As winter draws in, the weather makes it harder to train outside. So some cyclists opt for indoor training on a home trainer. It’s easy to use and helps you stay in shape or even progress during the winter.
The idea is simple: you place your usual bike on a piece of equipment that helps reproduce the experience of pedalling outside in a more or less realistic way.
There are a number of options to continue training through the winter: rollers, traditional home trainers, where the rear wheel is placed to make contact with the device, and home trainers where you take off the rear wheel and fix it directly to a frame.
So which home trainer should you choose to meet your needs? Follow the guide, we have all the information you need!
To choose the home trainer that’s best adapted to you, you should take a few selection criteria into account:
- Compatibility with your bike
- The system used to fix it to the bike: with none (i.e. rollers), on the rear wheel, on the frame
- Maximum power
The types of resistance: magnetic, electromagnetic, motor, direct training
- The number of resistance levels
- The kind of control to regulate resistance: a lever on the handlebars (digital or analogue), smartphone or tablet
- Interactivity: none, yes and included, yes but as an option.
We decided to put rollers in their own category, because they are used in a special way. The bike is not fixed to the device, and this calls for a certain amount of skill for you to pedal naturally. Nevertheless, rollers are an excellent way of improving balance and speed.
Since the bike is not fixed to anything, it’s not possible to simulate climbs on rollers. What’s more, the number of resistance levels is limited. Some models, like the Tacx Antares have just one level of resistance.
On the other hand, Elite has roller models such as the Arion Mag or the Arion Digital with adjustable resistance on three levels. You can even choose the level of resistance using a wireless control on the handlebars on the Arion Digital.
Some rollers even have an « anti-vibration » system to absorb jolts resulting from pedalling. This system can be found on the E-motion model by the Elite brand.
Home trainers for beginners
Magnetic resistance home trainers are often the best solution for beginners to indoor cycling. Easy to use and reasonably priced, they’re equipped with several levels of resistance that you control using a lever placed on the handlebars.
Their braking system consists in bringing magnets into closer contact inside the device, making pedalling more difficult.
It is important to note that this type of home trainer uses a flywheel. The heavier the flywheel, the more realistic the result for pedalling.
In this category, you can find the Tacx Blue Matic and the Tacx Booster, as well as the Elite Novo Force Elastogel and the Elite Qubo Power Mag Pack.
Prices vary according to the maximum power, the number of resistance levels and the inclusion of accessories, such as a block for the front wheel.
Home trainers to make progress
Some cyclists are more demanding about their home trainers and expect more than just pedalling resistance. In fact, some devices can reproduce a certain percentage of climbs (and even descents for some models), indicate your speed and your pedalling rate and even virtually immerse riders in a famous cycling stage.
A mid-range model, the Tacx Vortex Smart, is an example of this kind of home trainer. With an electromagnetic brake that can provide strong rotational inertia, this device faithfully reproduces the feeling of outdoor cycling. You can connect it to a tablet or smartphone to adjust the elevation required, as well as pedalling difficulty.
In this category belongs the Tacx Bushido Smart home trainer. It has the same features as the Vortex, but with five times greater rotational inertia! Used with the Tacx Software Advanced application (not included), you really get the feeling you are cycling outside. What’s more, you don’t need a power source to power this equipment. You can take it anywhere!
Connected home trainers – for total immersion
Pedalling indoors, even with software to show your performances, can soon seem boring for some cyclists. As a result, Tacx has released a completely interactive model, where you can race against others. Who hasn’t dreamed of climbing a mythical col in the Alps, although you live a long way from the region? Thanks to the I-Genius Multiplayer Smart model, you can now achieve such a feat from your living room. As well as being linked to software adapting the device’s resistance according to the chosen elevation, it’s also equipped with a directional front-wheel block so you can even steer the bike!
With this cutting-edge product you can also make your own routes, with resistance to the bike varying in line with the features of the terrain.
Direct drive home trainers: for the most demanding cyclists
Cyclists who want to pedal with precision at a certain level of power will opt for a direct drive home trainer. These devices, once fitted with a speed cassette (not included), house your bike without the rear wheel so that the transmission of resistance is not made by contact between a roller and a tyre, but directly by the chain. In this way, no pedalling power is lost. This type of product is available in two categories.
In the first category are devices that cannot be adjusted for resistance. Here, the resistance is adjusted automatically, according to your pedalling power. This is the case for the Elite Turbo Muin Smart B+. model
In the second category are direct drive homes trainers where you can adjust the power, once the device has been linked up to an application of your choice on a tablet or smartphone. So on the Tacx Neo Smart, Tacx’s latest generation model, you can modify the power you want to use. The Tacx virtual reality software can be adapted to the device when you purchase the Upgrade Smart.
A direct drive home trainer really stands out from the others thanks to the reality of the road feel. With adjustable resistance and a maximum power of 1550W, the Home Trainer Wahoo Fitness is used by Team Sky, especially for warm-ups before time trial events. What’s more, it can be connected to a wide range of applications.
We hope we’ve thrown some light on your choice of a home trainer. Remember that basic models are aimed at amateur cyclists who want to carry on training in winter. Cyclists looking for an efficient training device to continue making progress in winter should opt for a device with greater resistance, and one that can be connected to a smartphone/tablet to measure your performances!
No related posts.