Home Training Buying Guide


Nothing beats getting out in the fresh air and riding your bike for real but when the rain is pouring or the snow has settled, an indoor bike trainer is the next best thing. Plus, indoor bike trainers can be great for interval training and fitness. Here is our guide on the different types of home trainer available to buy from Cycle Surgery.


Resistance, Roller or Direct Drive, Which Type of Indoor Turbo Training is Best?


There are three main types of indoor trainer systems, Resistance, Roller and Direct Drive. Each have their pros and cons and you’ll need to consider your budget, type of training and sensitivity to noise to decide which one is best for you.



An easy-to-use and efficient training system, just lock your bike to the frame with the back tyre resting on the resistance roller, attach the remote resistance lever to your handlebars and start pedalling. The remote lever changes the resistance, while the power increases when you speed up and/or shift to a bigger gear. These are great low cost indoor trainers that will allow you to sweat it out through tough interval and sprint training. Choose from the simple budget magnetic system or the more expensive but quieter and more ride realistic fluid operated system. An air resistance trainer is another option but these can be quite noisy.



  • Low cost
  • Simple to use
  • Good for interval training
  • Compact



  • Noisy
  • Rear tyre wear
  • Can be unstable


Price Range: £115 - £1200






This is most basic type of bike home trainer, simply place your bike onto the rollers and use your balance to pedal. The rollers will move to create a rolling road affect. These trainers aren’t so good for interval training as you can’t really change the resistance but they are brilliant for improving balance, coordination and technique as well as high speed pedalling. They are also easy to collapse and move around and you won’t get any significant wear on your tyres.



  • Simple
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Good for balance and technique
  • Low cost



  • Not good for interval training
  • High concentration needed


Price Range: £210-£350




A direct drive cycle trainer is much more realistic and quieter than the magnetic or fluid resistance trainers. Simply remove your back wheel and fit the chain around a cassette mounted onto the trainer itself. This makes the system very stable with no rocking and you won’t get any tyre slippage or wear. It is also a very quiet trainer so you won’t upset the neighbours and you’ll be able to hear your training video or audio with ease. 




  • Road realistic
  • Good for high performance training
  • Compatible with training software
  • Very quiet



  • High cost
  • Less compact
  • Need to remove rear wheel


Price Range: £550 - £950








An added advantage of some Direct Drive Trainers is that you can connect them to your smartphone, tablet or desktop for accurate power analysis, automatic resistance changes and performance measuring. Or, if you really want to take your indoor training to the next level a virtual reality trainer pairs your riding with a 3D visual simulator so you can mimic real rides in the comfort of your own living room. Watch the landscape roll in on the screen and feel the resistance increase or decrease as the incline changes, the weather worsens or as you breakaway from the peloton.  At the high end of the price bracket these trainers are a bit more of an investment but will deliver the best indoor training experience available.





Other Home Training Accessories




Because of the immediate feedback it provides, heart rate monitoring is an ideal training partner. Measure speed, distance, calories burned and even the heart rate range to train in depending on your fitness levels and your current state of fatigue to prevent over or under training.




Keep your floor sweat free and dampen vibration noise with an indoor trainer mat. These can be rolled away for easy storage too.



Keep an eye on your training plan, power output and performance with a handy handlebar bracket for your smart tablet or smart phone.



Track your cycling speed and cadence with a bluetooth cadence monitor. Simply attach to your crank arm and rear frame and pair with a cycling app for real time cycling performance data. 



Avoid wearing out your rear tyre by purchasing a home trainer specific tyre. They have a special cold running compound which prevents heat build up and they can reduce noise levels too.



An indoor trainer bag will make putting your trainer into storage or taking it away with you to cycling events a breeze and it will help to protect it from knocks or scrapes too.