Turbo trainers let you tailor your training goals effectively by letting you bring your riding indoors. You can mimic your outdoor session or sign up for one of the many online training platforms that will transform your idea of what indoor training can be. 

The tried and tested format of the humble trainer has changed dramatically with the introduction of the Smart Trainer. They still offer resistance as all trainers do, the major difference is the resistance on a Smart Trainer can be controlled by cycling apps such as Zwift, TrainerRoad, Wahoo RGT and Rouvy. 

This can make the whole experience more interactive; you can race your mates and simulate real-world courses and routes. But what trainer should you choose? There are options for all requirements and budgets. 

If you want the ultimate setup and have multiple riders, then you might consider one of the smart trainer bikes that are available. 

Smart Trainer Bikes

Tacx Bike

The New Tacx Neo Bike Plus builds on the reputation and performance of the first model and now truly brings the outdoor world indoors. The real benefit of the Tacx Neo Bike Plus is the simplicity, coupled with the realistic road feel, simulated gradients and virtual shifting.  

Tacx has improved the shifting which can be done by tapping them that changes gear with the precision and feel of electronic shifting. They can be programmed to work as Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo shifters ala the real world. 

There are five crank lengths to choose from highlighting the versatility of the bike, it can be used by numerous riders with a few adjustments. With accuracy for power, cadence and speed to within 1% and the ability to simulate different surfaces including gravel and cobblestones not forgetting the ability to simulate gradients up to 25%. 

Using the Tacx Training App you can ride your favourite courses, a subscription is required. 

Wahoo KICKR Bike V2 with WiFi

Replicating your setup to the smallest detail is essential to get a good fit and keep your sessions structured. If you are uncomfortable sitting on the bike, you will not see the benefits. Smart Bikes allow you to customise the fit by positioning the saddle height, bars etc. will let you focus on the session ahead. This allows different riders to utilise the Smart Bike to its full potential and keep each training session sharp. 

The Wahoo KICKR Bike comes with programmable virtual shifting, and the ability to customise the gear configuration. It can simulate gradients of +20% and –15% to give that real-world feel when it comes to climbing and descending. The built-in WiFi allows you to connect to your network for connection to any of the virtual platforms available.  

The KICKR Bike will let you link to Wahoo’s own training platform, RGT, and with other peripheral devices such as the Headwind or HR monitors. It will leave you no excuses not to hit those numbers. 

Smart Trainers

Tacx Neo 2t Smart Trainer

This great bundle gives you everything you need to get your pain cave up and running, just add the bike. The Tacx NEO 2T Smart Trainer is quieter than before but still one of their most powerful trainers. The bundle includes Motion Plates which simulate the real-world riding feel and a six-month trial of the Tacx Premium ABO software. 

You attach your bike by removing the rear wheel and you will need a cassette that matches the configuration on your bike. You then attach your bike to the direct drive unit as if you were fitting the rear wheel and off you go. 

Wahoo KICKR Core Smart Turbo Trainer

Wahoo’s latest addition to the KICKR lineup is the Core Smart Turbo Trainer. It delivers a realistic feel, and accurate data whilst remaining quiet and discreet thanks to the tested and proven flywheel technology. It is compatible with Zwift and numerous other online platforms.  

You will need a cassette that matches the configuration on your bike and then attach your bike as if you were replacing the rear wheel. The KICKR Core Smart Turbo Trainer is accurate to within a tolerance of 2% and can simulate gradients of up to 16%. It is compatible with the Wahoo eco-system that includes the Headwind, Element bike computers and the Climb. 


Tacx Galaxia Advanced Roller Trainer

The benefit of using rollers is simplicity. Layout your rollers and add your bike. In essence, this takes some practice and may require some balancing or support prop until you have this mount and dismount nailed. The Tacx Galaxia Advanced Rollers will provide a good core workout as you will use this to keep your balance and stay upright. The ‘real’ feel appeals to those who use rollers as does the ease of adding your bike but with no extra setup concerns. The Tacx Galaxia can accommodate bikes with wheel sizes between 26in and 29in. 

Wahoo KICKR ROLLR Smart Bike Roller

Wahoo has raised the bar with rollers. They have taken the humble rollers and turbo trainers and combined them to introduce the Wahoo KICKR ROLLR Smart Bike Roller. You have the convenience of putting your bike into the setup, attaching the front wheel to the safety clamp and the rear wheel sits on the mini rollers at the back. This section is adjustable so different riders and bike sizes can be accommodated. 

It offers controlled resistance when connected to an external power meter (not included), KICKR ROLLR provides controlled resistance in level, ERG and simulated modes. Without a connected power meter, KICKR ROLLR delivers consistent resistance and broadcasts speed metrics 

There are other considerations to make besides the budget, noise might be a factor if you live in a flat. Most trainers are considerably quieter, and you can always add a mat to help dampen the noise and protect your surface from sweat. 

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