Stupid Turbo question

I have a turbo and I use it but my stupid question is do I need to have either a bike computer rigged to the rear wheel or a cadence gadget or something else. As up to now I have been just going by preceived effort. I don't even use dvds or internet sessions.

I just get on spin abit to warm up and then just use the gears to make it harder or easier for a set time of 40 mins to an hour.

I know loads of you guys use turbo mahines so what should I be doing to get the best use of the blimming thing

oh and I don't have much of a budget so can't afford expensive things



  • You don't NEED to, but you may WANT to. It depends whether you are happy with RPE or whether you want facts and figures and want to push yourself

    I would think though that you would get more benefit out of turbo sessions if there was some element of 'coaching' whether that be a gadget/DVD/or internet programme

    It may help someone more experienced than i to know what your targets are?  Sportive? Tri? If Tri what distance?

  • Yep what Schmunk's said.

    Running used to involve going running and not knowing how far you had gone other than by RPE and time ran. Occaisionly you would measure a course in the car or on a bike and use that as a test course. You effectively have the same situation with your turbo.

    It isn't wrong but you may be able to train more scientifically and less subjectively. A HR monitor would at least allow you to train by heart rate and some would suggest this is the best way anyway. Get into your HR zone and push enough to stay within desired zone. Mentally quite tough.

    Soemthing that might give you a distance equivalent could be considered. If you have Garmin 310XT or other simialr watch/gadget you can fit a cadence thing GSC10? and it will give you speed/distance from a spoke magnet and cadence from a crank arm magnet. If you have the watch the cadence sensor thing is quite cheap and worth getting. If you haven't got a suitable watch it will be a more expenisve purchase.

    A cheap bike computer will do the same for distance/speed.

    Note that neither are true road speed unless your turbo perfectly matches the resitance of the road/wind/air resistance. But they are a consistent point of reference for a given resitance.





  • I have a garmin 305 and I think it does cadence if I buy a gadget thingybob  for cadence. I'll look into the price image

    I didn't even think about wearing my HRM whilst on the turbo. so thats a start, I guess I should look ont tinternet for some HR turbo sessions.

  • look for peter read blue book or black book on t'internet

    HRT monitor is an essential. cadence more so than speed - spinning is what they all preach in the pro cycling world. speed is just a factor of spinning and gears

  • Buy the cadence gadget. Cadence is everything.

    If pushed financially, count your cadence for 15 seconds then multiply by 4. 

    Rough guide, cadence 75-80 for IM, 80-85 for general riding, about 90 for getting a bit of a shift on, 100 for pushing it. more for those silly moments when you think you are a pro.


  • Yep 305 supports cadence thingy.
  • Why a low cadence for IM, DB?  I know Chrissie races at a low cadence but she's rare among the pros - my legs are much better for the run if I've kept them spinning a bit more through the bike.

  • I think cadence is a personal thing and not that important - but whatever works for an individual.   Cadence in a given gear would be useful as it's a consistent measure of effort.   

    Lard - Blue Book !   I've got a copy if anyone wants to borrow it.   I don't think there's much in it you couldn't get from 30 minutes searching on the internet mind you.   You only really need a couple of sessions for TT/Tri don't you - some extended intervals and some shorter ones.   

    If you don't have a turbo with power I'd use heart rate coupled with speed - heart rate gives you an idea of what level you are working at and speed is more consistent over a session and doesn't lag behind effort like HR does.   

  • TG - get yourself a Cateye Strada Double wireless bike computer for the bike.   it takes cadence and speed off the rear wheel so when you slap the bike on the turbo, you'll still get these functions.  and if you use a separate turbo wheel all you need to do is put a magnet on it to use the sensors.

    it's your call then as to how you use the computer.  

    Wiggle are knocking it out for £72 but it's cheaper if you shop around -   you can get cheaper versions if you down the wired route but that just become messy imho

  • The garmin GSC10 is only ??28.75 and gives cadence and speed in the same way plus works with the 305. If you use SportsTrack or Garmin connect you will get cadence, speed and hr profiles all in one place.
  • Dustboy why low cadence for IM.....I rode to cadence and aimed for 90-95 as that's how I've been coached.  Not saying I always hit it but Always aim for high cadence whatever the distance of a race.  image

  • I think cadence is  very personal. I ride with a low cadence, for a year I worked on getting it higher but just ended up getting slower. I don't bother monitoring it now.

    I always use a HRM when on the turbo, otherwise I'm useless at judging my effort and end up just cruising.



  • If you have an iPhone 4s you can get the Wahoo Fitness BlueSC which sends cadence & speed via bluetooth. They do an HR strap too. They are both a little pricey considering you don't get a headset but it does mean you can try different apps to see which one you prefer and you can send all the data to lots of different online resources.

  • you've got to have a plan to improve. you;ve got to know speed and cadence (and power if you are richer).

    garmin do a GSC10 which will tell your garmin watch your rear wheel speed and cadence. Set your reistance and tyre pressures and do not change them. then build your sessions around speed and's a big topic but you need a plan and some metrics to improve as i said.



    Better 5k, Duathlon and Triathlon


    Goals: 82% Age Graded 5k and an open water Triathlon.

  • Why cadence ?

  • all the cycling press/books/guides advocate pedal stroke efficiency at cadence around 90-100.  gets you spinning so the legs arent working so hard muscle wise?

    rear wheel speed is a nice to have. hrt and cadence are the benchmark. power is nice - i gather if you have a calibrated turbo, can figure out your wattage from a ant+ cadence sensor.

    i was thinking to rent a powermeter come april for 4 months - but will need to read the book first and see what the point is. - it might be usefull for surviving the bike without killing my run in outlaw.



  • It was more a rhetorical question - I wouldn't agree cadence measurement is that important let alone the benchmark.   

    Cadence might be useful in preserving the legs if you are running after the bike - I understand the theory - even then though is it really proven - Chrissie W rides with a relatively low cadence.   I think the idea that higher cadences are better really comes from road and track racing where there are real advantages in being able to spin a gear fast - though not so much on the road as in the past when 11 sprockets didn't exist.   

  • Can I jump in with another turbo question?

    Does it matter what bike I use? I currently have my old road bike set up on the turbo and I'm attempting #turbovember. Would I be better haveing the tt bike set up instead, or shall I turbo for now on the current set up and switch bikes when the Fink outlaw plan cuts in during December? Or should I just turbo on the old road bike full stop?

  • I find turboing for an extented time in a TT position bloody uncomfortable when compard to doing it on the road.  I don't know why that is - maybe just the continued fixed position and no variety underwheel - but it is, so I always use the road bike on the turbo.   by all means try the TT bike on the turbo to see how you get on but my preference is roadie all the way on the turbo

  • surely, it would only matter if you used it ?image

    Key difference will be positional -  no doubt youd like to be working the aero position at all times ?

  • Cheers FB, I'll stick to the roadie then, certainly this side of the new year.

    Yes, SgtLard - I'd like to get more time in the aero position, but I reckon it will wait

  • I always stuck the TT bike on the turbo - ideal opportunity to train on it.   I do agree with FB that staying fixed in that position is hard but you don't have to do the full session in race position.

     If I were doing say 2 * 20 minute intervals I'd make sure I did one of them on the tri bars for the full 20 without coming off except perhaps for a drink every 5 minutes, the second one I might do sat up if I had to.    I heard of someone who would do sessions on the rollers on his TT bike - meant he was super smooth on it and the less rocking about you do the more aero you are.

  • I can see the benefit pops and before I did IM Florida - flat as a pancake road leg - I did use the race bike to train on the turbo in a TT position.  it was that that told me how bloody uncomfy it was over an extended period which is why I no longer bother!   if the road bike is on there, you can still get low using the drops or leaning on your forearms on the bar (no padding - also uncomfy!)

  • FWIW I use the TT on the turbo over winter, and ride the roadie outside. TT is less comfortable on the turbo than the road unless I'm doing intervals. I guess because there is more weight on the saddle with less power through the pedals.

  • morning all. another turbo question on this theme.....

    is TT training worse, as good as or better than training on the road?

    or none of the above?

    the reason i ask is that i seem to remember reading somewhere that 1 hour on the TT was the equivalent of 2 hours on the road due to continuous sustained effort.  however, comparing it to running on a treadmill versus running outside i always seem to get more benefit from being outside....not sure if the 2 are comparable tho...

  • TT is more intense than being on the road thats true. (if you do it properly)

    What it won't bring you is bike handling or endurance (unless you're doing huge sessions) - but if its that or nothing......

    I ride through winter unless its icy - then i may go MTBing.  Just being outside at the weekend is of great benefit to me after being cooped up in an office all week. 

    I don't think 1 hour of TT is the same as 2 on the road though - thats overselling it. 

  • An hour of TT with no ipod, DVD or even bike computer is, however, infinitely more preferable as a mentally stimulating exercise to the same amount of time in IKEA.

  • JD - the 1hr TT/2hr road thing seems to be an accepted "fact" but I have no idea if there is any real science behind that, but the sustained effort maybe the reason.  you freewheel much more when road riding which is minimal when turboing.

    as for whether TTing is worse or better than road - that depends on the rider.  surprisingly, quite a few top triathletes now do more training on the turbo (usually top end ones like the Computrainer) than they do road riding.  for flat TT courses and similar, they can develop their power output on the turbo so have measurable stats when hitting the race on road.  Rosey is a big advocate of this and guys like Andy Potts (former world 70.3 champ) do this.  and I guess if you are time poor, or the weather is being typically British in winter, then it's a great way of getting some structured training in without worrying about rain, wind, traffic, debris, potholes, punctures etc - save that for race day!

  • One thing I have found the TT brilliant for is learning to "pedal the circle" As FB says, no worrying about conditions etc.

    In theory (well I reckon anyway), if you condition yourself to automatically pedal the circle on the TT, some of it will hopefully rub off on the road.

    I tend to go by the noise the TT is making. If the whine is constant, It's about right, but if it oscillates, then I am mashing the pedals. Which isn't right. Anyone think of a better way of explaining it than that?image

  • thanks all - i feel a litle less 'guilty' about not going out in the fog/rain/wind/cold/ice/dark now over the next few months image

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