If you’re on the hunt for an indoor bike trainer (often known as a stationary bike stand or even turbo trainer), 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, especially if you are setting up your own man cave! 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 (2016-17), 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!
3 major reasons why you need to buy a stationary bike stand this fall/winter
OK, so you’re still not convinced that an indoor bike / turbo trainer will suit your style, your budget, or even your flat/house – but perhaps these 3 killer benefits will persuade you…
1: Having a stationary bike trainer at home means you’re never going to have an excuse for not training during those cold, wet winter months! OK, it can be hard to get motivated, but trust us, there are ways to stay motivated, and yes, stay in great shape throughout the winter. If you’re a serious cyclist, a trainer can seriously make a difference for when the cycling season kicks in once again; and if you’re a beginner or a casual cyclist, stay in shape and improve your overall technique in a fun, sporty way (while you watch TV, use your iPad, or simply read a book!)!
2: They are compact AND portable AND cheap. So forget about not having enough space in your small, cozy apartment, or having enough money. Most of the bike trainers on the market today are compact enough to fit the smallest of houses and apartments (heck, some are even foldable!), and quiet enough to ensure that if you do have a small apartment, your neighbors and loved ones will never know you just put in a sweaty, 60-minute session that stretched beyond midnight. And yes, there are some great value indoor bike trainers for less than $80 – compare that to your annual gym fees!
3: You dictate the training session – and buy that we mean the pace, the effort, the time invested. The thing about an indoor trainer is that you choose exactly when and how to start training, and you no longer have to worry about the weather and how it might, quite literally, put a dampener on your training efforts. If you’re somewhat of a serious cyclist, concentrate on enhancing your skills on your own finely-tuned bike to improve your cycling form; likewise if you’re a beginner/casual cyclist, decide what works for you – you’re the one in the saddle!
Good Luck – and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!
If you’ve ever been tempted to purchase a stationary bike trainer but been put off by the price, the Ohuhu Magnet Steel Bike Trainer is the indoor trainer for you! There are a few great value trainers out there of course (here are three of the best), but this one from Ohuhu is ready to out-muscle some of those existing budget trainers this coming winter!
Some would say it’s also a direct copy of this bestselling trainer from Magnet, but there’s just enough of a difference in my opinion to give them the benefit of the doubt and actually class this one as a definite alternative.
This bike trainer really does deliver all of the bells and whistles found on trainers costing thrice as much, and with superb build quality besides!
Why you’re going to like this great value trainer from Ohuhu
If you’re a keen cyclist, chances are you’ve experienced the misery of losing fitness during the off-season. It’s too much of a hassle to put on your winter gear for outdoor cycling, and even if you did, the snow and ice make cycling dangerous.
Even if you could drag yourself to the gym, those cycling machines just don’t cut it. Which makes indoor bike trainers an essential investment for serious cyclists, since they’re just about the only way to maintain fitness and technique during frigid winters. And yes, this Ohuhu Magnet Steel trainer was clearly built with your fitness goals in mind.
Unusually for a bike trainer at this price point (we’re talking around $80 but check online for the latest discounts), Ohuhu has included adjustable internal resistance settings, controlled via a bar-mounted remote. This gives you a multitude of indoor training options, ranging from punishing interval sessions to uphill sprint practice.
The resistance itself is produced by inbuilt magnets, so you know resistance changes are going to be smooth, quick and quiet. What’s more, at the top levels I found myself struggling to maintain a sprinting speed for more than 20 seconds, so even the fittest cyclist will find plenty to challenge himself with this excellent Ohuhu trainer.
Another important feature for vigorous workouts is the extra-wide frame. If you’re going for distance, stability is rarely an issue, but if you’re practicing your out-of-the-saddle posture or sprinting technique, cheap bike trainers will frequently sway side to side and may even topple over on you. The Ohuhu trainer, on the other hand, stays firmly planted. Its extra-wide, skid-resistance feet give it excellent balance while the heavy-duty frame makes for a reassuring steadiness.
I’m a heavy guy, but I feel completely safe on this machine. This also means the machine is extremely quiet, with none of the annoying creaking or thudding sounds that can often plague users riding on lower-end bike trainers. Coupled with the nearly silent magnetic resistance wheel, you’ll definitely have no complaints from housemates or neighbors.
If, like me, your apartment is a little short on space, you’ll probably want to pack your indoor trainer away between uses. This makes portability a vital factor. The Ohuhu cycle trainer boasts a foldable frame, and while it certainly is weighty enough to provide great stability, it’s not so heavy that you might slip a disc just trying to heave it into a cupboard. It’s really rare to find a heavy frame with this degree of portability.
I also have to mention the amazing compatibility Ohuhu has brought to the table with this versatile magnet cycle trainer. They’ve included an adjustable knob at the back of the magnetic flywheel which allows the machine to accommodate a wide variety of bicycle tires. I have three bicycles in the house (I know, I’m a total addict) and even my massive mountain bike tires with its 27.5” wheels fit comfortably into the trainer (if you have a 29er, you might want to read this). This is crucial since trainers that are a tight fit for your bike can really rip up your wheels, and as we all know bike tires are getting more expensive every year. With micro-adjustability, Ohuhu ensures that you can achieve a comfortable fit for almost any bike.
One last thing – this trainer also comes with its own riser block, a great bonus that would typically set you back another $15-20). Which, at this price, makes it even more awesome value.
Something to take into consideration…
If pressed to name a downside, I’d probably say that this trainer isn’t the easiest to assemble. The instruction manual was a little sparse on detail, so it took a fair bit of trial and error to get the trainer set up. I had plenty of help, however, from Ohuhu customer support, which provided a prompt and concise response to my queries (I was a little confused about the function of certain bolts and screws as well as the assembly of the dynamo), which considerably sped up the process.
Moreover, assembly is a one-off problem, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Set up in an hour or so and maybe enlist a friend’s help if you’re not that great with tools, and you’ll have your Ohuhu Magnetic Bike Trainer set up in no time at all.
In summary: great value, great trainer!
I think the Ohuhu Magnet Bike Trainer is that rarest of products – a high-end bike trainer priced like a low-end product. It offers great value to the discerning cyclist, and is an excellent purchase for shoppers on a budget. There aren’t many trainers that we’ve had the pleasure of saying that about, so yes, highly recommended!
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
Ever 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
Seriously, 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
If 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
One 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 indoor trainer 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!).
Perhaps the ultimate road-like ride: the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller
If 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 and fluid unit, 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.
Don’t miss our ever-growing Buying Guide for a quick summary of many of the leading bike trainer stands on the market today!
If you’re aiming to stay fit over the winter months, you’ll probably have your stationary bike stand set up something like in the image below. Or perhaps not.
You may well be motivated for those upcoming winter sessions – and if you’re not, try checking out some of these videos for some inspiration – but making sure you’ve got the perfect environment is a big part in getting the most out of your training.
We’d highly recommend something like the image below if you can, but obviously, each to their own. We’d also probably replace the phone book with a proper riser block, and the towel on the bike frame with a sweat guard, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers!
How do YOU set up for the winter?
I’d actually gone through a couple of cheaper smart trainers before this and was beginning to question what all the “smart” hype was about. But before I was ready to give up and dismiss the entire smart trainer craze as a passing fad, I decided to test out the Tacx Vortex and give the world of smart trainers a serious chance – and I was blown away!
This beast from Tacx has finally managed to help me get the most out of Zwift, and has seen my fitness considerably improve in the past month thanks to an awesome range of convenient customization options for your training program. It’s safe to say that this is one smart trainer I won’t be giving up on any time soon!Click here for reviews and the latest discounts
Smart technology that doesn’t disappoint
My major gripe with previous smart trainers was the major connectivity issues.
My cycling buddies have been raving about Zwift for months, and my primary goal in purchasing a smart trainer was to jump on the Zwift bandwagon. However, with earlier products, the ANT+ connection either kept cutting out (frequently at the most exciting bits of a race) or was unbearably slow.
There were NO SUCH ISSUES with the Tacx Vortex ErgoTrainer. The connection was lightning-fast and the trainer was so responsive to the app, I was able to really immerse myself in the illusion of being on tour-like roads and racing along at breakneck speed alongside my best friends – even when a blizzard was raining down outside my window!
Which brings me to my next point – Tacx has clearly built this trainer with Zwift and other similar software in mind.
This isn’t your bog-standard indoor trainer with a computer tacked on, but a product which was clearly built to take full advantage of “smart” training technology. With a total of 16 magnets (8 of which are electro-magnets – unusually high for an indoor trainer in this price range), resistance changes in response to the built-in software are extremely smooth, making downhill cycling a particular pleasure.
Moreover, with a maximum resistance of 950 watts, you needn’t worry about your Zwift training partners leaving you behind. You’ll be able to have a workout just as punishing as the best of them, so you’ll have no difficulties keeping up fitness-wise. Furthermore, speed and resistance calculations are extremely accurate, contributing to the tremendous realism of the Vortex indoor training experience.
Finally, Tacx’s market-leading electro-brake technology really comes into its own when paired with a smart cycling app, registering changes in speed with impressive precision. It’s the kind of attention to detail Tacx has become renowned for in the cycling world, applied to the challenging platform of smart cycling technology.
Even outside of Zwift, the Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer has plenty to offer. The inbuilt Tacx software is brilliant for training on your own as it contains some very comprehensive workout programs, backed up by reliable studies, designed to cater to just about every fitness goal imaginable. I actually shaved a full 20 seconds off my 500-yard sprint timing after slogging away at the Sprint workout for three weeks!
Physical qualities that complement the tech side
Of course, the most advanced software in the world would not compensate for a shoddily built trainer.
Realistic resistance shifts aren’t much use if you’re constantly worrying about toppling over! Fortunately, despite the affordable price tag (we’re talking around $500), Tacx has brought their trademark blend of style and sturdiness to this Tacx Ergotrainer.
A 2 kg flywheel, solid steel support legs and anti-slip rubber grips ensure that your ride is stable and comfortable no matter how fast you’re cycling. Even during sustained sprints, the Vortex remained firmly rooted to the ground.
In terms of style, the Vortex delivers in spades. I’m not a big fan of the stark, minimalist look – indoor training is supposed to be fun, and the Tacx Vortex Ergotrainer manages to deliver a youthful, modern look without veering into amateur territory. It helps that the entire product is made out of premium materials, ensuring the little dashes of color liven up rather than clash with the professional look of the trainer. Scratch professional – I would say this is one smart, sleek beast!
So, how much bang for your buck do you really get with this Tacx smart trainer?
Smart trainers can cost well over a thousand dollars, and I know that that kind of price scares off many a rider. Personally, I’d rather invest it in my bike for when the cycling season starts.
For that reason, at around $500, the Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer was well within my comfort zone in terms of price, and coupled with its category-leading performance represents fantastic value for money.
Sure, I would have loved for Tacx to include a USB ANT+ stick, and perhaps it would have been convenient if the Tax workout apps came pre-loaded with more films so I didn’t need to download them from the Tacx website. But given the great all-round package Tacx has delivered here, all this really is nit-picking. To anyone who’s yet to be converted to the smart trainer trend from the standard indoor trainers, or for a cyclist searching for an affordable first smart trainer, I would unequivocally recommend the Tacx Vortex.
Ever since I first tested the CycleOps Silencer Direct Drive indoor trainer, my other stationary bike stands 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.
This 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 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.
Another direct drive trainer to consider in the similar price range: the awesome Lemond Revolution 1.1.
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
This 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).
Conquer Indoor Trainer Stand
This superb value exercise stand is not a big brand name (in fact, it recently seems to have been branded by a new company called Conquer, who have additional models for sale online). But the fact there are numerous happy reviews on Amazon sends a clear message that a big brand name isn’t always everything.
Why is this stationary bike stand a hit? Well, this stand is also considered heavy duty (also weighing in at 16 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
The 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
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…)!
More trainers that just missed out on making this list because they’re a few dollars above the $80 limit is the great value Graber Mag trainer, well worth checking out, the superb Bike Lane Pro trainer, and the new kid on the block, the Ohuhu Magnet trainer, another excellent option that just hovers around the $80 zone…!
If you’re the owner of a spanking new 29er bike and feeling a little frustrated at the apparent lack of 29er bike trainer options for your bike, fret not! We’ve been asked this question a few times recently, so came up with this little guide so you too can enjoy your indoor riding!
There are actually a number of options for those of you with 29er wheels looking for a decent bike trainer:
- You purchase a bike trainer that supports 29er wheel sizes (there are a number of options available, see below)
- OR you go for the option of fitting a training slick to your rear wheel, instead of that knobbly MTB tread (more on that a little bit later, see below)
- OR you replace your 29er wheel with something like a 26er, just for indoor training sessions
- OR you go with a roller trainer or direct drive trainer
Trainers that support 29er wheels
First up, we’ll point you in the direction of the FOUR stationary trainers that we know of that fully support 29er wheels.
Kurt Kinetic Road Machine: one of the very best trainers around, this fluid trainer has all you need, whether you’re a pro or a beginner. It’s not cheap, but it’s seriously one of the best your money can buy, and one of the Best 5 Trainers we highly recommend. Full review here.
Minoura RDA 2429R Rim Drive Trainer: an awesome trainer branded as the world’s only road and MTB trainer (we beg to differ, but it’s still a great trainer). The trainer actually works on the rim of the wheel, NOT the tire, meaning you can save some serious $$$ if you’re an intensive cyclist. Full review here.
CycleOps Powerbeam Pro: we rank this as one of the very best 3 trainers out there, find out why here.
Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer: an old classic that typically comes in at under $100 and does the job very nicely thank you, complete with a mighty 5 year warranty. Full review here.
Fitting a training slick to your 29er
As road bikes are also 29 inch in size (but 700cc), change your MTB tires to a road slick or trainer specific tire, and then you should be able to fit most trainers. AND you’ll save your normal tires from wear and tear and be a lot less noisy (those knobbly MTB tires make a ton of noise!). Once you have that trainer/road slick on, your big 29er tires will be like any other 700cc road tire, the fact it’s a 29er won’t make a difference.
Replace your 29er wheel with a 26er
This is another option for those of you with 29ers and struggling to get it to fit your trainer. Simply switch it over to a 26er for indoor training purposes only (obviously not for outdoor use!). Don’t forget that with an indoor trainer you don’t need any brakes, so there’s no need to bother with disc specific wheels, etc.
Buy a roller trainer or direct drive trainer
Rollers can make things very interesting, and some serious cyclists swear by them. But they do take some getting used to, and need a certain level of skill and concentration (otherwise you’ll end up like this).
They’re also quiet(er) and you don’t have to worry about burning through your tires or being locked into a trainer. We highly recommend these rollers to get started with.
Direct drive trainers are fairly new to the scene of indoor trainers, but offer a great alternative. They enable you to remove your entire back wheel and slot your chain right onto the trainer. As most bikes now come with a quick release, this is typically a job that takes a matter of seconds. Some excellent direct drive options to consider here are the CycleOps Silencer and the Lemond Revolution 1.1.
The 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 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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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!