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Turbo training accessories: Everything you need for training indoors

Joseph Delves
5 Jan 2022

The best turbo training accessories: We’re all in the pain cave now

From avoiding the weather to making the most of your time or working through structured workouts, there are lots of reasons for riding indoors. And that’s before taking into account the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, indoor cycling has boomed in the current circumstances. If you’ve never tried it, or have previously found it less than enjoyable, now is the perfect time to give it a go. We promise you, developments in smart turbo trainers and smart training apps mean it’s no longer a chore and actually quite enjoyable.

That’s so long as you have the right equipment, of course, and a few well-chosen accessories, you can make the experience almost as good as riding outside. Almost.

With that in mind, here are our favourite turbo training accessories to get your pain cave looking snazzy.

Must-have turbo training accessories

Choose a category or scroll through to get the full picture

  

The best fans for indoor cycling and turbo training

Without the wind to chill you, when riding on the turbo you’ll get uncomfortably warm very quickly. While this means you’ll burn more calories and stay more supple, you’ll still want some way of cooling yourself down.

Fans range from the sort of thing you’d pop on your desk at the office up to larger models that’ll provide some serious wind speed.

Smart fan for turbo training: Wahoo Kickr Smart Headwind Fan


If you fancy splashing out on something cycling-specific, Wahoo’s Headwind fan can be paired with either a Wahoo turbo, a compatible training programme, or a heart rate or speed sensor.

Allowing it to provide a breeze that exactly matches your efforts, it’s very clever, as you’d expect for £200.

Large fan for turbo training: Challenge Chrome High-Velocity Tilting Fan

An 18-inch tiltable floor-standing fan. Capable of generating an airflow of 121.7m³/min, it's ideal for generating a serious headwind while training. Plus, it’ll also do for keeping the whole house cool during the summer months. Finished in shiny chrome, it’s also very nice looking.

  

Best turbo trainer accessory for recreating hills: Wahoo Kickr Climb Indoor Grade Simulator


Hungry for the hills? Desperate for the descents? The Wahoo Kickr Climb takes hold of your fork to provide a rollercoaster-style experience. Ascend up to a vertiginous 20%, race down slopes of up to 10%.

Replicating the gradients on screen, it’s a silly but also very fun aid to your training. Read our review here


The best gym towels for staying fresh on your static bike

Fan or no fan – on the turbo you will sweat. So keeping a towel within easy reach is a good idea. Like any gym equipment, this is going to need to go in a hot wash pretty regularly.

Help yourself, and anyone else you share a home with, by getting one specifically for exercise rather than nicking one from the bathroom. Go cheap and cheerful with our pick from Decathlon, or fully-pro with this burgundy Team Ineos number.

Gym towel for those eager to match everything to their trainer: Elite Zugman training towel

The best budget gym towel for turbo training: Domyos Cotton Fitness Towel


The best under-bike sweat mats for turbo training

Not only will you sweat on yourself, but you’ll also sweat all over your bike and floor. As sweat contains a lot of salt, this can damage both over time.

The solution is to stick a mat over your training area. With noisier turbos, this will also help dampen any vibration, something particularly important when used on a hard floor. 

Money-no-object turbo training mat: Tacx Foldable Trainer Mat


A bit like a yoga mat, the Foldable Tacx Trainer Mat protects your floor and reduces noise. Lightweight and easy to pack away, it’s tough enough for laying heavy equipment on, and will also do as a regular workout mat at a push. 


  

Best sweat guards to protect your bike

Save on continually wiping down your bike or risking the corrosion of any steel or aluminium components with a sweat guard. Clipping to the handlebars and running back towards the saddle, once you finish you can pop it in the wash with the rest of your kit. 

Turbo training sweat guard: Tacx Sweat Cover for smartphones

Ensure your bike always stays protected and your phone remains easily to hand. It’s perfect for keeping yourself amused, or keeping in contact, since the phone itself sits downwind of the handlebars.

While it’s a bit of a stretch to watch anything on the screen, it’s still a useful design feature, while the whole item itself remains machine washable. 

Budget turbo training sweat guard: Van Rysel Turbo Trainer Sweat Catcher

Wiggle house-brand LifeLine makes a good case for why you shouldn't spend more than a tenner on what is essentially a weird fabric thong for your bike. 

How to stay hydrated while cycling indoors

You’ll only ever once try and pop a glass of water next to your turbo trainer in the hope of gulping some down during your session. Any degree of effort will leave your arms far too shaky to do anything other than throw it all over yourself.

A regular bottle popped into your cage is the best solution. Just like normal cycling, sessions over an hour might benefit from fueling with a carbohydrate drink, while electrolyte tabs will help replace any salts and minerals lost through sweating. 

Easily squeezable water bottle: CamelBak Podium Bottle 710ml


A sizable 710ml serving for longer sessions. Just as slurpable indoors. 

Elite Vico Carbon Bottle Cage


Being lightweight and carbon won’t help much when attached to a static bike. However, having a perfectly matched bottle and cage remains essential even when indoors. 


Drink to up your energy: SiS Go Energy Powder

Don’t deplete your food stocks. Power any extended efforts with Science in Sport’s Go Energy Powder, which is both easy to digest and provides around 50 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Replace lost electrolytes with Nuun Sport Tablets

Just like riding outside, you’ll sweat out a lot of key salts and minerals. Replenish them with these uncommonly tasty tablets. 

Build muscle with additional protein: SiS Whey Protein

All your work risks going to waste if your body can’t capitalise on the adaptations you’re provoking. Adding extra protein can help build muscle if you don’t get enough from your regular diet.

Laptop and iPad stands for turbo training and indoor cycling

I once interviewed an ultra-distance racer who trained his mental toughness by doing 10-hour turbo sessions staring at a blank wall. Unless that sounds appealing, you’ll want some way of amusing yourself.

Low-intensity sessions normally leave enough attention available to allow you to watch TV shows – while catching up on the previous season’s racing can provide inspiration.

If you want to run programmes like Zwift or TrainerRoad you’ll also want a screen to display your data. A tablet or laptop is ideal, while a phone will do at a push. For larger screens, a dedicated stand can be useful.  

Turbo training tablet stand: Tacx Floor Stand For Tablets

 

If you’re happy using a tablet rather than a laptop, this small stand is compact and secure.

Desk-style stand for indoor cycling: LifeLine Trainer Table

If you want to create a home-office style setup on a budget, the LifeLine Trainer Table lets you easily gather all your gadgets.

Handlebar phone mount for indoor cycling: SKS Compit Smartphone Holder


A very neat and sturdy way to attach your phone to the area above your stem. Works just as well when used outside. 


Stay entertained while using your turbo trainer

 

Keep yourself motivated, and your mind distracted from the lactic in your legs. Spotify is great for finding tunes with a BPM to match any cadence. Netflix is ideal for boxsets. Eurosport might not have much on that’s current, but it’s still a great place to find past races. Know who won Le Samyn this March? Now’s the time to find out.

If all else fails, BBC iPlayer will keep you both informed and amused for no more than the cost of your licence fee.

App for virtual racing when indoor training: Zwift

There are now several apps that can be paired with a smart trainer to simulate riding and racing. Letting you match up with people around the world on a range of virtual courses, by far the most popular is Zwift.

Auto-adjusting your trainer’s resistance to simulate hills, headwinds and drafting, it’s as close to riding outdoors as you can get without leaving the house. Given the current situation, shares in the company would surely be a good investment. 

Currently free to try and also worth considering is RGT Cycling  

Get with the programme with structured turbo training: TrainerRoad

If you can’t stick to an indoor training plan now, you might as well admit it’s never going to happen. Milk the last of the gains from your time indoors by ensuring you get a structured workout.

TrainerRoad’s big selling point is the in-depth detail it provides, along with the huge range of tailored programmes it offers. Guided via virtual control of your smart trainer paired with a clean graphical interface, you can set your goal, and with enough time and effort, watch your progress improve session by session. 

Best chamois cream to keep your turbo training comfortable

Chamois cream can be an indoor cyclist's best friend, especially if you are clocking more miles on the turbo trainer than usual.

An anti-bacterial substance, chamois cream is designed to eliminate friction between your skin and your clothing, hopefully preventing those dreaded saddle sores and, even worse, potential infections.

The nature of riding on a turbo means you are likely to be rooted to your saddle, pedalling harder than your usual ride outdoors, producing more sweat, increasing the chance of those sores forming.

Lather some chamois cream on to your undercarriage and you may just protect yourself from some pretty unsavoury injuries.

Recommended chamois cream: Assos chamois cream

Unlike most things from Assos, its chamois cream is very reasonably priced for a 140ml pot and like its cycling kit, it is very good at doing what it sets out to do.

It’s fairly odourless, has a paste-like consistency and an easy-to-access pot, and as such we like this chamois cream a lot.

The best indoor-specific cycling kit

If staying in is the new going out you’ll need yourself a new get-up. Several brands now make indoor-specific cycling kit ideal for at home or in the gym.

We’re still fans of using last season’s pro kit shorts and eschewing a top, but if you live with other people who might not consider this an appealing sight, here are some brands to look out for… 

Bib shorts and jerseys for indoor cycling: Madison Turbo 

Stripped to the minimum, these lightweight shorts are designed to be breathable when stationary. With a pad that’ll withstand washing at 60deg C, they should stay fresh for longer, a trait helped by their anti-bacterial fabric.

Top for indoor cycling: Triban 500 Women's Tank Top

A few brands make indoor cycling jerseys – although I can't fathom why you’d need the sleeves. Anyway, a base layer works just as well if you need to keep covered. Alternatively, this tank top from Decathlon is both cheap and quite fetching. 

Cap for indoor cycling: Rapha Sweat Cap

 

Again, why the peak? To keep the glare of the halogen downlighters out of your eyes? I’d go tennis-style headband to stop sweat dripping into my eyes.

However, if you’ve £30 burning a hole in your pocket, this cap from Rapha is the height of indoor cycling style. 

The best shoes for indoor cycling

Shimano Women’s IC5 SPD

Gym bikes tend to use mountain bike-style SPD cleats. These require a two-hole fixing, unlike the three-hole type found on road pedals.

They’re also far easier to walk in and less likely to scratch the floor. Not so much of an issue if you’re using your own bike at home, a set of dedicated turbo trainer shoes are still a good idea if you don’t want to stink out your best racing slippers.

Somewhat oddly, Shimano makes two spin-specific shoes for women, while men will have to make do with the equivalent touring model.

Shimano IC1 Indoor cycling SPD Shoes

These cheaper unisex models from Shimano will work with both styles of cleats. Ultra minimalist and with easy Velcro closure, they’re quick to dry and not too expensive either.