by David Richards (Croydon Cycleworks & GradientBlue Cycling coach)
Some days the weather outside is just not conducive to pleasant riding. Or perhaps you have a coach and they have outlined some specific power or heart rate based intervals. Perhaps you want to try a climb on the other side of the world or maybe try a race in a less hectic environment. Or perhaps you just want to try something a little different to your usual loop. A good indoor trainer will enable you to do all of these and more. We stock two main brands of trainers in Tacx and Wahoo, and I will walk through the options a little later in this article.
Some days the weather is just rubbish. Perhaps it’s raining, or you can only fit your ride in very early or very late in the day and well…. you just don’t feel that safe at those times. Hey sometimes we all feel that way and by the way, that’s normal and ok. Indoor trainers are perfect for these moments when the weather is foul or you are time crunched. When my youngest was a baby, I got many a session in during her middle of the day nap. Without the indoor trainer I would have missed many rides.
Also as a coach of cycling athletes, there are some days I want them to do something quite specific to an event they may be preparing for soon. Sometimes I want them to stay within a certain training zone, which the nature of riding on the road will not allow as the gradient changes, traffic stops or traffic lights interrupt an interval. My athletes can execute a session with far more certainty of the outcome on an indoor trainer than perhaps they could on the road. These sessions are created by myself, designed to guide the athletes through the session and my athletes will download them onto their bike computer, sync up to their indoor trainer and away they go. There are a number of apps out there with pre-written training sessions as well.
However its more than that for my athletes. They may be preparing for an event. As long as they know the route of the course, which has invariably been ridden before, that can be loaded into their bike computer and coupled with some indoor trainers, will simulate the load required for the ride. It enhances preparation for an event that is too far to travel to for reconnaissance. Other systems, such as Fulgaz will enable you to ride, see and experience the climbs of the world from your own home. It’s quite unique.
Sometimes riders are just after something a little different. There are a multitude of online apps or systems that can take you to a virtual riding environment or even climb pre-recorded climbs from around the globe such as Alpe d’Huez or even Passo Stelvio. They are hugely popular. Zwift is perhaps the largest with in excess of one million subscribers from all over the world. It creates a virtual world, where you can ride with other people in real time and you will all appear on the screen when you are riding. The variety of Zwift is outstanding. From riding their native island of Watopia, through to UCI World Championship courses of Richmond, Virginia and Innsbruck, Austria. My personal favourite would be riding through London.
Tacx have a broad range of indoor trainers from the BlueTwist (RRP$249) through to the Tacx Flux S (RRP$1049) as the base Tacx Smart Trainer, and finally, the all singing all dancing Tacx Neo2 (RRP$1899). The Tacx NEO2 has been known for a while as the quietest and most feature rich trainer. Not only does it offer integration with 3rd party applications such as Zwift, it also offers a more realistic experience, such as riding on cobblestones actually feels like riding on cobblestones. One great feature of this Smart Trainer is you do not need to be plugged into power to create resistance. Perfect for pre-race warm up.
We also stock the Wahoo Range, which is not as broad, however does deliver a great product for the money. Wahoo Kickr SNAP (RRP$649) is their budget Smart Trainer option. The Kickr Core (RRP$1200) is great value for money as a direct drive trainer. While the latest Wahoo Kickr, offers perhaps the quietest solution but the best true thru-axle option for the indoor trainer market.