Welcome to the world of indoor bike stands & trainers!

elite real axiom reviewIf you’re on the hunt for an indoor bike trainer (often known as a stationary bike stand or even turbo trainer), my tips and reviews of many of the industry’s leading brands and models should make things a whole lot clearer for you.

I’m a semi-serious cyclist myself, and have purchased and tested a number of bikes AND indoor bike stands over the years (don’t ask my wife how much I’ve spent over the last couple of years!). The indoor trainers really boost my training schedule during those cold, winter months when it’s almost impossible to get out on the road (and hey, even in the summer months when it’s just too hot!).

After purchasing a top of the range model a while back, the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer (a model I highly recommend which has also been revamped superbly in the last year or so), and getting asked by cyclist friends for my recommendations, I decided to set up this website to help them and YOU out. I’ve done all of the research and testing, you just have to decide what suits your training regime and your budget. And as the market has developed technologically over the last few years, I’ve also expanded my reviews to include some of the latest smart trainers and apps out there!

I’d highly recommend having a look at this to get started – these are the FIVE best stationary bike trainers you should consider for 2018, ranging from the very cheapest, super-value bike stands to the ultimate riding experience for the more serious cyclists of you. If money is less of an issue and you’re looking for something top-notch, take a look at the 3 best trainers money can buy – or perhaps it’s even time to buy yourself one of the latest smart trainers? In addition, our much-researched Comparison table will give you an amazingly quick overview of all the models out there, including ratings, weight and price. It’s pretty much the perfect buying guide, and is constantly being updated, so check it out!

And I also have the perfect companion to a new bike trainer – my guide to the TEN must-have cycling accessories that any keen cyclist will want to have to get the absolute maximum out of their training session, especially if you are setting up your own man cave! It was originally written for Christmas, but all of the accessories are perfect for any time of the year and will help enhance your training session – from the best cycling shoes, to iPhone holders, to massage sticks, I cover some of the best out there!

For beginners, or any of you just confused by the range of options and possibilities, I’d recommend you see our FAQ, a comprehensive set of questions (and their answers) that should hopefully answer any question you might have, including:

  • I’m a beginner, what bike trainer do you recommend?
  • Are there any decent stationary bike stands under $100?
  • I’m a serious/pro cyclist – what bike trainers should I consider?
  • Are there any bike trainers for 29 inch wheels?
  • Can I use my mountain bike on a stationary bike stand?
  • How can I stay motivated for boring indoor riding sessions?

Wrapping it up, here are some additional must-reads for those of you getting into indoor trainers this season:

3 major reasons why you need to buy a stationary bike stand

OK, so you’re still not convinced that an indoor bike / stationary bike stand will suit your style, your budget, or even your flat/house – but perhaps these 3 killer benefits will persuade you…

1: Having a stationary bike trainer at home means you’re never going to have an excuse for not training during those cold, wet winter months! OK, it can be hard to get motivated, but trust us, there are ways to stay motivated, and yes, stay in great shape throughout the winter. If you’re a serious cyclist, a trainer can seriously make a difference for when the cycling season kicks in once again; and if you’re a beginner or a casual cyclist, stay in shape and improve your overall technique in a fun, sporty way (while you watch TV, use your iPad, or simply read a book!)!

2: They are compact AND portable AND cheap. So forget about not having enough space in your small, cozy apartment, or having enough money. Most of the bike trainers on the market today are compact enough to fit the smallest of houses and apartments (heck, some are even foldable!), and quiet enough to ensure that if you do have a small apartment, your neighbors and loved ones will never know you just put in a sweaty, 60-minute session that stretched beyond midnight. And yes, there are some great value indoor bike trainers for less than $80 – compare that to your annual gym fees!

stationary bike stand3: You dictate the training session – and by that we mean the pace, the effort, the time invested. The thing about an indoor trainer is that you choose exactly when and how to start training, and you no longer have to worry about the weather and how it might, quite literally, put a dampener on your training efforts. If you’re somewhat of a serious cyclist, concentrate on enhancing your skills on your own finely-tuned bike to improve your cycling form; likewise, if you’re a beginner/casual cyclist, decide what works for you – you’re the one in the saddle!

Good Luck – and if you have any questions regarding ANY stationary bike stand or general indoor training issues, feel free to get in touch!

The Akonza Magnet Steel Trainer: another super-value bike trainer to consider!

akonza magnet trainerIf you’re looking for a professional and affordable stationary bike stand, then the Akonza Magnet Steel trainer is one well worth considering.

So, I admit that it’s not the best trainer on the market, but it ranks highly when it comes to value for money, and if you’re new to all this, this is one trainer that is truly accommodating for beginners (and there are some very decent trainers out there for beginners). This is a much better alternative to many of the average stationary trainers out there, largely thanks to a more realistic ride provided by its seven dynamic resistance levels.

Click HERE for the latest reviews & discounts for the Akoza Magnet trainer!

What’s to like about the Akoza Steel trainer?

Firstly, it is an effortless setup.

Although the instructions that come with it aren’t the best, it is still straightforward when assembling due to the Quick Release mounting system. It might be beneficial if they updated the guide or even made a tutorial video, as I’m aware a few people online struggled with understanding the guide. This being said, it’s actually really simple to put together.

Accustom your bike to your needs with the enclosed skewer and you can be up on your bike within a matter of minutes. It also comes with a handy front wheel riser block for a smooth setup process which made it convenient for me as I usually struggle with these things, yet had no issues with this.

The Akonza’s extra wide frame means it has been extremely reliable and stable whilst in use and you don’t need to worry too much about moving or veering whilst training. This comes in handy when riding next to your TV, which I am guilty of!

The trainer is priced at under $70 (we’ve also seen it dip below $60!) which is way cheaper than most other “brand” training units on the market at the moment. It’s certainly a wise investment for beginners, as it will up your biking confidence and motivation to get as many uses out of it as possible. It’s easy to hop on at any time for a quick stress release; alternately, its powerful enough to train on for a more serious session.

One tip: place a yoga mat under the trainer to help with stability and to cut down the noise. Although it’s a relatively quiet trainer, you can further improve noise levels yourself by doing this. Having said this, when I first used it I thought the trainer was loud but after making a few adjustments to get everything in the correct place I am now able to hear my surroundings with ease and it’s not going to wake someone sleeping in another room.

The technical stuff

Here are some more extensive features to wow you…

  • It’s compatible with 26” to 28” and 700C tires, making indoor use appropriate for most mountain and road bikes in the comfort of your own home.
  • The small folding dimensions are 18.75″ (L) x 21.5″ (W) x 5″ (H), meaning that when you have had enough, just fold it away into any small space; you can easily put it behind some furniture or under your bed and you would never know it was there!
  • The resistance controller is mounted on your handlebars, enabling you to make straightforward and consistent adjustments.
  • The trainer is designed for bikes with quick release rear axle wheels.
  • The seven levels of resistance enable it to accurately mimic on-road riding so you have no excuses not to get on your bike if the weather isn’t so great outside!
  • It comes in TWO colors: black or blue.

Why should you buy the Akonza Magnet trainer?

If you are planning to get more serious with cycling and keeping fit over the off-season (winter!) then this is a great trainer to start with!

It’s priced around the $60 range, so compared with other indoor trainers on the market (it definitely gives the bestselling Magnet and Ohuhu trainers a run for their money!) this is extremely good value for money considering all the positive aspects we experienced with it. In the long term, it will definitely make you a more confident and stronger cyclist, so we can definitely recommend this as an all-round, budget-friendly, must-have trainer!

FIVE awesome Black Friday deals that will save you some serious $$$

OK, we’re all after a good deal, and especially on Black Friday (and if you missed out on Black Friday, there’s always some great deals on Cyber Monday), when the world seems to go just that little bit crazier for a few hours!

But hey, if the craziness means we can save some serious dollars, then so be it…anyway, we’ve come up with some deals you should definitely take advantage of if you’re shopping online for a bike trainer stand or accessories on Black Friday!

The deals below are subject to change, as we have no control over the final prices charged, but we have done our best to find you the BIGGEST reductions out there in Black Friday week…and if you can’t wait to get your eyes on some of the best online Black Friday deals out there, just click the image immediately below!

black_friday_deals
Over $80 OFF!!! The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewThis bike trainer from the Kurt Kinetic product line is currently on sale with a bit of a nice discount, pulling it well under the $300 level! This one is one of the best in the business and at this price is pretty hard to beat. Not sure we can find a better deal than this online…and take a look at the average rating on Amazon – 4.8!

Current rating on Amazon: 4.8

buy-now

69% OFF!!! The RAD Portable Indoor Trainer

RAD Cycle Indoor StandAnother bike trainer from the RAD product line, this one has been around for awhile, and has proved to be one of those value trainers that many have splashed the cash on. It made our comparison table, if you want to see how it lines up against other trainers. Also priced at under $80, it looks like it this one has a slightly better online standing than other RAD trainers out there…read more here.

Current rating on Amazon: 4.0

Your savings: Almost $160!

buy-now

 

40% OFF!!! The Ascent Fluid Indoor Trainer

Ascent Fluid TrainerThis is a very decent fluid trainer, one we reviewed a while back but which has been one of those trainers that people have been snapping up on the quiet. Ranked very highly on Amazon (4.8 on average!), this one doesn’t disappoint, especially now it’s well under $150! If fluid is your game, the Ascent could very well be your game this winter season!

Current rating on Amazon: 4.8

Your savings: $60!

buy-now

 

Save over $100!!! The Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer

Conquer Indoor TrainerThe Conquer Indoor Trainer is one of those trainers that has found its own little niche in the “best value trainer” corner. Rated highly on Amazon, and with plenty of happy customers, this trainer also made our list of (go read!) best value trainers under $80. Not sure you’re saving a heck of a lot this Black Friday, but it’s still one of the best value options out there.

Current rating on Amazon: 4.3

buy-now

 

56% OFF!!! The CycleTEK Momentum Fluid Trainer

CycleTEK Momentum Fluid TrainerThis one is a fairly new model and one that we’ve yet to get our hands on. But it does look like the classiest option on this list of Black Friday bargains (OK, the Kurt Kinetic above probably just beats it). For starters, you’ve got a big flywheel and a fluid chamber, ensuring a quiet ride, and which definitely makes it the quietest trainer on this list. It might well give the Kurt Kinetic and other top fluid trainers a run for their money, so well worth watching in the near future. Read more here.

Current rating on Amazon: 4.3

Your savings: $280!

buy-now

Crazy bike trainer deals for Cyber Monday that will save you some serious $$$!

OK, we’re done and dusted with Black Friday and all the chaos that comes with it (have you seen some of those videos of crazy, bargain-hunting shoppers??). But there’s no letting up in the shopping bonanza – now it’s time for Cyber Monday and even more crazy discounts!

We’re not big fans of those scary bargain-hunters out there, so Cyber Monday is a superb alternative where we still get to save some serious dollars while shopping in the safety of our home. And yes, we’ve managed to find some seriously budget-friendly deals to take advantage of – especially if you’re shopping online for a stationary bike stand or accessories on Cyber Monday!

The deals below are beyond our control in regards to price, but we have done our best to find you the BIGGEST reductions out there…and if you can’t wait to get your eyes on some of the best online Cyber Monday deals out there, click on the image below to start shopping!

cyber monday deals

$80 OFF!!! The classic Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer ReviewThis bike trainer from Kurt Kinetic has been one of our long-serving bestsellers for some years, with upgrades every couple of years or so making this a must-buy trainer to have on your shopping list! We’ve spotted it’s still on sale with an $80 discount (it was also on sale on Black Friday), so now it’s well under the $300 barrier, we can’t recommend this one highly enough! Check out our review to learn more – or just take the word of hundreds of happy buyers on sites like Amazon who rate this an average of 4.8 stars…!

Current rating on Amazon: 4.8

buy-now

Save $20!!! One of the best in the business – the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer

cycleops fluid 2 trainerIt’s not a huuuuge discount from the boys at CycleOps, but when we see ANY kind of a discount for a CycleOps Fluid 2, we highly recommend you snap it up! This is a great trainer, and one we’ve had in our arsenal of trainers for a long time, a trainer we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of without barely a squeak. Simply put, this is one of the best in the business, and a bike trainer suited to almost any level of riding experience and skills. To find out just why we love this trainer read more here.

Current rating on Amazon: 4.4

Your savings: 7%

buy-now

Save $80!!! The excellent value Ascent Fluid trainer

Ascent Fluid TrainerThis is another top quality trainer which we reviewed some time ago but which has been one of those trainers that people have been snapping up consistently. It also made our Black Friday list, largely because of its superb ranking on sites like Amazon (now at an average of 4.4!) and because its fast become known as one of those trainers that provides excellent value for money – especially now it’s priced at under $150! If you’re after a very decent fluid trainer at a very decent price, you won’t go far wrong with this beast of a bike trainer!

Current rating on Amazon: 4.4

Your savings: 40%

buy-now

Save over $90!!! The Schwinn Fluid Resistance trainer

schwinn fluid trainer reviewThis little beast from bike legends Schwinn could well be worth taking a punt, considering you’re saving over $90! We reviewed this trainer some months ago and were quietly impressed. With these extra savings for Cyber Monday, we’re even more impressed!

Current rating on Amazon: 4.0

Your savings: 37%

buy-now

Save $100!!! The Nashbar Parabolic Rollers

nashbar parabolic rollersIf you’re looking for a roller trainer that will wipe the floor of other roller trainers (and hopefully not leave you sprawled on the floor like the guys in this video), then this huge saving of $100 may just be enough to convince you that these awesome Nashbar rollers are for you. We’ve listed another Nashbar roller in our list of Top 5 roller trainers, but this newer model from Nashbar is getting some rave reviews and is already rated at 4.9 on Amazon…

Current rating on Amazon: 4.9

Your savings: 37%

buy-now

7 ways your stationary indoor trainer can truly change your life

benefits of indoor ridingOK, so we all know by now that cycling is good for your health. And with the weather starting to turn over the fall, indoor bike training is the perfect way to reap these health benefits.

But if pressed to name exactly how cycling improves your overall health and fitness levels, even the most ardent cyclists of you might struggle. So we’ve done it for you, by wrapping up the 7 ways that indoor bike trainers can truly transform your health below.

Help you lose weight

Obesity is becoming a global epidemic, and the associated health consequences such as diabetes and heart disease kill hundreds of people every day. Indoor training is one of the best ways to shed pounds, especially during those off-season months when we often pick up a few extra pounds. To burn even more calories, try high-intensity interval training, or just read this post for killer weight-loss tips or this post for tips on how to use your trainer to shed some weight.

Recuperate from injury

Although most injuries require some bed-rest, if you stay immobile for too long you run a real risk of making things worse with some muscular deterioration. Low-impact exercise (with your doctor’s approval, of course) is the best way to speed up your recovery and maintain as much fitness as you can. Even a few minutes of indoor bike training can make a huge difference – it can get blood flowing nicely through the muscles to promote muscle healing.

Reduce the risk of cancer

Although we’ve poured billions of dollars into cancer research, there’s still little we know about this cruel and debilitating disease. One thing we know for sure, however, is that all studies indicate regular exercise helps to prevent cancer. General medical advice seems to point at getting physical at least a few times a week – many cycling experts recommend getting on your trainer at least three times a week to seriously reduce that cancer risk.

Improve your mental health

Research by Hillman (2007) found that elderly people who exercised regularly had a much lower chance of succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not just the old folks who stand to benefit, though – cardiovascular exercise like cycling can improve situational awareness, boost creativity and even stave off depression. The health benefits of cycling clearly go beyond the merely physical!

Improve your cardiovascular health

High blood pressure and heart disease are far more likely to develop in those with sedentary lifestyles. If you cycle for as little as 10 minutes a day (e.g. by cycling to work), you can reduce your chances of developing both ailments by as much as 10% – that’s a great investment in anyone’s book.

Extend your stay on this planet!

Do you often lament that by the time you retire, you’ll have too few “golden years” left to reap the rewards of a lifetime’s hard work? Well, regular indoor bike trainer sessions might just be the solution to that. A study of Tour de France cyclists revealed that many professional cyclists tended to live around 5 years longer than the general population. OK, so you don’t need to register for the Tour each year, but get that trainer out for some serious training sessions while you still can!

Look better – and sexier!

Alright, so this isn’t strictly a health benefit – but having muscular legs and a toned bum definitely never hurt anyone’s health. Cycling can do wonders for your physique, and in turn for your confidence. If you’re looking to do better with members of the opposite sex, starting a rigorous cycling regime by investing in a good bike trainer may be the best way to go! And read this if you want to know the BEST time for your training sessions for optimal sexiness and good looks!

Any other benefits we might have missed? Drop us a line if you can think of any!

THREE great ways to stay motivated for those winter training sessions

Indoor Bike Trainers

We know what it’s like sometimes, when those legs are feeling tired and you’re just not in the mood for an indoor training session…”tomorrow” we say, and we know that tomorrow may very well end up with exactly the same feelings and frustrations…

But we’re here to help, as always, and have come up with a quick and easy 3 step method for staying motivated over the winter. Oh yes, no more frustrated sighs when you look over at your great, ready-to-please trainer, we promise!

1. First up, head straight for the trainer!

When you get in from work, or if you straight away haul yourself out of bed in the early morning (early morning bike rides are proven to work if you want optimal sexiness and good looks!), head straight for the trainer!

Your motivational level window is fairly small, and if you find yourself distracted for any reason – like catching a glimpse of something interesting on the TV – that window is likely to disappear completely, and within no time you’ll have put that session off until tomorrow.

That’s why we say head straight for the trainer when you walk in the door from work. Have your training clothes and shoes ready at hand, and plonk yourself on your trainer as fast as you can! Be honest, sitting on your trainer is so much better for you than sitting in front of the TV…and if you’ve got your own dedicated man cave, and, of course, access to more training tips on our site, even better!

2. Secondly, have your training program ready

If you’re just happy to pedal away for 30-45 minutes and burn some calories, that’s fine. But if you’re just a tiny bit serious, have that training program ready. It might be via the guys at Zwift, or through the virtual training sessions of CycleOps, or just an inspirational video you’ve caught on YouTube. But get that video/software lined up and ready BEFORE you start the training, and preferably before you head off to work or go to sleep at night.

Wasting minutes clicking away on the Internet or on your hard drive is a sure-fire way to lose that motivation – so be prepared!

3. Lastly, be honest with yourself and your goals

If those missed training sessions are piling up, and you’re really struggling to invoke any motivation at all, it may be the time to sit back and think about exactly what it is you want from your indoor cycling session. What are your goals? Your cycling ambitions? If you’re struggling to even look at your trainer, it might be the time to take a week’s holiday and just forget about it while you take stock of what it is you want from your trainer.

BUT add a note to your calendar/diary that in a week’s time you’ll be back, ready and motivated!

GOOD LUCK – AND STAY MOTIVATED!

RELATED: FIVE things you should NEVER do before a training session! and 7 ways an indoor trainer can truly change your life!

My review of the Tacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainer: an awesome smart trainer!

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewThe Tacx Vortex Smart ErgoTrainer delivers an intuitive and effective indoor training experience, one you’re seriously going to enjoy!

I’d actually gone through a couple of cheaper smart trainers before this and was beginning to question what all the “smart” hype was about. But before I was ready to give up and dismiss the entire smart trainer craze as a passing fad, I decided to test out the Tacx Vortex and give the world of smart trainers a serious chance – and I was blown away!

>>> READ: Why you need to buy a smart indoor trainer…

This beast from Tacx has finally managed to help me get the most out of Zwift, and has seen my fitness considerably improve in the past month thanks to an awesome range of convenient customization options for your training program. It’s safe to say that this is one smart trainer I won’t be giving up on any time soon!

Click here for reviews and the latest discounts

Smart technology that doesn’t disappoint

My major gripe with previous smart trainers was the major connectivity issues.

My cycling buddies have been raving about Zwift for months, and my primary goal in purchasing a smart trainer was to jump on the Zwift bandwagon. However, with earlier products, the ANT+ connection either kept cutting out (frequently at the most exciting bits of a race) or was unbearably slow.

There were NO SUCH ISSUES with the Tacx Vortex ErgoTrainer. The connection was lightning-fast and the trainer was so responsive to the app, I was able to really immerse myself in the illusion of being on tour-like roads and racing along at breakneck speed alongside my best friends – even when a blizzard was raining down outside my window!

Which brings me to my next point – Tacx has clearly built this trainer with Zwift and other similar software in mind.

This isn’t your bog-standard indoor trainer with a computer tacked on, but a product which was clearly built to take full advantage of “smart” training technology. With a total of 16 magnets (8 of which are electro-magnets – unusually high for an indoor trainer in this price range), resistance changes in response to the built-in software are extremely smooth, making downhill cycling a particular pleasure.

Moreover, with a maximum resistance of 950 watts, you needn’t worry about your Zwift training partners leaving you behind. You’ll be able to have a workout just as punishing as the best of them, so you’ll have no difficulties keeping up fitness-wise. Furthermore, speed and resistance calculations are extremely accurate, contributing to the tremendous realism of the Vortex indoor training experience.

Finally, Tacx’s market-leading electro-brake technology really comes into its own when paired with a smart cycling app, registering changes in speed with impressive precision. It’s the kind of attention to detail Tacx has become renowned for in the cycling world, applied to the challenging platform of smart cycling technology.

Even outside of Zwift, the Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer has plenty to offer. The inbuilt Tacx software is brilliant for training on your own as it contains some very comprehensive workout programs, backed up by reliable studies, designed to cater to just about every fitness goal imaginable. I actually shaved a full 20 seconds off my 500-yard sprint timing after slogging away at the Sprint workout for three weeks!

Physical qualities that complement the tech side

Of course, the most advanced software in the world would not compensate for a shoddily built trainer.

Realistic resistance shifts aren’t much use if you’re constantly worrying about toppling over! Fortunately, despite the affordable price tag (we’re talking around $500), Tacx has brought their trademark blend of style and sturdiness to this Tacx Ergotrainer.

Tacx Vortex Smart ReviewA 2 kg flywheel, solid steel support legs and anti-slip rubber grips ensure that your ride is stable and comfortable no matter how fast you’re cycling. Even during sustained sprints, the Vortex remained firmly rooted to the ground.

In terms of style, the Vortex delivers in spades. I’m not a big fan of the stark, minimalist look – indoor training is supposed to be fun, and the Tacx Vortex Ergotrainer manages to deliver a youthful, modern look without veering into amateur territory. It helps that the entire product is made out of premium materials, ensuring the little dashes of color liven up rather than clash with the professional look of the trainer. Scratch professional – I would say this is one smart, sleek beast!

So, how much bang for your buck do you really get with this Tacx smart trainer?

Smart trainers can cost well over a thousand dollars, and I know that that kind of price scares off many a rider. Personally, I’d rather invest it in my bike for when the cycling season starts.

For that reason, at around $500, the Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer was well within my comfort zone in terms of price, and coupled with its category-leading performance represents fantastic value for money. There’s little wonder it makes our list of the 5 BEST trainers for 2018!

Sure, I would have loved for Tacx to include a USB ANT+ stick, and perhaps it would have been convenient if the Tax workout apps came pre-loaded with more films so I didn’t need to download them from the Tacx website. But given the great all-round package Tacx has delivered here, all this really is nit-picking. To anyone who’s yet to be converted to the smart trainer trend from the standard indoor trainers, or for a cyclist searching for an affordable first smart trainer, I would unequivocally recommend the Tacx Vortex.

buy now