Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Talk about anything.

Moderators: Bearbonesnorm, Taylor, Chew

Post Reply
User avatar
Ray Young
Posts: 3238
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Ray Young » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:52 pm

Are budget turbo trainers worth the money and if so can you recommend anything under £100. All it has to do is allow me to do a basic workout without falling apart and take a 29er wheel with a 1.5 road tyre fitted.

User avatar
Escape Goat
Posts: 1216
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:41 pm
Location: Not nearly close enough to Scotland...

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Escape Goat » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:30 pm

I spend a lot of time on my trainer at winter, usually, and I can't say that a 100 quid would give you the work out you need due to its limited power it can produce during a gear changing based workout. If you can, look second hand on ebay and see if there's any direct drive trainers, buy right. Once. You'll be happy :)
Bikepacking & Bourbon Biscuits

User avatar
Ian
Posts: 4550
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:10 pm
Location: Scotlandshire
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Ian » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:44 pm

I picked up a Tacx Vortex smart trainer on Gumtree for £120 and have been happy with it. I hadn’t used a trainer for years until recently, but having a screen to look at while you ride (even if only a phone) with a little dot moving over a satellite image makes it infinitely less mind numbing than what I remember. The sense of actually having “ridden” somewhere is a massive gain in terms of enjoyment.

Chew
Posts: 2479
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:46 pm
Location: Halifax

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Chew » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:16 pm

Or...spend that £100 on a good set of running shoes.

Over winter i've been getting into running.
In 30mins you can get a lot of exercise and it gets me out in all weathers, which is much preferable to sitting on a bit indoors.

User avatar
johnnystorm
Posts: 3369
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:55 pm
Location: Eastern (Anglia) Front

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by johnnystorm » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:20 pm

I've got a vortex and will echo Ian. Using something like trainerroad while watching Amazon prime video makes for a.much more satisfying experience. At the risk of sounding soft, the riding around here just isn't worth the grief of spending the same amount of time again cleaning the bike and kit afterwards.

https://www.kurtkinetic.eu/ have some great deals on, they are probably hoping to catch the "new year's resolution" crowd! :-bd
Image
Blog, News, Reviews, Opinions, Routes: http://www.advntr.cc

User avatar
whitestone
Posts: 5820
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:20 am
Location: Skipton(ish)
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by whitestone » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:30 pm

Basically you've a choice between "wheel on" and direct drive trainers. There's also "dumb" and "smart" trainers.

Wheel on are just what they sound like, you mount your bike on the trainer and the wheel sits on a spindle that has some sort of resistance that you can vary.

Direct drive trainers require you to remove your rear wheel and mount the bike to the trainer which has its own cassette (or the cassette off your rear wheel). They tend to be much quieter in operation than wheel-on trainers.

The smart/dumb distinction is when you've a program loaded onto your computer/tablet/phone that can control the resistance of the trainer. You load a workout into the program, start riding and the resistance varies throughout the workout and you don't even have to change gear.

There's three big players in the trainer software market: Zwift, Trainerroad & Sufferfest. All have their pros and cons and their fans and detractors. All require a monthly/yearly subscription which is usually around £12/month and a bit less for the annual plans. They also work with "dumb" trainers using what is known as virtual power where they have worked out the resistance of each trainer. In this case you have to change gear or cadence to change power output.

Probably best to find a second hand direct drive trainer. Whether you go for one of the subscription services is up to you. Just sitting on a trainer spinning away leaves me bored after about fifteen to twenty minutes but with the training software I've done up to two hours - you just split it down: this rest is five minutes long; this effort is two minutes; etc.

Late edit: why are you considering using a trainer? Unless it's specifically training for something I don't think I'd bother. Avoiding greasy roads in winter might be another.
Last edited by whitestone on Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry

Lazarus
Posts: 1320
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:49 am

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Lazarus » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:47 pm

My advice is try one first I doubt I have used mine more than 4 times
They are not for everyone as it is teribly dull IME and you need to want to excercise as its not a bike ride.
I would also rather go running and I hate running.

User avatar
Ray Young
Posts: 3238
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Ray Young » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:33 pm

Chew wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:16 pm
Or...spend that £100 on a good set of running shoes.

Over winter i've been getting into running.
In 30mins you can get a lot of exercise and it gets me out in all weathers, which is much preferable to sitting on a bit indoors.
Yes, I used to run cross country and enjoyed it. Unfortunately my lower back problem stops me running now, bulging discs compress the nerves causing pain when I run, nice idea though.

User avatar
Dave Barter
Posts: 2197
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:21 pm

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Dave Barter » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:23 pm

I’ve had both wheel on and direct drive. After direct drive could never go back. Zwift has been fantastic as well. I can get in an hours quality training most days when previously work/weather would have prevented. My wife has done many many more winter mikes than she normally would have. It’s no substitute for proper outdoors mind.
Elite keyboard warrior, DNF'er, Swearer

jameso
Posts: 3416
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:48 pm
Location: Chilterns

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by jameso » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:46 pm

Ray Young wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:52 pm
Are budget turbo trainers worth the money and if so can you recommend anything under £100. All it has to do is allow me to do a basic workout without falling apart and take a 29er wheel with a 1.5 road tyre fitted.
Yes, I have a basic Elite hydroforce trainer and you can get similar for not much over £100. Has always been fine for simple HR X time interval type of training. You can get an Elite Hydromag for £130 ish. But any decent, stable mag trainer will work fine. Hydro version can be worth the money over a basic mag trainer imo, the resistance levels are really consistent once it's all warmed up ime (takes less time than my legs do). Even the most basic trainers can give the right resistance if you use gears and tyre pressure though.

I prob should quantity this, I only use a trainer for either specific 45-50 min sessions that are too hard/focused to be boring as such, or 30 min recovery spins during actual training periods. I can go for a couple of years without using it if not actually training for something and yes, would rather go for a run than zwift etc if it's simply a case of getting in an hour of exercise. So the basic + effective school of turbo training is ok for me. Really don't like the things much :grin:

gloryhallelujahAl
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:25 am
Location: Wilds of Lancashire

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by gloryhallelujahAl » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:02 pm

I have the tacx flow smart trainer, got it from Halfords 2 years ago...but see they’re still selling it at a pretty good price £180.
It works great and has enabled me to get more miles in on Zwift than I ever imagined. Fully recommend. Appr3ciate it’s above budget but it’s all you’d ever need from a smart trainer!
Al
https://www.halfords.com/cycling/turbo- ... bo-trainer
Sanguis et Ignis

Thisisnotaspoon
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:36 pm

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Thisisnotaspoon » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:50 pm

My 2p.

The minoura magnetic resistance trainers, hypermag etc mostly share the same resistance units, just with different weight flywheels. And mostly have the same 1- 7 or L-1......5-H resistance levels so will work with trainerroad or sufferfest where you put it in one level and change resistance with the gears to match the virtual power with the workout.

They can generate plenty of resistance (in high youll run out of low gears unless you want to simulate really steep put the saddle stuff) and generally seem a bit quieter than other trainers ive used.

My 2p though, turbos are great for middling workouts, long stuff is really dull, short stuff you'll miss the lack of inertia. E.g you cant really do top gear standing start efforts on any turbo regardless of budget. The sort of 20min to 1minute intervals though they're great. But if you can stick to a plan they can make a big impact on your speed after 3/6 months regular use.

jamiep
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:34 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by jamiep » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:15 am

Ray, I think it is worth getting the smart one from Halfords. Ive got that too. Dumb ones may as well be a £50 exercise bike / clothes horse. 'Grand Road Tours' is free to use - I've not set that up yet though so cant comment.

If you get something from Halfords, I'll meet you with my British Cycling card - further 10% discount one anything cycling

User avatar
Piemonster
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:00 pm
Location: The Fife Riviera

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Piemonster » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:30 am

Second hand?

I might know someone* willing to part with an Elite Direto just over the Forth from Edinburgh.

*me

slarge
Posts: 1793
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:49 pm
Location: MTB mecca (Warwickshire)

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by slarge » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:43 am

I bought a Tacx Satori (dumb trainer) 10 years ago to help me back to recovery after breaking my leg. It did get used for a winter, then as it sat in the garage and became a chore I stopped using it. Now the last child has left home we've converted their old room to a gym, and I've set it back up with speed and cadence sensors (Garmin's) and a dongle for the laptop and it connects to Zwift. I'm trying to get motivated for some Zwift workouts, not quite there yet, but hoping it will happen. Bought a "cheap" power meter too so now the only thing lacking is the automatic resistance a smart trainer gives you, but if working to a power threshold I think that might not be that necessary.

If you have the motivation they can be great - I'd be tempted to go for a 2nd hand smart trainer - there must be thousands of lightly used one's sat in garages that people haven't found the motivation for yet......

User avatar
Ray Young
Posts: 3238
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Ray Young » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:09 am

Wow, I never expected so much information, thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond.
The reason I want one is due to the way my days pan out. I don't always get time to go ride but a half hour in the shed is feasible. As I'll only be doing short sessions I reckon a dumb one would be ok but I'll have a look around to see what's out there, both new and second hand.

User avatar
Moder-dye
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:32 pm
Location: Shetland
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Moder-dye » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:59 am

Tacx satori dumbo here with speed /cadence sensor and zwift in the shed with Spotify and I love it. Though I would love a direct drive & smart one but £££.

Started years back with an amazon £40 one, head torch and mp3 player in the shed so the above is luxury!

Without it I'd get far less exercise and cycling up here with the regular gales and rain. Regularly do an hour, occasionally a couple.

Was essential for my new knee rehab and doing hr based training. I'll continue using it a lot to get fit for next year's plans and get extended tempo & sweetspot sessions in.

I physically can't run and for all my longest walk has been 20km off piste since the new knee, daily walking of 5-6km soon gets achy.

Obviously riding out is what we all love, but I just see it as a necessary hour a day or what ever that means my real world rides are more fun as I'm maintaining or improving fitness.

User avatar
PaulB
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:07 am
Location: Nr Bakewell

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by PaulB » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:56 pm

We have had a number of variants all dumb including rollers. Tacx Satori which we didn't get on with, feel and power just didn't feel right. Powerops Fluid, great, much quiter than Satori but went bang (really) son is a hill climb specialist with silly power outputs and the turbo didn't like it. Replaced with Cycleops mag unit and another Satori. The Satori has been killed by him. The Cycleops mag has been consitent and durable, but nedds replacing this year probably with direct drive.
We do use various power devices and HR and cadence, the last two are essential ime. I have used the Time Crunched Cylist plans too great effect. The endurance plan works quite well if you have limited time. We are the type of people that like numbers even if it means having the sick bucket at the side of the turbo.
My son uses Zwift as a filler during the winter and has found it quite useful and enjoyable... He has learnt to use the pain to his advantage. On the other hand he is also an advocate of race in the rain, train in the rain, which has certainly been to his advantage both at home and internationaly.

Try some rollers for a bit of variation and keep the core working when you are not getting out on the trails. There are many workout suggestions available to develop skills and fitness.

Get one and use it. Its better than not getting on the bike. Use it with a bit of structure and big benefits can be gained. Try a GB 20 min warm-up as a good starter for fun.
Image

SeannyD
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:27 am
Location: Dalgety Bay, Fife

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by SeannyD » Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:57 pm

I have the Tacx flow, bought secondhand for £70, Use it with Zwift.
I recommend both as an easy way to get the miles in during winter.
I leave my road bike set up in it and then its just a matter of changing start Zwift and away you go. They have a few training programs, so I normally work my way through them. Thinking of trying Trainer Road as they have more training programmes that may suit me. Normally catch up on backlog of podcasts and audiobooks when on it. Beats cleaning muck off bikes and dodging myopic drivers at this time of year.

redefined_cycles
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:19 am
Location: Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by redefined_cycles » Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:27 pm

I burrowed one once from a buddy and after a month realised it wasn't for me. Was an Elite and worked nicely (although I was using my crank arm power meter so maybe this helped not getting too bored as I could at least see speeds and power data). The fun quickly died down though as it became unfun and I realised how much I love riding 'out n about'.

Personally my take on it is that its for the whippets and if you wanna explore if you'll like it, might be bettwr borrowing one from someone closeby (there's always someone with an unloved cheap turbo trainer living closeby apparently)...

Hope you make the right decision :grin:

User avatar
Bearbonesnorm
Posts: 18335
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:53 pm
Location: my own little world

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:02 pm

No idea whether it's any use because I try and avoid turbo trainers at all costs but I see SP have some deals on Jet Black trainers.

I love the way they're advertised with a picture of a bloke giving it some on his turbo ... on a beach, in warm weather, possibly surrounded by some great riding :wink:

https://www.sportpursuit.com/sales/jetb ... xY79kJXwB3
#corporate shill for hire

Cyclepeasant
Posts: 186
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:56 am

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Cyclepeasant » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:44 pm

Don't cha love the ads!
High up in a penthouse suite overlooking the minions down below as you "train" :lol:
The reality for 99.9% is a dingy ,damp garage or shed!
I'm with stu... Rather be outside!!
Insanity over vanity

User avatar
Ray Young
Posts: 3238
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Tell me about budget turbo trainers.

Post by Ray Young » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:28 pm

I decided to go the second hand route and picked up a mag elite trainer for £20 so I'm happy with that.

Post Reply