The world of turbo trainers is advancing rapidly. There’s now a wide range of ‘smart’ trainers on the market that plug into a power source and connect to your chosen third-party training platform via Bluetooth or ANT+. Then, as you cycle the smart trainer adjusts the resistance to match the onscreen gradient – so when you hit a 10% climb it will feel like a 10% climb.
These trainers usually require you to fit a cassette on to the trainer itself, and then, with your bike’s rear wheel removed, attach the bike to the trainer via the cassette. This can be a little fiddly, especially if your bike maintenance knowledge is limited, but with a few extra tools and a YouTube videos you will be up and running relatively quickly.
The advantages to a smart trainer are multiple: they provide a realistic riding experience, they’re quiet and they take up little space. If you are looking to invest in a turbo trainer, make sure you check out our best turbo trainers roundup.
So how does the Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer perform under test conditions?
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Price and availability
Evans Cycles’ own-branded Pinnacle Turbo Trainer is available via its official website – the RRP is £700, but it’s usually discounted – currently, it’s available for £499.99. You can also purchase it from third-party retailers including Sports Direct.
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Watch the setup video
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Setup
The Pinnacle Turbo Trainer arrived in a medium-sized box and was fairly straightforward to set up. To construct the unit you simply screw two sections together. The bit that takes more time is removing your cassette from your bike (or buying a separate cassette) and attaching it to the trainer, as mentioned earlier.
Then simply adjust the trainer to your bike’s wheel size (it can house road bikes and mountain bikes) and attach the wheel with either a quick-release axle or thru-axle (it comes with adaptors for both).
Once that’s done though, you’re ready to go – simply plug it in and connect to your third-party training app of choice and off you go. (Don’t forget to plug in your fan!)
I tested my Pinnacle Turbo Trainer with Zwift, the cycling and running virtual training platform. It connected to the app instantly, providing a seamless setup that was quick and unfussy, which isn’t always the case with Bluetooth. It also features ANT+ connectivity, and as well as Zwift connects to other training software including TrainerRoad, Kinomap, PerfPro, Rouvy and TacX films.
There is an accompanying Pinnacle app, but currently, that is only used for firmware updates – you cannot record or access workouts from it.
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Design
There’s not a huge amount to say about the design of the Pinnacle Turbo Trainer except that it’s sturdy and compact. It does what it’s supposed to do – supports your bike while you hammer through the workout and provides the power via the flywheel. It weighs 15kg (of which the flywheel weighs 5.7kg), which I slighter than similarly priced competitors, and makes it light enough to easily lift and move to other parts of the house or tidy away after use.
It’s worth noting the quietness of the unit when it’s in operation – the makers claim it produces 52dB when cycling at 19mph. During testing, it’s easy to forget just how quiet it is – after years of constant whirring when using other turbo trainers, the Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer is gloriously peaceful sounding, meaning your fellow housemates won’t bang on the ceiling or walls if you’re cycling while they’re trying to watch TV.
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Performance
The first thing to note is that the Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer includes a built-in cadence sensor, which is not always the case with trainers in this price bracket. This is extremely handy, and marks it above competitors such as Wiggle’s own brand Xplova Noza S, which does not include a cadence sensor.
In terms of power accuracy, I don’t have a separate power meter to compare readings, but the makers claim it’s accurate to +/-2%, which puts it in line with some of the higher-end turbo trainers. It can also generate up to 2,500W, which is more than enough for the average rider.
When testing on Zwift, I found the resistance levels to reliably follow the onscreen metrics. It matches up to 20% climbs, so to test it I climbed to the Radio Tower which features grades up to 17%. It was suitably tough, and the Pinnacle performed well. And it’s clearly built for gruelling climbs like this – the ‘HC’ in its name stands for ‘Hors Categorie’, which the French use as a classification for the toughest climbs.
When I put extra effort into a standing mid-race sprint, I found the unit rocked a little – although this may have been exacerbated by the fact that it was based on a rug rather than directly on a turbo mat positioned on a hard, flat floor.
During use, I was happy to report I did not experience any problems with Bluetooth connectivity dropping out or resistance levels inexplicably changing to a much higher, or lower, setting not in line with what I was riding onscreen. It also doesn’t require regular spindowns, which have been the downfall of other models and are, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Verdict
For the price, this is an excellent way to enter the smart trainer market, even more so if you can find it discounted. Setup is easy, it syncs to training software seamlessly, it’s super-quiet and provides resistance up to 20% elevation. All this combines to provide an indoor turbo trainer that will suit all your training needs for all but the most serious of cyclists.
Pinnacle HC Turbo Home Trainer: Also consider
Wiggle’s own brand Xplova Noza S is a similar price to the Pinnacle HC, although with a discount we found it for even cheaper. It has a very similar spec to the Pinnacle, although crucially it lacks a cadence sensor.
Wahoo led the smart trainer revolution, and it has a range of trainers to suit all budgets. Coming in at a similar price is the Wahoo Kickr Core. It weighs a hefty 20kg and requires riders to do regular ‘spindowns’ to calibrate the machine every few weeks.
The Tacx Neo 2, is a slightly pricier smart trainer option, but for the extra cash, you should get more accurate power and cadence readings (although the accuracy may be negligible), foldable for easier storage, pedal stroke analysis so you can improve your output and it tackles gradients up to 25%.