Best bikes to use on a turbo trainer to keep you fit through the winter
You might struggle to motivate yourself to get out on your bike during the cold winter months. However, if you have races in the summer or want to keep fit during winter, your best option is to invest in a turbo trainer to help keep up your cycling regime in your home when the weather is bad or cold outside.
You can choose between two turbo trainer types, a regular (wheel-on) or direct-drive. Typically, turbo trainers allow you to use most bikes, as the determining compatibility factor is primarily the wheel size, cassette or axle type. However, with adaptors, you can widen this pool. Make sure to check your bike compatibility before you purchase your turbo trainer to avoid disappointment. So, to help, we’ve written an ultimate guide to help you discover the best bikes to use on a turbo trainer.
Table of Contents
- Wheel-on turbo trainers
- Direct-drive turbo trainers
- Our turbo trainers and bike compatibility
Wheel-on turbo trainers
A wheel-on turbo trainer uses the back tyre of your bike to roll a metal or composite drum, which then drives the turbo. These work best with road bikes. However, you can use any bike type, like a mountain bike, if the trainer caters for wider wheels. We recommend using a clincher tyre instead of your regular race or mountain bike tyres to reduce sound and damaging friction from using a road tyre. A clincher tyre will give you a better home trainer experience and save your road tyres from damage.
Use the steel skewer provided so the bike sits in the correct position in the trainer mounts and the clamps don’t damage the wheel.
Direct-drive turbo trainers
A direct-drive turbo requires replacing the back tyre with the turbo trainer, and your cassette drives the turbo. These turbo trainers give you a more stable and quieter drive because of less friction. Again, you can use most types of bikes on these turbo trainers. If you are using a mountain bike with full suspension, you need to lock it out so it is stable and you can pedal more efficiently.
With a direct-drive turbo trainer, you need to know how to take off a back wheel. Before you purchase a direct-drive turbo trainer, make sure your bicycle is compatible and if you need any adaptors.
Our turbo trainers and bike compatibility
Here, we’ll go through the turbo trainers we offer at Swinnerton Cycles and recommend the best bikes for each.
Direct-Drive turbo trainers
TACX Home Trainer Neo 2T Smart
- Suitable cassettes – This home trainer is not compatible with bikes with a specialised SCS (short chainstay system). It is compatible with a Shimano/SRAM 9 to 11 speed. It is also compatible with a Campagnolo, SRAM 12 speed/XDR and Shimano 12 speed Microspline, but these require a specific cassette body.
- Suitable axles – Width of rear fork: Race bike is 130 mm. Mountain bitke is 135 mm, 142 mm & 148 mm. There is an adaptor for 135 x 10 mm available.
ELITE Trainer – Direto-XR T direct drive FE-C mag trainer
- The body of this trainer is tweaked to make it compatible with the bulkier rear derailleurs often used with 1 x drivetrains.
- It is compatible with 130 and 135 mm quick-release frames and 142 x 12 mm thru-axles. Adaptors for BOOST 148 x 12 frames are available separately.
- It is also compatible with 9, 10 and 11-speed Shimano and SRAM cassettes (not included). You can adapt it for Campagnolo using adaptor TT14233, SRAM XDR with TT14279 or Shimano MICRO SPLINE using TT14315.
TACX Home Trainer – FLUX 2 Smart Home Trainer
- The Tacx home trainer is suitable for a road race, triathlon and mountain bike.
- Suitable cassettes – Shimano & SRAM: 8 t/m 11 speed. The Campagnolo is compatible, but the body is separate.
- Suitable axles – Width of rear fork: Race bike 130 mm. Mountain bike 135 mm, 142 mm & 148 mm. An adaptor for 135 x 10 mm is available.
- This home trainer has a quick release for road and mountain bikes (5mm). And direct-drive quick-release with adaptor set 142x12mm.
ELITE Home Trainer Suito T
- This home trainer is compatible with 130 and 135-mm quick-release frames and 142 x 12-mm thru-axles. You can also get adaptors for BOOST 148 x 12 frames separately.
- The Elite home trainer is compatible with 9, 10 and 11-speed Shimano cassettes. However, there is no cassette included. You can adapt it for Campagnolo using adaptor TT14233, Shimano Mcro Spline using the adaptor TT14315 or SRAM XDR using the adaptor TT14279.
TACX Home Trainer – Flux S Smart Home Trainer
- Suitable cassettes – Shimano and SRAM: 8-11 speed. The Campagnolo, SRAM XD and XD-R are compatible, but the body is separate. You can’t use this home trainer with a bike with a specialised SCS (short chain system).
- Suitable axles will have a rear width of 130 mm on a road race bike and 135 mm on a mountain bike. Adaptors for other widths are available.
ETC Home Trainer – X5 Smart Trainer
- Shimano HG Compatible. The Sram XD Freehub is available separately.
- Compatible with the 130/135mm quick-release or 142/148mm thru axle.
Wheel-on turbo trainers
ELITE Home Trainer – Qubo Power Mag Smart B Plus Trainer
- You can reposition the Qubo frame on the rear drive unit to use it with bikes with fat-tyred 29ers.
- This home trainer includes spare Q/R for those using Mavic or similar non-compatible Q/R skewers.
ELITE Home Trainer – Novo Force Trainer
- This home trainer includes adaptors to allow you to use every bike with any tyre, from a 24-inch BMX wheel to a Mountain bike 29er. Just mount your bike on the home trainer and start pedalling without worrying about anything else.
- Benefit from a quick release on both axle holders. The resistance unit helps make set-up efficient and effortless.
- The Elite Nova force home trainer also includes a spare Q/R for those using Mavic or similar non-compatible Q/R skewers.
TACX Home Trainer – Boost Bundle
- Suitable axles to use with the Tacx home trainer. Width of rear fork: Race bike 130 mm, Mountain bike 135 mm. Adaptors for other widths are available.
- The Tacx home trainer also includes a quick release for road and mountain bikes (5 mm).
ETC Home Trainer – Flow 8 Magnetic Turbo Trainer
- The ETC flow home trainer is compatible with 26″ tyres with 700c wheels.
- There is also a steel quick-release skewer included.
Best bikes to use on a turbo trainer at Swinnerton Cycles
Once you know which indoor bike trainer is best for your bike, browse our home trainers and accessories to get the perfect indoor cycling workout, whatever the weather. Or, if you’re looking for a new bike, browse our road, gravel, and mountain bikes at Swinnerton Cycles and cycle indoors or outdoors all year round.
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