FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Indoor Bike Trainers

This section of the website is dedicated to some of the more popular questions we are regularly asked. Just click on a question to pop on down to the relevant answer.

If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, feel free to drop us a line!

What exactly is a stationary bike trainer?

A stationary bike trainer is a device that lets you attach your road / mountain bike to it, enabling you to ride indoors. The trainer typically comes with a skewer that replaces the rear skewer on your bike, allowing you to rest the rear wheel on the trainer, in a slightly elevated fashion. Most models will give you a good experience, though nothing beats the wind in your hair!

What type of stationary bicycle stand do I need?

That really depends on a number of factors:

  • If you’re a pro cyclist, for example, we’d recommend the leading brands that really do provide a quality trainer (Kurt Kinetic and CycleOps for example). If money is not the deciding factor, these THREE trainers are simply hard to beat…
  • If you’re a beginner, it might be more practical to go with a more cost-efficient model, such as the Forza F2 or Blackburn, and then upgrade at a later date to one of the top models. Here are FIVE of the best we recommend, whatever your level.
  • If you’re on a strict budget, there are some cheap and nasty models out there, but here are THREE of the best we’ve found for under $80.

For an overview of all the different types of stationary indoor trainers, please read this. You can also see our Buying Guide for a great analysis of the main models out there.

Can I really cycle indoors with one of these stationary bike stands?

Yes, absolutely! Quick and easy to setup, you can be up and running in 15 minutes after unwrapping the box! As we mentioned, the ride isn’t quite the same as riding outdoors, but most decent trainers will do a great job of keeping you in training and fit throughout those periods when you can’t get outdoors. The real problem with riding indoors is staying motivated

How easy is it to set up a stationary bike stand?

Almost so easy that it hurts…seriously, it’s very easy – check out this video for an idea of just how you do it. The only real “sticky” issue is usually with the skewer that needs to go through your rear wheel in order to sit on the trainer, but that’s explained here too

How expensive are stationary bicycle stands?

Stationary bike stands range in price from around $50 to $350. The cheaper models are often good for getting started, or just checking if you really do want to try indoor training, but they can be of a much poorer quality than the brand models. It does depend on what you need (see above), but we’d recommend going for a half-decent model and then upgrading at a later stage, once you know what you really need.

Are there any decent models under $100?

Yes, there certainly are. We’ve tried a few of them, and although we’d have to go with the old saying “you get what you pay for”, there are some decent models for the budget conscious or beginner we can heartily recommend. Read our guide to the best trainers under $80.

I’m a beginner, what models would you recommend?

If you’re looking to get started, the cheaper models are a good option. As we mention above, there are some real cheap and horrible models out there, but there are a few we do recommend. These are a great starting point – unless you really want to jump in to the quality models which we believe are a better long-term option (they are built better, last longer, and are generally quieter).

I’m a serious/professional cyclist, what models would you recommend?

We’d have to recommend one of the top models, which means one of these babies:

Any of these three will do an excellent job and come heartily recommended, not just by us, but by hundreds of happy online reviewers…

I really need a strong trainer as I intend to have some intense workouts – anything suitable for me?

We’d say that there are a number of very good stands that can handle the stress of a rigorous workout. The resistance would typically be down to your gear changes and the resistance applicable to various stands, but yes, the following trainers should be more than OK.

  • The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro – this isn’t a cheap option but has recently become the bike trainer we’ve been drooling after…read more here.
  • The Kinetic Rock and Roller – the ultimate ride simulation, read more here. We’d go for this one over the Road Machine because if you’re really working out and rocking back and forth (or looking to replicate that uphill climb experience) this is the trainer that can safely accomplish an intense ride.
  • The Cascade FluidPro Trainer – one we’ve recently discovered, it has a great reputation among pros/intense riders –  read more here.

What do I need to do to maintain my stand?

If you want to maintain your bike stand to ensure it lasts, there are some basic steps you really should follow. We’ve listed them here.

Which is the quietest indoor bike trainer?

Many of the cheaper models out there are known to be a little noisier. Again, their build quality isn’t quite the same as the top models, so expect a fair amount of noise. Although “noise” is different for everybody, so many trainers will be drowned out anyway by a good pair of earphones. Some, however, will not be suitable for riding at midnight if you are living in an apartment block and want to remain on decent terms with your immediate neighbors…

Another hot tip for keeping the noise down is switching those knobbly MTB tires for training slicks. That will help a LOT, trust us on that one!

My bike’s wheels are 20″, what stationary bike stands are suitable?

As far as we’re aware, there is not a bike trainer that comes ready with the availability to handle a 20″ wheel. However, the good news is that there are adapters for some models, such as an adapter for CycleOps trainers – it is supposed to handle wheels as small as 16″, but only works with CycleOps trainers (read our review of the excellent Fluid 2 Trainer).

My bike’s wheels are 29″, what stationary bike stands are suitable?

With the advent of bigger wheels, this is probably the most asked question we receive. And you’ll be pleased to know there are a few bike stands that work with 29″ wheels, see our full report here (you might also be happy to know you probably don’t even need a special trainer if you’re happy to switch training tires!).

Can I use my mountain bike on a stationary bike trainer?

YES! Most visitors to this site are probably looking for a road bike trainer, but we also have mountain bikes we train with and of course, there are plenty of you also looking for a suitable trainer. The good news is that almost all the trainers we list on this site are also suitable for MTBs. The only downside is that they tend to be generally noisier, due to the knobbly tread on the MTB tires. This can be easily remedied however by buying a slick tire, which can be found online for as little as $11-15. In our opinion, it’s worth buying one of these, just to reduce that noise!

What are “roller” trainers?

Rollers are unique frames that typically lie on the floor and you basically ride your bike on two or three rollers on the frame. It’s all a question of balance and agility, and does take some getting used to. However, many people, including top cyclists, swear by them for improving their all round skills. Check out our guide to FIVE of the best rollers on the market today, and if you’re wondering just how easy/hard it is to succeed with a roller, don’t miss our FIVE tips for roller success!

How do I stay motivated during those boring indoor sessions?

Well, it’s not easy sometimes, but here are THREE great tips for staying motivated and keeping in the saddle. You might also want to try these training videos, in our opinion they are a great boost for motivation!

Leave a Reply