If you’re looking to build the perfect pain cave for indoor cycling, this is our list of the top 10 upgrades to take your pain cave from a dungeon to a wattage cottage. Quick warning: no matter how great your pain cave is, the pain in your legs will always be there!
A smart trainer mimics the outdoors by adding and reducing resistance based on the virtual world you are riding in or a prescribed workout. Rear-drive smart trainers are quieter, deliver a better road feel, and provide accurate power up to 2000+ watts.
A fan is a must for any indoor setup, but adding a remote to control the power of your fan will mean that you can keep cranking out the watts without stopping. The Wahoo Kickr Headwind takes this to another level by pairing with your HR strap and adjusting the airflow as your heart rate increases.
3. Laptop Stand
When you get kicked off the kitchen counter, an adjustable laptop and tablet stand is perfect for giving your pain cave that Peloton feel. Easy to move, adjustable, and you can keep your phone, a keyboard, or whatever else you might need at arms length. Alternatively, the Tacx handlebar brace attaches to your bars and does the same thing.
4. Smart phone mount
Zwift’s companion app, accessed from your smartphone, allows you to interact with the game, message players, control workout mode, give Ride On’s, join events, etc. It turns your phone into a remote control. Using a smart phone mount keeps your Zwift remote handy.
5. Rubber mat
Enough with the towels. They are no match for your acidic sweat. True pain caves require a rubber mat, ideally matching your indoor trainer’s brand. Not only are they slip resistant and cleat friendly, but they will also protect your floor.
6. Larger screen
Projectors, bigger TV’s, desktop monitors, this is about going all out in pursuit of a better pain cave. Of course a larger screen makes this list!
7. Kickr Climb
Wahoo is one of the top players in the virtual riding space for a good reason. Products like the Kickr Climb, which simulate real life gradients, aren’t necessary, but they certainly make indoor riding feel a lot more lifelike.
If you are using a rear drive trainer, you will need to replace the rear cassette from time to time. Changing a cassette isn’t too complicated but it’s certainly necessary to keep everything running smoothly in the long run.
Even though Zwift, and other virtual platforms like it, are meant to make riding inside more lifelike, trainers often lack a real world feel, especially out of the saddle. Saris decided to address that with the MP1 Nfinity Trainer Platform. It uses fore-and-aft as well as side-to-side movement to give an unparalleled indoor experience.
10. Smart Bike
Gravel bikes are for gravel roads. Road bikes are for road rides. Mountain Bikes are for trails. Following this logic, smart bikes are for riding indoors. But these aren’t your run of the mill spin bike from the gym. Smart bikes from Wahoo, Stages, and Tacx represent the pinnacle of indoor riding. Power meters paired with powerful magnets adjust resistance to match virtual road gradients or workouts. And that's just the beginning. There are apps that allow you to customize gear ratios, motors to simulate inclines, and abilities to match your outdoor position to the Smart Bike using a photo of your bike!