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Published on February 6th, 2017 | by Start Cycles


BLOG: Feeling Turbo Charged?

When colder and miserable days arrive, going on out on your bike is one of the last things you want to do – almost.

There’ll be some of you reading this, which are thinking; “Cold? What cold?!” as you brave the elements to clock in your ride.

However, the rest of you will want to try avoid getting soaked or feel the nip of the fresh morning or evening air, so, you take to the turbo.

Turbo-Trainers-Elite-MatWhat is a Turbo Trainer, we hear you ask? Well, in a nut shell, they are a static device that allows you to bank your cycling miles/km in stationary position, within the confinements of your very own home.

If you watched the Olympics or been to a cycling event, you would have seen athletes warming up on these either before they are due to compete and in between rounds of the competition. Some look different to others, which is true and price does dictate what you want from the trainer.

It should be mentioned that not everyone prefers using them, however. Like some runners and treadmills, they find it boring or out of touch for getting outside but if they had the option to use one, they would, crazy isn’t it?

When you look at the different types of the turbos, the vast majority are attached or clamped via the rear wheel from the quick release. There are the rollers, which you see being used by the track cyclist, in particular, but they are tricky to use at first and balance is a huge must to use them, as they do move laterally.

There are four popular types available, which generate different outputs when you use them, of course, as technology develops over time so do the intricacies of the equipment. For instance, the rise of smart turbos, more so for the beginner/those looking to switch up training, these allow you to plot routes or specific sessions for training.

So how many types are there and what categories do they fall under?


For those looking for a quieter option here, the fluid turbo could be a shout for you.

These work via a propeller or impeller, however you wish to describe the part, being moved within an oil-filled casing/chamber. This simply provides a smoother ride as well as a steadier resistance, increasing and decreasing as you float between gears.


These are perfect for those looking to get started in using a turbo.

As the name suggests, this piece of kit relies on magnetic fields incorporate resistance into your training when the metal plate is engaged or starts spinning. The output that you get from this is a more realistic ride, although the fluidity is slightly compromised because the magnets.

It also provides the option of changing the resistance of output needed via the dial or knob that is supplied, along the lines of an exercise bike you find in the gym. The downside here is, although it’s a great base to start from, they are noisy!

Direct Drive

The newest out of the types of turbos out there, the direct drive is without a shadow of a doubt, the bulkiest and more expensive but definitely provides the most consistent output for use.

Noticeably, unlike the other machines out available, this one do not require a rear wheel, meaning you save a bit of cash by not having to purchase a specific wheel or worry about constantly changing them from time to time.

It works by hooking your bike up via the cassette, some models may have them attached already for a simple attachment, we must add.

Once you get going, it provides a more realistic road feel, perfect if you just wanted to beat the weather and need to log your training miles in the bank, while offering greater stability at the same time.



Also going by the name of air turbos, these, along with the magnetic turbos, are quite popular with new riders and those not familiar with them, mostly due the price of them, however, the popularity of them are decreasing.

When you attach your bike to them and begin to pedal, the air flow acts as a resistance for your ride. The downside here is, if you wanted to change up the resistance, you can only use the gears on your bike and the noise generated is quite loud too.

VR Trainers

As briefly mentioned regarding technology, the set up with how trainers are now and available is constantly on the rise. You’d normally see Virtual Reality Turbos within professional teams or some specific gyms, some may have been lucky to purchase them for homes, with a screen showing the route, providing superb visuals.

These days, VR trainers now offer the option of allowing you to cycle with other online users and enjoy the climbs, descends and views of some of the most well-known routes in the world, you can even have a go at a Tour De France leg, however, there are downsides to this.

You do have to be constantly connected to your internet, obviously, and the software is powered via your computer, so wires along with cable management would also play its part here.

Some would say that using this takes away the experience of getting outdoors for your ride, which, understandably, we get but you don’t have to use it all the time. It’s probably best to try when the day isn’t great for weather or you just fancy taking a steady ride.

We hope that his offers a little bit of clarity with what is available out there and, if it does awaken your curiosity regarding this blog, we do have a link to our Turbos and accessories for them available via HERE for you to check out.


Let us know what you think, is there any trainers out there you feel we should have mentioned? Do you use them? Let us know via our Twitter and Facebook pages!

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Written By Start Cycles