Homebrew Exercise Bike

We live in a region that is very good for cycling and walking, in the summer. However, the winters are quite long and not always conducive to being out and about, so I looked into the idea of an exercise bike.


Bizarrely, systems  like the ‘turbo trainer’ (below left) that used a standard bicycle were actually more expensive than a complete ‘home exercise bike’ (below right) . I suspect this is because the former tend to be used by serious cyclists and are produced to a higher quality than those for the would-be get-fit brigade. I’d class myself somewhere between the two.


Ideally I wanted something that would allow some sort of variable route to be programmed in. The reason for this is the ‘challenge of a hill’ feeling as opposed to grinding it out on the flat against a head-wind feeling, which is just grim !


Typical ‘Turbo Trainer’

Typical ‘Home Exercise Bike’

Typical costs in 2011 :


Turbo Trainer (standard) :  120 Euro

Turbo Trainer  (prog’ble) :  800 Euro


Home Ex Bike (standard) : 80 Euro

Home Ex Bike (prog’ble) : 240 Euro

It looked like any type of programmable exercise bike was going to be expensive, especially the turbo trainer variety, so time to play the A-team theme music and get the welding torch out !


Total cost to me, around 20 Euros for the M10 threaded bar and prototype board :)


The source code, compiled .exe, additional photos and plan for the support frame can be downloaded from here.