Winter Woes – Which bike trainer is right for me?

As the year progresses and the days become shorter the amount of time you have available for training begins to fade away with the daylight…and lets face it, unless you are unemployed its nearly impossible to find the time to get out and ride. This is why cyclists of all types turn to their trainers for the fall/winter months. Bike trainers are a great way to stay in shape throughout the colder months, but with so many models out on the market it can be hard to chose the right one for you.
When considering an indoor bike trainer the major feature you will be looking at is the type of resistance. The three main types of resistance for trainers are wind, magnetic, and fluid, and while each provides an excellent workout for the rider, there are strengths and weaknesses to each.
The fluid trainers are touted as giving the rider the most realistic riding experience and have the most natural power curve. The intensity and resistance level of your workout is determined by how hard you’re pedaling and the gear you ride in. As you pedal faster the fluid within creates more resistance giving you the feel of riding on the road. Not only are these trainers the most realistic, but they are also the quietest out of the bunch (so if you are on the top floor of an apartment complex you may want to look into these). As the fluid trainers are the “top-of-the-line” on the market they also come with a top of the line price…but CycleOps has provided complete kits with everything you need for winter training at a great price. At $469.99 the JetFluid Pro Winter Training Kit gets you their best JetFluid Pro trainer, a rubber training mat to keep the sweat off your carpet, riser blocks to simulate climbing hills, and a bike thong to keep your remote control or nutrition bar close at hand.
Next in line are the Magnetic trainers. These also provide realistic levels of resistance, but there is a much wider range of trainers in this category than the fluids. CycleOps has a couple magnetic trainers that range from their basic Mag Trainer ($161.99) or Mag+ ($179.99) with a remote for increasing/decreasing resistance, up to their more advance SuperMagneto Pro trainer (trainer kit is $499.99) that allows the rider to more finely tune the amount of resistance. Having the ability to do this makes the SuperMagneto a great choice for those who are looking to share a trainer with a friend. You can set higher resistance for larger riders or those looking for a better workout, or a lower resistance for those less powerful riders.
Last, but certainly not least, are the wind trainers. These are an excellent, entry-level way for cyclists to keep pedaling strong when the weather doesn’t permit it. At just $159.99, the CycleOps Wind trainer reasonably priced and will give you the workout you’re looking for. You can even add a couple riser blocks at $22.50 ea. and start attacking some hill climbs. If you are looking for the trainer to take you to your place of Zen you may not want to pick up a wind trainer, because unlike the Fluids, these guys are a bit more noisy. But if waking up the neighbor that shares yours walls isn’t an issue this is surely the best way to go for an entry level trainer.
Once you know what you are looking to get out of your trainer you will be able to better select which will best fit your needs, but if you’re questioning which is right we always have the ‘gear guys’ sitting around to answer your questions.

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