Posts tagged best value
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!
Most of us have had our cycling plans wrecked by inclement weather at some point or another, hence the world of the indoor bike trainer (and this website)! And when you start looking at some of the fancier trainers on the market to help you get past those wet winters, it can get a bit hair-raising, to say the least.
When you come across a great value trainer like the Bike Lane Pro, priced at typically just under $100, then those hairs can surely stop raising! This trainer has to be one of the best mid-range indoor trainers around, combining top-notch build quality and attractive modern features into one affordable package. It might not make our list of budget trainers under $80, but it’s definitely on the short-list.>>> Check out these reviews and the latest discounts for the Bike Lane Pro
What’s to like about the Bike Lane Pro?
Well, first up, it’s rare to find bike trainers that are both portable and sturdy. Foldable stationary bike stands tend to be a little rickety and fragile while sturdy ones are far too heavy to take on your travels. The Bike Lane Pro Trainer strikes that rare balance between portability and stability. It weighs in at just 22 pounds and folds up easily to fit inside your luggage.
At the same time, the separated extra-wide legs provide a stable platform for your vigorous workouts and the fantastic build quality makes for a very sturdy frame indeed. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, but this bicycle trainer is clear evidence to the contrary.
It’s also clear that this indoor bike trainer was designed with the customer’s welfare in mind. It comes with adjustable foot pads so you can enjoy a stable ride even on uneven surfaces. The set-up process was very quick, intuitive and easy.
Finally, the manufacturers have thoughtfully included both a release skewer and riser (which again, is a rarity), making this a very comprehensive indoor bike trainer package at a great price.
A quick summary of what you’re getting from the Bike Lane Pro:
- State of the art internal magnet ensures that when you start pedaling, the resistance slowly increases.
- Increase resistance by shifting the gears on your bike.
- Portable: Weighing only 22 pounds, it can be folded away for travel and storage.
- Super stable, with extra wide legs and a sturdy frame.
- Easy to setup – and includes its own riser block (for the front wheel).
But how does the Bike Lane Pro ride?
All the advantages we listed above would be for naught if the riding experience was substandard, but we’re happy to report that the Bike Lane Pro Trainer delivers one of the smoothest and most enjoyable indoor bike training experiences we’ve seen from a mid-range bike stand.
The resistance changer is easy to use and changing up or down feels smooth and natural, ensuring your cycling training session is seamless from beginning to end. Moreover, with five resistance settings, you won’t be forced to settle for a resistance setting that’s too easy or overstretch yourself on one that’s too difficult. This bike trainer has something to offer veteran cyclists and biking novices alike (though if you’re after something very pro-level, you really should try one of these). We also found that this stationary trainer did a respectable job of simulating the sensation and challenges of outdoor road cycling.
In addition, while magnetic resistance trainers tend to be noisier than their fluid-based counterparts, the noise produced by this bike trainer was by no means intrusive. If you use smoother road bike tires (as we always recommend – the knobbly mountain bike treads will churn out some noise on any trainer), you’ll find that you barely notice the whirring of the flywheel at all.
So, does the Bike Lane Pro give good bang for your buck?
The Bike Lane Pro Trainer is, simply put, one of the finest indoor trainers in its price range. It’s a solid all-round performer and its portability makes it a versatile choice.
OK, so the search for indoor bicycle trainers under $100 that deliver a dynamic and fulfilling cycling experience can often be a futile and disheartening one for many of you out there.
We generated this great little list of the best THREE trainers for under $80, which has proven very popular, but this is one of the trainers that just missed out on the list (it cost just a few $$ more than our $80 limit), the Graber Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer.
You can find great deals for this trainer in online stores like Amazon, where the price is typically just under $100, but even at the full retail price of $150 we can unhesitatingly recommend this Graber bike trainer for its superb riding experience, portability and all-round versatility.
What we liked about the Graber Mag Trainer
Any experienced cyclist knows that two things matter when it comes to indoor cycling – stability and resistance. The Graber Mag Trainer delivers on both fronts. The manufacturers have incorporated leveling feet into the trainer design, which create a greater and more evenly distributed traction between the bike trainer and the floor. This ensures that no matter how hard you’re pedaling, you’ll hardly feel a wobble.
In terms of resistance, this Graber stationary bike trainer is one of the best value examples of magnetic resistance trainers out there. It provides five levels of magnetic resistance ensuring it has something to offer to both the cycling novice and the seasoned pro. The adjustable resistance settings make this trainer ideal if you’re looking to make real progress in your indoor cycling sessions, since you can ramp the resistance up as your fitness increases.
Granted, the cycling experience isn’t quite as smooth or realistic with this Graber trainer as it is with top-end fluid resistance trainers like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. However, those machines cost nearly thrice as much and magnetic resistance trainers hardly, if ever, outperform fluid resistance trainers, which is reflected in their lower prices. However, compared with other magnetic trainers, this Graber indoor bike trainer is simply excellent value.
If you’ve done some research already, you’re probably aware that the main problem with cheaper indoor bike trainers is the level of noise produced, but this Graber trainer defies expectations with its surprisingly quiet performance. As with any stationary bike trainer, the deeper and bulkier the treads on your tires, the more noise the trainer produces, but if you use road bike tires, or a training slick, this indoor trainer simply hums along. Even if your apartment has thin walls, you can pedal at top speed without incurring the wrath of your neighbors. If your apartment has hard wooden floors, one handy tip is to use the trainer on a carpeted section of your apartment. That prevents the noise created by the vibration of the trainer from becoming too loud and disruptive.
What’s more, this Graber stationary bike trainer was clearly designed with user-friendliness in mind. Many cyclists want to bring an indoor trainer with them when they go on holiday or travel for bike shows and races, but find that most foldable trainers are either too flimsy to withstand the rigors of travelling or too heavy to carry around. If you’re looking for a portable indoor bike trainer, the Graber Mag might just be the answer. The folding mechanism is quick, intuitive and smooth and the size of the trainer, when folded up, is just right for traveling.
And despite its relatively light weight of 17 pounds, the build quality is superb. Use common sense when packing it and it’ll arrive at your destination fully intact. We also found the assembly process really fuss-free. Even if you failed shop class in school, you’ll be able to set this trainer up in a matter of minutes by following the clear and concise instruction manual.
What we didn’t like…
In saying all this, the Graber indoor bike trainer isn’t perfect. If your bike uses a standard axle, you won’t be able to use the bike trainer right out of the box. You’ll have to add an extra nut to the left side of your axle to make it fit the trainer which is primarily built for quick-release axles.
In addition, we’d have preferred a metal friction roller rather than a PVC one, though the PVC roller is remarkably durable and shows no signs of wear and tear even after some pretty intense cycling workouts. However, if Graber were to implement these improvements, the price would inevitably go up and probably out it beyond the “excellent value” bracket…
So, bang for your buck?
At just under $100, the Graber Mag trainer is a dream come true for budget-oriented cycling fanatics and is definitely one of the best-value magnetic resistance trainers on the market. In our opinion, this is a definite alternative to the cheap bestseller, the Magnet Indoor trainer.
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!
For those of you looking for a very decent priced trainer, perhaps one that will kick-start your indoor training adventure, the Magnet Indoor Trainer is a great buy.
With many of the decent stationary bike trainers on the market costing upwards of a hundred dollars, with many like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and CycleOps Fluid 2 trainers setting you back around $300, the Magnet trainer hits that sweet spot for those of you with a budget of less than $100 (it does, of course, make our list of best trainers for under $80).
You can expect to pay only $65 to $80 for it online, depending on how generous the manufacturer’s are feeling on a particular day. At that price you’d be forgiven for expecting a rickety machine that falls over the moment you start pedaling, but this magnetic bike trainer is actually a very well-made machine. This trainer has constantly made the bestseller list for the last couple of years and you’re about to find out why…Click here for the very best price on Amazon for this Magnet indoor trainer
What impressed us about the Magnet trainer?
The success of any stationary bike trainer turns on the riding experience it offers and this Magnet Exercise Trainer delivers a premium riding experience at a budget price.
Stability is very important when it comes to indoor trainers and this one doesn’t disappoint. Even when you’re pedaling ferociously and hitting top speed, the machine feels sturdy. In addition, this stationary bike trainer offers excellent resistance throughout its range. It might not offer quite as much resistance as fluid based trainers, but those cost easily twice as much and you always have the option of gearing up for extra resistance.
The magnetic resistance mechanism is nice and smooth – you won’t get the jerky resistance changes you sometimes encounter with cheap trainers – and the resistance intensifies as your speed increases, giving you a vigorous and challenging workout.
In terms of comfort, the Magnet Indoor Trainer definitely exceeds expectations. It’s not the quietest machine around since you’ll definitely be able to hear the flywheel spinning, but it’s not so noisy as to be intrusive. If you’re watching television or listening to music while training, the noise won’t interfere with your entertainment. We must, however, add one proviso – if you use heavy mountain bike tires with deep treads, the machine will be rather loud, but that applies to all stationary bike trainers and not just this budget one.
We also found that this bike trainer does a decent job of keeping the flywheel cool. We still wouldn’t recommend touching the wheel immediately after an intense training session, but we can’t imagine a scenario where you’d want to go and do that…
Take into consideration…
It should be noted that if you’re intending to buy the Magnet indoor bike trainer, you ought to give some serious thought to purchasing two accessories.
The first is a wheel block to lift up the front wheel. You’ll find it much easier to stay seated with the front wheel elevated.
The second is an adapter for road bikes. This trainer is primarily designed for hybrid or mountain bikes, but it can be easily used for road bikes as well if you buy an adapter designed to fit the quick-release skewer featured on most road bicycles. Without this adapter, your bicycle might not be firmly held in place, which could be a little unsafe.
Hybrid and mountain bike owners can be rest assured that this trainer will fit their bikes just fine – it’s designed to fit 26”, 27” and 700 cc bike tires so you’re unlikely to encounter problems if you have one of those wheel sizes.
So, bang for your buck?
If budget is your primary concern, this Magnet Indoor Exercise Trainer simply epitomizes value for money, and gets a rip-roaring 10 out of 10 from us on the value front. It manages to equal or even outperform stationary trainers that cost well over a hundred dollars, and for those of you starting out, it really is one of the best options out there.
Of course, if you’re expecting a whole bunch of bells and whistles, you’re likely to be disappointed. Head on over to our current bestseller list if you’re keen on something just a little better.
It’s no wonder that there are over 900 happy reviewers on sites like Amazon, making this trainer the No. 1 bestseller!
UPDATE: We have now published an updated version for this winter!
With winter fast kicking in, and those dark evenings getting colder and even longer, we thought it was about time we came up with a guide to the best indoor trainers and cycling accessories for the upcoming winter months.
We know there are a fair few of you out there who take your cycling seriously, and winter is the time when our website really sees some action; those of you looking to stay in shape over the winter months know that a stationary bike trainer is an awesome solution to beating those winter training blues (and also knock off some of those excess winter pounds)! Not sure about you, but just looking at the photo above gives us the shivers – take it inside ladies and gents, please!
Check out what we rank as the best indoor trainers below (you should also check out our Buying Guide, which compares nearly all the known models out there), followed by a quick summary of some terrific accessories that will only enhance your indoor training sessions this winter…
The Best Indoor Bike Trainers
We’re constantly checking trends, new models, and new variations of existing trainers, and have to say that the old faithful models are still doing the business.
Let’s be honest, Kurt Kinetic will find it hard to top their top of the range Road Machine or Rock and Roller, however much they tweak and refine their existing line of models (this year, for the first time since 2007, they actually refined their designs a little bit, with a slight reduction in weight, rubber mountings instead of plastic, and more support for 29 inchers).
We’ve always loved their Road Machine (see our review here) and again, we recommend it highly if you’re looking for a quality trainer. If you’re looking for something just that little bit extra (and by extra we mean the ability to rock back and forth as if you’re hill climbing), then splash the cash on a Rock and Roller for a very realistic ride (see our review here). Both models aren’t cheap, but both are top, top quality.
Another couple of classy indoor trainers you should take into consideration are the CycleOps Fluid 2 and Cascade Fluid Pro. The CycleOps trainer comes with brand quality and has proven itself one of the best ever sellers over recent years; we can’t knock it and have enjoyed a number of sessions ourselves on this baby (see our review here). As for the Cascade Fluid Pro, we only came across this trainer this year but were very impressed; it automatically jumped into the “Highly Recommended” category (read more about why it impressed us so much here).
OK, OK, we hear you – not all of you have the cash to fork out on an expensive indoor trainer right now! And that’s why you’ll love this article we wrote on the best trainers for under $80. It’s proven way more popular than we expected, but in these times of economic uncertainty, that’s perhaps perfectly understandable. The one trainer from that article that seems to have been grabbed most of your attention is the Magnet Trainer – grab one while you can!
Must-Have Cycling Accessories for this Winter
When we started out training indoors many moons ago, we just slipped on some shorts and old sneakers and away we pedaled. Things have changed since then though, oh boy!
The pure number of accessories you can fork out on these days is incredible. From literally hundreds of specialized cycling shoes (for both men and women), to mats to place your trainer on, to countless numbers of gadgets that are all designed to enhance your training sessions, the choices are mind-boggling!
To help you out a bit, we wrote up an article on the Top 10 cycling accessories last Christmas, and we know that has helped many of you out. Check it out, there are some great shoes, smartphone cases and shorts on that list!
Personally, I’d have to whittle the list down to these must-haves:
- Awesome personalized name stickers for your bike / helmet / whatever…
- A great floor mat, preferably something like the Kurt Kinetic mat on the Top 10 list. This baby helps keep your floor clean, your bike even more stable, and yes, it even helps reduce the noise impact your bike will make during your training.
- A decent pair of gloves; you just don’t realize how much stress your hands take on during a training session…
- A sturdy, efficient and compact tire pump, such as the Serfas TPCG, which we reviewed here.
- A lovely, sensuous masseuse to work those post-training aching muscles back into the land of the living. And if you can’t find anyone to fill the job, the next best thing has to be these awesome Travel sticks. They’ll get your muscles rejuvenated!
We hope this article has helped you out for the upcoming winter – if not, feel free to hit us with any questions by contacting us here.
2017 UPDATE: Don’t miss our updated list
of the very BEST trainers to buy in 2017!
We’ve reviewed many of the very best stationary bike trainers out there, many of which you can find in our Reviews and Buying Guide sections, but we thought we should compile a list of the EIGHT best stationary trainers you’ll want to consider buying in 2014.
Price, brand, and even weight are NOT the deciding factors in our list; what matters most is the quality and value for money we believe you can get from each and every one of the trainer stands on our list. So yes, a range of top priced bike stands, together with a couple of the best value budget stands we’ve come across, plus a couple of new stands we’ve recently had the pleasure of checking out. And a few more you’ll really want to consider…
Also – don’t miss our guide to the best bike stands and cycling accessories for the upcoming winter!
The legendary eight, in no particular order…
Top quality and our fave: the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
One of the very best indoor bike stands we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, the Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer is a fluid-based bicycle trainer that has helped us and many cyclists keep their winter training sessions on track. The non-leaking magnetic drive system ensures that your training can continue unabated without any messy leaks! It’s also remarkably quiet and will take wheels up to 29 inches – unlike many other stands out there. Not the cheapest, but we highly recommend this one – read our full review here.
Another top quality contender: the Cascade Fluid Pro Trainer
We only recently discovered this bike trainer, but are glad we did! With a thermally sealed fluid drive, this Cascade Fluid Pro trainer is guaranteed to give you what should be years of training. It’s a smooth and stable ride with this one, and the front riser that comes with it (and therefore saves you around $20) also means you have three different height options. Again, not cheap, but if you’re looking for something top of the range, this is certainly one to consider. We’re even beginning to think it could oust the Kurt Kinetic from its rank as our own personal favorite…Read our full review here.
The Best Cheap Bike Trainer Stand of 2014
With the economy burning a hole in many of our pockets, we’re always getting asked for our recommendations regarding good value trainer stands. The Magnet Indoor Exercise Trainer has to be one of the best value options out there, if you’re really concerned about keeping costs down to a minimum. Typically sold for around $50, this is one we’d definitely call cheap and cheerful! Certainly a superb option for beginners and with hundreds of reviews and happy buyers on Amazon, it bags our Best Cheap Bike Trainer Stand for 2014 award! Read more about it and the other best value bike stands we recommend right here.
The Best Value Bike Trainer Stand of 2014
OK, so as we mentioned above, finding a decent value indoor training stand in 2014 is a mission for many of us with limited budgets, so here’s probably the best value stand we’ve come across over the last couple of years – the Forza F2 Trainer. This great value trainer is typically priced around $100, but you can often grab yourself a nice little discount on Amazon. Perfectly suited for the riders who train 2 or 3 times a week and need a decent workout. It’s easy to setup and the noise generated is surprisingly low. Not the quality you’d associate with a Kurt Kinetic or Cascade Fluid Pro, but definitely the trainer that wins our Best Value Bike Trainer Stand for 2014 award. Read our full review here.
Top quality and superb value for 2014: the Blackburn Mag 6 Trainer
If you’re looking for an alternative to the superb Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, but want to save yourself some 30%, we can highly recommend the Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Trainer. It usually comes in at around $200, but is a great and quality option for the more serious of you cyclists (and even the non-serious of you). There are six resistance levels to enjoy, which can be adjusted directly, and easily, from your handlebar. A bike stand made to enjoy, it’s also very sturdy and stable as it’s made of tubular steel, which ensures a safe ride and a long-lasting trainer. Read our full review here.
The classy quality of the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
Another top quality indoor trainer to consider is the superb CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer. This little beauty is not cheap, coming in at around $300, but is definitely one of the trainers to consider if you’re after top quality. A very quiet trainer, the Fluid 2 also has a realistic resistance experience thanks to a larger than normal flywheel. The self-cooling mechanism also works wonders, making the lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee almost unnecessary…And don’t worry about the legendary poor setup instructions – we’ve got a cool little video that shows you how to quickly set it up! Read our full review here.
The bike stand with an amazingly realistic ride: the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller
A question we often get asked is just how realistic a ride can an indoor trainer give you…well, the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller has to be the ULTIMATE ride! You do have to pay a certain premium for the experience, with this trainer regularly coming in at $500 or so (the new smart version costs a little more but is well worth it). But there’s nothing out there on the market that has the Rock n Roller’s rocking mechanism that simulates the riding motion, particularly when climbing hills. It also has one of the biggest flywheels around, adding to the realism when trying to build and maintain cycling speed. Read our full review, including a great video, here.
An excellent choice for Pro-Bikers – the 1Up USA
The last indoor bike trainer to make our list for 2014 is the 1Up USA, a stand that is regularly getting some top-notch feedback from pro cyclists on forums like MountainBikeReview.com. It really is a great option to consider, with its terrific Centrifugal Pressure Resistance, which many suggest add to the reality of your training session (but if you’re really after the ultimate riding experience, try the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roller, see above). The only drawback is that you can only order it from the official website. They don’t distribute the stand elsewhere, ruling out the possibility of grabbing a discount, which is a shame in our opinion (as we are always looking to save a few $$$).