Getting started with indoor training is easy. With plenty of options to choose from, you’ll be ready to ride in no time. Here are our recommendations for the best indoor trainer setup that meets your budget.
For more training tips check out Ask a Cycling Coach Ep 253.
Choosing the Best Indoor Trainer for You.
Before you start training indoors, there’s some equipment that you will need and some items that will help maximize your hard work. At the very least, you need a bike, trainer, sensor, and a device to run the TrainerRoad app. The choices for trainer and sensor will depend on your budget, but the good news is that there are plenty of options.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to budget for some accessories that can improve your indoor training experience. Since you don’t get a breeze during an indoor workout, a good fan and few gym towels go a long way in keeping sweat off your bike. If you want to listen to music, look for sweatproof headphones with an IPX7 rating or higher. We like to use wireless Bluetooth ones.
The lowest cost option is to use VirtualPower with a trainer and a speed sensor. That way, you can get the benefits of power-based training without the cost of a power meter or a smart trainer. VirtualPower supports nearly every trainer on the market. Check out our equipment checker to see if it’s supported.
Two of the best indoor trainers are the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and the Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro. However, these aren’t being produced anymore, so you’ll need to find them on a secondary market. Without a smart trainer, you’ll also need a Bluetooth speed sensor for the rear wheel. Here are our recommendations for the best entry-level setup.
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The best indoor trainer for a mid-level budget is one of the trainers listed above and a power meter. This is a lower-priced option if you already have a trainer. Buying both a trainer and power meter will cost more, but the versatility allows you to take your training outdoors with Outside Workouts.
These power meters are single-sided and installed on the crank arm. Many companies will install it on your existing crank arm. Just make sure it will clear the chainstays on your bike. You can check with the manufacturer for frame compatibility information.
High-End Indoor Trainers
For the best indoor trainer experience, a smart trainer is the way to go. While these trainers are the most expensive, they measure cadence and power. Smart trainers automatically control the resistance based on your cadence, so you won’t have to worry about shifting to hit your power target.
These recommended smart trainers are direct drive, meaning you remove the rear wheel from your bike. Direct drives are almost silent, and you won’t have to worry about the rear tire slipping. You may want to get an extra cassette so you won’t have to swap it back and forth between your wheel and trainer. It’s a good idea to first check with the manufacturer to make sure your bike is compatible.
There are plenty of trainers and setups you can use with TrainerRoad. The best indoor trainer for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you are just getting started with indoor training, check out our beginner’s guide for quick tips that will help you nail your workouts.
For more cycling training knowledge, listen to The Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.
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