Nothing beats riding your bike in the great outdoors, but sometimes you can’t always head outside for a ride. Whether there’s bad weather or not enough time, the best turbo trainer will help you maintain your riding schedule from the comfort of your home. When you can’t head outdoors, a smart turbo trainer will bring the benefits of cycling indoors and allow you to ride in the comfort of your home.
But with the popularity of turbo bike trainers rising, various brands and designs have now flooded the market. It can be difficult to determine what you need or even want with so many options. Not to mention the rise of technology has also made smart turbo trainers available that will connect you to virtual training programs and workouts.
We have broken down all the best options on the market and provided you with quality reviews so that you can choose exactly what you need. With our help and selection of products, you’ll be able to maintain your cycling workouts with ease.
How To Choose A Turbo Trainer – Buying Guide
Not all turbo bike trainers are the same and there are actually three different types of trainers. The difference between the types of trainers is how they function with your bicycle and their type of resistance. The most common indoor bike trainers use fluid, magnetic, or direct drive resistance.
Some of the best turbo trainers use a fluid resistance system. Fluid trainers have risen in popularity because they are extra quiet but extremely powerful. The fluid within the system also means that the level of resistance automatically adjusts with your speed. Fluid designs also have a smaller roller that your wheels rests on so that it can efficiently turn. However, some rollers have zero resistance and are simply a place to rest your tire. This is not the case for a fluid system, and it will provide you with active resistance.
Another type of stand and one that is the most common in budget turbo trainers is one that features magnetic resistance. Unlike using a fluid, this system features magnetics that provide resistance against your wheel. These were the most common turbo bike trainers until the fluid designs became available. While these are more affordable, the downside is that they are very loud and make a lot of noise.
Finally, a direct drive smart bike trainer using a cassette that attaches directly to your bike to provide high levels of resistance. These top rated smart trainers are less portable due to their large size, but they have the highest levels of resistance so that you can complete a difficult workout. For people who train seriously, a direct drive smart trainer is often their top choice.
The best smart trainers, or even non-smart designs, will be compatible with various types of bicycles and wheel diameters. Some designs can even fit kid’s mountain bikes and tires that have a very small diameter size. But it is important that you check the compatibility of a stand before you begin to train. Safety should always be important, and an ill-fitting wheel or frame may lead to injury or malfunctions from even the best turbo trainer.
Most brands will provide the compatibly in the form of dimensions of the tire or axel. Most trainers that use fluid or magnetic resistance will fit tires that are 26 inches and larger, regardless of whether it is attach to a road or mountain bike. But the direct drive trainers will use axel measurements to ensure that your bike will fit the cassette.
All brands should provide the compatibility information in the product specifications, but you can also read turbo trainer reviews. The reviewers will often comment on the compatibility of the design and what type of wheel or bike they used.
Another feature that you’ll need to consider is whether you want a smart bike trainer or regular design. A cycling smart trainer will have compatibly to connect to electronic devices and register with training apps like Zwift. The biggest difference between a smart turbo trainer and a regular design is whether you can track your speed and connect the stand to an app. A turbo trainer for Zwift is more useful because it can give you accurate measurements of your workout, but not all people want to use an app.
There are some budget turbo trainers that do not have any compatibility with technology and instead, riders simply train how they want without worrying about specific workouts or statistics. But if you do want a top rated smart trainer, you should expect to pay more for a device that is compatible with modern technology.
When you’re biking on the road, things are often fairly quiet, but that can change when you take your turbo trainer sessions indoors. Even a top rated smart trainer will make noise, but if you want to ride without making too much noise, you need to look at the type of trainer you have or want to purchase.
Most fluid and direct drive turbo bicycle trainers are relatively quiet. They shouldn’t bother you or others or even your neighbors when you’re riding because they don’t exceed 68 decibels of sound. But the extra quiet designs do mean that you’ll have to spend more money.
Budget turbo trainers often use a magnetic resistance mechanism, which is very noisy. This is often why these types of turbo bike trainers have fallen out of favor with the newer designs. However, louder trainers are often more affordable because riders have the inconvenience of not being able to train with music, television, or other apps while riding.
When you’re training inside, you’ll still be pedaling fast and that means that you need more stability. The best turbo trainer will have an extra-wide base and be made of strong materials to ensure that you stay stable while you ride. Each type of trainer has a different setup, but a common feature in all the designs are long legs, which extend out from the main body of the base to increase your stability.
The best smart trainer will also have small rubber feet that grip on different surfaces to keep you stable. But stability is only important while you ride and for convenience while storing or moving your turbo trainer, the legs will often collapse to make the stand more compact.
If you have a top rated smart trainer, you will need to connect it to an electric outlet. This is because the smart bike trainers use technology to connect with your electronic devices and control the level of resistance. But a cycling smart trainer shouldn’t use excessive amounts of energy and you should be able to use a standard home plug or outlet to power your equipment.
Q: What Is A Turbo Trainer?
A turbo trainer is a type of device that attaches directly to your bicycle to allow you to train indoors while stimulating the conditions of the road. For many riders, getting outside or having the time to train outdoors is a luxury that can’t always be chosen. Weather can also be an issue and if you aren’t comfortable winter cycling shoes and powering through the snow, training inside can be a huge appeal when trying to maintain your schedule. A turbo trainer allows you to use your bicycle and ride inside so that your training schedule is never interrupted.
Q: Can Turbo Trainers Damage Your Bike?
The best turbo trainers should never damage your bike. When your bicycle is properly installed and mounted onto the stand of your trainer, your bike should remain damage free. From the wheels to the drivetrain and frame, a top rated smart trainer will simply support your bike for indoor riding with zero scratches, dents, or dings.
But if you are worried about damage, you can read turbo trainer reviews to determine the functionality and reliability of specific designs to determine whether they will suit your needs and keep you happy while you train.
Q: How Do I Choose A Turbo Trainer?
When you are looking at purchasing a turbo trainer, the two most important considerations are the type of trainer and whether it is smart technology compatible. With each type of trainer there are specific benefits and different prices. Some riders may want to have a direct drive design for the most comprehensive workout, while others will enjoy a simpler design with fluid resistance.
You should also decide if you want to use any apps to plan your workout or if technology is something that isn’t worth the investment for you. Smart bike trainers will be more expensive, but the perk is being able to connect and using workout apps like Zwift.
Q: Can I Use Any Turbo Trainer With Zwift?
No, a turbo trainer for Zwift will be a smart design that is compatible with your technology. Not all trainers have the smart feature and can be used with an app. You should check the product information to see whether your trainer is compatible with technology and apps. The best smart trainer will function with Zwift and other popular workout apps.
Q: Can You Use Any Bike On A Turbo Trainer?
Yes, the best smart trainers or non-smart designs will be functional with different bicycles. Normally, it does not matter what type of bike you have, and many designs are compatible with road and mountain bikes. But you should always check the product specifications for specific information about the compatibility. Most compatibility is based on the diameter of the tire or fork of your frame.
Globo Surf Overview
With a turbo trainer, you don’t have to worry about missing training days due to a busy schedule or bad weather. An indoor bike trainer allows you to enjoy the thrill of riding your bike without leaving the comfort of your home. With easy to set up, strong, and versatile designs, cyclists will have everything they need to keep up their strength and practice their skills when they’re not on the open road. With our article, you have everything you need to find the perfect turbo trainer to keep you motivated and healthy.
More Bike Reviews:
- Bike Accessories
- Child Bike Seat
- Single Speed Bikes
- Rear Bike Light
- Kids Mountain Bike
- MTB Saddle
- MTB Brakes
- Winter Cycling Gloves
- Fat Bike
- Bike Trailer
Do you own one of the turbo trainers that made it onto our list? Let us know which turbo bicycle trainer your favorite is in the comments section below.