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Pinnacle HC Turbo review

Is this the Pinnacle HC Turbo the wallet-friendly trainer you’ve been waiting for? Jack Sexty finds out

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
£499.99
Pinnacle HC turbo

As we rushed to buy indoor exercise equipment in 2020, many turbo trainers sold out. Clearly this didn’t go unnoticed by Evans Cycles, with the retailer following Wiggle by selling its own smart trainer through in-house brand Pinnacle.

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The aim is to offer riders “access to some of the best innovation in indoor cycling at an affordable price”, and the current price makes it 50% cheaper than some high-end smart trainers.

As you go down the turbo price brackets, there are trade-offs. Grade simulation, quietness, compatibility and power accuracy are things to look for, and on the first three the HC impresses: 20% grade simulation, a claimed 52dB at 19mph, plus compatibility with training apps like Zwift and Rouvy through ANT+ or Bluetooth.

Set-up takes five minutes, with the packing box doubling as a stand. The front is adjustable for different axle sizes, meaning you can attach various bike types without needing a riser, and it’s disc and rim brake compatible.

The HC Turbo is light at 15kg, which is useful if you need to move it occasionally. You’ll need your own cassette and there’s no wireless option, but we wouldn’t expect these perks at this price.

The Pinnacle HC app is no frills, allowing you to perform firmware updates and check manuals. Through ANT+, power and cadence sensors picked up instantly, with the LED turning blue when riding.

The sturdy unit didn’t budge an inch on big efforts, but we wouldn’t expect it to as the max power is 2,500 watts.

Ride feel through the 5.7kg flywheel is quiet and realistic, if not as refined as very high-end trainers like the Tacx Neo 2.

While our general ride experience was good, we found issues with accuracy. During power comparison tests with our Favero Assioma pedals, the HC overread quite considerably.

Although our graph showed consistency, the 190-watt weighted power average for a Zwift session compared to 173 watts for the pedals was too generous, and outside of the level of accuracy we’d ideally want from a smart trainer (at least +/-3% compared to other leading power meters).

The built-in cadence sensor also didn’t appear to work properly for us, occasionally matching the pedals in real-time but generally underreading by 40% or more.

After being put in touch with Pinnacle’s technical support we couldn’t resolve the issue, but were shown evidence of the cadence tracking accurately on another unit.

Overall, the HC is a promising trainer at a breakthrough price point, but accuracy issues ultimately need to be addressed with a firmware update before it can get our full seal of approval.

Verdict: Affordable smart trainer that needs to address accuracy issues

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Score: 59%