Turin Bike Trainer

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Cross an entrepreneurial mechanical engineer with an obsessive triathlete training for his first Ironman and you get Paul Krumrich, a 35-year-old inventor who this summer built a bike training system to encapsulate a rider in a bubble of technology.

Touted as the “ultimate in indoor training,” the Turin Bike Trainer melds high-end audio and home-theater components with a computerized resistance hub and bike-training software to allow a rider pedaling on a stationary road bike to control lights, room temperature, fans, music, video, a computer and web cams to view yourself and work on position in real-time.

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The Turin is touted to encapsulate riders in technology

The Turin, which will be marketed through Sensory Environment Design, Krumrich’s Minneapolis-based technology firm (www.sedexperience.com), incorporates dozens of components — including a plasma display, 5.1 surround sound speakers, a DVD player and an Apple TV box — all assembled in a laser-etched metal case topped with the plasma and flanked with fan outrigger arms.

The rider controls applications via a touch-panel that sits on a stand next to the bike’s handlebars. The resistance hub and bike-training software work in tandem to simulate real-life bike courses from around the planet.

Krumrich, a competitive soccer player and triathlete, is finishing up a year of training in anticipation for the Ford Ironman Arizona on November 23. He came up with the idea for the Turin while spinning indoors last spring at a friend’s house. “We were watching a video of the Tour on a terrible 27-inch tube TV,” he said. “I knew there had to be a better way.”

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Control from the saddle: Turin riders have technology and entertainment options at their fingertips

With a base price tag of $12,500, and configurations that will sell for more than $20,000, the Turin is a niche product made for serious athletes with equally serious disposable income. But Krumrich believes in an industry where people buy $8,000 bikes a teched-out training system can find its market.

The goal of the system, Krumrich said, is to make indoor bike training more bearable and more effective by keeping the rider engaged and entertained — be it while watching a movie or pedaling a virtual Ironman course.

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Fan outriggers blow synthetic wind to further simulate the experience

When not in use as a trainer, the Turin’s components double as an all-in-one home theater system. You can add your existing cable box to the system and then watch movies, play music and check email from the couch.

Then, when the training bug strikes, hop on the saddle and clip in. Toggle the control panel to initiate a session, web cams aimed to show your position onscreen, the fans cranked to high for virtual wind, and room lights blazing above to simulate the sun.

—Stephen Regenold writes the weekly Gear Junkie Scoop for Outsidemag.com and TheGearJunkie.com.

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