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My Pick of the Best Turbo Trainers

I have been using and testing a variety of turbo trainers for the past 10 years. Not just for winter training but also convenience all year round. With each of the turbo trainers included I have evaluated them against the same criteria and scored them. Over the past 12 months we have been building the widest selection of indoor cycling apps reviews as well. Together with this post on smart turbo trainers you can find the best indoor set up for your cycling.  Read my choice of the best turbo trainer 2024 along with the best alternatives you can buy.

Indoor cycling

Best Turbo Trainer to buy

Elite Direto XR-T

Trivelo Score 5 / 5

The Elite Direto XR-T is my pick of the best smart turbo trainer. This has been my number one choice for indoor training for the past 6 months. It provides a simple training solution, able to be up and running in only 5 minutes. It has never let me down losing connection to any apps and gives a smooth ride. The gradient resistance is as powerful as I could ever wish to face. With recent reductions in price for the Elite Direto XR-T it is my best buy smart turbo trainer. For under £500 it is great value and makes indoor cycling training easily accessible.

Best smart turbo trainer Elite Direto XRT review Elite Direto XRT folding legs

This Elite Direto XR-T indoor trainer is perfect for maintaining your performance while training indoors as it offers a fast and simple training solution. Ready for training, this version comes fully assembled with a Shimano 11 speed cassette installed.  All that I needed to do when it turned up was take it out of the box and unfold its legs. Designed to be super-compact, this is Elite’s easiest model to carry, store or transport plus it’ll happily fit inside a cupboard when not in use.

It has been bomb proof for me always connecting every time from the first time. Super reliable and quiet.

Reasons to buy the Elite Direto XR-T

My Elite Direto XR-T tends to have my Cannondale SuperSix Evo mounted on it most of the time. It stays plugged in and when I jump on my bike and start pedalling the series of lights come on as it powers up. No buttons or changes needed. It tends to pair with my iPad within 3 seconds as ROUVY detects it. That is it and I am ready to ride.

Find out more about ROUVY in my review of the indoor cycling app. Designed to have the most realistic video courses of any app.

The accuracy of the smart turbo trainer has been tested to within +/- 1.5% accuracy of gradient simulation and power meter. That is plenty enough accuracy for anyone but a top level professional cyclist. As you approach a gradient it applies resistance using the magnetic flywheel. Compared to others I have tested the resistance comes on gradually whereas some others I have used have been more binary.

The 24% maximum incline is in my view a bit ridiculous for indoor training. I personally find anything North of 15% near impossible as I push above 500Watts. It is a feature of the Elite Directo XR-T but not specifically a reason to buy. I would recommend more on the basis of a very stable platform that stays settled and provides smooth accurate resistance. The wide legs mean even when I am out of the saddle and pedalling hard it does not rock or risk toppling over.

  • Weight: 21.3kg
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth Smart
  • Max Resistance: 3,600W
  • Max gradient simulation: 24%
  • Flywheel: Magnetic
  • Compatibility: Shimano 11 speed installed, or SRAM
  • Thru-axle compatible: with adapter supplied

I reviewed the Elite My E-Training App that is recommended by Elite for their Smart turbo trainers.  It is cheap.  Really cheap.  But is it any good and worth considering instead of the market leader Zwift? I don’t recommend it but read my review and make your own mind up.

Best Price for the Elite Direto XR-T

Buy the Elite Direto XR-T Current best price from Tredz – £549

Best Alternatives to the Elite Direto XR-T

To help provide evidence on why the Elite Directo XR-T is my best buy the following are the best alternative smart turbo trainers. There are a vast number of smart turbo trainers on the market so I have selected those with similar performance and price. I haven’t included buying links for these products as they are not our recommendation but they are available from credible retaillers.

Tacx Neo 2T Smart turbo trainer

Trivelo Score 4 / 5

The Neo 2T is the latest trainer from Tacx replacing the original smart trainer that shared the same name.

It is one of the largest trainers with regards footprint but the ability to fold it neatly away still makes it suitable for those of us who can’t afford to have a dedicated training space at home. It’s also easy to fold and set up quickly but it, like some of the other trainers, lacks some form of carry/hand hold so manoeuvring it around can be a bit awkward. It has lost weight compared to the original but still weighs in at just over twenty one kilos.

Compared to my number one choice the Tacx Neo 2T can deliver 2,200 watts of resistance. It is able to handle incline of up to 25% though but with a bigger footprint needed scores slightly below the Elite DR-T.

  • Weight: 21.5kg
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart
  • Max Resistance: 2,200W
  • Max gradient simulation: 25%
  • Flywheel: Electromagnetic
  • Compatibility: Campagnolo/Shimano/SRAM 8-12 speed
  • Thru-axle compatible: with adapter supplied

Saris H3

Trivelo Score 3.5 / 5

The H3 sits at the top of Saris’s smart turbo trainer range and builds on the popular H2.

Reducing the noise levels was one of Saris’s top priorities and it’s certainly achieved good things with the H3.  Ride feel is good, with the stout 9kg flywheel contributing to a very realistic experience. The H3 is capable of 2,000 watts of power and 20 per cent gradients. Power figures were within the claimed +/- 2 per cent accuracy, which should be more than enough for most riders. 

Having slighlty lower accuracy than the Elite and lower resistance keep it from the top spot. There are some killer deals around though for the SARIS H3 and worth looking out for if you can get one for a low price.

  • Weight: 21.3kg
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart
  • Max Resistance: 2,000W
  • Max gradient simulation: 20%
  • Flywheel: Direct Drive
  • Compatibility: Campagnolo/Shimano/SRAM 8-12 speed
  • Thru-axle compatible: with adapter supplied

Wahoo Kickr Core

Trivelo Score 3.5 / 5

The all-new KICKR Smart Turbo Trainer gives you the most realistic indoor training experience. Across my network this was hugely popular after release and remains as such. Scored down with lower incline capability and resistance than the Elite but main reason is some reilability issues. Build quality not as high as Elite in my opinion mean this scores 3.5 / 5.

Getting as close to a real ride as you can when stuck indoors can be an arduous task, but with Wahoo’s latest KICKR model, science, technology and analysis come together to give you the ultimate indoor training experience. Providing you with data as you go on speed, distance and power, as well as cadence information from the KICKR’s RPM Cadence Sensor, you can stay on top of your vital stats for your own tailored, optimum workout.

For a free indoor cycling app to use with the Wahoo Kickr Core I recommend MyWhoosh. It has been through a transformation over the past year following huge investment in the platform. MyWhoosh has some serious hardware needs and can crash but is a feature rich app with zero costs. For more information read my review of MyWhoosh.

wahoo kickr smart turbo trainer

  • Weight: 21.3kg
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth Smart
  • Max Resistance: 2,200W
  • Max gradient simulation: 20%
  • Flywheel: Direct Drive
  • Compatibility: Shimano 8-10 speed/SRAM 
  • Thru-axle compatible: with adapter supplied


Trivelo Score 3 / 5

From the creators of ZWIFT comes the HUB smart indoor turbo trainer. If you are unfamiliar with ZWIFT check out our review. They are arguably the biggest player in indoor cycling training and finally in 2023 decided to launch their own hardware with the HUB.

With good resistance and gradient this is a quality smart turbo trainer. It has the lowest incline simulation of 16% but as I have outlined above this is plenty in reality for me when cycling indoors. I scored this down compared to others down to a couple of reasons. Firstly the noise from the direct drive unit is higher than the magnetic flywheel on the Elite DR-T. Secondly with the balance of the unit I found it not as stable when you are really putting the power down. Raising concerns on it toppling over. Maybe just me but felt like a less planted solution than others. It is lighter in weight with the weight higher so may contribute to this feeling of instability.

  • Weight: 14.8kg
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart
  • Max Resistance: 1,800W
  • Max gradient simulation: 16%
  • Flywheel: Direct Drive
  • Compatibility: Shimano/SRAM 7-11 speed
  • Thru-axle compatible: with adapter supplied

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Having founded Trivelo in 2015 after many years competing in triathlon Billy continues to enjoy cycling and triathlon. Founder Billy enjoys road cycling and mountain biking for some adventure. Generally a fair weather cyclist who come the winter months retreats to the turbo trainer!


Rob Ellias · May 13, 2024 at 5:09 pm

Any other cheaper options?

    Billy · May 14, 2024 at 4:28 pm

    If you just want to train indoors then if you go for a non-smart turbo trainer the costs come way down. I enjoyed using a standard fluid turbo for years before I got a smart trainer. Worth considering.

Betty Grey · May 1, 2024 at 7:56 am

My Elite Direto has been absolutely bomb proof. Love it. Indoor cycling way less stressful.

    Billy · May 1, 2024 at 9:51 am

    Nice. Great turbo. Very reliable and accurate metrics.

Esme Alda · April 30, 2024 at 5:38 pm

I hate riding indoors and turbos are so expensive, thoughts on buying second hand? Worth it?

    Billy · May 1, 2024 at 9:50 am

    Absolutely. Many turbos have only had limited use. Plus the fact that the bike takes a good chunk of the wear and tear. Second hand prices very sensible. If you are part of a cycling club though ask around. Someone may have one for sale and you know the history of it 100% then.

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