Tags: rim drive trainer, tire drive trainer
Tire or Rim Drive Indoor Bike Trainer?
Which is better and what are the benefits of a rim drive trainer versus a tire drive trainer? What would you recommend and why?
Lets start by giving some definitions of both types of bike trainers. From there I'll let you come to your own conclusion.
Rim Drive Trainer - A bike trainer which uses the rim of the rear tire to propel the bike
Tire Drive Trainer - A bike trainer where the rear tire is on a small roller and resistance is created either through a fan (wind trainer), magnets (magnetic trainer), or fluid (fluid trainer).
Roller Trainer - A bike trainer which uses both tires of the bicycle to create momentum/resistance.
For now we are just concentrating on the two trainers that you spoke of, a rim drive trainer and a tire drive trainer.
A rim drive trainer works equally well for mountain bikes and road bikes but there is a definite positive when used with a mountain bike. You see, because mountain bikes have knobby tires, they don't do so well on tire drive trainers (wind trainer, magnetic trainer, fluid trainer, and roller trainer). There is a caveat here though. Mountain bikes do well on tire drive trainers if you switch out the rear tire to a slick (again on wind trainers, magnetic trainers, and fluid trainers) and if you switch out both tires on a roller trainer. Again, if you choose to ride a mountain bike on a tire drive trainer, make sure you use a slick tire. Knobby tires simply make too much noise, cause too much vibration, and they will have a significantly reduced lifetime if used with a tire drive trainer.
Ok, lets get back to that rim drive trainer. This is a perfect choice for a mountain bike. No need at all to change your tires because the rim drive trainer uses the rim of your rear tire to propel the bike on the trainer. It works equally as well with a road bike. So why don't you hear of more cyclists using rim drive trainers? I personally think it is because one manufacturer (Minoura) captures nearly all of the market and because the rim drive trainer hasn't been around for too long. If you buy one though, you'll notice that most use magnetic resistance and are a fairly quite ride.
Minoura RDA-800 Rim Drive Trainer " Red 5 Levels.
A tire drive trainer is mainly meant for road bikes and comes in three different versions... wind trainer, mag trainer, and fluid trainer. Here you have plenty of options when it comes to price, resistance, and other features. In general a wind trainer will provide the least amount of resistance and make the most amount of noise. Wind trainers have long been known as the cheapest way to buy a bike trainer but lately more and more manufacturers are getting out of the market. So, you will still find wind trainers but now you mainly find them being sold by reputable, well known companies.
A magnetic trainer (notice the name of my website) is the usual road bike standby for both beginner and intermediate trainers. Also, those on a budget will find plenty of choices when it comes to magnetic trainers. Magnetic trainers usually use a series of magnets which creates the resistance. The size/weight of the flywheel helps to determine how much of a road like feel you will get with a mag trainer... in general, bigger and heavier is better. In regards to resistance and features, some mag trainers only let you change resistance on the bike trainer itself while others let you do it through a remote handlebar shifter.
CycleOps Mag+ Indoor Bicycle Trainer Trainer with Bar Mounted Remote Shifter
|Yes ($25 minimum)|
A fluid trainer is often seen as the bike trainer (tire drive) that most intermediate to advanced cyclists will ride. It does not mean that a beginning rider can't use a fluid trainer but seeing as the cost starts hitting another level, fluid trainers usually bring out the hard core cyclists. Fluid trainers offer the most road realistic feel, in general offer the best range of resistance, and are known as being the most quiet of all the trainers (although I've heard some whisper quiet rim drive trainers). Good fluid trainers adjust resistance as you change speed. The best fluid trainers are what is called virtually leak proof.
Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Indoor Trainer
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