New to indoor cycling, which trainer to get?

Hi everybody,
I’m coming from a running background, with only a little bit of road cycling here and there. Now, I plan on taking up triathlon and thus want to start cycling more. Since winter is coming up, I already know I won’t cycle too much outside in the next months, so I figured indoor training would be a good place to start.
But now I’m a little lost when it comes to equipment.
Right now, I have one road bike (no power meter or cadence/speed sensor or anything).
For a trainer, I have some things that are important to me:

  1. I don’t have much space in my room. There’s no way I’m leaving it set up permanently, so setup/teardown should be quick and it should be small-ish to store.
  2. I’d like to get into power-based training. I’m big on numbers and analytics for running, so I’m pretty sure that would be a big boost of motivation for me. It seems like getting a smart trainer is best for that. (or getting a power meter for the bike, with the advantage of being able to also use it outside, but the disadvantage of being really expensive)
  3. Since I live in a shared apartment, it shouldn’t be super loud.

If I don’t have to spend a fortune to meet these requirements, I’d obviously be glad, but I haven’t fixed a budget yet.

Any recommendations? I’m happy for any advice you can give a newbie :slight_smile:

Take a look here:

You will get a good overview of the current market. I chose the Wahoo Kickr Core which sells for 800 EUR. Sadly I wasn’t able to test it yet as I received a faulty unit. Already 2 weeks behind my scheduled training start.

All of them come with their pros and cons.



I use the first gen hammer electronic trainer and you’ll see a lot of thumbs up around here for that model as well as their H2 and new H3. The first gen can be had on amazon for $699 or $899 for the H2. Both are pretty quiet when it comes to trainers.

If the budget allows, i would look at one of the power meters that replaces your left crank arm like stages or 4iiii. I prefer the 4iiii myself. Now the one factor with these power meters is your bike needs a compatible crank set. Can you tell us what crank set you have on your bike?

Finally for the complete package, grab a Garmin Edge 530 or a used 520 as a head unit to display/capture your outdoor rides and to also be able to use the TrainerRoad outside ride feature.

Thank You,

Thanks for the advice!
So you’re recommending to get a power meter as well as a smart trainer? I guess that would give the most exact numbers (and make indoor and outdoor numbers comparable).
I’ll have to look up the crank of my bike later when I’m home.

Not sure if getting both is in budget. But I guess I could only get the trainer for now and get a power meter in spring once I start riding outside more.

As a head unit, I’ve been using my Garmin Forerunner 945 with a bike mount. The display is small, but it worked well so far and it should be compatible with a power meter as well. So I won’t need to buy anything more there, hopefully.

Everyone talks about noise with trainers and some are worse than others but my TV and fan drown out my trainer completely.

If budget won’t allow both, get a power meter (4iii or stages), even a secondhand one will do, and either a ‘dumb’ trainer or a cheap smart trainer. There was a similar question about budget trainers on here recently. The power meter will help pacing your tri’s as well as help with training. The smart trainer is mostly important to use erg mode (you (or TR software) set a power, and the trainer will ‘force’ you to hold it regardless of which gear you’re in or what cadence you have), and to do stuff like zwift racing. But you can train fine without it.

Definitely think the budget is a big factor in this decision

If you want to ride indoors and outdoors then a ‘dumb’ trainer and a power meter is a great way to get into things if you’re constrained a bit on cash. If there’s no budget ceiling then take your pick of wheel off smart trainers and also buy a power meter

If you intend to train purely indoors then a smart trainer with no power meter is probably your best bet

The problem with this is he recommends the Kickr Core and you just like so many received a faulty unit, or two, or three.

I would emphatically ignore that list and get the Cyclops H2. It’s cheaper than the Kickr, more reliable and Nate uses one and he could probably have a truckload of Kickrs delivered by Wahoo for free. Which actually might not be a bad idea because in a truck load there is probably a reliable unit in there somewhere.

H2 on Sale

Thanks for all the advice so far. Powermeter and a cheap trainer might be the way to go for me, but I’ll think about it some more.

I looked it up, I have a FSA Gossamer CK-6020 crank on my bike.
Is there any place or way I can easily check compatibility of 4iiii or stages powermeters to that crank?

Edit: With a bunch of googling i found out that there seems to be no compatible stages or 4iiii powermeter for my crank.