“There’s no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” But maybe you’re not willing to don the extra layers to stay warm in this weather. Perhaps your schedule doesn’t allow you to get out on the roads. An indoor trainer is a way to stay cycling fit on your own schedule and with little regard to what Mother Nature has to dish out.
An indoor trainer, unlike the bike at spin class, is used with your own bike. So setting up your position is simple; you’re already there! There are advantages to riding your own bike, versus a spin bike – especially if you race. Assuming a proper bike fit, your bike is proportioned for your body and your riding style. Also, you’re training on your bike, not some simulation of a bike. It’s a win-win.
But, what to make of the different trainers? At Higher Gear, we carry a range of indoor trainers to meet every need and budget.
Most trainers now work by attaching to your rear wheel skewer. Your rear tire, then, turns against a roller which is attached to a resistant unit. The form of that resistance can be either magnetic, fluid or electronic – that’s where you will find differences in performance and price.
Magnetic trainers, like the CycleOps Mag+ Trainer, work by the magic of magnets. More scientifically, they use electromagnetic induction to slow down the shaft that is powered by your pedaling legs.
Magnetic trainers have come a long way. Originally, they weren’t very good at mimicking resistance in a way that the road does. The best, at least, could create a linear increase in resistance. However, when we ride outdoors, resistance builds progressively with our speed because of air resistance. According to Greg Kopecky in Trainer Tech, written for Lava Magazine (April 2013, issue 20), “doubling your speed requires eight times the power to overcome the increased drag.” To create a more realistic increase in resistance, manufacturers started adding adjustment dials to their magnetic trainers.
CycleOps Mag+ Trainer
For those on a budget or who care less about trainer noise, the Mag+ is a great option. This trainer has five-position adjustment makes it easy to vary your workouts. The Mag+ comes with a training skewer and the Race Day training DVD.
Definitely add this to your arsenal!
I love my Mag+ Trainer! My Sprint triathlon season is over (I’m a newbie) but I see the value in offseason training. This product is durable & easy to assemble. I’d recommend adding the Climbing Riser Block so you can add climbing to your training. I was concerned about the noise level but on carpet (& with music pumping) it’s minimal. I’m stoked can’t wait to see what improvements I make.
My first trainer
I’m using the mag+ to train and keep in shape this winter. It’s my first trainer. I don’t know why any one would say it’s to loud. With a road bike tire, I listen to my computer just fine. It seems that a few dvd’s or other motivation to keep you on the trainer for the winter month’s is key. It would be boring otherwise. I love it and expect to hit the road next spring in great shape.
Fluid trainers are a step up from magnetic ones – in performance and in price. First of all, they are much quieter than the magnetic trainers. For smaller or shared training spaces, they make a better option.
Beyond sound, fluid trainers offer more realistic resistance and the best “road feel.” Fluid trainers work by spinning an impeller through a viscous fluid. As your wheel spins the impeller faster, resistance goes up. Fluids are chosen by manufacturers to recreate the progressive power curve that realistically mimics real life riding.
CycleOps Fluid² Trainer
The Fluid² is one of the quietest trainers on the market. If your training space shares a room in the house where other people are present, this is a great option. To those whose primary concern is performance, this trainer is designed to capture real road feel through the precision–balanced flywheel. Just like riding outside, simply shift gears to increase or decrease resistance. When you spin your wheels on the Fluid², it feels like you’re actually getting somewhere.
For those already familiar with the Fluid Trainer, this “squared” version has been upgraded. The adjusted fluid levels provide better resistance. The improved position of sealed–cartridge bearings allows for better inertia. Both mean an ultra quiet ride that ensures increased wattage as you increase your speed.
Nice and smooth and quiet
Living in a 2nd floor apartment just outside of NYC, it was important to purchase a trainer that would be quiet and not affect my neighbors. Although it has a dull “hum” while I’m spinning, the sound level is well under what I consider acceptable in the attempt to not disturb others in my building. The setup coming out of the box was easy and only took a few minutes.
Smooth and quiet
Bought this to replace a mag-trainer for the winter months. Very pleased. It is quieter than the mag unit and am happy with the resistance – does seem to mimic the “road feel” of resistance with increased speed better than the mag unit.
Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll
Take realism and your workout to a whole new level with the only trainer that delivers natural side-to-side motion. With this unique, lateral motion, core muscles are engaged to maintain balance. So now you can simultaneously workout both technique and power— especially during out-of-the-saddle hill climb intervals. Working your core will make you a more powerful and faster cyclist.
Best trainer on the market. Period. Most realistic ride that actually will work out your core. Hope Kinetic starts to offer electronic hook-ups to interactive cycle DVDs in the future, but as a pure trainer none are as smooth or duplicate a real-world ride as the Rock and Roll.
I bought a rock and roll trainer a couple of weeks ago. Before buying, I tried to do as much research as possible regarding trainers. I learned that the fluid trainer was the best choice, and that Kurt Kinetic made the best fluid trainers. I was torn between the rock and roll trainer and the more traditional fixed KK fluid trainer. I finally decided to spend the extra bucks on the rock and roll, and have not regretted it. The trainer is quiet and my bike moves when riding, similar to a road experience. I think it is the best inside experience I could have bought. I also bought the wired computer and the swivel riser ring. I like the swivel version of the riser because it allows you to turn and adjust the front wheel when riding. I am still evaluating the power computer. It installed easily and has all the information I want, but I am still trying to assess the accuracy of things like calories burned. Mileage, speed, pace, watts, etc. all seem about right. All in all, a great product.
Computers have taken over. Electronic trainers are the newest and the greatest (and the most expensive) trainers on the market. While we at Higher Gear do not stock them, they are available to order and you will find them in our boutique CompuTrainer Studio.
CompuTrainer by RacerMate
As Greg Kopecky points out in his article, CompuTrainer is the gold standard in electronic trainers. The trainer hooks up to your computer for a completely interactive experience – allowing you to ride courses from around the world. The trainer automatically adjusts the resistance to give you the feeling of riding uphill, downhill or on a flat. With the library of courses and compatibility with programs like Training Peaks, CompuTrainer is a favorite of IronMan athletes and other triathletes.
Tacx is another brand that offers electronic trainers. Like CompuTrainer, you won’t find a Tacx trainer in our store for sale, but we have ordered them for customers looking for the experience of an electronic trainer with a user-friendly interface. If you’re considering an electronic trainer, come in and talk with one of our product experts.
Whatever your training needs and budget, our knowledgeable experts will help you find the right indoor trainer for you. Come in to Higher Gear.
Will you be training indoors this winter? Don’t forget to accessorize! Check out these must-have indoor training accessories and advice on how to set up your training space.
Got your indoor trainer and not sure what to do with it?
- Get advice on how to set up your indoor training area.
- Check out indoor trainer workouts.
- Ready to be pushed to the next level? Try the T-Max workout.
- Don’t want to ride solo? Ride with us in our boutique CompuTrainer Studio.
Willing to brave the outdoors?