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Best turbo trainers: Top-rated trainers for indoor cycling

Best turbo trainers
(Image credit: Wahoo)

In its most basic form, a turbo trainer allows you to mount your own bike onto it so that you can complete a workout in the comfort of your own home. They range from simple budget devices that use a lever to change the resistance to smart high-tech versions that connect wirelessly to computers and work interactively with your chosen app.  

Around 10 years ago, all of the best turbo trainers required manual resistance changes. They were noisy, they placed your rear wheel against a roller and would chew through tyres at a rapid rate. However, since then, the advent of the smart turbo trainer and accompanying software meant indoor cycling as a discipline underwent a revival. 

Nowadays, the best turbo trainers are 'smart', meaning they connect to your computer via Bluetooth or ANT+ and the resistance at which your turbo trainer is set can be controlled by software. 

Gone are the days of trying to balance enough focus to hit the prescribed workout with enough distraction to take your mind off the pain. Nowadays we are awash with indoor cycling apps that guide you through highly targeted workouts if you're training. There are even connected video games that react to your pedalling input, meaning indoor cycling has opened up to recreational cyclists who want more than just suffering from their indoor riding time. 

At the bottom of this guide, we'll outline everything you need to consider when buying a turbo trainer, such as budget, compatibility, features and noise. But before that, let's take a look at our pick of the best turbo trainers available today, organised into top-tier direct drive trainers, budget direct-drive trainers, and wheel-on trainers. We've also put together a detailed comparison table for each section, so you can easily compare one against another.

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Best top-tier direct drive turbo trainers

For direct drive turbo trainers to function, you'll need to remove your rear wheel. The turbo trainer will have a cassette fitted (although it's not always included), and you'll connect your bike to the trainer in the same way you'd fit a rear wheel. This means your pedalling turns the flywheel directly, rather than relying on friction between your tyre and a roller. 

It's important to get a turbo trainer that is compatible with the axle on your bike and ensure that the freehub body - the part that the cassette fits onto - is compatible with your groupset. You can't fit a 12-speed SRAM cassette onto an 11-speed Shimano Freehub, for example. 

Elite Direto XR smart turbo trainer

(Image credit: Elite)

Elite Direto XR

Elite's most refined model to date is also one of the best turbo trainers currently on the market

Flywheel weight: 5.1kg / 12lbs | Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 1.5% | Max power: 2300 watts | Max simulated grade: 24% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: 11-speed Shimano | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142

Power delivery feels realistic
ERG changes happen quickly
High maximum gradient simulation and resistance
Advanced pedalling metrics
Super-quiet and smooth operation
Cassette included
Folds down for quick and easy storage
Two different apps needed
Some basic functions require paid service
Only a single Bluetooth radio

The Elite Direto XR headlines the Italian company's current range of direct-drive smart turbo trainers. The new model can now simulate gradients of up to 24 per cent, up from 18 on the Direto, while the maximum power output it can handle is 2300 watts, up from 2100. It should handle everything you can ask of a home trainer, then.

It boasts some of the best numbers out there, with the highest maximum resistance in this list, and an accuracy claim bettered only by the more expensive Tacx Neo 2T and Wahoo Kickr.

There's improved power reading accuracy too, with the integrated OTS (optical torque sensor) power meter measuring your output with 1.5 per cent accuracy either way.

Ease of use is a big draw too, with Elite throwing in a pre-installed Shimano 105 (or equivalent) pre-installed cassette so you can get riding right away. With our review of the Direto X seeing the lack of a cassette as one of the very few negatives about the trainer, it's a welcome improvement.

Read why the Direto XR is one of our favourites in our Elite Direto XR review.

(Image credit: Tacx)

Tacx Neo 2T

For the dedicated Zwift lover, if you can afford it

Flywheel weight: Virtual 125kg / 275.5lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 1% | Max power: 2200 watts | Max simulated grade: 25% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: No | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Inbuilt 'rumble' mimics cobblestone ride feel, which is surprisingly realistic and spices up riding
Very sensitive and smooth transitions of resistance
Very stable and quiet
No calibration required
Pedal stroke analysis
Can be used without a power source
Folds down for quick and easy storage
Premium retail price
Road disc calipers rub on trainer casing without extra spacers
Tacx app is pared down without an additional subscription
Cassette not included

If your pockets are deep enough, the Tacx Neo 2T turbo trainer is a Zwift or Rouvy lover’s best indoor companion. Offering a degree or two of movement in the freewheel, the Neo 2T can also recreate road surface sensations with some clever electronics. 

Using electromagnetic resistance, Tacx says it can simulate up to a 125kg flywheel and offers 2200-watts to fight against and a max incline of 25-per cent. It's also compatible with 135x10, 142x12 and 148x12 mm axles without the need for extra adaptors. It can also be unplugged and still continue to function, so it can be taken to races for your pre-race warmup.

Instead of using a belt to spin the freewheel like most other direct drive trainers do, the freehub Neo Smart 2 turns the flywheel, which Tacx says allows the trainer to offer power accuracy within one per cent without calibration — Tacx is so sure of this, it doesn't even provide an option to calibrate. The Neo 2T also offers advanced power metrics like left/right balance and pedal stroke analysis.

Check out our in-depth analysis in the Tacx Neo 2T review.

The Kickr V5 is the best turbo trainer from Wahoo

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Wahoo Kickr V5

The Kickr V5 is Wahoo's best turbo trainer, and it's one of the best on the market

Flywheel weight: 7.3kg / 16lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 1% | Max power: 2200 watts | Max simulated grade: 20% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: Sunrace 11-speed | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Stable and quiet in use
Doesn't require manual calibration
Cassette included
Rocking motion with Axis feet
Folds down for quick and easy storage
Premium retail price

Wahoo Kickr recently updated the top-tier model in its range, introducing the Kickr V5. With it, the already-highly-popular Kickr V4 is improved upon without any increase in price. 

The key highlights all remained the same, including the 7.3kg flywheel, maximum 2,200 watts of resistance, 20 per cent incline, and the design of the body and foldable legs. However, Wahoo introduced AXIS; removable cushioned feet that allow up to five per cent of lateral motion to allow for natural pedalling motion and thus, an increase in comfort and road feel... on early tests with the Kickr V5, it's noticeably better. 

It also added an ethernet port, which doesn't actually do anything at the moment, but will soon connect to laptops or televisions to help prevent mid-ride dropouts, making it great for competitive racers. 

Read our long-term impressions of the latest Kickr in our Wahoo Kickr V5 review.

(Image credit: Saris)

Saris H3

Great for those with big engines and nearby neighbours

Flywheel weight: 9kg / 20lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 2% | Max power: 2000 watts | Max simulated grade: 20% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: No | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Heavy flywheel provides a good road feel
Folds down for easy storage
Stable and quiet in operation
Cassette not included

With a substantial 20lb flywheel to drive, the Saris H3 combines real-world inertia with electromagnetic resistance to offer 2000-watts of interactive resistance from your favourite training app.

The H3 sees integrated speed and cadence (and of course power) sensors and offers smooth transitions in power. The standout figure is the low noise, promising just 59 decibels at 20mph, the H3 is arguably the best turbo trainer for those looking to keep neighbours happy.

The legs fold away, and there’s and carry handle so you don’t throw out your back trying to move the 21.3kg unit. It comes with end caps to suit most modern rear ends (except super boost).

Tacx Neo 2TElite Direto XRSaris H3Wahoo Kickr V5
Retail price£1,199.99 / $1,399.99 / €1.299,00 / AU$1,999.00£829.99 / $949.99 / €809,99 / AU$1,349.95 £899.99 / $999.00 / €1,099.00 / AU$1,619.25£999.99 / $1,199.99 / €1,199.99 / AU$1,799.95
TypeDirect driveDirect driveDirect driveDirect drive
Can transmit power to appsYesYesYesYes
Can be controlled by apps? (ie ERG Mode)YesYesYesYes
Mains power required?NoYesYesYes
ANT+ FE-CYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
Multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections1113
Power accuracy1%1.50%2%1%
Max resistance2,200w2,300w2,000w2,200w
Max simulated gradient25%24%20%20%
Added reality featuresRumbling over rough groundN/AN/AN/A
Unit weight21.5kg / 47.4lb15.8kg / 35lb21.3kg / 47lb21.5kg / 47.5lb
Flywheel weightVirtual 125kg / 275.5lb5.1kg / 12lbs9kg / 20lb7.3kg / 16lb
Carry handle?NoYesYesYes
Cassette includedNoShimano 11spNoShimano 11sp
Axle compatibilityQR, 12x142, 12x148QR, 12x142QR, 12x142, 12x148QR, 12x142, 12x148

Best budget direct-drive turbo trainers

Tacx Flux S turbo trainer

(Image credit: Garmin Tacx)

Tacx Flux S

A powerful, affordable and sturdy smart trainer that's great as long as you can dedicate a permanent space for it in your home

Flywheel weight: 7kg / 15lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 3% | Max power: 1500 watts | Max simulated grade: 10% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: No | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Widely compatible with different bike types
Heavy 7kg flywheel offers a realistic ride feel
Super smooth electronic resistance
Easy to assemble
Great value for money
Not foldable
Heavy unit

The Tacx Flux S sits in the middle of Tacx's range of smart trainers as the most affordable direct-drive smart trainer below the Flux 2 and the Neo 2T. Costing less than half the price of the latter, the Flux S represents the brand’s answer to making indoor smart trainers as affordable and accessible as possible. 

With its price being its key USP — particularly in comparison to the next-level Flux 2 — the Flux S is aimed at those who are taking their indoor cycling to the next level without needing to go full-pelt, and it significantly undercuts many of its competitors like the Elite Suito and Wahoo Kickr Core.

Want to know more? Have a look at our Tacx Flux S review.

Wahoo Kickr Core

Compact and quiet direct drive trainer

Flywheel weight: 5.44kg / 12.0lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 2% | Max power: 1800 watts | Max simulated grade: 16% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: No | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Accompanying app is easy to use
Intuitive user experience
No height adjustment
No included cassette

Wahoo's Kickr Core sits in the just under the brand's flagship direct-drive Kickr model. It's quite a bit cheaper and the main differences are the lack of folding legs and carry handle, height adjustment, a slightly smaller flywheel at 12lbs / 5.4kg (the same size as the 2016 and 2017 Kickr), and you’ll have to supply your own cassette.

What the Kickr Core does offer is universal training app compatibility, 1800-watts of electromagnetic resistance, a simulated grade topping out at 16-per cent and claims of a +/- 2-per cent power accuracy. Once you've installed your cassette, it works with quick release, and thru-axle rear ends and offers smooth transitions in resistance and a surprisingly realistic road feel.

Should you want to take your indoor riding to another level still, it’ll work with the Kickr Climb and Kickr Headwind, too.

(Image credit: Tacx)

Tacx Flux 2

Second-tier pricing doesn't always mean second-tier performance

Flywheel weight: 7.6kg / 16.7lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 2.5% | Max power: 2000 watts | Max simulated grade: 16% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: No | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

Widely compatible with different bike types
Easy to assemble
2,000w max gradient is more than nearly everyone will need
Not foldable
No carry handle
Heavy overall weight at 23.6kg

The Flux 2 is Tacx's second-tier offering, sitting beneath the all-singing Neo 2T and above the lesser-specced Flux S. 

Where the Flux 2 shines is in offering performance beyond what many are ever going to need, paring down the bells and whistles, and doing so at a price that is considerably more attainable than the four-figure-sum Neo 2T. 

It benefits from a 7.6kg flywheel, which is the third heaviest on this list, which translates to a very lifelike road feel. It will measure your power to within an accuracy of 2.5 per cent, which is more than accurate enough for most users, but do be aware that this falls outside of Zwift's latest e-sports update, which applies to pro-level competitions such as the Premier Division of the Zwift Racing League.

It can simulate gradients up to 16 per cent, which is more than steep enough for us thank you very much, and it can provide a maximum resistance of 2,000w - which is roughly what the best professional road sprinters are putting out, let alone amateurs at home. 

Elite Suito Turbo Trainer

(Image credit: Elite)

Elite Suito

Smart in operation and simple to use

Flywheel weight: 3.5kg / 7.7lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 2.5% | Max power: 1900 watts | Max simulated grade: 15% | Freehub: 9/10/11sp Shimano/SRAM (12sp sold separately) | Cassette included: 11-speed Shimano | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142

Arrives pre-assembled
Foldable legs
Carry handle
Not quite as accurate as top models

Elite's Suito is the Italian brand's second-tier turbo trainer, sitting beneath the Direto XR in the range. The Suito comes completely assembled, with the 11-speed Shimano cassette fitted, so setup is simple for anyone using an 11-speed groupset. It's also available without a cassette, marketed as the Suito-T, which will be of use to anyone running 12-speed, although don't forget to buy the aftermarket XDR driver to replace the freehub. 

Once set up, the Suito is adequately quiet in operation. It provides resistance up to 1,900 watts, accurate to within 2.5 per cent, and with simulated gradients up to 15 per cent. 

It has foldable legs, with adjustable feet to stabilise on uneven ground, plus a carry handle. While its 3.5kg flywheel results in a slightly less realistic ride feel than some of the top contenders here, it's still a world apart from that 'pedalling through mud' feeling from years gone by. It also means it's lighter, making it easier to move around, should you want to put it away at the end of your ride. 

Wahoo Kickr CoreElite SuitoTacx Flux STacx Flux 2
Retail price£699.99 / $899.99 / €799.99 / AU$1,249.95£629.99 / $799.00 / €569.00 / AU$1,189.95£549.99 / $749.99 / €599,00 / AU$999.00£699.99 / $899.99 / €799,00 / AU$1,199.00
TypeDirect driveDirect driveDirect driveDirect drive
Can transmit power to appsYesYesYesYes
Can be controlled by apps? (ie ERG Mode)YesYesYesYes
Mains power required?YesYesYesYes
ANT+ FE-CYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
Multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections3111
Power accuracy2%2.50%3%2.50%
Max resistance1,800w1,900w1,500w2,000w
Max simulated gradient16%15%10%16%
Added reality featuresN/AN/AN/AN/A
Unit weight18kg / 40lb14.5kg / 32lb22.8kg / 50lb23.6kg / 52lb
Flywheel weight5.44kg / 12.0lb3.5kg / 7.7lb7kg / 15lb7.6kg / 16.7lb
Carry handle?NoYesNoNo
Cassette includedNoShimano 11spNoNo
Axle compatibilityQR, 12x142, 12x148QR, 12x142QR, 12x142, 12x148QR, 12x142, 12x148

Best wheel-on turbo trainers

Like direct drive trainers, wheel-on turbo trainers hold your bike aloft via the rear axle, but they differ in that you don't remove the wheel. Instead, your rear tyre is placed against a roller so that when your pedalling input spins your rear wheel, it in-turn spins the roller. The resistance is then applied to that roller, which in turn makes it harder to pedal. 

Wahoo Kickr Snap

One of the best turbo trainers for user-friendliness

Flywheel weight: 4.8kg / 10.5lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth Smart | Accuracy: +/- 3% | Max power: 1500-watts | Max simulated grade: 12% | Axle compatibility: QR (Thru axle sold separately)

Quick to setup
Accuracy is good for a wheel-on trainer
It has a large footprint

While Wahoo's Kickr direct drive turbo trainers are likely some of the first that comes to mind (for good reason), the brand's wheel-on Kickr Snap is no chump.

With both ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, Wahoo makes the unit compatible with basically every training app under the sun and the Kickr Snap plays nicely with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.

At +/-3 per cent accuracy, the power measurement of the V2 edges in just above much of the competition and in the ERG mode, the Snap adjusts the resistance at the rear wheel to match what your app of choice dictates.

The frame is sturdy and doesn't feel as though you're going to tip over when the intervals get tough, but the legs are foldable for easy storage.

(Image credit: Lifeline)

Lifeline TT-01 turbo trainer

A simple and versatile magnetic turbo trainer for those on a budget

Flywheel weight: TBC | Connectivity: N/A | Accuracy: N/A | Max power: Circa 800 watts | Max simulated grade: N/A | Axle compatibility: QR (Thru axle sold separately)

Budget-friendly
Compact and foldable
Compatible with both road and MTB wheels
Requires further investment for Zwift setup
Only comes with QR axles

This magnetic wheel-on turbo trainer from Wiggle's inhouse brand Lifeline may lack the bells and whistles of a smart trainer, but it does offer a very budget-friendly way for anyone to get started with indoor cycling. Its wide steel construction and rubber feet create a strong and stable platform to hold your bike securely in place, while the compact folding a-frame design that makes it easy to pack away or take with you to warm up before an event.

With six levels of magnetic resistance that you can adjust using an ergonomic remote lever atop your handlebars, and a promised power curve to simulate real riding conditions, it’s an ideal entry-level trainer for anyone who’s at the beginning stages of setting up their pain cave. It comes with a riser block for your front wheel to rest on to place you in a natural riding position, and you can combine the magnetic resistance with your bike’s gears to simulate hill climbs and sprints. 

It’s also compatible with multiple wheel sizes, ranging from 26-inch mountain bike wheels to 700c road wheels, and can fit both 130 and 135mm rear spacing, for road and mountain bikes respectively. This means if you’ve not yet invested in a road bike, you can still start training with whatever set of wheels you already have.

It’s still possible to achieve an at-home virtual cycling setup with the Lifeline TT-01, if you pair it with an ANT+ or Bluetooth stick and a speed and cadence sensor. In fact, the trainer is now included in the Zwift classic trainer hardware list, which means with these additions you can take advantage of Zwift’s power curve configuration to improve the accuracy.

There will be a slight delay between your power output and the response on screen, but for under £100 / $150, it’s definitely not something to be sniffed at.

(Image credit: Elite)

Elite Tuo

Part turbo trainer, part modern art

Flywheel weight: 2.5kg / 5.5lb | Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth Smart | Accuracy: +/- 3% | Max power: 1250 watts | Max simulated grade: 10% | Axle compatibility: QR, 12x142, 12x148

It looks great
Good accuracy for a wheel-on trainer
The maximum gradient simulation is lower than we'd hope
Price is high for a wheel-on trainer

The Elite Tuo is easily the best turbo trainer for the style-conscious or those who want their turbo trainer to blend in with their home decor. 

However, it's not just a pretty face. With a claimed accuracy of +/- 3-per cent, slope simulation of 10% and a maximum resistance of 1250 watts, it holds its own as a great training tool too.

The Tuo is compatible with bikes from 130mm quick-release up to 148x12mm thru-axle. It has a large footprint for stability during high power efforts, yet if you do decide to hide it away, it folds up to a compact package. 

ALifeline TT-01 turbo trainerElite TuoWahoo Kickr Snap
Retail price£99.99 / $147.99 / €119,59 / AU$199.99£399.00 / $580.00 / €499.00 / AU$749.99£429.99 / $499.99 / €499.99 / AU$749.95
TypeWheel onWheel onWheel on
Can transmit power to appsNoYesYes
Can be controlled by apps? (ie ERG Mode)NoYesYes
Mains power required?NoYesYes
ANT+ FE-CNoYesYes
Bluetooth SmartNoYesYes
Multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections011
Power accuracyN/A5%3%
Max resistanceApprox 800w1,250w1,500w
Max simulated gradientN/A10%12%
Added reality featuresN/AN/AN/A
Unit weightTBCTBC17.2kg / 38lb
Flywheel weightTBC2.5kg / 5.5lb4.8kg / 10.5lb
Carry handle?NoNoNo
Cassette includedNoNoNo
Axle compatibilityQR (Thru axle sold separately)QR, 12x142, 12x148QR (Thru axle sold separately)

How to choose the best turbo trainer

To the uninitiated, turbo trainers can present a confusing minefield of options, but that's where we can help. 

Firstly, you'll need to decide between smart and standard. While the trend of the best turbo trainers of today definitely favours smart trainers, standard options (often called dumb trainers) are still produced and widely popular due to their budget-friendly price. 

Smart means they can connect (usually via Bluetooth or ANT+) to your electronic device (phone, laptop, tablet and most of the best cycling computers) to offer variable resistance which is controlled by apps such as Zwift or workout sessions downloaded to your cycling computer from training software such as TrainingPeaks.

When buying, look for connectivity specs and compatibility claims. If it has Bluetooth or ANT+ mentioned, or it claims to be compatible with Zwift, then you're looking at a smart turbo trainer. Of course, these will come at a higher price than a standard trainer. 

Standard turbo trainers forego this connectivity and are much cheaper. They either offer an upwards resistance curve (the harder you pedal, the more it resists), or a manual controller, which works in a similar way to dragging the brakes. Of course, if you have a power meter or speed sensor, you can pair those with your Zwift-running device, but the interactivity is lost (Zwift can't control the resistance automatically). For more information on this, we've put together a guide to the cheapest Zwift setup which explains what you need to ride on Zwift (and other apps) and the cheapest way to make it happen. 

Within smart turbo trainers, there are two options: wheel-on and direct drive. Just as the names suggest, wheel-on places a roller against your rear tyre to provide resistance while direct-drive connects a cassette to the trainer itself, and removes the rear wheel altogether.

The most significant factor in determining which turbo trainer is best for you will be how much you're willing to spend. Direct drive turbo trainers are definitely better, but also more expensive, the wheel-on smart variety is more budget-friendly, and standard (non-smart) turbo trainers are regularly the cheapest. 

Of course, there is a trade-off. The wheel-on trainers are usually louder and don’t offer the same power-measuring accuracy as their direct drive counterparts.

What is ERG mode?

ERG mode is where the trainer will tailor the resistance to help you hit your target power, and is a feature of all smart turbo trainers. For example, let's say you're riding a preset workout and your target power is 200 watts, ERG mode will provide the right resistance for 200 watts regardless of whether you're pedalling at 60RPM or 150RPM.

This means you can focus more on the pedalling and less on shifting gears or ensuring you remain on target. 

App compatibility

When it comes to communication with your device, almost every smart trainer can connect via Bluetooth Smart FTMS (the FiTness Machine Service designed specifically for Bluetooth fitness equipment) or ANT+ FE-C. Both allow your trainer to speak to and receive commands from your computer, meaning you can ride in Erg mode or have the resistance affected by the terrain in Zwift. 

ANT+ FE-C can generally accept multiple connections at once, so you can record data on multiple devices or have your trainer controlled by TrainerRoad whilst following roads in Zwift for entertainment. Bluetooth is usually limited to one concurrent connection, although Wahoo devices support up to three. 

As of around 2016, virtually every smart trainer on the market is dual-band, meaning they worked on both protocols, so no matter if you're using a Garmin cycling computer or your Bluetooth smartphone, your smart turbo trainer should be able to speak the right language. 

Remember, a standard trainer forgoes this technology, so cannot communicate with your device at all. 

Axle and freehub compatibility

Bikes use a variety of axle and freehub standards these days, so it's essential to check which your bike uses and make sure the turbo trainer you buy comes with the correct adaptors. 

Axles

Most modern bikes use either a 135mm quick-release skewer or a 142x12mm thru-axle. All of the trainers above are compatible with both, but some will require an extra purchase to make it work. We've outlined the compatibility of each trainer to help you decide which is the best turbo trainer for you. 

Many mountain bikes these days use a slightly wider 148x12mm thru-axle, so if you're a mountain biker and wish to use it on the trainer, then you'll need to consider this when buying. 

If your turbo trainer of choice doesn't come with the correct adaptor to suit your bike, then it will most likely be available as an aftermarket extra purchase, but of course, this is an extra cost you may be able to do without. 

Freehubs

When it comes to direct drive trainers, you'll need to consider whether the freehub is compatible with a cassette that is compatible with the groupset on your bike.

The agreed-upon standard is for a turbo trainer to come with a freehub that's compatible with 9, 10 and 11-speed Shimano/SRAM cassettes. So if you're using a groupset of that spec, you'll probably find you have no issues with freehub compatibility. However, if you're using Campagnolo, Shimano 12-speed, or SRAM 12-speed groupsets, you'll need a different freehub, which will be an additional extra purchase to consider. 

Cassettes

If buying a direct drive turbo trainer, it's also worth considering whether or not your prospective new turbo trainer comes with a cassette or not. Some turbo trainers come with an 11-speed cassette included, which can help save money (assuming it's compatible with your bike, of course). We've made it clear for each of the turbo trainers above which, if any, cassette is included.