Reviewing The Best Virtual Turbo Trainers
||TacX Satori Smart Trainer||950 watt max braking, ANT+ / Bluetooth connection, 1.6KG flywheel||High-End||Learn More|
||Elite Novo Force||Use almost any bike, Elastogel to reduce noise, 5 resistance levels||Affordable||Learn More|
||Kinetic Road Machine 2||Fluid technology for a quiet ride, strong & stable frame, 80 cooling pins||High-End||Learn More|
My name is Alex and welcome to my review site. Here you will find reviews and write-ups on different types of cycling trainers and rollers.
I like to cycle everyday, and sometimes I even end up cycling twice a day. I started off riding my bike as a means to an end. I began riding my bike to work on a daily commute- it wasn’t far but it was far enough for me to get a decent workout.
Over a short period of time, I noticed I had not only drastically improved my stamina but I had also lost a good amount of weight. I had cut down the fat to my whole body which was very noticeable. From that point on, I decided I was going to make cycling. a daily ritual, instead of just travelling to work and back. This is the point where I became a regular cyclist.
I bought a new, high quality bike which was also battery powered – often referred to as an E-Bike. If you wish you can check out some very good ones at this site that reviews electronic bikes. I got an activity tracker, electronic scale and became very passionate about cycling.
When you are an enthusiastic cyclist like myself, then cycling will soon become more than a habit – almost a ritual. When this happens, you never want to miss a work out.
Living in The United Kingdom, you are never guaranteed to have amazing weather (whatever time of year!). Sure we have some warm days in the summer, but equally it can rain. During the autumn/winter months, you are almost guaranteed rain, wind and snow.
Bad weather conditions can not only put your mood off from cycling on the roads, but it can also be quite dangerous to do so. With reduced visibility, motorists as well as the weather can play a part in an accident.
It is for this very reason I believe turbo trainers are a must-have for any serious or semi-serious cyclist.
What Are Turbo Trainers / Bike Trainers ?
Turbo trainers – also known as bike trainers are clever devices which allow you to train on your bike – indoors. This means that you no longer have to rely on the weather to schedule your workouts. You can just as easily train in your living room, kitchen or garage on your bike.
A turbo trainer is like a tripod/stand for your bike to sit on. It attaches in the middle of the rear wheel of your bike which elevates it a little bit off the ground. The wheel itself is rested against a resistance unit, which depending on the trainer you opt for can toggle the resistance.
The front wheel is sat on a type of stand that will keep it upright
With many types of turbo trainers, you simply attach your rear wheel onto the trainer and front wheel on a stand which helps in keeping the bike stable. For the cheaper air trainers, this is it. For the higher quality options, you also have the option of attaching a resistance control on the handle bars of your bike and some of the higher end trainers allow you to plug in to a PC or even a TV so you can view a virtual reality setting so you feel like you are riding your bike on location.
This is very interesting as when you ride up hill in the video, your trainer will increase its resistance automatically to give you that real feel.
Depending on the model you go for, a turbo trainer will offer a good amount of resistance and stability.
There are three main types of turbo trainers available on the market; air, magnetic and fluid.
Types Of Turbo Trainers
The cheapest option when it comes to turbo trainers. The resistance is is generated by fan / wind. These trainers are cheap for a reason, they provide little value for money.
They are noisy and not very fluid. The adjustability is minimal – you have no way of increasing or decreasing the resistance on the trainer itself, and rely on the gears on your bike for this. The air resistance trainers are almost extinct now, but you may be (un)lucky? enough to find one.
You do not get any feedback in terms of your performance. If you are not going to use the trainer very often, it may even end up in the shed or loft after a few uses, then this would be your best option purely because it is cheap. On the other hand, even for infrequent users, I would recommend magnetic trainers.
The magnetic trainers come in at an affordable to mid-range price point.
The resistance is created from a metal plate which spins inside the magnetic field. This creates the resistance, most magnetic trainers come with a control which you can mount on to your bike handle bars where you can adjust the intensity at the flick of a thumb. You can also control resistance using the gears on your bike in conjunction.
Magnetic trainers otherwise known as “mag trainers” also allow you to do interval training using the resistance adjuster, this is great for mimicking hill training and HIIT (high intensity interval training).
If you have a little more to spend, then an electro-magnetic is also a very good option. These work in much the same way as the magnetic trainer, only the resistance is created by an electro magnetic force; this ultimately gives you more control over the intensity at which you would workout.
Magnetic trainers are more quiet than the air trainers and are the more popular option.
The fluid resistance trainers offer a ride which is much smoother and quieter than both the air and magnetic trainers. While the fluid trainers do come in at a higher price point, they are most definitely worth the extra expense.
Fluid trainers produce resistance using a propeller (or impeller) which spins inside a chamber of oil-like fluid. To change the resistance, you simply change the gears on your bike and the trainer will give you a smooth transition as if you were out on the road riding.
Some fluid trainers also have a resistance setting which you can mount on your handle bars. This can give you the added benefit of greater choice of intensity.
Above all, fluid trainers are much more quiet than the air and even the magnetic trainers because of the nature of the technology they employ.
Fluid trainers have a visible cooling fan module outside of the chamber, this is a sure way of picking them out at a glance.
Another benefit you get from the fluid trainer is that you get progressive resistance to your workouts. The faster your rear wheel turns, the more resistance you get. This can be controlled by the gears on your bike.
Some fluid trainers also come with an adjustable resistance unit so you can do interval workouts.
The interactive trainer uses a computer controlled resistance unit which then hooks up to your computer. The fact that the resistance is electronically controlled by your PC gives you the ultimate in fine tuning your workouts.
You can then connect the computer to your TV. This type of trainer is very high-tech when it comes to human-computer interaction.
The trainer will log your workouts so you can monitor your progress. The training you can do with an interactive trainer can be incredibly specific and bespoke custom made workouts if you are training for a particular event.
One of the best features of an interactive trainer is the fact that you can workout to virtual courses. So you can download courses and workout in front of your TV as if you are actually on the road.
With the video courses, your workouts can be from the roads of a mountain to the streets of Italy, it really does get very cool! When you come to riding up hill on a mountain in the video, the trainer will automatically adjust its resistance to match the video so it is a very good interactive simulation.
It gets better! You could even join or create a group (depending on the company where your trainer comes from) where the group can have a race – all on location and all virtual reality. It will actually feel like you are racing.
Interactive trainers are the best in the market – they are also more expensive understandably, but what a way to change how you workout at home!
Other Accessories To Consider
Here are a few extra things which would go well with the trainer – its just some things worth keeping in mind;
Front Wheel Block/Rest/Stand
Whether you call it a block, a rest or a stand, it would be highly advisable for you to get one of these for your trainer.
Your trainer will lift your rear wheel off the ground by a few inches. Without a front stand, your bike will be lower on the front and this can feel a little weird. The stand lifts your front wheel a few inches off the ground as well and this does make a difference to your workout experience.
Besides levelling off your bike, the stand also helps keep the bike stable than if you had no support on the front. Another good reason to look at a block for your front wheel.
Turbo Trainer Mat
A mat is a must-have if you live in a flat or on the upper floor of a building where there are people living under you.
The mat absorbs the vibrations and the sound from your trainer/bike. While it doesn’t completely mute the noise or vibration; it does lessen it to a good degree.
The mat will also help in keeping your floor clean, not only from the collection of goods on the wheels but also your sweat while you workout.