a better photo:

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Old 08-14-18, 12:26 PM
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Beautiful and useful mod! Bravo!
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Old 08-14-18, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rensho3 View Post
Beautiful and useful mod! Bravo!
Thanks!
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Old 01-03-19, 11:18 PM
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carleton that is a great mod.
i have an old spining bike, i match the position like my track bike but the handlebar is 12cm higher and cant get lower. the wide is 1cm more.

do you think is better have the exactly same position or is no diference for tranfer to the track bike?

for do that i need to create a mod too.
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Old 01-05-19, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by lean88 View Post
carleton that is a great mod.
i have an old spining bike, i match the position like my track bike but the handlebar is 12cm higher and cant get lower. the wide is 1cm more.

do you think is better have the exactly same position or is no diference for tranfer to the track bike?

for do that i need to create a mod too.
Thanks!

It's hard to say if your setup would be ideal or not without seeing anything. But, know that anything is better than nothing. Also, it's more about the legs than getting low. You can always bend your elbows to get lower.
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Old 01-05-19, 04:52 AM
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That is a great idea. The new direct drive trainers (Wahoo Kickr / Tacx Neo / etc) mitigate the wheel slip problem completely - my Neo can handle power outputs of up to 2200W, which is more than enough (by about a factor of 2) for me. That plus an aluminium bike to put on it (carbon bikes don't much like that level of power when they're anchored as on a turbo) seems to work well, but the issue with sprint bars remains and it's a much more expensive solution than yours is.
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Old 01-06-19, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for your answer
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Old 07-22-20, 11:39 AM
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carleton I know I'm digging up an old thread, but I wanted to see how the handlebars have been holding up. Do you still like it? Is there anything you would do differently now that you have spent some time with the mod?

I recently picked up the exact same 300PT secondhand and want to do the same mod. I could just buy a set made for it, but that price is very steep considering I paid a just little more than that for the entire bike. I don't have access to a welder so I'd have to source one if I took the path of doing this mod. I have a spare drop bar and tape ready to go, so I just need this modded stem and I'd be good to go.
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Old 07-22-20, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by zammykoo View Post
carleton I know I'm digging up an old thread, but I wanted to see how the handlebars have been holding up. Do you still like it? Is there anything you would do differently now that you have spent some time with the mod?

I recently picked up the exact same 300PT secondhand and want to do the same mod. I could just buy a set made for it, but that price is very steep considering I paid a just little more than that for the entire bike. I don't have access to a welder so I'd have to source one if I took the path of doing this mod. I have a spare drop bar and tape ready to go, so I just need this modded stem and I'd be good to go.
My setup is still doing great. The only complaint I've heard was from a shorter rider who had a hard time getting the bars low enough for his tastes.

The drop bars from CycleOps won't work for this trainer as you won't have anywhere to mount the wire and friction lever to adjust the friction on the flywheel. Those bars are made for machines that have the friction knob on the top tube (in later models). So, you must use the setup as described above.

I'm pretty sure you can find a welder in any city. Just look for a shop that works on exhausts/mufflers. They all require welding to install. If you take the welder the pipe, I'm sure they can make it happen for a few bucks. Maybe print out this thread, too.

The guy that did it for me was a bike frame builder. So, if you have one of those around, that person can do it, too.
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Old 07-22-20, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
My setup is still doing great. The only complaint I've heard was from a shorter rider who had a hard time getting the bars low enough for his tastes.

The drop bars from CycleOps won't work for this trainer as you won't have anywhere to mount the wire and friction lever to adjust the friction on the flywheel. Those bars are made for machines that have the friction knob on the top tube (in later models). So, you must use the setup as described above.

I'm pretty sure you can find a welder in any city. Just look for a shop that works on exhausts/mufflers. They all require welding to install. If you take the welder the pipe, I'm sure they can make it happen for a few bucks. Maybe print out this thread, too.

The guy that did it for me was a bike frame builder. So, if you have one of those around, that person can do it, too.
Ah, you're right about the friction knob. I know for the most part the design of these bikes are similar between generations, but the knob placement changed. Good to know that your setup is still going strong, and I appreciate your feedback!
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Old 07-22-20, 10:21 PM
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I cut the head tube down on my CycleOps 300. It was pretty straightforward. I thought I posted it somewhere in this forum but I don't remember.

The "before" picture - this was me thinking in picture:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xAs28QeNX...ModsSketch.jpg

Planning. Note the top cast piece held on by a few spot welds (not sure if that's the right term). Also note how tall it is. I'll need to cut it down.

Next was the doing. It's a modular system as I hoped. I didn't think such a frame would be made with hand built loving precision stuff. No, it would be cast and tacked/welded/glued. And it was.


The cut original head tube (in front), the stuff I had to mod in the rear.



The top cast piece in front. It came off the black painted area of the tube in the rear. Once I cut through a few spot welds and pried through some epoxy it popped right off. I had to cut down the cast piece to make it as low in height as possible. Don't lose the black plastic spacer that goes in front of the spring.



Finished and nicely low. Note how the top cast piece is much shorter than original. I cut the head tube down to minimum and trimmed the cast piece so it would stay on. I also had to cut through some stuff at the bottom of the head tube since the "stem" now drops well below the bottom of it. Now for the stem mod.

Last edited by carpediemracing; 07-22-20 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 07-22-20, 10:33 PM
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Weight 135-140 lbs

Weight. It weighs 140 lbs for shipping purposes, 135 lbs I think is the actual weight.

I moved mine myself. I didn't realize how heavy it was, but it's possible to do it solo, it's just not pretty. It took some doing, especially loading it and unloading it (Suburban). I broke the computer mount, glued it back together with proper cement.

Getting the thing into the bike room was a pain also - it's a very long and tortuous route to get into the bike room in the basement. There's no direct access from outside so up the long walk way / stairs to the front door, then to one end of the house, down the stairs, then other end of house (u-turn and a couple doors). I had to do with with the mini home gym setup I have now, as well as all the cat litter (we go through 35-70 lbs a week for 6 cats, and the litter boxes are just outside the bike room. I do a lot of "weighted walking" as part of my workout routine, including doing 2 sets of stairs each way.

I need to anchor the rear or create long, forward pointing braces so the bars are not behind the front feet. Right now it's a recipe for flipping forward (I have the super low stem, the stem is all the way forward also). The first time I did a practice standing start with shifting my butt from way back to way forward, and really punching the first downstroke, I almost ended up on my face. The rear went up into the air, I shifted back quickly, and it slammed into the floor.
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Old 07-29-20, 02:43 AM
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That's amazing work, @carpediemracing!
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Old 07-29-20, 08:17 AM
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Uggghhh - try finding one of those beauties for $400 now ! I saw one for $700 a few months before Covid and should have jumped on it

Oh well - re-habbing a horrid knee injury now so im currently content to do long, slow spin rides on my Lemond -- bars set at a comfortable "movie watching" height , but they'll get low enough ----- Id have to put some Garmin pedals or something similar to get any power readings from this one though

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Old 07-29-20, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
That's amazing work, @carpediemracing!
Thanks. Honestly though I think it's a 60 minute job once you know what to do, and if you have a Dremel with a HD cutter blade. I spent most of my time trying to figure out what to do (before cutting anything) then gathering courage to cut and such. I couldn't find my Dremel for a week and finally borrowed one. Had to go buy bigger cutting blades. Etc. If I were to do it again it would be much quicker, much more straight forward.
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