Bike Trainer Reviews- Choose Properly To Not Waste Money

You’d better know which indoor bike trainer will leak, which is too loud, and which is somewhere in between.  That is…if you don’t want to waste money making the wrong choice.

Enter the bicycle trainer world.

Road Machine on trainer page Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money

Let’s start by breaking indoor bike trainers into 3 categories.

1). Fluid Bike Trainer- Is This The Best Indoor Bicycle Trainer?

Rock n Roll rocks Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyTypically, the Fluid bike trainer is at the top of the food chain in the world of bicycle trainers. These are usually the ones providing the most realistic ride, are the quietest, and cost the most money.

They work by spinning an impeller through fluid. In the case of the Kurt Kinetic bike trainers (the Road Machine and the Rock and Roll), the fluid is medical-grade silicone…and for a very good reason.

Silicone is thermodynamically neutral. That means that in spite of the heat created by the friction in the unit, the fluid doesn’t get thinner (try that with maple syrup!). If the fluid were to get less viscous, the resistance would reduce.

Since spinning that impeller through a viscous fluid is how a fluid bike trainer maintains its high level of resistance, it’s imperative that the fluid doesn’t get thinner as the heat in the resistance chamber rises. A fluid bike trainer filled with silicone is one of best bike trainers for achieving a realistic ride.  Three high quality fluid trainers are the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, the CycleOps Fluid 2, and the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll.

Early fluid indoor bicycle trainers were notorious for leakage, and the leakage issue was what directed me away from most fluid bike trainers and into the lap of Kurt Kinetic. They’d conquered the leakage problem before everyone else, using patented brilliant engineering. I’ve included a video that demonstrates the uniqueness of the Kurt Kinetic design. I highly recommend you watch it!

It now appears that the major high-end fluid trainers have a handle on the leakage issue, but the problem’s enough of a consideration to keep a cyclist away from cheap fluid trainers; or older fluid bike trainer models.


Here are some of my individual reviews of fluid trainers, starting with the…five stars e1291132917436 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

I’ve also done an individual review of the very popular…four and a half stars e1291132859260 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
CycleOps Fluid 2 bicycle trainer

If you’re interested in the bike trainer ‘emperor’, read about the…four and a half stars e1291132859260 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer here

Here’s a review of the Road Machine bike trainer on steroids…four and a half stars e1291132859260 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
Kurt Kinetic Pro


2.) Magnetic Cycling Trainers- Suffering ‘Middle-Child’ Syndrome?

Caught between the fluid bike trainer and the wind bike trainer is the ‘mag’ trainer.

This class of bike trainer uses eddy current braking (‘eddy current brakes slow an object by creating eddy currents through electromagnetic induction, which creates resistance’…from Wikipedia) to supply the resistance factor. But unlike the exponential resistance curve in a fluid trainer, the resistance in a conventional magnetic bike trainer is at best linear.

I say ‘at best’ because it’s possible for the flywheel to suddenly ‘break free’ from the influence of the eddy current resistance if a macho cyclist stands up on his indoor mag bike trainer and simulates his last sprint to the finish line. This results in no pedal resistance whatsoever.

There is no victory when this happens…only a startling, ball-breaking disappointment as he crashes down onto his top bar.

The resistance curve in a mag trainer certainly doesn’t match that of the exponential increase in wind resistance that we experience outdoors on our bikes…and that’s why it’s sometimes relegated to ‘second class’ citizenship.

Cycleops Supermagneto Pro Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyBut, there are various ways in which mag trainer manufacturers seek to add resistance. One of the best that I’ve seen is the technology used in the CycleOps Magneto. In this model, centrifugal force in the flywheel changes the configuration of the magnets, which varies the resistive force. The CycleOps Magneto is the only mag indoor bicycle trainer I’ve discovered that provides progressive resistance.

Cheaper magnetic trainers address this problem of increasing resistance by requiring the cyclist to dismount and change a setting on the bike trainer itself…which changes the position of the magnets. Higher end mag bike trainers come equipped with a cable which is attached to the ‘cockpit’ (your handlebars) for remote changing of the settings.


Here’s my review of the…four and a half stars e1291132859260 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
CycleOps Magneto bike trainer

Read my review of the…four stars e1291132785450 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
CycleOps Mag indoor bicycle trainer


==>Amazon Carries Magnetic Trainers…And They’re All Discounted Here<==

3.) Wind Bicycle Trainers- Good Entry Level Trainer

The least expensive class of trainers is the wind bike trainer.

They’re also the simplest, and least likely to break down. Even though they’re simple, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect good workmanship in the frame, bearings, and the part of the bike trainer that attaches to the rear wheel. My advice is to stay with the top brands like CycleOps or Kurt Kinetic.

There are two characteristics of the wind bicycle trainer that are almost universally reported…excessive noise, and limited resistance.

Although the noise and ‘weakness’ traits make this style of bike trainer unsuitable for many cyclists, they may be acceptable for riders who aren’t sufficiently in shape to go ‘head to head’ with a fluid bike trainer, or who live somewhere (not in an apartment?) where bicycle trainer noise doesn’t matter a whole lot.
Cycleops wind trainer 300x300 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money

I’ve pictured the CycleOps Wind Bike Trainer because it comes equipped with what CycleOps is calling ‘Vortex blade design’…and I wanted you to see it. The claim is that the vortex blades provide increased resistance without increasing the noise level. In addition, the added mass of the die cast zinc fan blades acts as a flywheel, adding to the realism of the ride.  With that in mind, CycleOps would argue that they’re making the best wind bike trainer on the market.

Well, CycleOps is certainly addressing the wind trainer’s weaknesses head on, but I suspect that the noise level is relative…as is the resistance level.

Relative to a nice fluid bike trainer, there’s no comparison.

But compared to a creaky, cheap wind trainer the CycleOps Wind Trainer is solid and dependable.

If you have the desire to ‘break wind’, the wind indoor bicycle trainer may be the one for you. And with the money you save by not buying an expensive fluid bike trainer you’ll be able to buy more burritos.

Summarizing:  The wind bike trainer is the least expensive but the noisiest and weakest of the three varieties.


Read my review of the…three stars e1291132719967 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
CycleOps Wind Trainer

three stars e1291132719967 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyA review on the…
Kinetic Cyclone Wind Trainer

four and a half stars e1291132859260 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyRead my very comprehensive review of the…
CycleOps Rollers


==>Bike Trainer Deals On Amazon…A Very Trusted Merchant!<==

A Summary Of Indoor Bicycle Trainers

How many times have you watched a police detective show and heard them say, ‘follow the money’.

I suppose that snippet of wisdom could be applied to indoor bike trainers too.

The most expensive trainer is the fluid bike trainer, which is the quietest and provides the most realistic ride. The earlier problems of failure due to leakage seem to have been licked by the higher-end fluid bike trainer manufacturers. And leakage is just about impossible in the Kurt Kinetic series (I hope you watched the video).

The money trail leads us next to the magnetic bike trainer. Once again, the higher-end mag trainers don’t suffer from the breakdowns and noise that early-model mag bicycle  trainers were known for.  And CycleOps has been innovative enough with their Magneto model to provide progressive resistance.  You really ought to check out my Magneto review to see what this is ‘progressive resistance’ idea is all about.

And finally, just as the money trail is getting pretty thin, you arrive at the wind bike trainer. They’re noisier and aren’t able to provide leg-burning resistance, but you know what?…there are plenty of recreational riders who’d benefit from what a wind bike trainer has to offer when poor weather or seasonal darkness keep a cyclist indoors.

Before you leave, let me say that I think you’ll benefit from taking a look at the indoor bicycle trainer deals at Amazon here. I was shocked at all the cycling gear they offer…and at discounted prices.

websiteportrait3 e1335281174996 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyAbout the reviewer: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.

The People’s Top 5 Choices In Bike Trainers- Find Out Why!

kinetic road machine Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyKinetic Road Machine Fluid Trainer
Versatile indoor bicycle trainer with leak-proof magnetic drive system and automatic resistance changes.
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$319.00
Save: $60.00 (16%)
Cycleops fluid21 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyCycleops Fluid 2 Bike Trainer
The infinite resistance curve ensures increased wattage as you increase speed for realistic statistical analysis. The Fluid 2 is surprisingly quiet, and the self-cooling mechanisms--including a patented fan design--keep the unit performing better, longer.
buy from amazon small image Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
$305.99
Save: $34.00 (10%)
cycleops magneto1 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyCycleops Magneto Trainer
Easy-to-set-up, easy-to-use CycleOps Magneto Trainer power band technology provides a progressive, natural workout with varying resistance.
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$251.99
Save: $28.00 (10%)
Cycleops Mag Trainer e1352229849691 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyCycleops Mag Trainer
The Mag is our bread-and-butter trainer. An integrated flywheel within an enclosed unit gives you a quiet, smooth ride. You get variable external resistance to make the ride easy for rest days, and tough for the hard ones.
buy from amazon small image Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste Money
$170.99
Save: $19.00 (10%)
cycleops supermagneto pro1 e1352157628538 Bike Trainer Reviews  Choose Properly To Not Waste MoneyCycleOps SuperMagneto Pro
The Flexible Power Curve Technology offers four distinctly different power curves by changing the location of the four resistance magnets
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$419.99

If you think this bike trainer review is thorough, please link to it, Facebook it, Google plus it, or bookmark it.  Much appreciated!

87 Responses to Bike Trainer Reviews- Choose Properly To Not Waste Money

  1. Wendy says:

    Hi, Ron
    A very detailed review. I prefer to Kinetic Road Machine Fluid Trainer and I have one. Superb quiet, versatile and heavy-duty.

  2. Ann Mahaney says:

    Hello. I’m looking for a trainer that is durable so that I can use it on my back patio. I plan to keep it covered, but it reaches 100 degrees on the summer. We also have a lot of pollen and dust. I would bring it inside in the winter after rains start.
    Thank you. (This may be a duplicate post).
    Ann

  3. Nancy says:

    Oh, great. A good review. I have to say this CycleOps Wind Bike Trainer is so great. I’ve bought one one month a ago. It is really good.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’m interested in finding a trainer that offers an electronic feedback on my workout stats (I want to be able to monitor/maintain power output).

    What trainers offer this?

    Kyle

  5. Miles Hanley says:

    I am a casual rider but use a bike trainer to keep in shape and I ride in bike tours. The trainer I use is an old Cyclosimulator. I find that when I ride outside I am not as ‘bicycle fit’ as I think I am because the trainer doesn’t provide a realistic feel. Information from your site and other places has convinced me to invest in a fluid bike trainer and the leading one seems to be the Kurt Kinetic. My question: Is the Kurt Kinetic Pro worth the extra expense over the Kurt Kinectic Road Machine. I can afford it but is it worth it? My main objective as stated earlier is to get a realistic feel while riding the trainer.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Miles,

      I don’t think that you’d benefit from getting the Kurt Kinetic Pro. The Road Machine will be more than sufficient for your needs, and will last for many years.

      Happy riding,
      Ron

  6. Tim says:

    Don’t spose you’ve got a review for the d2r shadow bike trainer???

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Tim, I don’t yet have a d2r shadow bike trainer review…will have to work on that.

  7. Big Al says:

    Hi Ron,

    Big Al here again. Bought a second Kinetic Road machine and it works great. I would definitely it recommend it to any level rider if they can be patient and save up the bucks. Thanks again for the reviews.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Big Al,

      We’re on the same page…a bit of extra money spent on a quality product is something I also value.

      Ron

  8. doug says:

    hi, i’m new to the idea of indoor bicycle training. i’m not a competitive rider. i started as simply a commuter using a cycle to go to work, buy groceries in an urban community. the bike was nothing special. a Giant 300 plus cost to simply perform errands.

    i main goal is to reduce weight due to a recent injury.

    i’m suspecting i’ll need to ride an hour or more to get back into shape.

    would someone pleas recommend a unit that is affordable and durable that might produce results.

    appreciate the advice.

    thanks you.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Doug (hi doug),

      I’m not sure what to say, since I’ve spent hours and hours reviewing good trainers. (i not sure vhat two say, cause i spent ours and hours reveiwing good trainers.)

      Regarding your request for someone to ‘pleas recommend a unit that is affordable and durable that might produce results’…a good place to start would be the many reviews I’ve done. (according to your question to ‘pleas recommend a unit that is affordable and durable that might produce results’…a god place too bigin wood be teh many reveiws i done.)

      Ron (ron)

  9. Big Al says:

    I purchased a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine about a year ago. Both my wife and I use it, switching bikes (hers is carbon fiber and mine is heavier aluminum) when it’s our turn. Its easy to switch bikes. We have had exactly zero problems. It was a great purchase at a great price of $271.00.

    We recently purchased a used Minoura VFS-G trainer. It was a slick set up, but my butt must be too heavy as my bike’s rear tire ends up rubbing on the base unit no matter how I set the adjustments. We’ll be selling it on Craigslist soon, and will most likely purchase another Road Machine.

    Thanks for the reviews.

    • Big Al says:

      When I learn how to spell or use all of the words that are necessary, I will write again.

      • Ron Fritzke says:

        BTW, I edited your post so that the little niggling omissions and misspellings that bugged you are gone. The rest of the readers will just have to wonder what they were!

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Al, thanks for the feedback. Sounds like your experience is the same as mine…very satisfied with the Road Machine.

      • Big Al says:

        Ron,

        I sold the Minoura trainer in two days on Craigslist and am now shopping for that second Kinetic Road Machine. Thanks again for the reviews.

  10. Andreas says:

    I am in the market for a fluid trainer and narrowed it down to a CycleOps Fluid 2 c/w winter package (C$430), but the guy at the bike shop said they tend to leak. He offert me a Giant Cyclotron Fluid ST Trainer (C$330 just the trainer), they also sell CycleOps.

    Can’t find any reviews on this Giant trainer.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Andreas, I don’t know much about the Giant trainers. Since the guy at the bike shop thinks highly enough of the Cyclotron, maybe he should be responsible for supplying sufficient reviews to satisfy his customers.

      Thanks for reading my site. I recommend the Kinetic Road machine or the Cycleops Fluid 2. If you do decide to buy either of them based on the information gathered from this site, consider buying then through the links on my site.

      In my opinion, there are two different types of ethical breaches. There is the customer who ‘tries on’ an item in a retail store and then goes online to buy it. Poor form.

      There is also the online shopper who takes all of the information from a site like mine and then goes to the local store (with the good intention of supporting the local merchant) and gives their business to someone who knows next to nothing about the product and who has contributed very little to the making of an educated decision. Poor form.

      These are my observations.

  11. Bill says:

    PS => Can I use the spindle that came with the Cyclops trainer on the road or should I replace it with my bike’s spindle every time I get off the trainer?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Bill, My impression is that the only down side to using the CycleOps spindle is that it weighs more than some other spindles. It’s really inconsequential.

      On the other hand…my bike fell out of the trainer last week when I stupidly used a ‘road spindle’ in the trainer. The ‘road spindle’ came apart (the end was made of plastic) and I tipped over. It cost me a trip to the bike shop because the housing on the rear cable was damaged. I was relieved that the carbon frame didn’t get messed up.

      My wife and daughter got a real kick out of it…anything to keep the family entertained.

  12. Bill says:

    OK, bought the Cyclops Mag Trainer and my first ride tells me it is indeed very quiet. Don’t have a way to measure the decibel level but it’s quieter than my wife’s treadmill.

    The resistance is more than adequate for my beginner’s legs. Couldn’t tell any difference between the trainer and riding on the road as I went through the gears. I can definitely get a good workout when the snow is flying outside.

    And what a beautiful, professional box it all came in. Matches the Cyclops claims that they engineer a quality product. Really. I’m not kidding. The box for the Cyclops trainer should make all the packaging engineers in the world ashamed of themselves… :(

    But assembly wasn’t as straight-forward as I anticipated–had to use my head instead of the instructions… :)

    Thanks Ron for pointing me to this trainer. I’m a happy biker now…

    Bill

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Bill, I’m happy your CycleOps Mag trainer is going to work out so well for you. I’m with you on the resistance…a cyclist would be hard pressed to need more resistance from a well-made trainer when they put the bike into some of the higher gears on their bike.

  13. Bill says:

    What a great review of trainers. Thanks! Unless I missed it, I didn’t find your comment about the Cyclops mag with the handle bar mounted adjuster. That’s more in my price range. Am also wondering if you have found the time to review the Blackburn mag with handlebar control of mag resistance. That’s really in my price range.

    Bill

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Bill, I didn’t have a chance to review the CycleOps Mag with the handlebar mounted adjuster. CycleOps is a fine company which stands behind its products, so I’m confident that this feature would be a solid addition to the trainer.

      Having said that…it is my contention that for the most part, a rider can get enough variation of resistance merely through the use of the gearing on their bike. I get over 300 watts of resistance on my Kinetic Road Machine without ever getting off of my small chain ring.

      I believe that the Blackburn company makes good products…but personally the company has been a disappointment to me. I’ve contacted them repeatedly to ask if they’d be interested in having me review their products. They haven’t responded in any way, even though my bike trainer reviews are thorough, and have a Google presence higher than most review sites. They are a branch of the Easton-Bell Sports family, so sometimes I wonder if my requests get lost in the jungle of their bureaucracy…or if little fellers like myself are insignificant in their eyes.

      In short, I’d like to try out the Blackburn trainers but don’t presently have a way in which to do it.

      Thanks for the comment,
      Ron

      • Bill says:

        Thanks for the reply, Ron. That’s all I needed to hear. Your reviews are very thorough and obviously based on hands-on experience. I can’t afford the Cyclops Super Mag, so I’m going to buy the standard Cyclops (without the handlerbar control). I’m a beginner at cycling but will come back after I’ve used it a while and leave my impressions.

  14. jim coyle says:

    Ron: Have been reading the above comments with great interest since I am in the market for a training device. Have you heard of the Cascade Fluid Pro? It is very competitively priced, but do not want to waste money on something not worth it. Up to now, I am focusing on the Kurt Kinetic but wonder if the price is worth it. Thanks.
    Jim

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Jim: I hadn’t been aware of the Cascade Fluid Pro until you brought it to my attention. The reviews are good, and the pricing is a little bit below the pricing of the Kinetic Road Machine.

      That being said, I know that the Kinetic Road Machine won’t let you down.

      The Cascade Fluid Pro features double seals, so we know that the company is aware of the leakage problems that fluid trainers suffer…and have taken steps to combat the issue. Of course, the patented system that the Road Machine uses makes the problem a non-issue. You can research the Road Machine system on my review here.

      The Cascade Fluid Pro touts its quietness, as well as the fact that a front riser is included in the purchase. The lower initial cost of the Cascade, coupled with the inclusion of the front riser make the Cascade about a $60.00 savings.

      Hope that helps…but I’ll bet you already know all of that :-).

      Regards,
      Ron

  15. Ryan says:

    Hi Ron,

    Very informative article. Just wondering if you would classify the three groups as Experienced(fluid), Recreational(mag) and Beginner(wind)?

    I’ve never had an indoor trainer before and am looking at getting one for the winter (Ottawa,Canada). Should I also get one of the trainer tires that are available? Is it necessary to get one that provides adjustable resistance?

    Thanks again for the great article.

    Cheers,
    Ryan

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Ryan,
      I wouldn’t necessarily categorize the trainers that way. There are some very good mag trainers on the market now (i.e. the Cycleops Magneto and the Cycleops SuperMagneto Pro) which can compete with the best fluid trainers. Additionally, there are some high end wind trainers, like the Lemond model, that create a lot of resistance (but are quite loud). So I guess I’m saying that the high end trainers in each category can be used by even the most serious riders. But the general trend is as described in the article.

      If you’d like to save your good tire for the road, and you’ll be riding the trainer a lot, get a trainer tire. If you won’t be riding the trainer much, your road tire may not suffer much. Be sure that either one is adequately tightened up to the roller so that there is no slippage. You might start out with just your road tire and see if you’re getting any premature wear before buying a trainer tire.

      The issue of adjustable resistance can be a mute point since a trainer with a decent resistance curve, coupled with the variation in resistance supplied by the various gears on your bike will be enough for any rider. A bike with fixed gearing would definitely benefit from adjustable resistance.

      Thanks for the excellent questions,
      Ron

  16. eric says:

    I saw an early (2011) request to review the 1upUSA trainer. That trainer looks awesome and is very quiet. The only thing I haven’t been able to discerne is ride quality and resistance quality. Any chance you’ve been on one, or will be on one soon? Thanks in advance.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Eric, Thanks for the comment. I haven’t been on a 1upUSA trainer, but know that there are a lot of enthusiasts. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get on one.

  17. IAIN O says:

    Hi Ron,
    Love your reviews as I’m just getting into my biking.

    I have a Specialized rock hopper & since we have just had a baby I’m not getting out much. Also as the bad weather is now here (Scotland with too much ice) I was planning on getting a trainer but there is too many options.

    Was hoping not to pay more than $150 -$180 but would need it to be fairly quite & if possible with pretty good resistance.

    what would you recomend?

    Thanks,
    Iain

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Iain, it’s good to hear from you all the way over there in Scotland. I think that the CycleOps Mag trainer is a good option. It’s solidly built, is quiet, and will last a very long time.

      In the US it is sold on Amazon for $170. I don’t know how much it would cost where you are.

  18. Greg Mandigo says:

    Hi Ron, great site; very helpful information. I’m looking to train for doing century riding next summer with some challenging climbing. I’m trying to decide between the Cycleops JetFluidPro and the Cycleops SuperMagnetoPro. It seems like the JetFluidPro would give me the best workouts (in terms of intensity) but also allow me to shift into some easy gears for aerobic base training. Would this be the better buy for me?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Greg, I haven’t gotten my hands on a JetFluid Pro, but I know that the SuperMagneto Pro will provide all of the resistance that you’ll ever need. I was very impressed with how quiet the SuperMagneto Pro was as well. I think I’d head toward the Supermagneto Pro since there’s no chance whatsoever of leakage.

      • Greg Mandigo says:

        Thanks a lot, Ron. I’ll do that!

  19. Rick Chapman says:

    Hi Ron, I have a Gavin Bike Trainer That I ride in the house, but, there seems to excess noise from the roller now than when I bought it,[about 8 months ago]. What can I do to correct this, I’ve adjusted tension on the wheel, but still seems to be noisey. Any suggestions ? Thanks Rick P.S. Still the trainer

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Rick, thanks for writing. I don’t know too much about the Gavin line of trainers, but just saw that they are ‘economy’ style. The less expensive trainers have poor seals, inexpensive bearings etc., so it may have worn out.

  20. Ron Fritzke says:

    Hi Jeff, A spinning bike takes up additional room all year long and is more likely to be used by a ‘casual’ exerciser because you aren’t on your real bike. Cyclists tend to like a trainer because they are riding their own bike, rather than having to ride the different set-up they experience on a spinning bike (usually more upright, and less similar to an aggressive road bike).

    However, there have been times when coming home after a day at work that having to put my bike into the trainer and get everything arranged keeps me from doing a casual thirty minute ride (which would benefit me for that day). It’s a bit of a hassle setting up a trainer if you’ve put it away, and that hassle may keep you from exercising at times.

    Those are some considerations…but of course they aren’t definitive. I hope that helps.

    Ron

  21. jeff kennedy says:

    Great information, thanks. My questsion relates to the situation I’m in – my bike is pretty old and will need to be replaced. With winter heading (Canada) should I buy a spinning bike for the winter training instead of a fluid trainer – or are the spinning bike a waste of time. I plan on doing some club TTs next year.

  22. Danni says:

    Hi Ron,
    Me again. Sorry to ask a really basic question, but I’m not sure how a trainer comes packaged (or if there’s extras I need to buy) … On your opinion, I’ve looked into, and am going for the Kinetic Road Machine or the CylcleOps Magneto – do they both come with front and back wheel components? Some videos on Amazon show only the back wheel ‘bit’, so I want to make sure I’m buying everything I need to make sure I’m training stationary and stable.
    Many thanks,
    Danni

  23. Danni says:

    Hi Ron,
    Wow, I’m a novice so this is overwhelming. It’s approaching Winter in Australia, and dodging cars on the road is not appealing, so I want to get my hybrid bike out, but would rather do it in the garage. Given up smoking too so terrified of putting on weight and want to get the cobwebs off the bike.
    I would really like your opinion on whether to go fluid or a wind trainer. The noise won’t matter if I’m in the garage, but I want something comfortable and reliable that won’t break down on me.
    What do you suggest?
    Thanks Ron.

  24. Mark says:

    Great website! Love the reviews. Looking to purchase my first trainer. I’ve read elsewhere that trainers like the Kinetic Road Machine put stress on the bike frame, especially carbon frames. Supposedly the Rock & Roll would be better, but I’m a bit nervous about trying that one as my first trainer. What are your thoughts on frame stress?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Mark, I heard the same thing long ago, but after years of riding my carbon frame on the Road Machine’s predecessor, there has been no trouble.

      There is actually a review that makes a case for the rock and roll’s movement being hard on the frame, although the concern isn’t shared by other reviewers. See the video here.

  25. Considering that the cups are shaped for a quick release (Kurt Kinetic and CycleOps include a quick release with their trainers that matches the cups precisely), I have a suspicion that the cups wouldn’t hold your ‘axle and nut’ assembly very well.

  26. Ron Fritzke says:

    Hi Leo,

    I’d recommend the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, or the Cycleops Supermagneto Pro for very good quality trainers that a 29er will fit onto. You’ll want to get a smooth tread tire when using a trainer since an aggressive tread will wear out prematurely and will be very loud on a bike trainer.

    • Leo neves says:

      Thanks for your opinion! God bless!

  27. Leo neves says:

    Hi! I wanted to ask your opinion in my case. I don’t have a road bike, but a 29er GT mountain bike. I want to get a bike trainer to ride it indoors. I prefer better quality, but i dont know which one works for my bike. Thanks and i will wait for a response!

  28. Allen says:

    What about a 2nd rearwheel for using on the trainer? I have talk to others who do this to save their back tires. Do you see any problems with using the same chain?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Shimano and SRAM components use the same chain, but Campy uses a different chain (different spacing). I assume that you’d get a second rear wheel with the same type of cassette as the one on your original wheel…and you should be good to go!

      • Allen says:

        Yes both 10 speed shimano.

  29. Great review. I wanted to get a trainer with the interactive videos, but the systems and additional videos are really expensive. I got a simple fluid trainer. Now I use videos from Seek Out Cycling because they are really affordable, highly realistic, and easy for anyone to interact with no matter how simple their trainer is. This company (www.seekoutcycling.com) has a wide variety of movies for $5 each (6 for $30). It makes an hour on the trainer fly by and I feel like a champion. Thanks for the review.

  30. Ron Fritzke says:

    Spayskdet- The size of the wheel on your mountain bike won’t be a problem…it’ll fit into any of the mainline trainers. But the knobs on a ‘normal’ mountain bike tire will make a lot of noise on a trainer, and the tread will wear off quickly. You can get a smooth mountain bike tire like this Kenda, or you can buy the Minoura RDA80R Rimdrive Trainer. Because the Rimdrive trainer contacts the rim of the wheel, rather than the tire, you can use any tire you’d like to. The Minoura is spoken of very highly by those who use it, but I don’t have experience with it.

    • Spayskdet says:

      Hi Ron. Thanks so much for this information. I’ll look into the Minoura. Have a great week!

  31. Spayskdet says:

    Hi
    Great reviews! I’m wanting to buy a stationary trainer for my mountain bike. What do you think is the best option?

  32. Allen says:

    Ok thanks for your help.

  33. Allen says:

    Thanks, but with the larger roller would you get about the same mileage as riding on the road?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Allen,

      I don’t know the answer to that…I do know that the wear pattern on my tire after using it on the trainer is a lot ‘flatter’ than when I ride it outdoors.

      Ron

  34. Ron Fritzke says:

    Sounds like you’re dealing with two issues…

    1) You can’t go wrong with either the Road Machine or the Fluid 2. I use the Road Machine and really love it.

    2) The larger rollers on the modern trainers serve to keep tire wear to a minimum, but be sure that you don’t have any slippage between the roller and the tire due to not having it tightened down enough. You can also purchase special tires designed for trainers that are resistant to wear. These are made of a harder rubber than tires that are made for the road…so they wear better, but don’t grip the road as well as ‘normal’ tires.

    Hope that helps,
    Ron

  35. Allen says:

    I’m looking at getting the kinetic road machine or cycleops fluid 2. Not sure which one yet. I hear a lot of people saying you wear out your tires faster. What’s your thought on that?

  36. Sami says:

    thanks for the great reviews and very useful info to help narrow down choices out there.

    i am currently on travel (i.e. dont know my bike’s model num etc) and looking to buy a cycleops fluid 2 to take back with me …. all the videos i’ve seen online demo the trainer with thin rear ‘racing bikes’ and not with thick tyres like the ones i have on my Trek bike.

    was wondering if my trek would work on a cycleops ?? many thanks

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Sami,

      How ‘thick’ do you mean? Are you talking about a road bike tire?…if so, it will work on a CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer.

      A bigger consideration is that the tread is relatively smooth. Knobby tread will make a lot of noise and will get worn off prematurely.

      Thanks for the question,
      Ron

  37. Ron Fritzke says:

    Hi Loving Wife,

    Either the Fluid 2 or the Kinetic Road Machine would be good choices. The Road Machine is heavier to lift and is built as ‘stout’ as anything out there.

    Ron

  38. Loving Wife says:

    I’m looking to buy my husband a trainer. Usually he’ll research these things and find what he likes, but as it’s a gift, I’m left to do the research. :) I know his first concern is his weight. Are there any issues using any of these trainers (I’m leaning towards CycleOps Fluid 2) being of the “clydesdale cyclist” group?

  39. Ron Fritzke says:

    From what I can tell, the Nashbar trainers may be made by Elite.

    One thing I do know for sure is that the reviews on Nashbar trainers aren’t universal in praise. There are some riders who give them a vote of confidence, while others call them a piece of junk.

    Alternatively, you won’t find very many owners of the Kurt or CycleOps line who badmouth their trainers.

    Ron

  40. Jeff says:

    Hi – Any comments on the Bike Nashbar fluid trainers? Also, will most trainers fit road bikes only or can mountain bikes be used as well?

  41. Donn says:

    Hi Ron

    Any info (good or bad) regarding the Blackburn Trakstand Mag indoor trainer?
    Thanks
    Donn

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Donn, I haven’t looked into them yet…but I should get off my duff and do it.

      Thanks for the prompt,
      Ron

  42. Che says:

    Great reviews. Thank you. Was just wondering if you had any thoughts on how rollers stack up against the 3 types outlined above.
    Che

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Che,

      Rollers and bike trainers each have their strengths. For a real ‘thrill’ you can’t beat the challenge of staying on rollers.

      If you get the right roller set-up, you can get enough resistance to satisfy just about any workout. If you don’t have an added resistance unit, you may not have enough resistance on rollers to do real ‘heavy’ pedaling. But then again, on rollers you’re developing balancing skills.

      With trainers, you can pedal about as hard as you want and still concentrate on your favorite TV episode without fear of falling off. But then again, you aren’t developing much in the category of bike riding skills. Of course, it could be argued that you can get plenty of balancing skills when riding outside.

      An interesting ‘hybrid’ is the Kinetic Rock and Roll. There is movement in this trainer, so you aren’t able to ignore proper pedaling skills, but not so much movement that you’ll fall off if you have a lapse in concentration.

      Hope that helps some.

      Ron

  43. Robbie Lange says:

    Ron,

    All your reviews and comments are very informative and knowledgeable. Your experience in biking shows through in the advice you give on your site. However, you are missing a small but great company in the “trainer” world. 1up USA has been making great trainers for years. They have great reviews and awesome customer service. They also make a very quality bike rack. 1upusa.com

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Robbie,

      Thanks for the heads up. I’m at a loss to figure out how to do a review of 1upUSA, since they don’t seem to be available other than through the internet.

      Ron

  44. Rebecca Walker says:

    I am needing a bike trainer that is not going to cost me more than $100-$125 but is still good. (Just need it to ride when I am unable to take the baby outside due to weather). My problem is I am rather short so my wheels are 24″ and the ones I am finding are for 26″ wheels and bigger. I didnt want to have to spend an extra $40+ on an adapter.

    Thanks.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      You’re asking for something that is barely out of your price range. About the only 24 inch adapter that I see is the $35 one that goes on a Cycleops trainer. You could then use it on a $135 Cycleops wind trainer.

      That puts the combination just out of your price range, but I don’t know of a quality trainer that fits your needs.

      The Kurt Kinetic wind trainer accepts wheels from 16″ to 29″, but the unit costs $199.

      Ron

  45. Ron Fritzke says:

    I’d recommend the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine or the CycleOps Magneto. They aren’t the cheapest around, but they will last a long time and provide more resistance than she’ll ever need.

  46. Lois says:

    Ron,

    My daughter is a marathoner and is wishing for a bike stand for her survival during winter months in NY city. What should I get her that would be the best bang for a buck?

    Regards

  47. Karin Alberga says:

    Great article and info. I am looking into getting a trainer for my own bike, so I can continue riding through the winter (I live in upstate NY).

    One question I have about trainers is this – can they be used with bikes that do NOT have Quick Release on the back wheel? I ride a Zebra Sport 12-speed that I have owned since 1988. The rear wheel (original rim!) is a bolt-on style, so it doesn’t have QR. I have done a few Google searches on the subject, and some say it can be done. I just want to be sure before I shell out several hundred for something I may not even be able to use. I’m not too crazy about the idea of having to swap out the wheel I already have for a new one, either.

    Please advise.

    Karin

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Karin,

      Boy, I’m in a quandary. I just went out into the garage and there are seven bikes out there…but they all have quick releases. The one bike I had that didn’t have a quick release went to a better home a few months ago (sold it to a guy in town).

      I looked at the ‘cups’ on the trainers I have here and they are made of machined aluminum. That means that they aren’t as hard as your steel axle and nut…which means that the cups will get worn down by any movement between the axle and trainer.

      Considering that the cups are shaped for a quick release (Kurt Kinetic and CycleOps include a quick release with their trainers that matches the cups precisely), I have a suspicion that the cups wouldn’t hold your ‘axle and nut’ assembly very well.

      I wish I could assure you that it would work, but I can’t.

      Thanks for the question.

      Ron

  48. Anand Rao says:

    Hey Ron,
    I was very interested in the Elite series because of the simulated rides (with the additional purchase of DVDs of course)
    But most of the RA trainers – be they the Real Axiom or the Elite Crono”seem” to be magnetic trainers – I could be wrong.
    Essentially my question to you is this: in your opinion, what is the best bang for buck fluid trainer than can also be rigged for the virtual reality rides (if the trainer does not already come that way)?
    Thanks Ron,
    Anand

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Anand,

      I’m sorry for the late reply. I was out of town for two weeks, and am only now getting back into the groove.

      I don’t have experience with the Real Axiom trainers. The types of magnetic trainers that I’ve been reviewing have ‘stand alone’ magnets in them.

      I believe that the virtual reality trainers are similar to the electromagnetic resistance units used in stationary bikes. They need to be plugged in…but they can provide near limitless resistance due to what is called the Eddy current brake phenomenon…and they’re nearly silent.

      If you’re going with the reality series, you don’t need a fluid trainer, the electromagnetic resistance is superior to fluid resistance…but then again, it has to be near a plug (not usually a problem for a trainer at home).

      I don’t know of a fluid trainer that is integrated to a virtual reality program.

      Thanks for the inquiry, and my apologies for the late reply.

      Ron.

  49. Ron Fritzke says:

    A bike trainer is usually used by someone who wants to use their own bike when they need to ride indoors (often because of bad weather)…so someone who doesn’t know how to bike wouldn’t usually have a bike to put into a bike trainer.

    They’d most likely use a stationary bike at a fitness center.

  50. Asdhnaodsiad says:

    Does a person who does not know how to bike use a wind trainer instead of a stationary bike?

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