New to Zwift and need advice

I’m 45 and I am trying to use cycling to improve my fitness. I live in Florida so I thought a bike trainer would be a great way to train in the summer when it’s really too hot to be outside. I took an old dual suspension MTB and put it on a wahoo kickr with the kickr climb. I did the intro and the 20 minute FTP test and got a Ftp of 135 with a W/kg of 1.76. I’m disappointed with the numbers, but I accept that with 3 kids and no real structured exercise that I need to start somewhere. My questions are as follows:

  1. Is the MTB with a suspension an issue? I have locked out the travel as much as possible.
  2. The 6 wk beginner program looks good and I’ve read some good reviews, but it seems to be missing some days. For example, week 1has day 1-5 but doesn’t explicitly say rest before moving on to week 2. Does one move on to week 2 after the 5th day or is it supposed to be a 7 day week?
  3. Is there a method to steer your avatar into the road? Not that is really matters, but it seems like other users bump into my character and then the program will encourage me to chase them. I thought I’d I could position myself out of the way that this might not happen. LOL
  4. Lastly, I have Zwift on an IPad but I haven’t figured out a good way to keep it in front of me. What do others do to hold an iPad or screen in front of the bike? I’m hesitant to spend more money on a wahoo table and I have limited space.

Thank you! If any other beginners are on here and would like to join me or if there is a beginner group please let me know.

JL

Hi @Justin_Lee

Welcome to the forum.

  1. no.
  2. it is a 7day week. You can take rest days in-between or easy days
  3. Don’t worry about steering that is normal.
  4. don’t know sorry

The gearing is more likely to be an issue. We usually hear that people on MTB’s “spin out” on the flats, or can’t go as fast as everyone else because there isn’t enough resistance with the small gearing generally seen on MTB’s.

I’d probably suggest doing free rides for a few weeks first, rather than a workout plan. Then consider progressing to some group rides. Get into how Zwift works and the social side of it (ideally alongside people of similar ability) before setting yourself a structured but potentially restrictive programme.

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iPad “holder”…you can find inexpensive music stands on Amazon that are much less $$ than the Wahoo table. I use one for my laptop.

Otherwise Congratulations are in order for getting the MB to work with the Kickr. You will run out of gears at some point but kudos for getting it to work,

I also have limited space and I’ve been zwifting very happily with a KICKR and an iPad for 2.5 years.
For a long time, I used a sturdy microphone stand with boom arm (that I already had), with a tablet holder attached. (Pretty sure it’s this model: 19790 Tablet PC stand holder | König & Meyer but there are many others available).
A boom arm allows you to place the iPad dead centre in front of you, at whatever height and angle that you like, while having the base of the stand off to the left or right. This means your front wheel doesn’t interfere with the stand and that the stand doesn’t interrupt the airflow from the fan, which blows straight at me from just in front of my front wheel.
(I recently built an even more rigid stand out of steel tubing and scaffolding-style joints to which the tablet holder is attached. It takes up even less space than the boom arm, but it’s pretty overkill if I’m honest. It’ll survive the apocalypse, even if my iPad and zwifting bike don’t. :laughing:)

There are plenty of other off-the-shelf solutions available, but the ones aimed specifically at indoor cyclists tend to be priced at a premium, from what I’ve seen, like the Wahoo Desk.

It’s well worth setting aside some time and running searches in these Forums using ‘iPad’, ‘tablet’, ‘stand’, ‘DIY’, etc. You’ll find lots of informative posts, many with photos.

I use a music stand to hold an iPad while Zwifting and it works great.

A music stand is indeed pretty cheap and should work fine with a tablet. I don’t use Zwift on a tablet myself, but I do use a music stand to hold a keyboard and all the other stuff I might need during a ride. If you want to keep the tablet tilted, you might want to consider a music stand with a second shelf for the other stuff.

Alternatively at least Tacx has a tablet holder for handlebars. Pretty stable yet very easy to take on and off, but only works for round handlebars (26/31.8/35) and you need a fairly wide free section around the stem (I had to remove my out-front computer mount).

Is that function of the cassette? I took the cassette that came with my bike which is 9 gears and put it on my kickr. I might just spring for a used road bike that can handle the 11 gear cassette. Any thoughts on a reasonable first road bike? Not looking to drop $5k on something that sits inside.

The front chain ring is most likely small, road bikes will have 50 - 54 teeth on the front chain ring.

Look for a cheap used road bike, doesn’t need to be fancy for the trainer.

As far as I understand, the kickr is a cassette trainer. There are still 9-gear-Shimano-Roadbike-Cassettes (CS-HG50-9) available around $30 for example with a 11-30 or 12-25 range.
You might also take a look wether the cassetes fits fine on the freehub - it might need a spacer.

If your MTB has a front derailleur you might combine it with a suitable 9-gear Roadbike-Crankset (50-34 is the hobby-standard). Take care of your bottom bracket or replace it.
Alternatively you could replace the chainrings of your crankset.

There are Tablestands that are quite similar to the wahoo stand (but half of the price). In Europe they are for example sold as “LifeLine Trainer Table” and distributed by wigglesport.

A reasonable first road bike might be an alloy frameset with Shimano 105 or a carbon frame with Tiagra group set.

Someone spent a while getting their mtb set up correctly about a year ago. Worth having a search for it as he went through a number of changes.


Hey mike, any thoughts on a 2006 specialized transition comp. I can get it for $500 in my size. I did a workout last night and definitely noticed that when it asked for 100w power at a lower cadence it was impossible for me to do. Thx justin

From what I can tell it should be fine. What is the drive train like? Shimano 105?

@Justin_Lee
I may be speaking out of turn, but, in case you’re not aware, the Specialized Transition line of bikes has time trial/triathlon-specific geometry. That may not be a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s worth being aware of the limitations of that geometry for setting your position on the bike. Also, if you were to take it on the road, the handling is very different to a standard road bike or an MTB and you wouldn’t be able to draft as safely behind others.

Also, depending on how much it has been used and how well it’s been maintained, a 2006 bike could have heavily worn components, which could be costly to replace in the short-term for you.
Your current set-up looks pretty good. That seems to be a 44-tooth largest chainwheel on the front, which is much larger than many MTBs have. However, if getting the cadence down to a specific workout goal power is really not possible with that, it might be much more affordable to just replace the chainrings and/or crankset (and the chain, necessarily) – perhaps even the cassette, so that all of the drivetrain is new, in order to get there. Riding with an efficient, smooth-running drivetrain makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

I am aware. This is a 2006 so my understanding is that it was prior to them making really drastic changes to the frame geometry. I’m more motivated by the price as the guy is asking for $500 and I only plan on using it on the trainer. Having said that I do see myself doing extended rides on the trainer and my biggest concern is comfort. I don’t want to have an aching back because my posture is screwy.

Fair enough. Indeed, the geometry back then seems less TT than now. It’s still ‘only’ a 9-speed rear derailleur according to the Blue Book info, but that’s not a major issue; it just limits slightly the cadences you can use for a particular power output, but will be better than what you have now.

If I was you I’d try to find a newer 11 speed bike, $500 for a 15 year old bike seems quite high. I might be wrong though, I’m not a Spesh guy so I don’t know the second hand market. Plus you are compromising on it not being a pure road bike if that is what you want ultimately.