Hello world!

Which Turbo Training platform is best?

If you’re stuck in the UK during the dark and damp winter months this is a question every keen cyclist asks.  What will give me the most benefit when training? Most of the popular ones are designed to work with a smart turbo. That is one with electronic control of the resistance. This allows the turbo to automatically change resistance to maintain a constant power output or to recreate the effect of riding on virtual roads by increasing power needed to go up “hills”. A smart turbo isn’t a cheap option so any turbo will work fine on most platforms provided you have a power meter on the bike (crank pedal or hub based). We would recommend having a power meter for use indoor and outdoor as being far more productive than having a smart turbo as your only source of Power measurement. Not having a smart turbo means that you have to get to, and maintain the power set for that workout yourself but it has the benefit of getting you better at managing your pacing. 

You also need to consider why you are going on the turbo. If it’s to maximise the effectiveness of the time you have to train then sticking to well designed structured interval training will give you the best results. If however, you have more modest aims and simply want some entertainment and variety while you pedal then some of the virtual world type platforms might give you more motivation. Personally, I like a mix of both but that means subscribing to multiple platforms. There is also virtual racing to consider. It can be fun and motivational in a way that a structured workout can’t compare with but every ride shouldn’t be a race!

Here’s a rundown on some of the most popular options out there:

Trainer Road- A software platform which holds hundreds of workouts which you follow on a simple screen format (see below). This programme is best for specific workouts, ensuring pure quality and precise workouts take place. If you or your coach wants to target a specific power duration you can develop your own sessions with instructions included. M & C Coaching have a wide range of custom workouts on Trainer Road and can individually tweak them to maximise effectiveness based on your own particular power curve. This isn’t a choice for those wanting entertainment but the screen can be minimised and you can always watch Netflix or similar… 

Zwift- An incredibly popular platform which incorporates both virtual racing, workouts, general riding round recreations of popular routes and some imaginary worlds. It has the ability to create targeted custom workouts and we are exploring this option for our clients. With virtual racing and riding taking the world by storm the past year Zwift certainly is one of the leading brands. Having a virtual aspect to turbo workouts prevents boredom and may even get yourself to push harder when racing

virtually. There are less training sessions on Zwift and there is no easy filter to find a specific workout e.g. 30 seconds anaerobic sprints. This is where, just like trainer road you can develop and adjust specific training sessions; however, this does take time. This platform offers a good balance between socialising, motivation and allowing a rider to progress with specific workouts. One thing to watch out for is system crashes. So, if you want to make sure you record your workouts you had better run a Garmin/Wahoo at the same time. 

Rouvy - a great tool for riding the course before you get there! This platform has over 3000 films that allow you to ride your turbo as if you were riding up a pass in real life with the turbo matching the same gradients of the roads. The programme even allows you to put a ‘bot’ (someone who has ridden the climb before) in front of you to chase. Rouvy also offers virtual racing with lucrative prizes up for grabs. Overall this platform is great for recce rides, riding up famous climbs and a spot of virtual racing. The scenery is photo realistic and significantly better than Zwift in that respect. If you have a good camera you can even join in and upload your own favourite loop. Currently only available with Bluetooth connection. 

RGT – similar to Zwift supposedly better modelling of drafting and cornering. It has a decent selection of structured workouts and you can import workouts from Training Peaks. It will also let you upload a file to practice on your favourite circuit or road. Racing is limited and there is a free version available. 

Full Gaz – very good quality real video. Some decent workouts but hard to navigate through. Ability to download routes if your Wi-Fi is slow is a nice feature. 14 day free trial available. 

Kinomap – Uses other rider’s uploaded videos. Interesting to explore new routes virtually but video quality can be mixed. 

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