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What am I looking for in a turbo specific bike?

general-refgeneral-ref Posts: 15
I'm considering buying a turbo trainer, going to be direct drive.

I recently bought a mountain bike, which has a couple of problems wrt trainers- it has some new standard - Boost QR 141 hub, which seems not currently compatible with direct drive trainers. Leaving that aside, I'm led to believe gearing on a mountain bike wouldn't be ideal for a trainer anyway.

I'm intending on using it for Zwift or similar. Already use my treadmill for Zwift, and really enjoy it, so keen to do the same on my bike.

Recommendations from a couple of people I know is to pick up a second hand roadbike. However, I'm not really sure what it "needs" to have to making buying a turbo easier, particularly around gears. I'm assuming a QR for the rear, 135 or 142 length, and 5mm in diameter would make life easier.
For gears, I know I need to buy a cassette for the trainer - but what should I be looking for on the bike already? At least 9 speed cassette? I'm assuming best to line up the amount of gears with the cassette I buy, but I'm unclear as whether you actually need a full range, or just use spacers etc.

Any guidance very welcome!

Posts

  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,465
    1. Make sure it's the right size
    2. Get one that's cheap

    You'll want 8 speed or more because cassettes are easier to come by. Beyond that, you want to make sure it's the right size and that the contact points (saddle, bars, hoods) are comfortable - You tend to move around less on the turbo because you're not adapting to corners, stopping for traffic lights etc. If buying a cheaper bike means you have some more money for a saddle which is more comfortable and anything else to fine tune the fit, then do that. Wheels, tyres, brakes will have no effect, so you could even go for a bike where one or more of these things is broken, knowing that you won't be using them. Most basic road bikes will have 130mm spacing on the back, which will work with any turbo.

    Depending on what you plan to do, even the gears may not be all that important. You're probably going to want to be able to shift well if you plan to ride around the Watopia Pretzel, but if you want to do intervals in erg mode (where the trainer adjusts the resistance to keep you at a constant power output), there's no need to shift at all.
  • Great thanks for the reply, really useful. Interesting about the comfort factor as well, hadn't really thought too much about the fact it would be less movement on a trainer, so important to get the sizing right. Thanks.
  • A bike that as closely as possibly mirrors your current road bike's geometry and fit. Just hunt around for something cheap in the right size for you. An older alloy-framed road bike would be perfect. The 8 and 9 speed drivetrains are bulletproof and longer lasting than newer stuff - plus parts are cheaper!

    You won't need to buy a cassette for the trainer, just take the one off the wheel of the old bike you buy (assuming it's not worn out).
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.

    A really comfortable saddle?

    I have a Fizik Arione on my turbo bike. I also have Fizik Ariones on all of my road bikes and one of my MTBs. They're all really comfy and I've done over 200 miles several times with no problems. On the turbo my backside hurts like hell after an hour or so.

    What saddle would you suggest?
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.

    A really comfortable saddle?
    ...
    What saddle would you suggest?
    Something other than an Arione. :wink: They are very personal though so recommendations are useless. Mine is a Brooks C13 152 Carved cos that’s what’s on my winter bike but that information is useless.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,983
    Get a watt bike atom rather than a direct drive turbo and bike?
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    Upgrade to a new 'nice bike' and relegate the current one to Turbo duty and summer race bike you won't mind so much when it gets snapped in 2.
  • NapoleonD wrote:
    Get a watt bike atom rather than a direct drive turbo and bike?

    Currently what I'm thinking. Plus has the added benefit that Mrs TB can use it as well. Although she's more into spinning - if only there was a Peloton app for the Wattbike I could totally justify it to her.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.

    A really comfortable saddle?
    ...
    What saddle would you suggest?
    Something other than an Arione. :wink: They are very personal though so recommendations are useless. Mine is a Brooks C13 152 Carved cos that’s what’s on my winter bike but that information is useless.

    Mmmmmm. You've really missed the point. But never mind.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    PBlakeney wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.

    A really comfortable saddle?
    ...
    What saddle would you suggest?
    Something other than an Arione. :wink: They are very personal though so recommendations are useless. Mine is a Brooks C13 152 Carved cos that’s what’s on my winter bike but that information is useless.

    Mmmmmm. You've really missed the point. But never mind.
    Not really. My point was that if you are spending a long time on a turbo specific bike you want a comfortable saddle. One where comfort overrules all else and will likely be different to one you'd use on a road bike.
    Your experience confirms this, and I'd get a different one myself. Which one is the hard part, but weight and appearance are of zero concern. To repeat my original point.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    edited November 2018
    I got a Carrera TDF LTD almost brand new for £80 off a mate who bought it but never used it.It’s a size too small but OK for the TT.
    No brainer at that price!
  • Peat wrote:
    Upgrade to a new 'nice bike' and relegate the current one to Turbo duty and summer race bike you won't mind so much when it gets snapped in 2.

    I don't have a current road bike. I had a hybrid, which I thought the hub was knackered, so binned (in hindsight, should've just kept, as was probably usable as a turbo bike).
    I've got a mountain bike, so I'm looking for something that will pretty much be sitting on trainer most of the time, though I expect I might take it out on the road come summer.

    I did consider Wattbike Atom, but a bit rich for my tastes - a cheaper end direct drive + second hand bike is still much cheaper.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A really comfortable saddle.
    Weight and appearance are of zero concern.

    A really comfortable saddle?
    ...
    What saddle would you suggest?
    Something other than an Arione. :wink: They are very personal though so recommendations are useless. Mine is a Brooks C13 152 Carved cos that’s what’s on my winter bike but that information is useless.

    Mmmmmm. You've really missed the point. But never mind.
    Not really. My point was that if you are spending a long time on a turbo specific bike you want a comfortable saddle. One where comfort overrules all else and will likely be different to one you'd use on a road bike.
    Your experience confirms this, and I'd get a different one myself. Which one is the hard part, but weight and appearance are of zero concern. To repeat my original point.


    No, I'm afraid you are talking absolute hogsh1t in an attempt to back up your original assertion that the OP should get a comfortable saddle.

    The fact that I've ridden Ariones for many years in road races, sportives and long days out suggest that they're the ideal saddle for me. I wouldn't dream of buying any other. In fact I've just bought another one for my latest bike build. But on a turbo the saddle is uncomfortable. And surprise, surprise I've tried others and they've been uncomfortable too.

    The issue isn't the saddle. It's the fact you're on a turbo and you don't get the movement and moments of relief (out the saddle etc) that you get on the road.

    Imagine if the OP hangs on your every word. He goes out and buys a comfortable saddle (you don't explain how one acertains if it's comfortable) and gets it home only to find that it's uncomfortable. So, he does what? Gets another one? Then another and another in a desperate search for the "comfortable saddle" you recommend.

    The indisputable point (that you'll obviously argue with) is that pretty much any saddle on a turbo is going to be uncomfortable. The same saddle could be the most joyous experience ever on the road.

    Never mind though, almost 50 years of riding bikes ith a huge amount of racing and many, many saddles qualify me to have chosen a worthless piece of junk to sit on. Thanks for your input.

    So, which saddle should the OP get? Should be an easy one for a man with your knowledge and experience
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    The indisputable point (that you'll obviously argue with) is that pretty much any saddle on a turbo is going to be uncomfortable. The same saddle could be the most joyous experience ever on the road.
    Not to disappoint... I can comfortably do 1-1/2 hours on my current saddle. I could do over 2 hours comfortably on my SDG Belair which was a nightmare on the road. The single most component that will decide how long anyone spends on a turbo.
    The point was not to consider weight, brand or appearance but anything that means staying on the turbo.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    The indisputable point (that you'll obviously argue with) is that pretty much any saddle on a turbo is going to be uncomfortable. The same saddle could be the most joyous experience ever on the road.
    Not to disappoint... I can comfortably do 1-1/2 hours on my current saddle. I could do over 2 hours comfortably on my SDG Belair which was a nightmare on the road. The single most component that will decide how long anyone spends on a turbo.
    The point was not to consider weight, brand or appearance but anything that means staying on the turbo.

    Well, there's a surprise. Bloke with 8594 posts has time to ride a bike. How did I know that you'd have the definitive answer. Is there any cycling subject you don't have the definitive answer to?

    PS My turbo record (to win a bet) was 3.5 hours. It was agony. Do I get a prize from the forum know all?
  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,463
    Yes of course you get a prize. A years supply of Sudcrem.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    Well, there's a surprise. Bloke with 8594 posts has time to ride a bike. How did I know that you'd have the definitive answer. Is there any cycling subject you don't have the definitive answer to?

    PS My turbo record (to win a bet) was 3.5 hours. It was agony. Do I get a prize from the forum know all?
    Only 90 posts? Too busy with the Sedocrem? :lol::lol::lol: All you are doing is showing that the wrong saddle makes a turbo a painful experience. My point made.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    Well, there's a surprise. Bloke with 8594 posts has time to ride a bike. How did I know that you'd have the definitive answer. Is there any cycling subject you don't have the definitive answer to?

    PS My turbo record (to win a bet) was 3.5 hours. It was agony. Do I get a prize from the forum know all?
    Only 90 posts? Too busy with the Sedocrem? :lol::lol::lol: All you are doing is showing that the wrong saddle makes a turbo a painful experience. My point made.

    Never used Sudocreme or any censored cream in my life. I've done longer turbo sessions than you and I'd be shocked if an armchair warrior like you had done more miles on a bike. Riding a bike for about 50 years. 300 a week was my average when I was racing. I usually do 200-250 these days. But that because I'm not spending time on here suggesting that a saddle that is comfortable for me will suit others. You're just a know all. I'm done.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    But that because I'm not spending time on here suggesting that a saddle that is comfortable for me will suit others. You're just a know all. I'm done.
    Not once have I made that claim.
    And all your posts have done is validate my original point.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • PBlakeney wrote:
    But that because I'm not spending time on here suggesting that a saddle that is comfortable for me will suit others. You're just a know all. I'm done.
    Not once have I made that claim.
    And all your posts have done is validate my original point.

    You advised the OP to get a comfortable saddle. Then you 'imposed' your idea of what is a comfortable saddle onto us as well as suggesting Arione saddles are censored .

    Just your usual self opinionated stuff that run into thousands of posts. Really, you need to get out more.

    Anyway, I'm off out on my bike. 70-80 miles today. Enjoy your marathon posing session.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,289
    You advised the OP to get a comfortable saddle.
    You consider this to be bad advice? :?
    Then you 'imposed' your idea of what is a comfortable saddle onto us as well as suggesting Arione saddles are censored .
    I never imposed any ideas. The only person claiming that an Arione can be painful was you.
    Really, you need to get out more.
    Nah. Did a long ride yesterday and the weather is off-putting today so I'll go on the turbo. In comfort.
    I'm done.
    :lol::lol::lol:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Anyway back to the OPs question.

    Geometry and set-up are the only two thing's I'd be worried about.
    Get something that you can match up to have the same/roughly the same geometry as our main bike (Certainly saddle to BB position) and set-up (Use the same saddle as other bike etc). Luckily I found that the Older Specialized Allezs geometry is almost identical to the Tarmac

    I made my turbo/winter bike match my summer/nice bike as close as I can.
    The only differences I have are that the turbo bike's alloy handlebars are about 3mm higher than the nice bikes carbon ones and the groupsets are different but run the same ratios (50/34 and 11-28/12-28)
  • Dannbodge wrote:
    Anyway back to the OPs question.

    Geometry and set-up are the only two thing's I'd be worried about.
    Get something that you can match up to have the same/roughly the same geometry as our main bike (Certainly saddle to BB position) and set-up (Use the same saddle as other bike etc). Luckily I found that the Older Specialized Allezs geometry is almost identical to the Tarmac

    I made my turbo/winter bike match my summer/nice bike as close as I can.
    The only differences I have are that the turbo bike's alloy handlebars are about 3mm higher than the nice bikes carbon ones and the groupsets are different but run the same ratios (50/34 and 11-28/12-28)

    Yep. Hard to argue with any of that although your suggestion that the OP use the same saddle is unlikely to find favour with one expert here. I think you're right though. Turbo discomfort is just something to deal with. Unless you are blessed with an ability to know which saddles will perform better with your own ar*e on a turbo. Sadly few of us are blessed with that ability.
  • Yep. Hard to argue with any of that although your suggestion that the OP use the same saddle is unlikely to find favour with one expert here. I think you're right though. Turbo discomfort is just something to deal with. Unless you are blessed with an ability to know which saddles will perform better with your own ar*e on a turbo. Sadly few of us are blessed with that ability.

    I find that the same saddle works for me (luckily). Part of it could be that it's the correct width and shape for my style of riding.
    I also try to move around on the turbo as much as possible which helps (My Turbo has some compliance in it which may help too).

    Everyone is different though. Without trying it, you'll never know.
  • You could save a ton and learn more by skipping Zwift and sticking with ERG mode where transmission doesn't matter.
  • You could save a ton and learn more by skipping Zwift and sticking with ERG mode where transmission doesn't matter.

    think I might get bored? And presumably I wouldn't save on bike or trainer, just the Zwift subscription? I'm not wedded to zwift, I quite like the look of some of the other trainer apps, it's just the only one i'm aware of that handles running and biking...
  • You could save a ton and learn more by skipping Zwift and sticking with ERG mode where transmission doesn't matter.

    think I might get bored? And presumably I wouldn't save on bike or trainer, just the Zwift subscription? I'm not wedded to zwift, I quite like the look of some of the other trainer apps, it's just the only one i'm aware of that handles running and biking...

    Look at FulGaz
  • You could save a ton and learn more by skipping Zwift and sticking with ERG mode where transmission doesn't matter.

    think I might get bored? And presumably I wouldn't save on bike or trainer, just the Zwift subscription? I'm not wedded to zwift, I quite like the look of some of the other trainer apps, it's just the only one i'm aware of that handles running and biking...

    Look at FulGaz

    yeah, really liked the look of FulGaz. I take it that it doesn't have structured workouts? Thinking I could use it along with something to structure a workout?

    Thanks for the advice everyone - have ended up just buying a cheapie 8-speed. Trawled the second hand adverts, but getting a frame that fitted me (i.e. L/XL) + gear combo at a decent price seemed more hassle that it was worth, so just picked up something that would go on the trainer fairly hassle free.
  • You could save a ton and learn more by skipping Zwift and sticking with ERG mode where transmission doesn't matter.

    think I might get bored? And presumably I wouldn't save on bike or trainer, just the Zwift subscription? I'm not wedded to zwift, I quite like the look of some of the other trainer apps, it's just the only one i'm aware of that handles running and biking...

    Sorry for late reply and I see you already chose but yeah you'll be fine. I was thinking about saving on bike and software because ERG SW is free and gearing won't matter.
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