Gone are the days when turbo trainers were only used in the dark, icy months. If you want to supplement your outdoor riding with some intense indoor workouts, a turbo trainer is invaluable, all year through.
‘Turbo trainer’ is usually used as a catch-all term for stationary cycle trainers (not counting ‘exercise bike’-type static bikes or spin bikes) but in reality there are two main types – rollers and turbo trainers.
We’re going to take a look at each type of turbo trainer below, along with their benefits, followed by a closer look at rollers.
As its name suggests, on a magnetic turbo trainer your rear wheel is secured to the turbo trainer via your rear skewer, leaving your rear wheel to roll against a magnetic resistance unit.
These are excellent entry-level models which should suit your budget if you’re dipping your toes into the world of turbo training.
Brand-X TT-01 Magnetic Turbo Trainer incl Riser
A compact unit with six speeds of resistance adjustable via an ergonomic remote gear lever. Suitable for all common bike types from 26” to 700c. Awarded 4/5 stars from road.cc who summed it up as a “Good value indoor trainer that’s ideal as a first buy.”
Elite SuperCrono Mag Force Elastogel Bundle
Excellent value bundle which includes a travel block to help you find the most comfortable position for training, sweat net to protect your bicycle and prevent corrosion or rust and 550ml Elite branded water bottle. Everything you need to get started.
Tacx Blue Matic T2650 Trainer
The Blue Matic has a magnetic brake with permanent-magnets. You set the resistance selecting one of the ten different positions via the handlebar resistance lever. During your training session the resistance increases as you cycle faster or switch to a heavier setting.
Offering a more road-like riding experience, fluid turbo trainers work using a complex system whereby a rotor revolves in an oil bath to produce resistance.
They’re generally far quieter than magnetic turbo trainers and offer a more realistic feel, with the frame moving to simulate the behaviour of your bike on the road. Many of these models can be folded down for storage when not in use.
Tacx Satori Smart T2400 Trainer
This interactive Smart trainer uses complex technology in a user-friendly fashion. In the resistance unit an accurate measurement of your speed, cadence and power is performed.
Elite Qubo Power Fluid ElastoGel
Elite’s most powerful fluid unit ever, train simply in silence. A large flywheel completely immersed in oil enables high resistance levels to be obtained even at low speed.
CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
Strong, durable, and quiet, this turbo trainer can help you reach the podium this season.
The most high performance choice of turbo trainer, direct drive units allow for a highly realistic cycle experience, with no loss of power as you pedal.
Unlike most magnetic and fluid turbo trainers, where your rear wheel is in contact with the turbo trainer, with direct drive your bike is directly mounted to the trainer via its frame.
Direct drive turbo trainers are some of the quietest units available too, making almost no noise as you crunch out the virtual miles. Most units communicate using ANT+ and Bluetooth, allowing you to hook them up to virtual reality training programs or other devices from Garmin and the like.
Elite Turbo Muin Fluid Trainer
Use 100% of your energy by exchanging the rear wheel of your bike with Turbo Muin. The first and only direct transmission home trainer with integrated fluid resistance
technology. It’s so quiet you’ll only hear your bike.
Tacx Neo Interactive SmartTrainer
Brand new from TACX this year, the NEO simulates road feel in a highly realistic manner, with no loss of power. Just like other Smart trainers, the NEO communicates using ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, allowing it to be connected quickly and easily with Tacx apps.
Elite Drivo Turbo Trainer
Drivo is interactive and features a 24-point power measuring system with a +/- 1% accuracy, for each pedal stroke. The integrated power measurement system determines the watts expressed as precisely as scientific measuring devices. Drivo combines all the advantages of a professional training tool with an easy and intuitive system.