Posts tagged 2015
It’s that time of year again, when those cold nights draw in and the motivation to get on your bike really takes a bit of a beating. But it doesn’t have to be that way, honest! With a little guidance from us in regards to the best trainers and cycling accessories, you’ll be pedaling away like a pro in no time!
Our website sees a big upturn in traffic over the winter months, and has turned into something of an authority in the indoor trainer market over the last couple of years. We know which trainers work, which trainers generally suck, and also know how to get the best out of your training sessions, whether you’re struggling to stay motivated or are desperate to shed those excess holiday pounds as you pound away at those pedals in your very own man cave.
For your winter training pleasure, we’ve collected some of the best trainers and accessories out there in a little list below – get ready to enjoy your winter sessions!
- The BEST trainer money can buy
- The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros
- The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)
- THREE must-have accessories
- Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills
The BEST trainer money can buy
We recently compiled a breakdown of the three best trainers money can buy (for those of you less worried about a budget and more intent on getting the ultimate training experience), and the trainer we feel we have to recommend here is the rather tasty CycleOps PowerBeam Pro, which comes with support for ANT+ devices (rather than the version which supports Bluetooth devices).
You could go for the great value Elite Real Axiom trainer, or the nifty BKool Pro trainer too, as both also support virtual training, but the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro has to be your weapon of choice if you’re looking for something top-notch.
It also comes with a top notch price of around $1000, but for those of you investing in your cycling, this could be the best few $$$ you ever spent. The trainer comes with an integrated PowerTap power meter, plus a Mini ANT+ USB stick lets you control the resistance from your computer as you follow the virtual course on your laptop/TV/tablet. Definitely ramps up your training to the next level!
The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros
If you’re not looking to drop a thousand bucks on something top-notch, then how about the awesome CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer? We purchased the revamped model last year and have been delighted with the results we get in our training.
It’s perfect for beginners as it’s simple to setup and get started with, but also great for pros with its new, larger flywheel for an improved road-like performance, and an infinite resistance curve that increases the power output as you increase speed.
Typically priced at around $300, this one is highly recommended by us; if you’re looking for alternatives, the awesome Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is also worth a mention, as is the CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro (a magnetic based trainer, but with technology to match the very best of the fluid-based trainers (more about the differences between fluid and magnetic trainers here)).
The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)
We know that many of you are also looking for a great value beginner trainer, before you start spending the bigger bucks on a more fancy model. We’ve been there too, and fully understand…which is why we can safely recommend the Magnet Steel trainer.
We’re still not sure quite how they do it, but this trainer is regularly priced at under $60 and there are a ton of happy customers out there – and it’s also an Amazon bestseller!
It’s a great trainer to get started with, has a great price tag and also five resistance settings that are more than enough for a beginner-like level of training. It’s also pretty solid, and surprisingly quiet. The only thing we will say is that you get what you pay for… so don’t expect a virtual trainer package complete with computer controlled resistance!
If you’re still not impressed and looking for an alternative, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers under $80.
THREE must-have accessories
There are a whole ton of cycling accessories out there today (you might want to check out our Top 10 accessories for Christmas), but we’ve decided to whittle down the list to three musts.
First up, we can’t recommend a training mat highly enough. As well as the fact that they can protect your floor from scratches and even your salty body sweat, they also help to reduce noise greatly and provide a stable base for your training. The best one we’ve come across is the Kurt Kinetic floor mat, which is priced around $60. Others come in cheaper, but for pure looks and quality, the mat from Kurt Kinetic won us over completely (it’s also a perfect match for their awesome trainers). Check here for some alternative options.
Next up, we’re going to recommend the rather awesome Travel Stick, a massage stick that goes to work on those tired muscles you’ve been tormenting during your training sessions. It’s an innovative little stick that comes in a variety of sizes, and starts at under $20. However, the winning element for us was it’s physiological effects; the Travel Stick is fitted with round plastic rings that do an excellent job of alleviating crippling muscle aches which can lead to long-term injuries. Easily usable and easy to take with you, this is a great option for winding down from an intense session. More about the Travel Stick HERE.
Lastly, you’ll need the CatEye Strada Wireless cycling computer, which is great for knowing what you’re doing in your current session (if you’re not using a virtual trainer with all that data displayed on your laptop/tablet/TV automatically). And in this generation of touch-screen technology, we want quick access to all the relevant info – the CatEye Strada fits the bill perfectly! Together with its touch screen interface, it also has a great sensor that measures cadence, current speed, max speed, average speed, 2 trip distances, and elapsed time! It also fits on any handlebar or stem. Costs around $80-90. Read more here.
Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills
Let’s be honest here, many of us will probably think that a pair of sneakers will be more than adequate when training indoors. No-one’s looking, there are no roads or muddy tracks to worry about, so hey, why the heck not?
Well, indoor cycling shoes might seem a little extravagant, but a pair of the right shoes will take your training session to the next level…you might not be aware of it, but the correct footwear is going to have a big role to play because cycling stresses your lower body in a very different way from running and you need footwear specifically designed to counteract that stress.
So yes, the correct shoes are an essential investment for any cyclist who takes their training and performance seriously. We’ve covered some of the very best options out there in this little guide,but if you’re going to go with something like the Pearl iZUMi Men’s All-Road II shoe, or the Shimano Venzo Mountain Bike Bicycle SPD shoe, you’re very definitely on the right track. And your feet will thank you much later!
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!