TT position on dumb turbo

I’ve read that riding in position on a ‘dumb’ turbo is a bad idea though I’m not entirely sure why. Something to do with the fixed nature of a wheel-on turbo I think.

From personal experience, I have noticed that riding in position for any extended period of time is harder and just feels wrong. Short intervals are fine, but anything beyond 5 minutes, at ANY power, feels progressively more uncomfortable.

Anyone notice this too? I’m tempted to invest in a direct drive turbo, but I only want to if it’ll allow me to ride in the TT position.

Discomfort on a trainer is a common issue. See the topics below. It’s not specifically the TT position although I suspect that position may be worse than a normal road position.

This isn’t something, as far as I’m concerned that will be fixed by a direct drive unit since the way in which the bike is mounted isn’t dissimilar to a “wheel on” trainer and is at least as stiff, if not stiffer.

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To the “Dumb is a problem…” idea, I think it’s probably without merit. There could be a consideration of the flywheel speed and related “momentum/inertia” on the trainer vs a smart trainer, but I don’t really think so in general.

There may be a consideration if you are comparing a really cheap dumb trainer (that typically have a very small and ineffective flywheel) vs a mid to high end smart trainer (that often have much larger and effective flywheels). Potential loading on the body may differ a bit with the difference in pedal loading around the circle. But even if this is “real”, it is not restricted to the TT position only.

My real take on this is that it has to do with inside vs outside, and the fact that a TT position is usually uncomfortable outside in the first place. Taking that inside and often using a rigid trainer will likely amplify any discomfort in magnitude and show itself sooner in a ride.

To combat that, I suggest adding motion via small methods like a thick mat, or taking the step to a full rocker plate. My discussions with Kinetic reps confirmed my opinion that the Rock and Roll trainer, along with rocker plates, can greatly improve comfort for any indoor cycling, but particularly for TT positions (per the reasons above). Adding that freedom of motion impacts saddle comfort in a big and notable way.

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Thanks for this. I replaced my saddle (was going to anyway as I had been getting chafing and wanted a saddle with the nose “cut off”), and put a folded up yoga mat under the turbo. Definitely helped make 2x20’ @ sweetspot more comfortable than similar sessions beforehand. Thanks

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I have a Wahoo Kickr and a Feedback Sports Omnium for race days. I have ridden the TT bike on the Kickr, but absolutely hated it. Much less power, and uncomfortable writhing minutes (compared to riding outdoors). However, riding on the Omnium, where the bike „wiggles“ from side to side, I have much more fun riding in the TT position. That’s why I do road bike training/ Kickr roadbike to get my power up and Position training on the Omnium. And of course try to get outdoor whenever possible.

Similar experience to me. I have stopped riding in position on the turbo. It’s less fun and more uncomfortable. I wouldn’t mind if my body adapted to it, but it doesn’t seem to be, and may have caused a hamstring issue.

Now I just sit up and hold the base bar, which is probably similar to the drops on a road bike, not bolt upright.

Riding TT position on the turbo is certainly more uncomfortable than riding on the road and harder to hold the position for long periods of time. I’ve been doing it for years and have done it on dumb trainer, smart trainer and used a rocker plate (home made). None of them makes any real noticeable difference. I do notice a difference at different power levels though. For example, I can stay in position for the full hour of Petit but Threshold work like Dunderberg I take breaks from the TT position by sitting up a couple of times during the intervals. say 3 x 1 minute sitting up breaks in a 12 minute interval works great for me.

One thing though, if I’m going to train on the TT bike I ALWAYS do my ramp test in position too. When first transitioning from road to TT bike at the start of TT season my difference between road and TT FTP can be 10 - 15%. I do consecutive ramp tests to measure this. After a couple of blocks of training I can get this down to 3 - 5%.

One other thing is that it’s easy to settle in to a position on the trainer on the TT bike that you wouldn’t;t use on the road. SO I always try to do at least 1 workout outside on the TT bike every week to get a feel for a good road position and try to replicate that when riding inside.

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I am more powerful (power is a relative term :joy:) in the TT position on the turbo but eventually I get marginally increased HR I think simply not getting the airflow that I would outdoors. I tend to vary it, going down for intervals and up for recoveries.

I have used a home made rocker plate but didn’t really make much difference to me. So much so that I didn’t bother setting it up again when I tidied out the pain cave. One thing I have kept though is this thing underneath the front riser. Very cheap solution, lets the bars wiggle side to side a bit. When recovering from a AC joint injury this was the only way I could ride the trainer (too painful without). So I’m guessing that it relieves a lot of stress going through the shoulders. Could be a big help to holding tt position on the trainer.

https://simplybearings.co.uk/shop/p42340/9-inch-Round-Lazy-Susan-Turntable-Bearing/product_info.html

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I used my tt bike on the turbo all winter and it has definitely helped me with my position and power out on the road. I use a first gen neo. I did all my ramp tests in position so that the zones were correct while training.

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Hi Sam, if this thread is a purchasing question - I don’t think there is a difference between dumb and smart in TT position, but I have never thought about it. Nor have I heard that TT position in a dumb trainer is a bad idea - where did you hear that?

Essentially the only difference between smart and dumb is how the resistance is controlled. I guess there is a smoother transition in Erg mode, but I’m struggling to think what difference in position this would make.

…and Ive just realised this thread is nine months old! :sweat_smile:. So I guess the question is more - did you buy one and did it make a difference? :smiley:

TT bike on a dumb turbo and training in postion as much as possible for last 10 years… you do gradually adapt to it.
Always test in postion & more recently using the hour test as it is closer to race length.
Now stronger in a TT position than a road postion.

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I am a pretty serious TTer. When I put my TT bike back on the turbo about 6 weeks ago, I felt like it was slipping on an old shoe, and I just fell into the comfortable position. Mind you I had a good TT bike fit mid/late last year that might have helped things. I admit, between long intervals i come up off the TT bars for 15-30 seconds for a bit of relief (and a drink) and then drop back into them for the recovery sets. Outside I never do that, rather I stay in the bars for long periods (except slow climbs and awkward corners and other safety reasons).

Are you saying any riding in the TT position (inside and out) feels wrong, or that you are fine outside, but have prolems inside on your turbo.

I don’t know why anyone would say riding on a tt bike in a tt position is a bad idea. It is no different to track pursuitists training on rollers on their pursuit bike (just a shed load easier). Loads of TTers and triathletes train in side on a turbo. (Just sounds like an uninformed idea to me)

I have a kickr core now. However years ago, when I did triathlon I would train in the TT position on a dumb trainer and sometimes even do hill climbing sessions in that postion with blocks under the front given the courses I was on.

IF the TT bike on the turbo feels wrong, then I strongly recommend you head outside and see how that feels, holding the position for 10-20 mins on a relatively flat course and putting some power down. or do a club 10.

So in summary

  1. I definitely think a smart trainer is better than a dumb one (though I would buy power pedals first if you have not already)
  2. However, the issue to me sounds like your sustainability and comfort in the TT position.

I had a really good TT fit for £200, and it transformed my comfort and aero dynamics and how I spun up. And I thought I was reasonable. Far cheaper than a wind tunnel or smart trainer. I can recommend him if you are UK based. Other club mates have said similar. Charlie here https://www.paradigmbicycles.uk/paradigm-cycles-bikefitting

My two penneth. I hope it helps.

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Worth mentioning the old adage abiut a TT position being more uncomfortable inside than outside…I can’t hold my TT position inside for more than a few minutes, but can ride in it fir hours outside with no issues.

Lots of theories why (lack of wind resistance, etc) but a common solution is to raise your front wheel. Even if you are already using a riser, raise the front wheel another inch or two. It made a massive difference for me and I could so Trad Base HV rides last year in my TT position on the trainer.

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I have read that dumb trainers = low inertia and that it can cause biomechanical problems. From my experience it is very uncomfortable and I have had hamstring pain riding in the position.

I haven’t bought a turbo, nor have I ridden indoors very much. Lots of time on the TT bike outdoors where it matters :slight_smile:

The latter. Two examples:

Easy hour in position for 99% of it

3hr ride all in position except junctions

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