Tags: bike trainer reviews
Bike Trainer Reviews
I often get asked for bike trainer reviews based on a specific brand or model. For example, CycleOps Fluid 2 or Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. That is fine if you have already narrowed down a couple of choices between bike trainers that are around the same price range or within the same category (like fluid trainers). However, I'm also asked to give bike trainer reviews across a broad range of trainers like rim drive trainers versus magnetic trainers or roller trainers. A couple of tips that I give to potential customers is that you should narrow down the type of trainer that you want to ride and the price that you are willing to spend and then lets go from there.
Bike Trainer Reviews - Types Of Bike Trainers
You will see this information presented throughout my blog but I feel like I need to show it again.
Wind Trainer - In general this type of trainer offers the least amount of resistance and has the creates the most amount of noise. At one point this was the least expensive bike trainer that you could purchase but sadly today many manufacturers no longer make wind trainers. I still ride my wind trainer from time to time but I would not ride this type of trainer in a condo or apartment setting. Just too much darn noise.
Magnetic Trainer - A magnetic trainer is a step up from a wind trainer but on a couple of levels. A magnetic trainer tends to offer more resistance than a wind trainer, offers more features, and is less noisy. Regarding the amount of noise that a bike trainer makes, you can greatly reduce that noise by making sure that you use a bike trainer tire or slick tire. Also put your bike and trainer on a cushioned mat and above all else, make sure your bicycle is properly mounted on the trainer. My website gets it name, magnetictrainer.info simply because for the vast majority of bike riders who are looking for a bike trainer, a magnetic trainer will work very well for them. I offer bike trainer reviews throughout my website in regards to price point and features of magnetic trainers.
Fluid Trainer - Fluid trainers are seen as top of the line bike trainers. They build upon magnetic trainers and offer yet more resistance in the form of progressive resistance. You will get more of a road like feel when riding a fluid trainer and this type of trainer is what is recommended for those that have the money to spend or are intermediate bike riders moving into advanced, advanced cyclists and professionals. You will find the official bike trainer of the U.S. Cycling Team in this group.
Roller Trainer - A roller trainer helps you practice balance. Rather than only your rear tire riding on the trainer, a roller trainer uses both tires. I've never found them to offer much help in the way of resistance but if you truly want a feel of being on the road with the side to side movement, look into a roller trainer.
Rimdrive Trainer - Rimdrive trainers can be used with just about any bike but they are tailored for mountain bikes. I've found that some on the market rival the best magnetic trainers and fluid trainers. If you can see in the picture, this trainer uses the rim to propel the bike, instead of your rear tire riding on a roller. What this means is that unlike other bicycle trainers, you do not need to swap out your rear tire to reduce vibration and noise. Just put your bike on the rimdrive trainer and ride. Take the bike off the trainer and start riding outdoors.
Bike Trainer Reviews - Different Price Points
Just a reminder that in the bike trainer reviews that I'm covering below, we are mainly looking at sales price. A number of trainers have either current or somewhat continuous sales which puts them in the price ranges that you see below.
Bike Trainer Reviews Under $100
Without a doubt in all of my bike trainer reviews, the trainer that I like the most in the under $100 category has to be the Bell Motivator Mag. You not only get a magnetic trainer but you can often find the Bell Motivator Mag for somewhere around $80 when it is on sale over at Amazon. If $80 is too steep for your wallet, you can find a wind trainer named the Kinetic Bike Bicycle Indoor Exercise Trainer Stand for about $45 on sale. In looking at this trainer, it nearly duplicates the first bicycle trainer that I purchased 20+ years ago and you will get added resistance as you change the gears on your bike and pedal faster. For those that think that even a $45 bike trainer costs too much, I might need to remind you how much use you will get out of the trainer during the winter. For folks like me who live up north, we are riding indoors either on our bike trainers or exercise bikes for about 4 months.
Bike Trainer Reviews Under $150
As we move up a notch to a price point under $150, my favorite bike trainer is the CycleOps Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer. This trainer retails for about $190 but you can find it over on Amazon for about $145 when it is on sale. It received very good reviews and in so far as a magnetic trainer is concerned, it is top notch. The CycleOps Mag has 5 resistance settings to let you vary your workouts. The issue with this trainer seems to be in its inability to coast very well but the positives and the reviews supporting those positives make this a very good bike trainer. If you want to hit a price point just over $100 (while on sale), check out the Forza F2 Mag Trainer. It offers variable magnetic resistance through pedaling faster and the noise level has been said to be quite low as compared to some other trainers.
Bike Trainer Reviews Under $200
Again, we are looking at another CycleOps entry with the CycleOps Mag +. At this price range we are still looking at magnetic trainers. This model features 5 setting adjustments through a remote handlebar shifter which lets you change resistance on the fly (while riding), rather than hopping off the bike to change resistance. Although some call it a gimmick, this is a great feature in my book because it allows you to remain on the bike... and isn't that what this is all about? CycleOps and Kurt Kinetic offer some of the best bike trainers on the market. Having said that though, I invite you to check out the Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Trainer. Of all my bike trainer reviews (this review to be coming in the next week or so), the Blackburn Tech would rank in the top 2 or 3 of all magnetic trainers. I've tested this bike trainer and I really like it. The folks over at Blackburn listened to cyclists and designed this trainer to not have the shortcomings of other bike trainers. So, with the Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Trainer, you end up with a very sturdy bicycle trainer that offers a remote handlebar shifter with 6 ranges of resistance. Also, since you can adjust the height of this trainer, you will not need a riser block to have the front wheel stay in alignment with the rear wheel. Minoura (renowned for roller trainers and rim drive trainers) brings us the Minoura Action Advantage Rollers Trainer which retails for $280 but if you check at the right time, you'll find it for $100 cheaper.
Bike Trainer Reviews Under $300
In all of the bike trainer reviews and tests that I've done, my favorite bike trainer without a doubt that is under $300 (again on sale) is the CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Bicycle Trainer. In fact, you can see a review of the CycleOps Fluid 2 here. I tested this trainer a couple of weeks ago and it is one of the best trainers that I've ever been on. Plus, you've now graduated to the ranks of a fluid trainer. We now find a larger flywheel for a more road like feel and progressive resistance. CycleOps backs their products and if you were to buy this bicycle trainer, it could be the last one that you ever own. For mountain bike users, I recommend that you check out the Minoura RDA80D Rimdrive Trainer.
Bike Trainer Reviews Under $400
To date in all the indoor riding that I've done (and I've done quite a bit) and bike trainer reviews published, the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine has to be my favorite bike trainer. Yes, I know that there are more expensive trainers on the market, some of which I do enjoy riding but I just feel very comfortable riding the Road Machine. The Kurt Kinectic Road Machine is a fluid trainer. Resistance changes as you pedal harder, it has an ingenious fluid chamber which keeps level resistance and is leak proof, it offers fantastic coasting and beyond that, I feel like I can not only warm up easily on this trainer but it can take me to my maximum leg burning and max out my cardio at the same time.
Bike trainer Reviews $400 and up
I wish that I could add to my bike trainer reviews with more models in this price range but there are a few models which I would like to try and have not as of yet. One of those is the Kinetic Rock 'n Roll Trainer. I have heard good things about this trainer as it is supposed to more closely replicate outdoor riding. Another trainer that I have not tested is the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer. Manufacturers, feel free to send them my way for an independent review. My winner for this category has to be the Tacx Fortius Multiplayer Virtual Reality Cycle Trainer. Yes, that is a mouthful. What you get for a price of about $1250 on sale is a bike trainer which offers virtual reality training. You can train as you are watching the monitor and race against other riders. This setup is incredible.
Bike Trainer Reviews Conclusion
Well, there you have it. From the Kinetic wind trainer to the Tacx Fortius virtual reality trainer and all points in between. We've covered bike trainers from about $45 all the past $1200. Here are a few tips. Check into either getting a mat or making sure that the trainer is cushioned. Too much vibration will do harm to not only your bike but the trainer as well. Also, get a trainer tire. If you will be putting on a lot of miles riding indoors, don't tear up your street tires. Put a riser block under your front tire. This will help to balance the frame so that you don't put any undue pressure on your hands and wrists. Finally, I hope you've gained some insight into the different types of bike trainers, from beginner to advanced and the pro level and that the bike trainer reviews will help you in your next purchase.