Bike trainers have become an increasingly popular option for avid cyclists wanting to train indoors. While “training wheels” have been used by cyclists since the 19th century, they’ve undergone a variety of changes in recent years and become accessible to most recreational cyclists. But, what are the different bike trainers and how are they used?
A bike stand trainer is a piece of equipment that enables you to use your bicycle indoors, keeping it stationary. However, unlike indoor stationary bikes which are mainly intended to serve as good options for cardio exercise, trainers are a great tool for cyclists who wish to simulate outdoor riding conditions. In particular, they allow cyclists to continue their training even during unfavorable weather conditions such as rain, sleet or snow. They also make it possible for the cyclist to simulate a particular terrain — hills with a particular incline, for example — rather than limiting the training to the terrain that exists around the cyclist’s house. Trainers are also an excellent option for warming up before a race or when trying to avert the risk of injury.
In recent years, bike trainers have become an increasingly popular option for recreational cyclists. Apart from allowing you to avoid bad weather conditions and injury, they are also a great option for improving your bike skills or speed on your own bike. And there is, of course, the added benefit of being able to do other things while you are biking.
Many varieties of trainers now exist on the market, offering a range of features that make for different riding experiences. When choosing one, it’s best to keep your specific riding needs, as well as the pros and cons of each trainer, in mind. Here is an overview of some of the types as well as the features you should keep an eye out for:
Bike Training Stands – Pros and Cons
1. Magnetic trainers
A magnetic stand trainer creates adjustable levels of resistance by applying magnetic pressure to the bike wheel. The magnetic flywheel allows you to control the difficulty of the ride by adjusting how much resistance the rotating magnets are offering.
* Magnetic trainers are a great option because they operate quietly (especially in comparison to wind trainers).
* There are many different varieties, offering a range of features at various prices. This means that you can easily find an affordable magnetic trainer or a model that incorporates different features that will complement your training style.
* A huge advantage is that many of these models now have an electromagnetic resistance option that allows you to adjust the resistance through an app on your phone or using a remote.
* Depending on the price range, the magnetic trainer can be a bit problematic when it comes to the extent of resistance that can be generated.
* Magnetic trainer stands tend to be less durable than some other types, making them a better option for beginner and average cyclists, rather than more seasoned ones.
2. Wind trainers
This is the original type of trainer and it uses a fan to apply resistance to the rear tire. The faster you pedal — the higher the resistance and the harder it is to ride.
* These trainers are the cheapest to manufacture so affordable models are quite easy to find.
* The wind mechanism creates a realistic feeling of cycling on the road because resistance increases in proportion to how fast you pedal.
* Wind trainers can be quite noisy.
* The number of features that a wind trainer has is limited — resistance is more difficult to adjust than on other types of trainers (e.g. magnetic).
3. Fluid trainers
The fluid trainer is a variation of the magnetic trainer model. It creates resistance through a flywheel
mechanism that combines the magnetic mechanism with a fluid structure. The fluid creates additional options for resistance — as speed increases, the fluid becomes thicker and increases the resistance applied to the rear wheel.
* Fluid trainers are able to provide better, more road-like resistance than most magnetic varieties. These trainers combine the effect of the magnet’s resistance and the resistance created by more intense pedalling.
* The flywheel is able to recreate the feeling of coasting when you stop pedalling.
* The fluid in these bike trainers is known to leak or overheat sometimes due to excess friction.
* Fluid trainers can be quite expensive.
4. Centrifugal trainers
This type of trainer creates resistance by using metal plates that shift position. Resistance is determined by the number of plates being used, which determines how difficult a ride is going to be.
* These trainers also offer a quiet riding experience.
* The riding experience of a centrifugal trainer is also quite similar to riding on the road.
* Centrifugal trainers can be quite expensive, especially in comparison to its magnetic and wind counterparts.
Tips for Choosing the Right Indoor Bike Trainer Stand
What factors should you consider when picking a bike trainer that suits your needs? Here are some tips on how to narrow down your choice of bike trainer:
Level of expertise
If you are a beginner, you might want to opt for a wind or magnetic trainer that offers basic features at an affordable price. More experienced cyclists on the other hand might consider investing in a fluid or centrifugal trainer which offers a more silent and reliable riding experience.
Do you plan to use the trainer seasonally or throughout the entire year? Can you imagine yourself using this trainer in 5 years? How intense are your cycling sessions? These questions will help you determine whether you should invest in a more durable fluid trainer or a more basic magnetic one.
A quieter trainer is always a better option, but if price is also an important factor for you, it might be smarter to opt to put up with a bit of noise here and there. Some wind trainers can offer most of the features that a more expensive fluid trainer does, but with a little bit more noise.
Some trainers offer a really smooth riding experience that is a lot like riding on the road. How important is this for you? This will depend on your level of expertise, but also on how extensively you intend to use the trainer.