Graber Mag Trainer: our review of this excellent value trainer

Graber Mag TrainerOK, so the search for indoor bicycle trainers under $100 that deliver a dynamic and fulfilling cycling experience can often be a futile and disheartening one for many of you out there.

We generated this great little list of the best THREE trainers for under $80, which has proven very popular, but this is one of the trainers that just missed out on the list (it cost just a few $$ more than our $80 limit), the Graber Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer.

You can find great deals for this trainer in online stores like Amazon, where the price is typically just under $100, but even at the full retail price of $150 we can unhesitatingly recommend this Graber bike trainer for its superb riding experience, portability and all-round versatility.

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What we liked about the Graber Mag Trainer

Any experienced cyclist knows that two things matter when it comes to indoor cycling – stability and resistance. The Graber Mag Trainer delivers on both fronts. The manufacturers have incorporated leveling feet into the trainer design, which create a greater and more evenly distributed traction between the bike trainer and the floor. This ensures that no matter how hard you’re pedaling, you’ll hardly feel a wobble.

In terms of resistance, this Graber stationary bike trainer is one of the best value examples of magnetic resistance trainers out there. It provides five levels of magnetic resistance ensuring it has something to offer to both the cycling novice and the seasoned pro. The adjustable resistance settings make this trainer ideal if you’re looking to make real progress in your indoor cycling sessions, since you can ramp the resistance up as your fitness increases.

Granted, the cycling experience isn’t quite as smooth or realistic with this Graber trainer as it is with top-end fluid resistance trainers like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. However, those machines cost nearly thrice as much and magnetic resistance trainers hardly, if ever, outperform fluid resistance trainers, which is reflected in their lower prices. However, compared with other magnetic trainers, this Graber indoor bike trainer is simply excellent value.

If you’ve done some research already, you’re probably aware that the main problem with cheaper indoor bike trainers is the level of noise produced, but this Graber trainer defies expectations with its surprisingly quiet performance. As with any stationary bike trainer, the deeper and bulkier the treads on your tires, the more noise the trainer produces, but if you use road bike tires, or a training slick, this indoor trainer simply hums along. Even if your apartment has thin walls, you can pedal at top speed without incurring the wrath of your neighbors. If your apartment has hard wooden floors, one handy tip is to use the trainer on a carpeted section of your apartment. That prevents the noise created by the vibration of the trainer from becoming too loud and disruptive.

What’s more, this Graber stationary bike trainer was clearly designed with user-friendliness in mind. Many cyclists want to bring an indoor trainer with them when they go on holiday or travel for bike shows and races, but find that most foldable trainers are either too flimsy to withstand the rigors of travelling or too heavy to carry around. If you’re looking for a portable indoor bike trainer, the Graber Mag might just be the answer. The folding mechanism is quick, intuitive and smooth and the size of the trainer, when folded up, is just right for traveling.

And despite its relatively light weight of 17 pounds, the build quality is superb. Use common sense when packing it and it’ll arrive at your destination fully intact. We also found the assembly process really fuss-free. Even if you failed shop class in school, you’ll be able to set this trainer up in a matter of minutes by following the clear and concise instruction manual.

What we didn’t like…

In saying all this, the Graber indoor bike trainer isn’t perfect. If your bike uses a standard axle, you won’t be able to use the bike trainer right out of the box. You’ll have to add an extra nut to the left side of your axle to make it fit the trainer which is primarily built for quick-release axles.

In addition, we’d have preferred a metal friction roller rather than a PVC one, though the PVC roller is remarkably durable and shows no signs of wear and tear even after some pretty intense cycling workouts. However, if Graber were to implement these improvements, the price would inevitably go up and probably out it beyond the “excellent value” bracket…

So, bang for your buck?

At just under $100, the Graber Mag trainer is a dream come true for budget-oriented cycling fanatics and is definitely one of the best-value magnetic resistance trainers on the market. In our opinion, this is a definite alternative to the cheap bestseller, the Magnet Indoor trainer.

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