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Verdict: 
Minimal gains for the financial outlay and not the most comfortable for me
Weight: 
40g
Turbine Breathing System – Tester Pack
6 10

Getting more air into your lungs and therefore muscles is an obvious way to boost performance, and the Turbine Breathing System – or Rhinomed Turbine Nasal Dilator to give it its full name – is designed to do just that. As you've no doubt guessed from the name, the Turbine is designed to get that extra air in via your nostrils.

If you've ever raced, you've no doubt seen warming-up riders wedging menthol-coated cotton balls up their noses in a bid to relieve any congestion, to get as much air in as possible once the pedals start turning in anger – so there is obviously a market for this type of product.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The Turbine works by being clipped over your septum, with the rounded parts disappearing inside your nose to flare out your nostrils and open things up. Rhinomed makes some pretty bold claims about the Turbine's performance – ones we can't clarify, scientifically at least – that it provides an increase of 38% 'nasal flow' and is 38% more effective than nasal strips, the ones you stick on the outside of your nose such as Breathe Right.

In use it feels like there is a slight benefit to your breathing when riding, but although 38% sounds a lot, many people don't actually take in a lot of air through their nose in the first place while riding. So even at moderate levels, if the majority of your inhaling and exhaling is taken care of by your mouth, any performance benefits are going to be minimal.

Rhinomed Turbine - worn.jpg

Rhinomed Turbine - worn.jpg

This is the era of Team Sky, though (Chris Froome is touted as a Turbine user), and all their marginal gains – so in some cases those benefits, no matter how small, are going to be welcomed.

What I've been testing is the tester pack: three different sized versions for you to narrow down which fits the best. Each size also has a little ratchet to try to dial the fit just a little bit more.

The problem for me, even when I found the best fitting of the three and tweaked it, was that I could still feel I was wearing it constantly, something I never found with Breathe Right strips when time trialling. Trying them both for comparison, I could find no performance advantage one over the other.

> 12 ways Team Sky develops those marginal gains

Although I could feel the Turbine all the time, it wasn't uncomfortable; it's actually quite soft, being made from a medical grade polymer. It's more that it was quite a distraction, and it was a relief to take it off.

On the value front the Turbines work out at £3.66 each and Rhinomed quotes a total of 10 uses out of each one, which sounds about right as they do feel like they lose some tension after that. More realistically, though, you'll be buying the pack of three of the size you decide on, which ups the price to £5.66 each, or 56p per use – a little more than the nasal strips' approximate 40p per use.

Overall, the Turbines are a good choice for the racer or type of rider who spends a lot of time right on the rivet, as the small performance benefit is probably justifiable – and when every muscle in your body is screaming for you to stop, the distraction of the nose clip is probably welcome relief! If you are a congestion sufferer, or you get hayfever and ride at a more moderate pace, I'd still probably plump for the external option of a strip instead.

Verdict

Minimal gains for the financial outlay and not the most comfortable for me

road.cc test report

Make and model: Turbine Breathing System – Tester Pack

Size tested: S/M/L

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Rhinomed says: "The Turbine is designed to fit comfortably inside the nose and gently open each individual nostril to allow more airflow during sport, physical exertion or focused breathing (such as yoga and meditation).

"Once properly fitted, you will naturally experience greater breathing efficiency."

I found a very minimal advantage over using nothing at all, and the fit, for me at least, is far from comfortable.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Rhinomed:

Provides you with an INSTANT feeling of increased airflow.

Makes breathing easier when the going gets tough.

Aids in improving sleep quality and recovery.

Supports some breathing difficulties related to obstructed nasal passages.

It's drug free.

Acts as a bio-feedback tool so you remember to breathe efficiently.

Crafted from ultra soft medical grade polymers and fits comfortably, in the nose.

Reusable – up to ten uses per Turbine.

Patented dilation technology means you achieve a totally customisable, anatomical fit.

There are three different sizes available.

May alleviate congestion.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
4/10

Even trying all three sizes I never quite found what I'd consider a perfect fit. The medium was the closest but the Turbine was noticeable when fitted and could be a bit of a distraction.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Works out at 56p per usage compared with 40p for nasal strips.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

I could feel an increase in the amount of air I could take in through my nose, but I wouldn't say it translated to an overall benefit out on the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Once in it stays put.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Always being able to feel it fitted to my nose.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd suggest it.

Use this box to explain your score

I personally don't feel the performance benefits are worth the outlay unless you really struggle with nasal congestion. The fit for me wasn't great, so if I was to go back to using a nasal dilator I'd stick with the strips.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

10 comments

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [173 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

> the small performance benefit

Is there any evidence that there is *any* performance benefit?

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The _Kaner [1074 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Might help me breathe better with my deviated septum

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sm [399 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Hilarious. Just when you think cycling er, tech has long since jumped the shark, along comes this. Up next, aerodynamic bib shorts to tuck in your bits and carbon, aero sculpted match sticks to keep your eyes open on fast descents.

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vonhelmet [843 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

If it were that beneficial you'd see the pros using them rather than the good old sticky plaster nose strips.

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velodinho [97 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Just get a nose piercing. Breath easier and look cooler than sticking a Livestrong wristband up your nose.

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garuda [30 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

This would work since humans do not have another, larger, better suited avenue where they can inhale and expel air with. Preferably, one that is right next to the nose and with a less convoluted path through the head that you could open whenever the the need for more air volume arises.

Avatar
jova54 [675 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Strange. I always thought a Turbine was a bladed mechanical device.

"turbine
ˈtəːbʌɪn,-ɪn/
noun

a machine for producing continuous power in which a wheel or rotor, typically fitted with vanes, is made to revolve by a fast-moving flow of water, steam, gas, air, or other fluid."

Find it a bit difficult stuffing two Garrets up your hooter. Maybe that was why there was no discernible increase in breathing performance.

Avatar
STATO [528 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
jova54 wrote:

Strange. I always thought a Turbine was a bladed mechanical device.

"turbine
ˈtəːbʌɪn,-ɪn/

 

 

Turbo was already taken.

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Love this:

Chris Froome
Professional Cyclist, Team SKY

“Yesterday was my first outing with @theturbinecom. Noticable difference, will definitely use again!” – @Chrisfroome, Twitter, 24/08/14

And was never seen wearing one again.

Avatar
shay cycles [384 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Could just call this a lot of nonsense and be done....

but that wouldn't be very scientific would it?

So here are a few small comments of a more scientific nature:

  • to work this would need to dilate the most restricted part of the passage through which air flows - you'd need individual scans or X-Ray's to identify where that was on each individual
  • the little loops might indeed open up one part of the passage by a percentage
  • the material of the loops themselves then reduce that dilated part of the passage by around 20-25% (based on a estimate from the photo, I would need to waste £8.99 to measure that accurately)
  • Clearing passages is often facilitated naturally by rapid exhalation through the nose (blowing it); this device severely limits that facility

Either way this is nonsense, suggest it shoul be re-launched in exactly 8 months.