With 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 2018 “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 2018 “BEST OF” list…