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turbo trainers

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 SamSimpson 14 Nov 2020

Hello everyone

Just looking for some advice about reasonably priced turbo trainers? I don't know where to start...... I would always start in somewhere like decathlon however don't know if it is worth getting a better one that can plug into a computer.. 

cheers

Sam

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 smollett 14 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I'm also looking for one. I have friends that have them who have warned me off the cheaper roller ones. I'm going to go for one of the zwift compatible ones with a few whistles and bells. I dont think I could stay motivated without something to show progress.  I think I'm going for the wahoo kickr core smart. 

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 kevin stephens 14 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I would recommend a direct drive smart trainer which has its own hub which you fit a cassette to rather than one which relies on the rear tyre on a roller

Smart turbos are great for systematic and engaging training - I use Trainer Road, other people use Zwift etc, they are all good but an annual subscription may cost £100 or more. Smart trainers link to these aps on your computer/tablet/phone by bluetooth.  You will also need a compatible heart rate chest strap.

I like my Elite Suito trainier, currently around £650 inc cassette.  you can get slightly cheaper and substantially more expensive turbos. You can actually get the Suito at Halfords but better if you can go to a specialist bike shop.  You may have problems finding a smart turbo in stock with Covid etc.

A smart turbo and subscription is a significant investment, but good value IF you are dedicated enough to use it regularly and follow a programme, especially if you have some post winter goals in mind.  I'm currently on Trainer Road's base programme - 5 sessions a week at around an hour a time.  Hopefully with continuing training over winter I'm looking forward to blasting around lots of long hilly loops in the Peak District and elsewhere

Post edited at 18:21
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In reply to kevin stephens:

I'd echo what Kevin said. I have an Elite Turbo Muin Smart b+ (a couple of steps down from his unit) which is known for being especially quiet. Very solid, has a real cycling feel (many cheap ones suffer from a poor experience with regards to this), and comes with a decent app to harvest the data. 

I don't Zwift but there is ample free training stuff out there. GCN training videos are very good.

I do believe it's worth investing in. If you're in British Cycling (great for some of the support on offer) then generous discounts can be had. Mine was from Halfords (sorry Kevin - I believe their heritage stems from a bicycle shop back in the day) BC discount, plus Quidco, plus price match stacked up well. 

Post edited at 18:33
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 Sans-Plan 14 Nov 2020
In reply to smollett:

I have a Kickr Core, great bit of kit, well built and works well, unlike the piece of crap Elite Suito it replaced which self destructed after 3 months (developed a horrendous bearing knock and the flywheel was wobbly from day one) also it was wonky with its resistance changes, glad to see the back of it.

Post edited at 18:46
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 webbo 14 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

You might find there is a shortage at the moment due to lockdown.

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 Hardonicus 14 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I've got an Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ trainer, which is pretty good for not too much money. Not too loud and fully smart. I've got some power tap pedals so not arsed about the power meter, although a couple of reviews suggest it is pretty accurate if calibrated.

Post edited at 18:58
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 MarkH55 14 Nov 2020
In reply to Hardonicus:

I used the cheapest Cycleops magnetic trainer over winter using the Swift ftp 12 week program.  It only gave me estimated power.  However, that's all you need, I came out of the winter fitter than I'd ever been in terms of road riding.  You don't need to spend a lot to get fit, boredom and motivation are the only limiting factors.  Second hand turbos go for £30-£40 on fleabay 

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 Martin Wood 15 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

My two-pennies worth. 

You don't give details of your purpose but for a lot of riders a good wheel-on trainer is fine for structured sessions.  

I used a <£250  fluid-drive trainer for many years. I wasn't bothered about measuring everything and can motivate myself without needing to be "plugged in". It was easy to set up/take down when/wherever but ruined whatever tyre I put on it. I bought cheap ones just for the "turbo-wheel". Rollers are another inexpensive/portable option if this is an issue - better for your core, too.

I bought an expensive >£500 direct-drive Wahoo Kickr in 2018. With the phone App I can measure everything I want - and much that I don't need. For example, I like the ease of the on-board read-outs and post-session analysis but I don't use its Smart connectivity. Because the unit is much sturdier I find it good for power efforts over 1000 watts. Its also heavier and thus not very portable, so it tends to stay set-up with a spare bike in the cellar.

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 druridge 15 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

This isn't an item of footwear then ?

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 GrahamD 15 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

What works for you will depend to a certain extent what sort of cyclist you are.  For me, a rolling trainer is fine (an old Elite one with power readout, but no connectivity).  I just put music on for motivation.   MrsD also has a rolling trainer by Tacx which does have connectivity and she loves using Zwift.

Neither of us are particularly strong and struggle to do a 10 mile TT in under 30 minutes.  Probably can't push more than 400W so the rolling trainer is perfectly stable enough.

One thing I would say is that the Turbo trainer is incredibly sweaty and you will have to think carefully about where you set it up.  The portability aspect might therefore be important.

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 robhorton 15 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

You don't actually *need* to plug the trainer into the computer to use Zwift etc - the other option is to get a speed sensor and ant+ dongle for the computer (which are both fairly inexpensive) which will allow Zwift to estimate your power from the speed.

I've got a basic magnetic trainer + speed sensor which I use with Zwift and find adequate for what I want. You do need either a smart trainer or power meter for the proper races but I find the structured workouts and group rides are plenty to keep me busy, although I'm not a massively keen cyclist.

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 wilkesley 15 Nov 2020
In reply to Sans-Plan:

I have had one of these for two years now and am very happy with it. I don't want to do "training", but use apps where you can follow a route on a map or video. Bkool and Kinomap are worth looking at if that's your interest. They both offer free trials.

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In reply to SamSimpson:

I bought a wheel-on fluid trainer at the start of British lock down, just when there was a threat of moving to something more restrictive (as in France). There really wasn't much available even then, so I had little choice. To be honest I didn't do much research, but just got what I could get hold of. Its a Kurt Kinetic "Rock and Roll" Smart and if I had the choice again, for the same money, I would probably buy the same thing. Its a "one-way" smart trainer so the load isn't controlled by an app, but by me by increasing cadence and changing gears. Power and cadence data is sent from the trainer to my laptop and The Sufferfest app though. I use a heart rate chest strap that I had already with an ANT dongle which sends its data independently to Sufferfest.

The trainer is big and bulky and not very portable, which is fine for my needs, but obviously won't be suitable for everybody. Its quiet for a wheel-on trainer and the rock and roll aspect does make the ride sensation feel very like being on the road. If I was interested (I can't decide if I am or not!) then its possible to swap out the roller and resistance unit to an electric one that will then make the trainer fully smart - 2 way.

As its not really a proper smart trainer, i have to change gears and try to hit and maintain the power targets set by Sufferfest (there's no ERG mode possible, which would force you to hit a certain power), which is both good and bad I think. It definitely gives a mental stimulus at higher power levels but when your eyeballs are popping it can be quite hard to maintain. I find this can be difficult for the intervals which are some way above FTP and which are more than 4-5 minutes long. Perhaps not using ERG mode makes the workouts both slightly easier and harder than if I was using ERG. Accuracy, as with all wheel-on trainers, isn't as good as a wheel-off trainer but plenty good enough for me for use with Sufferfest - I think its quoted as +/-3%, but you need to make sure the bike is set up consistently on the trainer and carry out a spin-down calibration regularly. I've not had a problem with tyre wear, though I do use a proper trainer tyre on a dedicated wheel (a cheap budget thing).

Post edited at 09:40
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In reply to SamSimpson:

Also, don't underestimate the mental side - maintaining interest, however you do it, is the biggest challenge. For me, using Sufferfest, good music, a ride sensation not a million miles away from reality all help. And short hard / intense workouts rather than just base type training. A lot of the workouts on Sufferfest can have you unable to do much more than fall off the bike and lie down after just an hour.

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 Hutson 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I've become a bit addicted to my Kickr Core (once I had overcome the fact that the bike I wanted to put on it has Campag and the Kickr Core is more compatible with Shimano unless you're prepared to do some extra work). I've never been remotely interested in a turbo trainer before but given recent events and the fact that any bicycle ride round where I live is populated by crap roads with psychotic drivers (making just jumping on the bike for an hour an unattractive prospect as it's not enough time to escape these) I changed my mind, especially when I found out how Zwift works.

I've been joining group rides on Zwift and chatting to people over Discord and really enjoying it. No way would I be motivated without this element. I'm not actually a huge fan of group rides in real life unless I know and trust everyone in the group really well (lots of people don't know how to ride safely in groups which I find stressful), but obviously that's not an issue in the virtual world.

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 hbeevers 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I tried a wheel on trainer that wasn't "smart" and thought the whole concept was terrible. I then tried a direct drive smart trainer hooked up to Zwift and immediately bought one. 

I'm doing the FTP builder programme on Zwift and occasional races. Really enjoying it and would recommend for lockdown/winter post work exercise.

I got a last in stock elite direto for £500 but would have got a wahoo kickr core if they were in stock. Connected to my pc over ant+ along with a heart rate strap. Also a fan.

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 Sans-Plan 16 Nov 2020
In reply to Graham Briffett:

I hear you on that one, I did Zwift ramp test as I thought my FTP was a little low on the original estimated number, I felt like i used to after riding a 10 back in the day a, a truly awful feeling and wasn’t right for days afterwards!

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 JamButty 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

If you don't know where to start I'd get a second hand basic turbo,  one where you connect your own wheel,  and is not connected to a computer.

Reason why is you may hate it.  Lots of people do and you'd be wasting a lot of money. 

I got one a few years ago for £15,  I use an old wheel and tyre with the metal spindle it came with and I do some of the youtube training videos.  Thats enough for me in foul weather as I'd much rather be outside. 

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In reply to SamSimpson:

Hi Sam, you don't say what you are going to use it for. I used to use a turbo trainer but only for structured interval training of up to about an hour. Any longer and I much preferred going out on the road, also for hill work and sprints I would find a quiet section of road and use that. As indicated by others you can get hot and sweat so I had a large floor fan on full pointed at me and also was set up in the garage with the doors open to get a breeze through.

My turbo was a basic non smart one so if price is an issue you don't need to go for one of the price set ups as long as you can motivate yourself! My motivation was racing related.

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 SamSimpson 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

Thanks for the advice. Has any one used the lifeline tt-02 fluid trainer? That has good reviews.

I think id want to use it for maintaining fitness this winter when the weather is bad. I always prefer to go climbing when the weather is good. So just an hour or so in the evening would be great. 

Unfortunately the high impact of running is causing me problems. So using this would be a good substitute. I will have to save my knees and ankles for work (Outdoor instructing in the hills)

Not looking for anything too fancy. Some of the prices of some of those trainers are too high... 

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 Webster 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

you dont need any of the wanky swanky stuff the others are on about for what you are after. i have the cheapest possible magnetic wheel trainer, cost about £50 full price from halfords and it does the job. its very loud and has a max resistance of less than 300 watts, so cant use it for power training, but if you just want to spin away for an hour or so in an evening to maintain general cardio then its more than enough.  get a big towel to stick underneath it, put it somewhere with good ventilation and stick a film or a boxset on netflix or whatever on your tablet/laptop and spin away.

for what its worth, i use mine for some structured spinning sessions too (such as pyramid intervals, russian steps) and i still feel like i am getting something out of it despite easily spinning out. your legs fatigue from leg speed alone and the lactic acid still builds up on the longer sprints!

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 Toby_W 16 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I have a good one that does not hook up to a computer, i’d suggest the extremes, either good winter clothes and mudguards or the full on gamed up pc thing.

Mines been great for bike fit but I rather rip waxing strips off my testicles than spend any stretch of time on it.

Funnily you can pick them up quite cheap second hand.

joking aside i’d agree with above and get one with a training hookup, make it fun and interesting.

Good luck

Toby

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 Reach>Talent 17 Nov 2020
In reply to SamSimpson:

I am waiting on delivery of an Elite Direto XR after trawling a lot of reviews, it us direct drive and has all the fancy stuff so may be more than you are looking for. 

I was warned to check if using a turbo would invalidate my bike warranty as apparently some manufacturers warranty agreements specifically prohibit the use of wheel on trainers because of an increased load on the rear triangle. This seemed more like it was an issue with carbon frames but may be worth checking up on.

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 GrahamD 17 Nov 2020
In reply to Reach>Talent:

I think the carbon frame on trainers has largely gone away.  I think pretty much all the major brands have now done the testing (I don't think it was ever really a concern, just that manufacturers hadn't tested them in that scenario. ).  Still worth reading up.

If I thought I'd be able to generate enough wattage to damage a frame, I'd be pretty chuffed, personally. 

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