My review of an updated classic: the CycleOps Magneto trainer!

When the cold weather (or a pandemic like COVID-19) hits, many of the serious cyclists of you out there decide that it’s just too cold and icy (and even illegal(!)) to risk your early morning rides. So, yes, the cycling gear invariably goes into hibernation for a while; this can obviously be a big blow in maintaining your fitness goals if you’re just even a wee bit serious about fitness and cycling.

But the weather (or COVID-19) really doesn’t have to have that much of an impact on your training; the quick and easy solution is to invest in an indoor bike stand – and we’re pretty sure one of the best magnetic resistance trainers out there – the CycleOps Magneto Trainer – really does answer all your indoor training needs, whether you’re a beginner or wannabe pro.

Click HERE for the latest discounts & reviews on the CycleOps Magneto Trainer

If you’re seriously considering adding an awesome piece of equipment to your training arsenal (or looking for the ultimate toy in your man cave!), the CycleOps Magneto trainer is quite the piece! It’s not overly expensive like the newer smart versions of the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine or Rock’n Roll trainer – you can find it online for around $250 (almost HALF the price of the Kinetic trainers!) – but perhaps more importantly, it’s very easy to set up AND it comes with some very decent features, as we reveal below…

One of the key features of this CycleOps gem – its durability!

We’re big fans of the CycleOps brand (which has actually been merged into the Saris group these days, but you can still find many CycleOps products online), with the terrific Fluid 2 amongst our stable of well-ridden trainers.

And perhaps the overriding feature for many CycleOps products is their absolute durability. The CycleOps Magneto trainer is, of course, no exception to that rule, with a quality aluminum body and a frame that features the familiar CycleOps two-inch 16-gauge steel tubing that all of the CycleOps trainers sit on.

Without a doubt, as we’ve seen with the Fluid 2 over some heavy usage over the last 3-4 years, you’re almost guaranteed a bike stand that will see you through years of training. Seriously, this baby will love you back for a long, long time. Plus, if you ever do need it, the Magneto trainer comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. It doesn’t get much more durable than that.

And of course – the world’s first Progressive Resistance trainer!

The magnetic resistance that comes with the CycleOps Magneto trainer is darned impressive. Actually the world’s first trainer to feature progressive resistance – meaning that the resistance increases when you pedal faster – this trainer really does give you a decent workout!

With 5 different resistance settings, you can vary your sessions to get the optimal efficiency and effectiveness for your own personal level. These resistance settings are also easy to implement – you just set the trainer’s resistance lever to the required level and the trainer will supply the resistance.

Tell me more about Progressive Resistance

Some might argue that the progressive resistance feature is the clincher for buying the CycleOps Magneto trainer, since it really was the first trainer on the market to use it. And since that was some 5 years ago or so, you can see the resilience and success behind the Magneto, as it is still one of the leading magnetic trainers available.

The progressive resistance in this CycleOps gem basically means that the faster you ride, the more the resistance increases. This is all down to CycleOps impressive resistance technology (read more here); increased cycling momentum causes the magnets to spin further away from the flywheel, therefore increasing the resistance.

But why do I need progressive resistance?

Progressive resistance can be especially useful when you want to launch a fast-paced training session. Thanks to the amazing technology in this Magneto trainer, resistance actually increases exponentially and smoothly as you increase your pace – just like you’d experience out on the road as you ride into a headwind.

Click HERE for the latest discounts & reviews on the CycleOps Magneto Trainer

How realistic a ride is the CycleOps Magneto trainer?

One of the major – and absolutely legitimate – questions you’ll have when purchasing a new bike stand is just how realistic will the ride be?

Of course, nothing beats the outdoor ride, as you ride into headwinds, push yourselves into a long climb, or accelerate out of a bend…the sweat and effort you put in to overcome your body’s inertia is what riding is all about!

You’ll be pleased to know that the guys and girls over at CycleOps have taken all the joys of outdoor riding into account and created a unique internal flywheel, which the CycleOps Magneto includes.

This internal flywheel really does an impressive job by providing the inertia that needs to be overcome whenever you pedal faster (CycleOps were possibly the first to realize that the huge, heavy flywheels of the past weren’t the answer to supplying the necessary inertia). Paired with the progressive resistance unit, the flywheel gives you the perfect ride and comes pretty darned close to the ride you’d get outdoors!

Things we liked (and didn’t like) about the CycleOps Magneto trainer

The things we loved…

  • Durable and sturdy construction
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Unique internal flywheel that gives a realistic ride
  • Folds up easily for easy storage
  • Decently quiet during rides (CycleOps say that the noise level at 20 mph is a quiet 66-68 decibels)
  • Easy to set-up and use
  • Progressive resistance unit
  • Comes with adjustable footpads to ensure stable rides even when riding on an uneven surface
  • Suitable for common road and mountain bike frames (650b, 700c, 26″, 27″ and 29″ wheel sizes)
  • Quick Cam Lever Resistance unit for quick and easy adjustments when tightening the roller against your tire
  • Weighs a lightweight 19 pounds
  • Comes with a training DVD and instruction sheet

The things we didn’t like…

  • The frame could be a little sleeker and more modern (but this trainer was first developed before the arrival of smart trainers, so perhaps we’re a bit picky)…

What are buyers saying about the CycleOps Magneto trainer?

As you’d probably expect with a brand like CycleOps (Saris), this trainer comes with some strong reviews on sites like Amazon.

We’ve seen reviewers are happy with the quick and easy setup (see the video below), its ease of use, its amazing progressive resistance, and its quietness (CycleOps insist it reaches a maximum of 66-68 decibels when riding at 20mph).

Others have complained about the noise, but one thing we have to point out is that magnetic trainers are always going to be a little noisier than their more technologically supreme fluid trainers, for example, the much loved Fluid 2.

One thing that we always recommend for reducing noise (and applicable to anyone buying a trainer) – invest in a decent trainer tire (see our guide to the best trainer tires out there) and trainer mat. You might be surprised just how much they help in reducing the noise, especially if you’ve been using knobbly mountain bike tires up until now!

So, why should you buy the CycleOps Magneto trainer?

If you’re looking for an excellent value trainer, an all-round performer that will keep your training on course, you can do much worse than considering the CycleOps Magneto trainer.

Coming in at around the $250 mark, this trainer provides a ton of great features (read above), as well as the awesome technology and durability that comes hand-in-hand with any CycleOps trainer.

When you add in the fact that you can use the CycleOps Magneto for a variety of training sessions – from improving your speed, to building stamina (thank that progressive resistance technology), to warming up prior to a race – this trainer packs in a tremendous amount of value.

To sum it all up for you, the CycleOps Magneto trainer is a superb option to consider if you’re looking for an excellent magnetic trainer that has been training up many cyclists around the world for some years now. If you’re ready to splash out the extra $200-$300 (minimum) on a smart trainer, do it. Otherwise, save your money for now and add this baby to your training routine pronto!

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