Turbo trainers . . . . can i have an idiots guide please :-)

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  • Turbo trainers . . . . can i have an idiots guide please :-)
  • Considering trying to find a reasonable one secondhand, can anyone give me a quick explanation of the different types and what makes/models are the best to look out for.


    Fan type are noisy. Magnetic less so. Fluid feel nicer and are quieter than the former two. Rollers are much more pleasant.
    Make sure that the one you choose will fit your bike. I spent a frustrating hour yesterday adapting a Taxc to fit a 700cc road bike when it had previously been used without issue with a 700cc hybrid.
    Get a riser block for the front wheel and check it has silicone or rubber grip underneath it.
    Get a turbo trainer ‘thong’ for your bike and maybe even a mat.
    Lots of fans.
    Consider having a spare wheel with turbo specific tyre fitted.

    Decathlon do a descent magnetic one for about a hundred notes, doesnt include the block for the front wheel tho which was about another 20.


    I’ve put one on here for sale tonight- Cycleops Fluid 2. Bargain!

    Premier Icon PePPeR

    I’d buy secondhand as they can be sold on again (to the next mug) for the same price you bought it for!

    Premier Icon iain1775

    The trainer will last longer then your enthusiasm
    So just buy the cheapest one that suits your main requirement – noise/resistance etc and be prepared to pay ebay seller fees in 8/12 months time 😉


    Ive got a Tacx one for sale, in good nick and quiet,

    Theyre just so boring, but work well, you need a big fan or use outside.

    massive fan, screwfix do one that could move a hovercraft, anything smaller is useless

    trainerroad.com just about makes sessions paletable

    I am having a bit of trouble with my hip and knee, currently waiting for physio but just want to step doen what I do without stopping. The only time they hurt is when I climb and try as I might I have struggled to find flat routes around sheffield. So whilst I appreciate it will be boring I think its the best option to retain some fitness beyond my normal commute.

    Thanks for the info

    Premier Icon Northwind

    1) It is rotten. Don’t let anyone fool you, they have their merits but that doesn’t outweigh the fundamental rubbishness of a bike that goes nowhere yet is less pleasant to ride than a proper bike. People who can do a turbo session without finding it horrible are dead inside.

    2) But that’s OK because it’s basically a downpayment of concentrated awful at a time that suits you in order to enable you to do more good stuff later without as much awful. Sounds alright.

    These are really the only things you need to know about turbo trainers. Minor details- do it somewhere cold if you can, have a fan, water on hand, consider doing it basically naked as you will sweat like a 70s children’s TV presenter. Consider entertainment- I got some good sound insulating headphones, so I watch TV. Or I will, once it gets cold enough in the garage to let me do a decent session without catching fire.


    ^ About sums it up ^

    I like rollers, at least it works your core too and gives you something other than your own pitiful existence to think about while you sweat the worlds supply of Ming out of yourself.

    Well it will have to be in my kitchen as it is the coolest place – unless I go outside on the patio (is going nowhere outside better than going nowhere inside?)

    And another bonus is that no babysitter will be necessary, will be a nice change


    Sufferfest videos make a once weekly hourly session bearable. I have rollers too. But a winter bike and good clothing is a better investment.

    Buy used.

    I have no problem with cyling in even the foulest of weather, but as I said before I am having problems with my hip so just want to do some relatively easy miles to keep my fitness ticking over whilst I wait for physio etc


    Just laughing at Northwind’s comments about catching fire – I’m currently without a fan so have to weigh up the pros/cons of having my garage door open vs the neighbours seeing me emptying my soul via my sweat glands.

    FWIW, it’s worth having a specific goal in mind as a decent session on the turbo requires a very special kind of motivation.

    I have music on VERY loud… bit of old school or d&b takes the monotony away.

    The thing is to keep the sessions short but intensive, you’re not supposed to be duplicating a normal ride. Never more than an hour, usually 30 to 45 min.


    Just get a decent fan, and it’s fine.

    Some are foldable if storage space is of a premium. Remote adjuster on the bars allows you to ramp up the tension quickly for intervals and keep a straight chain line. Block of wood under the front wheel, and a towel over the bars saves a few quid. It gets hot enough in the garage let alone the kitchen so a fan is a definite requirement – factor that into your costs. some heater fans have a fan only setting for dual purpose use.
    I’ve not tried rollers but they seem a good idea for continued balance training. Kinetic do one which rocks left and right to help your balance training.

    As above, it’s boring so IME keep it interval style. I use a watch strapped to the bars and once warmed up try different interval lengths whilst watching the second hand move like it’s wading through treacle. I don’t know how anyone watches tv whilst staring at the stem… Unless it’s a recovery session perhaps. They are good for ride fitness training and baby sitting!


    Most has already been said but just to add that an old yellow pages or similar is cheaper than a purpose built front wheel block, but just as effective. Also, you will want a turbo-specific tyre. They’re much quieter and grippier than a standard one (especially if it’s an mtb) and don’t wear out after a couple of hours.

    I’ve not used mine since last winter, but used to watch tv to relieve the boredom. Although somehow watching tv on a turbo is more boring than watching tv on a sofa. Likewise music, etc…

    I thought it would be easier to use my cx rather than my 29er – wasnt sure how flexible they are with wheel sizes.

    Premier Icon turboferret

    Northwind has summed it up pretty well 🙂

    I used mine for the first time in ages last week when I didn’t get out of bed early enough for a proper outdoor ride, so it was time-efficient, however this was my FB post subsequently:

    had forgotten how much he hates turbo-trainers. I think a significant part of my soul has been left on the floor along with several litres of sweat….

    and then:

    Turbo Trainer

    Web definitions:
    A trainer, or turbo trainer, is a piece of equipment that makes it possible to ride a bicycle while it remains stationary. They are commonly used to suck the life out of users and make minutes seem like hours. Also used to transport large amounts of sweat from inside to outside of the body

    Cheers, Rich


    This is the best idiots guide to turbo training I’ve found, answered all my questions road.cc turbo guide and they’ve got a good roundup of the different ones available here

    Premier Icon davieg

    I know nothing about trainers, but have attended spin classes for years and have been tempted about getting a trainer in the past.

    Two thoughts:

    1. Consider Spin classes. Depending on the instructor, they can be a fantastic and fun workout for your core in addition to legs, heart and lungs. You will find a new found appreciation for cheesey music that you would normally turn off on the radio. You are not sweating out or stinking out your home and garage, and you can go for a sauna, spa etc afterwards in most gyms. A poor instructor can make for a monotonous class but you ae not alone and should still be able to get somehting out of the class.

    2. If you have hip and knee problems, maybe some time off the bike is what you need? I have tight hip flexors and IT Band syndrome which in part, I developed from spinning too hard and training for longer distance rides. I started developing pain in my knees, so I have cut down on spinning, use lower resistance and now focus on stretching and strengthening hip flexors and quads etc and I use a foam roller too. Perhaps some cross-training or swimming will help keep your cardio fitness going will you wait for your physio assessment?

    @davieg think the spin class may be too much atm in terms of my hips and knee. I do appreciate what you are saying about time off the bike as i am sure my cycling has a lot to do with it. However atm i am struggling with walking more than gentle cycling.

    For example i can ride my commute without too much bother, a bit niggly but bearable but if i drive to work and have to walk to the office from where i park (probably less than 1km) i struggle, it aggravates the pain and it takes a while to settle down again.

    Swimming might be ok but it’s a a bit of a faff with my silly curly hair and contact lenses.

    Have a physiotherapy appointment on Saturday so hopefully i will get some exercises to address the imbalance (and then maybe learn to get a better walk:cycle ratio) 🙂


    I must be the odd one out then. I quite enjoy turbo training.

    Last time I looked I wasnt dead inside

    That being said I am thinking of selling mine but not because I dislike it, I want the cash towards other things. I have Kurt Kinetic Road machine for context.

    The way I see it I spent many a year cycling round the fens if that hasnt prepared me for monotonous pedalling for the sake of it nothing has!

    @tricky disco that ad has ended – but I like the title!


    i posted it because you need to read the description

    Brilliant! . . . Ok so maybe I’ll try and borrow one first . . . Anyone got one gathering dust in Sheffield? 🙂

    I have both rollers with resistance and the kurt kinetic rock and roll turbo – turbo chosen because it allows movement and engages core etc. Its fluid and very quiet. My rollers are used all year round – even on sunny days.

    Echo all the comments above about it being hot / needing a fan / block for the front wheel.

    But whilst the turbo/rollers is mind numbing for zone 2 (base) work, it has its place in proper training IMO/E – ie z1 recovery spin or very focused efforts. You will need to have a plan for the turbo, be that sufferfest or your own intervals etc.


    Decathlon do a descent magnetic one for about a hundred notes, doesnt include the block for the front wheel tho which was about another 20.

    You can get the Tacx Satori from Decathlon for 149.99 at the moment, it comes with mat and wheel support. Use an old towel to stop sweat rusting your steed to dust. I mention the Satori because it will produce a lot more power than the Decathlon roller so you can do some serious training.

    An indoor trainer won’t replace a road session. It is like a blow up doll and a real woman. There are merits to both :-). (for the ladies reading replace real woman with real man).

    You can do quality targeted training with a roller but most sessions will be less than an hour and focus on cadence, power, endurance rather than 4-5 hour rides you might do on the road.

    I use the Tacx Blue Motion with some software I developed


    but Golden Cheetah, Trainer Road etc. can also help with structuring a session.

    Oh and as others have said, get the biggest doggone fan you can. You may spend more on the fan than you do on the turbo.

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