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Turbo Trainer Basics

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Nov 2019
8:07am, 11 Nov 2019
1634 posts
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So I am fancying a turbo trainer, maybe. I don't have a clue what I should be looking at though.

What budget should I set?
What features should I have as essential/non-desirable?

Nov 2019
8:19am, 11 Nov 2019
21639 posts
  • 0
Good luck, I can't hack the boredom. If you can afford one of those systems which connects to a computer and you can virtually cycle round Milan or Madeira, maybe that will increase your chances. If I ever get back on mine, it will be after I've bought a book stand for my bars.
Nov 2019
8:29am, 11 Nov 2019
9081 posts
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I have one, get bored easy on it but it is a good work out when you cant get outside., I connect to Zwift and it makes it more "enjoyable"

I have this one, works fine for what I need

Nov 2019
8:57am, 11 Nov 2019
9438 posts
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I bought a cheap (£99) one last year, must admit I've not used it much. I bought a "fluid" one rather than a magnetic one as that allows the resistance to increase simply by changing gear on the bike - i.e. the faster the roller goes, the harder the effort gets.

It's a dumb turbo, so it's helpful for me at least to have a speed and cadence sensor (from my bike) in use at the same time so that my watch can record a notional distance / speed. If I didn't have those, all I'd have was the time recorded, and that wouldn't therefore give me any reflection of effort levels etc.

In an ideal world I'd have something smarter that would allow for a Zwift or similar experience, but for me the turbo is just for the times when I can't run.

Here's a good vid from GCN about buying different types -
Nov 2019
12:05pm, 11 Nov 2019
6838 posts
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DC Rainmaker has good comparisons with all the current 2019 model smart trainers.
Nov 2019
12:11pm, 11 Nov 2019
5243 posts
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Dai Bank
Can't help as I use rollers. Sorry.
Nov 2019
12:34pm, 11 Nov 2019
35185 posts
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If you go for a "dumb" turbo then using some sort of YouTube follow along workout can make it more effective and less boring. There are plenty of freebies out there (I've used CTXC sessions a lot in the past) or you can sign up for things like TrainerRoad etc which are a bit more professional but that means subscription fees. I never used the turbo enough to make that worthwhile.
Nov 2019
1:31pm, 11 Nov 2019
1742 posts
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The Tacx that Mandymoo listed is probably quite a decent buy but it's got quite a small flywheel (a heavy flywheel gives better 'road' feel - something in excess of 1.5kg for an on-wheel turbo and 4kg for direct drive). It's my second one, the tension lever on the first eventually failed after about 10 years - they last a long time.

As well as a decent flywheel, look out for one with a quick-release for the roller tension rather than one you tighten up to the wheel each time, it makes it much easier to re-set every time you use it.

For features, it really depends what you want - something to pedal along on for half and hour or in-depth power analysis and Zwift. My turbo is very basic but I have a powermeter, and a mini TV + DVD box sets to watch in the back room (plus a decent boredom threshold!)
Nov 2019
1:32pm, 11 Nov 2019
1743 posts
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Oops, I forgot to mention I also have a basic Tacx (managed to edit that out of my reply)

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About This Thread

Maintained by RunningRonnie
So I am fancying a turbo trainer, maybe. I don't have a clue what I should be looking at though...

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