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Indoor Cycling – Start Enjoying Your Bike Training at Home

It wasn't that long ago that the common cyclists sat on their stationary roller trainer in winter and stared at the wallpaper for hours. Nowadays, even in summer, many ambitious cyclists using their usually smart cycling roller trainer for their regular workouts. Challenges on virtually recreated courses with real opponents ensure that cycling at home always remains exciting. And by adding climbing and descending simulations and your realistic indoor cycling experience finally gets perfect.

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These Indoor Cycling Topics Await You

What Indoor Cycling Is Good For?

When the days get shorter and the roads more slippery, when temperatures drop and rain and snow fall from the sky, the only thing ambitious cyclists can do to keep up with their training is to freeze or take a vacation in the south – right? Not at all, with indoor cycling you can continue in the comfort and fun of your own four walls. All you need is an indoor cycling trainer. This is a device on which you can cycle in place with or without a bike, depending on the model. So, you don't need either to spend your money on thermal clothing or to wear two pairs of gloves, just to get home soaking wet and frozen nonetheless. And even in summer, you'll save yourself annoying traffic lights and darkness and can do extremely precise interval training and performance tests indoors

And that's not all! Have you always wanted to ride the legendary mountain stages of the tour on your road bike? This is also possible with the current Smart Trainers with matching videos or virtual reality software. Just make sure your trainer has ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. Depending on price class and equipment, the various models today are characterized by watt-accurate measurements, low volume and a variety of adjustment and transmission options. 

Cycletrainers - Tacx

Different Brake and Drive Systems for Cycle Training Rollers & Bikes

With many modern roller trainers, the bike is attached at the rear wheel mount and a resistance unit is brought into motion. Depending on the model and price class, different intensities or gradients can be simulated using appropriate magnet, electric, fluid or motor brakes. Magnetic brakes are based on a very simple physical principle in which the magnets are moved towards or away from the flywheel to exert a force contactless. The braking force can also be regulated manually from the handlebar. A major advantage of these bicycle trainers is that they can be operated without electricity. In contrast, those with electro-magnetic units usually require electricity, but offer computer-controlled automatic regulation. 

The resistance of trainers with fluid brake is created by completely immersing the flywheel in oil. The higher the speed, the higher the resistance. And this resistance can be easily regulated via the gearshift. It should be noted that when the rear wheel rests on rollers, slight wear of the tire cannot be avoided. In order to reduce the wear of the road tires, there are special low-cost non-slip and abrasion-resistant training tires. 

More rarely but especially for the top models of some manufacturers the motor brake is used. An electric motor is used to simulate uphills and downhills authentically. Connection to the power supply system is necessary.


In recent years, they have become much more affordable and popular for hobby athletes and can be used without special tires: models with direct drive. 
This means that the bike is mounted directly on a cassette on the trainer without a rear wheel, both the tire change and the higher noise level of the classic exercise bike are eliminated. Usually, no special calibration is necessary and the watt measurement is very precise. 

You can turn your indoor cycling workout into a special experience without any modification and even without a bike. Permanently installed (standalone) indoor bikes are particularly quiet and precise and allow high performances and inclines.

Cycletrainers - Kinetic

Classic Indoor Cycling Rollers

Free rollers for indoor cycling are one of the simplest and best proven, but also most challenging possibilities to train with a road bike, MTB or fitness bike at home. However, riding on those three rolls requires a lot of concentration and a sense of balance. As this type of indoor training does not require any disassembly and improves both endurance and bike control, it is still very popular, especially for warming up before competitions. The sturdy training devices can be stored and transported in a space-saving way and are now also available with integrated magnetic resistance and sensors. 

Another good option for price-conscious athletes are purely mechanical Wheel-On models. They are quickly ready for use without software setup, do not require a power connection and allow puristic training with high resistances. The only small negative aspect is that you have to mount a special training tire on your rear wheel to perform your indoor cycling training.

Cycletrainers - Elite

Smart Trainers and Virtual Rides

In principle, Smart Trainers, whether with or without direct drive or as free rollers, can be defined by not only providing performance data, but also enabling the resistance to be regulated via a device or app. By specifying a certain number of watts or an incline, different training forms and distance profiles can be simulated. However, current models can do much more. Apart from generally important factors such as stability, realistic riding feel and low noise level, which are also influenced by the weight of the flywheel, smart rollers are characterized by a gigantic range of transmission and connectivity options. Via Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ the Smart Trainers communicate with your Windows or Mac or feed iOS or Android Apps like Strava, TrainingPeaks or Garmin Connect with all kinds of performance and training data. 

The Smart Trainers are especially attractive due to the new possibilities of interactivity. Video simulations respectively Augmented Reality Software with original recordings (e.g. Bkool, Rouvy, Tacx Cycling App) give you the chance to ride legendary races, stages or ascents on the screen and simulate the effort and ascent. Sophisticated training apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad or SYSTM (including The Sufferfest) make you a better cyclist in your living room, as they measure your performance like a personal trainer and provide you with a training program. Addictive virtual road racing workouts, events, challenges and video games like the industry leader Zwift literally open up a whole new world of cycling. On virtual courses, you can compete against friends and strangers from all over the world and set new records or simply enjoy the sense of community. 

Indoor Cycling – Matching Accessories

Cycletrainers - Wahoo

ANT+ antennas and Bluetooth sensors can make many bike trainers smarter. Phone holders and display stands help you to have the information always at hand. Sweat covers, floor mats and even smart fans, which can specifically adjust the airflow to your speed and body position, are a great support to perform a silent and less sweaty workout. For a special riding and climbing feeling, new gadgets like indoor incline simulators can be used to simulate real inclines by simply swapping your front wheel with such a device. And for all multitaskers, workaholics or creative people, there are also matching bike desks so that you can train your legs and head at the same time and make good progress on all fronts.