Setting drag factor

Discuss all things related to the BikeErg, Concept2's newest product.

Setting drag factor

Postby Scholes » September 4th, 2017, 12:54 pm

So I got my new toy delivered last week and set it up without any real issues. Longer to put together than the rower but not bad at all, minus one of the rear leg drill holes not being lined up properly (3 out of the 4 screws are in and last one doesn't line up) but I'm not terribly heavy and so far it hasn't been an issue.

On the rower I'm very comfortable at 120 drag. I do everything at 120 and manage times I'm proud of, considering I'm 172cm tall and 85kg... not very built for rowing.

Bike erg however... would a 120df on the bike be comparable? I've only done a handful of half hour sessions and I've adjusted the damper every time during the sessions and just can't seem to find one I'm comfortable with.

I started out with 120 on the rower because people said it was similar to water... and I just got used to it over the years and I like it. What's the equivalent on the bike? The road it seems to me wouldn't provide as much resistance as the water no?

Anyway, just curious how people are setting their DF compared to their rowers. Same? Higher? Lower?
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby Carl Watts » September 4th, 2017, 4:13 pm

A DF of 110 to 130 suits most people for distance work, for sprints you need to go much higher.

Use the search function top right of your screen, there are endless posts on DF already.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby Scholes » September 4th, 2017, 5:07 pm

Thanks carl, I know about drag on the rower, was wondering if it was meant to be "the same" for the bike erg.

Is 110-130 still considered normal on the bike or is there another range? That type of question and considering the bike erg is so new, all the drag factor posts on the forum are specifically about the rower, not the bike.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby dr3do » September 4th, 2017, 11:59 pm

Scholes wrote:What's the equivalent on the bike?

There's no equivalent on the bike as the main 'currency' is the cadence – therefore bikes have gears.

Bikers (Road) shift (a lot) to pedal within their most effective rpm range – which vary very individually from 80-110 rpm.
The lower the cadence, the harder (fatigue/strain) it is for the muscles, but less intense for the cardiovascular system – and vice versa.
Growth-wise the cardio vascular system has way more potential than muscles (strength, endurance).
Boats are like a fixed gear bike – gears can't be changed on the fly. With the DF on RowErgs you try to mimic the 'one gear' of the boat.
A BikeErg is more like a 'former times down tube shifter' where you had to reach down to shift the gear.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby CaseyClarke » September 5th, 2017, 10:03 am

Scholes wrote:Thanks carl, I know about drag on the rower, was wondering if it was meant to be "the same" for the bike erg.

Is 110-130 still considered normal on the bike or is there another range? That type of question and considering the bike erg is so new, all the drag factor posts on the forum are specifically about the rower, not the bike.


I knew it wouldn't be long before people started asking these types of questions. Forget rowing, it's a bike.....

The drag is simply the resistance level, which is the same as the gears on a bike.

You'd use a high ish gear if you wanted to simulate the feeling of climbing up a steep incline at low rpm, and you'd use a much lower gear for spinning along at 100rpm in your zone 2 intensity.

I'd say focus on what rpm you'd typically do a session at (e.g 95 - 100rpm) what wattage you want to put out for that particular session (e.g 200 watts, 250 watts) 2:00.5 pace and 1:51.8 pace respectively, and fix the drag accordingly.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby c2jonw » September 5th, 2017, 4:02 pm

Casey has it about right- different animal from the rower and it's all about what you want for a watt output and cadence. At any damper setting your watt output will follow your cadence. Or if you want to keep the cadence constant but vary the watt output then you just change the damper setting. I'm a former Cat2 racer and got to say the BikeErg is a great workout.......... C2JonW
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby CaseyClarke » September 7th, 2017, 4:39 pm

Just reading some of the posts in the Facebook BikeErg group and it seems that at minimum drag it's a fair bit stiffer than most other indoor bikes at their lowest setting!

So much so that 98rpm puts out 271 watts on a 1 damper (around 60 drag apparently)

That's exceptionally high for a bottom resistance setting.

Definitely more of a Fitness / CrossFit / AirDyne without handles bike than a pure cyclists bike.

This will probably exclude many weaker end pure cyclists as doing sub 200 watt rides at 90 - 100rpm won't be possible.

There's probably a way of getting that drag down even further by placing a tea towel or something similar over some of the holes in the grate.

c2jonw, why such stiff resistance at the bottom end??
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby dr3do » September 8th, 2017, 2:03 am

CaseyClarke wrote:So much so that 98rpm puts out 271 watts on a 1 damper (around 60 drag apparently)

Bummer. :o

Definitely more of a Fitness / CrossFit / AirDyne without handles bike than a pure cyclists bike.

Agree, as the 170mm fixed crank length, the very little adjustment possibilities and the noise level are further cons.
I think Wattbike did with the Atom a better job.

This will probably exclude many weaker end pure cyclists as doing sub 200 watt rides at 90 - 100rpm won't be possible.

There's probably a way of getting that drag down even further by placing a tea towel or something similar over some of the holes in the grate.

My SkiErg has a front cover plate with reduces the amount airflow. That could help. But then – maybe – the maximum resistance is not enough?

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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby CaseyClarke » September 8th, 2017, 6:29 am

dr3do, yeah I thought the same thing about using my SkiErg plate over the front of the flywheel to cut off more of the air flow.

I don't like being forced down into having to pedal at 75 - 80rpm when I'd rather be spinning along at 90+ for some of my easy sessions.

Top end is definitely sufficiently stiff. In the ballpark of a Wattbike Pro on 10 with the magnet between 6 & 7.

661 watts from 87rpm. Not sure the absolute max it'll go to?! There are people out there that can put out over 2000 watts in very short bursts, so I hope the PM5 can cope with that.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby Cant Climb » September 12th, 2017, 9:20 am

My 2 cents:

The minimum drag is a bit stiff. I was spinning 90 rpm the other night at around 240 watts with the damper set around 2.2.
I was wondering if i was the only one who thought that was a little heavy.

I do love the feel of the flywheel though. I especially like the "360 feel" on the cranks. And i like how you have to think about how to get a smooth pedal stoke. After about 3 weeks now i don't even think of the smooth pedal stroke, it's not nearly as difficult as "the catch" feeling on the Rower or SkiErg.

Lastly, i think the BikeErg is the quietest of the 3 machines especially sub 300 watts. Of course at 500 watts plus the noise can get a little robust but that is kind of cool.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby CaseyClarke » September 13th, 2017, 5:37 am

Cant Climb wrote:
The minimum drag is a bit stiff. I was spinning 90 rpm the other night at around 240 watts with the damper set around 2.2.
I was wondering if i was the only one who thought that was a little heavy.


Lol, obviously not as I've mentioned this earlier in the thread.

It's way too heavy, imo. Think they've made a bit of an error there. Hopefully there's a way to block off some of the air and get the resistance down even lower than what you'd get on damper 1.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby hjs » September 13th, 2017, 6:53 am

CaseyClarke wrote:
Cant Climb wrote:
The minimum drag is a bit stiff. I was spinning 90 rpm the other night at around 240 watts with the damper set around 2.2.
I was wondering if i was the only one who thought that was a little heavy.


Lol, obviously not as I've mentioned this earlier in the thread.

It's way too heavy, imo. Think they've made a bit of an error there. Hopefully there's a way to block off some of the air and get the resistance down even lower than what you'd get on damper 1.


Indeed.

Even a very good, but lightweight female, can,t paddle at that power. There should be something to block the airflow which also could be removed easily. Creating a much wider drag spectrum.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby kini62 » September 13th, 2017, 6:03 pm

hjs wrote:

Even a very good, but lightweight female, can,t paddle at that power. There should be something to block the airflow which also could be removed easily. Creating a much wider drag spectrum.


Need nothing more than a piece of plastic wrap or paper. The flywheel will suck it to the "grill" and when done it falls off or just peels off.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby hjs » September 14th, 2017, 2:51 am

kini62 wrote:
hjs wrote:

Even a very good, but lightweight female, can,t paddle at that power. There should be something to block the airflow which also could be removed easily. Creating a much wider drag spectrum.


Need nothing more than a piece of plastic wrap or paper. The flywheel will suck it to the "grill" and when done it falls off or just peels off.


Yes, but I was more thinking about a solution in the bike itself. Put a towel on the fan and drag will be close to zero.
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Re: Setting drag factor

Postby VivaTerlingua » September 27th, 2017, 6:53 pm

I'm very interested in this bike however I'm a little concerned about what I am seeing regarding the level of difficulty at the lowest drag setting. It is important to be able to spin at about 80 RPM and it sounds like it could be a problem to do for long periods. This bike would be used by both me and my girlfriend and we would want to be able to use it for long spinning sessions as well as interval training. Has anybody at Concept2 commented on this?
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