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Top turbo trainer accessories | 8 essential pieces of kit for riding indoors

You’ve got the bike and trainer, but here’s what else you need

The advent of smart trainers and training apps has seen the popularity of indoor training explode in recent years, even before the global coronavirus pandemic sent much of the world into lockdown.


Once seen as a niche winter pursuit for the truly dedicated racer, indoor cycling will now be a staple for many riders through the year.

If you’re looking to get into apps such as Zwift, RGT Cycling and Rouvy, we’ve covered the best setups for every budget, but even if you only have access to a standard turbo trainer, the benefits of indoor cycling are well documented.

It’s an extremely efficient way of getting fit because you can forego junk miles and focus on using your training sessions for specific efforts.

Beyond having a bike and turbo trainer, there are a number of accessories that range from useful luxuries to must-have items.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen five of the best turbo trainer accessories that will help you get the most out of your indoor training.

Sports towel

Style Slice Microfibre Towel
A towel is an essential accessory for serious indoor cycling.
Style Slice

A humble towel is one of the most important accessories any cyclist training indoors should have.

You don’t have to use a dedicated sports towel, of course, but if you don’t want your other half getting upset about you using the nice ones from the back of the cupboard, which were actually being saved for guests, then a sports towel is a little lighter, easier to manage on the bike and should dry a bit quicker when it’s soaked in sweat.

A powerful fan

Indoor cycling fans
Indoor cycling can get very uncomfortable, very quickly, if you don’t have a good fan.

Even if you live in a country like the United Kingdom, where the weather is consistently disappointing, you’ll rapidly overheat when cycling indoors without any wind to cool you down.

What you need for your pain cave is a fan, and ideally a big one to boot. Twelve inches is probably about as small as you want to go, but 18 inches or larger is better.

If you’re building a top-end indoor cycling setup for serious training or logging lots of miles on Zwift, then you might even consider a dedicated fan like the Wahoo Kickr Headwind.

Water bottles

Fabric Gripper water bottle
Water bottles, preferably large ones, are an essential indoor cycling accessory.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

With much less coasting than when riding out on the road, cycling indoors is hard work and you’ll feel the need to drink a lot more.

Water is fine for short or easy sessions, but for racing or longer virtual tours you might consider an energy drink.

Our best advice is to get two large, 750ml bottles and to always fill up both before your ride, unless you’re absolutely sure one bottle will be enough for your session.

Running out of fluids mid-turbo session is never a pleasant experience. You’ll either get very thirsty – and dehydrated – or have to stop for a refill.

Wireless headphones

Mpow wireless Bluetooth headphones
Wireless Bluetooth headphones aren’t essential, but definitely nice to have.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Even if you’re using immersive indoor cycling apps, you’re probably still going to want to listen to some music. Aside from simply fighting boredom, the benefits of listening to music while training are well documented.

A set of wired headphones will do in a pinch, but wireless Bluetooth headphones are better because you can then keep your phone wherever’s convenient and not risk getting tangled up with the wire during sprint efforts.

Ideally you want the headphones to have a built-in microphone as well. If you’re doing socially distanced virtual group rides, being able to hear and talk to your friends makes the experience so much better.

Turbo trainer tyre

Tacx trainer tyre
A trainer-specific tyre helps keep noise to a minimum and protects your precious race tyres.

If you’ve got a wheel-on turbo trainer, you may have noticed they can wear down your back tyre quite significantly – especially if you’ve got soft, grippy tyres designed for speed.

To avoid ruining your best tyres, you can get a tyre specifically designed for use on the turbo. Usually made from harder compound rubber, they’re designed to withstand the rigours of indoor riding and keep noise levels to a minimum.

If you’ve got a cheap winter tyre lying around you can also press that into service to perform a similar job, but it might be a bit nosier and more prone to slipping under power than a specific turbo tyre.

Either way, ideally you’ll have a spare back wheel to mount the tyre on, because swapping tyres every time you want to use the trainer would be a major hassle.

Cotton cycling cap

Molteni cotton cycling cap
You might not be able to push the pedals like Eddy, but the effort is what counts.

There are dedicated (i.e. pricier) indoor cycling caps on the market, but in reality a standard, classic cotton cap will help prevent sweat dripping into your eyes just as well.

What’s great about caps is that they’re also available in a variety of classic team designs – perfect for a bit of inspiration. Who doesn’t want to feel like Eddy Merckx or Johan Museeuw?

For those with a penchant for late eighties and early nineties cycling fashion, a sweatband is a great alternative accessory that fulfdoesills the same job.

Front-wheel riser block

LifeLine front wheel riser block
Why more trainers don’t come boxed with riser blocks, we’ll never know…

For some unknown reason, most trainers on the market don’t come with a front-wheel riser block.

If your trainer needs one you’ll soon realise, because you’ll feel like you’re constantly sliding forward on your saddle while simultaneously putting a lot more weight than normal on your hands and wrists.

Fortunately, riser blocks aren’t too expensive and there are plenty of options from brands such as LifeLine and Elite, as well as generic unbranded options.

Power meter

Stages 105 R7000 power meter
A power meter is the perfect accessory for taking your training to the next level.

Power meters have come down in price considerably in recent years, and while they’re great for tracking your outside exploits in fine detail, the real value of a power meter is as a specialised training tool.

Okay, so a power meter isn’t an indoor training essential, but with one on your bike you can do proper FTP testing, train in specific power zones and use interactive apps on any kind of trainer (not just a smart trainer).

Even if you do have a smart trainer, it’s likely it’ll measure power slightly differently to a power meter on your bike, so true training devotees who want the most consistent data possible might be better served with a single power meter they can use inside and out.

There are lots of options on the market, with the main consideration generally being around where you want to measure power.

Pedal-based power meters, such as the Favero Assioma Duo pedals, Garmin Rally or those by PowerTap, are easy to swap between bikes, but you might need to get used to a different cleat system.

If you’re a Shimano or SRAM user, there are plenty of crank-based options. We’ve been impressed by Stages and Quarq over the years, with both offering power meters to fit a range of bikes and groupsets.


The downside with these is that swapping cranks between bikes is a more involved process, and in some cases you may need to install a new bottom bracket.