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Thread: Cycle trainer for the home - advice required please

  1. #1
    Master dejjl's Avatar
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    Cycle trainer for the home - advice required please

    I'm looking to use my road bike at home for fitness purposes when I can't get out. Can anyone recommend a decent home trainer for amateur use? I've noticed that some suspend the back wheel off the floor whilst others operate on rollers.

    Thanks in advance, David

  2. #2
    Master mrwozza70's Avatar
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    Hi David... I would highly recommend a Kickr for a wheel off or Kickr Snap for a wheel on trainer. Both have Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and are Smart Trainers. Therefore you need a Phone Tablet or laptop to get the best out of them.

    If you really like Indoor training and want to take.a step into virtual training world's then these are perfect for Zwift.

    If you want something simpler any if the Elite range are pretty decent. And unless you are confident or think you will like learning to be... then rollers are probably quite scary. They are great for cadence training, warm up and warm down kit that you can throw in a car boot etc. But most don't have resistance and most are not "Smart". I know there are some rollers that are both smart and/or with resistance but not heard if they are as good as more rigid wheel in / wheel off trainers.

    Happy to chat if you have some particular models in mind.

  3. #3
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    what's your budget? People like Tacx do a range. The latest ones don't use your rear wheel, there is a cassette on the back and you just drop the bike on the trainer and put the chain on the cassette.Think these can be linked to a garmin or platform like strava. Rollers are ok for warming up on pre-track riding but the wheel off ones are the way fwd.

  4. #4
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    PM sent.
    Last edited by magirus; 7th December 2018 at 16:16.

  5. #5
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    I'd recommend the CycleOps Fluid 2 turbo trainer if you don't want any Smart functions. It has the best road-like feel of any I've tried. Generally avoid magnetic resistance units & go for fluid.

  6. #6
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Without sounding bias (as I am selling a MTB on SC) personally having had everything from Rollers to Wahoo Kicker and every fan, sweat net the lot there is nothing more revolting and boring than indoors sessions so I revert to using a MTB in winter and have fun sessions off road to keep my legs on, cardio up and improve my handling plus do some weights and get more diversity in with runs and kettlebells.
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  7. #7
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    I have a Kinetic Road Machine trainer. I use it with Strava. Definitely look into Strava or a similar virtual world cycling platform; it makes it a lot more interesting.

  8. #8
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    My trainer is the BKool. From memory, I paid about £350 from Wiggle, and I am very happy with the variety of courses when connected to my laptop.

  9. #9
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    Direct drive are a lot better than the trainers you put the rear wheel on as you donít need a spare wheel with a turbo trainer tyre and they donít slip. Iíve got a Tacx which donít have a great reputation for reliability, Wahoo seem to have a good reputation. Youíll probably want to subscribe to Zwift to make it more endurable.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100thmonkey View Post
    Without sounding bias (as I am selling a MTB on SC) personally having had everything from Rollers to Wahoo Kicker and every fan, sweat net the lot there is nothing more revolting and boring than indoors sessions so I revert to using a MTB in winter and have fun sessions off road to keep my legs on, cardio up and improve my handling plus do some weights and get more diversity in with runs and kettlebells.
    I'd generally agree with you but not everyone likes cycling down dark country roads at this time of year! Turbos are definitely more convenient. Saying that, I don't own one as I'm happy to do as you say and shred those trails!

  11. #11
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    I think a few extra details re requirements might help...

    - budget?
    - what are you looking for training-wise, i.e it could be looking to do a few workouts a week to gain/maintain fitness through to smashing yourself to bits most days a week (guilty as charged!). Or somewhere in between.
    - are you looking just to sit on the bike and pedal (dull, hard to sustain though some can...) or use apps such as Zwift to do virtual world cycling, fulgaz to emulate real world rides or Sufferfest to hurt yourself a lot (guess which one I use...)
    - part and parcel of the above, are you looking for a basic or smart trainer? With the former you will have a basic resistance setting on the trainer itself then you'll use the gears on the bike to change the actual resistance while riding, with latter the trainer will set the resistance just as if you were riding on the road, you use the gears on the bike as you would on the road.

    Re the types of trainer:

    Rollers: you literally ride your bike with wheels on rollers, takes some learning and concentration when riding.
    Wheel on: You clamp the real real onto the trainer. You will need a special trainer tyre otherwise your tyre will be shredded by the trainer, so effectively assuming you only have one bike you'll need a spare wheel with a trainer tyre on it.
    Wheel off: The trainer has its own cassette and you remove your rear wheel and fit the bike to the trainer using its cassette.

    Personally I found all of the above a pain so bought a Wattbike Atom for big bucks which I love (not everybody does).

    If you are interested, I have a Tacx Booster turbo (basic trainer capable of very high resistances), together with a cheapo Tesco bike with trainer tyre fitted you can have for £150 for the pair if you can collect from Reading. The bike has a Tacx cadence/speed sensor fitted so you can use it in a semi-smart way with Zwift if you want, you set it the resistance to level 2 and Zwift works out virtual power from your cadence/speed.
    Last edited by SimonH; 7th December 2018 at 23:21.

  12. #12
    Iím also a mountain biker at heart, but find these days I use my road bike more often as itís much quicker on my 16 mile each way commute, that said in summer I can do a slightly longer 70% off road commute on the mtb, which is awesome.

    Sadly, it isnt always possible to use the bike at this time of year, Iím happy to ride in the wet and Iím happy to ride in the dark, but a combination of both makes me feel like Iím tempting fate and sadly the mtb route is far too muddy right now.

    As a result, after a chance gift of an old 50Ē plasma and the release of Zwift on Apple TV, I decided to invest in a cheap trainer of the roller variety, I found it added a completely different kind of cycling, itís amazing how much more you can give it beans, knowing that if you blow up, youíve only got to make it home from the shed.

    I also found that it introduced a far more focused aspect to my cycling, I now talk about ftp, cadence and watts, sad I know, but it has had the knock on effect of really helping out when Iím on the bike for real.

    I canít imagine doing it without Zwift though, it provides a huge array of structured workouts and Iíve even entered a few races, itís nice to have something to look at too.

    I have since invested in an elite diretto direct drive trainer as I found the roller setup would slip when sprinting and ripped through tyres.

    All in all, I can understand why people would rather have their eyes poked out rather than ride a turbo, itís definitely not as much fun as ripping around the woods, but itís better than not riding at all.

    If you look on eBay, there are plenty of smart trainers available for not a lot of money, you can use your iPhone to try out Zwift, if you enjoy it, then think about investing in a more advanced setup, if you donít, pop the trainer back on eBay and all youíve spent is £12.99 on one month of Zwift, bargain.

  13. #13
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    It's taken me over 700 hours to wear through the roller on my CycleOps Fluid 2. This is the second roller that I've worn through. CycleOps replaced the resistance unit free of charge when I wore through the first one. When I wore through this one I was given a whole new turbo trainer which is sat waiting to be used once this one completely fails. You'd think that it might shred the tyre but it doesn't. It's a standard road tyre as well, not a turbo-specific one, & it's been on there for a number of years.


  14. #14
    Craftsman Lazydonkey's Avatar
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    ive recently bought a tacx vortex smart trainer second hand for £200 (£400 new) and i've got to say im pretty pleased with it. I've never got on with static bikes in the gym but thanks to zwift i've been using this much more than i thought. Not the cheapest way to do it but if it can get past my boredom threshold then it's definately worth a look.

  15. #15
    Master dejjl's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the helpful advice, much appreciated.

    I'm not a serious cyclist. I do a bit of road and off-road stuff but the pressures of work don't always provide the necessary time, hence my thoughts around cycling at home.
    Last edited by dejjl; Yesterday at 14:42.

  16. #16
    Master
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    I am about to climb on my trainer this afternoon. I have a Tacx smart trainer, about £200 I think. It is controlled by the Trainerroad App on my iPad.
    These days it's more about the training software you use and a power meter, rather than the specific device your bike is strapped onto.

    Having said that, if you don't have specific goals, then smashing yourself to bits on a dumb trainer for an hour is fine.

    Pete

  17. #17
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    My turbo is dumb but I have a plan to my session before I start. I've had a coach for the last 8 years & he sets my training plan. With the turbo sessions it's always a series of intervals based on power. My turbo doesn't measure power but my bike does. I have an industrial strength fan blowing in my face & have loud music playing. Without the fan, even in the depths of winter, I'm soon overheating & can't get as much power out. I don't get bored. As well as the music I'm concentrating on keeping to the session. I'm mindful of "drawing the graph". I want it to follow the plan as closely as possible. The reward is uploading it to Strava & to Training Peaks. I'm also constantly working out the percentage of the session that I've completed. Quite often I'll be telling myself to just try & get to 10% then at least you'll have had a go. Then I'll try & get to 20%... 50% & then you've done half...& so on. By the time you get to 90% you can always do the last 10%. On rare occasions I simply cannot complete the prescribed session, as in the second image below. On occasions like this I'm seriously thinking that I must get an automated electronic defibrillator & teach the family how to use it. I view the turbo as a necessary evil. It's a means to an end & simply must be done if you want to get the most out of yourself.

    This session was planned as: Warm up. 2 minutes around 340 watts
    Into 30 seconds at ~420
    Into 30 seconds *almost* flat out, on feel.
    Then 3 mins really easy before repeating - do 3-4 of the above, then have 10-15 mins really easy before aiming for another block of 4.



    This session was planned as: Good warm up, then into 4x2 mins on/2 mins recovery.
    Then 4-5 mins easy spinning before repeating - aim for 3 blocks in total.
    Power - i'm thinking ~400 watts, but if you're feeling good then nudge it on a little bit - do the first block at 400 and decide after that :-)

    OMG, this was a nightmare. I managed the first 7 (out of twelve)..Just. Then I had to switch to minute intervals.


  18. #18


    If you opt for one of those... be very careful! A mate got one from a Dutch website. He hoisted it up to the attic, then followed by his bike. His first ride ended 'in tears', so to speak... Got on his bike, started and made a mistake steering. Long story short: he fell, dropped down the stairs, head first with the bike /pedals still attached to his shoes. Ended up at the local hospital's A&E. His biggest mistake: telling it to us (bunch of mates) the next Friday in the pub...

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