How much should I spend on a road bike for only indoors

I currently have a mountain bike, I have been reading on here people are having issues with not enough gears for the flats and down hills.

I would like to avoid this and have a indoor only road bike set up to a Kickr core.

I was looking at a specialized allez base $1200 cnf however specialized is sold out (same with giant contend 3)everywhere do to the virus rush. Canadian tire and Walmart have road bikes for 3-4 hundred however I’m worried I might regret getting one of these budget bikes if I plan on riding lots perhaps shifting failing. The used market in my area is very over priced with no decent bike below $1200

I’m told the 2021 bike should arrive in the fall, should I wait for one of those, or would the lower end Walmart bike be fine or spend mor for a mid range bike? Any help with this would be great.

Hi @Darrin_Rudderham, welcome to Zwift. What follows is a personal view of course

I would look to buy the cheapest frame that suits you, if you only plan to use it indoors. However consider if you want to train in you usual riding position, my guess is as MTB rider you won’t be all about getting the max possible power and therefore perfect position isn’t that important.

For me I started on Zwift by using my then only bike, that didn’t last long, too much trouble mounting and un-mounting depending on ride location. So like you I thought an indoor bike was the way to go. I’m tall and don’t like drop bars and certainly do care about the ideal position to reach max power, comfort is the name of the game for me as I ride.

I brought a folding bike as it had good stiffness and step through, and having found I could hit my head as I got on and off my “outdoor” bike. Now I can just easily get on and off, much better too when I really tired after a ride.

The only problem with it was the gear changer and ratios, My outdoor bike has XTR, 11 speed so really nice, the folding bike had some cheap rubbish 7 speed so I upgraded to match my outdoor bike well nearly just an XT changer inside not an XTR. Now I have what I think is a great setup, while the riding position isn’t exactly the same as my outdoor bike, the gearing is the same.

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@Richard thank you for the detailed reply

Hi Darrin,
do you already have the Kickr Core?
If so, I would start by setting it up with the bike you have first if this is possible. Even with an MTB you could put a road cassette on the Kickr Core if you think you need too.

I would spend some time getting to know Zwift, finding what issues you have with your setup. It would probably be better to wait for the bike you want/like as if you buy cheap you will probably just end up replacing it.

Happy hunting


I would say you don’t have to spend much. I found a steel frame Schwinn and an old mountain bike sitting along the road for the garbage.
I took them and turned the dropbar road bike into a flatbar trainer bike.
I stripped the brakes and the front derailleur. Went from 2x7 to 1x9.
I expanded the dropouts to 130 mm so my road bike wheels fit.
The bike was free.
I spent money on the pedals and a new seat, specifically for the more upright riding position on a trainer.
It’s a good project and my bike turned out to be a little cream puff of a frame with no rust and very little wear.

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It’s a good opportunity to add a gravel bike. I bought an 11 speed steel Niner RDO which I leave attached to my Kickr Core. I take it off to ride the gravel roads and off-road paths occasionally.

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if it is just for indoors spend as little as possible and probably look at 2nd hand bikes.

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Used road bike. I’ve built three different trainer bikes from old frames and parts. You can do the same thing with a used bike off Craigslist or eBay. Resale of pre-ridden bikes is amazingly bad. A three year old bike that cost $3k new can set you back less than 800 bucks. If you want fancier the cost is greater but you’ll get a nicer bike.
For two of the trainer bikes to use on my Kickr Core which doesn’t need a rear wheel but needs to be 11 speed, I used two old carbon frames I had kicking (pun intended) around and bought Ultegra drivetrain on eBay for a coupla hundred bucks. Using other old parts, I built them for about 150 bucks each. They don’t have brakes and the headsets are toast but they work flawlessly on the trainer.


I think you should just wack your bike on there and see if you do find yourself spinning out in races. I think dropping that amount of money on a trainer bike is a bit much.

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Thanks everyone for your input,

I ended up finding a great deal on a used 2012 bike. At first I was just planning on indoors but now I’m excited to give outdoors a try as well. Turns out a trainer for my mountain bike was a gateway to road biking.


Nice looking bike Darrin. That should do you well, both inside and out.

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Throw it away. It will never work. .What did you say your address is?
Seriously, that bike looks real nice. Have fun.

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