Saturday, 5 January 2013

Clarke Cycle Trainer (Turbo Trainer)

I decided pretty early on that due to my job and commute distance that I wouldn't be able to ride in evenings much during the winter months.

So I looked into a Turbo trainer. They basically convert your bike into an exercise bike - but with a few advantages:

  1. You use YOUR bike - so it is very similar to road riding for real
  2. You can use YOUR gear (cleats, gears, etc)
  3. You can do as much or as little as you like
So after looking around for a decent trainer at a reasonable price I found the Clarke CCTI Trainer from Machine Mart (link here) - it was on offer *VAT FREE SHOPPING* and it worked out at £56 with my voucher code.

Trainer and front wheel support

Trainer hooked onto my bike
So as you can see there is cable that runs from the magnetic resistance setting to put on your handlebars - to be honest even in my first session I noticed this was useless - it is much better to use the gears to select your resistance.

In terms of positives and negatives I see mainly positives - the only slight negative I have found is noise - this could probably be reduced by using a training tyre (smooth with 0 grip and a softer rubber) - however seen as I intend to change my tires if they wear then so be it.

I will update the blog with regular updates to let you know how my workouts are getting on...

25 mins high resistance turbo trainer - 15 minutes spent in highest gear and going flat out. Once completed refreshed with a banana and plenty of water.


  1. I just got one of these and it goes through a band where it vibrates quite a lot, does yours do the same? They are very noisy! Still, can't complain as I got mine for £35.

    Agree that the 7 resistance levels are useless, I just stick it on the highest resistance and then use the gears to adjust effort required.

    1. Hiya,

      Thanks for the comment.
      Mine doesn't vibrate much - that said I use it in my garage - concrete floor and I tend to blast the music whilst on it!

      How are you getting on with yours?

      A lot of people say that fitting a training tyre can help with noise/vibration - but so far I haven't bothered. I just turn the music up loader...

      I highly recommend sufferfest videos too.. review coming soon!

  2. Went on it for the second time tonight, this time in my carpeted office rather than stone kitchen floor. It was much quieter this time and the vibration problem is gone too. I dialled the resistance unit in a bit more to the tyre which I think helped too, also increased overall resistance.

    With the new setup I don't find the noise or vibration a problem.

    I got the sufferfest hunted video, it's really tough! Which do you recommend? Looking forward to the review!

    So all in all I'm really pleased with it, works well and for the money I paid is an absolute bargain. Looking forward to using it some more, should really help maintain fitness when getting out on the bike isn't possible.

  3. Glad you managed to sort out the vibration issues. I think I will change my tires soon to give a smoother ride on the road.

    The trainer is good in my opinion, it works well, is cheap compared to others and its easy to store...

    Use a wireless computer on your rear wheel and you'll get a good idea of how far your riding, speed, etc.

    The Sufferfest videos are tough, but they are good for beating boredom, I will be reviewing the videos soon. Just need to sort out the time.

    Have you decided to train for an event or ride or is it just to improve fitness?

  4. I have thought about a wireless cycle computer, also interested to see what actual cadence is. I see you can get some cheap wireless computers on ebay so might try one of them. I like my stats so would be good motivation for me.

    I don't think I could use it without some sort of video, I need that to beat the boredom and motivate me to actually use it.

    I have vague plans to train for a 50k which should be within my reach. Very time-limited at the moment with 2 young kids so most training is at night, hence the turbo! Get out for an hour most weekends and also just got some bright lights to get out at night once it's a bit warmer.

  5. I would fully recommend running CDs and then plugging in earphones too. Blast it up and spin away! I am training for 58miles in June and London to Paris next year... Fully recommend the Spoke lights from Amazon for side visibility especially at dusk.

    And you can help improve your riding with cleats on pedals. That way you push and pull on your pedals. I reckon I get about a third tougher workout using cleats.

    I'm not bothered about cadence, more bothered about heart rate and pushing into my fat burn zone...

  6. This is what I'd get if your out at dusk or night. 1 per wheel!

  7. I have been a cleats user for a good few years now, much more efficient than toe clips (cage type).

    I'm getting down to my target weight now (12stone) so will soon be looking more at endurance and power rather than fat burning. Cycling has been amazing for burning off the fat! I do an 'x-bikes' class (like spinning) down the sports centre once a week too which is a super-tough workout.

    I will probably look around for an event around September, should be enough time for me to get some good training in beforehand.

    I've subscribed to your blog and will look forward to following how you get on.


  8. Just entered a 111km audax in September, I have something to aim for now!

  9. J-Hob - how is your training going? I am considering a 100k ride in September myself... How's the trainer?

  10. Training had to go on hold during a crazy busy period of work so very little has happened to my fitness, however I have at least managed to maintain a reasonable level.

    Work is a bit less crazy now and I'm starting to get serious about training for the 111k. Easier to cycle in the evenings now the weather is better too!

    I've not used the trainer that much but have starting going to a spinning type class which does much the same thing.

  11. Hi John (and fellow readers).
    Turbo trainer are becoming more popular because sometimes it is just too hard to get any decent time out on the road, especially in the winter. I run the website TurboBikTrainer and I've just put the finishing touches to a huge (4000 to 5000 words) article all about turbo trainers.

    They can get pricey but there is some pretty cool technology now to make training indoors much more efficient and dare I say even fun ;)

    Anyway, check it out if you get time or want to know more about turbo trainers and the different types:

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  14. Wow, Great article review blog sharing. I have turbo bike trainer. When i was a novice bike rider i always pedaling. And i learn how to pedaling and gearing.