A Turbo Trainer is ideal to keep your hard won Summer fitness up during the darker, wetter season. From the most basic and simple to use, to next generation virtual reality models with power meters, we have full ranges from Cycleops, Tacx, Elite, Kurt Kinetic, Minoura and many more. The choice is huge so we have highlighted the very best for you here.
Most entry trainers are magnetic turbo trainers and work using magnets to create a force for you to pedal against and usually have set resistance levels, which you can adjust as well as using your gears. These are functional units and you get more gadgets as you move up the price ladder.
Trainers at a higher price point are usually quieter and replicate the feeling of riding on the road more accurately. These units often use fluid resistance which becomes higher the faster you pedal, abolishing the need for fixed resistance levels.
Many of these trainers allow you to record data, such as cadence and heart rate, which you can download to a PC. As price increases, so does the maximum power threshold, so you may need to spend more if you put out a lot of power.
These trainers cater for people who want a very realistic ride, or a greater level of feedback from their session. Some higher priced units will create a virtual reality through the resistance level so you can feel incline as you ride or will allow road-like movement that forces you to use your core muscles.
For the more analytical rider, data driven turbo trainers will record cadence and power, so you can reliably track your performance.
Manufacturers have come up with options that give you the ability to compare rides with friends using social media networks, or follow your outdoor routes inside.
If you don’t like the idea of attaching your bike to a unit or swapping your wheel or tyre, consider a static bike, or a model of turbo trainer that suspends the back end of the bike without a wheel.
Rollers don’t keep you in a fixed position as a turbo trainer does – and you will need to engage your core and learn to balance to use them. As a result, rollers are often considered better for steady efforts, and harder to use for short interval sessions as you still need to concentrate on your balance.
There are a few extras you can buy to make trainer time more comfortable and productive. A riser block under the front wheel will ensure your bike is level and a specific turbo trainer tyre will be quieter and less prone to slipping. A sweat net will protect your bike and a training mat will protect your carpet or hard flooring and reduce noise. To keep you motivated, we have training DVD’s with great training advice and workouts you can follow.
There’s no way around it, riding a bike indoors without the airflow benefit you get doing the real thing real thing means you will get hot and sweaty. Our advice is to invest in a fan, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes to replace the salts you will be losing.
This story was last updated on 26/11/2013