If you are an avid cyclist or mountain biker, one of the biggest problems you may face is the weather. No matter where you are, the weather tends to be unpredictable and can spoil your ride. If it is too hot/sunny, rainy, snowy or windy, you may not want to cycle outside. So, what is the alternative if you still want to cycle? Turbo trainers! A turbo trainer is a piece of equipment that allows cyclists to remain stationary while pedaling.
Many cyclists have wondered: can turbo trainers be used with mountain bikes? Good news mountain bikers, you can use a turbo trainer with mountain bikes! Almost every mountain bike will fit on a turbo trainer, you just need to find one that fits your specific mountain bike.
If you want to learn more about turbo trainers and how to find the best one for you, keep reading!
What Is A Turbo Trainer Used For?
A turbo trainer is a device or piece of equipment that your bicycle attaches to. This allows you to ride your bike in one place wherever you want.
Depending on the type of turbo trainer, your bicycle’s rear wheel will clamp into a frame and sit on rollers that will allow your wheels to turn still while you pedal.
So, cyclists tend to use turbo trainers to continue training indoors if the weather is poor or will use one just to save time rather than taking the extra time necessary to go out.
Benefits Of Using A Turbo Trainer
There are plenty of benefits to using a turbo trainer, but the main one is to avoid bad weather. If you live somewhere with 4 seasons, it may be hard to get out and use your mountain bike throughout the year.
If your winters are too cold and your summers are too hot, you may not be left with many days in the year to cycle outdoors. To keep training or just cycling for fun, you can use your turbo trainer to stay indoors.
Using a turbo trainer indoors will also keep you safe. Cycling on the road or on rough terrain as many mountain bikers do can be dangerous. Although the terrain is one of the most appealing parts of mountain biking, cycling indoors sometimes can help keep you safe and help your body to recover.
Using a turbo trainer can also be great for training or practicing. You are able to work on a specific area of fitness and make it as intense as you want without seeking out terrain such as big hills or mountains.
The turbo trainer is also able to track your time and progress much more accurately than something such as a phone or smart watch can. This will allow you to see whether or not you’re progressing so you can adjust your training to match.
Staying at home to cycle is also time-effective. All you need to do is set up your bike, get on and go. Mountain biking outdoors typically takes more time to prepare for and if you are cycling in a specific area or terrain, you will first need to get there before you start.
As well as being time-effective, using a turbo trainer is also convenient. Nothing is easier than staying home to exercise. Though finding motivation to get up and do it can be tough, it is easier to exercise or train at home as you won’t be taking much time out of your day.
Some people may find using a turbo trainer boring as the scenery remains the same throughout whereas mountain biking tends to have scenery and terrain constantly changing. But, technology has made using a turbo trainer much more interesting.
There are now interactive online platforms such as Zwift that allow cyclists to complete virtual rides. The platform has virtual maps that you can follow on screen that you can follow.
Your cycling on the turbo trainer takes your speed and cadence and translates it into the virtual world, so if you speed up in real life, your online cyclist will as well. This means that you can also have real-time cycling partners completing the map with you.
Interactive platforms like this will relieve boredom and motivate cyclists to get their training started. Lower tech options to keep your scenery interesting are playing a training video on a television or computer in front of you and following along.
Types Of Turbo Trainers for Mountain Bikes
There are a variety of turbo trainers available, but the most commons ones are rear wheel attachment trainer, a fluid trainer, wheel-less or direct-drive trainers.
A rear wheel attachment trainer is as it sounds, the skewer will go through your rear wheel and lock it into place. The wheel will then be pressed against a cylinder to provide resistance with fluid or magnets.
A fluid trainer is another magnetic trainer that provides progressive resistance. This means that when you pedal harder, you will gain more resistance.
When you use a wheel-less or direct-drive trainer, you need to remove your rear wheel and mount your bike onto the trainer. The trainer will hold your bike in place to keep it stationary.
The best type of turbo trainer to use with your mountain bike is a direct drive trainer as you will not cause any wear and tear to your rear wheel this way.
If you would rather use a different turbo trainer, you should use a different tire on your rear wheel to prevent damage on your actual wheel.
You can get a tire made specifically to use with turbo trainers, but are typically made for road bikes. If you want a tire specifically for a mountain bike, you can get a slick mountain bike tire.
Here are four of the best turbo trainers for mountain bikes available online.
Alpcour Bike Trainer Stand
This Alpcour bike trainer stand is perfect to convert any road bike or mountain bike into a stationary bicycle.
The bike trainer has high-quality flywheel mechanism to replicate a real cycling experience. To further replicate the cycling experience, there are six levels of resistance to adapt your training.
Many customers worry about the noise of using a turbo trainer, but Alpcour’s trainer uses super quiet magnetic technology and has built in noise reduction to keep your journey as quiet as possible.
The turbo trainer stand is heavy duty as it is made of durable stainless steel, a front wheel riser block and anti-slip rubber pads to prevent movement. The durability ensures you can use it for years to come with no wear and tear.
Don’t worry about the trainer taking up too much room as you can fold it to pack it away when not in use.
Sportneer Bike Trainer Stand
Sportneer’s trainer is the number one best seller on Amazon for good reason. It is a stable turbo trainer as it is has a wide base and low stance to keep you balanced.
This turbo trainer will also allow users to exercise in near silence as it utilizes a noise reduction resistance wheel.
Speaking of the resistance wheel, this turbo trainer has six different resistance settings to allow users to adjust their resistance with a bar-mounted remote.
Sportneer’s turbo trainer is compatible with any road or mountain bike with a 26-28” wheel, so anyone in your family can utilize the turbo trainer as well!
This turbo trainer comes in the common color black, but also pink if that would better suit your home’s aesthetics.
BalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand
BalanceFrom’s bike trainer stand is great to train with as it has eight different magnetic resistance levels to meet your specific needs. Resistance is controlled with a controller that you can easily mount to your handlebar.
This trainer is built with a wide base and a low stance to provide unshakable balance. The max load for the trainer is 330 lbs which will fit most cyclists.
One important thing to note with this trainer is that it will be noisy when using rough tires such as ones mountain bikes use. You can block this out with music or training videos or switch out your back tire when using this trainer.
Install is easy as this trainer features a quick release clamp to clamp your rear wheel.
Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Bike Trainer
This Fluid2 trainer is the best-selling trainer in the USA and is made with 100% recyclable, non-rusting materials meaning it is great for both you and the environment.
The noise level for this trainer is low as it only produces 64-68 decibels of sound at 20 mph.
This trainer is also compatible with virtual training apps such as Zwift and Rouvy. This means you can cycle and train online with other likeminded cyclists.
The Fluid2 trainer is stable on most surfaces as it has a wide frame and adjustable footpads to suit any user. It also comes with lifetime warranty, so you are always protected.