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bkool trainer

How to set up your Turbo Trainer

Do you love cycling but put off by the outdoor weather? Enjoy peddling but are too much of a damp rag to get wet in the rain? Love the thrill but won’t brave the trail after a spot of snow?

Receiving an environmental slap to the face is all part of the cycling experience but even enthusiasts will sometimes admit that going out on your bike just isn’t practical. Using an alternative option that keeps you safely away from problematic roads and slippery pathways can be a better, smarter choice. No wonder they’re commonly known as the cyclist’s winter bike.

Turbo trainers are a superior piece of cycling equipment that keep you on your beloved two wheels in the safety of your home, garage or shed. So whether you’re a turbo tyro or a turbo techie looking for your next piece of kit, this guide will cover what a turbo trainer is, how it helps you and how to set it up properly in your home.

What is a turbo trainer?

Turbo trainers are a static resistance platform that clamp around the quick release skewer of a bike’s rear-wheel to suspend it. This positions the rear tyre on a roller, so that as you pedal and spin your rear wheel the roller turns too. In other words, the trainer holds your back wheel off the floor so that when you pedal you don’t leave your teeth in the wall plastering.

Turbo trainers are a great solution for those days and weeks (or months in the UK) when rain lashes relentlessly on the roads and the gloom sets in. They’re also fantastic tools for the cyclist on a time restriction. Turbo trainers are easy and simple to use once they’re set up and you can hop on and hop off at your leisure.

In the past, turbo trainers were perceived as mind-numbing because of their static nature but like many aspects of the cycling industry, technology has developed and turbo trainers can now be paired up with other tools to become extremely immersive pieces of kit.

The resistance of the turbo trainer, based on several stylistic factors we’ll cover below, can be adjusted to provide more realism to a ride.

Smart turbo trainers feature a wirelessly controlled 16-level resistance unit that can be paired with a compatible Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. Indoor cycling apps also allow riders to stream visual aids to their tablet, laptop, television or smartphone to increase the immersion.

You could even get your wife or kids to flick water in your face to simulate a proper rainy ride if you’re that deprived.

cycling trainer

How to choose a turbo trainer?

There are 3 types of turbo trainers: direct drive turbo trainers, wheel-on turbo trainers and rollers.

Your choice will depend on the experience you want to get from your turbo trainer (both interactively and physically) and also the design of the trainers with your preferences.

If you value entertainment or feedback with training data then a smart trainer is the best choice. If that doesn’t matter too much to you, it’s likely that a basic turbo trainer will best suit your needs.

Direct drive turbo trainer

With a direct drive turbo trainer, you place the bicycle frame directly on the trainer. All you need to do is detach the rear wheel, mount a cassette and you’re good to go. As you don’t have to use a rear wheel of your own, you don’t need to be concerned about the risk of wear to your tyres.

Direct drive trainers are also more advanced than the alternatives. They provide more accuracy, make the trainer generally more powerful and give more of a realistic bike feeling. You barely even have to calibrate your trainer because of the lack of rear tyre. Another bonus of no rear tyre is that your training will be much quieter.

Wheel-on trainer

The technique of wheel-on trainer is less complicated than a direct drive trainer which tends to reduce the price. Overall, these trainers are less advanced than direct drive trainers but won’t let riders down for power and ability. The ease to use a wheel-on trainer is a huge pro as you can just click your bike in and peddle away.

These trainers are also lighter and easier to store. What they lack in weight they make up for in tech, especially not with recently designed smart turbo trainers that offer complete benefits from the best interactive cycling apps.

Rollers

Technically, rollers aren’t turbo trainers—not in the technology and fitting sense anyway. Rollers are more of a test of core and balance, especially for beginners. They are exactly how they sound and to get going your place your bike on top of the three rollers (two at the back, one at the front) and cycle enough to not end up on your side. For added stability with this style of stationary trainer, you can add a fork mount.

turbo trainer

How to set up your turbo trainer

Whether you wish to set up your turbo trainer fresh every time to save space or have your designated area for getting your turbo on, you’re going to have to learn to set it up properly at some point. Check out our list below on how to properly set up your turbo trainer for the best results:

1) Find a suitable flat area in your home that allows enough space for you and your turbo equipment. If your area isn’t flat you’ll find you’re rocking about

2) Place your turbo trainer on a floormat. This not only stops damage to the surface but can also apply more stability to your turbo trainer. Plus, it stops you slipping in a puddle of sweat when you’re done working out.

3)Once you’re prepared for precipitation and have a bottle of water and an optional sweet little media set-up you have to fit the bike to the trainer. Dependent on the models we’ve mentioned above, the fitting process will be different.

On a wheel-on trainer, you fix your rear wheel in the trainer with two simple clicks. For a direct drive trainer, you remove your rear wheel and mount your bike directly on the cassette mounted on the trainer. You place the trainer between the dropouts of your bike and secure it with a quick release or a thru-axle.

4. Tighten up each fixing and ensure your rear wheel has contact with the roller if your trainer has one. Sometimes the best connectivity with trainers with rollers is only provided once weight is applied to the bike.

wahoo turbo trainer

Best Turbo Trainer

Elite Drivo Direct Drive Smart Trainer - £1,099.99

The Elite Drivo is a tip-top, powered, training unit with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity that's easy to hook up and get riding. Stocked to the saddle with all the latest tech, this turbo trainer is the best direct drive turbo trainer for those with the means to purchase it. Elite is one of the big three manufacturers of training equipment so know how to stay on the cutting wheel edge of high-tech equipment.

Once a suitable space has been found (one with the promise of cool air and an electrical socket) setup is fairly simple. The locking T-bar folds down to support the front while the base of the unit supports the rear for three points of contact. As this model is direct drive you'll need a chain whip and a lockring tool to fit a cassette, all regular tools for the prepped cyclist.

Getting the rear end over the cassette and locking it in place with your regular skewer is simple enough and the height shouldn’t be an issue. After looping the power cable around the cable-tidy – another simple, elegant design – you'll switch it on and hear that sweet turbo trainer rush of air.

Elite Qubo Digital smart B+ FE-C trainer - £324.99

Also made by Elite, the Qubo is designed specifically for use with a smartphone or tablet. It features a wirelessly controlled 16-level resistance unit that can be paired with any compatible mobile device.

By buying this unit you also get a six-month subscription the My E-training app but it can also be used with lots of other software for diverse training options.

The cutting edge frame offers a wider footprint with adjustable feet which improves stability and lowers the bike height to make mounting easier. There’s also no need to calibrate roller pressure as the rider’s weight presses into the roller for easier adjustment and set-up. Although most trainers are best suited for 26in and 27in bikes, the Qubo frame can reposition the rear-drive for wider 29in wheels.

In terms of resistance, the advanced magnetic drive of this unit generates a wide range of resistances for all levels of riders and training programs without excessive noise or vibration. Another bonus, if you needed one, is that the power supply comes with multiple internal adaptors so you can keep your stationary bike on the move.

Bkool Smart Go Simulator Turbo Trainer - £359.99

For the budget-conscious buyers amongst you, the Bkool Smart Go is a fun, low-cost smart trainer. This fairly lightweight friction trainer helps you complete the virtual miles more easily and comes with action packed software. Its innovative frame design, built around arms that are hinged at the base, accommodates a wide range of wheel sizes without any need for adjustment.

It can even works for a mountain bike but it’s a good idea to swap in a wheel with a smooth surface to avoid damaged the nobbly treads. The Bkool Smart Go Trainer is controlled by the simulator and can reach 800W with a slope simulation of up to 8%. This trainer also has a super stable base, using telescopic legs to provide great stability whilst riding hard.

When riding at 30 kph the Bkool Smart Go Trainer only produces 75 dB, with a normal conversation ranging from 40 to 80 dB. This makes the Bkool Smart Go Trainer virtually silent.

turbo trainer scheme

Where to buy a turbo trainer

TRI UK is dedicated to success, even when it’s pouring down with rain or blowing a gale. We provide the best turbo trainers with all the virtual extras to let you focus on achieving goals and your cute little cycling avatar rather than the drab world outside. We know it can’t replace the real feel of the road but it sure makes staying on track in colder months easier.

Our cycling range offers you everything you need to get you in the saddle whether you’re moving or not. From cycling shoes to cycle clothing, we can help you look and feel stylish inside and out(side), even if the only thing watching is your cat.

Need a new bike to use with your turbo trainer or need to check your bike is the correct fit for maintaining progress? Visit us in-store for great offers, knowledge and products or get in touch on 01935 414142 or email sales@triuk.com