12 Best Turbo Trainers For Cycling Indoors

When it comes to indoors, it can be challenging to do it all year round. Instead of using spin bikes, many of us invest in a turbo trainer so we can ride our road bikes at home through the bad weather or rougher times of the year. Cycling doesn’t have to be a seasonal sport and it would be a shame to lose all that fitness from summer. Thankfully, there are many options from top notch smart spin bikes like Tacx Neo to super quiet smart turbo trainers like Wahoo Kicker Core to use indoors for cycling.

However, it can be challenging to find the best turbo trainer for your bike and budget. There are so many types on the market. You have direct drive, wheel on turbo trainers, smart trainers, and you need to know what you’re getting. Here in this article I tried and reviewed the top-notch indoor cycling turbo trainers. Plus, I added a turbo trainer buying guide after the list to you help you make an informed decision.

What is a Cycling Turbo Trainer?

A turbo trainer is a device that connects to the back wheel of your bike and lets you ride it stationary. This means you can ride indoors in the comfort of your own home. The trainer will create resistance, which will let you replicate going uphill, and you can completely customize a workout to suit your needs.

Why do we use Turbo trainers?

There are many reasons we use road and mountain bike trainers, and they are a massive benefit for anyone. I am a huge believer in training tools for your home, and a turbo trainer is perfect for so many. We no longer have to go down to the gym and participate in a generic class.

  • Get fitter
  • Improve your cycling
  • Exercise indoor using your own bike
  • For power testing
  • Customizing your own training
  • For bike fitting
  • Rehab and recovery
  • Weight loss

There are many reasons you might find yourself buying a turbo, and they will all be good reasons. As time goes on and turbo trainers become more popular, more and more cyclists are using them. No longer do we have to have an off season in winter or go out with seven pairs of gloves, and we can now train ready for the next season.

What do we look for in a Turbo Trainer?

It’s essential to understand what you are looking for when making your choice of the right turbo trainer for you. There are many types and variations, and having a clear understanding of what you’re going to get matters considerably. So what do we look for when reviewing a turbo trainer?

  • Design
    • Is it a wheel on or a direct drive, and does it have anything unique?
  • Connectivity
    • Can we get on to Zwift and other training applications, we need smart turbo trainers?
  • Resistance
    • What is the resistance system that the Turbo Trainer has?
  • Max Power Output
    • Essential for athletes and sprinters, what’s the max sprint
  • Unique Features
    • Is it super quiet? Does it have a rider block?

By looking at all these points, we can decide if the best turbo trainers for us. All the turbo trainers on this list come highly recommended by us, and you are going to be getting an excellent piece of kit for the money you will be spending. Let’s look at some turbo trainers, and we have priced them low to high for budget convenience.

Top 12 Bikes Turbo TrainersDriveResistance
Flexzion Indoor Bike Trainer StandWheel onManual Magnetic 300 Max
Sportneer Bike Turbo Trainer StandWheel onManual Magnetic 500 Max
Elite Tuo Indoor Cycling Turbo TrainerWheel onElectromagnetic 1300 Max
Lifeline Xplova Noza S Bike TurboDirect DriveElectromagnetic 2500 Max
Wahoo Kickr Snap Home Bike TrainerWheel onElectromagnetic1500 Max
Elite Suito-T Direct Drive TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 1900 Max
Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 2000 Max
Wahoo Kickr Core Cycling Bike TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 1800 Max
Elite Direto-XR T Indoor Cycling TurboDirect DriveElectromagnetic 3600 Max
Tacx Flux 2 Direct Drive Smart TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 2000 Max
Tacx Neo 2 Special Edition Turbo TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 2200 Max
Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Turbo TrainerDirect DriveElectromagnetic 2200 Max

Editor’s Choice

Bottom Line
Direct drive turbo Trainer
Tacx-Neo-2-Special-Edition-Smart-Trainer-review
Tacx Neo 2
Bike Turbo Trainer
Check Prices
Bottom Line
There is no way to beat the Tacx Neo 2 direct-drive with the technology that it includes. Its dynamic inertia and downhill simulation make every indoor cycling session as natural to outdoor cycling as possible. Its smart system is not only fun but it also helps you improve with enhanced pedal stroke analysis system that measures your power distribution and leg positioning. I strongly believe it’s the best smart trainer for Zwift.
wheel on turbo trainer
Wahoo-Kickr-Snap-wheel-on-trainer
Wahoo Snap
Bike Turbo Trainer
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Bottom Line
The Wahoo Snap Turbo Trainer is my best choice for wheel-on cycling trainers for many reasons. Designed for an enjoyable indoor cycling experience, the Wahoo indoor cycling trainer features a app-controlled resistance, a quiet mechanism and measures speed, distance, and power with the pretty good accuracy. Plus Wahoo uses elite athletes to ensure performance. Overall I think it’s the best wheel on smart trainer.

It’s a challenging call to make as all these trainers are excellent, especially the smart trainers. Though after trying a lot over trainers over the years while indoor cycling, I feel the one that gave me the best experience was the Tacx Neo 2t. It’s a solid, powerful machine, and you just feel so connected to it. I believe it is one of the best smart turbo trainers ever as far as direct trainers go. Wheel on trainers the Wahoo kickr snap is the best turbo trainer for indoor cycling and much better than any fluid trainers or other trainers on the market.


Article Overview: 12 Turbo Trainers, Buying Guide, and Conclusion

Flexzion Indoor Bike Trainer Stand

Flexzion-bike-trainer
Flexzion Indoor Bike Trainer Stand
  • Basic Wheel on design
  • No Connectivity
  • No Resistance System
  • Great value for money

So we’re starting with the most basic turbo trainer available here. The Flexzion is not anything too fancy, but it will do the job. It’s a very basic design, and unlike many turbo trainers, this will fold away and won’t take up much space. Getting the bike on is an easy affair and literally just pop it in, making sure you are using the correct skewer. A nice feature of the Fleexzion is it can accommodate larger tires.

It doesn’t have any connectivity, and to use applications like Zwift, you would need to be adding a variety of sensors to your bike. However, the experience still wouldn’t be amazing, in my opinion. It doesn’t have a resistance system, and you literally just have to use the bike’s gearing to change how hard you are working.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Easy to store

Cons

  • No Resistance System
  • Will be noisy

The Flexzion is the most basic turbo trainer you can get. It will work, and you will be able to train on it, but for a little extra, there’s a lot more on the market.


Sportneer Bike Turbo Trainer Stand

sportneer-bike-turbo-trainer
Sportneer Bike Turbo Trainer Stand
  • Basic Wheel on design
  • No Connectivity
  • Cable Resistance System
  • Great value for money

The Sportneer is a more advanced version of the Flexzion. The design is a very basic wheel on turbo trainer, for mountain bikes and road bikes and it is basic, folds away, and won’t take up any space. It’s not built for connectivity, as you can tell, and you will have to add sensors to be using an application like Zwift, etc.

Unlike the Flexzion, where you will need to use your gears to create resistance, this turbo trainer has a resistance controller. It has a cable coming from it you attach to your handlebars with a lever where you can control the magnetic eddy current slowing your wheel down. It’s more than the Flexzion but totally worth spending the extra if you have it, in my opinion.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Easy to store
  • Controllable resistance

Cons

  • No Resistance System
  • Will be noisy

I really like the Sportneer. It’s a simple wheel on turbo trainer with a basic resistance control at a great low price.


Elite Tuo Indoor Cycling Turbo Trainer

Elite-Tuo-Smart-Turbo-Trainer
Elite Tuo Indoor Cycling Turbo Trainer
  • Wheel on design
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • Great value for money

The Elite Tuo, in my opinion, is one of the best wheel on smart trainers on the market. Elite as a company makes some incredible trainers, and you will see a few on this list. The design is gorgeous. It’s sleek and straightforward, and the wood effect is classy. Taking the bike on and off is very simple and will only take a minute. It has all the connectivity you will ever need with ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors. Applications like Zwift are waiting for you ready to go.

The Elite Tuo has a power meter which is accurate with 5%, and on a wheel on turbo trainer, this is something to boast about. Its auto resistance system is going to challenge you on the climbs in Zwift, and as far as structured training sessions, it will be perfect. It’s relatively quiet to use but not as silent as a direct drive. But still there are things you can do to make your turbo trainer quieter. As far as value for money, you’re going to struggle to find a wheel on smart trainer that will step up to this.

Pros

  • Looks so classy
  • Good Size
  • Smart resistance

Cons

  • Nearly the same price as a direct drive trainer

The Elite Tuo is a great trainer. There’s no doubting that. Though for the price, you are getting close to direct drive territory, which would give you more value for money. Suppose you did want a wheel on smart trainer though it’s a great bit of kit.


Lifeline Xplova Noza S Bike Turbo

lifeline-indoor-cycling-turbo-trainer
Lifeline Xplova Noza S Bike Turbo
  • Direct Drive design
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 2500w Max
  • One of the most underrated trainers

Lifeline is a brand of the monster distributors Wiggle, and their products are epic. What they have done with this is fantastic. Although many people see Lifeline as a budget brand, this smart turbo trainer is so far from that. The design is simple, and it’s nice and smooth and honestly wouldn’t look at of place in a home training studio. It can connect to all your favorite applications and will be super fun on Zwift.

The auto resistance system on this smart trainer is incredible and changes very smoothly. One thing to mention about this indoor bike trainer is that it is very quiet. It’s is roughly around 55dB, and this amount the sound of a large fridge. On a soundproof mat would be ideal. It is accurate up to 2.5%, which is pretty good on a direct drive turbo trainer of this price. The maximum power is 2500w, and it can simulate up to an 18% incline. They are crazy good stats.

Pros

  • Direct Drive
  • Not too big
  • Smart resistance
  • Super quiet
  • Price

Cons

  • Not as accurate as other direct drive trainers
  • Looks pretty basic

Lifeline has made an excellent product here am I’m impressed. It has a place on the best turbo trainers list. As an entry level direct drive smart trainer, very little can top up to this quality.


Wahoo Kickr Snap Home Bike Trainer

Wahoo-Kickr-Snap-wheel-on-trainer
Wahoo Kickr Snap Home Bike Trainer
  • Wheel on design
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 1500w Max
  • High Quality

When we think of Wahoo, we think probably one of the highest sort after brands on the best turbo trainers market. They make incredible products at a reasonable price. The Snap is one of the most expensive wheel on trainers on the market, anything above this usually goes over to direct drive. It’s a lovely design and is one of the most stable wheel on smart trainers on the market. It has all the connectivity you will need from Bluetooth and Ant+.

The resistance system is excellent on this smart turbo trainer. It has a maximum output of 1500 watts and can replicate up to 12% climbs. These stats are not as impressive as the lifeline above, but this is because it is a wheel on, direct drives that are much more efficient. The Snap is of an extremely high quality, that’s why it costs what it does. It’s not cheap but for the best wheel on turbo on the market is a reasonable price. One thing that lets the Snap down and many Wahoo bike trainers is for Thru Axles, you will need an adapter kit which is about $30 and is an unfortunate cost.

Pros

  • Wheel on trainer
  • Wahoo Quality
  • Smart resistance
  • Super quiet

Cons

  • Not the cheapest
  • Thru Axle kit

The Wahoo Kickr Snap is a great trainer, and you’re paying for Wahoo Quality here. If you’re looking for the best wheel on trainer, this is probably it and that’s why it sits here on the best turbo trainers list.


Elite Suito-T Direct Drive Turbo Trainer

Elite-direct-drive-home-bike-trainer-review
Elite Suito-T Direct Drive Turbo Trainer
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 1900w Max
  • Free years Myelite Training

The Elite Suito-T is a direct drive smart turbo trainer that has been on the market for years and is excellent. Firstly look at the design. It’s beautiful and does look like an absolute treat. It has all the connectivity you will need from Bluetooth and ANT+. A machine like this was designed for smart training applications. Elite have included a year worth of MyElite, their training program for free, which is excellent, and a saving of $150.

The resistance system is great on this smart trainer. It has a max resistance of 1900 watts, is accurate up to 2.5%, and can replicate up to 15% incline. Although these may not seem like the most impressive stats, the Elite bike trainers are silky smooth, very quiet, super stable, and are such a pleasure to train on. That’s why we rate them so highly. It’s not the smallest trainer in the world but just works so dam well.

Pros

  • Amazing Direct Drive Trainer
  • Elite Smoothness
  • Smart resistance
  • Super Quiet
  • Looks amazing
  • Very stable
  • Excellent Price

Cons

  • Large in size

The Elite Suito-T is an incredible training machine. It’s stable, it’s quiet and amazing value for money.


Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer

Saris-H3-Direct-Drive-Smart-Trainer-review
Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 2000w Max
  • Riser Block included

Saris is a name that has been around turbo training for a while, but they haven’t made the impact that Tacx, Wahoo, and other brands have. This is a shame because the products are excellent and great for workouts include indoor cycling century rides. The Saris H3 is one of their most popular models and to look at is probably one of the best look direct drive smart turbo trainers on the market, to be fair. It’s got Bluetooth and ANT+ and is a perfect tool for Zwift or other online training platforms.

The resistance is smooth and does control automatically. It has a 2000 watt maximum capacity and is accurate up to 2%. It comes with a riser block and everything it needs including all parts to fit thru axles or quick release skewers. One thing to mention is it is very quiet, and at high intensity, they say roughly 56Dbs, the same as a dishwasher. It talks the talk, but it is very large, like the Elite Suito-T.

Pros

  • Amazing Direct Drive Trainer
  • Smart resistance
  • Super Quiet
  • Looks perfect
  • Excellent Price

Cons

  • Large Trainer

I have a lot of time for what Saris have done here with the H3. They have the fundamentals right, and it’s an excellent product in my opinion, and the price is just so low for such a good smart turbo trainer.


Wahoo Kickr Core Cycling Bike Trainer

Wahoo-Core-indoor-cycling-smart-turbo-trainer
Wahoo Kickr Core Cycling Bike Trainer
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 1800w Max
  • High Quality Trainer

The Wahoo Kickr Core is one of the most well known trainers on the market, and these are probably the most popular, and we can see why they are excellent. The first thing to mention is it’s compact and light, and easy to move around. It also looks fantastic, and when you’re riding and the rear flywheel is spinning is hypnotizing. The connectivity is Wahoos standard, and it is excellent, and it will connect to anything.

The Auto resistance is fantastic and smoothly shifts around the cassette with no problems at all. You will feel connected to this smart turbo trainer, and using the erg auto mode is seamless. It has 1800w maximum capacity, and it is accurate within 2%. The beauty of this Wahoo bike home trainer is the quality. It is quiet, it’s super smooth, and that’s what you want in a turbo trainer. The difference with this direct drive bike trainer compared to the Wahoo Kickr snap is that it comes with all adaptors for various bikes. Great option to ride indoor or train for your first indoor cycling race.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Smart resistance
  • Super Smooth
  • Looks impressive when in use
  • Good Price
  • Fairly small

Cons

  • Not as high as watt capacity as lower priced models

The Wahoo direct drive trainers are exceptional, and what makes them is not the statistics. It’s purely the quality.


Elite Direto-XR T Indoor Cycling Turbo

Elite-Direto-XR-T-Direct-Drive-Smart-Trainer-review
Elite Direto-XR T Indoor Cycling Turbo
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 3600w Max
  • High Quality Trainer

The Elite Direto-XR T is an absolute beast for HIIT and intensity indoor cycling workouts. When I was speaking about the other Elite on this list, this is its bigger brother, and it is an extreme direct drive turbo trainer. Firstly it looks is ready to chew up your bike right off the get go. It has a three leg design, and the bike sits on the top of this and offers a lot of structure for the user. It has everything to connect to applications but only a single Bluetooth channel.

The resistance is very direct on this, and it feels like you and your bike are part of the smart trainer. It’s solid in every sprint, and you just feel so connected when training. The maximum wattage it can produce is 3600w, and this is the highest I personally have ever seen and a ridiculous amount. It is accurate up to 1.5% and comes with that free year of myelite training application to record the data. It also comes with all the adapters to fit different bikes.

Pros

  • Mean Design
  • Smart resistance
  • You feel so connected
  • Accurate to 1.5%
  • 3600w Max Capacity
  • Riser Block included and All Adapters
  • Amazing value for money

Cons

  • Not the cheapest

I absolutely love this smart trainer, and out of all of them feel it just offers so much for the money you are spending. You will never outgrow this turbo.


Tacx Flux 2 Direct Drive Smart Trainer

Tacx-Flux-2-Direct-Drive-Smart-Bike-Trainer-review
Tacx Flux 2 Direct Drive Smart Trainer

Direct Drive
ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
Auto Resistance System
2000w Max

The legendary Tacx Flux 2, this turbo trainer when it first hit the stores, was all people could speak about, and I can see why it is an incredible machine. It looks stunning with the two blades sticking out the front for support. Although these look amazing, they do not fold up, so this takes a little more space up than other trainers. It can connect to all the applications like trainer road and Zwift.

The resistance system is excellent and feels great when riding on it. It is accurate up to 2.5%, has a maximum wattage of 2000w, and can simulate climbs up to 16%. It has all the adaptors you need but doesn’t have a riser block.

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Smart resistance
  • Accurate to 2.5%
  • 2000w Max Capacity
  • Includes all Adapters

Cons

  • Not the cheapest for spec
  • No riser block

The Tacx Flux 2 is great as far as smart trainers go and, in my opinion, one of the best all rounders on this list. Following these tips to make the most out of this cycling turbo trainer.


Tacx Neo 2 Special Edition Turbo Trainer

Tacx-Neo-2-Special-Edition-Smart-Trainer-review
Tacx Neo 2 Special Edition Turbo Trainer
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 2200w Max
  • Max Grade 25%
  • Rubble Setting, Riser Block

This list wouldn’t be complete without speaking about a Tacx. Tacx is a huge company and is one of the biggest when it comes to indoor training. The design of the Tacx Neo 2 is completely different from anything else and looks space age compared to other smart trainers. The turbo trainer is large and supported by two blades on either side. Although these look like they are just for show, they do a great job of distributing the vibrations and keeping the turbo nice and quiet. It has full connectivity, ready for all your favorite online applications.

The resistance is impressive on the Tacx Neo 2 virtual bike trainer. It’s silky smooth and offers a considerable amount of connection and power for the user. It has a maximum power capacity of 2200 watts which even pros can’t hit often. The accuracy is up to 1%, so you know the power is bang on correct when you do that FTP test. Alongside this, the maximum climb gradient it can simulate is a whopping 25%. A fantastic feature of the Tacx Neo 2 is the rumble, and if you’re on Zwift and go on a gravel section, it will simulate the rumble you would expect from being outdoor. It’s a fun feature and does add to the experience for sure. It also comes with all the adapters to fit different bikes. This direct drive cycling turbo trainer plus one of the turbo trainer desks I tested recently would make a great combination.

Pros

  • Space Age design
  • Smart resistance
  • Super Smooth and quiet
  • Accurate to 1%
  • Riser Block

Cons

  • The top end of the price of turbo trainers

The Tacx Neo 2 is an incredible machine and is such a good investment for your training. It’s isn’t cheap but totally worth every penny if you want to spend a lot of time training inside on direct drive trainers.


Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Turbo Trainer

Wahoo-KICKR-Smart-Turbo-Trainer-review
Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Turbo Trainer
  • Direct Drive
  • ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
  • Auto Resistance System
  • 2200w Max
  • Axis Side to side

Wahoo is one of the best brands on the market, and this is one of the highest rated smart turbo trainers that they produce. Let’s start with the design. Just by looking at you can tell it is an upgraded KICKR Core. The carry handle is new, and it comes with a few more features you need to know about that we will talk about later. The connectivity is the same, and it will link up to all the applications on the market.

The resistance system is fantastic, and it has also had an upgrade compared to the KICKR Core. We are now at a maximum wattage of 2000W and accuracy within 1%. They call this smart bike trainer the V5 this is because it has the ability to lean left and right by 5 degrees. It gives the user a lovely feel, and when in those standing climbs, you can lean the bike to add more power into the sprint. It’s an incredible feeling and feels much more dynamic than other turbo trainers that I have used before. The smart trainers ability is unbelievable, plus there are packages that come with the best cycling turbo trainer accessories.

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Smart resistance
  • 2200w Max
  • V5 Axis lean feature
  • Accurate to 1%

Cons

  • The top end of the price of turbo trainers

The Wahoo Kickr V5 is amazing an has so much to offer the user. I love the V5 feature and it is an incredible smart trainer.


Considerations Before Buying an Indoor Trainer

Indoor cycling is a fantastic sport and has become so popular in recent years. I can see why. It is an incredible way to build your fitness, make lots of new friends, challenge yourself, and even just to have something to be excited about every day. I started five years ago, and I haven’t looked back. Still to this day, I get excited to get on the trainer. It has come so far that now it is recognized as a sport, and cyclists compete during indoor cycling as a career.

With this significant increase in the market, many new bike trainers have become available and the fact many of us had to spend a lot of time at home recently they get snapped up fast. There are a lot of bike trainers available how do you go about getting the right one for you? In this article, we want to tell you all the considerations to make before buying an indoor bike trainer.

What kinds of indoor cycling trainers are there?

Bike trainers come in all different shapes and sizes, and it’s vital to get the right one for you because you don’t want to end up buying two because the first wasn’t right. The first question that you have to ask yourself is do you want a direct drive turbo trainer, wheel on bike trainer, or an exercise bike.

Wheel on Cycling Turbo Trainer

how to make indoor bike trainer quieter

Wheel on trainers are a trainer where you put the whole bike in with the rear wheel attached on to it. It means that while training indoors, you will have the entire bike in one piece in a device. Although this sounds like a great idea on the surface, it does have some drawbacks.

Pros

  • Easy to get in and out of the turbo trainer
  • Much cheaper than direct drive
  • No removing of the rear wheel
  • Easy to store and setup

Cons

  • Does require a bike
  • Nosier than direct drive
  • Wears through your tires, unless you have a trainer tire
  • Not many are interactive trainers
  • Resistance doesn’t tend to feel very smooth
  • Typically limited power function

A wheel on turbo trainer is cheap, and if you’re on a budget, they are ideal. For cycling a lot indoors, they are not perfect, but if you use the same bike to ride outdoors as well, it’s suitable for the odd session. With many of these for interactive apps, you can’t connect, and you would require speed and cadence sensors. These will typically come in two types, magnetic trainer and fluid trainer. Magnetic trainers use an eddy current to create resistance, and fluid trainers use fluid to generate the resistance. The magnetic resistance trainers in my opinion are the best.

Direct Drive Cycling Turbo Trainer

Rocker Plate

Direct Drive Trainers are where you take the rear wheel off the bike and then attach the bike to the trainer. These are the most high-tech turbo trainers on the market and an incredible bit of kit and are often known as a smart bike trainer.

Pros

  • Accurate power meter
  • It doesn’t put too much wear on your bike
  • Easy to store
  • Fairly Quiet

Cons

  • It can be pretty expensive
  • Does require a bike
  • Does take longer to attach a bike
  • You will typically need a spare cassette

The direct drive trainer is fantastic if you are an outdoor cyclist and looking to come indoors and do some serious riding. On a machine like this, you can race on Zwift, and it does give you so many options when it comes to training apps. They are much more expensive but much better than a traditional wheel on budget trainers.

Standard Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike

how to assemble spin bike

Then you have a standard exercise bike. In my opinion, this is an excellent way to go for indoor training. This is where you get a bike you can ride indoors, and it looks and feels like a bike and typically sports a large flywheel on the front or rear. These are the exercise bikes you will see in commercial facilities like spinning class.

Pros

  • Not very expensive
  • Quiet and Sturdy
  • Requires next to no maintenance

Cons

  • It takes up a lot of room
  • Does need assembly
  • It can be challenging to move around

Having an exercise bike is great. It does make life much easier than a Turbo trainer as there’s much less to do when getting ready for a session. You don’t have to put your bike on it every time, and the quality of workout you will get is incredible and smooth.

Interactive Exercise Indoor Cycling Bike

best spin bikes with screen

A smart interactive exercise bike like Tacx Neo is the same as an exercise bike, but you are able to connect it to applications, or they might run a specific application on them they are locked to. We’re talking about Peloton bikes, Echelon bikes, and Nordictrack indoor cycles. These are the smart trainers of the exercise bike world and probably the best indoor bike trainers on the market.

Pros

  • Entertaining
  • Amazing Experience
  • Very quiet
  • Added Community, riding with others

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Subscription Cost
  • Does take up space
  • Hard to move

A great example of an interactive exercise bike is the Peloton. It has a fantastic ride quality, you have a giant screen in front of you for interactive content, and you get to join a massive community of other riders. The bikes are so advanced that they can automatically change the resistance for you, they can incline and decline you as you ride, and even some come with a cooling fan on the front. If there’s one thing to keep you motivated, it is having the best technology.

Available Space For Trainer

You also need to think about the space you are going to have. If you live in an apartment and struggle for free space, then maybe a turbo trainer and a bike could be a better option. Always check the size of the bike trainer or set up that you plan to use to make sure it will fit in the space.

Your Budget For Turbo Trainer

The first thing we need to take into consideration before even looking at a bike trainer is your budget. You can spend as little as $100 on a turbo trainer all the way up to $3000 on a smart bike. Make sure you don’t go outside your budget, and although some finance options are very appealing, it’s worth doing the math to make sure you can afford it.

Subscriptions

If you buy a basic trainer, this isn’t typically something you will need to worry about, but there are online spin class subscription costs for high-end bikes like a Peloton. Usually, you can spend $39 a month extra on top of the price of the bike to get full access to all its features.

Indoor Cycling Clothing

Having the proper clothing will go such a long way when you first get an indoor trainer. It makes you much more comfortable, and you can just focus on getting fitter and having fun.

Here are my most recommended pieces of clothing to get you going. Padded Shorts, Breathable top, Clip-in Shoes and Pedals. Not only are these great to get you going indoors, but you can also use these pieces of clothing when riding outdoors.

Ventilation

Another very overlooked thing when it comes to an indoor bike setup is the ventilation. When you train indoors, it’s vital to have some airflow in the room. It helps so much. Whether you are on a smart trainer or a wheel on trainer, you’re going to some fresh oxygen to power those muscles and keep you cool.

Noise

When I first got a turbo trainer, I lived in a small semi-detached house and used the indoor bike a few times a week in the day and evening. I knew it wasn’t quiet, but I never knew how loud it was. I did have the neighbors ask me about the noise very politely, and I explained what it was, and they didn’t care anymore after I told them.

Unfortunately, not everyone has fantastic neighbors or people that live below you, and you do need to be considerate of the noise while cycling indoors or doing any other activity. I have already created a lit of tips to make your cycling turbo trainer quieter. But the best advice I can give is to go for a magnetic resistance exercise bike and get a nice thick cycling mat down for it to rest on, and then you will have a nice and quiet setup.

Max Wattage

When we talk about turbo trainers, we often speak about maximum power output, which is important to think about. A powerful rider will be able to produce 1000w+, and if you turbo can’t take that power, it isn’t going to like it. I personally would recommend a minimum of at least 1500w to make sure you don’t overcook your trainer.

Smart or Not Smart

A common question I am asked is what is a smart trainer? The difference between a smart and non smart trainer is literally if it has the ability to connect to applications such as Zwift. You will also hear the term ERG mode this is an ability the major of smart turbo trainers have where they can adjust the resistance for you. In my opinion, the best turbo trainers are smart turbo trainers. If you’re serious about your training you need a smart turbo trainer. Bluetooth connectivity is essential to get into the virtual world and it needs to be there for any training app.

Power accuracy

As cyclists, we all love to speak about data, and I believe when you’re training to become a better cyclist, you have to understand why you need to follow it. It’s essential to us if we are spending hours on the bike that we are making improvements.

Accurate data is essential for us to track properly and to bring improvements where needed. When they say it is up to 3% out, this is a lot. On 100w, that could be 103w or 97w. On 300w, it could be 309w or 291w, and that’s a big difference. If improving your cycling level is the goal, the better the data, the better you can track it and improve it. However, if you intend to use your own power-meter pedals for metrics, turbo trainer’s power accuracy shouldn’t be an issue.


How to set up your mountain bike and road bike on a turbo trainer for indoor cycling?

Indoor training is a fantastic tool to help you stay in shape, get fitter, and set you up for summer. When it comes to mountain bikes and road bikes, many people use them for training indoors too.

However, it’s not the most straightforward task to put an indoor setup together. I remember when I first got my first trainer and just didn’t have a clue how to get started, and it took me ages to get into the swing of indoor cycling.

In this article, we’re going to tell you how to avoid making any mistakes and get your bike trainers set up right the first time. Here’s our step by step guide on setting up your mountain bike or road bike for indoor cycling. Firstly let’s start with all the things you are going to need for your indoor training setup.

A road or mountain bike, turbo trainer (Smart Trainer if possible), tablet, laptop, or any other smart device with screen, a cooling fan and cleaning products.

Step one: Clean where you setup the turbo trainer

This is such an important thing you need to do before you start even thinking about indoor cycling. Where you plan to train, you need to clean the area up and make sure anything unnecessary is out of the way and that there’s nothing there to give you an excuse to get off the bike.

Then once your area is clean, you will want to clean your bike. This is essential for making sure your setup is quiet and works as well as it can. Wash your bike, thoroughly degrease your gearing, and then lightly reoil it with some high-quality dry lube. This is vital and will make such a difference as it will keep the area clean and stop old oil and dirt from the bike getting indoors.

Step Two: Attach the bike to the trainer

Now you’re going to need to set up your turbo trainer if it isn’t already. Follow the manufactures instructions and make sure that everything is tight and in the correct place. Then you will need to attach the bike. It might be a case of removing the rear wheel and then placing it on the trainer, or if you have a wheel on trainer, just putting it straight in. I will explain for each type of trainer what you need to do.

With direct drive trainers, you will either need to remove the cassette from the bike and put it on the turbo trainer or buy another cassette to put on to the turbo. Then remove the rear wheel and pop the bike in. If your bike has hydraulic disc brakes, you are going to want to put a divider in the brake to stop the pistons resetting, folded up paper would even work. A direct drive trainer might feel like hard work to set up, but they are much better than a wheel-on trainer.

If you have a wheel on the bike trainer, then you will just have to put the bike in and tighten it up on the skewer, which goes through the rear axle. If you want to prolong the life of your rear tire, you might want to consider using a turbo trainer tire. I would highly recommend this, especially with a mountain bike tire. Basic wheel on trainers are cheaper, but you can wear your bike more than a direct drive trainer.

One thing you have to be very cautious of is the skewers and thru-axles. If you have quick-release skewers, then these will need swapping out for turbo trainer skewers. If you have a thru-axle, you might need a special attachment to convert it. Once it is attached, make sure everything is tight, and the bike trainer setup isn’t making any strange noises when you give it a test. If you are using a road bike, then you are not going to have to worry about the suspension, but if you are using a mountain bike, you might want to lock the front and rear suspension and make sure the tire on the front wheel has plenty of air.

Step Three: Attach your Accessories

Now it is time to start bringing all the accessories together, ready for you to start training. These are some top turbo trainer accessories that I believe every indoor trainer should have;

An indoor cycling turbo trainer table, a heart rate monitor, a fan, a TV or tablet, a sweat towel, a sweat catcher, and a riser block.

So get everything attached, making sure that it is in the right place and will not get in the way anywhere. Set your fan up in front of you so it will blow air across your face and your body, as it will give you the most benefit there.

Step Four: Connect it all together

Now it’s time to connect it all together. This step is aimed at anyone who has a smart trainer. A smart trainer is a turbo trainer which is able to connect to applications, typically via Bluetooth. The first thing you will need to do is download the application you plan to use to the device you plan to use it on.

I would highly recommend Zwift as it is an excellent platform and by far the most popular on the market. It does cost about $18 a month but is entirely worth it with all the workouts, online racing, testing tools, and everything else that it has to offer. Load up the application, and turn on the turbo trainer alongside that. It will automatically ask if you would like to connect to the turbo trainer and any accessories such as heart rate monitors. Hit connect, and it’s all good to go.

Step Five: Start Riding Indoors

At this point, you should be ready to go and start riding indoors. It will take some time to get used to riding indoors. We recommend having food and water on hand and just taking it easy the first session or two. The most important thing to do is have fun and enjoy the ride.

Conclusion

When it comes to getting the right turbo trainer for you, take your time and if they have them in use at a store, go and try one. If you buy a cheap one and end up regretting it and buying again later at a later date, it ends up costing a lot more. What is the best turbo trainer? The bike trainer that suits your indoor cycling.

If you have a bike to spare for indoor cycling, I recommend a direct-drive trainer like Tacx Neo 2 but if you have to remove the bike from the trainer everyday, it’s probably better to stick with a wheel on trainer. Or buy a magnetic resistance spin bike and avoid the assembly, extra maintenance and cleaning.

The last thing to mention is that when you get an indoor trainer, it is going to be a lot of fun and also very challenging. Enjoy every ride and keep focusing on your goals, and in time everything will fall into place. Getting the correct setup will make indoor training not feel like a chore but a pleasure.

Which is better, wheel on or direct drive?

All day long, the direct drive is just so much better than the wheel on. The experience is just much better. It’s quieter, you feel much more connected, it’s better for your bike, and you will enjoy your training more in the long run.best turbo trainers for indoor cycling review plus comparison

Do I need to worry about my rear wheel on a wheel on trainer?

You are going to be wearing the bearings and the tire, and that’s why I will always recommend a second hand wheel to put in instead. It’s not going to harm it, but it is better to save good wheels for the road.use an indoor bike trainer tire

How long do sophisticated turbo trainers last?

Magnetic turbo trainers should last you years, and they will provide you with many seasons of indoor cycling. A smart trainer is not a fragile bit of kit, and it should be ready for anything you are going to give it.Zwift indoor cycling application

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