The Best Smart Bike Trainers for 2021: For Indoor Bike Training
Best riders don’t just happen; they are a result of continuous training and hardwork. However, maintaining a good training schedule can be quite difficult when the weather conditions outside get bad. For instance, rainy and windy weather conditions can bar a person from cycling outdoors.
It is not just poor weather conditions that can keep a person off the road. There are other uncontrollable factors that can interfere with a good training routine, such as rush hour traffic. This reality is what makes bike trainers very valuable tools.
A bike trainer is an equipment that makes it possible to ride a bike, usually kept at a stationary position. This equipment includes a frame, which lifts the rear wheel a few inches off the ground, making it possible for a rider to cycle indoors, while remaining in a stationary position. And with advanced features you can simulate different road features – keeping you ready for the real thing.
5 Best Smart Bike Trainers
Tacx Flux S Direct Drive Smart Trainer
This bike trainer is one of the most sophisticated trainers available in the market today. It is a ‘smart’ bike trainer, which means that the equipment can be connected to other smart devices or computers. The Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver bike trainer is compatible with Apple devices, Android tablets and other smartphones.
A high-power motor is used to facilitate motion of the bike trainer. This motor works very quietly, ensuring a quiet training experience which does not cause any distractions to other people in the house or the neighbors. The quiet working of the high-powered motor is due to the low revolutions that it makes each minute. This motor is responsible for the accurate simulation of the ascents and descents made.
The Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver bike trainer is very easy to move around and store. This is because it has a compact design, and can also be folded to fit into small spaces. Even with such a compact design, the bike trainer has a very high stability and strength.
The bike trainer can be used wireless, without plugging it in. Alternatively, a person can hook the trainer to a power source so as to use it. Either way, the bike trainer will work just as effectively. It is also designed with a large footprint, which provides a comfortable and spacious stepping place for all feet sizes.
- Resistance: magnetic
- Foldable: no/ Wireless: ANT+ / Bluetooth
- Includes: Quick-release Skewer for road bikes and mountain bikes [5mm] / 1 month Tacx Premium Software
- Dimensions: 26.4 x 25.3 x 18.1in
- Weight: 22.8kg (50.3lbs)
Wahoo KICKR Core Smart Bike Trainer
The new advancements made in the Elite Drivo Interactive bike trainer have created a version that displays a higher accuracy, stability and response. The equipment is usually connected wireless.
This white bike trainer works very quietly, hence, do not cause any disturbances to other people. Also, the working of the trainer is usually interactive and uses the direct drive technology. Having direct drive technology in its system means that the motor directly drives the bike trainer. This eliminates the need for including any other gear boxes in the system.
The Elite Drivo Interactive bike trainer uses the ‘smart’ technology. It consists of both ANT+ and Bluetooth apps, and can therefore be connected wireless to other smart devices. The bike trainer is also incorporated with other ‘smart’ apps, such as My training app, Zwift and Trainer road. These apps function very well on the bike trainer, as though they were working on any other smart gadget.
Also, this bike trainer provides very high power outputs at lower speeds. Such high outputs make it possible to simulate the slopes of the bike trainer to a maximum of 22%. These power outputs can be measured and controlled using the ergometer, which is usually integrated in the bike trainer. The Elite Drivo Interactive bike trainer can, therefore, be used for moderate intensive workouts.
Tacx Neo 2T Smart One Color, One Size
This particular version of bike trainers is an advancement of the older Neo 2 bike trainer. It builds upon the good qualities of the older version, and adds some new features of its own. It includes a high-powered motor, which is responsible for the Tacx Neo 2T Smart bike trainer being among the top most powerful bike trainers in the market. The working of this motor is also very quiet, so the equipment can be used indoors without causing any distractions and disturbances.
The designing of the Tacx Neo 2T Smart bike trainer is aimed at providing a comfortable and relaxing riding experience, which almost feels like riding on the outdoors. Being a ‘smart’ bike trainer, it can be connected to different training apps, such as Zwift. These training apps not only help a rider meet their fitness or athletic goals, but also promote entertaining and fun peddling sessions.
The axle compatibility of the Tacx Neo 2T Smart bike trainer is one of a kind. The trainer equipment can fit almost every type and design of bikes sold in the market. Its high compatibility makes it very convenient for riders, as they can easily use and swap different bikes, without worrying about compatibility of the trainers with the bicycles.
Like the other best bike trainers, this trainer is ‘smart.’ It is compatible with ANT+, with Cycling Dynamics being incorporated into the trainer’s structure. This smart addition makes it possible to make a wireless connection of the bike trainer to third party software. This wireless connection makes it easy for the user to monitor their output.
Furthermore, the motor incorporated in the trainer’s firmware consists of several strong magnets. These magnets provide a user with more torque, such that the slippery feel of the bike trainer is eliminated.
- A More Comfortable Ride: NEO 2T Smart reacts instantly to speed or incline changes and allows for movement to the left and right while cycling, following the natural course of your body
- Powerfully Built: NEO 2T Smart features a new motor design that delivers more power at low speeds, resulting in a highly improved ride feel during a climb or acceleration
- Ultimate Immersion: When connected to an external power source, descent simulation accurately simulates a downhill drive
- Ready to Sprint: 32 integrated neodymium magnets allow for a high brake force and high power levels
- Able to Stand Alone: You can opt to use the trainer in stand-alone mode. When not connected, it will simulate a flat road; the faster you ride, the higher the resistance
Saris CycleOps H Series Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer
The Saris CycleOps H Series bike trainer is very popular for its ability to work very quietly. Its quiet aspect makes it possible to use it in a home setting, without worrying about distracting other family members or neighbors.
Like its name suggests, this bike trainer is incorporated with the direct drive technology. Using this technology, the motor is connected directly to the trainer and is responsible for the general driving of the trainer. The inclusion of the direct drive technology, therefore, eliminates the need for any other gear boxes or equipment used in the trainer.
Riders, or even inexperienced beginners, can use this bike trainer to meet their specific fitness goals. This is because the trainer offers a high quality and precise training to users, having a power accuracy of +/-2%. Furthermore, the trainer is designed with an electromagnetic resistance, which ensures that each cycling session is measured. This makes it possible for a rider to control and ensure the consistency of their workout.
The Saris CycleOps H Series bike trainer package eliminates any need for external sensors. The trainer system is installed with smart apps which measure and display the speed and power of the bike trainer. These in-built apps help the users to calibrate the bike trainer, such that it fits their workout and fitness goals.
Also, the bike trainer can be connected to other indoor cycling apps, as it includes both ANT+ and Bluetooth. The other good thing about this bike trainer is that it is compatible with most of the bikes sold in the market today. This makes it possible for a user to comfortably swipe bikes on the Saris CycleOps H Series bike trainer.
- QUIETER THAN EVER: All new drive system shaves decibels off previous generations. Noise level: 59 decibels at 20 mph
- PRECISE TRAINING: +/- 2% accuracy
- CONTROLLED & CONSISTENT: Electromagnetic resistance provides a measured workout every time
- CONNECTIVITY: Connects to indoor cycling apps with dual ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS standards. Zwift and BKOOL certified. Includes one month subscription to Rouvy virtual training app
- COMPATIBILITY: Thru-axle compatible for rear hub widths of 142 mm or 148 mm. Quick-release compatible for rear hub widths of 130 mm and 135 mm. Compatible with Shimano/SRAM 8-11 speed cassettes
Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart 2
The Kinetic R1 Direct Drive Smart bike trainer is a multi-device type of a trainer. This means that it is a ‘smart’ trainer, which is compatible with almost all smart devices and computers. The bike trainer can be connected wireless to Android phones and tablets, IOS devices, iPhones, iPads, Mac laptops and Windows computers.
The system of the bike trainer is incorporated with both ANT+ and Bluetooth, which makes it possible to connect to these devices, as well as other training apps, such as Zwift, FulGaz and Kinomap. These two softwares also give the Kinetic R1 Direct Drive Smart bike trainer its compatibility with Garmin computers.
The direct drive smart technology is used to make this bike trainer. This technology makes the trainer very interactive, and gives it the ability to move naturally. This is because the trainer’s motor moves the trainer directly, without engaging any other gear machinery.
This bike trainer is also designed with several apps, which can be used to control the resistance of the trainer and simulate terrain changes during a workout. The maximum resistance which can be simulated is 2000 watts, at a speed of 30mph, and usually provides very accurate ascents and descents.
Storage of this bike trainer is very simple. This is because the feet of the trainer can be folded, narrowing the entire structure of the trainer, such that it can be easily stored. To facilitate easier movement and portability of the bike trainer, large carrying handles have been built into the structure. More so, the frame of the trainer can be moved side-by-side, to provide more comfort. The Kinetic R1 Direct Drive Smart bike trainer simply provides its users with a more comfortable and realistic cycling experience.
- Patented frame mimics real-road movement
- Progressive fluid resistance for a quiet, realistic ride
- Compatible with apps like Kinetic Fit, Swift, Trainer Road, and Fit on operating on Bluetooth Smart- or ANT+-connected phones, tablet, and computers
- 6.25 pound flywheel for superior ride feel
- Includes a FREE 1-month subscription to the premium Smart package in the Kinetic Fit power-training app. (lifetime use of Fit Core)
10 Ways to Get the Most Benefit from your Bike Trainer
Just like any other modern technology, a bike trainer guarantees maximum benefit only when used properly. The following are 10 ways on how you can get the most benefit from your bike trainer;
1.) Ensure the Bike is Properly Set on the Trainer
This should always be the first thing you do when you get your bike trainer. Each bike trainer package comes with its associated instructions on how to assemble and use the bike. Read these instructions very carefully, and follow the exact instructions on how to attach your bike safely. If there are some points that you don’t understand, you can try calling the customer care and asking for clarification, or even visiting the physical shop if it is within reach.
Reading and following the instructions is very important. It not only ensures that the bike system is attached safely, but also guarantees that you will get the most out of your properly-set bike trainer.
2.) Install a Stabilizer Block on the Front Wheel
Normally, all bike trainers are designed in such a way that, when they are set-up, the rear wheel will be lifted off the floor by a few inches. The lifting of the rear wheel may cause the front wheel to start swaying sideways. This, in turn, would force the rider to regularly have to adjust the bike’s handlebars and keep them straight; an annoying activity which could distract their peddling.
In order to avoid this, install a stabilizer block on the front wheel. This block raises the front wheel to fit the height of the rear wheel, such that the bike remains at its normal riding position.
3.) Calibrate Your Bike Trainer
The power readings of bike trainers are usually affected by factors such as, rises and drops in temperature, movement or even the general normal use of the bike. The disruption of these readings can interfere with the user’s fitness goals, such that achievement of these goals take longer than anticipated.
This is why regular calibration of the bike is important. And, especially should you calibrate your bike if your regularly move it or swipe bikes.
4.) Keep Peddling
If you intend to get the most benefit out of your bike trainer, then you need to continue peddling even during the rest sessions. Continued peddling during the resting intervals ensure that your body gets active recovery. Active recovery usually boosts a person’s blood flow, making their body more ready for the next peddling session.
5.) Adjust the Difficulty
For each peddling sessions, it is recommended that you make several adjustments to the bike trainer difficulty settings. Adjusting the difficulty means that you make the climbs easier, then alternate to make the climbs more difficult, in a repetitive manner throughout the session.
Adjusting the difficulty of the trainer is essential, as it provides an almost actual/real riding experience, as if riding on the outdoors. Therefore, the rider gets the exact benefit out of their bike trainer, as they would when riding outdoors.
6.) Make Advance Plans for your Peddling Sessions
Planning on how you are going to spend your peddling session can greatly help a person get the most out of their bike trainer. When a person makes advance plans, they can determine what workouts they will do and what difficulty levels to achieve. These workout can be chosen to fit their fitness goals.
7.) Determine Your Goals
When you are training on a bike trainer, you should determine what your long-run goals are. For example, if you are training for a road bike, you will need to keep your head up and shoulders straightened. On the other hand, if you are training for time trials, you should maintain the aero position. Knowing your goals, therefore, will help you make the right focus on your form, which will give you the most benefit.
8.) Troubleshoot Your Connection
When your house (or, the neighborhood) has several wireless connections, these could disrupt the bike trainer’s signal, causing problems in its connectivity. Some of these connectivity problems caused could lead to power dropouts during the peddling sessions.
In order to avoid such inconveniences, troubleshoot your connection. Doing so will prevent any signal disruptions, ensuring a continuous peddling experience.
9.) Dress for the Training
When your are peddling on your bike trainer, you should wear the same training clothes that your would put on when riding outdoors. These could be cycling shorts or jerseys. Wearing these cycling-specific clothes ensures that you get the same comfort and sweat management, as they offer when riding on the outside. The dress code also includes a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.
10.) Have Fun
Continued peddling sessions can get really boring after some days, if all you do is just peddle passively. Try doing some fun activities while peddling, to make each session exciting. For instance, you can set up your bike trainer in front of a TV, so that you can watch your favorite sports or shows as you train. Alternatively, you can connect your device to a Bluetooth speaker and listen to your favorite music.
Doing the things that you love while exercising, can motivate you to stick to your plan. And, only when you stick to your training plan can you get the most out of your bike trainer, and achieve your fitness goals.
Features of the Best Bike Trainers
With more and more bike trainers being developed in the market today, determining just which trainer to get can be quite tough. After all, even the older bike trainers are being developed producing versions with the same features as the modern trainers. Here is a guide on what features you should look out for in order to choose the best bike trainer;
1.) The ‘Smart Technology’
The ‘smart technology’ feature goes without saying. Each of the best bike trainers in the market is ‘smart.’ This means that the bike trainers can be connected to other devices and computers, through either Bluetooth or Ant+. Being ‘smart’ also means that a rider can control the resistance of the bike trainer, using indoor cycling apps.
2.) Potential Resistance
The potential resistance of a bike trainer refers to the power output that can a person can train on, before the trainer shuts down. The best bike trainers offer high watts of power. This makes it possible for the trainers to be used by all individuals; from beginners to the advanced riders. The high power resistance of the bike trainers accommodates all people since it offers both low power output for beginners and highest power output for those training for serious races.
Obviously, the best bike trainers work quietly, and do not cause any disturbances to other people in the room, or neighbors. Most of these bike trainers which work quietly are the fluid trainers. However, if you have a secluded place, or a room insulated from sound, then the noise factor won’t probably be a big deal to you.
Training on a bike is a long-term process, as the bike is designed to be used for many more years to come. Also, sometimes the riding involves very long distances, or even intense exercises. This calls for high durability on the part of the bike trainer.
The best bike trainers are able to support the long running and intense workouts done on the bike, without causing any damages. These bike trainers are highly durable, and go on for many years without requiring any maintenance or repairs.
5.) Trainer Compatibility
This is usually a rare issue, but it is something that you should always look out for when getting a bike trainer. The best trainers should be compatible with the bike, such that they work well together. You should especially consider the compatibility of your trainer with your bike, if your bike has a unique fancy addition on its rear part.
If a bike trainer is to offer the most benefit to its rider, the difficulty setting should be easily adjustable. The best bike trainers have a built-in adjusting option in their design. This option makes it possible for the user to vary their workouts from gentle to intense, if they prefer so.
Bike trainers should be stored well after use. Poor movement and storage of the bike trainer can lead to damaging of some structures, or even interfere with the power readings. The best bike trainers minimize all these possible consequences, by ensuring that these bikes can be carefully stored. For instance, some of the bike trainers are designed in foldable versions, which makes them very portable and easy to store.
8.) Ease of Use
Using a bike trainer should be very simple. The top leading bike trainers in the market incorporate the latest technologies in their systems, so as to make the trainers easier to understand and use. Their ease of use makes it even possible for beginners and the inexperienced to use the bike trainers. Bike trainers that are easy to use provide motivated training sessions.
It is not an uncommon thing to hear of bike trainer crashes. This is why the stability of the bike trainer is an important consideration for all those looking to buy one. Crashes usually happen when trainers try to beat their PR during a workout, hence, intensifying their workouts. The best bike trainers offer high bike stability, such that even highly intense workouts cannot crash the bike. In order to create more bike stability, most of the best bike trainers consist of a leveling feature, which can be used on uneven grounds.
You may be intending to train for an event. Or, you simply love riding and wish to incorporate it in your daily exercise routine. Whatever the case, a bike trainer would prove to be the ideal tool for you. Training on a bike trainer will provide you with all the benefits that outdoor riding provides, and even much more. So, get yourself a bike trainer today; every penny that you spent will indeed be worth it.