Smart turbo trainer (cycling)

I had my CRT-D implanted last week and already thinking about cycling again. To start again I want to get on my Elite Smart turbo trainer with Zwift. Does anyone know if there are any issues using a smart trainer with the pacemaker? Thanks!


It appears that changing magnetic fields affect BostonSci's Minute Ventilation

by crustyg - 2023-12-18 09:22:40

My own experience and some subsquent 'testing' strongly suggests that the Minute Ventilation feature of BostonSci's PMs (not all have it) is sensitive to the magnetic fields around turbo trainers and watt-bikes.  In general, the closer the chest is to the brake (usually, but not always, magnetic) the smaller the MV feed into Rate Response.

When first tuned, my PM would make me work really hard to achieve maxHR on a magnetic-braked watt-bike.  Out on my Al road bike it was easy to hit maxHR.

My own turbo trainer was specifically chosen to have a liquid resistance device but the impellor is still steel and generates some interference.  In general it works well, but IMHO there's an effect.

Nothing I've said above should be read as meaning that there's a *safety* issue using a turbo-trainer or smart-bike trainer with a PM: I think that's entirely safe.


by hippy766 - 2023-12-18 10:02:06

Thanks for the info, the slight effect you mention if it were to happen won't bohter me for the amount I will use it (it takes a lot of mental effort for me just to get on the Turbo!) It is just to see how I feel before I get back out on the road. My main concern was a safety issue and as you say there won't be!


by Tracey_E - 2023-12-18 12:06:38

Your doctor will let you know when it's safe to get your rate up again. Mine was ok with it immediately, but some want us to wait.

Something to keep in mind, when I had my last replacement I was told not to work up a sweat for 4 weeks. It was due to infection risk, nothing to do with my heart or the pacer. You want the incision well healed.

Question for crustyg

by Aintgotrhythm - 2023-12-18 12:20:06

Interesting that you've been able to see a difference with the BS pacemaker rate response on a trainer. Can I ask what type of trainer you used?

I have two "smart" trainers: a Tacx Neo 2 and a Wahoo Kickr. I've not used the Wahoo since implant but have used the Tacx a number of times and have gotten my HR up close to max.

No Issues For My Smart Bike Trainer

by Shaun - 2023-12-18 13:06:37

I've used my Wattbike Atom smart indoor bike trainer for several years with no problem. My cross trainer also has electromagnetic resistance, again no problem.

Indoor cycling

by crustyg - 2023-12-18 13:20:48

The initial tuning of my PM was done on a proper watt-bike - the sort that has a magnetic brake built into the front wheel and automatically provides a fixed load, mostly independent of pedalling rate (cadence). I'm not sure of the model, wasn't really looking at that.  I've repeated the test (once on the same hospital watt-bike and once on one of the watt-bikes at my local gym/fitness centre), but definitely not a model with a strap friction device on the front flywheel.  I'll see if I can take a picture... and I have.  It's a branded Wattbike.

My own turbo-trainer is an inexpensive Cyleops fluid-braked model: the spinning metal is a lot further from the chest when I'm sitting up, and arguably a little closer when I'm down on the bars pushing a bit more.

When you look at the tiny current used to measure chest impedance (the basis of the MV tech) it's not surprising that it's quite sensitive to interference.  I've only had mine set to 320uA - but supposedly it can work at 80uA!

For me, as a road cyclist, the BostonSci MV has been brilliant.  Not perfect - there are some questionable design decisions in there - but it's possible to work around them.  There's a top-flight triathlete contributor here who has BostonSci and says their road cycling is back to previous level which is great.  I'm nowhere near that level, but I still manage an occasional PB on a hill climb, and have improved a lot over the last five years (I needed to!).

I used to play a little game with myself, trying *not* to hit maxHR at the start of a group ride which begins with a 6% 1.2km segment and then slackens to 5.7% for another 1km  But I've had my MV made more sensitive to avoid an annoying issue when riding in a peloton.  If I'm out on my own my HR goes up to maxHR and stays there for a couple of hours.  So far, so good!

Best wishes,


by hippy766 - 2023-12-18 14:47:45

Thanks all for the comments, it reassures me I can use it and thanks Tracey E for the warning about sweat and infection. I will speak to the Nurse on Wednesday next week when I see her to get advice on when I can start working up a sweat!

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Your pacemaker receives radio frequencies.

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