Advice please - Best set up


I am a relatively new cyclist so I am starting from a base of nothing much (FTP 160ish, think I am about 2.3W/kg, 40 year old female). I used to be a runner but I discovered cycling and find I enjoy it much more and seem to be a bit better at it. I have been looking at different indoor training platforms and have chosen TR because I want to get faster and I am not bothered about collecting points or immersive gaming.

I am after some advice about the best option for setting up my bike. I have my posh carbon bike which has a power meter (eBay bargain!), my old bike which doesn’t have a PM, a newly acquired second hand smart trainer (Elite Novo Smart) and a set of Tacx rollers. I would like to get the most out of my training and have read that cheaper smart trainers are not that accurate. Is it best to use my old bike on the smart trainer and not take too much notice of the actual power numbers / just train consistently or should I use my best bike on the trainer and use the real power readings? I don’t really want to wreck my best bike, but equally I don’t want to put in hours of training a week and not be in the correct work ranges. The PM is a quarq so I can’t move it between bikes. I am assuming that the smart trainer is better than the rollers. I like the rollers but I need a more structured plan - before now I have just put the bike on and ridden for 60-90 minutes in Z2.

I guess what I am after (after all that rambling) is advice on

  1. smart trainer vs rollers and
  2. relying on smart trainer power output figures vs sweating all over my pride and joy best bike to get the proper power readings…

Sorry if the questions are silly - I don’t know anything much about cycling and no one I know cycles so I have no one to ask! Thanks :slight_smile:

Use your posh bike with Quarq on the smart trainer, and use “power match” so that it’s setting your watts based on the Quarq numbers. So, in other words, say you need to do 150 watts, Trainer Road will take your power reading from the Quarq and use that to adjust the resistance on the smart trainer.

That way, when you get out on the road and even race with your carbon bike, the numbers will match up to what you’re doing on the turbo. Also, you’ll be riding and getting used to riding in the same position.

Article explaining power match here:

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As an additional point, rollers are excellent for bike handling, so if you have an “easy” session where you don’t need to hit a series of intervals at a specific wattage, you can just go on the rollers, use the Quarq power readings to check you’re going at roughly the right pace, and get some time in while improving your balance.

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Just place a towel over the stem, headset and top tube and you’re good to go.

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Use the posh bike with the power meter. Better to use one measuring device for ALL cycling activities although it’s not always possible to do. Note that the smart trainer you have isn’t supported by TR, at least I can’t find it, so it may very well become a dumb trainer if TR can’t control or read it. If that’s the case, just set the trainer in resistance mode and use the bike’s gearing to change your power.

  1. Either one since you’d be using the bike PM.
  2. Similar answer to number 1. If TR can’t control the smart trainer you may be stuck using the bike PM anyways.
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Even better, Make sure you get a high quality fan. Better yet, two fans.

The Lasko Performance series blower fans (and similar from other brands) are the best for our needs. Make certain you have a LOT of airflow over your body.

  1. It minimizes sweat, the related mess and risk to your bike.
  2. More importantly, it keeps your core temperature under control and will allow you to get maximum efforts from your training.

Edit to add, looks like Lasko has 2 new fans on the way. Angle adjustment via polygon sides, 1x 3-prong power, 2x USB charging ports. Seems interesting, I just wish they had specs to compare to the other models. Renders only and I can’t seem to find any for sale yet, so price and availability are unknown right now.

  1. X-Blower™ Multi-Position Utility Blower Fan Model X12900
    • Mechanical rotary power switch
    • image
  2. X-Blower™ Multi-Position Utility Blower Fan Model X12905
    • Electronic push-button power switch
    • image

Thanks for all the great advice :slight_smile:

It looks like I have a few more things to buy… many fans and a sweat catcher. I have found that cycling goes hand in hand with an ever increasing shopping list!!

Apparently the turbo is smart - the elite novo is a dumb trainer but the one I have is a Halfords special hybrid and has the body of a dumb novo but the resistance wheel brain of a qubo/ cubo? I’m doing most of my rides outside at the moment as it’s (allegedly) summer time in the UK. I’m training for Ride London but I am looking forward to getting stuck into some proper structured base / training plans later in the year… at the moment I just ride.

Thanks again for all your advice, much appreciated.

I go with opposite of the above. I keep an old bike always on the trainer. This way my good bike and trainer are always ready to use, no messing about swapping wheels/trainer etc. I know it’s simple but I don’t want anything giving me an excuse not to train (I’m pretty weak willed)

I mostly do CX racing so it isn’t important to me if my road power matches my training.

There’s a thread about UK Lasko fan equivalent here.

I’ve got an older Elite trainer myself although not Ant/BT so I can’t calibrate it for use with Tr unfortunately… anyway it’s got P1/2/3 settings that you could calibrate using your good bike versus the power meter (in theory).
The calibration seems really accurate on mine at least.
If you trust the accuracy you could just put the good bike on occasionally to check the calibration.

Smart trainer, hands down. You can use the rollers in addition, but rollers can only provide limited resistance and you can hurt yourself while training (e. g. if you get distracted for a second).

The recommendation is to use one single source for power measurements indoors and outdoors if you can. Plus, it is better to train on the bike that you’ll use outdoors.