Speed Hound Recovery Boots Review

Overview

I have recently been doing a ton of riding and a few runs here and there. In between these hard rides I have been using the Speed Hound recovery system to help me recover before the next day of riding. You can use this system while getting some work done(literally writing this article while using the boots), or bing your favorite TV show and recover while your at it! This system is very similar to Normatec and Rapid Reboot, but at a more affordable price.

Details

The system has two modes, A and B. Here is a brief explanation of each setting. Mode A will start from the foot, and make its way up to your thighs, turning off the previous zone once the next zone is fully inflated. Mode B will also start from the foot, but unlike mode A, it will hold keep the zone on until all of the zones are fully inflated. The system will then hold the pressure for a few seconds, then release all zones at the same time. The system can also go up to 200mmHg of pressure(pressure goes up at increments of 20mmHg, starting at 20mmHg). You will also be able to toggle zones on and off(total of 4 zones), and you will have the option of 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Overall this is an awesome system and it is very beneficial to my recovery. For a link to purchase the system, head over here.

Key Features/Details

  • Wide range of pressure settings to suit everyones needs (20mmHg – 200mmHg)
  • On/off toggle for different parts of legs
  • Flush and Massage mode
  • Time settings of 10-30 minutes
  • Carrying case included
  • 2 year warranty
  • 45 day return/exchange policy

Noise Level

This recovery system is fairly quiet, meaning you can still watch TV and not have to turn it up much more than you normally would.

Does it actually help?

I have been using this system for awhile now and I love it; I can really feel the difference in my performance the next day. I highly recommend looking into one of these recovery systems, it really benefits my recovery. Recently after doing the Uber Pretzel on Zwift, I used this system for a good hour, and the next day I wasn’t even sore, which was a huge plus because I had basketball practice the next day. I would recommend it for all types of athletes, runners, triathletes, basketball players, not just for cyclists! Speed Hound also offers hip attachments and arm attachments that are available for purchase seperately.

Purchase

Ready to buy the system? Here is a link to purchase: https://thespeedhound.com/products/speed-hound-properformance-recovery-system.

Bkool Vs Zwift

Riding through Makuri Islands

Overview

Bkool, Zwift, and Rouvy are all very good training platforms, they each have different things that stand out about each of them. Bkool and Rouvy are definitely more realistic, while Zwift is more for riders who are looking for gamifications, racing, and socialization. Rouvy and Bkool both have live events that riders can participate in, Bkool and Rouvy have only 1-2 events a day, while Zwift has hundreds. Zwift has a lot of routes, events, races, challenges, and customization for your avatar, but they do not have things like changing weather, custom routes, headwind and tailwinds, and even has night mode, which competitors like Bkool have. In Rouvy, there are hundreds of routes, you can create your own routes, create your own private events. 

Bkool

Bkool

Bkool is a much smaller platform than other training platforms such as Rouvy, RGT, and Zwift. Bkool features video instruction workouts, similar to Peloton workouts, custom route creation, ride videos, and hundreds of different routes from all around the world, that are available whenever you want. The routes include parts of the Paris Roubaix, Vuelta, Giro d’Italia, Velodromes, Tour of California, UCI World Championships. The downside to Bkool is that there are not many riders on each route consistently, this is partly because it isn’t as large of a platform, but also because of how many routes there are. Zwift limits riders to only 3 different worlds a day, and it rotates daily. Bkool, like RGT, also has wind, so some days the wind will be strong, and other days it may not. Bkool does not have many workouts that you can do on demand, there are currently around 20 in the workout section, while Zwift has hundreds. Bkool offers a 30 day free trial, then the price goes back to $9.99/month. This is the same price as RGT. Zwift charges $5 more a month. 

Bkool avatar customization

In Bkool you can also accumulate points and level up, this is similar to Zwift, but in Bkool you can only buy kits. The kits available for purchase are mainly pro team kits(ex, Bora, Canyon, Quickstep). Bkool is definitely more realistic than Zwift in many ways such as, the draft, the avatars, sprinting positions, wind, and routes/courses, so if you are looking for a realistic platform, then Bkool is a great option.

Zwift

Zwift

In Zwift there are thousands of riders on the platform at every hour  of the day, making it fun and engaging, and there is always someone you can draft behind ;). There are group rides and races every hour, different worlds for every day, and if a group ride doesn’t work for your time, just hop on with a Pace Partner, there is almost always a huge group with the bots. Zwift is by far the best out of the three of these gamification wise, you can buy bikes, wheels, unlock new kits, helmets, gloves, socks, shoes, and even glasses! You could sport your dream bike, or pick up the bike you ride IRL in the drop shop!

Zwift drop shop

Zwift has 9 worlds, that may not seem like a lot, but the worlds are very well designed, and have lots of hidden things in them. Zwift supports a ton of smart trainers, power meters, speed/cadence sensors, which makes it pretty easy to get started on the platform. In Zwift, you can chat to all the Zwifter’s around you in the virtual world, create meetups with your friends, and give riders a ride on to keep them going! In Zwift, you can level up, accumulate drops(Zwift’s in game currency, which you can spend on upgrading your ride), participate in races, earn route achievements, and complete challenges. When you go under each banner/arch in Zwift, you will get a power-up, which can help you in various ways, you could get some extra XP, or go invisible, this adds to the gamification and strategy of Zwift racing, which some appreciate, and some dislike. Zwift also has over 1000 workouts that are available for you whenever you’d like. Zwift costs $14.99/month and offers a 7-day free trial.

Tacx Neo 2T review

Nearly a year ago

     Earlier today I got a Tacx Neo 2T and decided to do a review and comparison on it. I will be reviewing it and comparing it to the Wahoo Kickr 16 and the Tacx Vortex. I have only ridden a few miles on my new trainer and so far it has been amazing! I have tried all the different road feel settings and love the setting.

Now

    Overall the trainer is great, I think that the road feel feature makes indoor training a lot more realistic and I think that it will be a fun feature to ride with. Erg mode on this trainer is amazing, unlike the wahoo trainers, my power stays around the same amount of wattage, only fluctuating within around 5 watts. I noticed that the trainer is super accurate, comparing it to my Powertap P1 pedals, they were only a few watts apart at most, compared to the Tacx Neo 2T .

Unboxing

     We got the trainer at our local sports basement which gives 10% off if you are a member(yay), they carried the trainer and it was 10 percent off. The trainer is super heavy, which I should not have been surprised about. The trainer costed $1,399, which is the most expensive trainer I think. Here is the unboxing/review.

           This side shows what the trainer looks like from above. The trainer also comes with a free 1 month zwift subscription and a tacx training app subscription.

This side of the box hows the details, one of the things that sticks out is the fact that it can go up to 25 percent gradient.  

    This side is nothing that interesting, just the description of the trainer.

    This side shows all the cool features, like the fact that you can ride on it without having it plugged in, also that it is supposed to be the quietest trainer, which is very true. An audio video will be posted soon.

    And this part just shows like all the details that are not that important. I will be posting a video on how to install a cassette and a first ride video with a lot of these details. Onto the unboxing, first of all, even before I looked in the box, I could tell that I was gonna like this trainer! Here are the unboxing pictures.

    The first thing you see when you open the box is a cool cover thing that says, push your limits, which is kinda cool. Here is a picture of all the instructions, parts, and cord. The trainer does not need the cord but when you use the cord it enables the downhill feature keeps the flywheel spinnign to make it more like real life.

    This is the trainer part. The trainer was huge when I first looked at it, but I eventually got used to it. The trainer folds up and to unfold it you simply just push the sides down. I do recommend installing the cassette first before unraveling the trainer because it makes the cassette easier to install.

    This is the instruction manual. The instructions are pretty good compared to other ones, online I could not find anything on how to install the cassette, I know how to install one, I just did not know if it was different on the tacx from the wahoo, turns out it is the same.

Review/comparison

    Our indoor training set up is full of trainers and other workout equipment like weights, a treadmill, and a rower. We have a Tacx Neo 2T, Wahoo Kickr Core, and a Wahoo Kickr Bike. We used to have a Wahoo Kickr Gen 2 and a Tacx Vortex but got rid of them because they were starting to have issues. The Neo is a much better ride feel and accuracy than the Vortex and Kickr Core, but I do really like how easily you can take bikes on and off the Vortex. If I were to compare this to the Wahoo Kickr Bike I would say that the ride feel on the Kickr bike is definitely smoother. For some that may be a good thing, and for others that may make it feel less realistic. For me I feel like the Kickr bike is smooth, but a little bit too smooth. One thing I have noticed is that the Kickr Bike’s power goes up instantly, like from 0 watts, to 400 in around 2 seconds, the Tacx takes a longer time to get up to the amount of watts.

This is just a closer up photo of my bike on the trainer.

    This is just a picture of the trainer itself. It is significantly larger than the wahoo but it does not really bother me. One thing that I had really been looking forward to is taking a closer look at the lights that are below the trainer, the lights are really cool and are super cool in the dark. The lights reflect how hard you are working, the brighter the color, the harder you are pushing.

Wrap up

    Overall I think that this is the best trainer I could get. Even if I had gotten the kickr 2020, I think I would have regretted it. Comparing it to the other Tacx trainer we had, I think that the Vortex is a good trainer and it is very durable, we hadn’t had any problems with it until earlier this year, which is when we ended up getting rid of it and switching it out for a Wahoo Kickr Core. It’s been almost a year and I have yet to have a single issue with the trainer, I have replaced the cassette once so far because the old one was worn. We originally got rid of the kickr because it was vibrating a ton and it was pretty uncomfortable. The Neo 2T is a 10/10 because of all the cool features that it has including Left and Right power, Road Feel, No cord required, and it is incredibly accurate. These are all things that most trainers don’t have that I love. It is a very expensive trainer, but if you ride indoors a lot, I would say that it is worth the money. One thing that you won’t notice by just looking at it is that it can rock side to side slightly, this is especially helpful in sprints or hard efforts. The only downside to this trainer is that it is expensive and it can be hard to take the bike on and off(which is the same for any direct drive trainer). But once you get used to taking the bike on and off, it is a pretty quick process, a few minutes at most. So far I have logged over 10,000 miles on the Tacx Neo 2T, and I plan to log thousands more! Thanks for reading, if you want instant updates on all the latest Zwift news, subscribe to the blog!

Polar H9 Heart Rate Monitor Review

Back in February 2021 I got my first heart rate monitor that was compatible with Zwift. I had previously been using my dads Garmin heart rate monitor but it wasn’t compatible with Zwift. I had to use our concept 2 rower as an Ant+ bridge. I used an app called RowedBiker to connect the rower, then that app connected to Zwift. It was a pain and I was starting to get more into Zwift racing. With the Zwift Racing League series heart rate monitors were required to use.

After doing some research I found that the Polar H9 could go down pretty small which is what I needed. The Garmin ones always slipped down and I had to tie parts together to get it to fit properly. I got the size XXS which another kid that I knew had and he said it fit pretty well. I think that heart rate monitors are a very good training tool to have and they can be very useful, especially if you are someone who enjoys racing on Zwift, many races often require heart rate data as a way to verify that you are not cheating.

The accuracy on this heart rate monitor is far more accurate than my Fitbit Charge 2 that had a built in optical sensor. The data wasn’t consistent and it didn’t pair to Zwift. Overall the Polar H9 is an amazing heart rate monitor. So far I have not had any issues with accuracy or pairing. It will pair to my garmin almost instantly along with Zwift. The Polar H9 can pair to one bluetooth device at a time but it can do unlimited connections through Ant+ which is what most bike computers connect to. I mainly use this for indoor rides but I will occasionally use it on an outdoor ride. Here is a data sample from one of my races recently.

    As you can see, the heart rate monitor performed as expected, as my power went up, so did my heart rate. The heart rate monitors costs $59.99 USD. I think that if you are looking for a heart rate monitor this is a great option, it is accurate, comfortable, and pretty affordable.

Zwift Running Vs Peloton Running

Here is a comparison of the Peloton tread running workouts with the video instructions vs the Zwift running. For Peloton running we have the Peloton Tread +. For Zwift running we use the Peloton tread with a Zwift run pod. Here are my thoughts on which platform is better.

If you are looking for more structured workouts and you don’t know what kind of workout you want to do. I think I would do the Peloton workouts because they have a wide variety of different workouts, instructors, and levels of intensity. Rather than Zwift you just select a workout and it tells you what to do. For runners who are more of the just run, not anything structured, I would choose Zwift over Peloton. The Peloton free run are just staring at a Peloton logo and you stats. Peloton does have scenic runs but I find them kind of dizzying. If you are using a run sensor, then Zwift will also display your cadence, when Peloton will not.

I think that for running Peloton is definitely more interactive because you have an instructor telling you what to do, a leaderboard to chase, and all your stats on a very clean interface. I think that if you are looking more to just run or do a structured workout that you already have planned out and you know what pace and the interval times, Zwift is great for that. Also if you just get bored on the treadmill Zwift kinda combines the video game feel with sports to make it more interesting. In Zwift you will be able to participate in live group runs, customize your avatar, and level up. I think Peloton running is definitely more developed, there are thousands of classes that you can choose from, and there are a few daily. In Zwift there are some group runs but they have a fraction of the amount of runners in the event that Peloton gets.

One thing that I find very annoying is that if you want to keep running after a Peloton run, you will have to have two different activities if you are doing a class. This is especially annoying if you are a Strava person and don’t want an activity that is X.9 miles/km long. In Zwift you can do a workout, then keep going after until you get to a specific amount of time or distance.

    Both are definitely great options as they are both much better than just running and seeing your speed in the corner of the treadmill interface. The Peloton workouts I find very motivating and they make me actually want to run sometimes (I prefer to ride). I would personally choose a Peloton run because I can just hop on the treadmill and start a class. This is a pretty brief comparison but it will give you a quick overview of the two and what each are best for. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions leave a comment below and I will be sure to reply!