What Kind Of Indoor Bike Trainer Should I Buy?
I am wondering what the difference is (besides price) in trying to decide what kind of indoor bike trainer to purchase?
Can you please explain the difference between the different kinds of bike trainers and what kind should I look for if I want to simulate road-type riding.
Ok, in general you have a five different trainers to look at.
* Wind Trainer
* Magnetic Trainer
* Fluid Trainer
* Rim Drive Trainer
* Roller Trainer
Lets explain each of them one by one.
Basically a wind trainer uses a fan for resistance. Your back tire sits on a roller and the fan (depending on the size of it) helps to give resistance as you pedal faster. Wind trainers are noisy and they generally provide the least amount of resistance. On the positive side, wind trainers are one of the cheapest type of bike trainers that you can buy. And the negative is that they give the least road like feel of any of the indoor trainers.
Sun 20" Wind Trainer for Bicycles
Magnetic trainers are used by the gamut of cyclists, from beginner to advanced. You will find very inexpensive magnetic trainers as well as those hitting over $300. By inexpensive, just take a look at the Bell Motivator Mag indoor bike trainer below. A magnetic trainer uses a series of magnets which provide the resistance. Imagine positive magnets on one side of a flywheel and another flywheel having negative magnets. They attract each other but are a certain distance away. Now, what happens if you can change the setting on the bike trainer or through a remote handlebar adjuster where it brings these magnets closer together. Well, your resistance has just increased. Now, what if you have 3 levels of resistance? What if you have 5 levels of resistance? Magnetic trainers provide middle of the road resistance and are less noisy than wind trainers.
Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer
|Yes ($25 minimum)|
Fluid trainers are mainly used by advanced riders, however you'll find some with prices that are comparable to magnetic trainers. I'll state this flat out. Fluid trainers are the most road realistic trainer that you can buy. You will find that the USA Cycling Team uses a fluid trainer. Some will argue with me and say that a roller trainer (running on both tires) offers the best road like feel but I've found that roller trainers require 100% concentration while riding and I still don't feel that they get the resistance that you will find with a fluid trainer. With a fluid trainer, fluid is housed inside a chamber. As an impeller moves faster and faster within the fluid, the pressure/resistance builds. Fluid trainers also have (a general statement) more features than the previously mentioned bike trainers.
New 2010 Green Kurt Kinetic Road Machine with Riser Ring, Power Computer & Floor Mat Package
Rim Drive Trainer
I see rim drive trainers as mainly used by mountain bike riders. Meaning, instead of your rear tire running on a roller as in the wind trainer, magnetic trainer, and fluid trainer, a rim drive trainer uses the rim of your rear tire. The rim drive trainer connects to the rim and the bike is propelled with resistance thanks from the help of the trainer. You will not need to change your rear tire to a slick as you should with all the above trainers. So, you can use your mountain bike and just keep that back tire on. If you have a mountain bike, I would not look at any other trainer than a rim drive trainer.
Minoura RDA-800 Rim Drive Trainer " Red 5 Levels.
When using a roller trainer, both tires on your bike move on the rollers. Most roller trainers will require you to initially (as a beginner) setup next to a wall so that you can maintain balance. You will fall off of a roller trainer as you are learning. You will get a road like feel or maybe a feel of riding a bike on ice at times. I find that roller trainers lack resistance (one negative) and on a personal level, I cannot maintain concentration long enough to have a long ride on a roller trainer. Since all other trainers are stable, for me, I'll do better on any other bike trainer.