Posts tagged what type to buy

5 BEST bike trainers 2017: the ultimate buyer’s guide

bestselling bike trainers 2017

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 decent results…

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

ohuhu magnet trainer reviewThis 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!

Read our full review here.

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

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

kurt kinetic rock n roll smartThe 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.

Read our full review here.

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

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

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

Enjoy an integrated PowerTap power meter for some awesome metrics, including power in watts, power zones, peak power, caloric expenditure in kilojoules, cadence, heart rate, and much more. The Mini ANT+ USB stick (included with the trainer) also lets you control the resistance from your computer (this means you can also use CycleOps’ Virtual Training app for auto-syncing sessions with virtual training routes)!

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

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

Read our full review here.

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

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewSmart trainers have recently become the trend to watch out for in the bike trainer wold in 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!

Read our full review here.

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

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

Read our full review here.

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

Image
Model
Pros
Rating
Price Range
Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerKurt Kinetic Rock and Roll TrainerThe ultimate realistic indoor riding experience, expensive but quality

Read our REVIEW
4.4$$$$$

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

Read our REVIEW
4.3$

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

Read our REVIEW
5.0$$$$$

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

Read our REVIEW
4.5$$$$$

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

Read our REVIEW
4.2$$$$$


What types of bike trainer are out there in 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…

Smart trainers

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewWithout a doubt, smart trainers are the future of indoor training. With their ability to connect to a variety of applications and sensors, smart trainers are for the keen to pro rider who needs that extra data available – or for those who just want to ride with their buddies on multi-rider platforms like Zwift. We’ve already uncovered a couple of great smart trainers, but the Tacx Vortex we mentioned above is one of the best value smart trainers we’ve come across. But watch this space because we’re sure there are some interesting developments ahead, and not just in 2017…

Fluid trainers

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

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

Magnetic trainers

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

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

Rollers

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

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

Direct Drive trainers

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

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

Virtual Reality trainers

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

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

Wind trainers

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


Best THREE stationary bike stands for under $80!

There are some truly great stationary bike trainers out there – we personally love the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine model – but for beginners and the more price-conscious shopper, we know there are a few of you out there looking for a great value bike stand.

Let’s face it, as the economy bites many of us in the ***, saving some money is always a good thing. So, after getting a few questions from readers asking us about some cheaper options, we decided to put this article together.

There are a whole load of stationary bike stands dropping in under the $80 mark, and you can find many online at stores like Amazon, as well as other high-street bricks and mortar outlets (though it has to be said, we’ve struggled to find the variety you can find on the Internet).

Below are the best THREE stationary bike stands we know of and have seen, and that are also ranked well on Amazon by satisfied customers. Don’t forget to check out our comparison table for an ever-expanding list of bike stands and our unique summary of each and every one’s features.

NOTE: The bike stands below are suitable for 26″, 27″ or 700C wheels.

The Magnet Bicycle Indoor Exercise Trainer

Magnet Steel TrainerThis has to be the very best value stationary bike stand we’ve seen out there. Quite how these guys built this bike stand and sell it for typically under $50 we don’t know, but there are hundreds of happy customers who’ve snapped up this Magnet Bike Stand.

What makes it such a winner? Well, first of all, it’s cheap, and therefore perfect for beginners and the very price-conscious. It also has FIVE internal resistance settings (changeable from your handlebar, and which provides progressive magnetic resistance, meaning the resistance increases as the speed increases), is seen to be heavy duty (it weighs in at a solid 20 pounds) and is considered to be quiet too.

The instructions that come with the stand are notoriously bad, but if you follow the images you should be up and running in minutes (see our full review here).

See the latest deals for the Magnet Indoor Trainer on Amazon

Conquer Indoor Trainer Stand

stationary bicycle standThis superb value exercise stand is not a big brand name (in fact, it recently seems to have been branded by a new company called Conquer, who have additional models for sale online). But the fact there are numerous happy reviews on Amazon sends a clear message that a big brand name isn’t always everything.

Why is this stationary bike stand a hit? Well, this stand is also considered heavy duty (also weighing in at 16 pounds with NO cheapo plastic bits, it’s entirely made from metal) and also stable, while also being fold-able – great for storing away! The stand comes with magnetic resistance done in a single adjustment (you do have to get off the bike to adjust it). Another good selling point – it also comes with its own Riser Block (you’d typically have to spend another $10-20 on one of these).

The only drawback we can see with this stand is that it seems slightly noisier than, let’s say, the Magnet Exercise Trainer we describe above, but overall, is excellent value.

See the latest deals for this Indoor Cycling Trainer on Amazon

Soozier Adjustable Magnetic Resistance Indoor Bike Trainer Stand

Soozier Adjustable Bike StandThe Soozier Indoor Bike Stand is another great value option we’ve come across recently. It also comes in at well under the $80, and you can even strike it lucky on some websites with deals pricing it at under $60.

The Soozier (as we like to call it) comes in at almost half the weight (11 pounds) of the above two bike stands, but is considered very stable and sturdy, and easy to assemble. This one also has five resistance levels, and as per the Magnet above the levels of resistance are adjustable via your handlebar. The noise levels are also considered very quiet, though we’d always recommend some good music to stick on your headphones or at least take your training session out on the patio/another room if others are nearby (mountain bike treads will always create a bit more noise). The stand is also easily fold-able, so can be stored away through those good weather months!

Definitely one to consider!

See the latest deal for the Soozier Indoor Bike Trainer Stand on Amazon

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All in all, the three stationary bike trainers above are ALL excellent value and each is an excellent option. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, and your training sessions are about to get started on the right foot (or pedal…)!

More trainers that just missed out on making this list because they’re a few dollars above the $80 limit is the great value Graber Mag trainer, well worth checking out, the superb Bike Lane Pro trainer, the Minoura B60D trainer, and the new kid on the block, the Ohuhu Magnet trainer, another excellent option that just hovers around the $80 zone…!

Stationary bike trainers for 29er wheels – YES they do exist!

stationary trainer 29erIf you’re the owner of a spanking new 29er bike and feeling a little frustrated at the apparent lack of 29er bike trainer options for your bike, fret not! We’ve been asked this question a few times recently, so came up with this little guide so you too can enjoy your indoor riding!

There are actually a number of options for those of you with 29er wheels looking for a decent bike trainer:

  • You purchase a bike trainer that supports 29er wheel sizes (there are a number of options available, see below)
  • OR you go for the option of fitting a training slick to your rear wheel, instead of that knobbly MTB tread (more on that a little bit later, see below)
  • OR you replace your 29er wheel with something like a 26er, just for indoor training sessions
  • OR you go with a roller trainer or direct drive trainer

Trainers that support 29er wheels

First up, we’ll point you in the direction of the FOUR stationary trainers that we know of that fully support 29er wheels.

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewKurt Kinetic Road Machine: one of the very best trainers around, this fluid trainer has all you need, whether you’re a pro or a beginner. It’s not cheap, but it’s seriously one of the best your money can buy, and one of the Best 5 Trainers we highly recommend. Full review here.

Minoura RDA 2429R Rim Drive Trainer: an awesome trainer branded as the world’s only road and MTB trainer (we beg to differ, but it’s still a great trainer). The trainer actually works on the rim of the wheel, NOT the tire, meaning you can save some serious $$$ if you’re an intensive cyclist. Full review here.

CycleOps Powerbeam Pro: we rank this as one of the very best 3 trainers out there, find out why here.

Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer: an old classic that typically comes in at under $100 and does the job very nicely thank you, complete with a mighty 5 year warranty. Full review here.

Fitting a training slick to your 29er

As road bikes are also 29 inch in size (but 700cc), change your MTB tires to a road slick or trainer specific tire, and then you should be able to fit most trainers. AND you’ll save your normal tires from wear and tear and be a lot less noisy (those knobbly MTB tires make a ton of noise!). Once you have that trainer/road slick on, your big 29er tires will be like any other 700cc road tire, the fact it’s a 29er won’t make a difference.

If you need a very decent training tire, try this Tacx TR6900 or this one from Vittoria.

Replace your 29er wheel with a 26er

This is another option for those of you with 29ers and struggling to get it to fit your trainer. Simply switch it over to a 26er for indoor training purposes only (obviously not for outdoor use!). Don’t forget that with an indoor trainer you don’t need any brakes, so there’s no need to bother with disc specific wheels, etc.

Buy a roller trainer or direct drive trainer

Kreitler Kompact RollerRollers can make things very interesting, and some serious cyclists swear by them. But they do take some getting used to, and need a certain level of skill and concentration (otherwise you’ll end up like this).

They’re also quiet(er) and you don’t have to worry about burning through your tires or being locked into a trainer. We highly recommend these rollers to get started with.

Direct drive trainers are fairly new to the scene of indoor trainers, but offer a great alternative. They enable you to remove your entire back wheel and slot your chain right onto the trainer. As most bikes now come with a quick release, this is typically a job that takes a matter of seconds. Some excellent direct drive options to consider here are the CycleOps Silencer and the Lemond Revolution 1.1.

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!

If you’re looking for an indoor trainer, look for one with ride-ability, durability, and repeatability

We previously spoke about the three considerations you need to look at when buying an indoor trainer (notably your goals, your time available, and your budget), but here are another three factors that are also critical: ride-ability, durability, and repeatability.

To cut a long story short, we’ll break it down into quick bite-sized morsels:

  • Ride-ability is the replication of that on-road feel, that feel you get when you’re out on your bike. Not all trainers on the market have that, but if it’s really crucial for your indoor sessions, you’ll probably be very satisfied with the Rock n Roller or the Road Machine from Kurt Kinetic.
  • Durability is the trainer’s ability to last for more than one intense winter…depending on your use, that might rule out the cheaper end of the market (these three are cheap and cheerful, but we can’t guarantee their durability). For example, if you’re intent on a fluid trainer, make sure you get one known NOT to leak, such as the impressive CycleOps Fluid 2.
  • Repeatability is the ability for the trainer to replicate your training sessions, crucial if you want to measure any progress you might be making. This depends on the resistance curve; if your trainer has too many variations in resistance, it becomes difficult to replicate…

The video below gives a great analysis of all those factors. And the guy in the video is the Australian Cycling Coach, so the fella knows what he’s talking about…

THREE things you really need to consider before splashing out on a bike trainer stand…

reasons to consider a trainer

OK, before you go and splash that hard-earned cash of yours on the first stationary bike trainer that catches your eye, we’ll have to point out that there are some serious factors that really need to be considered before you open that wallet. We’ve whittled the list down to THREE, but each of them will have some serious impact on the trainer you end up choosing…

>>> Don’t miss our guide to the must-have trainers and accessories this winter AND the 7 major ways an indoor bike trainer can change your life!

Define Your Goals

The first thing you really need to consider is what exactly are you aiming to get from buying a stationary bike stand?

Are you looking to recover from an injury that has left you physically sidelined for a while? Do you intend to use a trainer to lose weight? Or are you simply a semi-serious/professional cyclist looking to stay in form over the winter months when you can’t squeeze those calorie-burning sessions in between snow showers?

Whatever your goals, there’s typically a stationary bike stand ideal for your purposes; check out our introduction to the different types on the market.

How Much Time Will You Be Devoting?

The next thing to consider is just how much time will you be spending on your new bike stand? Just how often will you be squeezing in a training session? If you’re looking to clock some serious mileage, then we’d highly recommend quality over cheap and cheerful any day of the week (take a look at the CycleOps Fluid 2 or the Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roll trainer as two very excellent options; see other high-end models here). If it’s a once a week thing, then you could probably get away with a more budget-friendly trainer (depending, of course, on what exactly that once a week “thing” means…).

What Is Your Budget?

The final deciding factor has to be your budget. There’s really no point in going above and beyond that budget if you’re not totally convinced by a trainer and your reasons for buying it (here are TEN reasons for buying it!)

The first two points above will have a determining factor on your budget, that’s for sure, so let them dictate the actual amount of money you’re willing to spend. Other factors like an unsupportive spouse or a hard-nosed bank manager will also play their part, but we won’t go into those for our own, ahem, reasons…

But yes, their are bike trainers for EVERY budget, you just have to make your decision and go with it, all the way!

Good Luck!

And don’t forget our comparison table for a quick overview of prices and features, hopefully it will help!

Here are another three critical factors to look at, especially if you’re serious about your training: ride-ability, durability, and repeatability.

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