View Full Version : Cycle trainers

09-19-2011, 09:50 AM
Hi all. I'm wondering if people have an indoor trainer and whether they have any recommendations... pros/cons, things you like, don't like. Right now I'm looking at the CycleOps Fluid and the Kurt Road Machine Kinetic. I've never used one, so I'm a newbie at this. I live in a high rise apartment building with pretty thick walls. Where would you buy one as well? I can get a nice year-end dividend at REI. Amazon is cheap. Benefits to getting one at a bike shop?

My goals for this winter are to drop some weight by doing a lot of yoga and also to stay in base cycling shape by using a trainer and the occasional outdoor ride. I would like to be able to spring into spring by doing century rides as early as March.

So far some interesting things I've read that using an older rear tire is recommended because the trainer can wear tires out quickly, and that older fluid trainers had leak problems but that may not be an issue anymore.

Thanks for your help.

09-19-2011, 10:25 AM
I'm probably the worst person to answer this, but I'm going to anyways. I hate indoor trainers. I would rather talk about environmental policy pertaining to pig farming with Paris Hilton than ride one.

That said, there are some things to consider:
1) Noise. Some are not only noisy, but the most annoying kind of noise.
2) Safety: if you've got pets or kids, get something like the LeMond that doesn't actually have a wheel with spokes spinning.
3) *Yawwwwn* Get a trainer that does something more than hold your bike still and let you pedal. Some allow you to rock the bike in a sprinting motion, thus promoting balance and technique in addition to just pedaling. Hiring professional dancers to perform while you ride helps too.
4) there is no number 4.
5) Remote adjustment. Really inexpensive trainers either have no resistance adjustment or require you to get off the bike to make changes. Gear changes are sometimes not enough during a workout.
6) Use a training tire. Get a tire that is super durable so that your trainer doesn't toast your good commuting or racing tires.
7) My ear is bleeding for some reason. I suppose I should do something about that.
8) Try it before you buy it. Look at what shops use for their fitting. Sometimes that is a good indication of a quiet, durable trainer.

I guess that pretty much covers it. I'm sincerely sorry for #s 4 and 7.

Good luck,


09-19-2011, 10:42 AM
What Dirt said on 3, 6, and 8.
Maybe consider getting rollers instead of a trainer.
Checking out your LBS will often let you try before you buy.
Conte's, Cyclelife, and Bonzai come to mind as places to check out a high quality trainer or rollers.

disclaimer: I have never used any of these

09-19-2011, 11:15 AM
I just bought a set of rollers second hand off of craigslist, and so far I really enjoy them. I've used a trainer before, and it was loud, annoying, and boring. The rollers require a lot more thought and focus to stay balanced, and in my opinion, provide a better overall workout.

09-19-2011, 12:38 PM
@2 Dirt's #4: Boring. Movies, TV shows, and TdF videos will take you only so far. #7: Uncomfortable. I can ride for hours on the road; a bit over an hour seems to be my limit on the trainer. Probably the constrained motion of the bike.

Trainers are better (and safer and easier on equipment?) than taking the winter off, and good for repeated efforts where you are trying to hit a particular heart rate, RPE, or power without distractions, stop signs, lights, or traffic, or need to stay balanced after an all-out effort. Fluid and magnetic resistance units are quieter than wind turbine/fans, but none are "it's 3AM and you don't want to wake anyone" quiet. Some of the cheaper fluid units have a (I read it on the Internet) reputation of leaking. Use a heavy duty QR skewer (my trainer came with one) and either an old tire or trainer-specific (Dirt's #6). A friend has a Kinetic RR and is quite happy with it (he trains exclusively for TT and has an extraordinary toelrance for discomfort and bordeom).

You will SWEAT - large volumes of air movement are essential. I've used a big box fan & oscilating fan. Have something on and under the bike to catch the sweat. Spouses do not appreciate using the rug/carpet in this manner. The bike does not appreciate being dripped on. If using a TV for entertainment, figure out where you are storing the remote before you start.

Rollers are a whole different beast. Riders I know who have tried them recommend starting in a doorway so you have something to hold onto. I don't have the smoothness to use one safely.

09-19-2011, 01:30 PM
Thanks for all the comments so far. I'm imaging myself a few months from now on a trainer and being really really bored, so I am now also considering the rollers thing. It looks like they'd provide some extra benefits with improved balance and core strength too. I watched a bunch of youtube videos of people on rollers and while quite difficult, they don't look impossible. They even may be a little fun. We have a nice narrow hallway where I can get started.

We have a handful of old beach towels I can lay down on the carpet for sweat/carpet protection, and a big old fan too. I drip sweat on my bike while riding outside so it will just have to deal. It will be winter time and cold air will be in abundance as well.

@Dirt - is your ear still bleeding? Let's hope not.

09-19-2011, 01:36 PM
My REAL suggestion for a "trainer".

Drop bars and make it a fixie and you're good to go all winter. :D

You gotta love a bike where it takes 10 minutes of pumping with a good floor pump to get up to 11psi. ;)

@creadinger: Not bleeding. Life is good.

09-19-2011, 02:38 PM
Buy some studded tires and keep on rolling - pants might help as well. But seriously, rollers are POWERFULLY boring. I'm never particularly jazzed about rolling along the same stretch of the Potomac, but avoiding failing tourists is way more interesting than watching my cat groom himself while I make a puddle on my living room floor (that was awkward to write). On to the advice:

1. Buy used, these things are marked up big time and people are always looking to get rid of them.
2. Invest in one of those sweat catcher things, a box fan, and the complete DVD collection of MASH.
3. Get rollers, far more invigorating in terms of a workout and they tend to be a little more reliable as well.

Alternately, you could just do some cross-training at the gym and throw in an hour on the exercise bike.