We recently stocked up on a whole range of Tacx turbo trainers and accessories.
When the days get darker and the weather colder and wetter, you can drag yourself to the local gym, face the miserable wet weather wrapped in fleece and plastic or simply pop on Zwift, drop the bike into the turbo trainer and take a spin within the warmth of your own home.
Turbo trainers allow you to ride your bike in the comfort of your own home be it a recovery ride or winter training. You can even bring it with you to a race to use for warming up. Most trainers feature adjustable resistance, helping to simulate cycling when conditions prevent you from hitting the road or trail. They provide a great solution for those who want to train, using their own bike, without the hassle and danger associated with riding in poor conditions, the dark or simply within a tight time frame.
TURBO TRAINERS EXPLAINED
As with all areas of cycling, there are a huge number of different options available when it comes to turbo trainers, with differing features affecting both the price point and its suitability for your individual needs. The trainer’s method of resistance should also be taken into account. This can be broken down into a few key categories; magnetic, direct drive and smart.
MAGNETIC TURBO TRAINERS
As the name suggests, a magnets are used to control the level of resistance. Most magnetic turbo trainers have a handlebar mounted lever that controls the strength of the magnetic field and in turn the trainer’s resistance levels.
DIRECT DRIVE TURBO TRAINERS
Unlike the previous trainer mentioned, direct drive trainers replace your bike’s rear wheel. While this means you need to purchase a second cassette, it does mean you don’t get the hassle of swapping out specific trainer tyres. The setup tends to be more stable, allowing you to get out of the saddle pedal harder. By removing the tyre-trainer interface a direct drive system is the a much quieter option. These trainers generally sit within the mid to high price point. Direct drive trainers tend to be larger suiting those with a space dedicated to their training.
SMART TURBO TRAINERS
Smart trainers have the capability to connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth, FE-C or ANT , allowing you access to specific apps, namely Strava and Zwift, that help create the most realistic indoor ride possible whilst displaying real time performance data. They can use magnetic or direct drive resistance, with higher end models automatically adjusting to simulate the climbs and descents of your virtual route. Value wise, smart trainers sit across the board, with the method of resistance, connectivity, and number of features impacting the price. It’s worth noting that a smart trainer often isn’t the best choice for race warmups as they can be reasonably heavy and some models require plugging into the mains to function.
WHICH TURBO TRAINER IS RIGHT FOR ME?
With so many different options on the market we’ve selected a few different options
The Blue Matic is the intermediate model of the Blue cycletrainers. Its maximum resistance is 700 Watt. You set the resistance selecting one of the ten different positions via the handlebar resistance lever. The robust frame stands firmly on the ground and it is very user friendly because the trainer can be assembled in no time at all.
The Vortex is an interactive Smart trainer with an electro brake. This resistance unit is suitable for an average training level and can reach a maximum resistance of 950 Watt. Instead of using a handlebar computer you train by connecting the Vortex quickly and easily to the Tacx apps or third party software. Of the many possible training options, you can choose the software that best matches you and your way of training.
INTERMEDIATE DIRECT DRIVE
By changing the design of its iconic predecessor, the FLUX S Smart gained a wider bike compatibility range. It has been redesigned in order to fit long cage derailleurs. The FLUX S Smart is a reliable and powerful trainer with a smooth ride feel. This interactive direct drive trainer makes Smart training accessible to any cyclist. ANT+ and Bluetooth enables you to connect to your favourite applications.
ADVANCED DIRECT DRIVE
The NEO Smart offers the best in power and intelligence and is the quietest indoor trainer currently available on the market. The lack of any physical transmissions means this is the first true direct drive. Road feel is simulated in a highly realistic manner, there is no loss of power.