Nutrition & Training

Best Turbo Trainers: Buying Guide For Indoor Cycling

Turbo trainers provide an outlet to get a good session of training done without having to ever leave the house. If it is a cold, icy winter’s morning, another lockdown or post-race cool down the turbo trainer has become a staple of all cyclist’s garage.

Why do I need a turbo trainer?

Turbo training offers you a unique experience to welcome the outdoors into the comfort of your home, the fixed base trainer offers you the opportunity to ride wherever and whenever you want. Eliminating the chance for excuses to not get out on the bike as you can simply jump on at a time that suits you.

In 2021, technology has helped revolutionise the turbo training game, allowing you to keep on top of your training with all your key metrics being recorded like watts, speed and cadence.

  • Good Fitness Boost: No more battling with nature, turbo training allows you to build your base fitness when the weather’s rubbish, or you can’t get out to ride.
  • Fun Interactive Training: With modern interactive software like Zwift and Sufferfest you can challenge yourself to places you would never go like on the hills of Innsbruck or the streets of London.
  • Whatever Suits You: With turbo trainers, you can get the miles in quickly and easily when you’re time-strapped, whether it is a quick 30-minute spin or a long three-hour ride.
  • Hassle-Free: Ride your bike without the hassle of having to clean and lube like you would be doing after a spin in the outdoors.
  • Focused Workouts: Structured plans allow you to prepare in a controlled setting for your outdoor rides; smash your goals at a time and place that suits you, minimising excuses.

What Turbo Trainer is best for me?

To find out which turbo trainer suits your needs, it’s important to look at what you want to use it for and where you want to set it up. To get the most out of your turbo training sessions, we’d always recommend getting the best turbo trainer you can afford. The different types of trainers have grown in recent years with the advancement in technology helping to provide more of a thrill whilst training.

Here are some other things to consider before purchasing:

  • Plenty of space for a comfortable ride,
  • Electricity power if your turbo needs it,
  • A Wi-Fi connection if you’re going to use a smart trainer,
  • A towel to wipe away the sweat (there’ll be sweat!),
  • A fan to cool you down,
  • A tablet/laptop/phone to connect to online training software.

Smart Turbo Trainers

A smart turbo trainer is the most immersive and fun way to experience an indoor ride, seamlessly connecting to online platforms like Zwift and reacting instantly to your virtual world. A smart turbo trainer connects to a computer, phone or tablet via Bluetooth or ANT+. This will then change the resistance of the motor unit depending upon what you are riding on course, so if you come to an incline, it will get more difficult to pedal, and vice versa.

Magnetic Turbo Trainers

The magnetic turbo trainer creates resistance from a magnetic field as your wheel spins against it. It can vary in the level of resistance to the bike via a lever that can be mounted to the handlebars.

  • Easy to fold and store away
  • Affordable compared to other types of trainers
  • Compatible with virtual training (Add-ons required)

Fluid Resistance Trainers

Resistance is more gradual by the use of a propeller in a chamber that is filled with oil. The harder you pedal the harder the resistance; even changing gears can influence the user experience.

  • Quieter than most other types of trainers
  • Offers a more realistic experience
  • Compatible with virtual training (Add-ons required)

Direct Drive Turbo Trainers

With direct drive turbo trainers, your bike is directly mounted to the trainer. A slightly more expensive option to buy, these trainers provide a more realistic experience and can help provide accurate riding data.

  • Removes wear of the rear tyre
  • Produces a more realistic rolling resistance
  • Fully compatible with virtual software

Roller Turbo Trainers

Roller trainers use cylindrical drums connected by a belt-drive, which are spun by your bike wheels. This is the most difficult to use as balance is key to ensuring you get a good solid workout.

  • Effortless setup
  • Most affordable option
  • Improves bike handling skills

How can I upgrade my turbo training experience?

Once you get set up with your turbo trainer, you might find that you want to add a few accessories to get the perfect setup.

  • Sweat Cover: A must for a turbo training session. Without a nice breeze, you will find yourself sweating a lot more whilst doing your workout from the garage. Buying a sweat cover will ensure you corrosive sweat keeps away from your frame and bar tape.
  • Speed & Cadence Sensor: Data is the key to improvement and your gateway to online training. Most Speed and Cadence Sensors are compatible with ANT+ receivers and mount discretely on your chainstay, cranks, and spokes.
  • Riser Block: A riser block is a simple stand for your front wheel to lift it off the ground and keep the bike level during your turbo training. A simple accessory that will make the difference.
  • Trainer Tyre: On magnetic and fluid trainers the rear wheel will be in contact with the resistance meaning wear of your tyre. Manufacturers have developed a trainer specific tyre that is ideal for your turbo training sessions.

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