Unlocking value: Why a smart bike makes economic and physiological sense

In previous posts, we’ve established the real and proven benefits of taking your training indoors. But those benefits come at a cost. A solid home trainer is one thing but what about that smart bike you’ve been casting admiring glances at? Can you really justify the cost?

But maybe a best-in-class smart bike isn’t quite as expensive as you think; or, at least, when you account for all the costs of an alternative, the smart bike is more budget-friendly than you ever imagined. Let’s break down the finances.

1. The most effective workout to become a stronger cyclist

If you’re considering indoor cycling, there are two types of traditional indoor trainers available: ‘dumb’ wheel-on trainers and ‘smart’ direct-drive trainers. Both use a flywheel or magnetic mechanism to generate pedal resistance. However, the resistance output of these trainers is not enough to replicate the forces of outdoor cycling and fails to engage all the muscles required for better cycling, yet they still cost between €1000 to €4000. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more effective indoor cycling experience, consider using newer technologies such as TrueBike and TrueTrainer that simulate outdoor cycling resistance through robotics. This way, you are getting an effective for the money you spend.

Total: €1,000

2. Powering up

One of the key advantages is that smart bikes and smart trainers are equipped with power meters and that they’re finely-calibrated. Even if you don’t constantly put your bike on and take your bike off your smart trainer, you’ll still need to calibrate your trainer regularly – before each ride, ideally. 

One way around this is to add a power meter to the start of your drive train, such as in the pedals or the spider. As these power meters capture the direct power being generated, without drivetrain losses, they should be more consistent and also allow you to compare indoor watts with outdoor rides more accurately. So let’s add €800 to the invoice for the power meter and throw in an additional €400 for a bike computer. You are, after all, going to need somewhere to view and record those power numbers during sessions if you don’t have a smart bike like the TrueBike that comes with an integrated screen or smart trainer like the TrueTrainer that comes with an app. 

Total: €2,200

3. The cost of cleanliness

A clean home is a happy home, or so the saying goes. The problem is that constantly lugging your road bike indoors, through the house or maybe even up the stairs to your apartment or spare room doesn’t lend itself to cleanliness.

So, when you eventually bite the bullet and order that smart bike, remember that you’re not just paying for a new fitness tool and training aid; you’re also buying back hours of time spent vacuuming and mopping, or making a prepayment against that 25-euro-an-hour cleaning service. 

Total: €2,500

Mechanic servicing a road bike

4. Wear and tear

If you plan to stick to outdoor cycling in the winter, then the costs of maintenance will rise. While pedalling through the wind and other forces of nature, your drive train, bolts and ruts are prone to rust and wearing out faster.  Rusty nuts and worn-out chains (€30) and cassettes (€120) are common, if not inevitable. Remember too that riding outside is still riding, so you’ll need to stay on top of services (€150) if you’re putting in the big kilometres. 

Smart bikes require none of this attention. Put simply, they’re purpose-built to take in all the punishment of indoor cycling.

Total: €3,200

5. More cyclists, more money

Is your homelife soundtracked by the Giro, Vuelta, Tour or Kona? Are your kitchen cupboards filled with energy gels, electrolyte drinks and do you own more bidons than cups or glasses? Do you refer to the year as “the season” and choose vacations based on which cols can be scaled nearby? It sounds like you live in a cycling (or triathlon) household and this is where the value of a smart bike really comes into its own.

If there’s more than one cyclist under your roof, you can multiply almost all of these costs accordingly. Suddenly that initial investment starts to resemble the GDP of a small country.

Sure, if you’re willing to spend more time putting your bike on and off the trainer than actually riding it, you could potentially share one smart trainer but frustration guarantees that you’ll soon be shelling out for a second trainer. The dirtiness, maintenance costs and hardware costs all double too.

Meanwhile, multi-cyclist homes with a TrueBike can simply adjust saddle height and reach in a few seconds and enjoy all the benefits of a made-for-the-job indoor smart bike. Even if your significant other isn’t a dedicated cyclist but enjoys staying in shape, they’ll happily jump on the smart bike for a short spin session in a way they’d never dare to do on your cherished road bike.

Total: €6,400 (based on two cyclists)

In the grand scheme of things, the upfront cost of a smart bike may seem like a steep hill to grind up. However, when you factor in the expenses of traditional trainers, additional cyclists, cleaning services, and maintenance, the smart bike emerges as a two-wheeled hero – both cost-effective and space-efficient. 

So, the next time you contemplate the investment, just think about the joy of a clean home, a happy wallet, and the freedom to pedal whenever the mood strikes. Happy cycling!

Now, check out the other features that the TrueBike can offer.