CycleOps Direct Drive Silencer turbo trainer £600

Realistic feeling turbo trainer

BikeRadar score 4/5

Cycleops’ new Direct Drive turbo trainer has a user weight limit of 100kg, excluding bike. It’s simple to set up too, with just three 6mm Allen bolts holding its two parts together.

But at 17.6kg it is very heavy. This is great for stability and stopping you wandering across the floor when maxed out in zone 6,  but this weight and non-foldable bulk (61x46x50cm) does limit its use as a pre-race warm-up tool – unless you have a strong back and a spacious vehicle. A handle for transport would be a welcome addition, as its quite cumbersome to carry. That mass should increase durability, though, and the short time it takes to set up makes it ideal for year-round specific training. 

  • Highs: Fast to set up, realistic feel, quiet
  • Lows: Heavy to lift and bulky to store

The four round feet are positioned at the Silencer’s extremities, and are height adjustable for stability. Attaching your bike is simple: just remove the rear wheel and attach the frame to the turbo as if fitting another wheel. The Silencer comes with a 10/11-speed Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehub body and a 10-speed 11-25 Shimano cassette, so if you ride nine-speed or Campagnolo you’ll need to get the respective freehub body.

You may need to tweak your rear derailleur for perfect running but, once it is ready, the first major advantage over a conventional turbo becomes obvious. If you’re riding a bike with 700C wheels, there’s no need for a riser under the front wheel to level the bike – so getting on and off is less precarious and you’ll also be at a familiar height.

The next thing you’ll appreciate is its realistic feel and lack of noise. There’s no tyre/roller interface, which reduces friction, and with fewer moving parts it’s refreshingly quiet. Should you have enough breath left, it’s even possible to hold a conversation at normal levels while riding.

Resistance is magnetically controlled, with adjustment via a bar-mounted lever from 8-800W. This is more than enough for all but the most powerful sprinters, and there are always your gears if you need more. Whether spinning at 200rpm or fighting to hold power or cadence at a high resistance, the Silencer stays rooted to the spot, giving great confidence to push harder. If you’re used to conventional turbos, whatever resistance method they use, you’ll find that the Direct Drive – with its belt-driven, 25cm diameter 5.9kg flywheel – feels more akin to road riding than anything else you’ve tried.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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