Posts tagged $200-$300
If you’re looking for the very best bike trainer for 2017, 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 $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 2017, 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!
This 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 2017!
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!
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!
The 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.
One of the BEST trainers your money can buy: the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro!
This 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.
Another smart-tech option: the awesome value Tacx Vortex Smart Ergo Trainer!
Smart trainers have recently become the trend to watch out for in the bike trainer wold in 2017, 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!
One of our personal faves: the awesome 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 2017.
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.
Quick glance comparison
Below is a table summarizing the best bike trainers in this bestsellers of 2017 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
|Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer||The ultimate realistic indoor riding experience, expensive but quality|
Read our REVIEW
|Ohuhu Magnet Steel Trainer||Adjustable internal resistance levels, quiet, skid-resistant feet, wide frame, excellent value.|
Read our REVIEW
|CycleOps PowerBeam Pro||Perfect for pros with ANT+ compatibility for real-time analysis, quiet, lifetime warranty from CycleOps!|
Read our REVIEW
|Cycleops Fluid 2||Infinite resistance, self-cooling, one of the best!|
Read our REVIEW
|Tacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainer||Smart technology, intuitive, electro-brake technology, best value smart trainer!|
Read our REVIEW
What types of bike trainer are out there in 2017 – 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 for 2017 below…
Without 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 2017…
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 $$$ than most of the other types listed here, since these types of trainers (our own favorite is the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer listed above) certainly provide quality, with most of the models out there today also proving they are leak-proof (a well-known problem in earlier fluid type trainers). If you want to go for a pivoting, and truly awesome fluid trainer, take a look at the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller (see above), now updated with a smart-friendly version!
Magnetic trainers generate resistance via a magnetic flywheel, the adjustable magnetic resistance creating drag against your bike’s wheel. They are typically on the cheaper side, and generally easy to setup and move about. However, the resistance is limited and for the serious cyclist this can soon cause an issue as you’ll reach your max resistance fairly swiftly. They also tend to be noisier than fluid trainers, a point those of you living in apartments may want to consider.
A good budget-friendly example of a magnetic stationary stand is the Ohuhu Steel trainer, which we included above.
Rollers are a whole different ball game; instead of attaching your bike to the trainer, as in the above models, you attempt to ride the bike on the rollers themselves, trying not to fall flat on your face! Certainly takes some practice, but rollers are a great way to work on your balance and positioning.
They typically are seen as a good value option, often coming in at much cheaper than the prime fluid or direct drive models. Some people swear by them, others can’t stand them – it’s entirely up to you! Don’t miss this review of the Top 5 bike rollers for a guide to the very best rollers out there.
Direct Drive trainers
Direct drive trainers are fairly new to the scene of indoor training, but are a great option for the serious cyclist. You can also save some serious $$$ 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.
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 $$$ – for example, watch this video of the Tacx iGenius Virtual Trainer, it might just knock your socks off! You can buy it on Amazon, just be aware that it will cost you upwards of $1000.
We should probably point out that the concept of “virtual” trainers will probably disappear, what with the ever-growing range of smart trainers and direct drive trainers (see above), and their ability to connect with a range of appliances and software.
In all honesty, don’t even bother with wind trainers. They’re generally noisy, and in our opinion, are outdone by fluid and decent magnetic trainers.
With 2016 well and truly here, we thought we’d take a quick look at the very best stationary bike stands you should be splashing your hard-earned cash on in 2016!
UPDATE: We’ve created a new list of the BEST bike trainers for 2017 right HERE!
We know there are plenty of you indoor trainer wannabes out there, hunting the perfect trainer stand to get your training and fitness in shape for the spring. And we also know you probably have a budget limiting your options – so we have collected a bit of everything in this little list, from the best of the cheap, budget trainers (we’re talking around $50-60), to the best your $$$ can buy (be prepared to invest…). These really are the best trainer options out there, in our very humble opinion.
Seriously, with one of these in your training program, you can start expecting some decent results…
A bestselling fave: the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
Ever since we first purchased the revamped model in 2014, we’ve been very impressed. The CycleOps Fluid 2 is definitely one to consider if you’re looking for something in between the ultra-budget trainers and the cream of the crop (see the Magnet trainer and CycleOps PowerBeam Pro below for details).
Of course, there’s the brand name of CycleOps behind it, which is typically recognized throughout the industry as one of the quality names that serious cyclists should be aware of. Which means, not surprisingly, that this baby is almost always on the list of bestselling bike trainers at stores like Amazon.
Throughout 2015 we put in quite a few sessions on this trainer (see our review here), so can heartily recommend it. It comes in at around $300, but is actually cheaper than most of the other options on this list! This trainer offers superb value, and is, in our opinion, a must-buy if you’re looking for a very decent trainer – regardless of your skill level. Yes, even the pros of you out there will love this one.
The BEST your money can buy: the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro
Seriously, if you have the cash to spend, this one will take your training to the very highest levels! The CycleOps PowerBeam Pro isn’t cheap – it’s priced around $1000 – but this beast will keep you in superb shape throughout 2016, and many more years to come!
It might be a bit pricey, but it comes pre-assembled, so you can get training within minutes of receiving it! Just unfold the legs, adjust the legs to make sure it’s stable, and slot the included steel quick release skewer through your bike’s rear axle.
The major advantage with the PowerBeam Pro is its use of ANT+, which displays your workout performance data on ANT+ cycling computers so you can see just exactly where you’re going wrong (or right!) in real-time. In our opinion, this makes it a perfect trainer for beginners wishing to really ramp up their training AND pros wishing to tweak their performance to the absolute limits.
This trainer is class – and you can read all about it in our Top 3 trainer list, which gives the lowdown on the best of the best.
Still one of the best for 2016: the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
If anybody can give the boys from CycleOps a run for their money, it’s the guys over at Kurt Kinetic!
The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is still one of the best stationary bike stands you can buy, and after a bit of a redesign in 2014, it looks set to stand the test of time still further (we still probably prefer the CycleOps Fluid 2 though!).
The Road Machine is renowned for its non-leak fluid chamber, as well as a huge flywheel which ensures one of the most stable training sessions you’ll ever experience. An added bonus is its ability to take on 29 inch wheels, still not a common thing among many trainers. This is definitely one of the best trainers on the market – read our full review here.
If you’re feeling particularly extravagant and in need of even more bang for your buck, try their brand new smart version of the Road Machine, the Smart inRide sensor. It will put a few $$ on the price tag, but enable wireless power-based workouts and fitness tests using the Kinetic inRide app!
Budget friendly champion for 2016: the cheap and cheerful Magnet Trainer
One of the most popular trainers we’ve seen on sites like Amazon has to be this one – the Magnet trainer!
We’re still not sure how they only charge $50-60 for this baby, but literally thousands of buyers have bought this AND left happy reviews, so it definitely seems to be the indoor trainer to consider if you’re on a bit of a budget.
In our opinion, this has to be “perfect” for beginners, especially for those of unsure what trainers are all about. It can definitely be your stepping stone to a pricier, more feature-packed trainer…or it might be enough to keep you happy over the coming months, that’s entirely up to you of course. One thing we should probably mention and is something we certainly believe in – you often get what you pay for, and with this trainer, you won’t be getting a luxury trainer model that will stand some intense workouts. The Magnet trainer is solid, excellent value, and a good starter model, but remember you’re paying bottom dollar for this one, so don’t expect too much (especially good instructions – the instructions for setting it up are notoriously bad, but if you read this you should be well prepared!).
Perhaps the ultimate road-like ride: the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller
If you’re a bit of a keen cyclist and want to feel the ultimate road-like experience, this one is for you – the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller.
This model from the guys at Kurt Kinetic is another one that has been around for awhile, and also refurbished in 2014 to give it that modern look and feel. It, like the Road Machine mentioned above, also has a smart version that uses the new Kinetic inRide app for perhaps the ultimate ride!
It’s not cheap – coming in at around $500 (and an extra $50-60 if you go for the smart version) – but is certainly one to enjoy if you’re looking for the ultimate training experience. The clincher for many purchasing this trainer is, of course, the unique side to side rocking action which makes it feel like you really are pedaling away out on the road, especially for the climbers of you. And when you mix in the legendary huge Kurt Kinetic flywheel and fluid unit, the stability and resistance you need for an intense session is there to enhance your ride beyond anything else you’ve probably experienced.
Read our full review of the Rock and Roller here.
Don’t miss our ever-growing Buying Guide for a quick summary of many of the leading bike trainer stands on the market today!
We’re no longer new to the world of indoor trainers after having tested and reviewed a lot of models, but of course, still can’t claim to have tried every single bike trainer out there. What we do know, however, is that the legendary brand of Schwinn have gone and released yet another killer product that will please a lot of cycling fans looking to stay in shape over the off-season – yep, the Schwinn Fluid trainer is certainly a trainer to consider if you’re after quality and staying power!
We’ve recommended it to all a few fellow bike enthusiasts getting started with indoor training, and won’t be surprised to see one in their houses the next time we swing by for a drink!
Read on for our full review…
Why you’ll love this Schwinn Fluid trainer…
If you’ve been putting off buying an indoor trainer for ages because there aren’t any trainers that are ready to use right out of the box – and if there’s someone who is worse at this DIY assembly stuff than me, I’d like to meet him – then think again. With this Schwinn trainer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easily and quickly everything comes together. It took me all of fifteen minutes to set up, while others who have reviewed their purchase online have mentioned setup times of just 5 minutes!
The hand-clamping mechanism for securing the bike was especially convenient and very intuitive. Fortunately for me, it fit my mountain bike’s large 700 cc tires just fine and will most definitely fit other commonplace tires as well. I also appreciated the effort Schwinn put in to deliver a complete package. Every part I could possibly have required was in the box, including a skewer for the wheel axle capable of fitting 5-7 gear cassettes. All in all, I started my first training session within an hour of receiving the delivery from Amazon.
When it came to the riding experience, I was also blown away. For the price, I’m pretty sure you won’t find a better fluid trainer out there. It might be just over the $200 mark, but seriously, this is a great deal for the benefits a fluid trainer can provide you over the cheaper magnetic resistance trainers.
For starters, the Schwinn Fluid Resistance trainer is remarkably stable, and this is coming from someone who can usually be found with his butt half out of the saddle, pedaling as if my life depends on it. I think this must be down to the wide-leg design and the very secure hand-clamping system. Since I let my children on my bike sometimes, stability is a very important feature for me, and I feel completely safe letting my kids use this trainer.
Secondly, the machine was very quiet. I have some of the most intolerant neighbors on the planet, and I’ve had them banging on my door more than once complaining about loud footsteps or noisy television shows, but I haven’t had a peep from them about my indoor cycling. Considering I tend to train late at night or before dawn (a working adult’s got to make do with what little free time he has, right?) this is very impressive. The fluid resistance technology certainly lives up to its billing of being one of the quietest systems out there for indoor bike trainers.
Lastly, the fluid resistance system is a really smooth operator. I haven’t done any maintenance in the four months since I’ve received it, and the ride experience is still extremely enjoyable – no creaking, jerking or wobbling that might distract you from your training! Schwinn’s done a good job of simulating outdoor cycling here. The fluid-based system is, quite astonishingly, able to replicate that exhilarating feeling of coasting down an open road – minus the wind, rain and other niggling discomforts that make open-road cycling in the dead of winter a dubious proposition at best.
Oh, and before we wrap it up, we forgot to mention that this one is also made in the USA. For those of you keen to support home-grown talent and businesses.
But…what’s the catch?
I’m sure you’re wondering, “What’s the catch?”. Fantastic indoor bike trainers don’t usually come cheap, and at just over two hundred dollars, the Schwinn Fluid Resistance trainer clearly falls squarely into the “affordable” category. Well, with this bike trainer you won’t be getting a lot of the high-tech features you might enjoy if you forked over a thousand dollars for a luxury model like the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro. For example, there’s no 12-level adjustable resistance or smartphone compatibility. It could also certainly be made out of heavier metal, and a fold-able frame would be nice.
However, it would be grossly unfair to criticize this Schwinn product for lacking these bells and whistles. It’s an entry-level fluid bike trainer, and I have to evaluate it on that basis. If you want a bike trainer that gives you a safe, smooth and comfortable ride, and is capable of sustaining you through the off-season with challenging and realistic workouts, the Schwinn fluid trainer gets the job done with great aplomb. It’s hardy and designed with the serious cyclist in mind – what more could you ask for? Stop sacrificing your fitness gains when winter comes around, and click that button below to grab your Schwinn indoor trainer today!
UPDATE: We have a new updated list for 2017 right here.
With 2015 now nearing its final few weeks, it’s time to take a look at some of the stationary bike trainers you should be looking at buying in 2015.
There are some great options out there for all budgets and skill levels and we’ve tested many of them, and reviewed a fair number too. Trainers range in price from around $50-60 to well over the $300 threshold; and while some indoor trainers out there aren’t always what they should, or could, be, we’ve collected the FIVE trainers we think you really should be considering in 2015.
The deciding factor for us in selecting them here is the quality and value for money you can get from each bike trainer. Because let’s face it, we all work hard for the money, and getting the best value for our hard-earned dollars is an absolute must in this day and age.
So, expect to add one of these to your training regime real soon…
Ever classy for 2015: the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine truly is one of the best stationary bike trainers money can buy. We’ve been riding one (on and off) for over 3 years now, and have to say the trainer is one of the best we’ve ever experienced.
The Road Machine is a fluid-based bicycle trainer perfect for the serious cyclist who wants to get some serious winter training under their belts. Renowned for its non-leaking fluid chamber and a huge flywheel that means stability and resistance, the Road Machine will even take wheels up to 29 inches.
Not the cheapest trainer out there, but with the superb brand of Kurt Kinetic behind it, this is one trainer where you get amazing bang for your buck. The trainer was also redesigned in 2014, tweaking that perfection even higher!
We highly recommend this one – read our full review here.
HOT TIP: Grab the Kurt Kinetic training mat too, it’s a perfect match and will enhance your training session immensely!
Another long-time bestseller: the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
Another superb indoor trainer you should take into consideration is the CycleOps Fluid 2. The CycleOps trainer has the brand name of CycleOps behind it, instantly recognizable by the serious cyclists of you out there. As a result, it’s not hard to see why this trainer has long featured on the bestseller lists on online stores like Amazon.
We have enjoyed a number of sessions ourselves on this baby (see our review here), and just recently ordered one for ourselves, as it looks like CycleOps have done some minor but superb renovations this year and created an even better Fluid trainer. We’ll be posting some updates about that soon, so keep an eye out for them!
It’s priced a little cheaper than the Kinetic Road Trainer (see above) and in our opinion is almost on the same level, so well worth purchasing.
Budget heaven for 2015: the cheap and cheerful Magnet Trainer
Ignore the bad instructions that come with this trainer; this has to be the best value trainer you’ll comer across online.
We’re still not sure how they built this stand so cheaply in order for it to sell for around $50-60, but there are a ton of happy customers and reviewers online so they are obviously doing something right.
Obviously it’s cheap, and perfect for those of you looking to invest “lightly” in a training regime, or for the beginners of you out there who are not so keen to invest $200+ in a trainer just yet…it also has five resistance settings that seem to keep most beginners happy, is fairly solid, and some even suggest its fairly quiet. Read more about it here.
One caveat we have to add here: you typically get what you pay for. So don’t expect a fancy training stand with this one, because it’s really not. Although it could be your gateway to a new indoor training hobby! And if you’re looking for alternative budget options, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers under $80.
Top quality that often gets overlooked: the Cascade Fluid Pro
We discovered this trainer in 2014, and have to say, were mightily impressed.
The Cascade Fluid Pro doesn’t have the big name branding behind it like the CycleOps and Kurt Kinetic mentioned above, but this trainer is another one built to last with tremendous quality. The thermally sealed fluid chamber, for example, should see leak-free sessions for some years…
It’s also notoriously quick and easy to setup, is very stable when setup, and gives one heck of a smooth, quiet ride. Of course there are cheaper trainers out there, but as we’re talking about the BEST trainers to consider buying in 2015, this one has to be on the list!
As an added bonus, this trainer comes with its own riser stand, something that other trainers don’t, and which can set you back another $20. Read our full review of the Cascade Fluid Pro here.
So real you can almost feel the wind in your hair: the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller
Well, no list of the best stationary bike stands is complete without this one, the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller.
If you’re looking for a bike trainer that really does offer you the realism of being out on the road, then this trainer is for you. It doesn’t come cheap – it’s typically priced at around $500 – but this is one for the serious cyclists of you out there, those of you who really want to get the ultimate ride in your training sessions.
Why is it so expensive? we hear you cry…well, its unique side to side rocking action is what makes it so special. So special, it really does feel like you are climbing a hill when you get pedaling. Yes, it almost feels like you can feel the breeze around your ears! And thanks to a large flywheel, that stability and resistance is also there to really get those legs pumping.
Highly recommended if you can afford to spend a few more more $$$.
Read our full review of the Rock and Roller here.
Don’t forget to read our Buying Guide which provides a quick summary of many of the leading stationary trainers out there on the market today!
And if money isn’t an issue, check out the BEST 3 trainers money can buy!
We’ve seen a lot of interest recently in bike rollers. You know, those frame-like devices you place on the floor and then ride your bike on.
Some people love ’em, some people loathe ’em.
But as we’ve developed this website out, and seen the interest grow in accessories and other areas, we thought it was about time we gave you the lowdown on the very best rollers out there. For sure, some of you see them as a real option for a realistic, alternative riding experience to bike trainers, while others of you are less convinced.
The one thing we will certainly testify to, is that while it’s important to train up those leg muscles and improve aerobic muscles, what often sets the best cyclists apart in cycling competitions is their technical handling. While indoor cycling using a stationary bike trainer is an excellent way to ramp up your fitness, you rarely get a chance to practice your cycling technique when you’re cycling in your living room (perhaps only the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller comes close though). That’s why a bike roller could make the difference.
Cycling on top of a roller forces you to truly balance your bicycle – just like you’d have to out on the road or biking trail – for a more realistic and holistic training session. As we mentioned, some of you love them, others see them as plain hard work…if you need some tips on how to successfully ride a roller, don’t miss our FIVE awesome tips for riding rollers like a pro!
So here they are, our five picks for the best indoor bike rollers on the market!
The Nashbar Reduced Radius Roller is one quiet, efficient machine. Cycling on this stationary roller is incredibly smooth, thanks to the CNC machined aluminium drums and sealed cartridge bearings. This ensures you’ll never need to stop in the middle of a training session to tinker with the roller – you can just get on with it! The base of this Nashbar roller is also splendidly designed, featuring no less than three sets of feet to create a stable base for your indoor training. These are covered with special plastic fittings to protect your floor. Nashbar always turns out value-for-money products, but at just under $150 this Nashbar roller is (even for Nashbar) a truly surprising bargain!
CycleOps Training Roller
This is a bicycle roller that oozes class. The solid steel frame as well as the innovative folding system reveal the superb design and build quality you’d expect from CycleOps, quite possibly the leading manufacturer of cycling training tools out there (and yes, we love their Fluid Trainer!). This roller delivers a simply perfect riding experience. The PVC rollers are precision-lathed and when combined with the precision steel drums, you get a slick, safe and quiet ride that’s second to none. What’s more, the sheer realism of training with this roller has to be experienced to be believed. We’ve no doubt that within weeks, you’ll find your reflexes and handling have improved by leaps and bounds. Certainly not the cheapest option, but when you throw in a limited lifetime warranty together with the quality on offer, you’ve got the most complete bike roller out there. Simply put, CycleOps has done it again!
This Kreitler roller may not come cheap, but it’s truly capable of taking your training to the next level. Kreitler has included various sizes of aluminum drums and by using drums of different diameters, you can adjust the amount of resistance you encounter. The smaller the diameter, the higher the resistance – this bike roller is thus just as useful for improving aerobic fitness as it is for honing your bike handling skills. Remember, though, that the blower and weighted flywheels should not be used with the 3” and 2.25” drums or your warranty might be voided – the resistance is high enough with these drums as it is. The drums feature polycarbonate end caps which have a longer lifespan, contributing to the product’s already impressive durability. If you’re going to be training hard and very often, we recommend you bite the bullet and invest in this high-end roller. It’s worth it in the long run.
These mid-range bicycle rollers strike a good balance between quality and affordability. They’re not the fanciest rollers out there, but they get the job done and will give you plenty of mileage to boot with their heavy-duty construction that’s built to take a beating. Despite the high-quality materials, this Tacx roller is surprisingly portable. It can be collapsed to 80 cm and is relatively light, making this an ideal choice if you need a roller to warm up before a race. Finally, with Skyliner front wheel support, this is one of the more stable and secure rollers out there. That should give you enough peace of mind to focus on your training.
Alloy Indoor Bike Roller
This budget roller can be found for less than $150, but don’t let its low price fool you. Its design is economical but very hardy. If you use it sensibly, you are unlikely to have any issues with durability. Our cycling experience with this Alloy roller was constantly challenging and it really pushed our steering skills to the limit, making it a worthy addition to any cyclist’s arsenal. This roller is ideal for hobbyists looking to train indoors once in a while. Do note that it’s not the quietest roller around and its performance will be somewhat impaired if you have a very heavy bike (or are a very heavy cyclist), but at this price it’s a fantastic bargain.
Getting some indoor cycling training is a necessary evil in foul weather, but with one of these five very capable rollers, you can make your indoor training as realistic and beneficial as possible. If you’re convinced by the models we’ve listed, buy one and start refining your handling skills with roller-based training right now!
We have since updated the site with our guide to the bestselling bike trainer stands of 2014 – read it here.
With Summer well and truly here once again, now is the perfect time to once again think about purchasing an indoor bike trainer. Those days when you get hit by wet, cold bike rides could be (should be!) a thing of the past, especially if you’re serious about your biking.
The stationary bike stands we’ve chosen are the best of the bestsellers online at stores such as Amazon, and from our own experience you really can’t go wrong with any one of these…
If you have any questions, feel free to ping me! And if you’re still not sure of the type of indoor bike stand you need/want, check out this great introduction video.
With Christmas almost upon us, don’t miss our TEN must-have cycling accessories –
perfect for any keen cyclist’s Christmas stocking!
I’m a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” and this indoor bike trainer is definitely worth the high price. Top of the range, it simply oozes class and quality. This is for all levels, but especially suitable for the semi-pros and even pro-cyclists. One of the best, and you can see why this constantly makes the best-seller list on sites like Amazon. Highly recommended for those of you looking for a top, top experience (this trainer also makes our Top 5 for Winter 2013 list).
Read our full review here…
Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Trainer (not cheap but a GREAT option)
This Blackburn bike stand has become a big bestseller over the last couple of years and comes highly recommended by many. Not the cheapest option out there, but a superb choice for the serious amateur, and heck, even the serious cyclist too. The lifetime guarantee is also a big clincher for us (read our full review). This has also been the biggest selling stationary bike on this site.
Read more here…
This relatively cheap bike stand, usually priced at just under $100, has been a bestseller for some time and offers amazing value for money. This is one bike stand we’d highly recommend (see our full review) for the more budget conscious, yet serious cyclist. Probably the best value of the three we’ve listed here.
Read more here…
No matter which stationary bike stand you end up going for (even if it’s not one of these three above) we’d just like to wish you happy riding!
NEW: If you’re looking for excellent value and are wary about breaking the bank, especially as a beginner, you might want to read this: the THREE best stationary bike stands for under $80. In addition, we’ve also reviewed the FIVE best stationary bike stands for winter 2013-14.
As highlighted throughout this site, I have tried and tested a few different bike trainers, but the Cycleops Fluid 2 Indoor Bicycle Trainer is definitely one of the best stationary bike trainers I have ever tried (well, that is until I recently discovered the amazing CycleOps Silencer!).
For starters, this Cycleops bike trainer is one of the quietest bicycle trainers I’ve ever worked on! If you’ve ever used a lower-end bike trainer, you’ll be familiar with the annoying and sometimes deafening whirr they produce. You might save a bit on the cost, but your eardrums of your closest friends and family will suffer, trust me!
You don’t get such noise with the Cycleops Fluid 2 bike trainer. That’s important to me because I frequently train at night after work and don’t want to disturb the sleep of my wife and kids. Even when I’m pedaling my hardest, this bike trainer runs quietly. And yes, the low noise level allows me to place the stationary trainer in my living room and train while my family watches television – good eh?!
It is such an unobtrusive presence that my kids are more likely to be disturbed by my panting and gasping (yes, I do try and burn some calories!) as I train than by any noise emitted by the trainer.
In addition, while no indoor bike trainer can ever fully capture the joy of outdoor riding, the Cycleops Fluid Indoor Trainer comes closer than most with an extremely realistic cycling experience. When I first used the trainer, it became immediately apparent to me that the Cycleops designers had put a massive amount of thought and effort into simulating outdoor cycling because the resistance provided by the trainer was extremely similar to that provided by tarmac roads. This allows me to practice my outdoor riding skills in the safety of my home while rain, snow or hail pours down outside.
Summary of the Fluid 2’s Main Features
Here’s a quick summary of the main features that might wow you:
- The Fluid 2 Trainer is one of the best ways to stay in great condition during the off season
- A new larger flywheel delivers a true road-like experience, with twice the inertia (read all about the resistance technology from CycleOps here)
- Power band technology means you have a wide resistance range to work with
- An infinite resistance curve ensures increased wattage as you increase speed
- The Fluid 2’s self-cooling mechanisms keep the unit performing better and for longer
- Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
- Dimensions: 23 x 22 x 7 inches, and it weighs 11.5 pounds
Pros and Cons of the Cycleops Fluid 2 Trainer
The only thing I didn’t like about this Cycleops bike trainer was the vague set-up instructions. I’ve never been a very hands-on person, so assembling the trainer gave me a real headache. This gave me an opportunity to experience Cycleops’ renowned customer service for myself. I called customer support for assistance on setting up the trainer and they were very forthcoming with advice. The patient and helpful customer support officer talked me through the product assembly step by step and with their guidance, the whole process took me only five minutes to complete. In short, the exemplary customer service more than made up for the slightly ambiguous set-up instructions.
After purchasing the Cycleops Fluid Indoor Bike Trainer a few months back, it has now become my training method of choice for rainy days. It allows me to keep my fitness level up in the off-season so that I’m raring to go once cycling season starts again.
Worth the high price tag?
Highly recommended, because despite that relatively high price tag (around $300), it really is one of the best in the business. It also makes our list of the Top 5 bike trainers for 2017, but it is serious competition for one of the top end choices included on that list, the Kinetic Kurt Rock n Roll Trainer. Alternatively, check out the awesome technology of the SuperMagneto Pro from CycleOps – it comes in at around $400, but is a great ride!
Click below to save yourself 10% on the regular price over on Amazon!