Turbo trainers have earned their ‘torture machine’ nickname for a reason. These stationary cycling training units allow you to clock up some big miles from the comfort of your own home, but leaving you alone with your own thoughts and four walls can make those miles seem much longer and more arduous. What if there was a way to make the indoor cycling experience fun and rewarding?
Why do I need a smart turbo trainer?
Smart turbo trainers link up with your computer, smartphone, or tablet transforming your trainer into a gateway to an online world, recreating all the dynamics of an outdoor ride while providing a virtual simulation of your session in real time as well as relaying a range of data from your ride, such as power, cadence, and of course, speed.
- Up your game: Training the “smart” way enables you to continue to push yourself beyond your limits. With features such as built in power meters for specific training goals you can take your training to a new level whether your goal is to build on your endurance or dominate hill climbs.
- More entertaining: Pedaling on the spot is now fun and rewarding, as you tackle hill attacks in distant lands, sprint and surge through sublime landscapes, or even go head-to-head against strangers, friends or club colleagues across the internet in online real-time races.
- More variety: Using state of the art graphics going smart gives you a variety of different workouts and courses as well as tracking a huge variety of data from your ride, smart turbo trainers are an exciting gateway to an online world of sensational cycling.
- Connect with others: By going ‘smart’ you can connect with friends and other riders as well as challenging yourself in the world of online competing against fellow riders.
What smart trainer is best for me?
Before beginning the journey of browsing for your smart setup it’s a good tip to read the specifications for each unit before you buy to ensure your wheel size and frame are compatible.
There are a number of different types of smart turbo trainer, such as direct drive, where you mount your bike frame directly onto the unit, or the ‘wheel on’ trainers that use your back tyre to drive a flywheel that uses electromagnetic or fluid resistance. Smart enabled roller style trainers are also available.
Wheel On Smart Turbo Trainer
Wheel on turbo trainers can transform any room in your house into a pain cave. A simple design, turbo trainers are static devices that provide a form of resistance similar to the feeling of the road via the form of a magnetic or fluid resistance. Simply hook your bike to the trainer and can enjoy hours of fun without going far.
Direct Drive Turbo Trainer
Offering a more realistic riding experience compared to wheel-on trainers, direct drive are ultimately the best turbo trainers for performance. With a direct drive trainer the rear wheel is removed and the bike attaches directly to the trainer at the rear dropouts and the bike’s chain drives a cassette that is connected to the trainer.
It’s easy to get up and cycling as soon as your smart turbo trainer is out of the box, but you will need a couple of things to get the best from your device, and for it to get the best out of you.
- A computer with a large display will provide the ultimate experience, but you can still take your trainer online with a tablet or even a smartphone.
- Many smart trainers come Bluetooth enabled, connecting wirelessly to your device, while others use the ANT+ USB adaptor to allow your computer and trainer to interact.
How can I upgrade my smart turbo trainer?
Getting the trainer set up is one thing but you want to ensure you have all the gizmos to make it the ultimate experience.
- Trainer Mat: Protecting your floor whilst on your smart trainer is very important. Using a training mat you can place the trainer and bike on top of it to make sure you don’t mark the floor and slip on your sweat.
- Trainer Table: Training on Zwift is great but if you are balancing your laptop on a stack of books just to see it may kill the mood. A trainer table will provide a stable platform for your water, food and laptop.
- Fan: Training indoors can very quickly lead to you overheating. A fan will help keep you comfortable whilst training indoor and provide that realistic feel of a headwind.
Don’t like the idea of a smart trainer?
We have the ultimate turbo trainer buying guide to perhaps help you save money.