REVIEW: The Revbox
Thursday, 24 September 2015, 1:10 PM
By Aaron Strong
I had heard about this interesting new training tool quite some time ago but the finished product took some time to come to market, so when I finally got a chance to test one out I couldn’t wait to put it through its paces.
The Revbox is a stationary trainer, but not as we know it. I wouldn’t say the concept is totally revolutionary but the end product is more refined and well thought out than anything else I have come across in the stationary trainer market.
The Revbox is simple to setup and use. Out of the box I put my unit together in a few minutes without any tools. Next I took my rear wheel out of my bike and attached the bike to the Revbox via a quick-release lever. There was no need for a front wheel block, so I was ready to go.
The Revbox uses the chain of the bicycle to transfer power to the fan for immediate, non-slip resistance. The key to this unique form of resistance is the large 580mm diameter fan which produces a lot of air drag, allowing for very high power outputs if you should need them. For example, using the 53/11 gear ratio @ 90rpm would require 1800W. I got this out of the user manual, as clearly I can’t manage that much.
The large fan creates a low inertia rate unlike any other stationary trainer. In easy gears this unit could be used by beginners but as you change to harder gears the design of the unit means that increases in resistance are exponential. his provides a resistance scale that is suitable for novices through to Olympians.
Photo courtesy of NZ BIKE
The Revbox will not gather momentum at high cadences, nor will it stall at low cadences. This makes targeted training easy to attain. The first thing you notice is that you can’t have a weak part of your pedalling circle without hearing an audible difference in the sound of the fans spinning. If you pause your pedalling for a split second the high resistance created by the fans means they almost stop on the spot. You can’t carry any momentum when you cease to keep the pressure on the pedals for even a split second. An advantage of this unit is it specifically works on weaknesses in your pedalling technique.
The Revbox is easily transportable. Remove the stabilising feet with a simple quick release lever then the whole unit is quite compact and all delicate parts are well protected by a sturdy exterior. The indexing is compatible with 10 or 11 speed drive trains from Shimano, Sram and Campagnolo.
Photo courtesy of NZ BIKE
After testing the Revbox unit out with a variety of intervals and types of training, I can say that I felt I was utilising some muscle groups that had gotten lazy through the race season. Afterwards I could definitely feel like I had worked my muscles in a different way. Certainly, for me, it was a case of using more glute and hamstring activation than usual to keep the unit rotating smoothly. This could be beneficial but it’s still early days for me to say that.
If nothing else, the Revbox can be geared to offer up a high level of resistance which you can’t “cheat” on like a magnetic trainer. For big gear power endurance efforts I found the
Revbox very effective at holding my usual 350W but these felt more difficult than usual. The constant nature of the force required to keep the fan moving smoothly seemed to contribute to this perceived effort variation.The Revbox wasn’t as noisy as I expected. When compared to other fan based stationary trainers it was clearly a quieter unit and could therefore appeal more to apartment dwellers.
I’m looking forward to testing the Revbox out even further over the rest of winter and seeing if the hard work pays off when I start up racing again.
Originally published in NZ Bike Issue 78, December 2014