3 Key Benefits of “Smart” Bike Trainers

Nowadays it seems everyone has a “smart” something. From smart phones to smart TVs to now even smart cars, our world is becoming all the more tech savvy as time goes on. Naturally, the triathlon and cycling nations have taken a privy to this smart revolution. And smart bike trainers are increasingly becoming all the rage.

But what benefits can a smart bike trainer provide over the traditional trainer?


1. Playing with Power

One of the more obvious reasons smart bike trainers have an advantage is the fact that they provide a power meter within—even if your bike doesn’t have one. And not only that, the higher end smart trainers output real power, not simulated numbers. Therefore, if you do have a power meter on your bike, this is a great way to compare its accuracy.

With that power measuring ability also comes compatibility with third party applications. There is a wealth of apps on the online marketplace such as TrainerRoad, Zwift, Strava, Velo, and many more that will connect with your smart trainer and assemble your power data in a pleasing way. You can prop up your phone, tablet, or laptop and get every quantifiable number your heart desires.


2. Programmed Precision

Perhaps an even bigger selling point and benefit of smart trainers like Computrainer and the Wahoo Kickr is the ability to program power workouts into the trainer itself. This means you can pre-set the exact level of resistance in watts you want to push, and then pedal at whatever cadence or gear you like in order to get there.

And it gets better. With connection to many of the apps/programs outlined above, you can have your power controlled in real time as you follow a pre-set workout or a simulated IRONMAN course.

This is a great way to gauge your current fitness. You can program your workout of the day into the app and force yourself to complete it. If during the workout your bike cadence and gear combination is less than ideal, then you know your current workout goal is either too ambitious or you’re not recovered. And vice versa if heart rate isn’t high enough or you’re running out of gears to push. If this is the case, then it’s time to move up the power.


3. Motivation on the Web

Another very cool feature being advertised by many of the smart bike trainers and connecting apps is the option to go online. With connection of your smart bike trainer to programs like Zwift and Strava you can actually “ride alongside” your friends in real-time on a virtual course.

Once you start seeing the same people out there on the “course” over and over again, you’ll feel accountable whenever you’re considering skipping the next trainer workout. Being competitive people, we naturally want to maintain our training alongside our peers. After all, if Jim or Susan is more consistent than I am, he/she might take my spot on the podium at the next race.

Or worse … steal my Strava segment!!!


Smart bike trainers are valuable to the athletes that can afford them because of their incredible ability to assemble accurate power data, push the users to the power they want to drive, and motivate triathletes to keep up with their friends.


Do you have a smart bike trainer? What kind? If not, which one is on your wish list?

JARED MILAM is a professional triathlete, TriDot coach, and member of the Tri4Him Pro Team. He has 16 years of competitive running experience and 11 years of competitive triathlon experience with a half Iron PR of 3:59 and a full Iron PR of 8:30. Coaching under the TriDot system since 2011, Jared loves working with aspiring triathletes of all ages and performance levels.

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