Posts tagged 2016

The 5 BEST stationary bike trainers to buy in 2016

best trainers of 2016

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

Cycleops Fluid 2 TrainerEver 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

PowerBeam Pro 2015Seriously, 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

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewIf 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

Magnet Steel TrainerOne 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!).

Read our review here. And if you’re not convinced but still on a budget, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers for under $80.

Perhaps the ultimate road-like ride: the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roller

Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerIf 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.

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Don’t miss our ever-growing Buying Guide for a quick summary of many of the leading bike trainer stands on the market today!

Alternatively, if you’re after a new on the scene direct drive trainer, check out our reviews of the mightily impressive Lemond Revolution 1.1 or the CycleOps Silencer, both excellent options!

The ULTIMATE guide to bike trainers and accessories this winter

indoor cycling this winter!

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

PowerBeam Pro 2015We 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!

Read our full review HERE of the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro.

The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros

Cycleops Fluid 2 TrainerIf 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)).

More HERE about the Fluid 2 trainer from CycleOps.

The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)

Magnet Steel TrainerWe 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.

kinetic trainer mat

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.

travel stick the stick

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.

cat eye strada 2016

Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills

Pearl iZumi Mens ShoesLet’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!

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