Wheel-on vs direct drive turbo trainers: which is best for you?

Turbo trainers for indoor cycling can either be wheel-on or direct drive in design, but how does this impact your workout? We explain what each has to offer

Indoor training direct drive turbo
(Image credit: Future)

A decent turbo trainer—whether it's wheel-on or direct drive—can make indoor riding not something you just have to tolerate when you have limited time or the weather’s bad, but a worthwhile alternative form of training.

Indoor cycling can be useful for executing structured sessions with set intervals as there are no cars or junctions to get in your way.

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Anna Marie Abram
Fitness Features Editor

I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track. 

But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet - with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.

I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.

Height: 177cm

Weight: 60–63kg