TorqBoard for Indoor Cycling

Detail Of Front Derailleur With Cycle Track
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Data junkies, rejoice! A TorqBoard may sound like a torture device but it’s actually a proprietary performance metric system that’s unique to Flywheel indoor cycling studios. If you enjoy measuring your progress or you're uber-competitive, you're going to love this. 

How It Works

Each bike in Flywheel’s stadium-style studios is outfitted with a small computer that measures and displays your resistance (which the studio calls “Torq,” just to be fancy), your speed in RPMs, your current, and total power output, and other relevant stats. This Torq meter measures how much effort you’re exerting based on the level of resistance on the bike and the speed at which you’re pedaling. Keeping an eye on the Torq meter lets you gauge how hard you’re pushing yourself at any given moment and how you’re performing overall.

If you opt to participate in sharing your stats, they’ll show up (with your chosen “nickname” and your bike number) on the two large screens (the “TorqBoards”) that display riders’ power output at various intervals during the class. (It’s not lit up the whole time, which is a good thing because it would be distracting.)

If you’re the least bit competitive, participating in the TorqBoard system may be appealing because it lets you see in real-time how you’re faring compared to other riders of the same gender.

What the board won’t tell you is whether they’re in the same age bracket or fitness level as you are.

What to Do With the 411

Depending on your personality, you might accept your ranking as it is or choose to kick up your effort if you want to improve. I must admit: Toward the end of the class, the woman in the number three position was outshining my power output by only 2 points, so I decided to crank up my pace and resistance for the last minute to see if I could pass her. I did. Believe me, I’m not necessarily proud of this competitive streak but it did feel good to place third instead of fourth (out of ten) among the women. The class was full, with at least two-thirds of the 63 bikes occupied by women 10 to 20 years younger than I am.

What I like most, though, is that the TorqBoard system lets you compete with yourself from one class to another. As soon as a class ends, you can log onto your Flywheel account and view your stats, including your average RPM, your maximum RPM, your average Torq, your maximum Torq, your average speed (in miles per hour), your total power output, your total distance covered (in miles), and your estimated calorie expenditure.

When I got home, I logged onto my account, checked my stats, and was pretty happy with what I saw. I knew it had been a killer workout – I emerged with my face beet-red and my body drenched in sweat, feeling fairly euphoric – but the numbers confirmed it. Still, I was shocked to discover I’d incinerated an estimated 738 to 813 calories in the 45-minute class. For comparison’s sake, when I teach a 45-minute class, I ride pretty hard and burn 450 to 550 calories. That’s quite a difference! Who knows how accurate the numbers are on indoor bicycles but they sure made me feel good.

For my next Flywheel class, I’m going to focus on beating my own stats, not ranking higher than others. That’s a goal I won’t have to be embarrassed about – and it'll be more meaningful for my training in the long run. 

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