Welcome to Vikao, home of the best turbo trainer reviews for 2016 & 2017, cycling tech and training resources. Along with our comprehensive range of bike trainer reviews, Vikao also features a comprehensive range of Zwift guides & how-tos, indoor training workouts & advice, plus we take a look at the best supplements for cycling performance and the potential benefits they may bring. Aiming to be your complete and comprehensive turbo training think tank, Vikao is written by, and for cyclists. Vikao riders delve deep into the world of turbo training, to bring you up to date reviews on the latest and best bike trainers on the market. We look to help you maximize your time spent training indoors by providing you with details and advice on the best workouts to give you the biggest bang for your buck. The boom in indoor training popularity provides for a rapidly evolving marketplace of classic trainers and smart trainers, along with a huge array of training accessories for the consumer to choose from. At Vikao we aim to filter out the good from the bad and bring you only, the best products that need considering. Natural health supplements for cyclists and the potential performance-boosting and recovery effects they may bring is another area we offer our readers insight. With articles and reviews on the best supplements for cycling, you’re sure to be in the know when it comes to achieving optimum recovery and performance. Looking to intensify your indoor training workouts? Why not get started by reading some of our product reviews, or maybe our best smart trainer guide. The Zwift Virtual World Guide is also a recommended read and great place to start.
What Are Turbo Trainers?
If you are unable to get outdoors to train on your bike, an indoor bike trainer, (aka turbo trainer or bicycle trainer) may well be the answer. These bike trainers allow you to mount the rear wheel of your bike to the unit so that you can pedal as normal indoors, but still get the resistance that you would get from road cycling. If you live in a region where bad weather is a factor or where you simply don’t have a good riding area nearby, indoor training can prove to be a great replacement for the real thing. Turbo’s allow you to get a great workout without having to endure awful weather or dangerous road conditions. They are also great for those cyclists who have a limited amount of time in their daily or weekly schedule. You can easily get in a great training session on a turbo when you just don’t have time to go outside.
Types Of Turbo Trainers Explained
There are different types of bike trainers, and the kind that you choose will come down to the amount of resistance you want to feel as you ride. When you are out on the road, you will encounter hills and other obstacles that will change the resistance during your training session. This is also what you want to experience when exercising indoors on a turbo.
Magnetic Turbo Trainers
A magnetic field is what creates the resistance on these units. Once your back wheel is resting on the roller, a magnetic unit delivers the resistance once you start pedaling. The benefit of these types of trainers is that you can use a handlebar-mounted trigger unit to increase or decrease the resistance you are pushing against at any given time. It’s an excellent way to mimic a hilly ride in the comfort of your own home.
Fluid Turbo Trainers
In fluid trainers, it is a propeller that provides the necessary resistance, with said propeller located in a chamber filled with fluid. Fluid trainers are instantly recognizable thanks to the cooling fins seen on the fluid chamber. This is the way to go if you’re looking for a steadier resistance than what you get from a magnetic system, as you change the resistance by changing the gears on your bike, which feels more natural.
Virtual Reality Turbo Trainers
Your computer gets involved with these virtual reality trainers, as the resistance is controlled via your PC. There is a fun aspect to using a VR system in that you can ride real courses and race against fellow riders. The computer automatically sets the resistance on these units based on the real-world course you are riding.
Wind Turbo Trainers
These wind trainers may be a little harder to find, as the noise created by the fans on these units is louder than most people care for. They are similar to the resistance set-up of a fluid unit in that you control it via the gears on your bike.
Direct Drive Turbo Trainers
Direct drive trainers are a fairly new development in the indoor cycling world, and they work by removing the rear wheel of your bike and resting the drop-outs on the unit. You do need to add a cassette to these turbo’s, but the benefit here is that you will not wear out the tread on your tire as you ride. Other benefits of the direct drive system include a much quieter ride, as well as a more stable unit overall.
Smart Turbo Trainers
Smart trainers use Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone, computer or iPad, which results in a wide range of available training options. This is perhaps the most advanced indoor training system currently available, as you have a growing number of applications, both free and paid, for Android and Apple phones, with each app offering something a little different.
When looking at buying a turbo, a very common question asked is “What turbo trainer is compatible with my bike?” Fortunately, this is not something you really need worry about anymore. Nowadays, almost all road bikes are compatible for use with the vast array of turbo’s currently available on the market. Even most mountain bikes are compatible if you put a slick rear tire on and attach the supplied rear wheel quick release. Using knobbly Mtb tires can lead to loud, heavy vibrations that will make turbo training a pretty unbearable experience. With most modern turbo’s offering great compatibility, the only type of bike that isn’t likely to be suitable is a BMX. The rear triangle is simply too narrow and the wheels too small. Whatever bike you end up using on your turbo trainer ideally look to use a turbo trainer specific tire if possible. These tires are far more durable than normal tires when used on a bike trainer and reduce tire slippage quite significantly. Always make sure to check your tires are running the correct pressure too. For a rough guide, look for 90-110 psi on a road bike and 60psi on a mountain bike.
Turbo Trainer Frames & Mounting Systems
When looking at purchasing a turbo trainer it is also wise to take into consideration the trainers mounting system and frame. A bike trainer is an excellent tool when it comes to warming up at events like races and time trials. If this is important to you, then you need to make sure the bike trainer you buy is a portable one, meaning the unit frame is foldable. A lot of the new direct drive turbo trainers are not foldable and also most smart trainers require mains power, meaning both these types of trainers may not be the best option for you if portability is a top priority. When it comes to mounting a bike on a turbo trainer, you have two options. Firstly you have the classic mounting system that requires you to replace your quick release with a stronger one provided. The turbo trainer frame then clamps onto the quick release, clamping the rear wheel and bike securely into place. The second option is the use of a direct drive system. When using a direct drive trainer, the rear wheel is removed and the frames rear dropouts are clamped directly onto the unit using a provided quick release. Direct drive trainers are more expensive but do offer a much better user experience, eliminating tire slippage and offering a much more responsive ride when performing sprint intervals. They also utilize much heavier flywheels creating a far more realistic and life like ride feel compared to classic bike trainers.