The Pinkbike Guide to Indoor Cycling

Mar 26, 2020
by Sarah Moore  



You're stuck inside. You may have tried some inverted pedalling of your bike, but you've likely realized that it doesn't provide all that much resistance training. With so many other options for indoor cycling, it can hard to decide which is best for your needs. We're here to help with some key questions you should ask yourself when you're looking for a trainer, your different options, and a guide to getting started.





9 Key Questions:

1. Do you want a turbo trainer, rollers or a stationary bike?
2. Do you eventually forsee taking your trainer outdoors? Bringing it to a race to warm up on?
3. How much space do you have for your set-up in your house? Is storage a concern?
4. How comfortable are you with taking your rear wheel off and changing your cassette?
5. Do you have a road bike or city bike or are you using your mountain bike? Disc brakes? Thru axle?
6. Do you already have cadence sensor, speed sensor, heart rate monitor and/or power meter at home?
7. Is noise a concern where you live?
8. How self-motivated are you? Do you have a coach? Do you want to use a program like Zwift?
9. What's your budget?


Neko Mulally getting limber with it during the lift station warm up session.
Neko Mulally getting limber with it during the lift station warm up session in Lenzerheide last year.


Rollers:

There's a definite learning curve to riding on rollers so they aren't going to be for everyone. Once you get a hang of riding on them however, they're great for improving your pedal stroke and are the most similar option to riding a bike outdoors. They're also great because you don't have to worry about thru-axle or disc brake compatibility on them. You'll often see pro XC riders warming up on them before a race because you don't need to remove a wheel or secure the bike in a stand so it's easy jump straight into racing after warming up on them.

Rollers are usually cheaper than smart trainers and lighter, so they can be easier transport. You also have limited workout options with most of them since there's no hill climb simulation or resistance other than your gears. It's also pretty hard to get out of the saddle and simulate a standing effort. If you have rollers at home, it's great to pair them with a cadence meter to add in variety with workouts structured around cadence drills. There are also "Smart" rollers now available that have resistance control and can be connected to software such as Zwift for an immersive experience.

"Smart" means that a trainer is able to communicate wirelessly through Bluetooth or ANT+ with an app on your smart phone or computer. That app can also automatically adjust resistance on your trainer.


Pros

+ Less expensive
+ Help improve pedal stoke
+ Most similar to riding outdoors
+ Don't have to worry about bike compatibility
Cons

- Learning curve is steep to start riding them
- Hard to do power workouts on, less variety of workouts


Tacx Antares Rollers
• Can be retracted to 80 cm
• Conical rollers to ensure your bike remains in the middle
• Suitable for all bikes with a wheel diameter of 26 to 29 in
• Max footprint: 1350 x 470 mm (53 x 18.5 in)
• Weight: 17.0 lbs (7.7 kg)
• Price: $219 USD
Learn more here



Saris Aluminium Rollers
• Aluminum roller drums run silent and smooth.
• Fold-flat or stand on end for convenient storage.
• Improve balance, control and ability to ride a straight line.
• 16" wide wheel base fits just about any size of bike and allows plenty of room to move around.
• Maximum wheelbase 44.5" (axle to axle)
• Minimum wheelbase 37.5" (axle to axle)
• Price: $299 USD
Learn more here



Elite Arion Digital Smart Rollers
• Electronically controlled resistance rollers with wireless FE-C compatibility
• Compatible with third party apps such as Zwift or Trainer Road.
• Integrated step for easy mounting and dismounting.
• Electromagnetic unit that can handle up to 1100 watts at 20 mph
• Price: $451.99 USD
Learn more here
MRP Kreitler Alloy Roller
• 3 drum sizes
• Machined from aircraft-grade 6061 alloy
• Alloy end caps create more momentum in the rollers and an increased coasting effect
• ABEC-5 sealed cartridge bearings
• Price: $599.95 USD
Learn more here








Warm up before quals
Tracey Hannah in Vallnord in 2018.


Direct Drive Smart Turbo Trainers:

Direct drive smart turbo trainers connect with your favourite app and your computer using Bluetooth and/or ANT+, allowing you to get the most out of software like Zwift or TrainerRoad. Their power readings are super precise since your tire is no longer a factor, and their resistance level can be controlled by software. They're also a very stable platform when you want to stand up and push hard on the pedals.

That being said, they're also among the priciest of the options, and you will need a wall plug and power to use them so they're not a good option if you want a trainer that you could use to warm up at a race. You'll also need to remove your rear wheel every time you use your bike on one and you may also need to purchase and additional cassette for use on the trainer since not all models come with one.


Pros

+ Best integration with software like Zwift
+ Super precise power readings
+ Can be controlled by software
+ Stable for standing sprints and lots of watts
Cons

- Need a wall plug and power source
- Can't use to warm up at a race
- Need to remove your rear wheel to use
- Might need to purchase a cassette / thru-axle adapter
- Priciest option


Elite Suito
• ANT+ FE-C & Bluetooth interactive hometrainer
• Wider support base with pre-assembled legs
• Comes with a pre-installed Shimano 11-speed cassette
• Cadence is measured via sensorless technology
• Power output: 1900w
• Price: $799.00 USD
Learn more here





Wahoo Kickr
• Controlled resistance: Can automatically set your resistance via your favorite app or software
• 12x142 and 12x148 thru axle compatibility in addition to standard 130/135mm quick release.
• Ensures clearance for flat mount and disk brake-equipped bikes
• Supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections
• No front wheel block is necessary since you can adjust the height of the KICKR to match your wheel size
• Weight: 47 lb
• Price: $1,199.99 USD
Learn more here


Wahoo Kickr Core
• Controlled resistance: Can automatically set your resistance via your favorite app or software
• 12x142 and 12x148 thru axle compatibility in addition to standard 130/135mm quick release.
• Ensures clearance for flat mount and disk brake-equipped bikes
• Supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections
• Weight: 40 lb
• Price: $899.99 USD
Learn more here
Kinetic R1
• Uses Kinetic's Rock and Roll technology
• Connects to popular training software via ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth FTMS
• Compatible with 130 mm and 135 mm quick release hubs and 142 mm and 148 mm (Boost) thru axles
• Max resistance: 2000 watts
• Max slope: 20%
• Price: $665 USD
Learn more here


Xpedo APX Pro
• Electromagnetic resistance
• 5-degrees of side-to-side float
• Aluminum base with legs that spread to 30'' wide
• 68 decibels when you're holding 200-watts
• Max resistance: 2000 watts
• Price: $1,099 USD
Coming soon here


Tacx NEO 2T
• Wireless communication: ANT+ FE-C , Bluetooth Smart open
• No calibration required
• Max. power: 2200 Watt
• Max. incline: 25%
• Footprint: 575 × 750 mm (22.6 × 29.5 in)
• Weight: 21.5 kg (47.3 lbs)
• Price: $1,399 USD
Learn more here


Elite Drivo II
• ANT+ FE-C & Bluetooth interactive home trainer
• Automatically adjusts resistance and manages your training session
• Compatible both with road and MTB bikes, includes 142 x 12 mm thru-axle adapters.
• Measures power output with +/- 0.5% accuracy.
• Simulates slopes up to 24%
• Price: $1,199.99 USD
Learn more here
Saris H3
• Quiet electromagnetic resistance
• Measures speed, power, cadence with no external sensors
• Thru-axle compatible
• Connects to indoor cycling apps with dual ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS standards.
• Maximum power output: 2000 watts
• Weight: 47 lb. (21.3 kg).
• Price: $999.99 USD
Learn more here





Mr Hart on the warm up spin looking forward to first runs.
Danny Hart warming up in Lenzerheide, 2017.


Wheel-On Smart Trainers:

A wheel-on smart trainer can also connect to your smartphone or computer through ANT+ or Bluetooth and adjusts its resistance to suit a workout. It's stable and easy to use like a direct mount smart turbo trainer although the power measurement is slightly less precise because it isn't connected directly through the drivetrain. Some Friction or Resistance Trainers can be plugged in and controlled using a smartphone app and are Bluetooth compatible, but others simply create resistance with a mechanism that pushes against the tire.

You also may want to invest in a trainer tire if you choose a wheel on trainer since the resistance on the tire can wear your regular tires thin very quickly and trainer tires also help with dispersing heat and reducing noise. You'll also want to be careful about how the trainer mounts to your bike (and see if you need a thru axle adapter like this one) and ensure that it doesn't damage your frame.

Pros

+ Good integration with software like Zwift
+ Quite precise power readings
+ Can be controlled by software
+ Stable for standing sprints and lots of watts
Cons

- Can destroy your rear tire if not a trainer tire
- Need a wall plug and power source
- Can't use to warm up at a race
- Could damage your frame if mounted improperly
- Might need to purchase thru-axle adapter

Wahoo Kickr Snap
• Automatically sets your resistance via your favorite app or software.
• LED lights provide a visual confirmation that the SNAP is powered, connected and transmitting.
• Rear Wheel size: 650c RD / 26" MTB / 700c RD / 650b MTB / 29"
• Maximum Power Output: 1500 Watts
• Price: $499.99 USD
Learn more here
Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2 Trainer
• Fully compatible with ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth® FTMS communication standards.
• Large diameter roller for reduced tire wear
• Frame fits 22-inch to 29-inch wheels
• Ergonomic rubberized knobs and feet
• Price: $259.99 USD
Learn more here



Kinetic Road Machine Control
• Works with Kinetic Fit, Zwift and TrainerRoad on Bluetooth-connected smart phones, tablets and laptops.
• Controlled resistance to simulate terrain changes in workouts and on virtual courses
• Frame fits 22 inch to 29 inch wheels
• Folds flat
• Max resistance: 1800 watts
• ±3% accuracy
• Price: $349 USD
Learn more here
Tacx Flow
• A fully interactive Smart trainer simulating inclines up to 6%.
• A foldable frame for easy storage.
• Wheel-on design for easy setup and storage.
• Measures speed, power and cadence.
• Weight: 9.41 kg (20.7 lbs)
• Price: $369.99 USD
Learn more here




Elite Tuo
• Made with aluminum unit, steel frame and beechwood legs
• Wheel-on hometrainer with automatic resistance adjustment
• Elastogel roller, developed to limit friction noise and decrease tyre wear
• Smart interactive home trainer that interacts with any kind of apps, software, computers and devices
• Power output: 1250w
• Price: $499 USD
Learn more here







In the Trek pits is a whole fleet of Remedys lined up for the Athertons Grame Mudd and junior Kade Edwards.
Val di Sole pits in 2017 had this fleet lined up for the Athertons and Kade Edwards.


Classic Trainers:

These are what professional downhill athletes' mechanics most often lug to the start hut so that athletes can warm up before dropping in. Enough resistance to warm up with or get a good workout in, without being overly complicated and worrying about power numbers or needing electricity. Simply attach the trainer to your rear wheel (ideally with a trainer tire on it!) and workout based on feel. These are usually the most affordable version of a turbo trainer. Just make sure to check compatibility with your bike and make sure that you aren't putting a clamp on your carbon frame.


Pros

+ Inexpensive
+ Can be brought to a race easily to warm up
+ Stable, good for standing workouts
Cons

- No precise power numbers unless you have a power meter on your bike
- Difficult to integrate with software like Zwift
- Need to purchase a trainer tire
- Could damage your frame if mounted improperly
- Might need to purchase a thru-axle adapter


Blackburn Fluid
• Works with most bike wheel sizes from 26" x 1" TO 29" x 2.3"
• Rubber feet micro-adjust for extra stability on uneven surfaces
• Includes steel quick-release wheel skewer so that your original equipment does not get scratched
• No tension adjustment needed, the harder you ride, the harder it gets
• Max watts: 1000w
• Price: $275 USD
Learn more here
Tacx Blue Motion
• Basic trainer with magnetic brake
• Manual resistance control at your handlebar
• No wireless communication
• No mains voltage required
• Maximum resistance is 950 Watts
• Weight: 10.1 kg (22.3 lbs)
• Price: $243.19 USD
Learn more here


Saris Mag Trainer
• Magnetic resistance unit
• Five adjustable levels of resistance
• Foldable frame
• Trainer tire recommended
• Optional thru-axle adapter available for 142x12mm and 148x12mm bikes.
• Noise level at 20 mph is 72-76 decibels
• Price: $189.99 USD
Learn more here


Saris Fluid 2 Trainer
• Fluid resistance unit
• Self-cooling mechanisms including a fan design to keep the unit performing better, longer.
• Foldable frame with spring loaded, bolt-action lever.
• Trainer tire recommended
• 2" resistance unit roller allows for 650b, 700c, 26", 27" and 29" wheel sizes – up to a 2.0 tire.
• Noise level at 20 mph is 64-68 decibels
• Price: $299.99 USD
Learn more here


Blackburn Mag 1 Trainer
• Works with most bike wheel sizes from 26" x 1" to 29" x 2.3"
• Rubber feet micro-adjust for extra stability on uneven surfaces
• Includes steel quick-release wheel skewer
• Folds flat
• Weight: 14.8lb
• Price: $100 USD
Learn more here



Blackburn Mag 9 Trainer
• Nine levels of resistance
• Indexed remote allows you to change the trainer resistance while riding
• Includes steel quick release wheel skewer so that your original equipment does not get scratched
• Works with most bike wheel sizes from 26" x 1" to 29" x 2.3"
• 750 watts max resistance
• Price: $220 USD
Learn more here


Omnium Over-Drive
• Fork mount provides ample clearance for postmount and flatmount disc brake systems
• Included 9mm Quick-Release & 12×100mm, 15×100mm & 15×110mm Thru Axle fork adapters
• Includes heavy-duty travel bag for easy transport and storage
• Optional Sled Extension for bikes with longer wheelbase
• Weight: 14lb (6.35kg)
• Price: $429.99 USD
Learn more here







Emily Batty had her work cut out for her as she is recovering from a bad cold.
Emily Batty and Ellen Noble warming up at Sea Otter in 2019.


Stationary Bikes:
Stationary bikes have gained popularity outside of spin studios in the past couple years and you can now get versions with touch screens and live stream workouts from the comfort of your home. While they're the heaviest and most cumbersome option to have around the house, they're simple and easy to use. Plus, daily live classes are easily integrated and keep it fresh and interesting, albeit at a cost.


Pros

+ Simple design, easy to hop on
+ Live class options keep it interesting
+ Stable, good for standing workouts
+ Can swap on your pedals and saddle
Cons

- Difficult to store, heavy
- Most expensive option
- Not the same as riding your own bike


Stages StagesBike
• You can tune the StagesBike to precisely replicate the fit and feel of your favorite bike
• Standard road bars and saddle included and can be swapped for your personal favorite
• Electronic shift buttons and separate ‘sprint’ buttons
• Works with Zwift, Trainer Road, Sufferfest and others, with ANT and Bluetooth connectivity for all control modes.
• Two USB charging ports and an integrated tablet holder
• Price: $2,599 USD
Learn more here


Peloton Bike
• Daily live classes on integrated screen from Peloton's NYC studio directly into your home
• Displays your heart rate in-ride when paired with any ANT+ compatible heart rate monito
• Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 so most wireless Bluetooth headphones and speakers are compatible
• 4' x 2' footprint
• Price: $2,950 USD for basic package
Learn more here


WattBike Atom
• Magnetic resistance
• Third-party connectivity via ANT+ FEC/ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Control
• Power range: 0–2000w
• Weight: 97lbs (44kg)
• Price: $2,599 USD
Learn more here


NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
• Interactive coaching touch screen offering more than 12,000 on-demand streaming video workouts.
• Inertia-enhanced flywheel
• Auxiliary music port and Bluetooth smart receiver
• AutoBreeze workout fan automatically adjusts to match your intensity
• Price: $1999.99 USD
Learn more here



Stay Motivated:

Zwift:

Enter the world of Watopia with your cycling avatar and get virtual KOMs/QOMs, go on virtual rides with professional riders or your local shop, participate in races, follow training plans and even upload your own workouts. You're a player in a mountain bike video game. If you're on a smart trainer, you can get the resistance to adjust automatically based on a virtual course’s elevation changes or the workout's power numbers. However, Zwift can also calculate your estimated power output via data from speed and cadence sensors if you don't have a smart trainer.

You can follow your friends and engage with fellow riders through messages or giving them a congratulatory "Ride On" when you pass each other. If you have trouble motivating yourself, this is a good platform to develop a network to help coach you. There's a full guide on what hardware your computer and trainer need here. You can sign up for the free 7-day trial today and many smart trainers that you purchase will have a longer introductory free trial. After that it's USD $14.99/month.


TrainerRoad:

TrainerRoad has hundreds of structured, power-based interval workouts and training plans that you can use to target specific events. The TrainerRoad Plan Builder creates a custom plan for your goals with Base, Build, and Specialty phases designed for your targeted race or discipline. Learn more here. It's $19.95 USD a month or $189 if billed annually and you receive a full refund within the first 30 days if you’re not 100% satisfied.


Sufferfest:

Wahoo's Sufferfest division has released a suite of "All In" training plans designed to be completed indoors and to allow many kinds of athletes to maintain -- and improve -- their fitness during this period of social distancing. To make these plans accessible to the most athletes, The Sufferfest is offering new users a free month subscription through a discount code. To ensure that everyone has free access to these plans, new subscribers can use the promo code ALLINSUFPLAN to get 30 days free in addition to the standard 14-day free trial. Learn more here.


Other options:

RGT Cycling is offering their virtual cycling platform for free during the coronavirus. Workouts, organizing your own events and creating your own roads are now freely available for all (usually £12.99 / $14.99 per month)
• Tacx and Rouvy are other virtual training platforms
• Hire a coach to make you a workout program and provide extra accountability, TrainingPeaks is one of many options out there that connects coaches with athletes
• YouTube videos for spinning classes


Get Started:

Now, get your set-up dialled with these essentials and then get your sweat on.

1. Waterbottle or two depending on how long you'll be riding
2. Fan or an open window
3. Rubber mat or yoga mat for your sweat if you aren't on a hard surface
4. Towel or two to wipe your sweat and something to blow your nose with
5. Front Wheel Riser (a yoga block or something waterproof also works)
6. Entertainment (Pinkbike's YouTube channel, Netflix, Red Bull TV, a good podcast, music...) & headphones if you live with someone


Commencal s Myriam Nicole and Thibaut Daprela get stuck into their morning warm up.
Morning warm-up with Myriam Nicole and Thibault Daprela at the 2018 Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup.



166 Comments

  • 277 5
 or you could do what I do:
- wheelie your current bike from one end of the garage to the next (greatest 15' of the day)
- do couple small circles while cycling through the gears
- prop the bike against your wall and admire how good the bike looks with the dropper slammed, but then raise it up to halfway and wonder how it looks even better at that height.
- couple more wheelies
- couple in-place bunny hops
- make sure the bars looked lined up perpendicular with the front wheel
- put the bike back, lock garage and leave
- come back an hour later and do the same shit
  • 24 0
 I like it!
  • 9 0
 I have the same routine, really good time killer, not so good for fitness. Personally my favourite indoor plan...
  • 85 0
 Not to brag, but according to the dent in my garage door I can wheelie longer than the length of my garage.
  • 3 0
 I like this! ...and then switch to next bike and repeat.
  • 2 0
 LOL - nailed it.
  • 4 0
 Sprint all along the garage aisle of my condo. Turn back with a clumsy nose press. Along the aisle again, pumping flat ground. Another cheesy nose press at the end. Repeat.
  • 3 0
 Ride till I die, lord knows I stay high
  • 4 0
 Practice your nose picks, bonus points for smashing empty beer cans like a ‘80s bmx kid.
  • 2 0
 You should be a trainer bro you got vision
  • 2 0
 @SacAssassin: way to hit bottom!
  • 13 0
 Even if lockdown goes on for another 12 months I still won't be able to get my stem and tyre lined up perfectly...
  • 1 0
 Yep, I also use the time to get some technique training in the garage, it is great!
  • 45 5
 This is cool but I prefer vigorous masturbation.
  • 11 0
 Manualing?
  • 6 0
 you can do that while on a trainer...
  • 2 0
 Speaking truth to power.
  • 5 0
 @mattsavage: Got kicked out of my gym for trying that...
  • 4 0
 @T4THH: national park staff aren't too keen on it either
  • 4 0
 *According to a friend of mine
  • 23 1
 I was expecting a guide how to get high and turn on the best RedBull MTB movies...
  • 5 0
 That's my jam, except it's The Expanse instead of Redbull.
  • 1 0
 @eshew: I need more realism. Where to buy indoor crashes, bruises and sweaty clothes? Also indoor ticks, flat tires and suspension bottom outs are in the sight of interest.
  • 1 0
 @eshew: Doors and corners
  • 22 2
 Can I get an ebike trainer?
  • 5 5
 If you want a heavy bike that’s hard to store, needs to be plugged in, and takes playfulness out of your routine, this article has all you need.
  • 15 0
 FYI - I ride a Tacx NEO and it does not require you to plug it in for it to work. Pedalling alone powers it. There are additional road-feel functions available when it is plugged in to a wall/power source. Oh, it's also excellent and flawless with Zwift.
  • 1 2
 true, several of the Tacx units, both wheel on and off, dont require a power source.
  • 14 1
 I'm absolutely loving my Kickr Core + Zwift combo, I actually got it before all this mess to stay fit over the winter, figured money was better spent upgrading the engine than buying yet another carbon part. It's way more engaging to follow and works fine on my evil following, but for some reason the resistance only really works for mtb gearings when following an erg mode workout.
  • 7 0
 i bought a half wrecked road bike for $280 to sweat all over, it has dings in it from a crash but it's never going outside anyway. gearing is so much better for zwift than a road cassette.
  • 4 1
 make sure you turn the trainer responsiveness to 100% when freeriding. A lot of people don't know about this. It's in the setting and makes the resistance follow the road gradients. Without activating that, resistance is just the weight of the flywheel. If you knew all that already, then disregard me haha
  • 3 0
 @Rider-TJones: Dunno why you got downvoted? The trainer difficulty makes a massive difference and is worth playing with. Put it on 100% and a 16% gradient feels like a brick wall in your lowest gear. 0% and you breeze up it...
There seems to be a bit of misunderstanding in relation to trainer difficulty and I will say that you will ride at the same speed for a given wattage whatever the difficulty...
  • 1 0
 Same here. Kickr core + my enduro bike Whyte G170S. With ZWIFT, I found XCO complete training which I think will help me for urban DH races as my fitness level is quite bad in general now. Hopefully, mtb plans will be created for enduro and DH eventually, or maybe I should look for different app
  • 3 0
 @maroski: There's a couple of mtb specific training plans on there now although there is a heavy road focus.
I'm in the middle of the singletrack slayer plan which is an hour a day every day and hard... Can't remember what I did before but I did register some good gains to my fitness and I figure anything is better than nothing!
  • 2 0
 @slimboyjim: Best way to understand it is not as a difficulty setting, but as a gearing setting. You might feel like you are breezing up Alp if set to zero, but you are going like 1mph.
  • 2 0
 @Rider-TJones: Not sure what you mean by just flywheel. The slider has the effect of changing your cassette. So if you were going to climb Alp in the real world, you’d likely use a cassette that was appropriate. Which all means that it may feel easier, but you are going slower. And on the flats you’re going slower too.
  • 4 0
 @Chuckolicious: "Trainer Difficulty" is the adjustment I am referring to. The level that you put it on determines how much resistance the trainer portrays. If you're climbing a 15% gradient and have the trainer at 100%, then it will feel just like a 15% climb. You then use your shifters to find an appropriate gear, just as you would outside. If you have the trainer difficulty off, it will not reflect the gradient at all, meaning you could climb the virtual 15% climb in any gear you want because once the weight of the flywheel starts rotating, it's very easy to pedal (usually less than 100 watts to keep the flywheel moving) and your zwift avatar will move very slowly. When freeriding it's best to set it to 100% and then use your shifters just like you normally would. on a 14% grade at 100% you will definitely be in one of your easier climbing gears. That is the whole point of zwift when it comes to realistic road feel.
On the flip side, turn it to 0% when doing workouts because otherwise the program makes you maintain target wattage in unrealistic road conditions. If your workout has you doing 300 watts and you're climbing, no problem. 300 watts downhill, goodluck. Don't believe it? Put a power meter on a road bike and go try to MAINTAIN 300 watts downhill. To avoid this and maximize your workout, turn trainer resistance off and it basically makes your workout environment a flat road even though your avatar will still ride whatever route you select. Hopefully that all makes sense.
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious: when you are on the flats your trainer difficulty setting makes no difference, it's only there to replicate climbs and decents - and to what degree. i think we are all talking about the same thing just in different terminology, if you were to have infinite gearing it wouldn't make any difference how high your difficutly was set to, the advantage of turning it down is you can guarantee a high cadence and also benefit from not having to change gears so much and loose your momentum. i like to keep mine somewhat realisitc but have no interest in hammering on the pedals at 50rpm in the easiest gear up a steep climb.
  • 2 0
 @Rider-TJones: Good tip for sure. My family all share one Zwift account so we have to change weight/FTP every ride. Setting the Trainer Difficulty to 100% works well for me. But not for my son. He is 80lbs and FTP100. The gradient changes are too much if the Trainer Difficulty is too high. YMMV.
  • 9 1
 Personally, I enjoy Zwift racing on my Kickr Bike. It has the added benefit of ensuring I have enough strength to climb 3-4k on a ride and still handle all the downhills that follow. Being able to get 10 runs in when most others stop at 4-5 is worth it to me. Outside of the Wahoo Kickr Bike and Wattbike Atom, there is the Tacx Neo Bike and the Upcoming Stages smart bike. Granted they are more expensive than standard stationary bikes but for those of us who want to stay in shape and refuse to buy a road bike. . . .
  • 7 1
 Screw stationary. I took inspiration from all of the urban downhill races and created a track through the front yard with a hip jump across the ferns, plywood up the steps into the front door, over bench seat and dog crates, step down into the den (rug simulating off-camber turn), out the back door, slalom through the dog turds, manual practice through the garage, and back around.
  • 1 0
 Hmm, maybe I should have bought a house instead
  • 7 1
 I think people need to appreciate how dull turbo training is without a specific program, be that Zwift or TrainerRoad (or another). It's also VERY hard work. If you don't like the idea of that it is probably not worth the investment. For everyone else whack a pair of headphones in and sweat...

A summary of my experience with a cheap trainer and a mid price trainer -
1. Wheel on trainers won't do low cadence high power stuff very well - the wheel will slip.
2. Cheap trainers are noisy. If you live in a flat or with other people expect complaints!
3. A fan is your friend!
4. They do work and with commitment you'll get MUCH fitter.

I like my turbo and it fits my family life - Kids and work makes it hard to get out at the best of times! There's loads of information from a guy called dc rainmaker on all the different turbos and training kit around, and he's a wealth of knowledge...

Good luck everyone in these crazy times!
  • 12 0
 Amen to that. I've been using TrainerRoad this winter and would have given up were it not for the constant messages and advice as you work out. Plus, the structured workouts are MUCH more effective than the self-guided stuff I did in the past.

As a result I now have a bunch of fitness which is pointless now the races have been cancelled ;p
  • 3 0
 @boybiskit: I used to use TrainerRoad and it was very good. Moved to Zwift now as it seems to have copied / has similar workouts and plans, and I find it a bit more engaging with the screen and multiple carrots. Might be worth trying it if you fancy a change down the road...
What's the number of mtb specific plans on TR looking like now? Is there much on there?
  • 4 0
 @slimboyjim: They categorize the Off Road plans to three Cross Country disciplines, Short Track, Olympic, and Marathon, then they have a Cyclocross and Gravity plan. Then all of those disciplines have low, mid and high volume options.

A lot of good options to build some fitness.
  • 4 0
 @bruvar: Bruvar's got it! We just launched Plan Builder, which is an automated training plan builder that will build a plan for your specific goals. It'll trend your fitness through a season of racing toward a goal event, or just keep your fitness up if you don't have a particular goal event.

We also have Outside Workouts. You can send any workout in your calendar to your Garmin head unit, Garmin watch, or Wahoo head unit to do outside, so you're not stuck inside on a nice day (assuming it's safe and legal to do so).

And finally, we have something else coming soon that is going to help us all get faster in a cool new way. Wink
  • 2 0
 @leejonathan47: @bruvar:
Sounds good - I'll probably go back over once I've had my fill of Zwift. A bit of variety always helps and I like the sound of that Plan Builder... Thanks both!
  • 2 0
 I've also noticed that I've seen much greater improvements in fitness in a shorter amount of time following the structured training with TR than I would just riding outside. I've replaced some of the weekend rides (before current events) with outdoor ones over the winter to keep up on skills as well.

TR also has some great podcasts they're putting out that teach a lot about exercise science and physiology. I highly recommend checking those out. I listen to them during the longer training sessions. They're available to everyone without TR subscriptions too.
  • 5 0
 Backyard or garage trials on my dirt jumper is my desperation riding go to. riding along some 2x4s and 2x6s arranged in a zig zag pattern or arc can be challenging and fun. Plus it’s low risk. I’ve been doing it for years in the winter when there aren't other options
  • 7 0
 If anyone is new to indoor riding and would like to try TrainerRoad, shoot me a message, I have a couple free 1 month trials to give away.
  • 7 0
 You can actually use most direct drive trainers as a dumb trainer without the power, so you can use it to warm up at a race.
  • 2 1
 That's a good point... I hadn't thought of that. I'd still be worried about damaging such an expensive piece of machinery by bringing it out into the elements at races though so I wouldn't recommend it for warming up.
  • 2 0
 or just run a generator in the pits
  • 2 0
 As someone said earlier the Tacx Neo doesn't need power. You could use that and your mobile if you're serious about warm ups.
  • 1 0
 Mostly they're damn heavy, so I'm not sure you'd want to lug one around.
  • 1 0
 @mbl77: Sounds like a free upper body workout!
  • 1 0
 @Bob-Agg: same with the Tacx Bushido wheel on model.
  • 1 0
 The Tacx Neo is almost fully functional without power. You lose the road feel and downhill drive but other than that it self-powers because it has a generator built it in. It is a beast to lug around though.
  • 3 0
 I bought a Tunturi stationary bike on Craigslist for $25 a while back. Super heavy flywheel so the resistance is real steady. Probable worth $25 is scrap value but it is quality stuff and will probably last a hundred years.
  • 2 0
 it also seems more and more that finding a space inside that isn't "in the way" is definitely a challenge. Not to mention having to put it away all the time. it's bad enough finding a space in my garage to hang up my bikes.
  • 4 0
 I've only used trainers for rehab. They are a cruel and unusual punishment in by book. That being said, this is a great article.
  • 2 0
 If people are looking to do this on a budget, the Lifeline Fluid trainer from Chain Reaction Cycles is about as cheap as you can get. I also bought the lifeline sensor package. After 2 months use, I don't really have anything bad to say about it. It is dependant on speed to increase resistance, so on Zwift it tells me that I am pushing about 160W at 90rpm with a 32t chainring and in the 11 tooth sprocket on the rear (29er). Not great for you in shape users with 1x but it gives me a decent workout. I threw on an old AKA geax tire that i had and wear over 2 months of moderate use is not bad. The bigger the lugs the noisier it will be. Maxxis Ardents make it so that your trainer is loud enough to be bothersome with earbuds in. If you have an old 135mm qr bike, it's not a bad option.
  • 2 0
 I use this too, but with an old Peugeot road bike I bought for $100 on Craigslist. Has been awesome for the $90 I paid for the trainer
  • 1 0
 @mcaninch35: i've been looking for a cheap road bike as well. I think that's the best scenario.
  • 2 0
 That Kinetic Road Machine for $350 is a stupid good deal. Only $50 more than the Fluid 2, which has been the go-to basic trainer for so many people despite not being a smart trainer.
  • 1 0
 I just ordered the Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2 yesterday, it should arrive next week... I got lucky because almost all indoor trainers are sold out online.
  • 2 0
 @billreilly: Nice. I meant the Road Machine Control but the Smart 2 is also a stupid good deal at $50 less than the Fluid 2.
  • 2 0
 yeah the Road machine is a solid trainer
  • 2 1
 Good things to come out of a severe hand dislocation a few years ago:

1. A better appreciation of what life is like when your body doesn't work like most people's.
2. The knowledge that I can, indeed, cut a tomato with only one working hand (egg carton as holder thingy).
3. An absolute disdain for trainers. I will pedal outside, but when the cycling experience is distilled down to the spinning of sprockets, it's dreadful. F trainers. I'll skip rope, I'll turn into a lump, I'll entertain the possibility of chain-letter-IG-challenges...but I'm never getting on a stationary trainer again. They're horrendous.
  • 3 0
 Dislocated your HAND? Is that the same things as dislocating your wrist? Sounds brutal.....but funny how injuries make you appreciate how much a healthy body matter....

+1 on trainers
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I guess so, yeah. I tore my hand off my arm. At the wrist.
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: what the hell? How?
  • 1 0
 @beanandcheeseburrito: flexing to try and blow up a mosquito.
  • 1 0
 Bought this two seasons ago when I finally gave in to taking some crappy winter nights off. $105 They're higher quality than the pictures and seem to work exactly like they did when new. My 27.5 Nomad is too long and would be too loud but a 26 Giant Trance with some cross tires work great. www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Strength-and-Conditioning/27938/subcat.html?featuredproduct=30827817&featuredoption=55590141&kid=113194307315267&track=BingPLA&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=bingpla&utm_source=bingpla&countrycode=US&cid=273256&type=&targetid=pla-1100315649705&cid=273256&msclkid=e79e1e6ac9d110724a1b401798171f2e
  • 1 0
 For what it's worth, there are rollers that have a flywheel and can slide back and forth and provide a much more "natural" feeling and make standing on the pedal easier.

The Inside Ride E-Motion Rollers has that kind of movement integrated as well as the Elite Quick-motion.

That said, I still want to hang myself if I use a trainer for more than a warmup or warmdown. These days of confinement I am mostly practicing trackstanding in my terrasse. I wish I had a light trial bike and some easy things to train on but all I have is some furniture I don't want to break ha ha.
  • 1 0
 Why has no one made an actual game for smart trainers?
I'm being totally serious.
Not everyone is trying to become Chris Hoy, most people just want a fun workout with rewards. Why no zombie apocalypse stage, or GTA, or COD stages?
  • 1 0
 I think it is getting there. Zwift has put some steering controls in recently which imo need some refinement, but there's definitely progression.
However, the key market will always be those into the more serious side of training (I don't see many kids or there blowing money on a turbo rather than a ps4, etc) so I doubt we'll see games made for fun any time soon...
  • 1 0
 I bought a Tacx Flow a couple of years ago. My first went pop after only a month or two. It's replacement met a similar fate 18 months later. My brother had one too, with similar results. Same symptoms in all cases - a 2 watt 27 ohm surface mount resistor gets too hot and splits, leaving a totally dead turbo. I don't think that's the root cause though. On my second one, I replaced the blown resistor with a 3W equivalent. Powering it on resulted in lots of fizzing and sparking elsewhere on the board. Reliability may be better on newer models, but the early ones were certainly problematic.
  • 1 0
 My wife bought a Nordic Track s22i to help rehab from tibial osteotomy surgery on both legs. I haven't tried it but it seems pretty nice for what it is. Pick a trail and start riding. The bike tilts up and down with the terrain and you pedal along while watching a POV cam of the trail and rider in front of you. Climbs are hard and descents can be soft pedaled to recover. I'm still riding trails as long as i'm allowed but I will give in and try the indoor bike at some point.
  • 1 0
 Another stationary bike option is the Concept2 Bike-Erg. I think it's among one of the cheapest free-wheeling stationary bikes available (aka not a fixed wheel spin bike). Downside is they are noisey. If anyone know of any other cheap stationary bikes, please comment.
  • 1 0
 I’ve had a couple of classic trainers and I hated every minute spent on these things.

I now have a roller trainer and I am not looking back. Having the back wheel fixed in the trainer really ruins the feeling for me. On rollers, the bike is free to move under you and the feeling is very close to actual riding.

Rollers are cheap, they have a more realistic pedalling feeling, and they force you to concentrate on what you are doing, which helps making the time pass faster. I find that 30 minutes on rollers is nothing, while 30 minutes on a classic trainer seems like an eternity.
  • 1 0
 Been thinking about doing this for a while now and getting on the Zwift bandwagon as I've been off the bike for quit a while and gotten fat so not a better time to start I guess. Dusted the bike off a couple of months ago and went out for a ride thinking I'd be able to jump straight back in and destroyed myself and my legs on the first decent climb within about 25mins. Really ruined my confidence but I've got to do something to get my legs back under me and get that feeling back.
  • 2 0
 Guide to indoor cycling.
1) Set up your roller/Turbo/Smart Trainer/Spin Bike you got at a bankruptcy sale for £50. 2) Get on it. 3) Suffer. 4) Suffer. 5) Suffer.
  • 4 0
 We are still shipping trainer axles! Hit up The Robert Axle Project!
  • 3 1
 Trainer road is amazing if you want to beat all of the "I only ride outside" guys at your next race! I have a free month to give to someone if they want it.
  • 2 1
 Jump rope, some rubber bands and your choice of home workout video on YouTube is very effective and by far the cheapest option. The backyard pumptrack beats everything of course but not an option for most people.
  • 2 1
 And then there is this option:
youtu.be/bx_9Xm22e14
Pros:
free
turning project motivates you to keep pedaling
you aren't wasting your life on a non lathe powering trainer
Cons:
None
  • 1 1
 Unless you have Already all of the tools for 2K$ it is free( also free time to do so) otherwise not really, and is cheaper to buy ready to go solution
  • 1 1
 I use my trainer when I can't get out and ride .... that was in January, now it's riding season and I am riding at least three times a week, double days on weekends, mixing that with a little cross training (digging trails).

I hate it for all the urbanites and folks snowed in, maybe it's time to move?

#loveridinghighdesertnevada
  • 1 0
 Aldi trainer with and yoga mat plus slick tire from amazon. Less than 50. Put wife's bike on so all of us fit. Had to do a real slick because even the xc tires were deafening. Save trail preview videos for rides.
  • 2 0
 It is worth mentioning manual trainer, that became popular few years ago, dyi or purchase one; 30 min of manual and you will feel you back like deadlifting 2x your Bodyweight
  • 1 0
 I've been using the Feedback Sports Omnium for a couple of years, can't fault it, it's basic but it keeps me spinning, everything else on this list seems CHOPPER ( roadie ) specific.
  • 3 4
 if you're going to cycle indoors, a stationary bike does not have to be the more expensive version, in fact after doing some research it's probably THE CHEAPEST unless you already have half of the gear that it takes for the other set ups.. The only options posted here are expensive, why not show some cheaper options? The Schwinn IC-3 is $500 usd and works really well and uses a 40lb wheel set up that is comparable to the peleton. So that puts it as one of the CHEAPEST options.
  • 10 2
 I'm assuming most people on this website have at least one bike at home already... But fair enough, there are cheaper stationary bikes that are worth looking at if you don't already have a bike.
  • 3 0
 www.rgtcycling.com is free during COVID-19
  • 2 0
 I was just coming to say rgt is free I've not used it but reports are very good so my zwift has been cancelled
  • 1 0
 @kingdick: cheers!
  • 1 0
 Cool, I hadn't heard of that one. I'll add to the article - thank you!
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: Rouvy is free right now too.
  • 2 0
 I cant get over the thought of wearing out a drive train indoors. It pains me.
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore - Have you ever tried a RipRow? Not indoor cycling so much, but an incredible workout.
  • 1 0
 I thought I was going to see videos on how to nose bonk my coffee table.... instead it was the readers digest version of what roadie forums look like... thanks pink bike.
  • 1 0
 I'm looking at second hand Elite Muin trainers. anybody have experience of them or anything to watch out for. I'll be using my NS surge 135mm 11 speed Cheers
  • 1 0
 Yes I've got one, it works fine and is quiet and stable but as with all the other turbo trainers I have owned this one mostly sits in the way gathering dust, the difference with this one is that it was really expensive and is really heavy. I'm considering upgrading to a Watt Bike and not using that either.
  • 4 1
 zwift
  • 1 0
 I've been using my airdyne for LSD cardio. It's like riding uphill for an hour.
  • 2 1
 They are sooo boring. The last 10 years I have never exceeded 65min of indoor training.
  • 1 0
 30 years of trying and failing for me. Had full rollers, oil trainers, all manor of entertainment. Never could stomachs it. The two years ago got a Neo2 and Zwift. I’m so addicted now I also ride in the summer when it’s crappy out. Or even just because I miss it. Utter game changer for me.
  • 4 0
 @Chuckolicious: I had the same experience for years I would try to ride the trainer to stay for in the winter but I would make it two weeks into the winter before giving up due to boredom. However, two years ago I got TrainerRoad/Zwift and now I’m damn near addicted to the trainer. The structured intervals make time go by almost faster than when I ride outside and the various KOM and sprint challenges on Zwift give me just the extra motivation I need to dig just that little bit harder every time.

When I do get out on the trails these days (twice per week) it’s so much more enjoyable! I’ve always hated the climbs, but now I can get up all the climbs without much effort. It makes the downhills that much more enjoyable.
  • 1 0
 Hilarious. I literally just ordered a Kinetic 6400 and come here to find a "what's what" thread......
  • 1 0
 Golden cheetah is a good free alternative to the likes of zwift if you don't care about the social aspect of smart trainers.
  • 1 0
 for cardio in winter, crosscountry skiing. fresh outdoor activity, exercises both upper and lower body
  • 1 0
 "Super precise power readings"

Haha so nobody's used a smart trainer before?
  • 1 0
 How could you damage a frame using wheel-on trainer?
  • 1 0
 It depends on how it clamps to your frame / axle. You'll need to check the compatibility of the trainer with your bike (do you have a thru axle on your rear wheel for example?) and be careful about how much you tighten it in.
  • 1 0
 Many are made to cradle quick releases. That type could dig in hard in a couple spots when used on a bike with thru axles.
  • 1 0
 Wheel-On trainers also flex a decent amount with larger riders, and that flex can do some weird stuff to the frame. After owning multiple fluid trainers and rollers I wouldn't go back - direct direct or stationary bike from here on out. Quieter, stiffer, less to worry about.
  • 1 0
 I still Get out a bit every one and then . Ride bikes but in town
  • 1 0
 I’m doing hop bars, footjamms and 180 in my garden
  • 1 0
 Espresso (sp?) makes a solid interactive stationary bike as well!
  • 2 1
 @pinkbike: It is spring, time to ride outside.
  • 1 0
 just train bearskin in garage and manual on the front yard;
  • 1 0
 Grim Donut part 2 is all i need right now (cries in covid19)
  • 1 0
 Just go lift some weights
  • 1 0
 I would rather ride my “classic trainer “ than just admire my bike.
  • 1 0
 Out of stock Out of stock Out of stock Out of fucking stock
  • 3 3
 The Ham guide to indoor cycling:

Don't.
  • 3 3
 And for everyone else...go work on your local trails.
  • 4 0
 Great time for trimming.
  • 4 0
 Except Forestry Commission have told us all not to Frown
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: damn fun police always cock blocking ya.
  • 4 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: riding past my forest on the road bike today it seems if you own a dog the forests are open! If you own a bike expect hate a lot of HATE
  • 1 0
 @tomo12377: An advantage of living out on the Yorkshire Moors I have plenty of space to ride. It's all open moorland slog though, but it will do for now. I can see why the FC don't want a bunch of weird guys swinging mattocs around at a time like this. Someone might get the wrong idea.
  • 1 0
 Unless they are closed by local authorities
  • 1 0
 Mini bmx.
  • 1 0
 Zwift did this.
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