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The Vacmaster Cardio54 is a great fan to use with your indoor trainer. It pushes a lot of air and is more effective at keeping you cool than most other options. A few tweaks to the design would make it even more effective, though.
Okay, so first things first: this is essentially Vacmaster's Air Mover – a fan designed for drying out building work, or your carpets after a flood – with two alterations. The first is it's black and grey instead of building-site yellow.
The second is the remote. This you can mount on your bars (via silicone strap) to control the three speed settings of the fan. Vacmaster doesn't make any claims for the remote being waterproof, so it's probably a good idea to keep it out of the sweat zone, or else cover it with a towel or plastic bag.
I wrapped it in a bag and stuck it back in the silicone strap, which held the bag in place, and that worked perfectly.
I mostly used the Cardio54 on a KICKR table directly in front of me, and like that it certainly pushes plenty of air. It's a lot more compact than a gym fan too, which means more room for snacks or keyboards or nicknacks.
The '54' refers to the maximum air speed of 54km/h (you mean this isn't a pun on the infamous Studio 54 disco? That's just your jive talkin') and on full gas it's overkill for anything except a full race effort. It's the kind of airflow you get battering down a quick descent. Outside of races I mostly used it on the lower two settings, which are a bit less blowy.
The air column pushed out is quite focused, much more so than a standard gym fan, and in a similar way to Wahoo's KICKR Headwind fan. That's good if it's pointing in the right place, but herein lies the only major issue. It only has three positions: you get flat, 45 and 90-degree settings from the feet on the bottom.
Realistically the 45-degree one is the only useful one for training, and the airflow is narrow enough there's every chance you'll be raiding your bookshelf for a suitably thick tome to adjust the angle. There's got to be something Dan Brown is good for, after all.
Even neatly adjusted, though, the air column is so narrow that doing intermediate sprints in a group ride moved my turbo across the floor sufficiently that, by the time the ride was over, the fan was no longer hitting the spot.
Obviously this isn't an issue when you're drying the new plaster on your walls, and that's what this fan was originally designed for. But I think it needs a tweak: either more feet, or a way to angle the vent.
The other issue is that the air column is sort of in landscape mode – wider than it is tall. Again, for turbo use you really want it the other way round, so it points at more of your body.
That would be a fairly major redesign, though, and probably making the current design more adjustable is all that's needed. I've already drawn up my plans for some kind of adjustable mount.
In spite of these gripes, this is a great option if you're after some serious airflow in your pain cave. The Cardio54 moves a LOT of air, and when you've got the position dialled in it does an excellent job of cooling you down.
At £99.99 it's half the price of the KICKR Headwind fan and just as effective; okay, you can't make it blow faster when you speed up, but that's daft, so you won't miss it.
If you've got the space, the three gym fans you could get for this kind of money might prove more adaptable, but the Cardio54 is easy to control and effective, and consequently it's easy to recommend.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vacmaster Cardio54 Fitness Fan
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vacmasters says: "The Vacmaster Cardio54 indoor training fan is designed to unlock your performance potential. A maximum 54km/h (33mph) targeted airflow helps you control your heart-rate and keep your core temperature down. Keeping you cool, so you can keep going. Comes with remote control and adjustable directional flow."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Product SKU AM1202R-01
Power Supply 220 - 240V Electric
Motor Power 124W
Noise Level 49dB(A)
Blower Function 3 Angles
Cord Length 3.6m
Dimensions (Complete Unit) H 31cm x W 23.5cm x D 28cm
Motor Voltage 240V
Air Speed 54km/h (33mph)
Air Volume 15 mtr3 per min / 518 Cubic Feet per Min
Variable Speed 3 Settings
Plug Type UK 3 Pin 240V
Guarantee 2 Year Guarantee
Remote could do with being waterproof.
Certainly makes indoor training more comfortable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Moves masses of air, and it's compact.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not adjustable enough.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a lot more than a gym fan, but a lot less than a KICKR Headwind.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This could easily be an 8 or 9 with a few tweaks, but it's a good fan nonetheless.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.