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The Cycleops Fluid 2 Indoor Bike Trainer: one of the best in the business!

Cycleops Fluid 2 Trainer

As highlighted throughout this site, I have tried and tested a few different bike trainers, but the Cycleops Fluid 2 Indoor Bicycle Trainer is definitely one of the best stationary bike trainers I have ever tried (well, that is until I recently discovered the amazing CycleOps Silencer!).

For starters, this Cycleops bike trainer is one of the quietest bicycle trainers I’ve ever worked on! If you’ve ever used a lower-end bike trainer, you’ll be familiar with the annoying and sometimes deafening whirr they produce. You might save a bit on the cost, but your eardrums of your closest friends and family will suffer, trust me!

You don’t get such noise with the Cycleops Fluid 2 bike trainer. That’s important to me because I frequently train at night after work and don’t want to disturb the sleep of my wife and kids. Even when I’m pedaling my hardest, this bike trainer runs quietly. And yes, the low noise level allows me to place the stationary trainer in my living room and train while my family watches television – good eh?!

It is such an unobtrusive presence that my kids are more likely to be disturbed by my panting and gasping (yes, I do try and burn some calories!) as I train than by any noise emitted by the trainer.

In addition, while no indoor bike trainer can ever fully capture the joy of outdoor riding, the Cycleops Fluid Indoor Trainer comes closer than most with an extremely realistic cycling experience. When I first used the trainer, it became immediately apparent to me that the Cycleops designers had put a massive amount of thought and effort into simulating outdoor cycling because the resistance provided by the trainer was extremely similar to that provided by tarmac roads. This allows me to practice my outdoor riding skills in the safety of my home while rain, snow or hail pours down outside.

Summary of the Fluid 2’s Main Features

Here’s a quick summary of the main features that might wow you:

  • The Fluid 2 Trainer is one of the best ways to stay in great condition during the off season
  • A new larger flywheel delivers a true road-like experience, with twice the inertia (read all about the resistance technology from CycleOps here)
  • Power band technology means you have a wide resistance range to work with
  • An infinite resistance curve ensures increased wattage as you increase speed
  • The Fluid 2’s self-cooling mechanisms keep the unit performing better and for longer
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
  • Dimensions: 23 x 22 x 7 inches, and it weighs 11.5 pounds

Pros and Cons of the Cycleops Fluid 2 Trainer

The only thing I didn’t like about this Cycleops bike trainer was the vague set-up instructions. I’ve never been a very hands-on person, so assembling the trainer gave me a real headache. This gave me an opportunity to experience Cycleops’ renowned customer service for myself. I called customer support for assistance on setting up the trainer and they were very forthcoming with advice. The patient and helpful customer support officer talked me through the product assembly step by step and with their guidance, the whole process took me only five minutes to complete. In short, the exemplary customer service more than made up for the slightly ambiguous set-up instructions.

After purchasing the Cycleops Fluid Indoor Bike Trainer a few months back, it has now become my training method of choice for rainy days. It allows me to keep my fitness level up in the off-season so that I’m raring to go once cycling season starts again.

Worth the high price tag?

Highly recommended, because despite that relatively high price tag (around $300), it really is one of the best in the business. It also makes our list of the Top 5 bike trainers for 2018, but it is serious competition for one of the top end choices included on that list, the Kinetic Kurt Rock n Roll Trainer. Alternatively, check out the awesome technology of the SuperMagneto Pro from CycleOps – it comes in at around $400, but is a great ride!

Click below to save yourself 10% on the regular price over on Amazon!

3 killer ways your indoor trainer can help you lose weight!

indoor bike trainer losing weightOK, the health benefits of cycling are well-documented – higher muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness levels, better blood circulation and yes, effective weight loss.

This last benefit is a particularly important one, given that those of us a little overweight are more statistically likely to develop a whole host of ailments ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to kidney failure and heart disease. So yes, keeping the pounds off is vital in a world that seems intent on feeding us food that is ever higher in fats and sugar.

SEE ALSO: FIVE awesome nutritional tricks for cyclists, EIGHT ways to get the MAX out of your indoor training sessions, and Ride early in the morning if you want to stay lean and sexy!

One of the most effective and efficient ways to burn those nasty, evil calories is with a bicycle – and an even better way of losing those pounds during the winter months is with an indoor bike trainer. Indoor trainers are superb in assisting you squeeze in fat-burning workouts whenever you can, regardless of what the elements are throwing at us outside.

We’ve dug a little deeper into this topic ourselves, as we’ve been down the road of trying to effectively lose weight, so here are THREE killer tips that worked for us and will hopefully do the same for you if you’re looking to turn your saggy waistline into a solid six-pack.

TIP 1: Exercise at 50-60% of your maximum capacity 

Imagine a spectrum that measures physical effort from levels 1 to 10, 1 being a slow stroll and 10 being “so exhausted you can barely walk”.

It may seem intuitive to cycle at levels 8 to 10 as they would appear to be the most effective in burning calories.

However, the “effectiveness” of a given workout depends on your fitness goals. Cycling at high intensity may be good for building cardiovascular fitness, but if fat-burning is your aim, it’s best to cycle at low to moderate intensity (somewhere between levels 4 to 6).

A good gauge is whether you can maintain a conversation throughout the session. This encourages your body to burn lipids rather than muscle and as an added bonus, leaves you less sore the next day so you can work out more often for faster results.

A golden tip for ensuring your trainer helps in your quest to lose weight: tweak the resistance!

TIP 2: Try interval training

Interval training involves alternating high and low intensity training within a single workout.

That could involve a 30 second sprint on your indoor trainer, followed by a minute of brisk strolling (say at level 4 on the spectrum we discussed above). This 90-second workout forms a single interval. If you perform 10 to 15 of these intervals in one training session, your fat-burning engine is sent into overdrive.

According to studies, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is far more efficient at fat-burning because it sends your metabolism through the roof for up to 24 hours after your workout, ensuring your body is constantly zapping away at your excess fat.

TIP 3: Mix it up!

Invest in a decent indoor bike trainer that comes with adjustable resistance (even better, go with one of these and never worry about resistance again!), as this will give you a myriad of options with which to vary your training.

After a few weeks of interval training, your body might adjust and your weight loss might start to plateau. Switch it up with long endurance sessions at very high resistance but low speeds. Keep your body guessing, and you’ll consistently get results with your fat loss goals.

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With these 3 killer tips and a trusty bike trainer, that extra tire will be gone in no time at all!

Good Luck and Happy Riding!

See Also: The 5 BEST bike trainers of 2018

Why you need to buy a smart indoor trainer

kurt kinetic rock n roll smartWith the onslaught of winter getting ever closer, it’s time to take a look at the options around for enhancing our workout regime  – yes, it’s time for a look at the smart indoor trainer!

We created this site a couple of years ago to compile all the research we’d previously done on the old standard indoor trainers – and heck, it was a lot of research! From the old-timer classic from Kurt Kinetic, to the once popular Forza F2, we’d tested and reviewed a whole ton of rides. And with fellow cyclist friends wanting the lowdown on what indoor trainer to buy, the site helped more than a few people out!

But progress is progress, and the technological advancements we’ve seen over the last 3-4 years throughout a whole bunch of industries has also moved in on the world of indoor trainers. And yep, the latest and greatest stationary bike stands now come in an amazing smart version!

>>> READ: Some of the best smart home trainers make our 2018 “BEST OF” list

Smart indoor trainers are wonderful; they are now the most modern kind of workout equipment around for cyclists and, in my opinion, worth every dollar spent. They don’t come cheap, although the tremendous value you get with the Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer is definitely worth considering if you’re on a budget or just not sure of the benefits of splashing out on a top-of-the-range smart home trainer. Then again, the upgraded Kinetic Road Machine smart trainer checks in at less than $300, well worth considering.

To be able to give you an idea of what smart indoor trainers are all about, let’s take a look at what smart trainers are all about and some killer reasons that will have you reaching for the BUY button in a flash!

What makes a smart trainer so, er, smart?

So, still wondering what a smart indoor trainer actually does??

Basically, a smart indoor trainer provides wireless connectivity that enables it to be paired with a variety of smart apps and devices (we’re talking iPads and the like).

Typically using technology like Bluetooth 4.0 (Smart or Low energy) or ANT+, these trainers can be remotely connected to a cycling computer, a tablet or any other device that can display your workout data in real time.

This means that in addition to recording the ride from your one hour session, where you are getting critical performance data like speed, distance, cadence, and power in some cases, you are also able to experience some truly structured training sessions, interactive videos and even the ability to take on riders online (with programs like Zwift)!

Smart trainers provide the opportunity to really hone in on your efficiency – they also open up a whole world of additional features, depending on the type of the trainer you use – and your budget.

Some truly wonderful long-term benefits of using a Smart Indoor Trainer

Smart home trainers are advanced but definitely not beyond a beginner indoor cyclist.

Below we’ve compiled a little list of the advantages of actually adding one to your cycling workouts.

Regulates control of ERG mode on smart trainers

The software or app you use to work with your trainer can help control the ERG mode for many trainers (see this great video for more details of what ERG modes are all about) in a highly effective manner. So, this basically means you have a great workout about to rock your training sessions, since the ERG setting you define on the trainer (for example, 300 watts) can be locked in, and your smart trainer software will do some adjustments and tweaking to make sure you keep on pedaling to the max. This can have a great impact on your training and your upward curve to fitness greatness!

Uses robust technology

Being a fairly new innovation in the world of indoor trainers, smart trainers have been created with some top-notch materials and components. They are also even more durable than the standard trainers out there. Running on ANT+FE-C capability, smart trainers are also able to provide a number of awesome techie features, including speed sensoring, and heart-rate monitoring to name a few. Smart trainers are here to stay baby, and don’t be worrying about having to replace them every couple of years…

Prevents tires from wearing out

Many smart trainers still come with the standard rear skewer attachment process, but be aware that some smart trainers also come with a “wheel-off” option. These types of trainers are known as direct drive trainers, and enable you to remove your bike’s back tire, which ensures that it won’t wear out no matter how much you use your equipment. This allows you to work-out as much as you want without wearing out too many tires (except for training slicks now and again, but of course, this depends on how often and how hard you train).

No more boring workout sessions

The typical smart trainer has the ability to give you a truly supreme ride experience! Once paired with the right software, you can battle it out with friends or with others from around the world on life-like tour courses (for example, when using Zwift). Of course, you can also do this with non-smart trainers, you just won’t get the realistic ride you get with a smart trainer, when climbing a hill for example.  

Plan your workout ahead of time

Download the correct apps or smart software and you’ll be able to program your workout for whenever you have free time. You can add in all the details of the workout you prefer and simply start the program and do your workout without having to consciously think about it while pedaling away. This gives you an opportunity to do other things while you are working out – like reading a book or watching some shows, as your workout program has already been programmed into your trainer!

Great value for money

In reality, more traditional (read: not smart) models are more affordable (some great options even come for under $80) but when you think about all the added benefits and features of smart home trainers, you can see they are in fact, priced quite reasonably. Of course, yes, having a smart indoor trainer in your home would definitely elevate your indoor workout experience, and perhaps even bring your motivation to a whole new level!

>>> READ: 3 of the best smart home trainers make our 2018 “BEST OF” list

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!

7 ways your stationary indoor trainer can truly change your life

buying stationary bike standOK, 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

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!

SEE ALSO: EIGHT ways to get the MAX out of your indoor training sessions!

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.

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