You feel you’re in safe hands with the CycleOps Hammer, although your own hands won’t thank you if you try to move it around too much: it’s extremely heavy and has an awkwardly placed handle that places the unit out of balance if you try to lift it. However, it had a heavyweight performance to match and was straightforward to set up and use. Ride feel was matchless. It’s a pity the yellow CycleOps stickers have already peeled off the plastic body. For £1,000 you might reasonably expect it to keep its looks for a bit longer.
Covers all bikes
Best ride feel available
The body is extremely heavy!
By Simon Smythe
As one of the heavyweights in the power-measuring field it’s appropriate that the CycleOps Hammer, CycleOps’s range-topping smart trainer, achieves its smooth, realistic road feel via a 9kg flywheel that is claimed to be the heaviest on the market.
The complete unit weighs a monster 21kg, making unboxing it an epic feat. On the inside of the box lid is the legend ‘what will you accomplish today?’ just in case you thought lifting it out of the car was quite enough for one day.
How does it setup?
The Hammer comes with a Shimano freehub body and additional screw-on ‘end caps’ that allow you to run 130mm and 135mm spacing with QR hubs plus 142mm and 148mm thru-axles so standard road bikes, disc-brake road bikes and mountain bikes are all covered. There is no Campagnolo freehub replacement but if you’re running 11 speed you’ll get away with a Shimano cassette.
Two legs fold out from underneath to keep the Hammer stable. A front wheel stabilising block is also stashed under the machine, released once the legs are folded out.
Watch: Form maintaining HIIT session
The Hammer has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and connects to any third-party training app as well as CycleOps’s own, Rouvy. We tested it with Zwift using Bluetooth and Zwift’s Mobile Link app, which lets you use a smartphone as an in-ride remote control.
The heavy flywheel certainly gives a very realistic ride feel, particularly noticeable when you get a ‘boost’ on virtual descents. Hitting a climb the resistance is piled on smoothly as in real life. The CycleOps Hammer’s resistance can replicate gradients up to 20 per cent and is able to handle 2,000 watts. The Hammer’s ride feel is possibly the best of all the smart turbos on the market at the moment.
Riding to power on a Zwift course on the Hammer is also very similar to riding to power on the road: the number jumps around as the road undulates, requiring you to concentrate on smooth pedalling.The Hammer has excellent stability for out-of-the-saddle efforts but there is no ‘give’ at all.
As for the noise, it’s relatively quiet but as with all the others, a garage is still the best place for it.
In summary, the CycleOps Hammer is very user-friendly with a world-beating ride feel but incredibly heavy and difficult to carry since the moulded handle is in the wrong place and the yellow CycleOps stickers have started peeling off.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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