Does Indoor Training Work For Mountain Biking? | Turbo Training Session Vs A Lunchtime Ride

Does Indoor Training Work For Mountain Biking? | Turbo Training Session Vs A Lunchtime Ride

– Mountain biking is
about the great outdoors. Fresh air, getting a good workout. – Yes, but for some of us, mainly in the northern hemisphere,
in the middle of winter, the great outdoors is pretty grim place. – Yeah, potentially but
what’s the alternative? – What about supplementing
your dirt action with a bit of indoor training? – I mean, yeah, but isn’t
that kind of a road side thing for mountain bikers, really? – Well, I know how many
of you love going out for a lunch time ride,
whatever the weather. Whilst I frankly can’t be
bothered to get my bike ready, then all the cleaning afterwards. So, I’ve got a different plan. So I’m heading to my indoor trainer, but what Henry doesn’t
realize is that the technology has moved on a lot in the last few years, so with the help of
Zwift I’ve got us set up and I’m going to have a go. Is it proper training and is it as much fun as a proper ride? (upbeat music) I only have an hour so timing is key on a lunch time train. Having my Zwift set up 24/7 means there’s no delay to
get straight on the bike. – Alrighty then, so I have one hour, so let’s start your
engines and away we go. Now I need to do a quick warm up, so might do some impromptu tai chi. Just some of the old karate chops, yeah. Yeah, feeling pretty good, few of these. Limber. All right, so, slippers. Deactivate traction mode. Phone, activate amphibian mode. Now there’s an old saying, hope for the best, but prepare the worst. My motto is hope for the best
and also prepare for the best. No jacket today. Funny enough, I’ve only
got one glove with me, so I’m going to go el glove less. But let’s get going! (soft upbeat music) – For those of you that
have no idea what Zwift is, it’s an indoor training app
where you can ride, train, and even race against thousands
of other online riders around the world. So today I’m going to try one of Zwift’s intermediate training plans and also go through some of
the new features now available. Let’s get warmed up! (upbeat music) You can now ride a mountain
bike and you can ride it off road within a two mile
section of single track, called Repack Ridge. It’s so realistic even the
fat mountain bike tires roll just a bit slower than
the skinny road tires. Plus, you’ve got steering input from your Zwift Companion app that keeps you on the right life. (upbeat music) Let’s see how Henry’s getting on. (upbeat music) – Hello triple header. Bus, bus fumes and traffic cones. Absolute match made in heaven, but we’re making some progress. Just a solid walking pace. I wonder how Neil’s getting
on, sweating out his eyeballs. (electronic dance music) That’s nice, that. (mellow guitar music) – The game changer with
Zwift is how it gamifies what is just turbo training. To set up our bike,
chose different equipment and even win it as you
progress through the levels with more riding, plus
actually getting into races with other people around the world is fun. And if you’re anything
like as competitive as me, then you’ll probably end up
getting quiet a hard workout trying to smash someone else. You can even communicate
with the other riders. I can even choose a Canyon Lux just like mine in real life. There’ve been a load of
mountain bikes released like the Scott Spark and the
Specialized S-Works Epic. Choose the world you want
to ride in and your route, plus there’s even the Zwift
Companion app on your phone. And there you go, you can get out riding in the virtual world, but if
you want a bit more structure, there’s loads of different workout plans and that’s what I’m going to do today. (upbeat music) – Geez Louise, oh my goodness. Although, that was pretty hard riding and yes, it is windy and rainy and cold. It’s pretty nice just to
get out there and be wet from the rain, you know and
just sweating and working hard. That’s pretty cool! Obviously, you might want less traffic and you might want it to be 30 degrees, but you can’t have it all. Just got to make due
and build your strong. Puts hairs on your chest. Probably turns them gray, but
that’s just the way it goes. (soft upbeat music) But at least I’m off the road now. (soft upbeat music) It’s going to be wet and
greasy, oh it is wet and greasy. Oh my. (soft upbeat music) Oh man, I hate slippy wet, ah! Oh no, genius it’s wet! (upbeat music) Oh my God. (laughs) (soft upbeat music) It’s pretty wet. (laughs) (upbeat dance music)
♪ You got me falling ♪ ♪ You got me falling ♪ – You’ll need a computer of some sort to run the Zwift app like
a laptop, a tablet, a phone or it’s even available on Apple TV. You’ll need a Zwift account, although there is a free seven day trial if you want to try that first. A bike, either a mountain
bike or a road bike, a trainer and you need to download the Zwift app. So you can use just about any trainer, an old school turbo where
the speed turns, rollers, even stationary bikes
you find in most gyms, but to get the best experience,
you want a smart trainer ’cause that’s going to change
the amount of resistance you feel through the pedals. Depends on loads of smart information like the road surface you’re riding on. Also for drafting other riders, that might be new to some mountain bikers. There’s always been loads of
great road work action plans on Zwift, but new are these. Aimed at off road riders like ourselves. I’m going for the Dirt
Destroyer, this is intermediate, might leave the advanced
ones for a few weeks. Also, Zwift is going to
set up this to my ability ’cause it already knows
my fitness level and FTP from previous use, but you
can set that up yourself so you know you’ll be able to do it. As a retired pro, I used to
use a couple of turbo training sessions pretty much
every week, year around. So, I know from experience
that turbo training for mountain bikers is a thing. It’s sort of an easy way
to do some really targeted training and even now, as a retired pro, I do still get on and
ride a Zwift occasionally. (soft upbeat music) – Some of that was actually
a bit sketchy (laughs), like, it got the adrenaline pumping, sometimes I think you just
want to have a nice workout and maybe I got bit more
than I bargained for, but with that being said,
I’ve got to get back to work and I’ve got to get there quickly, so I’m absolutely charge back and get with cleaning all this mess. Oh, the brake. (laughs) Jesus wept. Oh my God, it’s good to be back. – Henry.
– Good ride? – Good.
– Did I have a good ride? Look at me!
– Bit muddy. – I just have to get
showered down in the court. I can’t even go inside. – Back to work, shower’s free. – Unbelievable. – So, is indoor training a
thing for mountain bikers? – I would say probably. It’s not something I’ve done
a lot of, but I think today you have probably a far
better use of your time. I spent most of it cleaning the bike. – Yeah, for me, I mean, riding on Zwift or on a turbo trainer doesn’t replace a fun mountain bike ride, it’s just a piece of the
puzzle for training for me. I can go to the gym or
can jump on the Turbo or I can go for a long
ride, but winter in the UK, I find in the last few weeks
I’ve spent so much time cleaning my kit and my bike, that rather than go out for an hour, I think I’d rather go on my Zwift. – Yeah, I think if you ride for a half an hour or three hours, you’re going to get the same
amount of muddy, really. – [Neil] Yeah. – And the same amount
of cleaning involved. So for the short blast into the tune up, maybe Zwift is a good option. – Well the numbers are the numbers. You did a 36 minute 51 ride,
but I’ve almost doubled that, so an hour and five.
– Oh right, yeah. – But you can see, you went
hard, you went really hard. You did 1,108 maximum watts. That’s good.
– Is that good? – Yeah, that’s really good. So actually your average
watts as well was 187. Whereas my wattage are
293 max and 168 average. So I’ve had a mellower time
out, but yours is much shorter so you’ll see that actually
I’ve burned 612 calories, compared to your 412. And I’ve had a really specific workout, that’s the big difference.
– That’s what I was going to say. – Is this was the Dirt
Destroyer, 70 RPM strength ramps, so it really focuses on a fitness thing. You had more fun than
me, I’m sure you did. – Well, yes and no. For me, the way I would train
and I use inverted commas, by no mistake there. Is there’s a hill, so I just go okay, now it’s time to go fast.
– Go for it. – [Henry] Go for it, and then
but once you run out of hills, that’s your training pretty much over. – Yeah.
– Similarly, it was so wet and it depends on the area you live in and if you’re even lucky
enough to have a power leap outside your door.
– Yeah, true. – But, some of it wasn’t
actually fun for me. – Yeah.
– It was just like, oh, you know, it was beyond saturated. It was–
– Yeah. – [Henry] It was an absolute bog fest. – But fun and indoor trainings, they go hand in hand. Personally in the past, it
would be more of a satisfaction, it wouldn’t be fun. Zwift does make it way more engaging, it’s changed turbo training for me totally because no longer do I stare at a wall and just look at the watch
waiting for it tick down. I’ll quite happily sit there
and engage with other riders, I’m watching what’s going on, that is a big difference for me. – Yeah, I mean, they always
say time’s a constant, go on a turbo trainer and stare at a wall. – Yeah.
– Honestly, it slows down. – Yeah. – But I’m actually
really curious to try it and in fact, I’m actually going
to commit to the Zwift life. I’m going to give it a go.
– Give it a blast, see how you feel.
– Yeah. – [Neil] How are you going to set it up? – I think I’m just going to get
quite an entry level road bike and leave it set up, 24/7.
– Yeah that is a thing. We didn’t go into the set up in this video because it does take a little bit of time, but in winter personally, at home my road bike
sits there permanently so, that time is down to nothing. I just get kit up and jump
on the thing, good to go. – I think in some ways, you
know, cyclists in general, we sort of take indoor
training for granted. We think aw, it’s the Boogie
Man that I’m never going to do, but I think if you told
riders 50 years ago, that over winter they can
keep their fitness up, in the comfort of their
own home, only a meter away from a cup of tea once they’re done. They’d bite your arm off! – I know people sent to
me things on social media, why don’t you just go outside? And it’s not always as easy as that. Especially when you’ve got a family and your time might be limited, so for me that’s the
biggest advantage to this, is just being able to
do it, as well as ride. – Yeah, I think it’s
definitely got it’s place. – Okay, if you want to
see a video from GCN, Zwift for Beginners, it’s a
great one if you’re thinking about getting into Zwift,
click there for that one. – As always guys, don’t
forget to like and subscribe and we will see you next
time, thank you very much! – Thumbs up if you like indoor training!

100 Comments on “Does Indoor Training Work For Mountain Biking? | Turbo Training Session Vs A Lunchtime Ride”

  1. Why exactly shall I pay extra for a piece of software, after I already bought a bike and a turbo trainer? Why does it matter at all what type of bike I put on my turbo trainer?

  2. Obviously getting out in the fresh air and mud is the ideal scenario, but with work commitments and extreme weather, sometimes its just not possible. I have an old mountain bike hooked up to zwift permanently so I can jump on anytime and keep the legs spinning and my fitness up. The fact that Mountain bikes and specific training plans have been added is great and Im 1 week in to the Dirt Destroyer plan and loving it… It even factors in outdoor rides!

  3. And zwift doesnt have to cost a fortune. My setup cost me £30 for a trainer off gumtree and £20 for a speed and cadence sensor from CRC. I already had an old bike to use and you can cast the app from your phone if you dont have a PC/Laptop.

  4. Why isnt there a good option for both online and off road riding? Kind of strange to ride a mtb on pavement if they are going for "real life"..Do they not have real off road tracks? OR am i missing it??Thanks

  5. Would be keen to get a MTB on the turbo as I don't have space to leave a road bike on it. But the Idea of my carbon frame bolted into a turbo with the suspension moving around puts me off the idea. How dose this setup work with a 12×148 frame? Do the end caps on the turbo move or dose it just rotate on the dropouts when the suspension moves? Are there any other turbo options that work?

  6. I live in keynsham which is close to bath (i recognise a lot of this) and there is a cycle cross course down by the old chocolate factory. its mainly flat but there are some extremely short, extremely steep climbs. do not go in winter though as it will be flooded!! wondered if u had been there or even heard of it. also there are some small trails opposite keynsham train station which are pretty good. love the work keep it up

  7. Iv been Zwifting for the past 9 – 10 weeks and my cardio has improved big time over riding cold outdoors and going steady because it so wet and muddy, so has my ability to climb at full gas for longer. Results don’t lie. Pros from mtb, road and track all use them for a reason 👍

  8. I always put my enduro bike in a turbo trainer for the winter. Best thing ever. Zwift on, headphones just shoes and trousers. No snow, no wind, no mud. Best training ever if you wanna stay fit. But it will never substitute a good ride.

  9. Will putting your full-sus bike on a Kickr have any negatives on your suspension? I have my road bike set up on it now, but my position on the MTB is very different to my road position, and I'd like to use the MTB inside but don't want to ruin my suspension. #askgmbn

  10. Many of the trails, paths, tracks etc here are closed over winter (and are totally unrideable anyway) so proper mountain biking is quite hard to come by. Turbo training is a godsend and keeps you on the boil ready for next season. And guys, it isn't either or, it can be a supplement to, not an instead of, which is what is is for me – Im usually fitter and stronger than most of my riding mates who say no way, thats not mountain biking, not for me etc etc. Their loss.

  11. Once the snow hits I'm on zwift 3-4 times a week. Usually hitting SST work outs just to stay fit. It's better than staring at the wall, but 1-1.5 hours is still the max I can stand whereas I can hit 2-3 hours in the woods no problem. Also gives me plenty of time to tear the bike down and go through it after a long season over a few weeks or months instead of a few days or hours.

  12. I'll stick with my old mag trainer and workout DVDs. Zwift addresses the boredom factor, but the setup costs as much as a decent bike.

  13. I got older, I don’t know when, but it happened, endurance dropped ride times got really long average speed dropped. Started spinning using GCN training videos. Turned the whole game around. Times are down, speeds are up from 4.5 mph average to about 8.5 to 9 mph average. It takes the sting out of the weekend ride

  14. Henry question for you, when you go out and say to the other half "I'm only going to be a couple of hour" are you actually only a couple of hour? Or are you late everytime? I'd be late back to work every day 😂

  15. Being someone that travels for work and a father three young, active children, indoor is the only way I can train to stay in shape so I can hit it hard when I can actually make the trails, usually a night ride or weekends I can be on at 5:30 AM for an hour, shower, see the kids off and be to work. 100% prefer the trails, but not that season of my life right now if I want a good sweat 4-5 days a week.

  16. Charging cyclists $15/month and requiring $1000+ in equipment to play a game graphically similar to QWOP.

    Oh and you can pay real money to buy your real bike in game too I'm sure, because someone charging $15 a month to play a freaking browser game wouldn't miss that revenue stream.

    Good on them to not sell you your bike in game in real world dollars though, I'm sure you need to buy points packages that are priced in such a way you'll need to buy way more points than you want for your bike and you're left with almost enough to buy another bike but not quite. So then you have to buy more points, but you can't purchase just enough, you have to purchase more than you need again continuing the cycle, and the companies revenue stream.

    The last thing Cycling needs is an industry that pays psychologists annual salaries to manipulate their customer base to gain interest in it. Wait until EA gets a wiff that their are idiots still willing to pay a monthly fee AND purchase shit in game with no actual standards as far as quality.

  17. Why would you wait behind the bus?! just go over the sidewalk – theres noone there anyway. Directly behind the exhaust too…

  18. The only thing I'd hate more than riding my mountain bike on pavement is strapping my mountain bike to a trainer. I'll stick to night rides on the mountain bike and long road rides on the weekends.

  19. I’d train indoors on occasion if I don’t have time for a day out riding. But it’s more just for general health than improving my riding… it’s not fun

  20. So, you recommend riding in heavy traffic, wearing black gear and no lights in shitty weather like that? Both surprising and quite disappointing to be honest.

  21. looks as realistic as my com'64's 4 tape ridealong simulator… and compared to a rushour city center ride in the rain on a $4000 NukeProof id choose the latter any time of day;(

  22. Wow. Both alternatives look dismal. I will never ever do the indoor thing. Life is straight forward in my neck of the woods. Spring, summer and fall you ride(ie bike). Winter you switch to x-ski, downhill ski or ride (ie snowboard), dogsledding or skijoring for your aerobic needs. That indoor thing offends every cell in my body. But I’m someone who knows my mind and spirit needs the outdoor fix 52 weeks of the year. I would quickly slip into physical depression if I wasn’t outside.

  23. Turbo trainers are a fantastic idea, save time, don’t get muddy and can be done more efficiently than a proper ride, I don’t personally have a turbo trainer but it’s a good idea. Guess I’ll just have to waste time and get muddy very often

  24. Zwift is very addictive. This is my second off-season on indoor trainer. After training with the workout programs I'm in much better shape. And Zwift event races always push me way beyond the point where I thought my limit was. But here's something the GMBN community maybe doesn't want to hear: Zwift is also one of the reasons I started road cycling this year!

  25. Its currently -25C outside here in Canada and theres a few feet of snow on the ground. So, for people who live in an area like I do, your only option is to bundle up to ride a fat bike, or get on an indoor trainer. Personally, I hate heavy exercise outside the cold, so my road bike sits on my trainer all winter. TV mounted on the wall infront, put on a movie and ride. Its no where near as fun as an actual ride outdoors but when thats not an option, it'll do.

  26. Oh Henry, my granny can warm up better than that, and she's been dead for 40 years!
    One problem with using Neil's solution is you can wear out your bike (drive train etc) relatively quickly. Better use a second bike to train on, or buy a cycle trainer for £500.

  27. I used to train indoors a lot back when I was racing and the weather was cold or bad. Riding on trails in that condition is very destructive to them. In the winter I would only ride on them when the ground was frozen. Indoor training helps keep the body ready for better days.

  28. Do you folks have a recommendation to increase the resistance to fit mountain bike gears? I’ve started using it recently with my 1×12 hardtail and and am very quickly spinning out of my fastest gear on the flats with relatively low watts. The machine is definitely able to generate resistance as demonstrated by the climbs, but on flats and descent it seems like there should be an adjustment available that I can’t find.

  29. Icy winter here in the north east USA, I started using zwift as the trial.
    My set up is a 70 dollar dumb trainer -cycle ops fluid 1 .. and a trainer tire on my road bike.
    It was a bit hard to adjust mentally, but once I got over that I have noticed I’ve been able to regain my riding stamina.

    – I use my Garmin gps sensors (cadence and speed) to send data to a generic usb Ant dongle, plugged in my 2011 iMac.

    – cost , about 80 bucks including matt .
    -in spring I’ll suspend the zwift till next winter.
    -will look Into the GCN workout videos .

    If you can ride outdoors do it, if you can ride indoors do it …. just ride…

  30. I discovered zwift now for 2 months and I use it when Its bad weather and or limited on time. If I ride outdoor my bike needs to be clean when I put it back in the shed. That's not possible in the evening or freezing temps. In the weekend I do go out, no matter the weather, plenty of time to clean afterwards. Me happy, bike happy.

  31. When it all comes down to it…..Zwift is for the snowflakes,real men ride their MTB's outside,sorry Neil,there's no substitute for fresh air matey.

  32. +1 for indoor MTB training. Currently doing the Dirt Destroyer plan as well. Worth mentioning that that particular plan includes an "unstructured" ride that you can do in or outdoors as part of the weekly schedule.

    It's good that it does mean you don't have to do decide to do outdoor OR indoor riding. With that you can do both and allow them to compliment each other.

  33. I will always prefer an outside ride rather than indoor. Before I had my smart trainer and Zwift, the longest I had ever been on a trainer was 45 minutes. I live up at 6500' (1981m) in Lake Tahoe, it's currently snowing hard, and 33F ( 0C ), and just up the road from my house there already several feet of snow on the ground, so outdoor riding up here is sorta done. To go riding outside I have to go down about 2 hours to get some longer rides on the mountain bike. Trying to make time for a family and work and quality training makes the trainer appealing. It also lets me get to the Sea Otter Classic in much better shape.

  34. Seriously gents, you cannot compare watts without normalizing to weight like zwift does. Average heart rate would be interesting too. The zwift sessions, for better or worse, do not let you cheat. And Neil gets bonus points saying his road bike lives on the trainer. 🙂 Getting outside definitely more fun, though less focused and possibly not as effective (from a zwift user that has not logged in since last spring when the snow melted…)!!!

  35. Actual trails are almost always more fun, but Zwift definitely looks like a great winter training tool. My ride today was a mess of snow, mud and rocks. It was fun, but still had to clean a bunch of mud off the bike and fix a pinch flat (thankfully it didn't go flat until after the ride). I am wanting to get a Zwift setup in the future, but want to upgrade my bike first (it would feel weird spending a lot of money on a decent zwift setup to ride a $500 hardtail on it haha).

  36. Recent convert to zwift – yes, "outside" is better, but I can zwift at 9pm at night with my 18 month old son in bed above me when Mum has gone out for the evening. Can't do that outside!

  37. I train on a turbo, while watching my own summer pov vids or those by Nate Hills or the like. I find myself trying to keep up with the video and seeing terrain I don’t usually see.
    Rufus, Norway

  38. I just did a 'Henry' and came back as a happy mud monster, totally worth it! As for the indoor training: I like it to stay in shape, but it's not the same as mountainbiking. Also this indoor training set up is way too expensive fot me. Do you have any budget ideas?

  39. Now who is thinking no way my wife would want that in the living room– hhuuuummm where can I hide this?? I think it would be great– but I am an older rider and just starting over-

  40. Awesome video guys, keep up the great work! I would love to see more of these type of training videos and pro tips from Neil. I would love to see a video on the different types of trainers tech and how to bodge together a cheap one for Zwift, could make a good GMBN tech episode?

  41. I've got an old racer which I was thinking about using for something like this. I've always found that exercise bikes feel wrong. Do any of you have not too expensive trainer recommendations that I can use that racer on?

  42. Been riding a peloton this winter, so far about 300 mikes since Christmas. I think it helps. Particularly when I wanna ride and it’s snowing or raining out. I definitely go out on the few good days and I actually feel pretty strong as opposed to last year. Feeling strong makes the riding that much more enjoyable.

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