The 3 BEST top of the range bike stands to turn you into a PRO!

We’re big fans of the higher end indoor trainers – we say you can never go wrong with the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine or even the cheaper but still mightily impressive CycleOps Fluid 2 – but if you really want to improve your training and take it to the next level, you’ll want to get your hands on one of the three bike trainers listed below.

None of them are going to come cheap, but if your budget is big, then you can be rest assured that the technology and features that come bundled with each of the trainers (we’re talking venturing into the world of virtual training!) are also going to be BIG (and worth every dime).

Let’s have a quick review of the three very best bike trainers your dollars can buy…

Your addiction to direct drive training starts here: the Tacx NEO 2T

TacxNeo2reviewThe Tacx Neo 2T smart trainer will keep you in great shape whatever the season, of that there’s no question!

This updated version of the formidable Tacx Neo 2 includes some excellent improvements, namely a redesigned engine (with stronger magnets to enhance the torque), ensuring you one of the greatest rides you’ll ever have on an indoor trainer – yes, you’ll notice the smoothness on the climbs, and even feel those planks when riding across ’em in Zwift! And yes, it still reaches 2200 watts (+/- 1%) of power and up to 25% inclines!

Easy to setup out of the box, the improved axle compatibility ensures it’s compatibility with a wide range of bikes. It also remains compatible with Shimano and SRAM 8-12 speed cassettes (bear in mind this trainer doesn’t come with a cassette).

The Tacx Neo 2T also includes ANT+ Cycling Dynamics in the firmware, enabling you to use third-party software to really monitor your output. Even better is its compatibility with ANT+, FE-C, and Bluetooth, to ensure you can use almost any of the cycling apps out there – make full use of the road-feel feature as it gets the most out of these apps; seriously, you can expect to be wowed when riding across brick roads or wooden planks!

And if you were worried about this baby making too much noise – because let’s face it, some trainers do have an annoying hum – it seems to average out at 56-57 decibels when riding at 20mph, meaning your partner or neighbors won’t be driven insane by an intrusive hummmmm. This is one quiet trainer!

The Tacx NEO 2T will set you back around $1300 – $1400, but is up there at the very top of indoor trainers, and can be seen as a true investment in your winter training (if you need to convince the wife or partner…). It also comes with a front wheel block, power cable, quick-release skewer, thru-axle skewer, axle adapters for 130mm QR, 135mm QR, 12 x 142mm thru-axle, 12 x 142mm Boost, and 1 month Tacx Premium software. And to top it off, don’t forget that 2 year warranty from Tacx!

Click here for the very best price on Amazon for this Tacx NEO wonder!

The virtually awesome BKool Pro Turbo Trainer!

bkool pro trainerWe took a good look at the BKool Pro trainer a while ago, and were just as impressed then as we are today!

The fun you’re likely to have with this trainer and its awesome FREE simulator make this an excellent option to consider. The ability to connect up with your tablet or laptop and enjoy a whole ton of videos and sessions, solo or with your friends, is pretty darned hard to beat (there are over 50,000 riders worldwide on the BKool system)! Best of all, the simulator is free to download from the Bkool website and is suitable for both Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPad and Android tablets.

This Pro trainer from BKool is actually an improvement on their Classic model, which means you get a quieter more stable trainer, but also a in-built cadence system that eliminates the need for an external device. And the electromagnetic braking system is a definite winner in our eyes, as it ensures the Bkool software controls your resistance, which can be especially useful when climbing hills.

Setting up is a doddle; you replace the rear skewer in your wheel (as per any decent trainer these days), and then pop it on the trainer (which also comes with a front wheel support). You’ll then need to register on the Bkool website, download the simulator, plug in the trainer and connect with your supplied ANT and USB.

The Bkool software and trainer wirelessly communicate with each other via your included USB; this ensures your ride data (your cadence and power) is tracked and used to gauge just how much the resistance levels need to be adjusted according to the route you selected. Clever stuff!

It’s also a powerful beast, with the ability to power up 1200W of energy on a progressive curve. That power, and the awesome resistance control, makes it feel like you really are out on the road. There are also over 500 video routes in the BKool system, with more apparently added daily – by the way, the recently added free video editor software lets users create their own route!

You’re not going to get much change from $700, but for value, this has to be one of the best options out there, especially if you’re looking to get your hands on a virtual training system. There is a basic subscription plan available once you sign up (for free), or you can pay for a Premium plan, which gives you some impressive options.

Click here for the very best price on Amazon for this BKool trainer! As it’s currently UNAVAILABLE, we’d suggest trying one of these awesome trainers!

Here’s a quick taster from YouTube

The Elite Real Axiom Trainer

elite real axiom reviewThe Elite Real Axiom trainer has been around for a few years now, but has been gaining a seriously good reputation with some seriously good upgrades over the years!

Another trainer that specializes in smart communications with your computer, the Elite Real Axiom enables you to get a glimpse into some serious real-world conditions on a variety of courses, mainly thanks to its computer controlled resistance (which adjusts per course and rider input). Race against a real human cyclist on your LAN, or alternatively try racing against a virtual competitor if you can’t find anybody online.

You can choose from 14 preset courses while there’s also a 4-week training program – you can also create your own custom courses! You also get to view personal ride stats, including speed, distance, ride time, cadence, heart rate and power output, and you can store them for your own training history, making those indoor sessions a lot more fun, which is what we think it should really be about.

The trainer comes with 2 DVDs; one of the Limoges climb from the 2004 Tour de France and the 2004 Verona World Championship course, both of which are synched with the resistance you create on the trainer to make it feel as if you’re really cycling the route. In addition, it comes with the My RealVideo app, which lets you record your own routes, and upload them to share and compete with other riders!

One thing we have to note about the Elite Real Axiom is that it is Italian made, and although support is good, there might be the odd language barrier problem to face, if you ever have any issues with your trainer. What is also a little disappointing is the lack of online guides and forums.

However, if you can get past that, this trainer is probably the best value of all the virtual trainers we’ve come across – typically selling at around $650 – and should probably be your preferred choice for kick-starting your virtual cycling career!

Click here for the very best price on Amazon for this Elite smart trainer! As it’s currently UNAVAILABLE, we’d suggest trying their amazing new Elite Direto 2 smart trainer – this direct drive trainer is a beast!

Here’s a quick taster of what to expect from the Elite Real Axiom trainer on YouTube

In Summary…

If you’re looking to enhance your winter training, any one of the three trainers above will take your training to the next level.

If it’s a question of price, I would have to go with the Elite Real Axiom, but if money isn’t an issue and you’re looking for something top-notch, go for the Tacx Neo 2T.

Oh boy, are you going to start enjoying those training sessions!

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