Reviews

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

Conquer Indoor Trainer Stand

stationary bicycle standThis 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

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…)!

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, the Minoura B60D trainer, and the new kid on the block, the Ohuhu Magnet trainer, another excellent option that just hovers around the $80 zone…!

My review of the Tacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainer: an awesome smart trainer!

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewThe Tacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainer delivers an intuitive and effective indoor training experience, one you’re seriously going to enjoy!

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!

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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.

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewA 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. There’s little wonder it makes our list of the 5 BEST trainers for 2017!

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.

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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 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.

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.

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

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!

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The 3 BEST top of the range bike stands to take your training to the next level

We’re big fans of the higher end indoor trainers, such as the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine or the CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro, but if you really want to improve your training and take it to the next level, you’ll want to get your hands on one of the three bike trainers listed below.

None of them are going to come cheap, but if your budget is big, then you can be rest assured that the technology and features that come bundled with each of the trainers (we’re talking venturing into the world of virtual training!) are also going to be BIG (and worth every dime).

Let’s have a quick review of the three very best bike trainers your dollars can buy…

Your addiction to indoor virtual training starts here: the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro (ANT+)

PowerBeam Pro 2015The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro will keep you in great shape over the winter months, of that there’s no question!

You’ll be up and running in no time with this baby, as it comes pre-assembled – all you need to do is unfold the legs of the unit, adjust the leg adjuster (only if your floor is a little on the wonky side), and attach the one-sided skewer clamp dial adjustment, with the included steel quick release skewer slotted through your bike’s rear axle.

The big bonus with this trainer is that it uses ANT+, meaning it displays performance data on ANT+ cycling computers for real-time analysis as you ride. Perfect for learning just where you can tweak and enhance your cycling performance. Note that there is a Bluetooth Smart version of this trainer, but we’ve heard that compatibility with 3rd party devices is a little problematic, so, for now at least, would recommend going with this ANT+ version.

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An integrated PowerTap power meter gives you some awesome metrics, including power in watts, power zones, peak power, caloric expenditure in kilojoules, cadence, heart rate, and much more. In addition, the Mini ANT+ USB stick (included with the trainer) lets you control the resistance from your computer (this means you can also use CycleOps’ Virtual Training app for auto-syncing sessions with virtual training routes)! We’re heading down the road of virtual training ourselves this winter, so this excites us a lot!

And if you were worried about this baby making too much noise – because let’s face it, some trainers do have an annoying hum – CycleOps states that this trainer maintains a reasonable 69-70 decibels when you’re riding at 20mph, meaning your partner or neighbors won’t be driven insane by an intrusive hummmmm.

You should be able to attach most road and mountain bike frames, and it supports 650b, 700c, 26 inch, 27 inch, and even 29 inch wheel sizes, with tires up to 2.25 inches wide. Just be aware that it doesn’t support the 120mm rear dropouts found on track bikes.

The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro will set you back around $1000 (although we’ve seen this on Amazon for as little as $700!), but is up there with the very best of them (it obviously makes our 2017 bestseller list), and can be seen as a true investment in your winter training (if you need to convince the wife or partner…). And to top it off, don’t forget that lifetime warranty from CycleOps!

Here’s a quick taster from YouTube

The virtually awesome BKool Pro Turbo Trainer!

bkool pro trainerWe took a good look at the BKool Pro trainer a while ago, and were just as impressed then as we are today!

The fun you’re likely to have with this trainer and its awesome FREE simulator make this an excellent option to consider. The ability to connect up with your tablet or laptop and enjoy a whole ton of videos and sessions, solo or with your friends, is pretty darned hard to beat (there are over 50,000 riders worldwide on the BKool system)! Best of all, the simulator is free to download from the Bkool website and is suitable for both Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPad and Android tablets.

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This Pro trainer from BKool is actually an improvement on their Classic model, which means you get a quieter more stable trainer, but also a in-built cadence system that eliminates the need for an external device. And the electromagnetic braking system is a definite winner in our eyes, as it ensures the Bkool software controls your resistance, which can be especially useful when climbing hills.

Setting up is a doddle; you replace the rear skewer in your wheel (as per any decent trainer these days), and then pop it on the trainer (which also comes with a front wheel support). You’ll then need to register on the Bkool website, download the simulator, plug in the trainer and connect with your supplied ANT and USB.

The Bkool software and trainer wirelessly communicate with each other via your included USB; this ensures your ride data (your cadence and power) is tracked and used to gauge just how much the resistance levels need to be adjusted according to the route you selected. Clever stuff!

It’s also a powerful beast, with the ability to power up 1200W of energy on a progressive curve. That power, and the awesome resistance control, makes it feel like you really are out on the road. There are also over 500 video routes in the BKool system, with more apparently added daily – by the way, the recently added free video editor software lets users create their own route!

You’re not going to get much change from $700, but for value, this has to be one of the best options out there, especially if you’re looking to get your hands on a virtual training system. There is a basic subscription plan available once you sign up (for free), or you can pay for a Premium plan, which gives you some impressive options.

Here’s a quick taster from YouTube

The Elite Real Axiom Trainer

elite real axiom reviewThe Elite Real Axiom trainer has been around for a few years now, but has been gaining a seriously good reputation with some seriously good upgrades over the years!

Another trainer that specializes in smart communications with your computer, the Elite Real Axiom enables you to get a glimpse into some serious real-world conditions on a variety of courses, mainly thanks to its computer controlled resistance (which adjusts per course and rider input). Race against a real human cyclist on your LAN, or alternatively try racing against a virtual competitor if you can’t find anybody online.

You can choose from 14 preset courses while there’s also a 4-week training program – you can also create your own custom courses! You also get to view personal ride stats, including speed, distance, ride time, cadence, heart rate and power output, and you can store them for your own training history, making those indoor sessions a lot more fun, which is what we think it should really be about.

The trainer comes with 2 DVDs; one of the Limoges climb from the 2004 Tour de France and the 2004 Verona World Championship course, both of which are synched with the resistance you create on the trainer to make it feel as if you’re really cycling the route. In addition, it comes with the My RealVideo app, which lets you record your own routes, and upload them to share and compete with other riders!

One thing we have to note about the Elite Real Axiom is that it is Italian made, and although support is good, there might be the odd language barrier problem to face, if you ever have any issues with your trainer. What is also a little disappointing is the lack of online guides and forums.

However, if you can get past that, this trainer is probably the best value of all the virtual trainers we’ve come across – typically selling at around $650 – and should probably be your preferred choice for kick-starting your virtual cycling career!

Here’s a quick taster of what to expect from the Elite Real Axiom trainer on YouTube

In Summary…

If you’re looking to enhance your winter training, any one of the three trainers above will take your training to the next level.

If it’s a question of price, I would have to go with the Elite Real Axiom, but if money isn’t an issue and you’re looking for something top-notch, go for the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro.

Oh boy, are you going to start enjoying those training sessions!

The bare essentials done superbly: the Minoura B60D Tiredrive indoor trainer

minoura b60d trainerFor bargain-hunters searching for a decent indoor bike trainer, sifting your way through some of the options available out there can be a bit daunting. We have done our bit to help you out and collected 3 of the best & cheapest trainers in this article, but here’s another one to consider: the Minoura B60D Tiredrive trainer!

This Minoura bike trainer focuses on delivering the bare essentials – a quick and fuss-free setup and a quiet, comfortable and challenging training session. As far as I’m concerned, all the other bells and whistles you’ll find on bike trainers costing hundreds of dollars more, are entirely optional.

Click here for the latest reviews & discounts for this Minoura trainer

What impressed us with the Minoura B60D

Whenever a company manufactures a lower-end indoor cycling trainer, the first feature to suffer from the reduced price is usually build quality. The Minoura B60D bucks that trend with a heavy-duty frame that is capable of supporting over 260 pounds in weight.

Part of this is down to clever design. The U-Shape frame, which promises excellent stability and even weight distribution, has been subtly modified to multiply contact points between the trainer and the floor for better balance.

In terms of building materials, however, you’re certainly getting maximum bang for your buck. The steel tubing used for the bike frame is nearly 4 cm thick, so you get a very premium look and feel at a decidedly bargain price (we’re talking under $100).

An yes, even the paint is of high quality. Minoura has invested in rust-proof ED paint which will keep your trainer looking sleek for years on end. How this company has managed to turn out a bike trainer that looks and feels this luxurious at such a low price is beyond me – but all the better for us consumers!

Setting up the B60 was also a real pleasure. If, like me, you hate fiddling around with dozens of moving parts, you’ll love this Minoura Tiredrive trainer. It took less than half an hour to set up and was clearly designed with minimal assembly in mind. Moreover, it takes even less time to put away. Despite the thick steel frame and wide base, this portable bike trainer folds away really easily into a lightweight package that will fit into most storage spaces with minimal hassle.

I also appreciated the hub-clamping handle design. I’ve used some indoor bike trainers that take ages to fasten to the bike. It’s hard enough to find motivation to work out in the winter months, and bike trainers that are difficult to set up provide further disincentive. Fortunately, although the Minoura B60 trainer does not include a quick-release level, the hub-clamping mechanism is intuitive to use and extremely secure. Setting it up from a folded position takes less than five minutes, even if you have big 700cc bike tires like I do.

But how well does it ride?

When it came to the actual training, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Minoura B60 Tiredrive includes adjustable resistance options. This may be par-for-the-course on expensive bike trainers, but on this entry-level product it was a real gem. The three resistance settings really added some variety to my workout options, especially since the highest setting was challenging enough for a really exhausting uphill simulation. Resistance changes were smooth as well, thanks to the magnetic resistance unit and the manual adjustment lever.

Riding on the Minoura B60 was also extremely realistic. I use bike training videos for my workout sessions – the scenery and winding roads help me forget that I’m really in my living room, pedaling on a shag carpet while the winter rain pelts down outside – and whether I was coasting or sprinting, the B60 delivered sufficiently accurate simulation that I could lose myself in the illusion of cycling outdoors. The twin-disc flywheel is clearly of superb quality and just hummed along no matter how much I threw at it, making for a very enjoyable ride.

With a whole host of useful features at such an affordable price, you’d expect durability to be a factor – but the B60 again exceeds expectations in this regard. My riding buddies have been using this trainer for a year, but it hasn’t given them any cause for complaint on the longevity front. The flywheel is usually the first to break down, but they haven’t noticed any jerking or creaking despite using the trainer four to five times a week.

In any case, by offering a generous 5-year warranty on the frame and a 1-year warranty for the flywheel, Minoura has issued a clear statement of confidence in the lifespan of its product, and delivered a guarantee that you can (literally) take to the bank.

In summary: why you should buy the Minoura B60D trainer

The Minoura B60D trainer provides ample proof that when it comes to indoor bike trainers, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a satisfying indoor workout. Rather than gouge its customers with exorbitant prices, Minoura has reaffirmed their commitment to affordable prices and a no-frills but highly effective indoor cycling experience with the B60 trainer!

Highly recommended and a trainer everyone on a budget should totally consider!

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My review of the awesome value Ohuhu Magnet Steel indoor trainer

ohuhu magnet trainer reviewIf 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!

Click HERE for the latest reviews & discounts for the Ohuhu Magnet trainer!

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! And yes, it also makes our Top 5 trainer list for 2017!

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