Indoor Bike Trainers

3 Types of Indoor Bike Trainers.....Which One is Right for You?

Let's face it, sometimes exercising can be like eating your vegetables.

Which means if you can find any excuse not to do it, you will.

Exercising outside in the inclement winter weather serves up the 'I'll exercise when the weather's better' excuse handsomely.

But when an indoor bicycle trainer enters the scene, the weather's always fine for getting in a workout. After all, it's seldom raining or snowing in your living room.

There are three basic types of indoor bike trainers, and like everything else in the world they each have their advantages as well as their disadvantages.

Indoor Bike Trainers #1 - Wind Trainers 

indoor exercise bike Wind tr
ainers are the least expensive of the three indoor bike trainers, as well as the simplest and most basic.

Their simplicity is an advantage merely because it translates into fewer things that can go wrong.

There isn't too much to a wind trainer other than a glorified shaft with a roller and wind impeller on it.

If the shaft's rolling on quality bearings you'll be good to go for a very long time.

The simplicity also translates into the least amount of cash outlay.

You can get good indoor wind trainers for the same amount you'd spend on a few month's membership at the local gym.

Disadvantages to wind trainers are that they're the loudest of the three types, and they provide the least amount of resistance.

The noise factor can be an issue for the rider who's living in close quarters like a flat or an apartment. Neighbors don't often like having a 'living room hurricane' on the other side of the wall.

Noise can also be a problem for the cyclist who's trying to distract themselves by watching television while they pedal. Turning the TV volume up enough to be heard over the roar of a wind trainer can result in a veritable cornucopia of sound.

Another weakness in wind trainers is their inability to provide high levels of resistance. While this may not be a problem for exercisers looking for a light to medium workout, it makes wind trainers inappropriate for high intensity workouts.

Indoor Bike Trainers #2 - Mag Trainers

Mag (magnetic) trainers have the advantage of offering a variety of resistance levels. After all, there are some days when an easy steady-state workout's just what the rider needs and there are other days when a short intense workout serves the purpose.

Resistance in a mag trainer varies with the position of the magnets in the flywheel.

In the most basic models the position changes when the rider's off the bike and tweaking the lever on the trainer itself.

More advanced mag trainers have a cable and controller that attaches to the handlebar, allowing the resistance level to be altered while the cyclist's still on the bike.

The CycleOps Magneto has recently entered the market and offers what the company's calling 'progressive resistance'. The configuration of the magnets changes the faster the flywheel spins, using the power of centrifugal force.

The simplicity and convenience of this system has propelled the Magneto to the forefront of the mag trainer market.

The major disadvantage of mag trainers is that they have more moving parts to fail. In the past this was a major issue, with many tales of disgruntled mag trainer owners. But recent improvements in design and materials have resulted in some reliable mag trainers.

Indoor Bike Trainers #3 - Fluid Trainers

Most hardcore cyclists opt for quiet, powerful fluid trainers. The potential resistance levels on a fluid trainer are far beyond what even the most powerful rider can generate. indoor bike trainer

So doing an extremely intense workout session is easily performed on a fluid trainer.

These are also the quietest of the three types of indoor bike trainers.

Fluid trainer disadvantages include price and the potential for leakage. These are the most expensive of the three, with typical prices being 190 euros or 300 dollars.

In the not too distant past fluid trainers could be counted on to develop leakage problems. But when Kurt Kinetic introduced a proprietary design which eliminated the need for O-rings, this disadvantage was largely eliminated.

Because of this design the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is currently the best selling fluid trainer on the market.

No More Miserable Weather Excuses

With a wide variety of indoor bike trainers available there are now fewer excuses to not exercise. From simple wind trainers to cutting edge fluid trainers, there's a viable option to make staying fit a very doable task, no matter how nasty the weather is outside.

About the author: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for all things cycling. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.

In addition to using indoor bike trainers, try these interval training routines using a treadmill.

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