Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review- Does Progressive Resistance Matter?

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Getting A Feel For The Supermagneto Pro

Progressive resistance in the Cycleops Magneto bike trainer means a few things…maybe the most important being a realistic ride without getting off your bike to adjust your trainer.

Taking a few spins on the CycleOps Supermagneto over the last few days has been a pleasant surprise.

The trainer’s whisper quiet, which isn’t in keeping with the common line of thinking…that the fluid trainers have the magnetic trainers beat in the noise department.

The Supermagneto (just about everything I’m writing about applies to the CycleOps Magneto too, it’s just that the Supermagneto has four different power ranges to choose from…more thoughts on that later) also supplies more than enough ‘punch’ to tame the strongest riders.

I have a Powertap wattage meter, so I’ll be able to give you some CycleOps Magneto power values later in this article.

Product Quality five stars e1291132917436 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter? Quietness Score five stars e1291132917436 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?
Realistic Feel four and a half stars e1291132859260 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter? Overall four and a half stars e1291132859260 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?

 

The Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer and Progressive Resistance

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Dial In One Of 4 Settings On The Supermagneto Pro

The Cycleops Magneto family was the first (and claims to be the only) magnetic bike trainer with progressive resistance. What that means is that the harder you ride, the further the magnets spin away from the center of the flywheel…adding to the Cycleops Magneto trainer’s resistance.

Sounds logical, doesn’t it?

While progressive resistance is a ‘given’ if you’ve been riding a high quality fluid trainer, in the world of magnetic trainers the common way of adjusting the resistance has been to dismount and manually adjust the magnets away from center.

That’s not how the Cycleops Magneto works…the resistance increases smoothly and exponentially, just like when you’re riding against the wind outside.

The Cycleops Magneto doesn’t have the four different settings, although it could be argued that for most cyclists the added ‘tweek’ of four different settings is unnecessary.

If you compare the graph of the CycleOps Magneto to the graph of the CycleOps Supermagneto Pro, you’ll see that the Cycleops Magneto provides a resistance comparable to the ‘Road Setting’ of the Supermagneto Pro.

I’ve spent thousands of hours on my bike with a Powertap meter on it, so I can tell you that you won’t be able to conquer the resistance of the Cycleops Magneto…since the values are still going skyward above 400 watts.
CycleOps Supermagneto Pro power curve Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?

CycleOps Magneto power curve e1307833946301 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?
The ‘Mountain’ setting of the Supermagneto Pro arrives at the highest resistance levels at relatively low speeds, and the amount of energy needed to increase even the smallest of speed changes is met with some pretty stout resistance increases. And that’s exactly what it feels like in the mountains here in Mount Shasta.

==>Buy the Cycleops Magneto Trainer from Amazon here.<==
==>Buy the Cycleops Super Magneto Pro Trainer from Amazon here.<==

Cycleops and the Saris Group

Cycleops is part of the Saris group (or is it the other way around?). Regardless, the point is that both are noted for their emphasis on quality and customer service. Hours and hours spent scouring the web fails to reveal much, if anything in the way of customer discontent. So… as has been alluded to with the star system at the top of the page, product quality is five stars…as is customer service.

I have a couple of Powertap power meters from the Saris group and the customer service has been great…bearings wear out in Powertap hubs just as they do in any wheels, and my dealings with the folks at Saris has been seamless. The Powertaps were back in no time…re-calibrated, equipped with new bearings, and ready for another 10,000 miles.

Sure enough, when a little part on the Supermagneto Pro needed to be replaced, an email was answered right away. And most miraculous of all…a replacement part got to my house the next day. That’s nearly impossible considering how far we are from any major cities, but it was waiting for me on the porch when I came home for lunch the day after the email.

Noise Factor

The largest surprise I got from the Supermagneto Pro is how quiet it is. Right off the bat I was sure that it was quieter than my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, but I wanted to be sure. So I did what any smart phone owner does…I looked for a Droid Audiometer Ap.

Sure enough, there were a handful of Aps to be downloaded. Yes, I know that any of these Aps are limited by the quality of the ‘mouthpiece microphone’ of the phone.

IMGP0879 e1307891557884 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?

“Audalyzer” Phone Ap Confirmed My Impression

But it was my intention to confirm what my ears were telling me. I lined up the CycleOps Supermagneto Pro and the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.

I carefully placed my phone one foot to the side of the front fork and I pedaled at 17 mph. The Supermagneto Pro was consistently 5 decibels quieter than the Road Machine. I know that isn’t very much…but considering that fluid trainers have always been touted to have an edge over mag trainers in the noise department, I found this to be interesting, and a ‘plus’ for the Cycleops Magneto family.

As a side note, here are some factors that increase or decrease the noise coming from a bike trainer.

  • Using tires with a tread on them greatly increases noise.
  • A ‘trainer-specific’ tire reduces wear, and it’s also quieter.
  • Using a trainer on tile instead of carpet will make it louder.
  • Riding casually won’t generate much noise on any trainer…aggressive riding on any trainer is a different story.

The Cycleops Magneto and Realistic Feel

Previous to the Cycleops Magneto family moving onto the block, the feel of any mag trainer didn’t match a high quality fluid trainer. But having a good, heavy flywheel contributes to the feel of the CycleOps Magneto trainer, as does the progressive resistance.

I couldn’t feel any difference in the ‘realism’ between the Supermagneto Pro and the Road Machine that I’ve ridden for years. The only reason it doesn’t get a five star rating for realism is because there are now trainers that ‘move’ with the cyclist (like the Rock and Roll), giving an added sense of realism.

The ‘Foundation’ Of The Magneto

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Supermagneto Pro Attaching System

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Magneto ‘Cam Lever’ Attaching System

The frame of the Cycleops Magneto is made of the same 2 inch 16 gauge steel tubing that’s used on a lot of the ‘early model’ CycleOps trainers.

The frame of the Supermagneto Pro is larger in diameter and has been shaped to add rigidity, which seems to reduce the ‘spread’ that trainer frames experience when you’re tightening a bike into them. The Supermagneto Pro frame (along with the other high end CycleOps trainer frames) also looks cooler.

Both Cycleops Magneto models include adjustable foot pads, assuring you’ll have a solid ride even if you’re on an uneven surface. Of course, it has folding legs for more convenient storage once the weather clears and you can get back to riding outside.

Your bike is attached to the Cycleops Magneto with a quick load cam lever so that you can get your bike into and out of the trainer easily, assured that the bike’s attached with the same ‘snugness’ as the last ride.

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Pull Yellow Lever Down To Tighten Bike Into Magneto, Up For Removal

The attachment system on the Supermagneto Pro is a bit different. For every full rotation of the yellow dial, the shaft moves one inch (yes, I measured it). That means it’s very easy to get the bike snugged into the trainer quickly. You do lose the ability to duplicate the tension of the bike in the trainer, like you get in the Cycleops Magneto quick load cam system.

Snugging the trainers up against the tire is accomplished with a yellow lever that, once set, applies the same amount of pressure every time. I like this feature…it makes getting the correct tension between the trainer and the tire a snap.

Speaking of ‘foundations’, there’s nothing more solid than a good guarantee. The Cycleops Magnetos have a lifetime guarantee, as do all of the CycleOps trainers.

Should you need new ideas on how to make yourself hurt more, there’s an included training DVD done by ex-pro Robbie Ventura.

Cycleops Magneto Features

  1. The Cycleops Magneto is the only magnetic trainer on the market with progressive resistance for a decent road-like feel and quiet ride.
  2. Power Band technology provides wide range of resistance without dismounting.
  3. Bike is attached to the Cycleops Magneto trainer with an easy to use Cam-lever.
  4. Foot pads on the Cycleops Magneto accommodate for uneven surfaces.
  5. The Cycleops Magneto as a 2″ roller and an easy to fold down design.
  6. A training DVD is included with the Cycleops Magneto.
  7. There’s a Lifetime warranty on the Cycleops Magneto.
  8. The Supermagneto Pro has an even wider range of power settings.
The Good
  1. The Cycleops Magneto is a high quality product from a company that emphasizes customer satisfaction.
  2. Progressive resistance in the Cycleops Magneto provides a power band that will test the resolve of almost any legs.
  3. Don’t have to dismount from the Cycleops Magneto to increase resistance.
The Bad
  1. The Supermagneto Pro may be above the price range of some cyclists.

This trainer is for:

  1. Riders looking for a high quality trainer.  The Cycleops Magneto is a great bike trainer that won’t ‘break the bank’.
  2. Riders looking for a reasonably realistic feel.
  3. Riders not wanting to deal with the noise of a wind trainer or a magnetic trainer of lesser quality.  The Cycleops Magneto is every bit as quiet as a fluid trainer.

Here’s What Cyclists Are Saying…

I’ve had the Cycleops Magneto trainer for a few years now, using it about once weekly for forty five minutes. It’s held up very well and it’s plenty quiet…

“carolkey” {review edited for brevity. Read full review here}

The Cycleops Magneto bike trainer is great…very quiet. Resistance is OK, would recommend a trainer tire, climbing block, and a mat…

“Jessica” {review edited for brevity. Read full review here}

 

==>Buy the Cycleops Magneto Trainer from Amazon here.<==
==>Buy the Cycleops Super Magneto Pro Trainer from Amazon here.<==

Amazon matches any pricing I’ve found on the internet, and they’re a very trusted merchant.

cycleops magneto1 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?Cycleops Magneto Trainer
Easy-to-set-up, easy-to-use CycleOps Magneto Trainer power band technology provides a progressive, natural workout with varying resistance.
buy from amazon small image Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?
$223.99
Save $56.00 (20%)

cycleops supermagneto pro1 e1352157628538 Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro
The Flexible Power Curve Technology offers four distinctly different power curves by changing the location of the four resistance magnets
buy from amazon small image Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review  Does Progressive Resistance Matter?
$347.44
Save $52.55
13%

About the reviewer: Ron Fritzke is a Chiropractor in Mount Shasta, CA and 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.

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

32 Responses to Cycleops Magneto Bike Trainer Review- Does Progressive Resistance Matter?

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  2. Rodney says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for the great trainer info! I am interested in getting a trainer primarily (maybe exclusively) for HIIT or interval training once or twice a week. I also run sprints, but tend to strain hamstrings and get injured easily, so I thought a trainer would be less stressful and allow winter sprints as well.

    My question is which trainer you would recommend for my limited needs? I am willing to spend what it takes to get a solid, reliable, trainer that has enough resistance for my sprint workouts (15-30 second all out intervals).

    Is the CycleOps Mag good enough, or should I consider the CycleOps Magneto, or even one of the two fluid trainers you recommend?

    Thanks for your help!

    Rodney

  3. Kristopher says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about cycleops magneto bike trainer.
    Regards

  4. Laura says:

    Hi Ron,

    I’m not a cyclist. (yet – right?!). I’m considering indoor cycling with a trainer for the following reasons: I already own a good bike, I have chronic low back pain and need a replacement exercise to walking, which is exacerbating the pain, and I have fibromyalgia (and need to exercise to improve symptoms and prefer an at home exercise I can do as soon as I get up in the morning – otherwise it doesn’t happen).
    I have a couple questions about the trainers: 1. I have the opposite issue of the cyclist enthusiasts and need to know if the trainers will provide a low enough amount of resistance for my needs. I will need to start with almost no resistance and work up from there very gradually. So, will the trainers start low enough for me/is no resistance even an option? 2. I don’t like the idea of noise and prefer the quit and smooth ride you mention from the higher end trainers but since I will be going slow is the noise not even an issue for me even on a wind resistance trainer? Or is there always some noise with them no matter how slow you go? Thank you for your time.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Laura,
      You will most likely be starting out at a relatively low cadence, so most of the trainers will provide very little resistance. I suppose that you could even put your bike onto the trainer and not engage the roller against your back tire. In that case there would be no resistance whatsoever, and you would still be getting the benefits of a stable bike stand. Good luck in your new cycling ‘career’.

      • Laura says:

        Hi Ron,

        Thank you so much for your reply. That is helpful. With a low cadence and very little resistance would a a wind trainer still be noisy? I want something that will be quiet but I don’t know if it will even be an issue with little resistance. However, I want something that I’ll be happy with for quite some time as I make progress and I don’t mind paying a little extra for good quality. I’m trying to decide between a wind trainer and a magnetic one. The fluid ones are more than I’d like to spend at this point since I’m just into this at the recreational level for exercise. Your review of the Magneto makes that one sound very attractive but I’m trying to determine if I’ll even have a noise issue with a wind trainer as a recreational rider. Thanks again for your time. Your website is very informative.

        • Ron Fritzke says:

          Laura,

          At $170, the Cycleops Mag trainer might be a good option. You may not have a noise issue with the wind trainer as you start out, but as you progress the wind trainer will most likely be more noisy than the Cycleops Mag trainer. Either choice would make sense for you.

  5. I need to ride with a fast cadence (90-110), so as not to strain my partially-torn ACL.
    Will it matter which type of trainer to buy?
    I used to have an air-resistance trainer, and that was okay, but noisy.
    A Schwinn Airdyne puts too much strain, as it’s hard to get the cadence above 60. I find the same problem with our tandem – the demand on my knee is too much.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Steve,

      On the Road Machine and the Magnetos I am able to pedal at the cadence you’re referencing and get anywhere from minimal resistance to heavy resistance by choosing which gear is appropriate on my bike. Let me know if I’m not thinking of an aspect the issue you’re facing.

      • Thanks!
        With my knee (and money) on the line, I had to be sure I could get the right cadence and resistance.
        These trainers sound excellent!

  6. Frank says:

    Ron

    Just found your website…what a pleasant surprise. I’m going to be in the market for a new trainer this fall,(my old Blackburn will have to do for the rest of this winter) and have been doing some research as to Fluid or Mag. Yours and your posts have cemented my decision. A Super Magneto Pro and a Conti trainer tire will be under me next winter. Again, thank-you.

    Cheers
    Frank

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Frank, Thanks for the kind words. I think your decision regarding the Super Magneto Pro is an excellent one.

      Happy riding!
      Ron

  7. Rhodri says:

    Hi Ron

    I’ve just bought a cycleops magneto. It’s great ‘in the saddle’ workouts but as soon as I get out of the saddle and up on my feet for some sprint/climbing work, the resistance doesn’t seem to be enough on it, even when I’m in the hardest gear on the bike. I’ve tightened the flywheel on to the back wheel but still doesn’t seem enough. Am I doing something wrong or is this just how they are?

    Thanks

    Rhodri.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Rhodri, You’re right in first looking to see if there is any slippage between the wheel and the roller. Do you think that you could put the bike in the highest gear and gradually increase the effort while staying seated and still ‘overpower’ the trainer? If you can get enough resistance while doing smooth pedaling at a given wheel speed, but not enough resistance while doing the ‘jerky’ pedaling of standing at that same speed, then tire slippage is likely the culprit.

      When I stand and pedal, it isn’t too difficult to break the bond between the tire and the flywheel. But if I crank up the wattage smoothly, the Magneto will resist beyond my capacity.

      You could ask the guys at CycleOps…they’ve been very good to work with. Their number is 1-800-783-7257.

      Let me know how things turn out.

  8. Ron Fritzke says:

    Jared, I haven’t had any ‘hands-on’ experience with the Magneto, but I assume it won’t be much different in noise level than the Supermagneto Pro. CycleOps makes quality products, so they wouldn’t be involved in noisy mag trainer production.

  9. Jared says:

    Thanks for the review! You mentioned that the Supermagneto Pro is quiet, but what about the Magneto? You don’t explicitly mention the Magneto in the noise section, but your mention that the noise level is a “a ‘plus’ for the Cycleops Magneto family” indicates the Magneto may be as quiet as the Supermagneto? Or is it noisy like other magnetic trainers?

  10. Dave says:

    Hi Ron,
    I own a Cycleops SuperMagneto Pro. I’ve hooked up a rear wheel speedometer, and I use the power curve chart to plan my intervals. The chart tells me that 22.3 or so mph on Mountain setting equates to 400 watts. You said in the article that you also train with a power meter and I was wondering how close the power meter reading is to the values shown by the chart? I would hope that it would be really close since the same company manufactures the trainer and the power meter. Something tells me it isn’t though. I can pull the 400 watts on the trainer for 5 minutes or so. However, my climbing speeds indicate an output of closer to 300 watts when I plug the numbers into Bike Calculator.com.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Dave, When I did the testing my impression was that the resistance was pretty close to the chart. I really should process and post to YouTube the videos I did. I’m just camera shy.

      • Dave says:

        Thanks for your reply. Looks like the answer to my puzzle is somewhere else. I’m not so sure that the mountain setting is not a misnomer since when I do my intervals I’m comfortably in the big ring doing over 22. We have some 3.5% grade hills around here where I can stay in the big ring but I’m going 15, 16 tops.

        • Ron Fritzke says:

          Dave, The guys over at CycleOps have always been very helpful to me. Consider giving them a call…1-800-783-7257. You can see their contact page here.

          • Dave says:

            I did send an email to custsrv@saris.com:
            ========================
            Hi,

            I own a Super Magneto Pro. I use the power curve diagram that came with the manual
            that correlates speed to power for my interval training sessions.

            Some of my cycling friends are skeptical of the diagram. I thought that it was plausible
            that it was very accurate as your company makes the PowerTap and presumably would
            have tested the Super Magneto Pro against a Power Tap while developing the product.

            How accurate is the published power curve diagram, and how did you arrive at the values
            published? Was the Super Magneto Pro tested against a Power Tap?
            =======================
            I never heard back from them. I wonder if they have something to hide?

          • Ron Fritzke says:

            Dave,
            …before pondering if the people at Saris have something to hide because they didn’t respond to your email, get on the phone and talk to them. I know it’s old school to go ‘voice to voice’, but you have no assurance that your email got to them…or maybe got overlooked. There’s a lot less urgency in answering an email than there is in answering a question posed on the phone.

  11. Haywood says:

    Just a follow up, because I know someone will mention it…

    Yes, “irregardless” is in the dictionary (so is “ginormous” and “omg”), but even the dictionary says it’s an improper variation of the word “regardless” and should not be used. The point is, using the word “irregardless” makes one sound ignorant and uneducated, which the reviewer clearly is not.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Haywood, Thanks for pointing out the error…I’ve fixed it. I may be ignorant about many things, but I’m no longer ignorant about the proper use of the word ‘regardless’. :-)

  12. Haywood says:

    Excellent review, except for one thing: “irregardless” IS NOT A WORD!

  13. Ron Fritzke says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for seeing my mistake and pointing it out. I’ve gone back and fixed it.

    When I looked at the image of the ‘Audalyzer’ just now, it clearly shows ‘dBs’. I don’t know why I pulled megahertz out of my hat.

    Thanks again,
    Ron

  14. Larry says:

    You wrote “The Supermagneto Pro was consistently 5 megahertz quieter than the Road Machine.”

    Megahertz are a measure of frequency (pitch), not amplitude (volume). Did you mean to write “decibels” instead? That would make more sense.

  15. Ron Fritzke says:

    Doug,

    I haven’t been on the Jetfluid Pro, but I was very pleasantly surprised with how quiet the Supermagneto Pro was. I can’t imagine that there are very many trainers quieter than the Supermagneto Pro.

    Sorry that I don’t have much ‘hands-on’ experience with the Jetfluid Pro.

    Ron

  16. Doug says:

    Very good review.

    I just got the jetfluid pro thinking it would be quieter than the supermagneto – it’s a fluid so it must be – but reviewers seem to indicate the supermegneto is less noisey.

    Do you, by any chance, have any light to share on that question? I might try to send mine back and swap it for the supermag.

  17. Mauricio Fornasari says:

    Hello Ron,
    Excellent reviews.
    I live in Brazil and recently had a child so I can not train often.. I decided to buy a trainer in a trip to the U.S. that I will visit next month.
    I would like to spend up to $ 500 and (looking your reviews) I have three options in mind: KK Road, Rock & Roll or Cycleops SuperMagneto.
    Of course the decision is not completely objective. In my case, I should compare size and weight for carry on baggage. And I would like to have the most realistic feel.
    Which of the 3 should I buy?

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Maurico,

      Because of the weight factor, you should probably rule out the Rock and Roll. It’s a beast in the weight department. The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is also quite heavy.

      I was impressed with the ride on the Super Magneto and it doesn’t seem as heavy. It also seemed quieter to me than the other two.

      So…in your case, I’d recommend the Super Magneto.

      Thanks for the comment,
      Ron

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