Picking the Right Bike Trainer
As I have jumped right into my training for my Ironman, I have been receiving a lot of questions about the bike. Specifically, indoor bike training.
There are a lot of things that I want to talk about in regards to this so I am breaking it out into a series. This week, we will chat about the different types of trainers and which ones are best for your training.
First of all – why train indoors at all? Believe it or not, I get such fantastic workouts on the bike that I doubt I will do my intervals on the road, even when it gets nice out. I will most likely end up moving my trainer onto my new deck! Why?
For one, I really like that you don’t need to stop. Having more pedal strokes over an hour of training will add up to a better cyclist. Secondly, it is safer. Remember that time I went through the windshield of a car? No matter what reason you choose for training indoors, it doesn’t need to be painful.
First, you need your bike and a trainer. There are many different types of trainers.
This is a cost efficient option and great for entry level and these are the little guys you find at spin classes. The faster you pedal, the more resistance they create because pedalling powers a fan that provides resistance. Cheap and cheerful, but loud AF because of the wind and doesn’t simulate the feel of the road all that well. The best-rated wind trainer is the CycleOps Wind Trainer which retails for $229.49 new.
The next step up the ladder, it is a great economical start trainer as well and much quieter. It’s a magnetic flywheel which creates resistance for the rear tire but it really is limited with the amount of resistance it provides so if you are planning on taking cycling seriously, you may quickly outgrow it. One of the best rated magnetic trainers is CycleOps Mag + Trainer which retails for $270 new.
This is the one that I use. Essentially, resistance the faster you pedal, the more resistance that is created, giving you a solid workout. It mimics how a road feels but I find that sometimes when I switch into a high gear too quickly, it shoots my power up. I train on this one and the highest rated one is the Kinetic Road Machine which retails for about $450.
These are amazing. Basically, they use computer software, often connected through Bluetooth to change the resistance on your trainer. You also get feedback on power, heart rate and a lot of other data. I find these to be a little less portable than other options and the price is a lot more. The Kickr, which is the one that I have trained on, retails for $1600. These trainers are stable and more interactive but are definitely made for more serious training.
I will be continuing this series on Workout Wednesday next week, chatting about programs and accessories to spice up your trainer. This is just a basic look at what you need to know to get started.
A few tips as you get started:
- Lay down a towel or a mat under your bike. You WILL sweat a lot and it will protect your floor.
- Consider getting a trainer tire for your bike or using an old tire. Trainers are hard on tires and wear out tread and casing quickly. A trainer-specific tire is a more hefty casing and tread and is not recommended for outdoor use.
- If price is a concern, consider buying used. There are lots of great options on sales sites or facebook buying groups. Just do your research and know what you want in advance.
If you are a local rider or are interested in getting into cycling, I am joining forces with Ziggys Cycle Shop to put an an Indoor Trainer night next week. You can try out some different trainers, eat some delicious snacks from the Skratch Labs cookbook and chat with myself and some other riders from the Liv Giant cycling ambassador team about any questions you may have. It is at the bike shop (417 King St W, Kitchener, ON) from 7 – 8:30 PM. I wasn’t able to address all of your questions in this post so I will be sharing some live videos of the event on my Instagram.
Happy Wednesday everyone!