The coronavirus crisis has forced many riders inside to train, which has meant more people discovering indoor apps, such as Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, FulGaz and RGT Cycling, to install on their computers, tablets or smartphones to help pass the time, using workouts and racing to retain interest and get fit.
Of course, to get up and running, you'll need a bike and some kind of home trainer – except that Cyclingnews recently brought you the news that Europe was on the brink of selling out of smart trainers, while the likes of the US and Australia could follow suit as the coronavirus restrictions continue and more people discover indoor racing as a way to pass the time.
That might be somewhat of a luxury problem for home-trainer manufacturers, who must be one of very few industries thriving during this coronavirus pandemic, but if your wallet doesn't stretch to tracking down a new model, don't worry: eBay has a number of used-smart-trainer bargains right now.
A smart trainer syncs with your computer, tablet or smartphone to transmit your power output to whichever app you're using. In turn, the app sends commands back to your smart trainer to increase or decrease the trainer's resistance, such as when you're climbing, or descending, on the course you're following on your screen.
So perhaps you're looking to make the step up from using your less-precise – power/speed-wise – 'dumb' turbo trainer, or perhaps you need to replace or upgrade the smart trainer you already have.
But if you need more information about riding inside before splashing the cash, check out the Cyclingnews indoor cycling guide here.
How about deciding between a wheel-on or direct-drive trainer? Click here to learn more about the difference, and to decide which kind might be best for you.
You'll be able to use our eBay finds here – which in some cases may end up being finished/sold by the time you look at them – as a base from which to search for yourself through the myriad deals out there, and hopefully you'll find something that suits you, your budget and your riding-needs down to the ground.
This looks to be a great deal on a first-generation Wahoo Kickr for anyone based in the US – or anywhere else, if you're prepared to stump up the cash for shipping. In fact, that latter point applies to all items bought on eBay, of course, and, when it comes to items like smart trainers, you may be better off trying to find bargains that are closer to home in order to save a bit of money.
Back to the Kickr – from one of the newer smart-trainer players in Wahoo Fitness – and it's a product that you can be confident will serve you well when it comes to your online racing sessions. This version of the Kickr advertised may now be five-six years old, and has been updated since, but its looks haven't changed very much compared to what is now the company's top model – if that was ever anything that was going to bother you in your private pain cave – and the seller makes clear that they've only ever used it around 50 times, and that it comes with a 10-speed Shimano cassette included. It's well worth a look, we'd say, as are other older Kickr models.
Sitting in the middle of today's range is the Kickr Core direct-drive trainer, while another new kid on the block is Wahoo's wheel-on Kickr Snap – a slightly more wallet-friendly option when bought new, and there are a fair few second-hand deals to be had out there, too. This one on eBay.com, and being sold from the US, looks to be a good price – you could even say a snap – at US$320, and only has around 50 miles on the 'clock' since being bought new in February, according to the seller.
Here's a decent deal on a Saris M2 on-wheel smart trainer to have you up and running on your favourite indoor-training app asap – yours for US$350.
The seller is upgrading to a direct-drive (wheel-on) trainer, so this would give someone a perfect introduction to the world of Zwift, Rouvy or TrainerRoad. Manufacturer Saris also has a number of other trainers available, including the H3 direct-drive model, which is a recent upgrade from the H2, which can sometimes be found for sale on eBay and are well worth looking out for.
Both Tacx and Elite are two of the older players in the turbo-trainer market, and both companies have huge experience from back in the days when getting on your home trainer was a considerably more dull experience, without interactive apps, and instead you had to try to pass the time by listening to music or watching workout DVDs.
Today, Elite's top smart-trainer models include the Drivo II, Direto X and Suito, while Tacx's considerable range includes the Neo 2T, the Flux 2 and the Flux S.
This Tacx Neo smart trainer, being sold on eBay in the UK, had a very-good-value £410 bid on it at the time of writing with a week still to go, although the bids seemed to be coming in thick and fast, so expect to pay a fair bit more than that. The seller is including a fitted 10-speed cassette, but admits that the power cable has got a bit scuffed and has been repaired with electrical tape.
The model's a few years old – and was replaced by the Neo 2T at the end of last year – but it's nevertheless a very quiet, very precise (in terms of power measurement) and, it has to be said, very stylish-looking model.