How to Choose the Right Bike Trainer for You
by GamerFitnation on June 26, 2014 at 05:54 PM EDT

bike trainer

By Kyle Swain

Summer is here and the road beckons to be ridden, but on those rainy days and in the coming winter months it is always a good idea to have a way to exercise indoors on a bike trainer when you can’t go outside.  It is also a great way to stay in shape if available daylight or riding conditions prevent you from comfortably going outside.  We at GamerFitNation are going to breakdown the different types of indoor bike trainers that will keep you in top physical shape when the conditions don’t allow outside cycling.

Trainers

Bike trainers have you set your bike’s rear wheel on a unit that effectively turns your road machine into a temporary stationary bike.  These are great for hard workouts or doing another activity such as reading or watching a movie from the comfort of your own home.

Magnetic

bike trainer

First up are magnetic bike trainers.  These are going to be the cheaper of the bike trainer types and are great for just getting on and doing some miles as opposed to nothing.  They will usually have a couple of resistances that remain constant as you ride.   These will not give the same road feel that some others provide.  If you are looking for something to do a couple of times a week and don’t mind a little noise or consistent high-level workouts, then the price of a magnetic bike trainer may be the match for you.

Wind

bike trainer

Wind bike trainers give more of road like feel than their magnetic counterparts and tend to be around the same cost as well.  This does come at a price, however.  The design of the wind bike trainer generates a lot of noise.  This makes watching a movie or reading a book nearly impossible while you ride, and doing a workout in an apartment or crowded neighborhood may generate noise complaints.  On top of this, the resistance typically doesn’t go as high as some other bike trainers.  If you do have a place where noise won’t be a concern and need a trainer on the cheaper side, then a wind trainer could be a perfect fit.

Fluid

bike trainer

Fluid bike trainers, while more expensive, can provide the kind of workout wanted by most cyclists who are looking to compete.  Fluid trainers will be quieter than the others previously mentioned and how they work is a little different.  As per their name, fluid trainers utilize fluid to create resistance.  The unique part of fluid resistance is that it increases as the speed increases.  This gives the effect of feeling like you are riding on the road with higher wind as you increase your speed.  While having the best of both worlds and a wide range of resistance levels for the higher level cyclists, the fluid bike trainer has one more downside, other than price.  The unit on the trainer tends to get hot after work and is more prone to breakdown after extensive use than others.  This is why a lifetime guarantee is more crucial on fluid models than the other two.  The noise reduction alone, however, makes these types of bike trainers well worth the price and keep you riding on any rainy day or harsh winter.

Rollers

bike trainer

 

While technically not a bike trainer, rollers still provide a great workout when cycling indoors.  Many use these in addition to a bike trainer, but some use them in lieu of a bike trainer.  Rollers take some getting used to.  We recommend practicing and keeping something like a wall or chair close in case balance is lost.  The real benefit of rollers is not resistance, as they typically have a low resistance, although a few have a couple of levels to choose from.  Rollers help with cadence, form, and bike handling that are crucial to racing.  Being able to spin the pedals faster is key to winning sprints in bike races.  Warming up or cooling down are also great with rollers because of the low resistance.  Because of the lack of being locked in like the bike trainers, rollers tend to give more dynamic and fun indoor riding experience than the others.  Sixty minutes go by faster on these than a slow spin on a trainer.  Most of them will be relatively cheap and are a great pick when looking for something different to help you stay in shape when riding outside is not an option.

 

While not exhaustive, this covers about 90% of all options readily available when biking outside is simply not an option. Finding your very own bike trainer is not difficult at all.  Most local bike shops will carry them, as well as places such as Nashbar.com, if there isn’t anything close to your area. Now all that is left is to choose the best option or two for you and you’ll be ready for biking in every season.

 Edited by: Avery Osborn

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