Bicycle Trainer Buyers Guide
A bicycle trainer gives you the freedom to train indoors on your own bike. They are easy to use requiring you to simply connect your rear wheel to the trainer and normally allow you to adjust the resistance. Set yourself in front of your TV or read a book whilst you train and watch your fitness improve. You can change gears and brake as if riding normally. This is perfect for improving fitness and speed on your own bike and getting to know your bike better. Furthermore these give you the flexibility to ride no matter the conditions outside.
Bike trainers are often used by elite and amateur athletes alike to to warm up ahead of a race or to cool down and release that lactic acid build up following a race.
Different types of trainers
Bike trainers vary in the type of resistance they provide to the rear wheel and below we have summarised the main categories of bike resistance trainings outlining some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Wind – This resistance mechanism is simply a fan that is powered by peddling. The resistance increases as the cyclist pedal faster. The positives about this mechanism is that it has a realistic feel when compared to cycling outdoors however it removes control of resistance from the rider and there is a maximum limit to the amount of resistance that is possible.
Magnetic – This resistance mechanism includes a magnetic flywheel that generates resistance for the rear tire. Again this is an almost silent mechanism which is great however it is worth noting that resistant is more limited with this type of trainer compared to other types.
Fluid – Using magnetic flywheels situated in fluid these resistance trainers offer good progressive variable resistance and almost silent operation. Only down sides with this is the potential for over-heating however this is very unlikely.
So which is the Best Bike Trainer for me?
It is important to consider the following points when looking to buy a bike trainer:
What is your budget? Fluid style trainers can be the most expensive and wind the least.
How frequently will you be using it? It is important to choose a trainer that is durable enough for your purpose.
Is noise level important to you? If so do not go for the wind based trainers!
Is it important for you to be able to vary the resistance of your bike trainer? Fluid and magnetic trainers will be the best for this purpose and you will want to avoid wind trainers.