In the past ten years, smart trainers have taking over the indoor training market. With their rise, one may ask themselves, is it worth it?
Related: Your indoor training menu
The pros of getting a smart trainer
Getting a smart trainer is an investment, but if you’re trying to get ready for the upcoming season and staying ‘road’ ready, a smart trainer is for you.
If you’re on a limited budget, there are many affordable options out there. For example, the Bkool Go retails for $400.
Related: Wahoo Kickr trio review
If you’re on Zwift and don’t have a smart trainer, you’re missing out. When I made the switch to a smart trainer, my Zwift experience went from “this is cool” to “this is unreal…”
Smart trainers have a built-in power meter. This is convenient, especially if you don’t have one or are using a different bike on your trainer. Traditionally, power meters are hard to move over – unless you have the Garmin Vector 3 Pedals.
Indoor training is becoming more and more immersive. You can include the Wahoo Climb and Headwind with the Kickr, giving you the same feeling as riding up a hill or battling a headwind. The Tacx Neo Smart Trainer has a vibration feature that mimics the feeling you get when riding on gravel or cobblestone streets.
Related: Tacx Neo Smart trainer
Most smart trainers use a direct drive format, so you don’t have to worry about putting on a trainer tire.
Smart trainers are great for winter training, but they also make a lot of sense for someone that lives in the city and can’t get out of the hustle and bustle in the summer.
The cons of getting a smart trainer… or the pros of staying old school
To get the full experience, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money. Most of the high-end trainers cost over a grand.
If you’re new to triathlon or cycling, then dropping a grand is probably not the best option. There are plenty of other trainers out there that’ll only cost you a few hundred dollars or less.
Technology is convenient, but it isn’t always reliable. So, if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like change or becomes frustrated by the smallest shortcomings, you may want to stick with what works for you.
Related: The pain cave essentials
If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. If you have a setup that works for you, no matter your ability or goals, then don’t change it. Triathletes were qualifying for Kona and setting personal bests long before there were smart trainers, power meters or Zwift.