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Another great value bike stand: the Sportneer Magnetic trainer!

sportneer magnetic trainerThere are a LOT of indoor bike trainers available on the market these days – and we’ve covered MANY of them on this site – and figuring out which one is best for your training program and pocket is always a tough task…however, with bike trainers like the Sportneer Magnetic Stand around, things get a whole lot easier!

There are a lot of things we can say about this trainer, but perhaps the best way to start is the fact that the Sportneer magnetic trainer will give you all the reasons to get up and get those muscles working again, whatever the weather’s throwing at you outside!

Coupled with the fact that it comes in at well under $100 (but not quite cheap enough to make our super-value under $80 trainer list), this is one trainer to definitely add to your shortlist.

Click here for the latest reviews & discounts on this Sportneer trainer!

Why we were impressed with the Sportneer magnetic trainer

It’s so comfortable to use! The resistance settings have multiple options (6 of them in fact!) so you can just choose which one you’re most comfortable with. Plus, this is one quiet bike trainer.

With a variety of resistance settings, you can choose to burn calories or get yourself ready for biking up hills and mountains, when the spring comes around again. The resistance curve really does cover pretty much all cycling conditions.

This trainer stand also features a wide base and low stance that just works exceedingly well. See, one of the biggest problems most people have with stationary bike trainers is that their base is either too narrow or their stance is at a ridiculous height. The Sportneer trainer has made sure it is comfortable enough for everybody. And because it has rubber feet, it can be as stable as it can get. No need to worry about accidentally damaging the floors or not being able to have a decent session because of a wobbly set of feet.

Among the best features of the Sportneer Steel Bicycle include its great compatibility with a lot of bikes. This gem can fit any typical road bike and an array of mountain bikes with 26 to 28 inch wheels.

And if you’re ready to actually hit the outdoors, releasing your bike from this bike trainer won’t be a hassle. It is literally as easy pressing down a lever clamp. Then you’re good to go!

Even more reasons to fall in love with this trainer…

This trainer from Sportneer, which is made from a combination of steel, ABS, and rubber, is also supremely helpful in training you for various cycling conditions with its six resistance settings. These settings will ensure you can be completely comfortable while giving you the option to push yourself out of your comfort zone and really see what you’re capable of.

Plus, shifting between the tension regulators is pretty easy as well. You don’t have to halt the momentum to adjust because even while riding, a tension regulator can be attached to the handles of your bike, which means you can change between resistance settings even while hitting the pedals.

The extended size of this product is at 22 x 22 x 15.5 inches. Even better, it’s foldable, with a folded size of 22 x 18 x 6 inches. This makes travelling with the Sportneer magnetic trainer effortless (or storing it away if you have limited space at home)!

If that’s not enough, this trainer is also available in red and black, just to spoil you even further!

Finally, if you’re looking for even more value, this trainer comes with the bike trainer stand itself, one front wheel block, one resistance remote, and a rear skewer for easier setup. Considering the fact that a front wheel block can cost at least $20, this is one sweet package!

What we didn’t like about this Sportneer trainer

Similar to any other trainer in this price range, there are things you need to consider with this one. First off, you may want to note that the instructions it comes with can be a bit vague, so YouTube is probably going to be your friend in this case.

Also, while we mentioned this product is a pretty silent bike trainer, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% noiseless. Noise reduction is totally different from complete quiet! Which is to say, if you’re planning to do some full-on training, you might wanna do it in daytime. As someone mentioned on Amazon: “I live on the 2nd floor and the neighbors below me can definitely hear it. It’s not much louder than a vacuum, but too loud for 6 am.”

Of course, this is applicable to almost every trainer out there, and why we always recommend buying a trainer tire AND a trainer mat.

In summary…

Overall, the Sportneer Magnetic trainer is a wise purchase if your goal is to be able to train even when at home and if you want to improve your cycling stamina and core-strength for the spring cycling season. Typically priced at around $90 and with a front wheel block included, this is definitely a value-packed trainer that should be in your man cave through the off-season!

sportneer magnetic trainer

The 5 BEST bike trainer mats to ramp up your training & help reduce noise

If you train indoors, there are more than a few good reasons why you should buy a bike trainer mat.

They might seem a bit redundant at first, but trust us, once you own one you won’t look back! Primarily, they give you stability and help reduce sweaty odors and stains on your floor; but the number one reason you’re going to want one is that they greatly reduce the noise all bike trainers inevitably make. If you live with or above other people, they will be the first to thank you for investing in a trainer mat. Seriously.

And yep, stop looking at yoga mats as an option, they’re just not tough enough for most trainers and decent training sessions.

We took a look at some of the leading bike trainer mats on the market for you…

cycleops training matCycleOps Training Mat

At 65” long by 36” wide, this is quite a small mat (it’s actually the smallest on this list), but should be big enough for most indoor training needs. It is made of tough rubber, which is only 4 mm thick but very dense. This makes it easy to roll up after use but provides plenty of sturdiness and weight when laid out.

The mat is waterproof, so you can clean the sweat and grime off when you’ve finished with it. The rubber base also anchors the mat to the floor, even hardwood, which keeps your trainer in place during your workout.

A very solid trainer mat, typically priced at around $60 – and the perfect accompaniment to the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer. For more info and an up-to-date price check, click here.

Kinetic Training Mat

Kinetic Training MatThis mat comes in at a whopping 72” long by 36” wide and is a well made product from a trusted name (we might have mentioned it before, but we love Kinetic’s trainers, such as the newly released smart versions of the Road Machine and the Rock n Roll trainers).

Its rubber structure is smooth on the underside to keep it in place during training but textured on top to hold drops of sweat and items of bike grime. As this is also rubber, it does not absorb anything, but will need some cleaning after use.

The size of the mat means it absorbs noise over a larger floor area, as well as being able to cope with the very biggest trainers. Of course, you will need the requisite floor space.

Typically priced at just over $60, this is a quality option. For more info and an up-to-date price check, click here.

ascent resistance matAscent Resistance Training Mat

Even bigger than the Kinetic training mat mentioned above, this training mat from Ascent measures a huge 78” by 36”. It will easily hold your bike and any trainer and provide your floor with a lot of protection over a large area.

It is made of synthetic material, with the upper surface designed to hold on to sweat and grime. The large area of the mat also absorbs a lot of sound.

If you use cleats, the surface can seem a bit fragile, as if it might puncture or tear when you walk on it. Training frames and wheels should be fine, however.

This one comes in at around $40, so is very budget-friendly. For more info and an up-to-date price check, click here.

Tacx Rollable Trainer Mat

TacxTrainerMatThis trainer mat from Tacx is based around foam, and supported by other various materials. Its mixture is designed to cope with a lot of those nasty and less nasty fluids from your training session, but is till washable.

It is slightly narrower than other mats, at 33.5” wide, but covers 69” in length. It is slightly deeper than other mats, at 6 mm, but will still roll up fairly easily for storage.

To be clear, this trainer mat is mainly designed to deal with sweat and water spills, rather than reducing the noise of your training session. This is largely because of its foam-based mixture which is not as dense as rubber mats, hence letting more noise through. This mat is ideal if you only train occasionally, and not too heavily.

Coming in at around $80, this is probably only for Tacx fans. For more info and an up-to-date price check, click here.

Wahoo KICKR Multi-Purpose Floor Mat

wahookickrtrainermatThe Wahoo KICKR is another large training mat, measuring 78” long by 36” wide. It has a pretty tough surface, designed to hold lots of training related fluids and spills. In fact, the surface gives a little when you walk on it, making it feel more like a traditional mat than some others. It also has a beveled edge, which keeps the mat firmly attached to your floor covering, and hence ensuring very decent stability.

This extra depth makes the mat a bit bulky to store, although it is perfectly easy to clean after use. The mat is also at the expensive end of the scale, coming in at around just under $70.

But it is a quality option and favored by many pro cyclists for their indoor sessions. For more info and an up-to-date price check, click here.

In Summary…

All the above bike trainer mats are well designed and should help you train better – while keeping on friendly terms with housemates and neighbors! Our ultimate trainer mat of choice is probably the Kinetic trainer mat, though the CycleOps and Wahoo mats are also worth considering. Happy training!

5 BEST bike trainers 2018: the ultimate buyer’s guide

best bike trainer 2018

If you’re looking for the very best bike trainers of 2018, we’ve done pretty much all of the homework for you with this great little list for would-be buyers…

We know it’s not always easy sifting through all that info online, and hey, even through all those reviews on our own website, what with all the models we’ve tried and tested over the years. But we’ve done our absolute best to create the ultimate Top 5 list of bike trainers out there, a list that will surely take your indoor training efforts to the next level.

And yes, there is something for everyone on this list, so whatever your budget and cycling level there’s something for you to enjoy. The range of indoor trainers we’ve included in this list ranges from a very budget friendly (and value-packed to the rafters!) $70 trainer to a pricey but extremely classy trainer that will set you back over a grand (and comes highly recommended for the serious/pro cyclists of you out there).

Yep, these really are the best bike trainer options out there in 2018, in our very humble opinion. And yes, with one of these trainers in your training arsenal, you can seriously start expecting some very decent results…

Budget-friendly and AMAZING value for any beginner: the Ohuhu Magnet Steel trainer!

best bike trainers 2017This bike trainer only recently came onto our radar, but we have to say, this HAS to be on your radar if you’re looking for a trainer with tremendous value (we’re talking a typical online price of around $80).

Seriously, if your budget is on the conservative side, or you’re just getting started with indoor trainers, this is an excellent choice. Some might say it’s a direct copy of this bestseller from Magnet, but we feel there’s just that wee bit more in this one to warrant its selection as one of the very best budget trainers of 2018! We’ve see a lot of low-quality Chinese-made cheapies flood the markets in the last year or 2, but the Ohuhu is definitely top of the pile for value!

There’s a LOT to love with this trainer, including a heavy-duty frame that also folds up (and ensures it can be easily stored away), adjustable internal resistance settings that are controlled via the handlebar (thanks to some awesome inbuilt magnets), skid-resistance feet, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a very quiet trainer, even when the wolves are at your feet!

Read our full review here.

If you’re looking for additional budget options, check out the best THREE bike trainers for less than $80!

A revamped classic for the smart tech generation: the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller!

best bike trainers 2017The Kurt Kinetic’s Rock n Roller has long been on our featured list of trainers. With a revamped version recently released to take on the ever developing world of smart technology compatible trainers, this could be your ultimate ride through the off-season.

The major factor in choosing this smart version of the Rock n Roller is its Inride Sensor. If you love your details and performance data, this sensor will give you pretty much all the data tracking and workout details you’ll ever need. And we can’t emphasize how important some of that data (speed and heart rate to cadence) can be for the serious cyclist; while your competitors are piling on the pounds/losing fitness over the off-season, you’ll be primed and ready for the spring!

Accompanying the Inride Sensor is the inRide app, which does an amazing job of collecting and transforming that data into workout suggestions, modifying its built-in workout programs according to the data the sensor provides.

Together with the fact that this smart trainer from Kinetic handles like a dream (that rocking motion is a big big plus) and can cater to almost any wheel size, its price tag of around $550 is excellent value for money, especially when some of today’s smart trainers are breaching a grand. And Kurt Kinetic is one of the industry’s legends, a name you can seriously trust.

Read our full review here.

One of the BEST trainers your money can buy: the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro!

PowerBeam Pro 2017This trainer is seriously going to make some improvements to your fitness levels over the winter. And if you’re after something ANT+ friendly, with real-time analysis of your riding sessions, this is the beast for you.

I’ll be honest, this trainer is going to put a hefty dent in your wallet, as you’ll be lucky to find it under $1000. However, the big bonus with this trainer is that it uses ANT+, ensuring you get crucial performance data on ANT+ cycling computers that provide you with real-time analysis as you ride. So yes, if you’re looking to tweak and improve your riding, this is an amazing tool to have on your side.

Enjoy an integrated PowerTap power meter for some awesome metrics, including power in watts, power zones, peak power, caloric expenditure in kilojoules, cadence, heart rate, and much more. The Mini ANT+ USB stick (included with the trainer) also 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)!

Other crucial selling points: it’s extremely quiet (CycleOps states it generates a reasonable 69-70 decibels when riding at 20mph), and you can attach most road and mountain bike frames, with support for 650b, 700c, 26 inch, 27 inch, and 29 inch wheel sizes, with tires up to 2.25 inches wide.

Note this trainer also comes in a Bluetooth Smart version, but apparently connectivity issues persist with it, so we’d recommend sticking with this ANT+ version.

Read our full review here.

Another smart-tech option: the awesome value Tacx Vortex Smart Ergo Trainer!

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewSmart trainers have recently become the trend to watch out for in the bike trainer wold in 2018, but with many of the recently released models topping a grand, smart trainers are out of reach for many. And then came along the Tacx Vortex Smart Ergo trainer.

What can we say, except “buy it if you’re after a great smart trainer”!

Seriously, this Tacx trainer packs a seriously smart punch – for less than $500. With a quick and stable connection ensuring your trainer is responsive to the smart app that comes with the trainer, you’ll soon be enjoying the likes of Zwift and other similar software (including the included Tacx software).

With excellent resistance (thanks to 16 inbuilt magnets) that you can crank up to a whopping max of 950 watts, excellently accurate workout calculations, and awesome electro-brake technology coming into its own and registering delicate changes in speed, this is one indoor riding experience you won’t need any motivational pep-talks for!

Read our full review here.

One of our personal faves: the awesome CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer!

Cycleops Fluid 2 Trainer(EDITOR’S CHOICE) This bike trainer from CycleOps has long been in our personal arsenal of off-season training tools. It has been around for some time, but after recently being revamped and redesigned, it still remains an excellent option for 2018.

Simply one of the best value trainers on this list (coming in at around $300), we’ve probably had more training sessions on this beast than any other trainer out there. Still quiet, still classy, and yes, still an indoor riding experience to savor.

With excellent resistance, a new larger flywheel delivering twice the inertia (read about the resistance technology from CycleOps here), Powerband technology ensuring a wide resistance range to work with, a self-cooling mechanism that keeps the unit performing better and for longer, plus a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, this is an excellent choice for the beginner, keen cyclist, and even the hardened pro.

Read our full review here.

If you’re about to purchase one of these great trainers, we can highly recommend grabbing a trainer mat – they’ll keep your floor protected and clear of sweaty odors & also help reduce noise!

Quick glance comparison

Below is a table summarizing the best bike trainers in this bestsellers of 2018 list, so you can see at-a-glance what ticks all your boxes before reading more about each trainer…if you’re still not sure what type of trainer you really need, check out our quick guide for assistance.

NOTE: The ratings are review ratings currently listed on Amazon

ImageModelProsRatingPrice Range
Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerKurt Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerThe ultimate realistic indoor riding experience, expensive but quality

Read our REVIEW
4.4$$$$$

ohuhu magnet trainer reviewOhuhu Magnet Steel TrainerAdjustable internal resistance levels, quiet, skid-resistant feet, wide frame, excellent value.

Read our REVIEW
4.3$

PowerBeam Pro 2017CycleOps PowerBeam ProPerfect for pros with ANT+ compatibility for real-time analysis, quiet, lifetime warranty from CycleOps!

Read our REVIEW
5.0$$$$$

Cycleops Fluid 2 TrainerCycleops Fluid 2Infinite resistance, self-cooling, one of the best!

Read our REVIEW
4.5$$$$$

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewTacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainerSmart technology, intuitive, electro-brake technology, best value smart trainer!

Read our REVIEW
4.2$$$$$


What types of bike trainer are out there in 2018 – and what type should I buy?

So yes, we know it can get a little confusing when trying to work out which type of indoor trainer best suits your needs, but we’ve wrapped up the main types you need to take into consideration if you’re looking for the best bike trainer in 2018…

Smart trainers

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewWithout a doubt, smart trainers are the future of indoor training. With their ability to connect to a variety of applications and sensors, smart trainers are for the keen to pro rider who needs that extra data available – or for those who just want to ride with their buddies on multi-rider platforms like Zwift. We’ve already uncovered a couple of great smart trainers, but the Tacx Vortex we mentioned above is one of the best value smart trainers we’ve come across. But watch this space because we’re sure there are some interesting developments ahead, and not just in 2018…

Fluid trainers

Fluid trainers are about as real as you’re going to get to an authentic on-road sensation. They typically generate resistance through a magnetic flywheel which combines with a fluid chamber inside the flywheel. So as you hit those pedals harder, the fluid in the chamber gets hotter, which means that the trainer’s resistance becomes more challenging as you continue.

Expect to pay a few more $$$ than most of the other types listed here, since these types of trainers (our own favorite is the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer listed above) certainly provide quality, with most of the models out there today also proving they are leak-proof (a well-known problem in earlier fluid type trainers). If you want to go for a pivoting, and truly awesome fluid trainer, take a look at the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller (see above), now updated with a smart-friendly version!

Magnetic trainers

Magnetic trainers generate resistance via a magnetic flywheel, the adjustable magnetic resistance creating drag against your bike’s wheel. They are typically on the cheaper side, and generally easy to setup and move about. However, the resistance is limited and for the serious cyclist this can soon cause an issue as you’ll reach your max resistance fairly swiftly. They also tend to be noisier than fluid trainers, a point those of you living in apartments may want to consider.

A good budget-friendly example of a magnetic stationary stand is the Ohuhu Steel trainer, which we included above.

Rollers

NashbarRollersRollers are a whole different ball game; instead of attaching your bike to the trainer, as in the above models, you attempt to ride the bike on the rollers themselves, trying not to fall flat on your face! Certainly takes some practice, but rollers are a great way to work on your balance and positioning.

They typically are seen as a good value option, often coming in at much cheaper than the prime fluid or direct drive models. Some people swear by them, others can’t stand them – it’s entirely up to you! Don’t miss this review of the Top 5 bike rollers for a guide to the very best rollers out there.

Direct Drive trainers

lemond revolution 1.1Direct drive trainers are fairly new to the scene of indoor training, but are a great option for the serious cyclist. You can also save some serious $$$ on tires, since these trainers work on the concept of removing your bike’s rear wheel completely, and slotting it into a direct drive on the trainer. Quick and easy to setup, especially with today’s modern bikes that now all come with a quick-release skewer.

Two direct drive options we’ve been very impressed with: the CycleOps Silencer and the Lemond Revolution 1.1.

Virtual Reality trainers

If your budget is limitless and you really want the ultimate indoor ride, try a virtual trainer, which basically transforms your ride into a living PlayStation/XBox experience! Expect to pay some serious $$$ – for example, watch this video of the Tacx iGenius Virtual Trainer, it might just knock your socks off! You can buy it on Amazon, just be aware that it will cost you upwards of $1000.

We should probably point out that the concept of “virtual” trainers will probably disappear, what with the ever-growing range of smart trainers and direct drive trainers (see above), and their ability to connect with a range of appliances and software.

Wind trainers

In all honesty, don’t even bother with wind trainers. They’re generally noisy, and in our opinion, are outdone by fluid and decent magnetic trainers.

6 KILLER reasons you should buy that indoor trainer tire!

trainer tireIf you’re serious about training indoors, you really should consider buying a bike trainer tire.

Ever since I replaced my mountain bike tire – complete with knobbly tread – with a slick training tire, I’ve never looked back…Seriously, if you’re anything like me, you were probably thinking it would be easier and cheaper to use an old tire, or even your everyday tire. But no, there are some very good reasons why this is a bad idea. Just bad. Don’t do it…

Click HERE for a review of the very best trainer tire we’ve come across!

So to help convince you, I’ve come up with six must-read reasons for buying an indoor trainer tire>>>

1 Beating the heat

Intensive indoor training produces a lot of heat (and we’re not even talking about the copious amounts of sweat you produce!). This is simply not the case when riding your bike normally. Friction between your tire and the trainer roller easily produces enough heat to melt regular tires. This not only ruins the tire, but coats the roller in a layer of rubber, making it very inefficient. Trainer tires are designed to disperse heat throughout their structure.

2 Reducing noise

Indoor stationary bike stands produce a lot of noise with regular tires. The two surfaces rubbing together make this inevitable due to the tread on road tires, and this is especially relevant for knobbly mountain bike treads. Training tires have a special tread pattern and material compound which makes them virtually silent, no matter how hard you train.

3 Durability

Because intensive training creates a lot of heat with regular tires, they become damaged very quickly. They wear out much sooner than with outdoor riding, and you’re also likely to see them leave some of their tread embedded on your trainer roller. Indoor trainer tires not only create much less heat, their compound is blister resistant. From my research, and from my own personal experience, a good, standard indoor trainer tire should last 5,000 miles or so, maybe even more.

4 Adding extra resistance

Indoor trainer tires are specially designed to add resistance without generating heat. This makes your trainer much more efficient, and your performance measurements more meaningful. By withstanding punishment from friction, indoor training tires keep their integrity for longer, which maintains their resistance against your training roller.

5 Get sexy & colorful!

As your indoor trainer tire will only be seen by you or those close to you, you can get creative and have yours in any color you like. And you don’t have to worry that it will get caked in mud, or suffer discoloring – it should keep its color as long as you have it. As training can be a little boring and hard to motivate yourself for, having a bright trainer tire often subconsciously lifts the spirits.

6 Great value

Unlike regular tires, indoor trainer tires only have one mode to cope with. They are specially designed to work with a trainer, which makes their manufacture relatively cheap. Typically priced between $20 – $40, this works out A LOT cheaper than replacing regular bike tires. Especially when you take into consideration the length of time they last, their heat resistance, their sexiness and their assistance in reducing noise!

Two trainer tires we can seriously recommend: the Zittoria trainer tire (priced at around $30 and comes in a sexy red color) and the Continental Hometrainer tire (also priced at around $30). These two trainer tires have proven to be two of the best out there, so come highly recommended.
If you’re looking for another way to enhance your training, add a trainer mat! They help protect your floor, reduce odors & also help reduce noise!

Continuing the legend: the Kinetic Road Machine Smart trainer!

KineticRoadMachineSmartTrainerThe guys at Kurt Kinetic have long known what they’re doing, and the latest edition to hit the bike shops is this awesome smart version of their legendary Road Machine (which we previously reviewed here).

The Kinetic Road Machine smart trainer combines the latest technology with good old fashioned engineering. The solid base gives a feeling of stability, while the front end apps put you into a virtual world where you’ll feel like you’re really out there on the open road! For its price – which is still very decent for a top-level smart trainer at under $300 – the Road Machine Smart trainer will provide you the advantages of much more expensive monitoring devices, as well as a real road feel.

Click HERE for the latest reviews & discounts for the Kinetic Road Machine smart trainer!

 

So, what’s to like about the Kinetic Road Machine Smart?

Kurt Kinetic pride themselves on the quality of their frames, and as a result, it probably won’t surprise you to know that they regularly feature in our Top Trainers bestseller list. If anything, they say they are happy to have their trainers described as “over engineered”. Bless ’em!

The base of the Road Machine Smart trainer is certainly impressively put together. It has a very solid feel, as if it’s going to cope with more than you could ever give it. But all physical elements in this trainer have a chunky, solid feel about them. The design is based on a bright green, white and black color scheme which is unapologetic about being fit for purpose. The adjustment bolts have easy to grip, rubberized knobs which add to the feeling the trainer gives of putting you in control.

The frame itself is made from powder-coated steel, completed with super-strong welds at the joints of the down struts and rotor holder. The three supporting points are in solid black plastic so no worries about damaging any smooth floor surfaces. The angled design means the trainer will not slip or move during use.

Overall, the trainer’s frame oozes strength and the capability to cope with any training regime you put it through.

Those Moving Parts – engineering at its finest!

The Kinetic resistance rotor unit is also an impressive looking piece of kit. Again, secured by an ergonomically useful adjuster, the unit is a highly engineered mix of precision steel and aluminum. The flywheel is an impressive 6.25 pounds in weight.

But it’s inside the trainer unit where it gets really clever. This is where the liquid resistance dictates the sort of ride you get. As with other such trainers, this actual piece of machinery is largely unseen, which is probably just as well. At the end of the day, all we want from our trainers is that they work properly, right?

Located underneath the revolving metal moving parts is a black box which houses all the Bluetooth and Kinetic inRide technology. Basically, the Bluetooth picks up the signal from your smart device and tells the inRide system how much resistance to apply. As with the rest of this impressive looking machine, all this tech is safely housed inside something which looks impossible to break!

Smart Tech!

KurtKineticSmarttabletsThe Kinetic Road Machine Smart trainer comes with a training program as standard – a free month’s subscription to the makers’ Kinetic Fit power training app. This is worth having anyway, whether you are an experienced user of indoor trainers or not. If this is your first trainer, Kinetic Fit will give you a good idea of what you can expect, and a feel for how to actually use your trainer.

Certainly, the Kinetic Fit app which comes with this trainer works fine. It works with the trainer to replicate conditions you would experience actually riding a bike, including inertia when pulling away. The heavy flywheel is particularly good for this.

And yep, a major selling point for this trainer is its future proofing. It is compatible with proprietary apps including FulGaz, KinoMap Trainer, Rouvy, TrainerRoad and Zwift. As the trainer measures your cadence, distance traveled, power applied and speed, these apps have the potential for fine tuning in an awful lot of ways. Check out our upcoming guide to smart apps for your indoor training!

Kinetic Road Machine Smart – the Technical Specs

OK, so this trainer comes with some excellently engineered elements, and its ability to take your indoor training some years into the future is also a deal-clincher, at least in our opinion. In summary:

  • Zwift (and other apps) compatible
  • Measures cadence, distance, power and speed
  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
  • 6.25 pound flywheel
  • High quality steel roller
  • Rubber over-molded ABS plastic control fittings
  • Compatible with 24″ to 700 cc to 29″ mountain bike wheels
  • Free 1-month subscription to the Kinetic Fit app
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • 2 year warranty on inRide sensor

Something to consider…

Just one thing, really. This is the upgraded, smart version of what was already a great trainer. And with new technology does come teething problems. Some have experienced issues with the “smart” parts, namely the app and its connectivity, and if you’re an Android user you might have some issues. The makers say they’re working on these technical glitches, and you may have better results if you use Apple.

So, is the Kinetic Road Machine Smart trainer worth splashing the cash on?

This smart trainer is excellent value considering the smart elements that will help future-proof your training. It comes with the engineering expertise from Kurt Kinetic, meaning you’re getting a very sturdy, superbly engineered machine. The rotor and fluid resistance unit are excellent, and mirror real world cycling, something that many of us cyclists are always craving throughout the winter months. It really does have the strength to put up with your toughest workout. All in all, a very robust and responsive power trainer. Recommended!

8 ways to get the BEST out of your indoor training session!

stationary bike standWhile indoor bike training is not everyone’s idea of fun – let’s face it, we’d ALL rather be out on the open road – it can have its advantages. The main and obvious benefit is it’s just plain convenient, even for die hard road and off-road cyclists. Whether you’re stuck inside for the winter, too busy to go outside, or just prefer training indoors, there are ways to get the absolute best out of those sessions.

Here are our top 8 suggestions for getting the MAX out of your indoor bike training.

Allocate time for your indoor training

As we’ve suggested, time is often a reason people choose to train indoors. Busy modern lives and the logistics of urban living eat in to every 24 hours. So once you’ve decided to buy that trainer and train indoors, do not use time as an excuse to avoid it.

You can help make time by preparing in advance, so that everything you need is ready when you want to start your daily session (and you have less of an excuse to “forget” about that session). We can highly recommend spending a few minutes preparing for your next day’s workout, either straight after you finish, or the night before.

SEE ALSO: The 3 greatest ways to stay motivated for your indoor training sessions

Set goals

As you’ll probably be training at home, it is important to not think of your training session as another household chore or routine. Even if you’re training in a gym, the best way to get the most out of indoor sessions is to look forward to them. This will prevent you thinking of training on your indoor trainer as some sort of necessary evil.

Setting goals is a great way of looking forward to training sessions. They give incentive and motivation, especially if your memory of yesterday’s session is positive. Goals can be short and long term, as long as you think you can achieve them.

Get competitive!

A good way of setting yourself goals is to compete with others. This can also help with the feeling of isolation which sometimes comes with indoor training. By competing with other cyclists who are at about the same level as you, you can challenge yourself and add an extra dimension to your training.

Probably the best way of doing that during the off-season is virtually – there are a number of great virtual ways of competing, using apps based on gaming technology. These are immersive and may help your actual performance as well as helping achieve goals. Of course, you’re going to need a smart trainer to really get the most out of a virtual ride, but they really are the new breed of trainer and definitely worth considering!

Eat properly

Maintaining your blood sugar and energy levels is vital to keep you on track in your indoor training sessions. This means eating properly all day, rather than trying to time meals and snacks with your session in mind. As you are likely to train for up to an hour, at various levels of difficulty, your body needs to have a stable base level of energy to draw on.

Carbohydrates are essential for this and are best digested from rice and pasta. Red meat is unpredictable in terms of energy because it can be hard to digest. If you feel weak during a session, eat natural sugars such as those in fruit. For more great nutritional tips, check out our guide to some food essentials for indoor training.

Keep cool

You will burn a lot of energy during a training session, which means you’ll heat up. Unlike the outdoors, this heat has to be dealt with by artificial means. If you overheat, this could even lead to fainting; but even just sweating too much will dehydrate you, which can have a serious impact on your well-being.

As well as sipping water every 10 minutes, make sure your environment can deal with that perspiring brow of yours. Modern gyms will be well ventilated, but if you’re at home, you should definitely use a fan next to your trainer (as any proper man cave should have!).

Dress right

Another way to keep cool and comfortable is to dress correctly. Again, unlike riding outside, indoor training sessions mean constant contact with your saddle. Most trainers won’t really let you stand up, free wheel and let the breeze caress the stresses on your body (although the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller does an awesome lifelike job!), so comfort really is the key.

So yes, padded shorts are a must for indoor training. On your upper body, remember you are indoors and will more than likely sweat like a champ. Wear something light and thin to help dissipate this and your body heat.

Train in intervals

One of the main differences between outdoor cycling and indoor training is the distance. The main focus of indoor training is to increase your fitness levels rather than see how far you can ride. Interval training enables you to push yourself over short spells. These should vary in intensity, giving your whole body a great workout over your session.

Keep yourself entertained!

Certainly one of the major complaints we’ve heard about riding indoors is the boredom. It really has put some people off , especially at home, where the repetitive nature of cycle training can let the mind wander.

Our golden tip: if you are training alone, make sure you have your favorite music or other entertainment at hand (some of the options on our top accessories list might be right up your alley). Make this one of the first things you prepare for, so that it’s ready to go when you are. This could also be a decisive factor in motivating you to keep the training sessions going, especially if you’re one of those that struggles without the wind ruffling around your ears!

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.

Related: The FIVE best indoor trainers to buy this Christmas!

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 bestselling Sportneer magnetic trainer, the great value Graber Mag trainer, well worth checking out, the superb Bike Lane Pro trainer, the Minoura B60D trainer, the Akonza Magnet Steel trainer, and the new kid on the block, the Ohuhu Magnet trainer, another excellent option that just hovers around the $80 zone…!