Turbo trainers are convenient training devices that allow you to cycle indoors on your own bike away from the weather. They are great to keep your legs spinning throughout the year but especially in the autumn and winter months. The rear wheel of your bicycle is typically suspended from the unit, and when pedalling the resistance provided replicates the ‘feel’ of being out on the open road.
Why use a turbo?
If you watched Team Sky’s Chris Froome win his third Tour de France you probably could not fail to notice that his post-stage interviews were largely conducted as he warmed down on a ‘wireless’ turbo trainer. Whilst ‘wireless’ turbo trainers are useful for warming up and down before and after races, an ‘indoor’ turbo trainer really earns its keep in the colder months when weather or darkness discourage you from riding outdoors.
By training indoors, perhaps when the roads are icy, or you don’t have time to do a full outdoor training ride, you retain your fitness throughout the year and can also perform set structured training sessions without any interference from the weather or other road users.
Choosing a trainer: which is best for me?
Your choice will ultimately depend on your budget but factor in the type of sessions or amount of training you plan to do on it. If your training time on the turbo is going to be significant then it’s likely you’ll want to invest in a more sophisticated model. You might need to consider your neighbours and choose a quieter unit or your space to store it may be limited.
What type of turbo trainers are there?
There are many different styles of turbo trainers available to purchase and now an increase in the popularity of new ‘Smart’ trainers which can connect to social training ride programmes such as Zwift and TrainerRoad. The more sophisticated trainers are interactive and can be used with the associated software playing a laptop, television or even a projection screen in front of you. The main choice between the different trainers is the style of the resistance unit which vary in both price and feel.