Best Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Cycle trainers aren’t for everyone, but they’re not just for the most serious of cyclists either. Of course, if cycling is your passion and you live somewhere where the climate forces everyone inside for a portion of the year, a cycle trainer is a must have. Because of their relatively small size. They also come in handy for people wo live in cramped living spaces but use cycling as their primary means of cardio exercise. If more people knew about the availability of cycle trainers exercise bikes would probably not be as popular as they are. Educate yourself on the benefits of these excellent cardio machines with our indoor cycle buyer’s guide listed below.
CycleOps PowerBeam Pro ANT+ Trainer
Wahoo Kickr Power Trainer
Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer
Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer with Electro Brake
Minoura RDA 2429R Rim Drive Trainer
Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer
Cycle Ops Magneto Trainer
RAD Cycle Products Max Racer PRO 9 Levels of Resistance Bike Trainer Work Out
Premium Trainer Bicycle Indoor Trainer
Cycleops Wind Trainer with Quick Lock Frame Mount
Cycle Ops creates some of the best bike trainers in the world and none are more desirable than the Power Beam series. The device come pre-assembled and the quick release skewer makes mounting and dismounting the bike a piece of cake; in other words, it should you take less than five minutes to go from box to using it. Users will find this particular model can fit nearly any tire size and the easy to use clutch knob ensure the perfect tire tension. The device itself is made of heavy duty steel for unprecedented support and specially machine alloys which ensure the longevity of both the trainer and your bike.
The PowerBeam is also the future of resistance training as it uses electronic, programmable resistance which you can control right from your seat. Not only does this mean you can find that perfect road-like feel, but you can also program in resistance for natural occurrences like hills and valleys. This nearly silent-running model is compatible using either a Bluetooth enabled device or ANT+ device and easily pairs with most other ANT+ accessories to control, enhance, and record the results of your ride.
Wahoo Kickr Power Trainer
The Kickr by Wahoo has been one of the best since it was first introduced with very little need for improvement since then. It starts with a solid base made out of heavy duty steel tubing covered in durable plastic and polymer casings. The base is wide with stabilizing feet which adds even more stability for those who really get into their ride. It relies on electromagnetic resistance which creates a smooth, road-like, nearly silent resistance which can be controlled using Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. The Kickr will take any wheel that you can throw at it, though mounting and dismounting on this particular device is a little more time consuming. With this pick it doesn't just let you drop your wheel in, you have to take your wheel off and mount the wheel hub to the trainer.
After one look at the Rock N Roll it is easy to see why it's one of the best cycle trainers in the world. It offers great stability with solid steel tubing and not slip rubber feet, yet allows you to rock back and forth just like you would on your bike. It relies on fluid resistance which is not only smooth and nearly silent, but also offers an infinite amount of resistance. Fluid resistance is actually fairly simple, it involves the use of a viscous liquid like an oil and a flywheel. The harder you pedal the more resistance the fluid puts on the flywheel which means that resistance is infinite depending on you.
Kinetic has their own app which works with the Rock N Roll in order for users to keep track of their metrics and compare them to their outdoor ride. The units setup is super simple and users can go from box to using it in about five minutes. All you do is add the extension legs, dropping your wheel in, and tightening the skewer system. All of this is backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty which make Kurt Kinetic that much more special among bike trainers.
The Vortex is a solid trainer which has a solid steel base, but uses highly durable polymers for casings and the roller. The Vortex uses electromagnetic resistance which is as smooth as it comes and virtually silent. What is more important about this resistance is that it is programmable to mimic a road-like feel including hills and valleys. It can connect through any mobile device to control resistance and view your metrics, but when connected to a computer it can become a kind of a video game with real world maps and challenges. Having the visual portion does add a certain intangible effect to the authentic road feel. Mounting on the Vortex is super simple with a skewer lock system which allows you to drop your rear wheel in, tighten it, and go. It will also accommodate any tire size out there though it may need an adapter for irregular sizes.
Usually I wouldn’t start by talking about the mounting, but the rim drive forces an exception. The Rim Drive RDA2429-R uses a unique form of resistance which comes as rubber wheels which offer resistance by putting pressure on the rim. This resistance form is consistently smooth, nearly silent, and does not cause any unneeded wear on the tire and can be controlled by a remote on your handle bars. The turn crank skewer makes mounting and dismounting your bike as easy as righty tighty lefty loosey and the design ensures as a tight fit every time. The base itself is mostly steel with a few plastic pieces here and there as well as the rubber rollers; aside from some small plastic parts the entire device will outlive your bike.
There is so much for Blackburn to brag about here it’s hard to know where to start. It is hardly possible to find a more stable budget trainer considering as this is a solid instrument to begin with. Individual height adjustable legs to make even an uneven surface level and stable while the innovative fast crank mounting system makes it super easy to screw your tire in. There are also tapered cones and an adjustable roller which fit just about any bicycle tire size you want to throw on it. The fluid method of resistance uses a viscous, oil-like liquid in order to generate smooth, nearly silent resistance which changes as your speed changes. Blackburn is so sure of their work on the Tech Fluid Trainer that they offer a lifetime warranty to back it up.
Cycle Ops is easy to put on this list because their Magneto uses progressive magnetic resistance which stays nearly silent while offering the perfect amount of road-feel resistance. The base is made of alloy and has a nice width to it; when combined with the specialized stabilizing legs this trainer is not going anywhere no matter how hard you pedal. Mounting a tire of pretty much any size is as simple as can be with a bolt action lever that easily adjusts for each tire size and an impressive turn dial gives the roller just enough tension for a smooth road feel without wearing on your tire or catching during your ride. In true Cycle Ops fashion the Magneto comes with a lifetime warranty which keeps your mind on your workout and not on the welfare your device.
Though this company sound as if they are stuck in the ‘80s their name is actually an acronym for “Ride All Day” which is what most people want to do when they get their hands on this product. Straight out of the box, it’s easy to set up and even easier to mount your bike on. The Max Racer Pro easily accommodates wheel sizes from 26 to 28-inches and 700cc wheels which sets them apart from many of their competitors. This trainer uses magnetic resistance which is arguably the quietest form of resistance and offers seven different resistance levels which can easily be changed with the hand bar mounted resistance switch. It has a wide base with non-slip grips which give you all the support you need especially when you are mounting and dismounting your bike. One more feature that makes this cycle trainer pretty neat is it can be folded up for easy storage when you’re not using it.
It is not often that you will find a quality wind resistance trainer like this, but that’s just how awesome the people at Cycle Ops are. The resistance level is infinite since resistance increases the harder you pedal just like a traditional air resistance exercise bike. It uses a bolt action lever to easily mount and dismount most popular road and mountain bike tire size and Cycle Ops’s innovative twist cap to apply the perfect amount of roller pressure to the tire.
The trainer itself is built with Cycle Ops’s tough alloy body and their eccentric leveling legs which make it surprisingly steady despite its size. One flaw is the wind resistance can get noisy, but apart from that, I would take this trainer over many “luxury” models. This trainer is perfect for someone looking for a starting point to dip their toes in the cycle trainer pool.
Indoor Bicycle Trainer Buyer's Guide
For the most part almost every indoor cycle trainer looks the same; there are a few exceptions like cycle rollers which work slightly different than a traditional cycle trainer. Though they are close in looks, there are some physical attributes which set them apart.
Most of the physical attributes of an indoor cycle trainer are tied into their resistance types however the other traits you want to always look for when choosing any type of trainer are the materials (such as steel, aluminum, iron, plastic) and the amount of noise they make as some can be unbearably loud.
Indoor cycles are fairly simple devices without much in the way of huge differences from one model to another, but there are a few extra features that come along with some trainers. Some top shelf models offer the ability to move, or lean during use which mimics the feeling of riding on the road.
Indoor cycle trainers are small, but intricate so you always want to make sure that your trainer comes with a detailed warranty that goes out at least three years.
This is where things get interesting when it comes to indoor cycle trainers. The most important trait an indoor cycle should have is the feeling like you’re actually riding on the road; if the option you’re looking at doesn’t provide that sensation, you might as well get an exercise bike.
There are four different types of resistance for cycle trainers and different cyclist will swear by different resistance types.
You won’t find wind resistance on many cycle trainers, but some avid cyclists love it. It works by using the natural resistance of wind to create pedal resistance which is as infinite as riding a normal bike. It may feel more natural since you are creating wind around you, but it is also the loudest resistance out of the bunch.
These cycle trainers are the most simple yet at the same time most challenging. They usually only come with one spinning bar in front and two in the back which support the wheels. The resistance isn’t the most challenging with these trainers, however they’re not locked like other trainers which force you to maintain balance, adding an extra element of difficulty and authenticating the feel of a road ride.
Magnetic resistance in a cycle trainer works like every other piece of cardio equipment; magnets on a fly wheel become more or less polarized as to increase or decrease the resistance. This type of resistance doesn’t offer the best road-like feel, but it does offer a smoother, quieter form of resistance.
Fluid resistance offers the smoothest, quietest, and most road-like feel you will find in a cycle trainer. The idea is quite simple though the follow through is actually fairly technical. What it boils down to is there is a tiny plastic fan that moves against fluid in the wheel shell. The harder you pedal, the more the resistance increases.