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Why you need to buy a smart indoor trainer

kurt kinetic rock n roll smartWith the onslaught of winter getting ever closer, it’s time to take a look at the options around for enhancing our workout regime  – yes, it’s time for a look at the smart indoor trainer!

We created this site a couple of years ago to compile all the research we’d previously done on the old standard indoor trainers – and heck, it was a lot of research! From the old-timer classic from Kurt Kinetic, to the once popular Forza F2, we’d tested and reviewed a whole ton of rides. And with fellow cyclist friends wanting the lowdown on what indoor trainer to buy, the site helped more than a few people out!

But progress is progress, and the technological advancements we’ve seen over the last 3-4 years throughout a whole bunch of industries has also moved in on the world of indoor trainers. And yep, the latest and greatest stationary bike stands now come in an amazing smart version!

>>> READ: Some of the best smart home trainers make our 2020 “BEST OF” list

Smart indoor trainers are wonderful; they are now the most modern kind of workout equipment around for cyclists and, in my opinion, worth every dollar spent. They don’t come cheap, although the tremendous value you get with the Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer is definitely worth considering if you’re on a budget or just not sure of the benefits of splashing out on a top-of-the-range smart home trainer. Then again, the upgraded Kinetic Road Machine smart trainer checks in at less than $300, well worth considering.

To be able to give you an idea of what smart indoor trainers are all about, let’s take a look at what smart trainers are all about and some killer reasons that will have you reaching for the BUY button in a flash!

What makes a smart trainer so, er, smart?

So, still wondering what a smart indoor trainer actually does??

Basically, a smart indoor trainer provides wireless connectivity that enables it to be paired with a variety of smart apps and devices (we’re talking iPads and the like).

Typically using technology like Bluetooth 4.0 (Smart or Low energy) or ANT+, these trainers can be remotely connected to a cycling computer, a tablet or any other device that can display your workout data in real time.

This means that in addition to recording the ride from your one hour session, where you are getting critical performance data like speed, distance, cadence, and power in some cases, you are also able to experience some truly structured training sessions, interactive videos and even the ability to take on riders online (with programs like Zwift)!

Smart trainers provide the opportunity to really hone in on your efficiency – they also open up a whole world of additional features, depending on the type of the trainer you use – and your budget.

Some truly wonderful long-term benefits of using a Smart Indoor Trainer

Smart home trainers are advanced but definitely not beyond a beginner indoor cyclist.

Below we’ve compiled a little list of the advantages of actually adding one to your cycling workouts.

Regulates control of ERG mode on smart trainers

The software or app you use to work with your trainer can help control the ERG mode for many trainers (see this great video for more details of what ERG modes are all about) in a highly effective manner. So, this basically means you have a great workout about to rock your training sessions, since the ERG setting you define on the trainer (for example, 300 watts) can be locked in, and your smart trainer software will do some adjustments and tweaking to make sure you keep on pedaling to the max. This can have a great impact on your training and your upward curve to fitness greatness!

Uses robust technology

Being a fairly new innovation in the world of indoor trainers, smart trainers have been created with some top-notch materials and components. They are also even more durable than the standard trainers out there. Running on ANT+FE-C capability, smart trainers are also able to provide a number of awesome techie features, including speed sensoring, and heart-rate monitoring to name a few. Smart trainers are here to stay baby, and don’t be worrying about having to replace them every couple of years…

Prevents tires from wearing out

Many smart trainers still come with the standard rear skewer attachment process, but be aware that some smart trainers also come with a “wheel-off” option. These types of trainers are known as direct drive trainers, and enable you to remove your bike’s back tire, which ensures that it won’t wear out no matter how much you use your equipment. This allows you to work-out as much as you want without wearing out too many tires (except for training slicks now and again, but of course, this depends on how often and how hard you train).

No more boring workout sessions

The typical smart trainer has the ability to give you a truly supreme ride experience! Once paired with the right software, you can battle it out with friends or with others from around the world on life-like tour courses (for example, when using Zwift). Of course, you can also do this with non-smart trainers, you just won’t get the realistic ride you get with a smart trainer, when climbing a hill for example.  

Plan your workout ahead of time

Download the correct apps or smart software and you’ll be able to program your workout for whenever you have free time. You can add in all the details of the workout you prefer and simply start the program and do your workout without having to consciously think about it while pedaling away. This gives you an opportunity to do other things while you are working out – like reading a book or watching some shows, as your workout program has already been programmed into your trainer!

Great value for money

In reality, more traditional (read: not smart) models are more affordable (some great options even come for under $80) but when you think about all the added benefits and features of smart home trainers, you can see they are in fact, priced quite reasonably. Of course, yes, having a smart indoor trainer in your home would definitely elevate your indoor workout experience, and perhaps even bring your motivation to a whole new level!

>>> READ: 3 of the best smart home trainers make our 2020 “BEST OF” list

The Akonza Magnet Steel Trainer: another super-value bike trainer to consider!

akonza magnet trainerIf you’re looking for a professional and affordable stationary bike stand, then the Akonza Magnet Steel trainer is one well worth considering.

So, I admit that it’s not the best trainer on the market, but it ranks highly when it comes to value for money, and if you’re new to all this, this is one trainer that is truly accommodating for beginners (and there are some very decent trainers out there for beginners). This is a much better alternative to many of the average stationary trainers out there, largely thanks to a more realistic ride provided by its seven dynamic resistance levels.

Click HERE for the latest reviews & discounts for the Akoza Magnet trainer!

What’s to like about the Akoza Steel trainer?

Firstly, it is an effortless setup.

Although the instructions that come with it aren’t the best, it is still straightforward when assembling due to the Quick Release mounting system. It might be beneficial if they updated the guide or even made a tutorial video, as I’m aware a few people online struggled with understanding the guide. This being said, it’s actually really simple to put together.

Accustom your bike to your needs with the enclosed skewer and you can be up on your bike within a matter of minutes. It also comes with a handy front wheel riser block for a smooth setup process which made it convenient for me as I usually struggle with these things, yet had no issues with this.

The Akonza’s extra wide frame means it has been extremely reliable and stable whilst in use and you don’t need to worry too much about moving or veering whilst training. This comes in handy when riding next to your TV, which I am guilty of!

The trainer is priced at under $70 (we’ve also seen it dip below $60!) which is way cheaper than most other “brand” training units on the market at the moment. It’s certainly a wise investment for beginners, as it will up your biking confidence and motivation to get as many uses out of it as possible. It’s easy to hop on at any time for a quick stress release; alternately, its powerful enough to train on for a more serious session.

One tip: place a yoga mat under the trainer to help with stability and to cut down the noise. Although it’s a relatively quiet trainer, you can further improve noise levels yourself by doing this. Having said this, when I first used it I thought the trainer was loud but after making a few adjustments to get everything in the correct place I am now able to hear my surroundings with ease and it’s not going to wake someone sleeping in another room.

The technical stuff

Here are some more extensive features to wow you…

  • It’s compatible with 26” to 28” and 700C tires, making indoor use appropriate for most mountain and road bikes in the comfort of your own home.
  • The small folding dimensions are 18.75″ (L) x 21.5″ (W) x 5″ (H), meaning that when you have had enough, just fold it away into any small space; you can easily put it behind some furniture or under your bed and you would never know it was there!
  • The resistance controller is mounted on your handlebars, enabling you to make straightforward and consistent adjustments.
  • The trainer is designed for bikes with quick release rear axle wheels.
  • The seven levels of resistance enable it to accurately mimic on-road riding so you have no excuses not to get on your bike if the weather isn’t so great outside!
  • It comes in TWO colors: black or blue.

Why should you buy the Akonza Magnet trainer?

If you are planning to get more serious with cycling and keeping fit over the off-season (winter!) then this is a great trainer to start with!

It’s priced around the $60 range, so compared with other indoor trainers on the market (it definitely gives the bestselling Magnet and Ohuhu trainers a run for their money!) this is extremely good value for money considering all the positive aspects we experienced with it. In the long term, it will definitely make you a more confident and stronger cyclist, so we can definitely recommend this as an all-round, budget-friendly, must-have trainer!

7 ways your stationary indoor trainer can truly change your life

buying stationary bike standOK, so we all know by now that cycling is good for your health. And with the weather starting to turn over the fall, indoor bike training is the perfect way to reap these health benefits.

But if pressed to name exactly how cycling improves your overall health and fitness levels, even the most ardent cyclists of you might struggle. So we’ve done it for you, by wrapping up the 7 ways that indoor bike trainers can truly transform your health below.

Help you lose weight

Obesity is becoming a global epidemic, and the associated health consequences such as diabetes and heart disease kill hundreds of people every day. Indoor training is one of the best ways to shed pounds, especially during those off-season months when we often pick up a few extra pounds. To burn even more calories, try high-intensity interval training, or just read this post for killer weight-loss tips or this post for tips on how to use your trainer to shed some weight.

Recuperate from injury

Although most injuries require some bed-rest, if you stay immobile for too long you run a real risk of making things worse with some muscular deterioration. Low-impact exercise (with your doctor’s approval, of course) is the best way to speed up your recovery and maintain as much fitness as you can. Even a few minutes of indoor bike training can make a huge difference – it can get blood flowing nicely through the muscles to promote muscle healing.

Reduce the risk of cancer

Although we’ve poured billions of dollars into cancer research, there’s still little we know about this cruel and debilitating disease. One thing we know for sure, however, is that all studies indicate regular exercise helps to prevent cancer. General medical advice seems to point at getting physical at least a few times a week – many cycling experts recommend getting on your trainer at least three times a week to seriously reduce that cancer risk.

Improve your mental health

Research by Hillman (2007) found that elderly people who exercised regularly had a much lower chance of succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not just the old folks who stand to benefit, though – cardiovascular exercise like cycling can improve situational awareness, boost creativity and even stave off depression. The health benefits of cycling clearly go beyond the merely physical!

Improve your cardiovascular health

High blood pressure and heart disease are far more likely to develop in those with sedentary lifestyles. If you cycle for as little as 10 minutes a day (e.g. by cycling to work), you can reduce your chances of developing both ailments by as much as 10% – that’s a great investment in anyone’s book.

Extend your stay on this planet!

Do you often lament that by the time you retire, you’ll have too few “golden years” left to reap the rewards of a lifetime’s hard work? Well, regular indoor bike trainer sessions might just be the solution to that. A study of Tour de France cyclists revealed that many professional cyclists tended to live around 5 years longer than the general population. OK, so you don’t need to register for the Tour each year, but get that trainer out for some serious training sessions while you still can!

Look better – and sexier!

Alright, so this isn’t strictly a health benefit – but having muscular legs and a toned bum definitely never hurt anyone’s health. Cycling can do wonders for your physique, and in turn for your confidence. If you’re looking to do better with members of the opposite sex, starting a rigorous cycling regime by investing in a good bike trainer may be the best way to go! And read this if you want to know the BEST time for your training sessions for optimal sexiness and good looks!

Any other benefits we might have missed? Drop us a line if you can think of any!

THREE great ways to stay motivated for those winter training sessions

We know what it’s like sometimes, when those legs are feeling tired and you’re just not in the mood for an indoor training session…”tomorrow” we say, and we know that tomorrow may very well end up with exactly the same feelings and frustrations…

But we’re here to help, as always, and have come up with a quick and easy 3 step method for staying motivated over the winter. Oh yes, no more frustrated sighs when you look over at your great, ready-to-please trainer, we promise!

SEE ALSO: EIGHT ways to get the MAX out of your indoor training sessions!

1. First up, head straight for the trainer!

When you get in from work, or if you straight away haul yourself out of bed in the early morning (early morning bike rides are proven to work if you want optimal sexiness and good looks!), head straight for the trainer!

Your motivational level window is fairly small, and if you find yourself distracted for any reason – like catching a glimpse of something interesting on the TV – that window is likely to disappear completely, and within no time you’ll have put that session off until tomorrow.

That’s why we say head straight for the trainer when you walk in the door from work. Have your training clothes and shoes ready at hand, and plonk yourself on your trainer as fast as you can! Be honest, sitting on your trainer is so much better for you than sitting in front of the TV…and if you’ve got your own dedicated man cave, and, of course, access to more training tips on our site, even better!

2. Secondly, have your training program ready

If you’re just happy to pedal away for 30-45 minutes and burn some calories, that’s fine. But if you’re just a tiny bit serious, have that training program ready. It might be via the guys at Zwift, or through the virtual training sessions of CycleOps, or just an inspirational video you’ve caught on YouTube. But get that video/software lined up and ready BEFORE you start the training, and preferably before you head off to work or go to sleep at night.

Wasting minutes clicking away on the Internet or on your hard drive is a sure-fire way to lose that motivation – so be prepared!

3. Lastly, be honest with yourself and your goals

If those missed training sessions are piling up, and you’re really struggling to invoke any motivation at all, it may be the time to sit back and think about exactly what it is you want from your indoor cycling session. What are your goals? Your cycling ambitions? If you’re struggling to even look at your trainer, it might be the time to take a week’s holiday and just forget about it while you take stock of what it is you want from your trainer.

BUT add a note to your calendar/diary that in a week’s time you’ll be back, ready and motivated!

GOOD LUCK – AND STAY MOTIVATED!

RELATED: FIVE things you should NEVER do before a training session! and 7 ways an indoor trainer can truly change your life!

The Kinetic Kurt Road Machine Bike Trainer: technologically supreme and top of the range

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewDon’t get me wrong, I love outdoor cycling, but I’m not going to risk my health during those cold, winter months. I see so many of my fellow cyclists persisting with outdoor training even in hailstorms and thunderstorms and subsequently falling ill, despite the simple solution of investing in a decent stationary bike trainer staring them in the face!

I’ve used several indoor bike trainers over the past few years (and created this site as a result!) and out of all of them, the Kinetic Kurt Machine Bicycle Trainer remains my favorite. It is one of the most technologically advanced indoor trainers out there and justifies its high price with high quality performance. The pros of you out there will enjoy this one!

UPDATED 2018: There is now an upgraded smart version of this trainer!

Although I don’t take out my indoor bicycle trainers very often in spring and summer, they see a lot of use in the colder autumn and winter months. I’m usually on my bike trainer at least three to four days out of a week and that causes a lot of wear and tear. I’ve destroyed bicycle trainers that cost several hundred dollars in just a few months, chiefly due to leakage problems.

Too many stationary bike trainers (including those from the higher end of the price spectrum) rely on O-rings and seals to prevent leakage in the fluid chamber. These rings and seals don’t stand up well to extended use and will eventually wear out. The Kinetic Kurt Machine Bicycle Trainer uses a patented magnetic drive system instead of a physical drive shaft mechanism, thereby eliminating the need for O-rings and seals. In the two years since I’ve bought it, this Kurt bike trainer has never once leaked. Its durability is truly beyond question.

This indoor bike trainer is also one of the few I’ve encountered that can truly simulate the outdoor riding experience. When we cycle outdoors, the road isn’t always flat and even. We cycle across undulating landscapes where slopes and curves combine to deliver a more well-rounded and exciting cycling experience. Well, with this Kinetic Kurt bicycle trainer, you can enjoy that cycling experience indoors as well. Those geniuses at Kurt have managed to fit incredibly heavy flywheels weighing up to 18 pounds into this indoor trainer which allows the user to experience an unbelievably realistic indoor cycling experience. If I close my eyes, I can almost believe that I’m cycling outdoors. As an added bonus, these heavy flywheels provide this stationary trainer with exceptional stability and sturdiness for a smoother ride.

Main Product Features

Kinetic Kurt Road Trainer Pros and Cons

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewAre there any disadvantages to this bike trainer? Well, I know I’m nitpicking, but I do wish it was a little cheaper. Like most Kinetic Kurt products, this stationary bicycle trainer is one of the pricier bicycle stands out there. Nevertheless, I know that the quality of this trainer more than justifies its hefty price. If I’ve to pay a little more for a smoother, more satisfying indoor bicycle ride on one of the hardiest bike trainers around, so be it. Us true-blue bicycle fanatics will never cheap-out on our bike accessories!

By the way, we’ve also reviewed the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer, quite possibly the ultimate indoor ride! It also now comes in a smart-tech version with an InRide sensor and app that can measure speed, cadence and distance. In addition, consider the Kinetic trainer mat to protect your bike AND floor!

I’m really impressed with so many things about this bike trainer that if it ever wears out (don’t forget it has a lifetime warranty!), I’ll head straight to Amazon.com (one of the best places to find a very decent price online) and buy another one.

Want to stay lean and sexy? Start planning a morning bike ride!

sunrisebikerideThere’s probably a few of you out there looking at your indoor trainer and wondering just what it’s going to do for you and your body this winter. We’ve been there, especially on those days when you’re really looking for some serious motivation to ride that darned machine.

What might be even worse to learn is that you may well have been sweating away at the wrong time of day! We’ve just come across news that various doctors and health experts are now saying that to achieve maximum results, pedal away in the morning – as soon as you wake up!

So if you’re looking to stay fit and healthy (we mean sexxxxy!) over the coming months, wake up early and head over to that trainer!

SEE ALSO: 7 ways your trainer will change your life!

Various studies on fat burning exercises have revealed that we burn stored fat faster and therefore lose more weight when we do our workouts in the early morning, or when we exercise on an empty stomach.

Some research has indicated that when we exercise before eating breakfast, our body burns fat more efficiently, which in turn results to better muscle building. It is also reported that an empty stomach will produce hormones that promote fat burning and the building up of muscles. That’s in contrast to when our stomach is full, as our body’s activity is more focused in digesting the stored food, so the body building and fat burning hormones are not readily released.

The science behind burning all that fat…

The science behind all that fat burning is pretty darned interesting too: carbohydrates supply our body with fuel that boosts our energy and keeps us going. It is metabolized into glucose, a type of sugar that is stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen (carbohydrates, or the metabolized glycogen, is our body’s primary source of fuel). When an abundant supply of glycogen is available, this is what our body burns as fuel when we exercise. You may be thinking – and hoping – that you are burning stored fat, but in reality, you are just using up your body’s primary fuel. This is why we have to eat after performing strenuous workouts or doing physical work.

Our blood sugar drops during the period overnight when we sleep, because we’re obviously not in-taking any carbs, so our glycogen level is also lowered. When we exercise early in the morning while the level of glycogen in our body is low, our body turns to the fat stored in our muscles and uses it for fuel. Thus, we burn more fat compared to exercising with a full stomach when glycogen levels are high.

However, that morning training session shouldn’t be too intensive (but just enough to give your heart a good workout) – since fat is metabolized slowly our body turns back to the glycogen if it is really pushed during a hard session, and the adverse consequence is that our body sugar will be depleted. Therefore an early morning bike ride without pushing too much is best for really burning that fat off.

And once you’ve finished your early morning session, be sure to eat food rich in carbohydrates and protein to replenish body fuels. Perfect foods for the job include bread, eggs, baked beans and a nutritional drink; they’ll all help give your body the energy that it needs after your morning workout.

SEE ALSO:
5 Awesome Nutritional Tricks for Cyclists!
How a daily ride on your bike trainer can help prevent cancer

The future of indoor trainers…this is one video well worth watching!

We love our CycleOps Fluid 2, and have gotten familiar with many of the other trainers out there over the last few years.

But the future for indoor training is what really excites us…take a look at this video from the guys at CycleOps and the direction they’re heading (we love their newish Silencer Direct Drive trainer and their upcoming Hammer model sounds amazing!). Well worth a watch!

https://youtu.be/aXQZhHG2m0Q

Lots more on our website!