Best Turbo Trainers Review 2013
Find your perfect winter training partner in our best triathlon turbo trainer review.
How we test
Each turbo trainer was tested with the same road bike, with the rear tyre inflated to 120psi. We couldn’t guarantee exactly the same tyre-to-roller pressure for each turbo but we did our best to make sure it was as close as possible.
We assessed them using several criteria, including ease of set-up, number of useful features, price, noise, time for the flywheel to stop after a sprint and how they felt to ride compared with riding on the road. Many turbo trainers lack that sensation of momentum, which means your pedalling style is not the same as on the road. This isn’t crucial for building your fitness but we’ve always felt that mimicking road feel makes turbo sessions that bit more bearable.
1. Beto Airflow
It may be cheap but this Beto fan resistance trainer has little else to recommend it other than being easy to set up and relatively stable when you’re riding on it. There’s no adjustable resistance on the turbo, which means you’re stuck with whatever it comes with. And this is not good: it took just four seconds for the rear wheel to stop after a sprint. That resistance resulted in the choppiest, ugliest pedalling motion we’ve ever managed on a bike and it’s loud when in use. It’s so far removed from the reality of riding a bike that, unless you’re desperate to ride your bike indoors, we’d recommend you save your cash and get a better model, or rent a WattBike for a couple of months
Yes it’s cheap, but its choppy action means it definitely is not cheerful.
2. CycleOps Classic Mag trainer
A budget turbo trainer that’s fit for purpose, the CycleOps Classic Mag is an ideal entry-level turbo. It has five resistance settings which are not adjustable remotely, but you can still use your gears like you would on the road. We found the lowest two settings would suit most riders, and maintaining a decent cadence wasn’t a problem – it gave a surprisingly good rolling feel. We had no slip when sprinting and time to a standstill from a max effort was 16 seconds on the lowest resistance setting. For a little extra motivation, it comes with a Race Day DVD to help your training programme.
Great value turbo trainer for beginners , with the lack of remote the only minor issue .
3. Elite Novo Force
The Novo Force magnetic trainer from Elite is an entry-level turbo. It features five resistance settings, operated from the handlebar, which we found were adequate for any workout we would want to do indoors. It’s fairly quiet by turbo standards – a high-pitched whine rather than the sound of a jumbo taking off in your living room. Its lowest setting offers a comfortable spinning resistance for recovery sessions or rest intervals, and although it didn’t feel as road-like as the Kinetic Magnetic, it wasn’t bad. After a sprint it took 38 seconds for the rear wheel to stop on the lowest resistance setting, which we’d put right in the middle of the acceptable range for this basic inertia test.
Solid performer that is let down by its high price for an entry-level turbo .
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