It’s time to reveal the best turbo trainers and items of fitness equipment that made it into road.cc Recommends in 2022.
This is a new category in our annual awards and it’s a diverse one. As well as turbo trainers, this category covers power meters, bike computers, sports nutrition, smart watches… We could have called it ‘Training Stuff’ but that doesn’t have much of a ring to it.
We review hundreds of bikes, components, accessories and items of clothing over the year on road.cc – and our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips – and we regularly add the best of them to road.cc Recommends.
To get in, a product must be exceptional in terms of design, build and performance. Even products that scored nine out of 10 in our reviews aren’t guaranteed entry. They all go in front of our panel for consideration.
We don’t rank components, accessories and clothing into top 10s in the same way that we do with bikes. Instead, we offer three types of awards:
Bargain Buy This goes to the product that we feel gives the best value for money.
Money No Object We take price out of the equation for this one; it’s all about performance.
Editor’s Choice This award is won by the product that gives the best combination of performance and value for money.
We don’t necessarily give out all three awards in each category; we make our decisions according to what we feel the spread of products deserves.
You might recognise some of the products featured below from other road.cc Recommends awards categories. That’s simply because some products fit nicely in more than one.
Okay, let’s get started on the road.cc Recommends Accessories of the Year 2022/23…
In the intro to his book, The Cyclist's Cookbook: Food To Power Your Cycling Life, Nigel Mitchell says, “It’s more a book for cyclists who love food”, which sums it up perfectly.
Each of the recipes is presented in a simple, clean format that’s easy to follow and is generally based on a small number of ingredients. Mitchell balances performance and normal meals which is a really nice approach as you’ll be reaching for the book more than if it was focused on pure performance nutrition.
The book offers a good mixture of Nigel’s background, the recipes themselves, nutritional advice and anecdotes. It contains 67 recipes spread across seven different sections, including breakfast, on-the-bike food and main meals.
Each recipe is graded by difficulty and we didn’t find any of them arduous or overly time-consuming, which is perfect for a time-crunched cyclist: simple, quick and nutritious food.
The Precision Hydration PF 30 Energy Drink Mix gives you an excellent balance of carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat as you ride. It has a mild, not overly-sweet taste, mixes well, and offers good value for money.
The PF 30 mix uses a 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose to deliver 30g of carbs per 500ml bottle. Fructose is said to help your body absorb carbohydrates at an increased rate: about 90g per hour, compared to around 60g per hour without.
30g of carbs isn't especially high but where the PF 30 drink excels is with its electrolyte content. You get 500mg of sodium, 125mg of potassium and 24mg of calcium per 500ml. The idea is both to replace the electrolytes you’re sweating out and to help you absorb fluids, aiding hydration.
With its balance between energy and hydration, PF 30 is great for high-intensity efforts – especially in hot conditions when you're going to be losing electrolytes at a fast rate. It's also very palatable, the lack of excessive sweetness meaning you don't need to wash it down with something else.
The Coospo HW807 is a comfortable, accurate heart rate sensor that you wear around your arm. It’s easy to live with and we found its data comparable to the numbers from a chest-strap option.
This is a great alternative to a chest-strap heart rate sensor, running off a built-in lithium-ion battery (with a 20-hour battery life). It measures heart rate using a technique called photoplethysmography (PPG). LEDs shine into your skin, and photosensors use the reflections to measure changes in volume to your blood vessels as your heart beats.
We used it alongside a more traditional heart rate and found that the results tracked one another very closely.
We like that you can put on the Coospo HW807 after your bib shorts, jersey and the rest. It’s really annoying to realise after you’re fully dressed for a ride that you’ve forgotten to put on your chest strap; it’s not a problem here.
The Coospo HW807 is a great option for anyone who wants accurate heart rate data from an easy-to-use sensor and isn’t keen on chest straps.
The cheapest direct-drive offering in the Wahoo range sacrifices very little in terms of functionality when compared with its £1,000-plus competitors.
It’s smooth and stable while providing accurate and reliable data however hard you push it, and the ERG mode is one of the best out there, if not the best.
The Core can simulate gradients up to 16% and generate up to 1,800 watts of resistance. That’s less than the 22% and 2,200W capability of the previous version but it’s more than sufficient for the vast majority of us.
Wahoo claims that the Core has a power recording accuracy of +/-2% which is competitive at this price point. Once calibrated, the Core tracked our ever-reliable Quarq power meter within a few watts for a fortnight at a time, with recalibration only required when it was moved.
The Core is quick to react to changes on rolling Zwift, RGT and Rouvy courses, providing the most lifelike ride possible, and when it comes down to the all-important sprint, the base is secure and rigid.
Overall, the Core is quiet, accurate and reliable as well as easy to set up and connect. It's missing little of the functionality of £1,000 trainers and outperforms turbos of a similar price.
The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar is an extremely powerful multi-sport smartwatch with huge scope for customisation. It presents health data in a user-friendly format, but whether the benefit of solar power is worth the extra cost will depend on how long and sunny your activities are.
The watch is quick to set up and will track lots of different sports. You get loads of options you can customise, such as different data fields for mountain biking and road cycling, and you can add structured workouts or follow the recommended daily workout.
After your session, it gives you a training status based on whether the session was helping to improve your fitness, training load and training balance, along with a suggested recovery time.
The diameter of the watch is 46.5mm and the touchscreen – which works well – is colour. This is particularly useful for maps.
When it comes to navigation, it’s easy to load a route whether via Garmin Connect, a direct import to the device or auto-syncing with a route-making platform such as Strava or Komoot.
The navigation is good, with arrows showing the directions, and an alert as you are approaching a junction is set as default.
The Forerunner 955 Solar supports ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors, enabling you to connect power meters and heart rate sensors, and we found the results from the wrist-based heart rate monitor to track a Garmin HRM Pro chest strap closely during testing.
Overall, the Forerunner 955 Solar packs in a huge amount of features and presents health data in a usable format.
The Zwift Hub trainer is an excellent way to get into smart training. It's not just a good trainer for the money, it's a good trainer full stop. It’s very easy to set up and if you're not racing at a high level then it's likely to be all the trainer you need.
For your £449, you get a direct-drive smart trainer with a claimed accuracy of +/-2.5%. It has a maximum resistance of 1800W and can simulate a gradient of 16%. For the money, those are very good numbers. It's got a 4.7kg flywheel and is ANT+ FEC and Bluetooth FTMS controllable so it will work with pretty much anything you can run Zwift on.
The Hub trainer comes with a cassette installed. You can choose anything from an 8-speed to a 12-speed cassette.
In terms of ride feel, the trainer is really good. It is quick to react to changes in gradient, and the flywheel is heavy enough to keep your pedal action smooth as the resistance alters over the terrain. It's a very quiet trainer, too.
If you want to get into smart training on Zwift without racking up a huge bill then the Zwift Hub smart trainer is ideal, and if Zwifting suits you it's good enough to cope with a decent training load at a fairly high level.
If you bought one and got hooked you might think about upgrading later, but it’s plenty good enough to be an everyday trainer for most of us. The Zwift Hub is the one to recommend right now in terms of bang for your buck for the vast majority of people training indoors.
The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is a fantastic bike computer with a huge battery life. It comes with a large and easy-to-read screen and loads of accessories, and it’s simple to use.
The Edge 1040 Solar measures 59.3 x 117.6 x 20mm and sits at the top of Garmin’s bike computer pyramid. Setting up is straightforward, especially if you’re already a Garmin user. Even if you’re not, you just follow the on-screen prompts.
One of the biggest selling points of this unit is its battery life. Not only is the battery itself impressive but, as the name suggests, it also uses solar charging as you're using it. You can just leave it in direct sunlight when not in use and it’ll charge too. Garmin claims a 45-hour run-time on standard mode or 100 hours if you use it on battery saver mode.
As we've come to expect from Garmin, the Edge 1040 Solar’s data screens are intuitive and easy to understand, as well as customisable. The massive screen makes viewing this data easy.
The size of the screen lends itself very well to navigation too. You can see where you’re going on maps at a glance, even in mainly built-up areas where you're more likely to take a wrong turn.
This is a fantastic cycling computer, offering unbeatable battery life, excellent data display, and a simple-to-use interface. Many will baulk at the price but this is an example of getting what you pay for as it is genuinely excellent.
EatMyRide is an excellent app for improving your cycling performance, in which nutrition is often the key to doing well. It’s intuitive to use and provides heaps of useful data, tips and advice – plus it comes in free as well as paid subscription forms, so you can try it without financial commitment.
EatMyRide was designed for endurance athletes and their coaches, to help improve performance by providing personalised nutrition advice and insights to balance energy burn and intake rates.
At the moment, the app is only compatible with Garmin head units and watches, but you can use the app on your phone, plan your nutrition and stick it on a piece of paper taped on your top tube if you don't have a Garmin.
On the phone app, you can use your planned routes as the basis for your nutrition plan. The app supports Strava, Ride with GPS, Komoot and Trainingpeaks, or you can import your route as a file, or plan it manually on the app.
After you've chosen your route, the app will calculate your nutrition plan and tell you how much energy you need, in grams per hour. You can also define the intensity of the ride which will affect your nutrition needs.
The app prompts you to choose foods and drinks to fulfil your energy requirements from a database of thousands of products. You can then send the nutrition plan to your Garmin.
This app will help all cyclists have a more enjoyable ride. It's like having a nutritionist giving you a plan to follow. You don't have to use the app every day; it helps you learn what works most effectively on certain types of rides, and you can then apply that knowledge even without the app.
The 4iiii Precision 3 Power Meter is a reliable power meter that’s easy to use. A longer battery life than previous models (800 hours) means fewer battery swaps, and consistent data makes it easy to train with on a daily basis. Since we ran our review, Shimano has launched its 105 R7100 groupset and 4iiii offers no Precision 3 Power Meter for this one yet, but users of the previous-generation 105 have a great option here.
Installation is super simple, and if you're running a few bikes with Shimano cranks then this is a pretty easy one for swapping between them.
In terms of consistency, the 4iiii Precision 3 was perfect during our review period. The device wakes up and connects quickly to a bike computer, the data delivered has been reliable, and there have been no bugs to cause frustration. The numbers have been consistent from one session to the next, which is just what you need for regular training.
The Precision 3 is rated as IPX7 waterproof so you'll be safe to wash your bike and ride in the rain.
4iiii’s factory installation process – where you send off your existing left crank and it is turned into a power meter – is done in the UK. The cost for this service is £275 and 4iiii will have it back to you in about a week.
All in all, the 4iiii Precision 3 is a brilliant way to add power measuring to your bike for a sensible amount of money.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.