Monday, November 17, 2008

Training Deck : A DIY Indoor Trainer Platform For Side To Side Motion

Avid cyclists will remember that in the market today, there is essentially only one stationary indoor trainer that is capable of side to side motion. This is the Rock & Roll trainer made by Kurt Kinetic. The system has a broad base, magnetic bearings (although I doubt the capability of magnets in high bursts of start and stop like in sprint training) and an overwhelming green color (see my past rant on this green at Invasion Of the Frogs).

Its almost like a monopoly. Not a single other brand has anything close to it. So you either have a choice of spending a huge 500 dollars on it, or another huge 700 dollars on an alternative called the E-Motion rollers, or settle for not getting anything with this feature at all.

Maybe a month ago, I came across a short 14 second video on the internet. It interested me a lot because the movie showed a nice deck built for a trainer that had this side to side motion. Since I was pretty interested in who built it, I went ahead and contacted this person to find out more about the setup.

It turns out that if you have a little creativity and a skill with mechanisms, you can create your own rock and rolling trainer.

So I found myself talking to Roy Bailey from Wisconsin, who is the designer and maker of the Training Deck. Check out this cool video below :

By profession, Roy works for Dekkora Products which specializes in rock enclosures. But in his spare time, he was able to construct this setup without much cost so he could train indoors in a manner mimicking actual riding.

I managed to spend some time with Roy asking him a couple of questions on his idea and design. In the midst of his busy schedule, he was able to answer them for me, so here it is that conversation :

Q : So tell me Roy, what sparked the idea to design and construct this?

Roy : I came up with the design for this training deck during the summer about 8 years ago. I knew the off season here in Wisconsin would be right around the corner and I just could not stand riding inside. My drive to work pretty much included about 45 minutes each way so I had a lot of down time to think it over.

Q : What materials did you use in your design?

Roy : I started my basic design with plywood and hand held clamps and then progressed to a steel square stock frame with steel flat stock for the spring locators. A plastic deck is attached to the top to allow for several different configurations of trainers to be attached.

Q. Talk briefly about how it works for our readers.

Roy : Well its simple. The design works off compression springs to maintain a neutral position when not on load from side to side. The pivot is done with shoulder bolts which act as bearings for the smooth motion.

Q. Great. How much did this project cost you overall?

Roy : I built several pieces and still feel there is some possible updated version awaiting discovery but overall the unit works great and quite reasonable. I can produce and sell the units for $150.00 per unit and still have some cash to buy new tires for the bikes each year! I would love to offer up the idea to individuals to make their own unit as I really have my hands full on my current business.

Its little ideas like this that we need more in the cycling scene, to drive down costs by encouraging competition. Perhaps bicycle design itself is a little stunted now but there's a lot of opportunity in aftermarket products and bicycle training systems.

I told Roy about getting a patent on his Training Deck before someone else does it. However, it looks like he's been cool on it but I'm not sure what he's thinking.

If you'd like to get in touch with Roy Bailey, this is his email. Please do not get excited and flood his inbox. That's all I ask. :)


Anonymous said...

Wow!!! This is like one of my prayers answered before Thanksgiving!! Thank you soo muchh!

Anonymous said...

FYI, making an invention available to the public means that you can no longer get a patent for it. (The upside is that neither can anyone else.)

Anonymous said...

Maybe he was never intending to patent it since he told he's ready to "offer up the idea" as per the last reply.

Sprocketboy said...

My Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is stealth-grey (not froggie green) and I would look very cool rocking away on a black training deck. Maybe Mr. Bailey should just print up some plans and sell them; he would get a few bucks for his idea without having to go into the business.

Phil said...

This is very neat. Can Mr. Bailey build one for me?

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what's neat :) Its his bike in that video. His shorts has close resemblance to the that in the Rock Racing armor.

Janet said...

Thanks for the great post and links.