The CycleOps Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle is the same bike as the Phantom 1 & 3 except for the console technology.
This version of the bike comes with bluetooth to synchronise it with a tablet or other smart device to use the Virtual Training Software. It doesn’t come with a console and in this version you need to supply your own tablet etc. to be able to use the bike (or buy a Joule GPS+ device).
To work with the software the resistance is worked either by pushing buttons on the screen or automatically by the software. The bike must be plugged in to power to work the resistance.
This all helps to make it an alternative to an indoor bike trainer as you can adjust the seat and handlebars to the same measurements of your bike and follow along to the training programs that come with the software or design your own. It does help to save wear and tear on your bike.
In this review we look at all these aspects of the bike in providing the basis for great indoor training workouts and results
The bikes is only 13 inches wide which is narrow for an indoor cycle or spin bike. It is also not as tall as most bikes either, being only 24 inches high. Even with these smaller measurements it gives a good sturdy basis for training and working out. The chevron shape of the stabilizers help to give it this stability.
It holds you firm whether you are in the saddle or out of it. The steel frame doesn’t flex or bend and there is no shaking from the handlebars or seat as long as they’ve been properly tightened into place.
To provide a natural and more bike like riding experience it has a 48 lbs perimeter weighted flywheel that gives the similar feel to rolling along the road. It prevents the stop/start feel you can get with lighter flywheels especially at higher resistance levels. It has been placed at the back to keep it away from the damaging effects of sweat.
You do need to keep the bike clean from sweat to prevent it being corroded and the exposed metal starting to rust.
If your floor is a little uneven there are leveler under the stabilizer bars that can be adjusted to level out the bike to prevent side to side rocking.
CycleOps Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle Resistance
If you don’t want to use the Virtual Trainer software to control your resistance you can purchase the Joule GPS plus (but you might want to check out the Phantom 3 rather than pay the extra for the bluetooth) to control to manually control the resistance, although that has a very small screen for doing that.
If you are using the virtual training ops with your device to change resistance/gears you need to access the device to be able to change the resistance. The bike doesn’t come with a stand or tray for fitting it to the bike.
The tension knob at the front is for only applying the brake in an emergency and can’t be used for manually adjusting the resistance.
It does use friction pad on the flywheel and not magnetic resistance as you might expect for a bike controlled by electronics. It has been precision adjusted in the factory to ensure you get the correct resistance for the slope and gear as well as correct reading for power and other readings.
The Virtual Training software is subscription based through your PC, iPad, Mobile, or Tablet.
The software works with mapmyride, strava, runkeeper, training peaks, twitter and facebook to keep you and anyone else interested up to date with your rides if you want.
You can set up your own free rides, your own interval training as well as use pre-existing workouts – it is all controlled using the App on a tablet or PC – you can decide on wattage, time and resistance or slope.
You can add video or audio to your ride if you like too.
To use the Virtual Trainer you need to download the App from Itunes or Google play to be able to pair it with a tablet.
To use the functionality of the trainer you need to pay either $5.99/month or $60/year for Tablet or smartphone. For the desktop it costs $15/mo or $72/ 6 months or $120/year.
There are 1000s of routes for training and you can race against your friends who have the software anywhere in the world. You track and analyze all your training with the App.
It is possible to customize the training to reflect your road bike gearing and tire size when using the virtual training.
When you train you have the data down the side of the display, a virtual view of the ride and at the bottom is the topographical view of the route – ride time ,distance, speed, slope, power, cadence and heart rate.
It has a very realistic feedback and scenery and hill climbs, the power and torque is simulated by adjusting how much resistance to be close to what you’d meet on the actual ride.
Set up is easy and quick to do. See video below:
If you don’t want to use Cycleops Virtual Trainer the bike should connect to Wahoo Kickr and Golden Cheetah. It doesn’t work with Power Agent.
There are a number of accessories that can be bought for transferring data and also for changing the resistance without having to use your tablet/phone to do so. It is the O Sync remote control but it does need to be bought separately but will save damaging your electronic devices.
You can also buy a sweat guard for the bike to prevent sweat dripping on the frame and also a rubber exercisee mat for the bike to stand on to prevent damage to the floor.
- Precision resistance that allows for accurate measurement of power and other metrics
- Can share your rides with friends
- Stable bike that can take the punishment of hard rides
- Heavy flywheel provides a fluid riding experience
- Fully adjustable to allow you to set up like your road bike
- Comes with pre-set training rides with Virtual Training Software
- Easy to set up and use the training software and bike
- It is a good looking bike
- Many people can use the bike and set it up as they want it
- Accuracy of power meter is +/- 1.5%
- Handlebars include drops
- Doesn’t come with a console you need a PC, tablet or smartphone to use or Joule GPS plus (Windows 8, appple ipad 3 rd and 4th gen, iphone 5s, 5c, 5 and 4s, ipod touch, Android 4.4 above – nexus with bluetooth smart)
- The bike needs to be plugged in to the house supply for the resistance to work
- You have to pay a monthly charge for virtual training
- Does not come with pedals
- It is an expensive bike
- Power is not directly comparable to what you will experience on a bike
- Handlebars doesn’t cater for all spinning hand positions nor do they come with aero bars or bullhorns
CycleOps Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle Consumer Ratings
Reviews by customers are mixed. Some people have struggled to get the bike to work with their computer or smart devices. They’ve not liked the support that they’ve received from the company. I know this feeling as I’ve found this with other types of products too but it has usually ended up being an issue with the computer rather than the product I’m trying to set up with it. (There is one customer who mentions he’s had an issue but fails to say what the problem was).
Those that haven’t had this issue, say in their reviews how much they enjoy the ride, how stable the bike is and how much benefit they get out of the virtual training.
CycleOps Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle Price
Included in the price is a top quality bike that can be used in conjunction with the Virtual Training software to have as many different bike rides as you can want with many different routes which can be customized as you want.
Adjustments to the resistance can be automatic or adjusted to oyur own settings.
The best price I found when I checked was at Amazon where the bike qualified for Free shipping and prime.
This is a bike for those that take their cycling seriously and want an indoor bike they can use to continue their training indoors when they can’t get outdoors and/or uses as part of their overall training plan.
It can be used by people of all abilities and be set up for different users quickly. It can also track their results and progress separately. The Virtual Training software ( available for a monthly fee) provides you with 1000s of training rides from all over the world or you can set up your own including copying your own local rides.
This all makes this an excellent indoor cycle for training and is a very good alternative to an indoor trainer. It saves setting you bike up on the trainer and stops wear and tear on your bike.