Bicycling is a great exercise that helps you clear your head as you workout. For some people, it is a hobby they are passionate about while for others it is close to a way of life. However, sometimes you cannot take your bike out for various reasons; the days may be short or the weather just too lousy for cycling. That is where bike trainers come in – you can also use them for pre-event warm up.
Different people have different preferences when it comes to indoor bike trainers. Maybe you are not sure if you will use it that much, so you go for a cheap bike trainer or you hate noise, so you have no problem spending a little more. Then there is the third category, those that are not sure what they want—that is you, isn’t it? This article is the ultimate guide to finding the ideal bike trainer. When you are done, you will be knowledgeable about the different trainer types, what you should consider and some additional information to help you make the right choice in buying a bike trainer.
- There are four types of bike trainers: wind, magnetic, fluid, and roller, each with its own pros and cons.
- Fluid trainers are the most popular among cyclists because they simulate road conditions better than the other types and are quieter.
- You may need some additional accessories to use a bike trainer, such as a dedicated tire, a trainer mat, a sweat net, and a front tire block.
- Some factors to consider when choosing a bike trainer include the noise level of the trainer, portability, functionality, and budget.
Types of Bike Trainers
All types of bike trainers will give you the good workout that you need. But expensive models are more precise and have more options. Other trainers are compatible with 29” tires to allow for more mountain bikers to benefit.
That said, here are the types of trainers with their pros and cons.
1. Wind Bike Trainers
The back wheel of your bike powers a fan which offers wind resistance. The harder you pedal, the more the resistance increases progressively.
Pros & Cons
- They are the cheapest and best choice for a beginner.
- Many of them are lightweight and portable.
- Also, wind trainers are perfect for people who want endurance training.
- The fans are noisy.
- You can barely make any adjustments to a wind trainer.
- Hard pedaling can exceed the amount of resistance.
2. Magnetic Bike Trainers
Magnetic trainers create fixed resistance using a magnetic flywheel, so as you increase your cadence, your pedaling will not get harder. You can only increase resistance by either adjusting the settings on the trainer or shifting gears on your bike. Nonetheless, you can get a model that creates progressive resistance using spring-loaded magnets.
Pros & Cons
- They are a little more quiet, compared to the wind trainers.
- They are inexpensive.
- You can adjust the resistance to simulate intervals or easy roads.
- To manually change resistance settings in some models, you have to dismount the bike.
View the 15 Best Bicycle Trainers Currently Available
3. Fluid Bike Trainers
These are trainers that have a fluid within them to offer resistance. Many cyclists prefer fluid trainers because of their accurate road mimics.
Pros & Cons
- They simulate roads better than wind trainers and magnetic trainers.
- Many road simulations do not require adjustments.
- They are also in the general the most quiet bike trainers on the market.
- They are costly.
- If used a lot they get hot and may have a shorter lifespan.
4. Rollers Bike Trainers
These trainers are for people that love challenges. You have to balance your bike on top of three cylinders. The front wheel on one cylinder and the back wheel on the other two as you pedal. It is very popular among cyclist enthusiasts and pro riders.
Pros & Cons
- They are an excellent choice for working your pedal strokes.
- They make the road riding experience more real.
- They are ideal for pros with smooth pedaling cadence and good balance.
- If you are inexperienced, you can easily fall off.
Other costs arise when you buy a cycling trainer—more like trainer accessories.
Tires: just because you are not cycling outside does not mean your tires are safe. Trainers lead to wear and tear. If you are using yours frequently, you may want to get a dedicated bike trainer tire. It is created specifically for this purpose. Alternatively, get a regular road slick.
Trainer mat: too much sweating may require you to buy a bike trainer mat so that sweat does not get to the floor. It is placed under the bike to trap sweat and reduce the noise.
Sweat net: your sweat may lead to corrosion of your bike frame and other components. Therefore, you will need a sweat net to protect your bicycle.
Front tire block: you may need a front tire block (or ring) to make your riding experience more natural. Some models allow two blocks to mimic a hill climb race.
What to Consider While Shopping For a Bike Trainer
Functionality: How easy is it to get your bike on/off the trainer?
Sturdiness and smoothness: some trainers feel stronger and smoother than others.
Noise: would it bother you to have a noisy trainer? (This is not much of a problem if you have a training room in your house).
Portability: can you store it where it will not annoy your spouse? Some are small enough, and others can be folded for convenient storage.
Price: which trainer fits your budget?
Only you can choose the perfect bicycle trainer for yourself. However, the price significantly determines the quality of what you will get. Expensive trainers have a higher quality, are durable and less noisy, contrary to the cheaper ones. You can still consider the other factors outlined above; noise, portability, functionality, and smoothness.
As to whether you should get a trainer or not; that is entirely your call. If you love cycling, think about when there is a storm or rain shower, and all you can do is stare at your bike. Is that feeling bad enough that it makes you want to buy a bike trainer? If you are a dedicated cyclist, is investing in a trainer to prepare for your races worth it? The ball is in your court.