Best Indoor Training Accessories
Indoor training and trainer riding, in general, is getting better by the year, with more apps, more gear and lots of tech. How do you sift through all the gear and make the right choices when you don’t even know if you need that rocker plate or headwind fan? Well that where we come in, our staff at MTBR put nearly every piece of indoor training gear though the paces and came up with what we believe is the Best Indoor Trainer Accessories. But riding indoors and staying motivated is easier said than done. Sometimes the room with the rollers or trainer feels more like a torture chamber than a work-out sanctuary. Now, this doesn’t mean that they are all cycling focused or even something that you would think to use while on the trainer – but trust us – these are pieces of kit that will make life much easier for you, so all you need to do is pound out the wattage. Indeed, the most efficient training rides can happen at your house on a trainer or rollers, maximizing your ride time and minimizing junk miles. Check out our Best Indoor Trainers of 2020, to get up to speed on what new and impressive. To that end, Mtbr has scoured the land for the best trainer accessories. Here’s what we found.
The Basic Essentials
No matter what your goals are, there are a couple of items that are must-haves for indoor training. When you’re riding inside we take for granted some of the things that happen naturally outdoors; wind for example. So take our word and check out these basic essentials to make indoor riding more enjoyable and productive for training.
Adjustable Floor Fan
The wind is something that rarely happens inside, but when you’re hammering on the pedals you’ll notice instantly that overheating is very easy. Something that we can do is mimic the wind. This 11-inch air-circulating floor fan improves airflow in small rooms, has 3-speed settings with back-mounted controls and rocks a 120 volt / 55-watt power consumption. The 90-degree variable tilt head is perfect for on the desk or under the front wheel pointed at the rider.
Saris Protective Indoor Mat
Noone likes to mop up sweat, especially if you don’t have a dedicated pain cave that can take the day in and out abuse. Save your floor and your sanity with a protective matt. Though you’ll still have to mop up the sweat when you’re done crushing it – at least you won’t have to polish the floor after. A yoga matt could work but it doesn’t cover the full area over a trainer or roller set up – that s why we suggest the Saris Trainer Mat. While also absorbing vibration and noise, the Saris Training Mat is easy to store measuring 64 x 36.75 in. it’s compatible with a wide range of trainer setups – So suffer away!
Garmin Cadence/Speed Sensor
If you plan on riding Zwift or another indoor training application, the first thing you’ll need is a way to communicate with the computer or head unit. The best way to do this is either a power meter or a speed/cadence sensor. This one from Garmin is the most cost-effective without sacrificing ease of installation or data output. Now you can monitor your speed and cadence as you ride wirelessly. No magnets or exposed parts make it easy to move between bikes. Speed Sensor 2 attaches to either hub and self calibrates with the Edge cycling computer (not included) or other compatible Garmin devices for accurate speed and distance. Cadence Sensor 2 fastens to any size crankarm and measures pedal strokes per minute so you can get the most out of your trainingSend live speed, distance, and cadence data to compatible training apps or displays by using ANT+ connectivity and Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
Ikea Raskog Utility Cart
Perfect for use in your kitchen, bathroom or PAIN CAVE. Anywhere you need some extra storage space or like have easy access to the gear quickly and store it away just as fast. I use this cart for my controllers, bottles or anything that I could need on the ride. The 3 tier structure allows for storage of trainer specific gear or tools that you’d need while adjusting trainer needs. The wheels and slim profile allow this cart to be stored away easily while costing little more than a container of your favorite sports drink. I found this to be a fantastic alternative to the cycling desk in both cost and taking my room from Pain Cave to Family Central.
Dongle for Bluetooth communication
If you plan on communicating your ANT+ power meter or speed sensor with your computer for Zwift, SufferFest or any other application the ANT+ dongle is just what you need. This small stick is a neat device that sits in one of your laptop’s USB ports, allowing it to send and receive the ANT+ protocol. They used to be the size of a normal USB stick, but ANT+ Mini USB sticks have now become common, meaning they can sit in there all the time, ready to be used without any risk of snapping off if left unattended.
If you are looking to maximize your indoor experience look no further than the trainer platform. It may look like a lot but think about how static the body moves while on the trainer, no side to side or back and forth. A static trainer takes away our body’s natural ability to recruit and engage our stability muscles. These muscles may be small, but they are largely responsible for proper form, biomechanics, and efficient training. These platforms engage more muscle and recruit more fibers while engaging the upper body, hip flexors and stabilizing muscles that can stay dormant on the trainer. Last but not least – platforms are seriously fun, they make the ride more realistic and transform the indoor racing experience hands down.
Saris MP1 is the top of the line when it comes to set it and forget it trainer platforms. Though the side-to-side movement on a trainer isn’t new, it also doesn’t capture the natural movement you experience outdoors. The MP1 with Nfinity technology truly moves the way you do because it adds the fore/aft axis to the equation. The MP1 combines over 20 years of indoor training expertise to not only create the movement platform category – but to perfect it. The result is an unparalleled trainer platform that reimagines the indoor trainer experience altogether. The MP1 is compatible with a variety of training configurations; bikes, desks and nearly every trainer available in the market. The mix of steel, aluminum, and birch compliment most training spaces and truly looks like a piece of art rather than exercise equipment.
SBR ROCKR PRO
The first-ever trainer platform I tried was a ROCKR PRO and I was blown away. The feel is progressive and responsive to the slightest rider feedback. The full-size ROCKR PRO combines press formed hybrid boards (1/8in thicker wood) with five center-aligned elastomeric pivot points, to allow up to 18 degrees of rocking potential when riding on your indoor trainer. These hybrid boards fuse the strength of birch with the durability of high-density foam. Plus, it does a great job of dampening trainer and vibration noise, while also protecting your floor. The ROCKR PRO has both side-to-side rocking and for/aft movement thanks to concave elastomeric support design. The ROCKER has a dual adjustable suspension that allows for a custom feel while also leveling your trainer platform for trainers with heavy offset flywheels. The 12 attachment slots across the ROCKR PRO allow for infinite trainer compatibility.
This Platform for front and rear wheel trainer support boasts a generously sized rear portion for ease of fitting many different trainer styles and makes. The Gravitraner rocker board fits trainers up to 32″ wide and the length is 59.5″ front to back. This board allows you to mount your bike with a front fork stand on the rocker so the whole setup moves together. The patent-pending rocker design is CNC cut for accurate lean-force and center stability, giving you a great feeling ride. Construction is of finish-quality maple plywood with a non-skid coating on the deck.
For those who like all their gear in arm’s length, or engage in Zwifting to the MAX the trainer desk is an easy choice. It may resemble the cockpit of a treadmill but that’s because it’s designed to serve the same purpose for your trainer, holding your laptop, propping up your tablet, smartphone, or whatever media you prefer while crushing an indoor session. A non-marking surface resists splashed sports drinks, and built-in cable-routing options ensure that your arrangement options aren’t limited by power cord requirements. These desks are a massive upgrade to rickety TV tray improvisations and most are easily moveable when your significant other, roommate or the family cat gets tired of tripping over your indoor training obsession.
Every training room needs a control center, and the TD1 is more than equipped for the job. Featuring built-in power strip with 2 AC and 2 USB outlets, this indoor trainer desk was designed to keep everything you need charged, organized and close at hand. Its roomy 12” x 20” tabletop is made from laminated birch for easy cleanup and is supported by stainless, corrosion-resistant steel sourced from America’s heartland. And as part of the Saris trainer eco-system, the TD1 is a perfect complement to the MP1 trainer platform. After just one ride with a dedicated trainer desk, you’ll ask yourself how you ever rode indoors without one.
RAD Cycle Products Adjustable Bike Trainer Fitness Desk
The RAD Cycle Products Adjustable Trainer Desk will keep you on task with plenty of room to fit over a bike and use it as a fitness desk to keep your laptop, tablet or touchpads, smartphone, and healthy drinks close at hand as you pedal on your trainer. To keep your electronics from sliding around RAD has integrated a non-slip surface to keep your work, or entertainment safely in place. And not only is the RAD Cycle Products Portable Work Station handy during workouts, when the routine is over you can easily roll it into the office to be used as a convenient standing desk. With its sturdy steel construction, the RAD Portable Fitness Desk is adjustable from 33.5 inches all the way up to 47 inches and rolls on durable locking casters. Easy to assemble, this handy desk makes multitasking a breeze.
Wahoo Kickr Desk
The Wahoo KICKR Desk is the desk for multi-tasking. Use it as an indoor cycling desk with your KICKR or any trainer for that matter it doubles as a standing desk in your office. It’s fully adjustable to allow you to easily optimize for and switch between different positions. The desk has built-in tablet and smartphone stands and built-in holes to connect all your computer technology. A steel frame makes it sturdy and a slip-resistant surface will keep everything in place – no matter how much you sweat.
Online and Virtual Training
Indoor cycling can be boring and if you falter in motivation only slightly – that can be a death sentence for your fitness or workout at hand. There is hope though, training apps like Sufferfest, Zwift and more offer an experience that helps you train and pass the time with ease – and dare we say “have fun on the trainer”. There are many apps to choose from and each has its own distinct flair and attitude. You can be blazing the streets in Watopia one day and getting in the zone on a preprogrammed 40/20 session on TrainerRoad the next. So clip in and get ready for a tour around the virtual world of cycling.
Zwift allows players to ride their bicycles on stationary trainers while navigating through six virtual worlds (Watopia, Richmond, London, Innsbruck, Yorkshire, and New York – a seventh world, Bologna, is available for certain time trial events). Players may cycle freely around the game world and join organized group rides, races or workouts with other users. Zwift uses ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy technologies to transmit data that, in combination with athlete weight and equipment choices, is used to convert the athlete’s efforts as speed and power (watts). “Smart” trainers, which include a built-in power meter, permit accuracy in the measurement of watts as well as enabling an immersive technology experience, where resistance is applied or lessened to simulate the gradient encountered on the virtual course. Zwift estimates the power of users on conventional trainers via the user’s cadence and the power curve of a wide range of specified trainers.
Price: Free 25K Trial then $14.99/month
TrainerRoad’s cross-platform application provides guided interval training to help riders of all types become faster cyclists. Interval Training for Cyclists: Follow structured interval workouts that establish, build and specialize your fitness to compete in your next event. Guided Workouts: Get the most out of every interval with instructional and motivational text from onscreen coaching instruction. Indoor and Outdoor Optimization: Maximize workout quality with a fully guided indoor workout, or follow an outdoor-optimized version on the road.
Price: $189.00/year (save $50) or $19.00/month
Structured interval workouts designed by world-class coaches. Connect your devices and take our comprehensive 4DP fitness test to get your full power profile and set personalized performance targets. Exclusively-licensed footage puts you in the middle of the world’s greatest races. You’re not just a spectator, you’re part of the action in SufferFest. No matter what aspect of your fitness you want to improve, SufferFest has a program for that. The structured workouts are designed by elite coaches to target everything from climbing to speed, endurance to base, race simulation to efficiency, time trialing to triathlon. So many ways to get faster, so little time – get suffering.
Road Grand Tour
RGT Cycling is a virtual reality cycling simulator that is available for PC, Mac and Apple TV. It is used in conjunction with iOS and Android Apps and supported training hardware. Users from around the world are able to Go Beyond and connect, ride, race and train together in a virtual reality that recreates the captivating culture of real-world cycling. Spearheading the virtual fitness revolution RGT Cycling has a unique set of features such as Magic Roads which enable users to ride any road, anytime, anywhere with a focus on helping riders get fitter, faster and stronger, RGT Cycling has partnered with the endurance experts TrainingPeaks for maximum ride retention and training guidance.
Basic: Free, Premium: $14.99/month
Extra Credit and Indoor Optimization
For those that the above is old news, check out these add-ons from our gear pros at MTBR. As we all know the littlest thing can make the biggest difference on the trainer and can add an extra gear to those indoor workouts. Efficiency is key and little wasted time is why most of us choose the indoor route on a given day. So check out this list for the best time optimization and extras to make this the year of the trainer!
Jaybird Sport Wireless Earbuds
The Jaybird headphones were brought to our attention by Kona All-star Cyclocross racer Kerry Warner. On his YouTube channel, Kerry mentions the JayBird extensively and bombproof nature of the design. The build has many features that are perfect for the off-road cyclist and indoor cyclist for that matter. The JayBird Vista Sport is the lightest, most compact, and most advanced headphones in the Jaybird line. Crafted with industry-leading battery life and Jaybirds own #EARTHPROOF shock, dust, water, and sweat-proof IPX7 construction. The unit boasts 16-Hour Battery Life and amazing sound quality. Plus if you do venture outdoors with these, they have great features in case you lose one on a rowdy descent or wicked crash. The “find my earbud feature” will let you the exact location you last had the earbud engaged, so you can pedal back and locate it. Don’t believe us? Just ask Rebecca Fahringer about how useful it is!
Tacx Handlebar phone holder
Catch up on your favorite show or just track your stats while training indoors with the Tacx Handlebar Mount for Tablets. This mount uses a bracket that is suitable for handlebars with a diameter ranging from 26 to 35mm while remaining compatible with tablets of just about any size thanks to its adjustability. The design provides you with a safe distance so that no sweat falls on your screen while you’re training. And if you’re training hard, there’s going to be a lot of sweat. Handlebar mount for tablets on your trainer. The adjustable design fits a number of tablet sizes while hands-free design keeps the sweat from coming in contact with the screen
T-SIGN IPad Tripod Stand Mount
Some of us like the ease of a tablet rather than a full-on TV – or they create a pain cave out of a living room every so often. Well if you ride with your tablet 0 the best thing you can have is a nice stand, even better if that stand is easy to breakdown and store. That exactly what the T-Sign does – plus it’s cost-effective to boot!
Rapha Indoor Training Shirt
Theories abound as to what’s best to wear while training indoors. Some opt for an old cotton t-shirt, others a tight-fitting base layer. Rapha’s Indoor Training T-Shirt combines the best of all worlds to keep you cool and concentrated on the session at hand. It’s hot work inside so there are no sleeves, with armholes cut for comfort in an on-bike position. The lightweight fabric features a gradient knit structure to wick moisture away from the skin efficiently and helps it evaporate rapidly. With stretchy side panels, the Indoor Training T-Shirt is tighter-fitting than a regular t-shirt but looser than a base layer, striking a perfect balance between airflow and sweat absorption. It is cut short at the front to avoid bunching and longer at the back to keep you covered in spin sessions.
Wahoo Fitness KICKR CLIMB Bike Trainer
With the KICKR Climb, Wahoo eliminates the penultimate barrier for cyclists looking to simulating outdoor riding while training indoors: the feeling of tilt on a climbing grade. The ultimate barrier is, of course, actually being outside, but when weather or time constraints make that impossible, the KICKR Climb pairs with Wahoo’s KICKR and KICKR Snap trainers to recreate a climbing experience that automatically matches your bike’s tilt to the virtual grade being simulated by the trainer in conjunction with your training program.
Wahoo Fitness KICKR Headwind Bluetooth Fan
The first-ever smart fan designed for cyclists, Wahoo’s KICKR HEADWIND Fan keeps you cool during the toughest training sessions and uses a Targeted Airflow Pattern to mirror the shape and position of a cyclist’s body while riding for realistic road conditions, even if you’re really just getting after it in your basement during winter. You can pair your ANT+ speed sensor, heart rate monitor, or smart trainer directly to the fan, so as your speed or heart rate increases so will the fan speed. Bluetooth also wirelessly connects your phone via Wahoo’s app to the fan to put the speed controls at your fingertips, or for a more manual adjustment, just simply select one of the four pre-programmed speeds on top for your ideal airflow. The airflow maxes out at a whopping 30 miles per hour to ensure you stay cool through some of your most demanding workouts, while two adjustable leg positions help you find just the right airflow angle.
MTBR is committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.