Welcome to the world of indoor bike trainers!

elite real axiom reviewIf you’re on the hunt for an indoor bike trainer (often known as a stationary bike stand), my tips and reviews of many of the industry’s leading brands and models should make things a whole lot clearer for you.

I’m a semi-serious cyclist myself, and have purchased a number of bikes AND indoor bike stands over the years (don’t ask my wife how much I’ve spent over the last couple of years!). The indoor trainers really help my training schedule during those cold, winter months when it’s almost impossible to get out on the road.

After purchasing the top of the range model recently, the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (a model I highly recommend), and getting asked by cyclist friends for my recommendations, I decided to set up this website to help them and YOU out. I’ve done all of the research and testing, you just have to decide what suits your training regime and your budget.

I’d highly recommend having a look at this to get started – these are the FIVE best stationary bike trainers you should consider for 2016, ranging from the very cheapest, super-value bike stands to the ultimate riding experience for the more serious cyclists of you. If money is less of an issue and you’re looking for something top-notch, take a look at the 3 best trainers money can buy. In addition, our much researched Comparison table will give you an amazingly quick overview of all the models out there, including ratings, weight and price. It’s pretty much the perfect buying guide, and is constantly being updated, so check it out!

And I also have the perfect companion to a new bike trainer – my guide to the TEN must-have cycling accessories that any keen cyclist will want to have to get the absolute maximum out of their training session. It was originally written for Christmas, but all of the accessories are perfect for any time of the year and will help enhance your training session – from the best cycling shoes, to iPhone holders, to massage sticks, I cover some of the best out there!

For beginners, or any of you just confused by the range of options and possibilities, I’d recommend you see our FAQ, a comprehensive set of questions (and their answers) that should hopefully answer any question you might have, including:

  • I’m a beginner, what trainer do you recommend?
  • Are there any decent trainers under $100?
  • I’m a serious/pro cyclist – what trainers should I consider?
  • Can I use my mountain bike on an indoor trainer?
  • How can I stay motivated for boring indoor riding sessions?

Wrapping it up, if you’re looking for a complete guide as to what to buy this winter (2015-16), don’t miss our superb mini-guide to all you need this winter to enhance your indoor training sessions! While for those of you wondering how to knock off those winter pounds, see our tips on using your bike trainer to get rid of that winter belly and our videos on how to really get the most out of your indoor training sessions!

My review of the CycleOps Silencer: an amazing Direct Drive indoor trainer!

CycleOps Silencer ReviewEver since I first tested the CycleOps Silencer Direct Drive indoor trainer, my other trainers have been gathering dust, lying in the cupboard, unloved and unused. This trainer has been touted as the very best all-round performer in the CycleOps pantheon – an impressive achievement, considering the array of top-end products this esteemed company has put out in the past few years (we’ve been big fans of the Fluid 2 for a looong time).

And yes, I would have to agree with that contention – smooth, sleek and silent, the CycleOps Silencer is as close to the complete package as an indoor trainer can possibly get.

>>>Check out the latest reviews and discounts for the CycleOps Silencer

So, what’s so special about the CycleOps Silencer?

First up, that sleek, sexy design…

Although style might be less important with an indoor trainer than it is with your bicycle (after all, most people will never lay eyes on your indoor trainer), it’s worth noting just how good the Cycleops Silencer looks. Clad in sleek, matte black alloy, and boasting clean lines in a very modern-looking chassis, this must be one of the classiest cycle trainers on the market.

The Silencer Direct Drive’s good looks, however, do not come at the expense of ruggedness or build quality. Weighing in at 12 pounds, with three reinforced rubber feet arranged in a wide stance, this cycle trainer is built for a stable ride.

The most striking thing about this Cycleops design, however, is probably the wheel-off design, which is still a relatively novel innovation in the indoor trainer market. Essentially, the bike’s cassette can be directly attached to the flywheel once the rear wheel is removed. This generates massive cost savings since training tires don’t come cheap and most indoor trainers are extremely tough on tires (especially MTB tires).

It also does wonders for the cycling experience (but more on that in a bit). Notably, it’s possible to purchase the CycleOps The Silencer Direct Drive with a 10-speed Shimano/SRAM compatible cassette (this review relates to that model – you can read about the cassette-less version here), which is definitely the cheaper and more convenient option (especially since most other wheels-off trainers don’t come with cassettes) and the one I fell for.

The only caveat is that if you intend to use a Campag cassette, you should opt for the package without the CycleOps cassette for reasons of cost and practicality, since the default cassette will not fit Campag gear anyway. It’s also worth noting that your bike frame must have a rear fork of width between 130 mm to 135 mm to fit in this indoor trainer, which is hardly a problem for most racing bikes.

The riding experience…

The combination of the wheels-off design and the weighted flywheel makes for an extremely enjoyable ride that accurately simulates road cycling.

I’ve always found wheels-on trainers to be a little jerky (particularly with oddly-shaped tires), which takes away from the illusion of coasting on tarmac. With the CycleOps Silencer, resistance changes were incredibly smooth thanks to the high-end 5-position magnetic driver design, and were easy to employ via the handlebar-mounted resistance lever.

CycleOps The Silencer CassetteThis latter feature deserves mention since it mitigates the complaint that cassette-mounted trainers lack resistance due to the lack of tire rub. At the highest magnetic resistance level, it was a real challenge to pedal at 50 rpm for more than half a minute, which in my books is more than enough resistance for a satisfying workout. I still missed cycling outdoors, of course, but the road cycling simulation was realistic enough to give me confidence that the Silencer will preserve my road cycling skills in the off-season, so I can come back raring and ready to go next year.

The silence…

The other major selling point of this CycleOps trainer is the “silencer” feature, which eliminates wind noise by using a magnetic driver design. I wouldn’t say the CycleOps Silencer Direct Drive is completely noiseless, but it’s definitely quiet enough that you’ll have to strain to hear it. Even with thin walls and light sleepers in the house, I was able to get in my early-morning workouts within a single complaint from my family or neighbors.

Some impressive tech specs…

  • The noise level at 20 mph is a very quiet 59-64 decibels
  • Dimensions L*W*H: 24″x18.5″x19.5″ (612x465x493 mm)
  • Has a wide, stable base for boosted stability
  • Weighs 39 lbs (17.6 kg)
  • Direct drive design features a fixed rear wheel mode
  • Fits frames with rear fork widths of 130mm and 135mm
  • Fits road bikes and mountain bikes with wheel diameters of 700c and 29 inches
  • Adjustable magnetic resistance, via an easy to use 5-level handlebar adjuster allows for true road-like feel
  • 220 lb (100kg) maximum load — excluding bicycle.
  • SHIMANO and SRAM 8/9/10/11 speed compatible.

Things to consider…

In my opinion, the only downside to the Silencer is the lack of portability. The machine doesn’t fold down and it’s pretty heavy, so lugging it anywhere, even between rooms, is a bit of a chore. However, indoor trainers don’t generally offer much in the way of portability because there’s simply no demand for it – after all, there’s no point carrying a heavy cycle trainer outdoors if you can simply cycle outdoors – and so this comment probably comes as no surprise.

If you’re not too skilled with a wrench, setting up the Silencer can also be a little challenging. This is partly due to its weight, which makes it difficult to thread the bolts in, and partly due to the issues I had attaching the resistance knobs to my base bar (though they fit just fine on my mountain handlebars). But still, 10 minutes and most of you will have this up and ready to go…

In summary: why you NEED the CycleOps Silencer Direct Drive trainer

As you’ll probably have noticed, neither of the drawbacks mentioned above relate to the key indicators of a good indoor trainer – speed, silence and durability. In all the departments that matter most, the CycleOps The Silencer Direct Drive trainer is a top performer, earning it my unequivocal recommendation.

It’s truly perfect for the cyclist with a small apartment – and who really wants to pump out some high intensity cycling work! It’s just so quiet compared to anything else that I’ve worked hard on, and seriously, is one of the very best indoor training solutions you can get!

If you need a quick look at the Silencer user manual, just to get an idea of how easy it is to get up and running, click here.

buy now

 

 

 

 

 

Another direct drive trainer to consider in the similar price range: the awesome Lemond Revolution 1.1.

The 5 BEST stationary bike trainers to buy in 2016

best trainers of 2016

With 2016 well and truly here, we thought we’d take a quick look at the very best stationary bike stands you should be splashing your hard-earned cash on in 2016!

We know there are plenty of you indoor trainer wannabes out there, hunting the perfect trainer stand to get your training and fitness in shape for the spring. And we also know you probably have a budget limiting your options – so we have collected a bit of everything in this little list, from the best of the cheap, budget trainers (we’re talking around $50-60), to the best your $$$ can buy (be prepared to invest…). These really are the best trainer options out there, in our very humble opinion.

Seriously, with one of these in your training program, you can start expecting some decent results…

A bestselling fave: the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer

Cycleops Fluid 2 TrainerEver since we first purchased the revamped model in 2014, we’ve been very impressed. The CycleOps Fluid 2 is definitely one to consider if you’re looking for something in between the ultra-budget trainers and the cream of the crop (see the Magnet trainer and CycleOps PowerBeam Pro below for details).

Of course, there’s the brand name of CycleOps behind it, which is typically recognized throughout the industry as one of the quality names that serious cyclists should be aware of. Which means, not surprisingly, that this baby is almost always on the list of bestselling bike trainers at stores like Amazon.

Throughout 2015 we put in quite a few sessions on this trainer (see our review here), so can heartily recommend it. It comes in at around $300, but is actually cheaper than most of the other options on this list! This trainer offers superb value, and is, in our opinion, a must-buy if you’re looking for a very decent trainer – regardless of your skill level. Yes, even the pros of you out there will love this one.

The BEST your money can buy: the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro

PowerBeam Pro 2015Seriously, if you have the cash to spend, this one will take your training to the very highest levels! The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro isn’t cheap – it’s priced around $1000 – but this beast will keep you in superb shape throughout 2016, and many more years to come!

It might be a bit pricey, but it comes pre-assembled, so you can get training within minutes of receiving it! Just unfold the legs, adjust the legs to make sure it’s stable, and slot the included steel quick release skewer through your bike’s rear axle.

The major advantage with the PowerBeam Pro is its use of ANT+, which displays your workout performance data on ANT+ cycling computers so you can see just exactly where you’re going wrong (or right!) in real-time. In our opinion, this makes it a perfect trainer for beginners wishing to really ramp up their training AND pros wishing to tweak their performance to the absolute limits.

This trainer is class – and you can read all about it in our Top 3 trainer list, which gives the lowdown on the best of the best.

Still one of the best for 2016: the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewIf anybody can give the boys from CycleOps a run for their money, it’s the guys over at Kurt Kinetic!

The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is still one of the best stationary bike stands you can buy, and after a bit of a redesign in 2014, it looks set to stand the test of time still further (we still probably prefer the CycleOps Fluid 2 though!).

The Road Machine is renowned for its non-leak fluid chamber, as well as a huge flywheel which ensures one of the most stable training sessions you’ll ever experience. An added bonus is its ability to take on 29 inch wheels, still not a common thing among many trainers. This is definitely one of the best trainers on the market – read our full review here.

If you’re feeling particularly extravagant and in need of even more bang for your buck, try their brand new smart version of the Road Machine, the Smart inRide sensor. It will put a few $$ on the price tag, but enable wireless power-based workouts and fitness tests using the Kinetic inRide app!

Budget friendly champion for 2016: the cheap and cheerful Magnet Trainer

Magnet Steel TrainerOne of the most popular trainers we’ve seen on sites like Amazon has to be this one – the Magnet trainer!

We’re still not sure how they only charge $50-60 for this baby, but literally thousands of buyers have bought this AND left happy reviews, so it definitely seems to be the one to consider if you’re on a bit of a budget.

In our opinion, this has to be “perfect” for beginners, especially for those of unsure what trainers are all about. It can definitely be your stepping stone to a pricier, more feature-packed trainer…or it might be enough to keep you happy over the coming months, that’s entirely up to you of course. One thing we should probably mention and is something we certainly believe in – you often get what you pay for, and with this trainer, you won’t be getting a luxury trainer model that will stand some intense workouts. The Magnet trainer is solid, excellent value, and a good starter model, but remember you’re paying bottom dollar for this one, so don’t expect too much (especially good instructions – the instructions for setting it up are notoriously bad, but if you read this you should be well prepared!).

Read our review here. And if you’re not convinced but still on a budget, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers for under $80.

Perhaps the ultimate road-like ride: the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller

Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerIf you’re a bit of a keen cyclist and want to feel the ultimate road-like experience, this one is for you – the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller.

This model from the guys at Kurt Kinetic is another one that has been around for awhile, and also refurbished in 2014 to give it that modern look and feel. It, like the Road Machine mentioned above, also has a smart version that uses the new Kinetic inRide app for perhaps the ultimate ride!

It’s not cheap – coming in at around $500 (and an extra $50-60 if you go for the smart version) – but is certainly one to enjoy if you’re looking for the ultimate training experience. The clincher for many purchasing this trainer is, of course, the unique side to side rocking action which makes it feel like you really are pedaling away out on the road, especially for the climbers of you. And when you mix in the legendary huge Kurt Kinetic flywheel, the stability and resistance you need for an intense session is there to enhance your ride beyond anything else you’ve probably experienced.

Read our full review of the Rock and Roller here.

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Don’t miss our ever-growing Buying Guide for a quick summary of many of the leading bike trainer stands on the market today!

Alternatively, if you’re after a new on the scene direct drive trainer, check out our reviews of the mightily impressive Lemond Revolution 1.1 or the CycleOps Silencer, both excellent options!

Our review of the Lemond Revolution 1.1 – it’s all about the ride!

lemond revolution 1.1The Lemond Revolution 1.1 is seriously all about the cycling experience. One of the pioneers of the “wheel-off” direct drive design, this celebrated indoor cycle trainer delivers the most realistic road cycling simulation in its price category (we’re talking a reasonable $600-ish – and yes, it out-rivals the road-like experience of the Kinetic RocknRoller).

If you’re willing to overlook the noise (and this is easier now that the noise output levels have been dampened compared to the very first Revolution, the 1.0), the affordable price tag and brilliant design make this a very solid purchase for serious cyclists looking to maintain fitness in the off-season.

What’s to like about the Lemond Revolution 1.1?

The Setup

The Lemond Revolution is practically ready to use right out of the box since there’s very little assembly required.

You will, however, need to purchase a cassette if you haven’t already, and if you are thinking of using a Campag cassette I would definitely recommend purchasing a crossover version as Lemond has built the Revolution primarily for cycles using Shimano gears. This is part and parcel of the direct drive trainer experience – but no worries, the benefits of this design far outweigh such a minor inconvenience.

Traditional indoor trainers can be far more expensive than you originally start out thinking, mainly because they wear out your rear tires so quickly. I’ve used some truly hard-wearing tires for indoor training in my time, and even the most robust of these eventually succumbed to frays and tears after sustained indoor use. The Lemond Revolution 1.1 avoids these problems. To use it, I simply had to remove my rear wheel and mount the bike directly to the Lemond via my Shimano cassette.

But durability and cutting tire costs isn’t the only advantage of this design – resistance changes are also incredibly smooth, since taking the rear wheel out of the equation significantly improves the efficiency of energy transfer between the drivetrain and the trainer.

The Ride

As I mentioned above, the primary draw of the Lemond Revolution has to be its road-like ride.

The design has barely changed since the product’s first inception, yet it remains capable of beating all-comers in its price range. The combination of a big flywheel and a highly efficient fan makes for a slick ride, particularly at cruising speeds, and the simulation of wind drag is extremely realistic, ensuring you won’t be off your game when the new cycling season begins.

In terms of real-world results, no indoor trainer (not even the top-end fluid trainers like the Cascade Pro or Fluid 2 from CycleOps) will deliver as effectively and quickly as a turbo-driven product. And with up to 700-watt load capacity, interval training sessions will be punishing enough to satisfy even the most masochistic of cyclists – I’ve certainly been driven to breaking point more than once on this machine.

The video below will give you a bit more of a taste of what the ride is really like…

The Build

The Lemond Revolution is also rightly famed for its solid construction, weighing in at just under 15 kg. This makes it a little too hefty to heave around the house, but that’s more than compensated for by the extreme stability of this product.

Even when you’re pedaling out of the saddle and sprinting like your life depends on it, you’ll find the bike stays level, firmly anchored and stable, addressing any safety concerns you might have. I felt confident enough about the Revolution to let my eight-year old have a go, and this is a kid who’s managed to send a massive oak wardrobe tumbling to the ground. Besides the heavy-duty frame, credit must also go to the adjustable feet (which can be handy on carpets or other flooring materials prone to creating uneven surfaces) coated with anti-skid material.

Power Pilot

To get the most from your Revolution 1.1, I would definitely recommend installing a Power Pilot. Although it’s an expensive investment, it’s worthwhile for the superb data-tracking capabilities. By examining my cadence and speed statistics, I was able to correct my sprint technique in the off-season and come bursting right off the start line in my first spring outdoor session. Lack of ANT+ support is a bit of a bummer, but Lemond has promised that this will come in time (and appears to be just about here, in the form of the Watt Box), and the USB compatibility ensures that all that data can still be put to good use.

What we didn’t like…

As with any other turbo trainer, noise levels are significantly higher than with a fluid trainer. However, Lemond has taken note of noise complaints, and the 1.1 definitely improves on its predecessor in this regard. It’s only a problem at very high speeds, and with earphones in I could barely hear the flywheel whirring away. At cruising speeds, the noise wasn’t much of a bother.

Why you’re going to have to purchase the Lemond Revolution 1.1

In summary the Lemond Revolution delivers where it really matters – the riding experience. I used to hate the off-season because I missed cycling outdoors. Of course, no cycle trainer will be able to recreate the crisp smell of fresh air or the sensation of warm sunshine, but in terms of replicating the feeling of cycling on tarmac, the Lemond Revolution is hard to beat.

If you’re after a direct drive trainer, this is definitely one of the top 3 you’ll have to consider – it certainly gives the likes of the awesome CycleOps Silencer a run for its money!

buy now

Shit cyclists say – how many of these are you using??

OK, there’s no getting away from it, some of us cyclists say some real *shit*. The question is, just how many of these are YOU using – go on, be honest!

The future of indoor trainers…this is one video well worth watching!

We love our CycleOps Fluid 2, and have gotten familiar with many of the other trainers out there over the last few years.

But the future for indoor training is what really excites us…take a look at this video from the guys at CycleOps and the direction they’re heading (we love their newish Silencer Direct Drive trainer and their upcoming Hammer model sounds amazing!). Well worth a watch!

Best THREE stationary bike stands for under $80!

There are some truly great stationary bike trainers out there – we personally love the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine model – but for beginners and the more price-conscious shopper, we know there are a few of you out there looking for a great value bike stand.

Let’s face it, as the economy bites many of us in the ***, saving some money is always a good thing. So, after getting a few questions from readers asking us about some cheaper options, we decided to put this article together.

There are a whole load of stationary bike stands dropping in under the $80 mark, and you can find many online at stores like Amazon, as well as other high-street bricks and mortar outlets (though it has to be said, we’ve struggled to find the variety you can find on the Internet).

Below are the best THREE stationary bike stands we know of and have seen, and that are also ranked well on Amazon by satisfied customers. Don’t forget to check out our comparison table for an ever-expanding list of bike stands and our unique summary of each and every one’s features.

NOTE: The bike stands below are suitable for 26″, 27″ or 700C wheels.

The Magnet Bicycle Indoor Exercise Trainer

Magnet Steel TrainerThis has to be the very best value stationary bike stand we’ve seen out there. Quite how these guys built this bike stand and sell it for typically under $50 we don’t know, but there are hundreds of happy customers who’ve snapped up this Magnet Bike Stand.

What makes it such a winner? Well, first of all, it’s cheap, and therefore perfect for beginners and the very price-conscious. It also has FIVE internal resistance settings (changeable from your handlebar, and which provides progressive magnetic resistance, meaning the resistance increases as the speed increases), is seen to be heavy duty (it weighs in at a solid 20 pounds) and is considered to be quiet too.

The instructions that come with the stand are notoriously bad, but if you follow the images you should be up and running in minutes (see our full review here).

See the latest deals for the Magnet Indoor Trainer on Amazon

Indoor Bicycle Cycling Trainer Exercise Stand

stationary bicycle standThis superb value exercise stand is not a big brand name (in fact, it doesn’t seem to have ANY brand name associated with it), but is shipped by CyclingForLess, a big player online. And the fact there are numerous happy reviews on Amazon sends a clear message that brand isn’t always everything.

Why is this stationary bike stand a hit? Well, this stand is also considered heavy duty (also weighing in at 20 pounds with NO cheapo plastic bits, it’s entirely made from metal) and also stable, while also being fold-able – great for storing away! The stand comes with magnetic resistance done in a single adjustment (you do have to get off the bike to adjust it). Another good selling point – it also comes with its own Riser Block (you’d typically have to spend another $10-20 on one of these).

The only drawback we can see with this stand is that it seems slightly noisier than, let’s say, the Magnet Exercise Trainer we describe above, but overall, is excellent value.

See the latest deals for this Indoor Cycling Trainer on Amazon

Soozier Adjustable Magnetic Resistance Indoor Bike Trainer Stand

Soozier Adjustable Bike StandThe Soozier Indoor Bike Stand is another great value option we’ve come across recently. It also comes in at well under the $80, and you can even strike it lucky on some websites with deals pricing it at under $60.

The Soozier (as we like to call it) comes in at almost half the weight (11 pounds) of the above two bike stands, but is considered very stable and sturdy, and easy to assemble. This one also has five resistance levels, and as per the Magnet above the levels of resistance are adjustable via your handlebar. The noise levels are also considered very quiet, though we’d always recommend some good music to stick on your headphones or at least take your training session out on the patio/another room if others are nearby (mountain bike treads will always create a bit more noise). The stand is also easily fold-able, so can be stored away through those good weather months!

Definitely one to consider!

See the latest deal for the Soozier Indoor Bike Trainer Stand on Amazon

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All in all, the three stationary bike trainers above are ALL excellent value and each is an excellent option. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, and your training sessions are about to get started on the right foot (or pedal…)!

Two trainers that just missed out on making this list because it’s a few dollars above the $80 limit is the great value Graber Mag trainer, well worth checking out – and the superb Bike Lane Pro trainer, another excellent option that just hovers around the $80 zone…!

THREE excellent techniques for improving your hill-climbing

If you’re looking for some Spring training tips to really improve your hill-climbing, then this is the video for you.

The video is from the impressive CycleCore (aka Graeme Street), who has some awesome training videos (another one we featured here).

The clip features THREE awesome tips for some high intensity hill climbing, including the Climbing Energy Ass Kicker technique – yes, check out the video below to understand more!

Check out more training videos here, here, and here.

And yes, that’s an ass-kicking Kurt Kinetic trainer taking a beating in the video!

More awesome video magic for those indoor training sessions!

We posted this video a while back and know that many of you enjoyed it, so here’s another one from the boys at CTXC, who’ll have your legs pumping in no time!

This video lasts for 60 minutes in total, including a 10 minute warm up and 3 minute warm down, so be prepared to sweat! The music will certainly keep you in the groove and the camera angle and street views will have you feeling as if you’re out there on the road with them!

Load this one on your TV/laptop, turn the volume up, and start pedaling!

Check out more video training clips here and here.

The ULTIMATE guide to bike trainers and accessories this winter

indoor cycling this winter!

It’s that time of year again, when those cold nights draw in and the motivation to get on your bike really takes a bit of a beating. But it doesn’t have to be that way, honest! With a little guidance from us in regards to the best trainers and cycling accessories, you’ll be pedaling away like a pro in no time!

Our website sees a big upturn in traffic over the winter months, and has turned into something of an authority in the indoor trainer market over the last couple of years. We know which trainers work, which trainers generally suck, and also know how to get the best out of your training sessions, whether you’re struggling to stay motivated or are desperate to shed those excess holiday pounds.

For your winter training pleasure, we’ve collected some of the best trainers and accessories out there in a little list below – get ready to enjoy your winter sessions!

  • The BEST trainer money can buy
  • The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros
  • The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)
  • THREE must-have accessories
  • Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills

The BEST trainer money can buy

PowerBeam Pro 2015We recently compiled a breakdown of the three best trainers money can buy (for those of you less worried about a budget and more intent on getting the ultimate training experience), and the trainer we feel we have to recommend here is the rather tasty CycleOps PowerBeam Pro, which comes with support for ANT+ devices (rather than the version which supports Bluetooth devices).

You could go for the great value Elite Real Axiom trainer, or the nifty BKool Pro trainer too, as both also support virtual training, but the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro has to be your weapon of choice if you’re looking for something top-notch.

It also comes with a top notch price of around $1000, but for those of you investing in your cycling, this could be the best few $$$ you ever spent. The trainer comes with an integrated PowerTap power meter, plus a Mini ANT+ USB stick lets you control the resistance from your computer as you follow the virtual course on your laptop/TV/tablet. Definitely ramps up your training to the next level!

Read our full review HERE of the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro.

The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros

Cycleops Fluid 2 TrainerIf you’re not looking to drop a thousand bucks on something top-notch, then how about the awesome CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer? We purchased the revamped model last year and have been delighted with the results we get in our training.

It’s perfect for beginners as it’s simple to setup and get started with, but also great for pros with its new, larger flywheel for an improved road-like performance, and an infinite resistance curve that increases the power output as you increase speed.

Typically priced at around $300, this one is highly recommended by us; if you’re looking for alternatives, the awesome Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is also worth a mention, as is the CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro (a magnetic based trainer, but with technology to match the very best of the fluid-based trainers (more about the differences between fluid and magnetic trainers here)).

More HERE about the Fluid 2 trainer from CycleOps.

The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)

Magnet Steel TrainerWe know that many of you are also looking for a great value beginner trainer, before you start spending the bigger bucks on a more fancy model. We’ve been there too, and fully understand…which is why we can safely recommend the Magnet Steel trainer.

We’re still not sure quite how they do it, but this trainer is regularly priced at under $60 and there are a ton of happy customers out there – and it’s also an Amazon bestseller!

It’s a great trainer to get started with, has a great price tag and also five resistance settings that are more than enough for a beginner-like level of training. It’s also pretty solid, and surprisingly quiet. The only thing we will say is that you get what you pay for… so don’t expect a virtual trainer package complete with computer controlled resistance!

If you’re still not impressed and looking for an alternative, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers under $80.

THREE must-have accessories

There are a whole ton of cycling accessories out there today (you might want to check out our Top 10 accessories for Christmas), but we’ve decided to whittle down the list to three musts.

KineticMatFirst up, we can’t recommend a training mat highly enough. As well as the fact that they can protect your floor from scratches and even your salty body sweat, they also help to reduce noise greatly and provide a stable base for your training. The best one we’ve come across is the Kurt Kinetic floor mat, which is priced around $60. Others come in cheaper, but for pure looks and quality, the mat from Kurt Kinetic won us over completely (it’s also a perfect match for their awesome trainers). Check here for some alternative options.

The Stick MassageNext up, we’re going to recommend the rather awesome Travel Stick, a massage stick that goes to work on those tired muscles you’ve been tormenting during your training sessions. It’s an innovative little stick that comes in a variety of sizes, and starts at under $20. However, the winning element for us was it’s physiological effects; the Travel Stick is fitted with round plastic rings that do an excellent job of alleviating crippling muscle aches which can lead to long-term injuries. Easily usable and easy to take with you, this is a great option for winding down from an intense session. More about the Travel Stick HERE.

CatEye StradaLastly, you’ll need the CatEye Strada Wireless cycling computer, which is great for knowing what you’re doing in your current session (if you’re not using a virtual trainer with all that data displayed on your laptop/tablet/TV automatically). And in this generation of touch-screen technology, we want quick access to all the relevant info – the CatEye Strada fits the bill perfectly! Together with its touch screen interface, it also has a great sensor that measures cadence, current speed, max speed, average speed, 2 trip distances, and elapsed time! It also fits on any handlebar or stem. Costs around $80-90. Read more here.

Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills

Pearl iZumi Mens ShoesLet’s be honest here, many of us will probably think that a pair of sneakers will be more than adequate when training indoors. No-one’s looking, there are no roads or muddy tracks to worry about, so hey, why the heck not?

Well, indoor cycling shoes might seem a little extravagant, but a pair of the right shoes will take your training session to the next level…you might not be aware of it, but the correct footwear is going to have a big role to play because cycling stresses your lower body in a very different way from running and you need footwear specifically designed to counteract that stress.

So yes, the correct shoes are an essential investment for any cyclist who takes their training and performance seriously. We’ve covered some of the very best options out there in this little guide,but if you’re going to go with something like the Pearl iZUMi Men’s All-Road II shoe, or the Shimano Venzo Mountain Bike Bicycle SPD shoe, you’re very definitely on the right track. And your feet will thank you much later!

Superb value from the Bike Lane Pro Trainer: our review

Bike Lane Pro trainerMost of us have had our cycling plans wrecked by inclement weather at some point or another, hence the world of the indoor bike trainer (and this website)! And when you start looking at some of the fancier trainers on the market to help you get past those wet winters, it can get a bit hair-raising, to say the least.

When you come across a great value trainer like the Bike Lane Pro, priced at typically just under $100, then those hairs can surely stop raising! This trainer has to be one of the best mid-range indoor trainers around, combining top-notch build quality and attractive modern features into one affordable package. It might not make our list of budget trainers under $80, but it’s definitely on the short-list.

>>> Check out these reviews and the latest discounts for the Bike Lane Pro

What’s to like about the Bike Lane Pro?

Well, first up, it’s rare to find bike trainers that are both portable and sturdy. Foldable stationary bike stands tend to be a little rickety and fragile while sturdy ones are far too heavy to take on your travels. The Bike Lane Pro Trainer strikes that rare balance between portability and stability. It weighs in at just 22 pounds and folds up easily to fit inside your luggage.

At the same time, the separated extra-wide legs provide a stable platform for your vigorous workouts and the fantastic build quality makes for a very sturdy frame indeed. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, but this bicycle trainer is clear evidence to the contrary.

It’s also clear that this indoor bike trainer was designed with the customer’s welfare in mind. It comes with adjustable foot pads so you can enjoy a stable ride even on uneven surfaces. The set-up process was very quick, intuitive and easy.

Finally, the manufacturers have thoughtfully included both a release skewer and riser (which again, is a rarity), making this a very comprehensive indoor bike trainer package at a great price.

A quick summary of what you’re getting from the Bike Lane Pro:

  • State of the art internal magnet ensures that when you start pedaling, the resistance slowly increases.
  • Increase resistance by shifting the gears on your bike.
  • Portable: Weighing only 22 pounds, it can be folded away for travel and storage.
  • Super stable, with extra wide legs and a sturdy frame.
  • Easy to setup – and includes its own riser block (for the front wheel).

But how does the Bike Lane Pro ride?

All the advantages we listed above would be for naught if the riding experience was substandard, but we’re happy to report that the Bike Lane Pro Trainer delivers one of the smoothest and most enjoyable indoor bike training experiences we’ve seen from a mid-range bike stand.

The resistance changer is easy to use and changing up or down feels smooth and natural, ensuring your cycling training session is seamless from beginning to end. Moreover, with five resistance settings, you won’t be forced to settle for a resistance setting that’s too easy or overstretch yourself on one that’s too difficult. This bike trainer has something to offer veteran cyclists and biking novices alike (though if you’re after something very pro-level, you really should try one of these). We also found that this stationary trainer did a respectable job of simulating the sensation and challenges of outdoor road cycling.

In addition, while magnetic resistance trainers tend to be noisier than their fluid-based counterparts, the noise produced by this bike trainer was by no means intrusive. If you use smoother road bike tires (as we always recommend – the knobbly mountain bike treads will churn out some noise on any trainer), you’ll find that you barely notice the whirring of the flywheel at all.

So, does the Bike Lane Pro give good bang for your buck?

The Bike Lane Pro Trainer is, simply put, one of the finest indoor trainers in its price range. It’s a solid all-round performer and its portability makes it a versatile choice.

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