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Best Value Bicycle Trainer

Poll Results: Which trainer should I get for Christmas?

  • 33% (3)
    Kurt Kinetic ($299.93)
  • 55% (5)
    Cycle-Ops Fluid 2 ($271.99)
  • 11% (1)
    Travel Trac Century Fluid + ($143.99)
9 Total Votes  
post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
What bicycle trainers do you recommend? I know this has been asked about 50,006 times before, so please excuse, but I tried searching for "trainer" in this forum and there was just way too much to find the past times.
And the reviews online are either awesome or terrible for every single trainer I look at.

I want something that is nice because I'll be doing a good deal of indoor riding.
That said, I couldn't spend more than $350 max. (Ouch, that total hurts me to type even. smile.gif I'm cheap.) I mean, my bicycle is only a 1100 bike smile.gif

So what are some good values for bicycle trainers?

I see the CycleOps fluid 2 suggested in articles when I google, but at REI it has like 21 awful reviews

My bike is a Giant OCR 1-w if that matters confused.gif
post #2 of 33
General consensus around here seems to be:

Cyclops Fluid 2
Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
Computrainer (Big $$)
post #3 of 33
the nashbar and similar trainers are the least expensive, the kurt seems to be very well regarded, as is the cyclops. I'd buy a Tacx flow for $337 and have an ergometer and wattage reading, I think it's a great trainer for the money.

With any trainer, you need a plan if you just putz around, you get bored and stop using it quickly. The tacx allows you to measure improvement and see results.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Okay, I'm adding a poll because my head is spinning and I have only 1 day left to decide!!!
post #5 of 33
Jr is right. You want a good quality trainer. But you don't have to spend a lot of money. Your figure is good. If you can get one with ergo and watt meter, go that route.

When it comes to a Trainer, as long as it is durable, it is the right one, for it is the workouts you put in that will in turn make you stronger, or if not then at least allow you to get in a good sweat.

The more you pay above, say, $300, the more bells and whistles you get. But the Trainer itself isn't necessarily any better.

I have a Nashbar Fluid Trainer with Power Meter that is sufficient. I purchased it two years ago from Nashbar for $175. I think it normally runs for about $275-300, but I used a bunch of coupon codes and got it knocked way down. I am very happy with it. I tell you this not to promote it over any others but rather to show that as long as it is quality, you'll get out of it what you put in. And if you want more bells and whistles, such as virtual reality and ergo, et al, you'll have to pay more money. But you dont' NEED those things.
post #6 of 33
As for the poll, I think you'll be find with any of those. I urge you, though, that if you purchase online, shop around, and even wait up to a month if you can, because you WILL see the price at one of those stores drop. And look for coupon codes. They are out there. They are.
post #7 of 33
Yep. I'm not voting, either. As long as you get one of the trainers mentioned in this thread, I'm sure you'll be happy. And like Thor says, shop around. Deals are most definitely out there.
post #8 of 33
look at this link under the tab "road gear" there are two nice segments on selecting a trainer, it's worth watching:

post #9 of 33
Buy the Travel Trec and some Spinerval DVD's and you'll be fine. IMO you don't need wattage readings. You won't know what they mean or how to train them so using a HRM and cadence will suffice the average rider.

I had the Travel Trec forever and only have the Cyclops because a sponsor bought it for me. I wouldn't have dropped the bucks for sure.


post #10 of 33
I have a Kinetic, I like it but can't compare it to anything else as it is the only trainer I have ridden.
post #11 of 33
I got a $35 no-name from Craig's List. BIG value.
post #12 of 33
I do have Travel Trac Adjustable fluid trainer and train with HRM. I am ok with that, however, if I knew what I know now a few years ago, I would have purchased what Thor has which is about the same $ as the Trave Trac with a whole bunch of coupons or tacx jr has.
post #13 of 33
I have a Tacx Satori Power Trainer from TriSports for $330 ish and I really like it. Went over 1000 miles on it last winter.
post #14 of 33
Check e-bay - there's a new Cycleops with trainer mat and DVD free shipping for $269 on one of the e-bay stores. Here's the link:

not to mention, if you are patient, you could find a better deal for a new or barely used one on e-bay.
post #15 of 33
I got my Cycleops Fluid 2 on Ebay for about $200.
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Do any of you live in a condo or an apartment? How's the vibration?
post #17 of 33
I'll tell you this...

My next Trainer will either be a sponsor handout (I'm working on it, ideas welcome... not the free Trainer but a quality sponsorship relationship where I will work for them and them me, not just some discount) or a Tacx with ergo and power. Or a CT if I can get one dirt cheap, but I would use it like the Tacx, not for the VR capabilities.

That said, this is my NEXT Trainer. If I had one of those when I bought my first one, I honestly would have over-bought for what my skills were and I was ready for. But now I could use it.

Long way to say that I think there's a natural progression in the Trainer and what tools you might want/need and be able to use most effectively. If you're a beginner cyclist and never rode a Trainer, get a less expensive one. If you're a serious cyclist wanting to elevate your game and have been using a ratty old Trainer for a few years, get the Tacx or something with power. You don't need the VR crap. It's all cool, but you don't need it.
post #18 of 33
QN, I was an acoustical engineer in another life.

The degree to which vibration from a trainer will impact your neighbours is determined by a number of factors. All trainers produce vibration, it is the nature of equipement with spinning parts. A properly set up, balanced trainer will help reduce it.

Are there people living directly below you? What is the building construction? Is the floor concrete or wood joists? The more mass there is to the structure, the better. Is the layout of the suite below you exactly the same? Placing your trainer over your their bedroom would obviously be worse than over their kitchen. Rubber pads underneath will help but minimally.

If you think it might be an issue, talk to the people below you. Find out if it is a problem. If it sounds really bad (and if the building construction is really lightweight, it could be) you might want to limit your trainer use to daytime hours when they are at work. Based on my experience, people are less likely to be annoyed by a sound if they know what it is and if there is an open dialogue between neighbours.

Hope that helps!
post #19 of 33
We have one of each. I find the Cycleops quiter, but the Kurt seems to be easier to get the bike fit into. If you are going to take the bike out of it a lot, I'd go Kurt, if you aren't then either is ok. We got them both on sale, so they are out there. they don't do power or anything but at some piont, I want a computrainer, but not any time soon.
post #20 of 33
One thing I really like about the computrainer is the ability to program ergo workouts beforehand and just running them without having to think. I just take my prior weeks workout and add something, either watts, time or reps, so there is always a progression every time I ride.

That said, it's hard to justify the cost of the CT when you can just buy a used powertap and use any old trainer. For an erg, the tacx flow is decent, and with a powertap you can calibrate the brake unit or adjust the load if it fades over time.

I like my computrainer in part because I don't want to train with power on the road, just due to my personality. For most people, I think there are more cost effective ways to do the same thing, especially if you want to just measure power on your bike and download the results to cycling peaks or somesuch.
post #21 of 33
I got the Nashbar one that Thor talks about and I hate it. That's how I know it's the right trainer biggrin.gif. Nashbar always has some kind of deal going on.


$299 and then there's a coupon code HOLIDAY for 20% off that so ~$239.
post #22 of 33
Okay, I'm gonna hijack and ask some basic trainer questions....

I have the Performance Travel Trac 2000 and admittedly have only used it once. It was given to me by a coworker who had a mtn bike, and got sick of using a mtn bike on it. It made a lot of noise (in my opinion) and only had one level of resistance. I had assumed it was not a "fluid" trainer until I looked at it today and it says "fluid". So where is the fluid? And if it's still really loud, could it maybe be busted or missing something? Would I know if the fluid part was gone? I would like to love it, but so far, not so much (for only one ride though).
post #23 of 33
How could it have one level of resistance?

My fluid2 cycleops has a turn thingy.

you also change bike gearing for resistance.
post #24 of 33
Also-my cycleops makes a "general hum" which Don hears downstairs.

I would use it when below neighbor is not home.
post #25 of 33
I had the Kurt Kinetic and was very happy with it. You probably will not go wrong with any option, the key is actually using it consistently with a good plan. As far as noise goes, I have the the old ipod cranking, so I never hear anything in my basement, but have the phone facing me just in case. My wife still uses it and I never hear her when she's cranking away.
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