Beginners Turbo Trainer Guide

Beginners Turbo Trainer Guide

The winter weather, time and the realities of real life can easily put paid to the most noble of resolutions to keep up your hard earned summer fitness by continuing to cycle all winter. A turbo trainer is a great piece of equipment that allows you to ride your own bike stationary in your own home and can be a valuable aid to your cycle training. Turbo trainers are available to suit all budgets and there are many apps and videos available that provide structured training plans and motivation. Most are easily attached by swapping the rear quick release skewer that goes through your rear wheel to the one supplied and mounting onto the trainer
Picture1      or the newer direct drive trainers that allow you to attach your cassette directly to the trainer.


Types of trainers


 Magnetic trainers


On a magnetic trainer your back wheel sits against a roller which has an attached magnetic unit which creates resistance on the back wheel. It comes with a dial which can be clipped onto your handlebars to allow you to adjust resistance up or down making it easier or harder to pedal.

Usually the cheapest option and they do the job but they can be very noisy which can irritate the Neighbours or your family if they are trying to watch TV in a nearby room. 


The resistance from this type of trainer is provided by a propeller which spins inside a fluid based chamber and you use your bike gears to adjust resistance. As well as providing a better ride feel fluid trainers are much quieter than magnetic trainers which makes them more popular.



Virtual reality/Smart trainers


These trainers make the most of the latest technology and allow you to connect your trainer to a PC, tablet, TV or smart phone via Bluetooth or ant+ . There are numerous apps available that connect with your trainer which make the experience interactive via software playing a video on a laptop, tablet, television or even a projection screen in front of you. This software allows you to ride courses and routes with and/or against your mates. The trainer is controlled by the computer which adjusts the resistance of the trainer so it gives the feel of riding the route you are watching on screen. You can also up load your ride stats via Strava if you wish to analyse your data a bit more.



Rollers provide the closest experience to actually being on a bike but If you are a beginner you may find it difficult to get along with this type of trainer as it requires focus, balance and skill to stay upright as there is no fixed frame to clamp your bike onto. You have to remain focused to avoid falling off so many people prefer rollers as it keeps them more engaged and they find it less boring. Great for improving pedal stroke and balance and rollers are much easier to set up than other trainers. Practice makes perfect!


Useful accessories

Turbo trainer specific tyres are available which can help reduce noise, help grip and avoid any unnecessary wear and tear on your bike tyres as they are made of a harder compound so withstand the wear and tear of using the turbo for longer than a normal bike tyre.

A wheel block is placed under the bikes front wheel to raise it to the same height as the rear making it level and gives you a more natural position on the bike, it also helps keep your bike stable.

A full length trainer mat placed under your turbo helps protect your flooring and also helps to minimise vibration and noise especially if you’re using your turbo on a hardwood floor or live in a flat.

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