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Best turbo trainers 2024 — improve your cycling and get fitter by training indoors

Want to take your riding inside to make some great bang-for-buck fitness gains? Here's everything you need to know about the best turbo trainers plus which is best for your needs

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Opting for the turbo over riding in the rain and snow over winter no longer has to feel like a lonesome chore, thanks to the latest smart trainers and indoor training apps which allow you to ride and race with friends from all over the world. We've put in the hours of riding on various indoor trainers to ensure that we find you the best turbo trainers for this year and far beyond...

By simulating riding outside from the comfort of your own home, a turbo trainer allows you keep fit when the weather is unpleasant, or at times when it could be less safe, such as at night or during rush hours on the road. There's also the time element; a lot of cyclists now incorporate indoor riding into their training year-round, because it's very time-efficient and little effort gets wasted. There are no traffic lights or dodgy drivers to contend with indoors. 

In the last few years – and even more so during the 2020 lockdown when many had no choice but to train indoors – the popularity of 'smart' trainers has boomed. These allow for an ANT+, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi  connection to a computer, phone, tablet or Apple TV box. From here the level of pedalling resistance can be controlled, expressed as your power in watts via a built-in power meter.

If your budget is tight then you can stick with a 'dumb' trainer (there's one still recommended in this guide), but if you want to use a classic turbo with one of the best cycling training apps, then you will have to use your gears to alter the resistance. If the app is telling you to target a certain power or cadence zone you'll also have to improvise, unless you have a power meter and cadence sensor on your bike already. 

Paired with useful software such as Zwift, TrainerRoad, Wahoo SYSTM or others, smart trainers can be a great tool for winter training as they allow you to train to a specific power output target. The best turbo trainers can also simulate hills or put you in a virtual race or group-training session, all of which helps to make indoor training more enjoyable. Couple this technology with some of the best indoor cycling accessories like a whopping great fan, indoor-specific clothing and a sweat catcher to protect your bike, and you're bound to find indoor training (almost) a joy instead of the soul-destroying task it once was. 

If you want a set-up that multiple people can use and adjust easily, then you might be better off looking at exercise bikes or smart bikes; but if you're shopping for just you or are lucky enough to have space for multiple trainers in your 'pain cave' to keep the whole family fit, read on to see our top smart trainer and classic turbo trainer picks... 

The best turbo trainers: our top picks

Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer v6

Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer v6

Best turbo trainer overall
Buy now for £999.99 from Condor Cycles
Realistic ride feel
Super-accurate power
Easy to set up
Wi-Fi connectivity
Standard 11-speed cassette
Higher price than before
Kickr Direct Connect is not included

Wahoo's Kickr was already one of the best smart trainers you could buy in its previous iterations, and the latest sixth version has been upgraded again with Wi-Fi connectivity and a more refined ERG mode. 

The ride feel is high quality, it's highly accurate with power accuracy a claimed +/-1%, and not even world-class sprinters will trouble its wattage ceiling at a huge 2,200 watts. The Wi-Fi connection is claimed to be 65% faster than Bluetooth or ANT+, so if you race on indoor training platforms like Zwift it's probably the best on the market for ensuring nothing cuts out mid-event. 

Are the upgrades worth the extra £100 over the Wahoo Kickr v5, that is now further discounted in various places? For most of us it's not a big step up; but then again this is the Rolls-Royce of turbo trainers according to our reviewer, who added: "If you want to elevate your Zwift racing experience and ensure your connection is rock-solid and stays uninterrupted, there's nothing quite like the immersive experience offered by the Wahoo Kickr v6 smart trainer." 

There's now the Kickr Move too - essentially the Kickr with some added movement that is also recommended in this guide - but it's hard to justify the extra cost, so we still reckon the latest Kickr is currently the best smart trainer on the market. 

Read our review:
Zwift Hub One

Zwift Hub One

Best smart trainer for versatility
Buy now for £549 from Zwift
Super easy to set up
Accurate power reporting
Virtual gears work well
Works straight away on pretty much any bike
Gear range the same on any drivetrain
Virtual gears only work in Zwift
Click shifter is OK rather than great
Virtual gears not as slick as decent physical gears

Bearing in mind the Zwift Hub One also comes with a year's free Zwift app membership, the Hub One provides a very affordable way into smart training. The ingenious Cog system also means you won't have to worry about swapping cassettes, spacers and other compatibility headaches, because the Hub One is designed to work with pretty much any 8 to 12-speed bike. 

Replacing the Zwift Hub that did come with a cassette (that was basically the same as Wahoo's Kickr Core, included in this guide and highly rated) the Hub One replaces it with the Zwift Cog, so there's no need to put a cassette on the trainer - just put your chain around the Zwift Cog, line up the gearing so it's centred on the Cog, and you're away. The trainer is also supplied with the Click system which gives you 24 virtual gears. While it's not quite as sweet as proper shifting, our reviewer said it was fast and responsive enough for most indoor riders. 

The power accuracy is claimed to be +/-2.5%, and we found the Hub One's accuracy to be well within the range we expected. It has a maximum resistance of 1800W and can simulate a gradient of 16%, which are good numbers at the cheaper end of the market. 

If you have more than one bike you like to use on the trainer, then the Hub One makes a lot of sense. For everyone else it's also very capable and comes highly recommended, if you don't mind the slightly unusual feeling of the virtual shifting. 

Read our review: 
Wahoo Kickr Core Smart Trainer

Wahoo Kickr Core Smart Trainer

Best budget direct drive smart trainer
Buy now for £599 from Tredz
Reliable power recording
Excellent, fast-reacting ERG mode
More than enough resistance (1,800W)
No carry handle
No side-to-side movement
Requires some (very simple) building
No cassette included

The Kickr Core is currently the most affordable direct drive offering in Wahoo's range, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that it sacrifices very little compared to the top-end Kickr trainer. We found it to be smooth and stable while providing impressively accurate power data. We were also particularly impressed with the ERG mode. 

The Kickr Core can handle a maximum of 1,800 watts of resistance and comes with a 5.4kg flywheel that's controlled by an electromagnetic resistance unit. It's virtually silent and gradient simulation is up to 16%, plus you get all the bits for attaching disc or rim brake bikes in the box. It's not exactly portable and doesn't have a carry handle, but if you have a dedicated space to train this won't be an issue. 

The accuracy is excellent considering it's not a top-of-the-range trainer, and we found it to be consistently within +/-2% of our power meter in comparison tests. Recalibration is only required when you move the trainer, so it's literally plug and play in most cases.  

While it's now not the cheapest since other players have come into the market with sub-£500 smart trainers, very few riders will be disappointed if they go for the Kickr Core.  

Read our review:
Tacx Neo 2T Smart trainer

Tacx Neo 2T Smart trainer

Best money-no-object turbo trainer
Buy now for £959.99 from Evans Cycles
Very powerful
Very quiet
Very responsive
Very accurate
ERG mode pretty brutal

Garmin's Tacx Neo 2T has now technically been replaced by the Tacx Neo 3M (we'll be reviewing it in full soon), but we can still vouch for the 2T being an exceptional trainer, and the price isn't quite so stinging nowadays 

This very quiet trainer is a highly capable piece of equipment that's easy to set up as well as store, and has a resistance unit that’s able to simulate road surfaces by altering the resistance hundreds of times a second. It replicates a realistic riding experience on Zwift (which it is compatible with, plus many other training apps) from the comfort of your own home.

The Neo 2T improves on its predecessor by adding even more resistance and even greater accuracy, claimed to be within +/-1%. At lower speeds, the 2T will produce powerful resistance and is also capable of very quick changes in ERG mode. Overall, it's quiet (which neighbours will of course be thankful for) as well as capable. 

If you're looking for a top-of-the-range turbo trainer then this is a solid choice that you certainly won't regret. Although you can go much cheaper, the Neo 2T is still one of the best out there because of its impressive features such as the sophisticated cadence sensing, ability to power itself wirelessly and its realistic ride feel. 

Read our review:
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer

Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer

The cheapest direct drive trainer
Buy now for £210 from Evans Cycles
Good price
Relatively accurate
More than enough resistance (1,800W)
Requires some (very simple) building
No cassette included

At its current bargain price, the Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer is very affordable for a direct-drive unit. It works seamlessly with all your favourite training apps and you can expect mostly reliable figures from its built-in power and cadence sensors.  

Although it doesn't fold up for easy storage, if you have a dedicated space then the set-up is nice and easy. The freehub is designed for Shimano and SRAM cassettes, and adaptors for rim or disc brake bikes are included. A riser block to keep your front wheel fixed in place is also included. 

We found the Pinnacle offers a smooth ride feel from its 5.7kg flywheel and it fels nice and natural, and the power delivery is good. The maximum gradient simulation is 20% and the wattage ceiling is a huge 2,500 watts, which no mortals will ever trouble. Our reviewer found the power to read around 3% higher in a comparison with a power meter crank, but this was mostly consistent throughout the sessions with only occasional drifting. 

It's not the quietest, but that's to be expected at this price point. Overall, this is a very capable proper smart trainer at an impressive price point. 

Read our review: 
Tacx Flux S Smart Trainer

Tacx Flux S Smart Trainer

Quietest budget wheel-off smart trainer
Buy now for £499.99 from Tredz
Smooth ride feel
High resistance floor
No handle

The Flux S direct drive turbo is an excellent and pretty affordable smart trainer from one of the biggest companies in the business: Tacx. This pick in our best turbo trainers selection offers a smooth ride quality and doesn’t produce much noise at all. It’s also very accurate and offers great consistency of numbers, so it’s a great option for those wanting an indoor trainer for the colder months or to mix up their training. 

Tacx claims the Flux S reads your power to an accuracy of +/- 3%. As well as that, this model can also simulate a maximum resistance of 1,500W which is very reasonable and good enough for most riders and their training needs. Additionally, the Flux S can simulate a climb of up to 10%. It’s also worth noting that the latest version now allows for the use of both gravel and mountain bikes as it has enough clearance for a long-arm derailleur.

Overall, the Tacx Flux S smart trainer is a solid option for training purposes. It’s easy to set up and connect to your other devices which is great, but on the other hand, the max resistance offered is a little lower than other direct drives. Also, it does notably struggle at delivering lower levels of resistance. But for the price, it’s a great option.

Wahoo Kickr Move Smart Trainer

Wahoo Kickr Move Smart Trainer

A deluxe smart trainer with added movement
Buy now for £1164.99 from Sigma Sports
Great ride feel
Accurate power
Useful to be able to turn motion on and off
An expensive upgrade over the V6
Side-to-side movement is a bit clanky

If money is no object and/or you like some movement while you train indoors, then Wahoo's newest smart trainer could be just the thing you're after. 

Essentially the Kickr Move is the Wahoo Kickr but with some fore/aft movement and a little bit of side-to-side. The motion provides some extra realism and dynamism, and while it's not exactly like riding outside, our reviewer said it's nice not being stuck in the same position all the time. When seated you're just moving a fraction or two back and forth, and during sprints it's impressively stable. We did find that the movement is a bit distracting during sprints, and the wobble isn't really appreciated - luckily you can lock the trainer out, which we'd recommend for racing or sessions with lots of big sprints. 

Everything else is just as good as the standard Kickr: WiFi connection, 2,200W max power, 20% max grade, +/- 1% accuracy etc, and the ride feel is smooth, accurate and refined. Our reviewer felt it's not quite worth it over the standard Kickr, but if your budget allows then the movement is a nice option to have. 

Elite Direto XR smart trainer

Elite Direto XR smart trainer

Most affordable high-end smart trainer
Buy now for £448.99 from Tredz
Good value
Not the very best in ERG mode
No rocking mechanism

This smart trainer from Elite is very solid and delivers highly accurate power numbers. It also beats most of its competitors in the premium smart trainer space for price. 

The Direto XR holds your bike firmly in place with no side-to-side movement, and although some could find this more anchored position uncomfortable, it's one of the best if you like to be planted and for the trainer to feel rock solid underneath you. It's impressively quiet and your drivetrain and fan will likely be louder than the noise it generates. The flywheel isn't too heavy but we found this didn't negatively impact the ride responds, and the trainer responds particularly well to sprint efforts.  

It's no longer top of Elite's range with the recently launched Justo now the brand's most deluxe trainer, but if your budget can't quite stretch to a grand then the Direto XR is very capable indeed. 

Read our review:
Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ trainer

Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ trainer

Best wheel-on budget turbo trainer
Buy now for £274.99 from Wiggle
Good ride feel
Accurate when calibrated
Elite app is still a bit clunky

Elite's Qubo Digital Smart B+ has been around a while now, and that means you can enter into smart training for under £300. If you're not sure if indoor riding is for you and therefore aren’t keen on splashing the cash on a more high tech direct drive model, then this is an excellent and simplistic wheel-on unit for you to try. Compatibility wise, this particular wheel-on turbo trainer allows for wheel sizes ranging from 20” to 700c.

Interestingly, according to Elite, they claim that the maximum resistance offered by the Qubo is 1,070W, which for the vast majority of people would be enough, however if you are someone who often sees past this output then this is unlikely to suit your needs. On the other hand, the accuracy for measuring power is pretty impressive given it’s one of the cheapest smart trainers on the market. In addition to the impressive accuracy, for a wheel-on turbo trainer, this unit is pretty quiet in comparison to others of a similar design, but it unfortunately cannot beat the quiet nature of the direct drive turbos. 

Overall, if what you are looking for in the best turbo trainer is a cheap smart trainer that’s reliable, simple and accurate then this is a solid option. Compared to other wheel-on turbos this one will be hard to beat, but for the money, it’s a no-brainer if you just want to try out indoor riding or are on a budget.

Read our review:
Saris Fluid2 Trainer Smart Equipped

Saris Fluid2 Trainer Smart Equipped

Best basic turbo trainer on a budget
Buy now for £89.99 from Amazon
Clever resistance unit
Realistic ride feel
Simple to use
Instructions aren't very clear
Some instability out of the saddle

The Saris Fluid2 is straightforward, affordable and simple: a classic wheel-on style turbo trainer which does its job very well, which is why the design hasn't really changed for years. At under 100 quid at numerous online retailers at the time of writing, there's little reason why you wouldn’t pick one up to use on the less than favourable winter days, unless your budget stretches a lot further of course. 

The Fluid2 uses fluid resistance as the name suggests, which technically means there is no limit to how much resistance this trainer can handle (although it will start to feel unstable if you really sprint). There's a handy click mechanism at the back to tell you when your tyre is properly mounted, so there's no guesstimating involved during set up. 

But, just because this offering from Saris is cheap, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on riding with friends or using your favourite indoor riding apps. Usefully fitted with a speed/cadence sensor, this means that the unit works with training apps like Zwift and Rouvy. Therefore, although basic, you can still enjoy some visual stimulation and motivation for a fraction of the price of other turbo trainers. That being said, it isn’t as quiet as a direct drive turbo and the simulated power reading will just be an estimation. 

If what you want is a standard, simple, easy to use turbo trainer that is both user-friendly and much cheaper than what’s currently available on the market, the Fluid2 is a very good option. It’s basic, but it does the job and does it well. 

Read our review:
Elite Suito Turbo Trainer

Elite Suito Turbo Trainer

Most convenient smart turbo trainer
Buy now for £448.99 from Sigma Sports
Easy to set up
Comes with a cassette
Good power and excellent cadence
Some power variation between seated and standing
Noisier than some

Elite's Suito sits at the cheaper end of the direct drive trainer market, but it's well made and the performance is great for what you pay. As the basis for a lower budget smart set-up it's without a doubt an excellent starting point. It’s also compatible with training apps, easy to set up and the Suito-T version also comes with a  Shimano and SRAM-compatible 11-speed cassette; a useful feature if it's compatible with your bike and/or if you aren’t too sure on how to fit one.

Although this turbo trainer is well priced for what it offers, it is unfortunately a bit noisier than other direct drive options, so if noise is an issue for you it might be worth considering quieter trainers such as the Saris H3. We also found the power accuracy isn't quite as good as more expensive trainers such as the Wahoo Kickr, but it's definitely good enough to provide you with repeatable training numbers if that’s what your main focus is.

Overall, the Suito is a good piece of equipment for the price. It’s easy to set up and use, and offers good repeatable data with excellent cadence accuracy. 

Read our review:
Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer Best turbo trainer for high power accuracy

Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer

Best turbo trainer for high power accuracy
Buy now for £559.99 from Pauls Cycles
Good build quality
Cadence sensing isn't the best
Doesn't ship with a cassette

The Saris H3 is another very good direct drive smart trainer which offers the rider a quiet, solid and accurate ride for less than numerous rivals within the market. It’s also pretty user-friendly in terms of setting it up, and is a great all-round option for those looking for a high-end trainer with a quality ride feel. 

The H3 is capable of simulating a gradient of up to 20% and can also produce 2,000W of resistance, more than enough for training and racing. Additionally, while in ERG mode, the H3 is very responsive in adjusting the training load when swapping between easy to hard and back again. It also produces accurate and repeatable numbers which is really useful for training of course. 

If accuracy is your thing, we'd highly recommend the H3. There has been talk of a Saris H4 for a while now, but it never materialised, and we can't see any reason to wait as the H3 is difficult to improve upon. You can also pair it with a Saris MP1 rocker plate for some added movement and realism if your budget allows. 

Read our review:

How to choose from the best turbo trainers

Is it worth getting a turbo trainer?

Turbo trainers are definitely a piece of equipment that is worth investing in for many different reasons. First and foremost, having one allows you to ride your bike even when the weather outside is unsuitable for riding such as snow or ice. Moreover, they also offer variation for your training and riding experience which can be a brilliant way to help break up training and keep you motivated and focused. Similarly, smart turbo trainers allow you to ride with friends all over the world, thanks to apps such as Zwift. 

What are the main features of turbo trainers?

Perhaps the most basic thing you need to know is that there are broadly two physical types of turbo trainer: wheel-on and direct-drive. A wheel-on trainer has a mechanism that clamps your bike at the rear, usually by the quick-release; your rear wheel then drives a roller attached to a resistance unit. For a direct-drive trainer you remove your bike's rear wheel and the chain drives sprockets on the trainer. That drives the resistance unit and a big flywheel, surrounded by a plastic shell to keep out fingers and paws.

All turbo trainers have a frame that supports you and your bike. Some trainers are sturdier than others, but trainers from specialist brands are all pretty solid. A larger footprint and heavier frame will ensure it's more stable, which you want if you're doing maximum-effort intervals.

Space can be a premium in many households and many turbos fold flat, but how much space they take up when folded down differs greatly from brand to brand. Many trainers have adjustable legs or feet, so you can ensure you get the trainer perfectly level on uneven floors.

A wheel-on turbo fixes to the quick release of the rear wheel, and often a quick release is supplied with the turbo that is specifically compatible with the model. A cam locking system adjusts two cones that clamp around the skewer. The better models get ergonomic levers that make setting up a breeze. Most trainers also accommodate various sizes of wheels, and some feature a latch to bring the roller up against the wheel, saving you from having to set the roller each time you begin a session.

Direct drive trainers allow you to fit your bike to the trainer; most come with the necessary hardware to fit either quick release or through-axle frames.

What is a smart trainer?

Trainers can briefly be divided into smart and non-smart options. Smart trainers can be controlled by apps like Zwift, so you can ride in virtual worlds or follow precise training sessions, while non-smart trainers usually just have variable mechanical resistance with no electronic control. Smart trainers have become far and away the most popular variety in the last few years and are our pick if you're serious about using a turbo trainer as part of your fitness program.

A standard turbo trainer has a stand to support your bike and a resistance unit driven by the rear tyre or chain. In a smart trainer the resistance unit has built-in electronics that transmit your speed to an ANT+-capable device and receive instructions from the device to set the resistance you're working against. Smart trainers usually include power meters so you can train by that metric too.

How do I choose a smart turbo trainer?

If you are unsure as to which turbo trainer is the best for you and your needs as a rider, it's a good idea to first start with a rough idea of your budget: this allows you to focus your search on the best turbo trainers in your price range as they can get rather pricey. You should also consider what features you would like, for example you may only be looking for a direct drive turbo trainer. But in general, as with many things, the more expensive the turbo the more features and abilities it will possess. 

What is the quietest turbo trainer?

Although it is somewhat difficult to know exactly which turbo trainer is the quietest, the Tacx NEO 2T is regarded as one of the quietest turbo trainers money can buy. Which is another solid reason as to why we feel it's the best turbo trainer overall. However, in general you will find that the higher end direct drive turbo trainers that are currently on the market are all impressively quiet. Therefore, although the NEO 2T is a standout pick, you can rest assured that most expensive direct drives won't be producing much noise while in use. 

Can you put any bike on a turbo trainer?

Usefully, you can attach most bikes to a turbo trainer. However, it's important to note that at times you will need an adaptor depending on what bike you will be trying to fix to the turbo. For example, bikes with disc brakes will need to use a thru-axle adaptor in order to use on a direct drive turbo trainer. Therefore, if you fancied riding your mountain bike on a direct drive turbo then it wouldn't be an issue. 

Do you use gears on a turbo trainer?

This depends on what type of trainer you have and its capabilities; but generally, unless you're using ERG mode on a smart trainer, it's always a good idea to change gears when using the turbo to alter your resistance and cadence. 

We'll deal with smart trainers first. These sophisticated trainers are trying to replicate the outdoor riding experience from the comfort of your own home, and if this is what you want then it's useful to practise your outside riding habits like changing gear. If you want to take part in virtual cycling events like Zwift races, you'll need to use your gears to react to changes in gradient or catch breaks, so it's just as important that your gears are shifting properly indoors as outdoors.

If you simply want to ride to a target power or do virtual training sessions, then pretty much all modern smart trainers offer an ERG mode. We go into far more detail in our ERG mode feature, but essentially this tells the trainer what resistance to feed in regardless of what actual gear you are in. This means whether you're on the very hardest gear or the very smallest, if your session demands an interval where you have to ride at 250 watts, you will be riding at 250 watts no matter what. As ERG mode takes a split second or so to react and change your resistance level, it might be best to turn it off and stick to gear shifting if your session demands very explosive efforts. 

For non-smart trainers you have to change gear to alter your resistance level, so make sure your bike is shifting properly as you usually would. 

Do turbo trainers damage your tyres?

If you are looking to buy a direct drive, wheel-off smart trainer like most options in this guide then you can skip this part, because there are no tyres attached to the trainer to damage! You simply take the back wheel off, put your cassette on the trainer and pop your bike on it. If, however, your trainer is a more 'traditional' model where the back wheel spins against a resistance unit, then you should expect a certain amount of wear due to the build up of heat between the tyre and the roller.

Because rolling resistance is not an issue when riding indoors, it's best to get an indoor turbo trainer tyre that is made specifically to deal with heat generated from your turbo, and is extra durable to stop it wearing down too fast. Generally they're inexpensive and could last you thousands of virtual miles, with the Halfords Essentials Turbo Trainer Tyre costing just £15 as one example. You'll want to pump it up to a higher pressure than you usually would with outdoor tyres (at least 100 psi) and top the air up regularly. 

What is ANT+?

For a fully smart, controllable trainer, the function to look for is ANT+ FE-C capability. ANT+ is a wireless communication protocol, as used for speed sensors, heart rate monitors and other fitness gadgets. FE-C stands for Fitness Equipment Control and the clue's in the name: it's a set of commands over ANT+ that, well, control fitness equipment such as turbo trainers.

Smart trainers can also use Bluetooth to communicate with the controlling device, which is handy if you're using a laptop, say, because you don't need an additional ANT+ dongle; however we'd always recommend buying an additional ANT+ sensor to plug in via USB, because, at the time of writing, it's simply a superior connection for fitness equipment. We've heard of riders' virtual training sessions cutting out mid-ride when using a patchy Bluetooth connection, which can be mighty frustrating when you just want to Get It Done! An ANT+ connection will make the likelihood of this happening very minimal. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.