Bike trainer is used to train indoors, specifically in the comfort of home. You connect the rear wheel of the bike with the stand and thereafter pedal. They provide resistance which allows you to change gears and accelerate accordingly. Trainers offer experience same as that of outdoor cycling which makes them a great substitute. Bike trainer is a perfect way to exercise the body, especially when the weather is not favorable and you run short on time. It is a great option for those who want to work out but have little or no outdoor facility. Now, the dilemma is there are many bike trainer available in the market and at times it becomes confusing to decide the most suitable pick. Each bike trainer manufacturer claims to build the best bike trainer and offer several features altogether. So, we have brought this detailed review of top 4 bike trainers available so that your task of choosing the best bike trainer can be eased. Our review, comparison chart, and buying guide will help you in buying the right bike trainer for your workout. Let us first understand some of the points to bear in mind while buying a bike trainer.
Understanding Bike Trainers
There are basically three types of bike trainers available which are classified on the basis of resistance provided:
- Magnetic – These are mid ground bike trainers which have two opposite same-poled magnets to provide resistance. They provide linear resistance but are less durable. They can be quite expensive and do not have any operational noise.
- Wind – They have a fan which is driven by the cyclist. Faster the pedal moves more is the resistance provided. They provide great resistance but there is no added resistance. This is the cheapest option of bike trainers but comes with a lot of operational noise.
- Fluid – The most advanced option of bike trainer is fluid-operated. They have a flywheel which is immersed in a high viscosity fluid. You get the maximum control in this trainer. The most expensive of option, they come with almost nil noise. Downside is they are not well suited for warm weather.
Accessories for Bike Trainers
The experience of bike training is enhanced when a certain set of accessories is used. Here are some of the accessories that you might consider buying:
- Mat – A mat protects the floor from getting scratches or fade. It also acts as a cushion between the floor and the trainer bike. Not using a mat will cause damage to certain kind of floors such as wood and granite. Mat further provide stability and grip to the bike trainer. Another advantage is that the mat absorbs noise; so if you are living in an apartment, it will come handy. Our pick for trainer mat is Body Solid Super Mat RF34B Bike Mat which is made of solid PVC material.
- Riser Block – The rear wheel of the bike is lifted by the bike trainer and to maintain balance, it is equally important to raise the front wheel to the same height. This is to add stability to the trainer bike and maintain balance. It is very important to add a riser block otherwise you may fall off the bike in an aggressive stance. Our pick for riser block is Sunlite Forza Riser Block which is made of solid material and accepts up to 27” wheels.
- Sweat Net – While cycling on a bike trainer, you will perspire a lot which is why a sweat net is important. It catches all the sweat and prevents your floor from getting dirty. You certainly don’t want to tarnish your floor while training indoors which is why it is an important accessory. Our pick for sweat net is CycleOps Bike Thong Sweat Catcher which is a great sweat catcher.
Now that we have understood the types of bike trainers and the accessories associated with it, let us have a look at the top 4 bike trainers.
Pick Number 1 – Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Bike Trainer
This bike trainer model gives the closest possible experience of riding a cycle outside. It runs on fluid resistance technology and offers a great resistance which can be adjusted as your progress. The faster you go, the higher will be the resistance which gives simulates real life scenario. The trainer allows you to carry out different workouts. High quality medical grade silicon is used in resistance unit which coupled with a flywheel gives this trainer the perfect combination. Medical grade silicon doesn’t heat up or expands which means it will last longer. Fluid resistance trainers are the first choice of professional riders and this upgraded model claims to eliminate all the problems faced in its predecessors. The roller is 3 inches wide and easily accommodates rear of the wheel. It is large enough to not only mount the rear wheel but also dissipate heat over a larger surface area.
The roller is connected with the fluid resistance through magnetic couplers which are arranged in such a manner that when you push your bike to higher speeds, a lot of pressure builds up. The casing of the trainer is spill-proof which means you don’t have to worry about any spillage. We found this trainer to be noiseless, thanks to its high quality fluid and magnetic couplers. An added advantage is that this model comes with a lifetime warranty. It takes a little time to adjust to the bike and customize it according to the needs but once done, this bike will be the best trainer you would have ever experienced. Settings once done can be carried out for the rest of the workout. The trainer can accommodate most of the bikes but fits up to 29 x 24” tire sizes perfectly. This is a bike trainer every cycling enthusiast must have and every feature that it offers proves our recommendation of its first position right.
Pick Number 2 – CycleOps Wind Trainer
It is a wind resistance trainer which incorporates a minimal design but has a commendable impact. Wind resistance trainers have been used for many years and this model is trusted for exercising indoors. Wind resistance technology offers steady resistance which increases on shifting to higher gears. This model works well if you like to race your bike around. At higher speed, the bike offers great resistance.
The fans are made of zinc which adds to the resistance of the flywheel. We swear by its durability as it might be the most durable bike trainer available. A solid metal frame is a great feature which is versatile to mount road bikes as well as off-roaders with equal finesse. Weight rating of this bike trainer is 300 pounds. The bike comes with folding legs which makes its storage easy. You can also adjust the legs according to the floor.
The company offers lifetime guarantee with this model. A downside of this model is it is noisy. With years of use, the noise keeps on increasing though not to an unbearable level. If you can ignore the noise, this is the best pick for consistent workouts in the home.
Pick Number 3 – Magnetic Steel Bike Indoor Exercise Trainer
This is the most affordable bike trainer which has got great reviews from users. It is a magnetic resistance based trainer which offers 5 levels of different resistance. You can manually set the resistance level easily according to your stage and comfort. It uses advanced technology which enables this trainer to provide progressive training as well. Experience of workout on this trainer is not as smooth as experienced in a fluid trainer but for the price range it comes at, it is a trade-off. The magnets work fine and can adjust according to the changing speed. A specific mention in the reviews is about magnets which are consistent even with heavy use. The trainer is lightweight and easy to carry, store, and transport.
The stands can be easily folded making it very compact. The main frame of the trainer is durable and consists of premium grade steel. The overall size of the frame is not that large, which makes it easy to carry around. Despite its low price, no issues were faced regarding stability of the bike. It is recommended that the trainer should hold the bike well so that the bike doesn’t fall, eventually injuring the rider. A downside of this trainer is it is quite noisy in operation. Since this trainer runs on magnetic resistance, some noise should be expected. This bike trainer is a good option for those who want to train indoors. For better outdoor experience of cycling, fluid trainers are a better option but nonetheless, Magnetic Steel Bike does the same job decently.
Pick Number 4 – RAD Cycle Products Indoor Portable Magnetic Trainer
This is again a solid magnetic trainer which is very affordable. This model comes equipped with stands which provide extra support to the bike. So you can even use heavy bikes on this trainer, without any fear of falling. The stand even lets heavyweight individuals train easily with stability. No discomfort was felt by them, even in long training hours. The overall frame looks very strong and reinforced making it durable. The company has engineered this trainer to last for years. This is the thinnest trainer which can be folded completely. Even the weight of this trainer is light, weighing only 17 pounds!
This is a perfect trainer which can accompany you in trips and camping. We were satisfied by the resistance offered by the bike and its overall performance. Talking of the downsides, this is the noisiest of the trainers which can be attributed to its construction material. The joints and flywheel make a lot of noise which makes it unbearable after some time. If you are looking for a budget bike trainer which is easy to carry and has a strong body, this trainer it the best pick. Regardless of the noise, we found this trainer the best in performance, strength, and budget.
For those who are looking to burn their calories, want the best, and want to begin with burning pockets a little, Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer is a clear winner. However if you’re willing to back down a little on performance and want something within the reach of budget, Magnetic Steel Bike Bicycle Indoor Trainer is the best value for money trainer you can lay your hands on.