The great shortage of cycling equipment is not just limited to bikes and components - it’s also severely affecting the availability of the best turbo trainers.
Used and loved by cyclists across the globe, especially in the winter for offering an appealing alternative to training outside in the cold, the static bikes have enjoyed a boom in popularity in the last decade, aided enormously by the rise of Zwift and Peloton.
Demand for the best turbo trainers further increased at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdowns in the spring of 2020, and stock levels have been unable to return to pre-pandemic levels, with demand still outweighing the amount of equipment on the shop floor.
The same issues that are affecting bikes - lorry driver and container ships shortages, as well as Brexit paperwork in the UK and a global decline in manufacturing - are hampering stock levels.
Rob Griffiths runs the website turbotrainershop.co.uk that collates available turbo trainers in the UK from some of the biggest bike shops, including Wiggle and Halfords. He told Cycling Weekly: “I have found stock levels really shocking since the first quarter of 2020 due to the high demand that started during lockdown. I have no idea how this is going to improve.
“The turbo trainer situation is looking pretty grim. If the big boys haven’t got stock, it’s going to be very, very hard for small retailers to get any.”
In spite of the paucity of turbo trainers, it is still possible to get your hands on a new one. We list where you can purchase one below.
Before then, take a look at our definitive guide to turbo trainers, including an explainer of the different types of models.
Where to buy a turbo trainer online
The online megastore lists 32 different turbo trainers in stock right now, with a number heavily discounted, including the LifeLine Xplova Noza S. Elsewhere, there are more basic models that cost just over £100, and Wahoo smart trainers that will set you back almost £3,000.
One of the world’s leading cycling retailers currently lists 54 available turbo trainers on its UK website, including models from Wahoo, Elite and Tacx. There are a range of prices to suit most budgets, too, with a handful for around £100 and entire bundles stretching to over £3,000.
It should come as no surprise that the online marketplace giant claim to have an abundance of turbo trainers ready to be dispatched. Frustratingly, it’s not possible to see what they have in stock without clicking on every item, but from surveying the availability of a select few, all say that can be delivered before within two weeks. If you’re looking for a very basic entry-level model, Amazon is a good bet.
There are 25 turbo trainers in stock on the Tredz website, with the most popular models being from Elite and Tacx. There are appealing discounts available on some, with the average price sitting between £200 and £500. It’s also possible to pay on finance, enabling the consumer to stretch payment over a set amount of months. All purchases will be dispatched within 48 hours.
Pro Bike Kit have 10 smart trainers ready to buy, mostly priced towards the lower- and mid-end of the price range.
The Elite Novo Force, retailing at £164.99, scored highest on Cycling Weekly's low budget test last year. It can connect to Zwift and other trainer apps along with Elite's own My E-Training. It comes with a sensor that measures your speed and cadence to put together data packages for you to look through.
Where to buy a turbo trainer in-store and online
The motoring and cycling retailer list five available turbo trainers on their website, all of which can be collected within seven days from one’s nearest outlet. They have a few deals to entice customers as well, with the Elite Direto-X OTS available at £599, a saving of over 25%. Cycling Weekly reviewed it as one of the top mid-market options.
Wahoo, Saris, Elite and Tacx all have models that are listed to buy on Evans Cycles’ websites, and it is possible to collect the turbo trainers from one of their near-100 stores around the UK. Evans have few lower-end models on the market, but have a good amount of mid-range and more expensive models, meaning they are a good place to shop for the committed cyclist.
The British brand are one of the success stories of the UK cycling industry, developing into a highly-respected two-store shop and online entity in their near-30 years in existence. At the time of writing, they have 21 turbo trainers in their warehouse, including models from Wahoo, Tacx and Saris.
Quickly becoming one of the major players in the UK cycling market, Decathlon tend to have between three and five available turbo trainers in their dozens of stores around the UK. Their own brand Van Rysel have an attractive option for beginners priced at just £99, while their are Tacx trainers that cost upwards of a £1,000 but deliver excellence.
Reflecting the minimal amount of stock nationwide, Wheelbase currently only have two turbo trainers in stock: the Tacx Fluz 2 for £620 and the Tacx Neo 2T for £1,070.
Cycling Weekly rated the Tacx Neo 2T as “by far the most stable trainer we have tested… it provides the most accurate and realistic ride feel of almost any trainer we have tested.”
Where to buy a second hand turbo trainer
Cut out the middleman and go direct to the seller with the three most popular online classified advertisement sides. All three sites have a number of turbo trainers available to buy, and it’s possible to get items shipped from end of the country to another for a relative small fee.
Where to hire a turbo trainer
If you want to try before you buy, or only need a turbo trainer for a short duration, Turbo Trainer Hire is an appealing prospect, offering nine trainers for hire from £20 for two weeks. Deliveries take a minimum of five days, and the amount of time you have the trainer can be extended. They mainly rent Saris models.
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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