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Turbo Training Simulation Options

As there may be some days this year that even I wouldn't go out on I took the plunge and bought a smart trainer. Its actually a BKool trainer which will work with Zwift and other alternatives.

NB for some of these you don't actually need a smart trainer to give it a go they just make the experience better.

Before taking the plunge I did some research and so I'd thought I'd post some links to the options I found in case this helps anyone else.

1. Zwift - very popular especially for social group riding, many club members already using it. Getting a bit pricy... $14.99 p/m (but you can get it for the old price of $9.99 if you sign up before Dec 15th)
2. BKOOL Similar to Zwift but I'm not aware of any other club members using. Seems a bit clunkier than Zwift in the user interfaces and perhaps less reliable according to reviews but it remains popular and is a bit cheaper £7.99 p/m. Their branded trainers get decent reviews and are at a decent entry level price
3. BigRingVR This at the moment looks good for long solo rides up iconic climbs. Very nice videos and it's a free beta right now... so good for anti-social cheapskates ;) I'll be giving it a try!
4. TrainerRoad Gets very good reviews as a personalised structured training tool.

There are others but these will be the ones I will be giving a go over the next wee while and I'll pop back and tell you what I think. As my trainer came with a 3 month subscription to BKool I'll probably be using that and BigRingVR before Zwift / Trainer Road.

This forum is a good resource CycleChat

Hope this helps someone,



  • I've only been on zwift for a short time but like the social aspect and the group workouts are really good plus you can pause your account and restart it later in the year
  • i tried a free trial of bkool and yes the software did feel very clunky and i never really gave it much of a try after that.

    There is free trial of zwift give it a go see what you think, you can import training plans or use zwifts own structured training. I know Mark was importing trainerroad plans into zwift.

    I downloaded bigringvr last week and have yet to try it i will one of these days so i can tell people about my time climbing in the alps lol

  • Cheers for the info Vince. I'd heard of all of them except for BigRingVR, which I will now be downloading to try out this week. I had ordered all the kit for Zwift, but then they upped their prices, so I decided not to bother with it haha
  • I intend to climb the Col de Lombarde om BigRingVR tomorrow night from the comfort of my utility room!
  • Therer is also sufferfest which is trying to compete with zwift
  • Well the Col de Lombarde was interesting....

    Its my first simulation ride, first time using BigRingVR and the new turbo:


    Served a really nice video. I only had a little laptop screen, on a telly I think the video would look very nice indeed.
    Connected to all my sensors with no problems at all.
    UI was pretty straightforward.

    Then I made some rookie errors:

    1. This climb is tough, I was looking for a long session but not an intense one...
    2. I didn't warm up - I thought the first part looked flat from the profile and would break me in gently - it wasn't and it didn't
    3. I 'punctured'! still not sure exactly what happened, perhaps the heat melting an old repair on the tube...?
    4. 1h 40m later my knees hurt and I had to stop. I was using my TT bike and I think the gearing was a little out for what I needed for this. I got 2/3 of the way up and past two of the steepest sections but was a DNF grrr

    The new trainer certainly turned on the resistance. It relies on the users weight on the back wheel so was losing power when I got out of the saddle. Next time for climbs I'll raise the front more. What I did find was that my heart rate never really got up... the session turned out more a strength workout than cardio. Couldn't spin up the step sections. Perhaps my gearing.

    Overall the experience was good, certainly a lot lot better than just riding the turbo for that length of time. Video gave a good feeling of progression.


  • Well done Vince, sounds like it was a tough shift. All the options out there help take the boredom away from just sitting on the turbo.
  • FYI BigRingVR will be charging from January, announcement on price / features here:
  • Had a couple of goes at Zwift, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Made me work really hard on the turbo.
  • I think it's the competitiveness of it that gets you hooked
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