Just In: SportCrafters’ Take-it-Anywhere, Folding, Compact Omnium Trainer
Tired of lugging around that heavy trainer that folds down to the size of an old desktop computer? Lay your eyes on the production version of SportCrafters’ new Omnium trainer. About the size of a Ghostbusters Ghost Trap when folded up (theoretically), the Omnium is built to go wherever you go – even if that is just to the basement to work out. In spite of its compact nature, the Omnium is a full featured trainer that from the outset, looks like a perfect companion come race day.
Even if you aren’t using it to warm up on race day, the Omnium is quite tempting. See why after the break.
Obviously, one of the biggest draws to the Omnium is how small it is when stowed. Compared to most trainers, it practically disappears. It’s not exactly heavy either at just under 15 pounds – something that will come in handy when traveling with the trainer. The most finished that we’ve seen the made-in-the-USA Omnium to this point, the trainer features a hard anodized frame and full stainless hardware for durability. But just in case you ever have an issue, like all SportCrafters products, the Omnium carries a lifetime warranty.
Flip the quick release lever and the front of the trainer swings forward, ready to be deployed.
The stainless legs of the fork support are stored in the trainer body, and held in place with 5mm studs. Unthread each leg and remove it from the storage tube.
Each leg is then threaded into the fork support creating the stability for the trainer. Once the Omnium is adjusted to the proper wheel base for your bike, the center support is held in place with a large threaded stainless steel knob.
At this point, simply remove your front wheel and clamp the fork into the Omnium’s dropouts. If you forget about the portability, it’s this attachment method which interests me the most for a few reasons. Most trainers (with the exception of rear QR mounted models like the LeMond Revolution), attach to the bike by basically crushing the rear end in a vice that is specially shaped to fit a QR. Not the QR included with your bike, though. No, you need to use a special steel QR that won’t be damaged by the trainer’s grasp. Even with the steel QRs, I still cringe a bit every time I wrench down on the unsuspecting dropouts, only to hear the rear end of the bike creaking under hard efforts. I’ve never seen any real damage personally from trainer usage, but it still doesn’t seem like the best method.
Now, there are those that are afraid the Omnium’s grip on the fork blades could damage the fork, but we’ve been assured by Pete Colan, the owner of SportCrafters, that the Ominum has been cycle fatigue tested with different forks only to pass with flying colors.
Using a fork mount offers a number of benefits, especially when racing. Since there is no need to change the skewer, there is no chance of messing with your shifting right before the main event. The fork mount also allows for the use of two large diameter drums, instead of a single drum on a standard trainer. Two large drums decrease the tire wear dramatically, to the point that SportCrafters claims you can run any tire without noticeable wear. No trainer tire means no trainer wheel, which means no messing with your set up again.
There is at least, one drawback to the design though – the quick release fork mount means that mountain bikes (and some CX and Road bikes at this point) with thru axle front wheels need not apply. Currently, there aren’t any adapters for thu axle wheels available from SportCrafters, though that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future.
Equipped with not just any rollers, the Omnium uses SportCrafters’ ARC Technology which uses moving magnets to offer a life like resistance curve and plenty of resistance. Even with the narrow drums, the rear wheel wants to stay centered, something SportCrafters wanted to illustrate with a video. We’ve verified this, even when deliberately trying to make the rear wheel come off it is all but impossible.
SportCrafters’ ARC resistance video shows the rollers putting out up to 500 watts of resistance, which increases as the magnets rotate inside the drum and get closer to the outside of the drum as it speeds up. When slowing down, the magnets return to their inner positions decreasing resistance. In addition to the improved road feel, the ARC drums need zero maintenance, won’t leak, and don’t heat up like a traditional trainer which could damage your tire. The ARC rollers can also be found in SportCrafters’ OverDrive Pro Rollers if that’s more your speed.
SportCrafters also sent us this prototype carrying bag which is super convenient if you’re traveling with the trainer. Whether you’re going to the local bike shop for a spin class, or warming up before the race, the case protects the trainer and makes it incredibly easy to carry – even if you’re wheeling your bike, extra wheels, and grid bag to your pit area.
For comparison’s sake, the Omnium is shown here in its bag next to a folded JetBlack Z1 Fluid trainer. While the Omnium isn’t necessarily meant to replace your current at-home trainer, those with space requirements may appreciate its small footprint.
In spite of the folding nature of the Omnium, set up is a breeze and will take less time than getting dressed. Initially, the trainer felt a bit skittish on the hard wood – something that was improved drastically with a trainer mat. Included with the Omnium was a small rubber rectangle that can be used as a mat, but it is only big enough for the resistance unit. Ideally, the Omnium’s legs should be placed on something other than a hard, smooth surface (like a parking lot at a race). Even when on that mat, the Omnium is a little more flexy than I imagined it to be. We’ll see how this affects the long term performance, but at this point it only seems like a small nuisance. Honestly, this could just be due to the fact that I’m used to having the rear wheel locked in on a trainer with the front set in a wheel block. Also, the ARC drums are louder than I expected, with a mechanical whir as they start to speed up. Ride quality is better than any magnetic trainer I’ve used so far, and we’ll see if it improves as the trainer breaks in.
Ultimately, the value in the Omnium seems directly associated with the size and portability of the trainer. Those looking to lighten the load when headed to their local race will love the compact size, and the ability to leave the rear wheel in place. Also, with the Ominum’s TSA approval, anyone flying to a race will be able to bring the Omnium as a carry on. Racers are probably also less likely to balk at the $449.00 price tag.
- Folded dimensions: 22″ x 7″ x 6″ (55.9cm x 17.8cm x 15.2cm)
- Total weight: 13.5 lbs (6.12 kg)
- Aluminum Drums: 4.0″ diameter, double-wall design with built-in cooling
- End caps: Molded polycarbonate
- Drums are lathed on the axle for precision run-out and balance
- All drums are dynamically spin balanced, and will not distort in heat or sunlight
- Bearings are greased and sealed, and do not require maintenance
- All fasteners are stainless steel and corrosion-proof
- Accommodates wheel sizes 600c to 700c, 26″ to 29″
- Rider weight limit: 300 lbs
- Progressive magnetic resistance within roller drums – ARC Technology