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Gear & Accessories

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Bike Trainer Buying Guide

Nope, definitely not a major issue. About the only time I tend to see it is when a user or shop has incorrectly installed the spacer (such as including one on the bike, but not on the trainer, or vice versa).

bike trainer buying guide

Now that the Winter is almost over I might as well wait to see if there is anything new in the pipeline or if all brands are putting their eggs solely in the bike trainer basket and ignore the trainer segment all together this year?

Thoughts on buying the Elite Suito now, or wait for your 2021-22 guide? Indoor usecase will be limited over the summer months, so it is more about if shortage of trainers available to buy also must be expected in the fall of 2021. Thx

@Joe, then the issue was related to an improper install of the cassette and a rear derailleur adjustment (as well as hanger alignment). All of those are either directly bike related or user related since the trainer does not come with a cassette installed.

Your experience serves as yet another example I have seen over these many years, where education is the solution. It would be great if trainer makers would at least address the fact that the possibility for misalignment exists. I get that they may not want to address the adjustments considering the wide range of bikes and methods that may be involved.

Hi there. Looking for a recommendation to convert my old bike to an indoor trainer useable with Apple Fitness+ classes. It appears that you only need to be able to change resistance (and RPMs would be nice).

My Cervelo R5 road bike has disc brakes, thru-axel and a 12 speed cassette, however the rear brake caliper rubs the side of the Tacx Neo 2T trainer, even with the special spacer part that Garmin provides. My only work around is to loosen the two bolts that hold the rear caliper to the frame before mounting on the trainer. Any other ideas?

Forget the membership fees and crowded spaces, bike trainers allow you to break a sweat at home whenever you feel like it. You can even set your trainer up in front of the TV and bust out a good ride while watching a movie.

Some bike trainers allow you to connect to virtual cycling apps like Zwift so you can record your ride data and compete against others. You can try to beat your best times or race your buddies and other riders online, making the whole ride from home situation way more fun.

There are many different styles, and while there are exceptions, most usually attach to your rear axle. Many trainer stands work by letting your rear tire spin on a roller, and other trainers take the place of your rear wheel completely! Check out the different types of home bike trainers below and see which one will work best for your goals.

The vast majority of direct drive and friction trainers attach to your bike's rear axle. Direct drive trainers use their own cassettes and take the place of your rear wheel, while friction trainers add resistance directly to your rear tire. Roller trainers don't attach to your bike.

No. Normal wear on your components is unavoidable as you ride your bike, but trainers are very low impact. If you have a friction trainer, you may want to use a trainer tire to prevent unnecessary wear on your regular road tire.

Roller trainers will work with just about any bike as long as you can adjust the wheelbase accordingly, but for the other types of trainers you'll want to read the details of each specific model and cross reference that with your bike to ensure it will fit. Don't hesitate to give our team a call if you're not sure and we will gladly help you find a solution.

If you are like us, a good bike ride can make your day. Getting outside, exploring, and having some sun on your face are all part of what we define as a great ride. One of the problems with cycling, though, is that when the weather gets bad, conditions can keep you off the road or trail. That is where indoor bike trainers come in.

The smart trainers, which are a higher-end version of the traditional bike trainers, are typically direct-drive (meaning you take your rear wheel off and just hook the bike right up to the trainer). These require just a bit more research, so we put together an in-depth smart trainer buying guide. Check it out.

Some people use bike trainers for practice before triathlons or other cycling races, whereas others tend to use it as a substitute for riding outside if the weather is unfavorable. Either way, a bike trainer can provide a high quality workout, and in many cases providers the rider with a more difficult and challenging ride, than riding outdoors.

This one is a no-brainer. You obviously need to purchase something that you can accommodate within your budget, no matter how appealing a $900 bike trainer might seem to be. The quality of your workout will more be determined by how hard you work than how much you spent on the trainer.

apartment with two roommates, or a home with a little one napping in the next room, you might need to opt for quiet. If you have a nice workout room that is relatively secluded, your options might be more. Many bike trainers are now advertised with a decibel reading, so you can compare one against another. If you go the smart trainer route, they have gotten way quieter over the past couple years. Expect a new smart trainer to clock in at 60 decibels or less.

Saris, the new branding name for the old CycleOps, is one of the leading bike trainer manufacturers in the world, with trainers being best sellers in the United States as well as being acclaimed by critics. One of their best sellers is the Saris Fluid2 Indoor Trainer, a model that garnered CycleOps a lot of respect, recognition, and revenue over the years. We can speak from experience, the Fluid 2 works and lasts a long time.

Buying this trainer as part of a kit will give you the climbing block for your front tire as well as a sweat mat to put under the bike. The Saris works well with both road (or tri) and mountain bike designs, but by far the best setup is with a road bike outfitted with a slick or trainer rear tire.

Saving the most expensive for last, this trainer is specifically for those who can justify spending nearly a thousand dollars on a bike trainer. It falls into the category of smart trainers, where the going price starts at $600 and can go all the way up to $1,500 or more. Considering the features that it comes with, the price tag can be justified. This is a direct-drive trainer with smart technology, a couple game changers in one if you have never used one.

One downside of the Tacx is that you will need to put your own cassette on. Many find it is easier just to order a spare cassette to leave on the trainer, rather than dismantling your bike when you set it on the trainer. However, it is a small price to pay for the performance and function of the Neo 2.

Yes, it sure can. The heat created by an indoor bike trainer on your rubber bike tire can be very high, making it wear faster. If you plan to use a bike trainer regularly with your bike, consider a direct-drive trainer, or get a trainer tire for your bike and mount it on a separate rim.

In the past, there was concern that the load put on a bike frame (especially carbon fiber) when mounted on an indoor trainer. In fact, many manufacturers would void the warranty if an issue occurred while using a trainer.

  • Spare rim, cassette, and skewer (optional). We often just mount it on an old, used rim and swap the whole wheel out each time we move the unit on or off the trainer. This makes it easy to do a 5-minute change if you see that the weather is bad, or change your mind and decide to run outside. It is much simpler (and cleaner) than the 10-15 minute process of putting the right tire on your rim.Fan. Nothing fancy here, a basic old room or office fan is all you need. When you are riding in a static position indoors, without the breeze hitting your face, you will get hot faster, sweat more, and need some type of relief. A good fan situated a few feet away can fit the bill. Nothing fancy needed, just a simple one is fine. You probably have a spare tucked away in your closet.

  • Towel. For the same reason you need a fan, have a supply of small towels ready for your rides. You will sweat, and a towel will help you stay dry. I like to lay mine over the stem and headset bolts on my bike so the sweat does not corrode them.

  • Water. It may go without saying, but you need plenty of water, and within easy reach, when you are riding inside. Of course, you can put a water bottle on your bike just as you would outdoors. But some like to have a table within reach to keep water, and perhaps a phone, on. Keep in mind that you might need more water when riding inside because the rooms can get warm and stuffy.

ConclusionWith the options being so different from each other, definitely do your research and be sure that your purchase fits your needs. The four we listed above are all ones that we would stand behind.

A bike trainer, if used appropriately and regularly, can be worth every penny you spend. After all, you are training on your exact bike, getting used to the saddle, angle, and all of its components, rather than having to get the feel for one bike in the summer and another in the winter. If you are anything like us, you will get to the point where you crave some of your tough trainer workouts in the winter.

We could probably do a piece on smart bike trainers, and then another piece on all of the apps available to someone who wanted to do smart cycling workouts. We decided, however, that it would be most useful to our readers if we put them together, in the same article, because one feeds off the other.

We also hear from cyclists who like the fact that the can add precision to their rides, because of the constant inputs and feedback on power, speed, and other metrics. Unless you are using a power meter and bike computer, it is hard to do a wattage-based workout the way that you easily can on a smart trainer and app setup. Interval training becomes quite scientific when an app is continuously measuring your wattage real-time. 041b061a72


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