This is my Vacmaster Cardio54 fan.
It blows air at my face. Sometimes at my torso. Rarely on my groinal region.
I use it when I am riding on my Wahoo KICKR indoor trainer (a V5 KICKR if you’re interested).
And this is my review.
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Spoiler alert: this dispatch from the veloblogging front line might tend towards the effusive. It’s not a paid endorsement though. I bought the Vacmaster myself.
Actually, that’s not quite true, I got it for Christmas from my wife. That’s right, I have given my permission for her to take paid employment.
So if you do detect any bias, it is the profound emotional response to my beloved buying me a gift… which was in no way precisely the thing I specified she buy because she’d run out of ideas.
The Benefits of a Fan Whence Indoor Cycling
I bought (requested the buying of) the Vacmaster some nine months into my indoor cycling journey. Until that point, I’d been using a cheap (I assume) desktop fan that makes more noise than air movement.
It was surprising (at least it was to me) how much the lack of a decent fan had been holding me back.
The impact of the Vacmaster was immediate. It turns out (who knew?) that not overheating dramatically increases the work you can do in a training session, and radically reduces your propensity to feel sick almost immediately after the first intense interval.
It’s likely any decent fan would have brought about this epiphany. But for me it was the Cardio54 wot delivered it. So it occupies a special place in my loins.
Using The Vacmaster Cardio54
Wrangling the Cardio54 is so simple, it hardly warrants a section. But sure, I’ll throw a few words at it.
You plug it it. You move it to a position to blow air at whatever appendage needs cooling. You click the on switch and set the dial to whatever wind waff-factor you want.
The fan only blows in one direction but you can position the unit itself in one of three orientations so the air comes out either horizontally at floor level, vertically, er, upwards, or at a 45 degree angle.
I only use the 45 degree setting. I can’t see how the vertical angle could give you any blow without fouling the pedals. The flat to the floor setting is great… if you want really cool pedal cleats (I suppose you could put it on a shelf or some other support).
I’ve got a trainer desk (the LifeLine Pro Trainer Desk), which gets in the way of the airflow if the Vacmaster is positioned directly in front of my bike. I tend to position the fan out to the side, at a sort of quarter angle. Which works excellently.
Take (Remote) Control Of Your Cooling
The Cardio54 has three settings (or four if you count ‘Off’). According to the website, the three levels correspond to moving 349, 433, or 518 cubic feet of air per minute.
The numbers mean absolutely nothing to me (congrats if they do to you). But my experience is that the Vacmaster is strong.
I’ve rarely gone beyond the lowest setting, which is plenty powerful enough for most of my body-cooling needs. The high setting nearly blows me of the bike.
It’s pleasing to know that, if needed, the Cardio54 can push sufficient air to RIP MY FACE OFF. Ahem.
And good news – you can switch between the blow settings from the discomfort of your saddle.
The Cardio54 has a remote control, which you can either wander around with (it’s like a car key fob) or fix in the rubbery strap that mounts it to your handlebars.
The remote control works well (it just works) and it certainly beats having to get down off the bike each time you need to move up the Beaufort scale.
Power Usage… Or How Much Does The Cardio54 Cost To Use?
This section deals not with the incontinent trickle of power that dribbles out of my leg-bazookas.
Instead, we look at the wattage, and the cost of wattage, required to run the Vacmaster. And I have to make it sound interesting.
And actually it is interesting because it’s a lot cheaper than I was expecting. Even at the recent spike in electricity prices in the UK, an hour of Cardio54 usage cost just over 6p (less than a dime, Ameri-fans).
So cost is a non-event. Much like the output from my aforementioned quad-cannons.
Vacmaster Cardio54 vs Vacmaster Air Mover
The Cardio54 is a fitness-specific version of the Vacmaster air mover fan. The latter is aimed at a more general fan-base (I thenk yew, I’m here all week).
Both use the same 124W fan motor and the overall form factor is very similar.
The standard Vacmaster fan has a light grey and yellow bits (technical term) colour scheme. The Cardio54 goes with a black with grey accents ‘colour way’, which is definitely smarter.
The main differences, apart from the colour, is that the all-purpose Vacmaster fan has an additional mains power socket on the front of the unit, for… plugging things into (and the Cardio54 doesn’t), and it doesn’t have a remote control (where the Cardio54 does).
From the Vacmaster website, the additional power sphincter is for daisy-chaining multiple fans together off a single mains power socket. I guess this could be useful if you train in a blast furnace (with one plug socket). For most velo-folk, I’d suggest paying the soupçon extra for the Cardio54 and its handy handlebar remote.
So Is The Vacmaster Cardio54 Worth The Money?
The Cardio54 costs £100 in the UK. Which as I type it, isn’t that cheap. At all.
Versus the Wahoo Headwind, of course, it’s a bargain. The Wahoo unit, for which fan speed can be controlled actively by your speed, heart rate or an app, costs about 2.3x more.
But if you anchor your prices off general use fans, even the jumbo ones, it’s a fair chunkachange.
That said, the Vacmaster seems to provide excellent air blowing performance (based on my limited experience).
I like the ability to switch between wind-tensity settings with the handlebar remote. The grey colour scheme, and design overall, looks smart in my hurt cabin. It’s compact, almost boxy (in a cylindrical kind of way) shape makes it easy to pack out of the way when not in use.
Overall I am very happy with the Vacmaster Cardio54 and would recommend it to any enthusiastic indoorcyclista.