Sunday, 15 May 2016

Winter is Coming - Upgrade Your Bike Cave!



Here's the rundown on the equipment used at the May 2016 Zwift Australian event nights, plus additional items I use in my own indoor bike cave. Hopefully there's one or two things here you'll spot that will make your indoor sessions more enjoyable.

Let me know if you'd like more info about any of the content below and I'll do my best to get back to you and update this post with the information.



Flooring


Starting from the ground up. Wahoo Kickr Trainer Floormats were used on the hard flooring at Rapha CC in Sydney and at Bilia Volvo in Melbourne. The solution I use at home is custom cut rubber backed marine flooring from Clark Rubber. Thicker floor mats dampen vibration and trainer noise which is always a good thing in close quarters. Yoga mats are a cheaper alternative if you're looking for a cost effective solution.




Items:

Wahoo Kickr Trainer Floormats ~AU$100
Clark Rubber ~AU$35/m
Yoga Mats ~AU$5-$100+



TV Screen Tripods


Having a large screen at the right height in front of you really helps with the immersion into whatever you're watching on the screen. The Allcam TR940 were the tripods of choice for screens ~40inches in size that we used. They're an expensive solution to by locally in Australia as they're shipped from the UK. Let me know in the comments section if there's something similar locally people have seen.



Item:

Allcam TR940



Side Table


Somewhere for your keyboard, remote controls, additional drinks, food. I use a conductor stand from a music shop, along with a bar stool from Ikea for any extras.



Items:

On Stage SM7211 Conductor Stand AU$60
Ikea Stools AU$x



Fans - Move that air!


Anything that moves air is good in this department. I've used a number of different fans over the years, my #1 is now the Sunair 30cm High Velocity Turbo Fan. These are brilliant for a number of reasons: They're cheap, small, quiet, and move a TON of air.


Item:

Sunair 30cm High Velocity Turbo Fan ~$AU30-40



Computing


Dell Alienware Alpia i3 - These are mid-range computers with beefed up mobile components to keep the unit size down. I run one of these units at home with a few hardware modifications. They're compact Windows 10 machines so they're great for other everyday use, or multitasking while on the ergo for YouTube playlists, Spotify, etc.

Note: The i5 and i7 versions of these units will run Zwift at exactly the same frame rates as the i3, so the cheaper i3 model is the best choice.



Items:

Dell Alienware Alpha ~AU$799
i3 Alpha Custom Upgrade Guide (with GPU overclock info!)



Keyboard/Mouse Combo


Logitech K400R, available at Officeworks. We've had 6 working in the same room with a lot of other wireless signals flying around.



Item:

Logitech K400R ~AU$39



Headphones


Over-ear noise cancelling headphones are fine for indoor work as long as you've got enough air moving around. I use a wired Audio Technica set that I take everywhere with me. They're great for air travel too. They don't fill up with sweat, and they're wiped down with baby wipes (see below) after every use.



Item:

Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 ~AU$229



USB ANT+ Sticks / USB extension cables.


Required kit for your computer to talk to your ANT devices (smart trainers, power meters, heart rate monitors, etc). As ANT is low power it is susceptible to interference. An extension cable is a really good idea to ensure 100% signal from your sensors to your computer. Cheaper USB extension cables can be hit and miss, stick with premium known brands for best performance.



All four in the photo do exactly the same job. All four are difference prices. If you want an in-depth review of these devices, I wrote this last year: Garmin USB2 ANT Stick In-Depth Review

Items: (only ANT stick one required per machine)

Garmin USB ANT+ Stick ~AU$59
Generic ANT+ Mobile Stick ~AU$42
ANSELF USB ANT+ Stick Cheap! (Watch this space. Shipping is slow. I've ordered a ton!)



Internet


Good quality Internet in the bike cave is critical. ISP supplied modem/routers are usually sufficient, but if you're looking at getting the most out of your connection go for the best wifi modem/router your budget will allow. The Billion range are brilliant and allow for some back end tinkering if that's your thing.

If your bike cave is tucked away in your back shed, you might need to go with upgraded wifi antenna or wifi range extenders.

Tip: There have been reports of users encountering a Bermuda Triangle of dropped ANT signals if their wifi is using channels 9-12. If you're having issues, switch over to channels 1-6 and see if that resolves the issue.




Misc (everything else)


QuadLock Phone mount - Quick and easy access to phone with waterproof case. My review of the iPhone6 Bike Kit. AU$70 (30% off with "zwiftlama" discount code!)



Baby Wipes - Great for keeping things like headphones, heart rate straps, and bikes clean after an ergo session. AU$2.50/pack






Putting it all together

 




13 comments:

Stodge said...

Nice setup. I'm looking at http://bit.ly/1R2nL1c for a laptop stand but i've just ordered one of those fans and seriously considering a future upgrade to an LED TV using that other stand.

Jennifer W said...

Any suggestion for something environmentally friendly rather than disposable baby wipes? I'm concerned about the amount of waste.

Shane Miller said...

Good question - One I don't have an answer to. I'll keep an eye out at the supermarket / stores for alternatives in this area. You've got me thinking!

Unknown said...

I would be worried about using expensive headphones with all the sweat around

Simon Gatehouse said...

How do you go with connecting headphones to Toslink/Optical Audio out? I have had issues with sound quality with a converter so still listen to music from the phone rather than computer/TV. I note Alienware has a Optical audio outlet.

Shane Miller said...

Simon (Answered here as well as on FB, for people who might miss it there) Alienware -> HDMI (video and audio) -> TV -> Headphones into the TV panel. The Samsung 5100 has standard 3.5mm jack on the back.

Andrew Martin said...

I've been searching for a replacement fan for my Zwift setup...finding it difficult to locate one now that summer has long gone in Melbourne! The Sunair 30cm looks ideal if I can find one.

frank the tank said...

A dedicated mini-split AC system puts it over the top! Makes a HUGE difference! I have one in my normal "Cave"... but have had to temporarily move; can't wait to have that luxury back!

179.25 said...

Just use a cloth and a dissinfectant spray as a replacemnt for babywipes. Spray onto the cloth and wipe.

A lot of household cleaning sprays have surfactants that you might not want all over your head phones. You can easily make your own spray with water and alcohol. 70% alcohol solution is commonly for sterile clean rooms. Straight vinegar may also work.

Geoff Donohue said...

Thanks so much for the fit out specs. Really useful! I'm setting up almost exactly as per your specs. Can't wait. Cheers joffa

Amit Green said...

Couple of questions:
1. The TR940 tripod is good up to 37". Did you have any troubles fitting 40" displays? Did you need anything else to fit it or it came with all the required brackets?
2. Which model is the Samsung LCD? Do you think 40" is ideal or you'd go with bigger one?

Thanks

Shane Miller said...

Amit -
1 - No. All out of the box with the TV and bracket.
2 - No idea. These were 40s I believe. I haven't tested any bigger. Best visit a local AV store for their expert advice on this one.

Scott E said...

Thanks for the detailed tips. I just bought this AllCam tripod direct from the UK website (www.allcam.biz) and it's 70 pounds sterling including shipping to Australia, so circa $120. They say it's rated to 25kg, so most if not all 43 inch screens would easily come within the rating. The tripods come with a standard 200x200mm VESA mount, which fits most. They also fit smaller mounts, like the 43" Sony Bravia I bought to go with it, which is a VESA 100x200mm mount.