Here at Tacx we produce a complete range of Smart and Basic Trainers to fit every cyclist’s needs. That’s the beauty of cycling: we can all enjoy it at every level, no matter our level of fitness, experience or budget. But with so many trainers to choose from, how do you decide which one is right for you?

If you’ve converted your garage into a suffer cave and spend hours training in front of a mega-screen TV and hurricane-force fans, then you’ll want the best indoor cycling experience money can buy with the Tacx NEO 2. But if you’re after a simpler cycling solution that will still dramatically improve your fitness, then Tacx has a choice of trainers for you to choose from.

So what’s the Smart choice?
There are three main differences between smart trainers and classic turbo trainers. First is Automatic vs. manual resistance: The main feature of Smart trainers is that they adjust the level of resistance automatically. With a basic trainer you have to do it manually. The second is the Computer connection – a smart trainer measures your power and connects to your favourite cycling app for a sophisticated synced and simulated cycling experience. Finally, there’s Cost – the smart trainer’s extra features come at a price. Other features like quietness, smoothness, lightness, accuracy and incline all increase incrementally the more you spend.

Big rides on a basic trainer
With a basic trainer and Tacx real life videos you can practice long climbs, just use the lever to adjust the resistance manually. You can even do three hour plus Z2 training rides on the turbo when you have an epic movie to watch like Lord of the Rings.

But if you want more than that and experience a far more realistic and accurate indoor training, then a Smart trainer is the way to go. Especially with the incredible simulations you can experience riding on Zwift. And now with the rise of eracing, the rest of the field will leave you behind unless you have a smart trainer.

You can use sophisticated training apps like TrainerRoad and Sufferfest on both types of trainers. They have complete training schedules based on FTP, cadence, heart rate and power, which are guaranteed to improve your fitness. They are much easier to manage with a smart trainer as the resistance level is set automatically.

The semi-smart solution
Looking for something in the middle? An intelligent idea for upgrading your basic trainer to a smart trainer is with extra sensors. Simply by adding a Tacx power meter and speed sensor enables apps to calculate Virtual Power so you can still use them. But you will still have to adjust the resistance manually. Check out this article for advice on turning your basic trainer into a smart trainer.

Conclusion: It all comes down to how important indoor training is for you and what your priorities are. You can do almost everything with a low cost, souped-up basic trainer, but once you’ve ridden with a Smart Trainer, you never go back.