People often ask me, if bike trainers are worth it. They don’t see all their benefits or don’t know how to justify the purchase.
Don’t take me wrong, 9 out of 10 riders will prefer a three-hour outside ride to a three-hour ride on a trainer.
But there are many more reasons to get a bike trainer than just ‘weatherproofing’ your training.
So, here are the most important reasons why I believe a bike trainer is a good investment.
How Much Do Bike Trainers Cost?
Before I dive into the reasons to consider buying a bike trainer, let me summarize what price range to expect.
You don’t have to spend $1000 on a high-end smart interactive trainer. If you just want to spin your legs from time to time, you can buy a budget (dumb) wheel-on trainer that starts at around $100.
A smart trainer can take your indoor cycling to the next level. It can transmit your ride data to 3rd party training apps. Smart interactive trainers can even adjust the resistance based on the training app.
The following table shows the estimated costs for different bike trainers.
|Up to $300||Low-end wheel-on bike trainers
|$300-500||Smart wheel-on bike trainers
Rollers with resistance
|$500-1500||Direct-drive bike trainers|
|Above $2000||Bike simulators/smart bikes|
1. You Avoid Crashes and Aggressive Drivers
Although this reason may sound a little bit silly, it is the one that I can’t forget to mention.
One thing I hate about road cycling is the traffic. I experienced a lot of close calls or being sprayed with windscreen wash by aggressive drivers.
This is something you will never experience when cycling indoors in your pain cave. Additionally, the risk of you crashing will decrease to zero.
If you are unfortunate like me a few years ago and you will break your collarbone, for example, you can start riding even before you fully recover.
I jumped on my bike trainer after the first week or two when I recovered from a crash. I couldn’t ride outside at that time.
2. It Is Time Efficient
Bike trainers are super time efficient. They allow you to take a quick training session within a few minutes – without the need to travel to your favorite segment.
Those of you living in cities know it takes time to get through the traffic, traffic lights, etc. If you just want to spin your legs, this can cost you time that you could otherwise dedicate to the riding.
When I lived in Prague for a few weeks, it took me about 15 minutes to get out of the city. It takes me about a minute to get outside the village I live in now.
Bike trainers also allow you to multitask. You can watch TV, listen to a podcast, read, answer emails, the list goes on. But, a lot of people do cycling to relax, so, don’t overdo it!
Or, if you have children and you can’t leave them with your partner to take care of them, you can jump on your trainer and train while keeping an eye on them.
3. Precise Structured Trainings
One of the most challenging things when doing interval training is to find a location where to do the intervals.
The area you live in can either be too flat, too hilly, or otherwise unsuitable for your structured training.
You don’t have to deal with these things at all with a bike trainer. All you have to do is use the 3rd party app like TrainerRoad to turn on your plan and start training.
4. Convenient Race Warm-Ups and Cool Downs
Bike trainers are popular among professional racers, especially for race warm-ups and cool downs.
You can ride as hard or easy as you need, you don’t risk getting a puncture, or missing a start.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about the traffic and you can focus just on yourself.
After the race, you can just spin your legs, flush out the excess lactic acid from your muscles, and start the recovery process.
5. Recovery Rides
The whole point of recovery rides is just taking it easy. If you don’t live in a flat area or area without many intersections, your recovery ride can quickly transform into bad interval training.
One of the reasons why are bike trainers so popular is that you can adjust their resistance and it remains consistent.
6. Race Indoors
What’s more exciting than competing against riders from all corners of the world? But, you can’t race without a bike trainer.
Some races (depending on their prestige) allow you to participate even without a smart trainer (you just need a power meter). But, for more official races (and better riding experience), the smart trainer is a must.
Bike Trainers FAQ
There are many more reasons to buy a bike trainer than just that they make your training ‘weatherproof.’
They make your training more time-efficient, allow you to do effective warm-ups and cool downs, help you avoid aggressive drivers, and much more.
Do you agree with the reasons I listed above? Tell me in the comments below what are the reasons against bike trainers.