Turbo for spin?

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  • Turbo for spin?
  • submarined

    A few months ago, my wife started spin class, and is really enjoying them. Unfortunately she can only get to a class once a week.

    She’s really keen to try to continue this, so it’s looking to sort out some sort of setup at home. She doesn’t want a dedicated spin bike, so was looking at getting a turbo to use her bike on.

    Would a basic resistance one be ok, or would a ‘smart’ one like a Flux/Vortex be a better idea? Are there any apps similar to Zwift designed specifically for spin that will control resistance? Or is just hopping on a normal trainer with one of the bazillion YouTube videos a better idea?

    She’s tempted to get a smart one as there’s always the chance of her trying Zwift etc

    The key thing is that she wants it to be easy so she’s more likely to stick with it.


    Basic resistance ones are fine for exercise, either spinning / grinding away while watching a movie, or doing something more structured like Sufferfest or Trainer Road.

    Smart trainers are a lot more fun, and as they set the resistance etc. they’re a lot easier to use. Obviously a lot more expensive, though, and don’t forget Zwift / Sufferfest / Bkool / whatever will cost you another tenner (or more) a month on top of the cost of the trainer itself. If you can afford go with a smart one.


    I have a ‘dumb’ trainer and more than happy using gears etc. for resistance….would however go for a direct drive smart trainer if (and when) buying again and had the budget.

    Could offer a bit more in the way of future proofing if you think you’ll both get the use out of it, training with power and using any of the apps mentioned above which would probably be a natural progression.

    In the meantime if you’re not keen on having the trainer control resistance you can turn this off and use it as a standard trainer following YouTube vids, watching films etc.


    Elite do an attachment for their non smart turbos to provide power and cadence data for use with apps. I use this and just change gear to change the resistance. Fine for structured stuff and much cheaper than smart turbos.

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    I purchased a secondhand “Smart” trainer about 2 months ago with a view to getting fitter, stronger and dropping a few lbs (about 14 of them). Ultimate aim to to start doing some xc racing this summer some XC racing this summer (at age 50 🙂 ). I had a basic turbo trainer for about 2 months before this. I signed up to the TrainerRoad app which gives you a specific training plan to follow (specific to your level of fit which the trainer measures with a ftp test). The smart trainer is great as you just select a gear, maintain a steady cadence and the app changes the resistance to change the amount of power you have to put in which I assume is similar to a spinning machine?

    It’s hard work and not near as enjoyable as getting out on the bike but I can feel a real improvement even after 2 months. The app also helps you work on cycling technique from an economic use of leg power and efficient pedaling perspective. I’d definitely recommend it but not everyone’s cup of tea (hence availability of SH trainers).

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    A “dumb” trainer and the GCN spin vids will do the job on the cheap I’d suggest. If you can add a cadence sensor and HRM to the mix then all the better. I used to use my iPad and my Garmin sat next to it for years before going smart.


    Spin bikes feel completely different to a bike on a turbo because the fixed wheel and large flywheel on the spin bike…might be worth trying to find a turbo to try before committing to getting one.

    I would imagine that you could get a 2nd hand spin bike for not much more than a mid range turbo….


    Spin bikes feel completely different to a bike on a turbo because the fixed wheel and large flywheel on the spin bike…might be worth trying to find a turbo to try before committing to getting one.

    but you are also in a group spin class on a spin bike, so that’s also different.

    I had a reebok spin bike and it was so boring I got rid. Now got a Wahoo Kickr and use my road bike. Can use watching movies, doing shorter sessions where I vary the resistence, or with something structured like traineroad.

    I’d invest in a decent turbo myself, the Kickr was one of my best purchases.


    If you join group workouts on Zwift they work in a similar way to spin sessions. The group stays in a pack, but each person works at their individual training level. Smart trainers are expensive, but definitely the way to go if you want to get the most out of Zwift.

    Premier Icon Gilesey

    Sounds like something like this could be perfect (sorry, couldn’t resist another shameless plug)

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