If you are seriously into biking and you want to be able to warm up before a race or warm up before going out on a fun ride then a bike trainer is likely high on your priority list. Bike trainer’s come in all shapes and sizes and it is very important to make sure that you get one that you can use and adjust both easily and efficiently so that you can get the maximum amount of practicing time in and spend the least amount of time messing around with your bike trainer. In order to help you find yourself a good bike trainer we have come up with a bike guide to help inform you about the importance of different aspects of a bike trainer as well as a top ten list of our picks for the best bike trainer’s on the market to give you examples as to what qualifies as good quality and the kinds of unique designs and features that you might find.
One of the most important aspects of any bike trainer is how easily you can transport the device. Especially if you are doing races all over the place you are going to want to have something that is compact and you are going to want to have something relatively durable so that it can stand prolonged use. Depending on the bike stand that you buy, you will notice that some of them are easier to fold up than other ones and you should also pay attention to the method that the bike trainer uses to fold up as this is often a part of the bike trainer that can succumb to damage over time. Due to the fact most bike trainers are made out of steel or another hard metal, it is important to make sure that they aren’t rubbing against valuable parts of your car such as your leather interior as it can be very easily scratched or damaged if you aren’t careful.
Bike Trainer Comparison Chart
Not only is the speed of the setup important, but it is also important to make sure that you choose a bike trainer that is actually capable of holding your wheel size within the compounds of the device. Generally, you will find that bike trainers have a range of sizes that they are capable of working with and some kind of a knob adjustment method or remote adjustment method that you can use in order to tune the bike trainer so that it is of the proper size for your wheel.
One thing you will notice with a lot of bikes on the market is that they do come with accessories or extra package options that you can purchase some of these options include: a mat, a riser block as well as a skewer. A riser block is used to hold your wheel stable off of the ground so that you can have a sturdy bike riding experience. A mat helps to keep you on even terrain and makes it so that your bike and stand don’t get dirty while you practice. Finally, a skewer is used to help your rear wheel stay straight and keeps you from having an accidental topple over when you are training hard on your bike trainer.
No matter the bike trainer that you buy, you are going to want to have one that has an adjustable level of resistance. It doesn’t matter too much as to how the bike trainer changes the resistance level as just some methods are more convenient than others. Just make sure that you check this out and make sure that it is a good fit for how much you plan on using the device as especially during a warm-up before a race you don’t want to tire yourself out beforehand.
Especially if you like to listen to music during your warm-up sessions, the loudness of the bike trainer may actually be a make or break deal for you. Not only can a loud bike trainer be annoying to you, but it can also be annoying to other riders and people around you which is important to keep in mind if you are going to be using the bike trainer before races and events. It is important to note that the company itself may not tell the customer how noisy the unit is so you may have to do some research into people who have bought the unit and see what kind of an experience they had with it.
Fluid Trainer vs Non-Fluid Trainer
The first thing and probably the main thing that you are going to notice between a fluid trainer and a non-fluid trainer is the price difference between these two items. A fluid trainer is going to be much more expensive than a Non-fluid trainer and there are a couple good reasons for this price difference. The first reason is that the fluid version of this device is more expensive to manufacture and requires more intricate, delicate parts in its design. In terms of the design of these two different devices, you will notice that a fluid bike trainer feels more natural than a magnetic one and will feel much smoother when you are riding. One thing to note is that a fluid trainer does slow down much faster and a magnetic trainer generally wins in this aspect of things as it allows the rider to glide for a much longer period of time than a fluid trainer allows.
Remote/ Adjustment Method
Each bike trainer will have its own way of adjusting the level of resistance that the bike trainer is capable of. Many bike trainers will incorporate some kind of a remote that you can attach to your handlebars which allows you to change the resistance level without getting off of your bike. Generally speaking, if you buy a fluid trainer, the adjustment method will actually be the shifters on your bike and you can downshift and up shift as you need to in order to increase and decrease the difficulty of your riding.
One thing that you will notice if you look at a bunch of different bike trainers is that each of them have their own stability control method. When you are pedaling along at a fast speed, the last thing that you want to happen is to have your bike tip over on you and you end up hurting yourself. It is important to make sure that the unit comes with a good riser block or that you spend the money in order to purchase one so that you don’t fall off and hurt yourself. Even with a riser block it is still possible to fall off of your bike and so it is never a bad idea to look for a bike trainer that has extra legs for support or that offers extra wide bars or grips on the bottom of the unit in order to help protect you against falling off of your bike and hurting yourself in the process.
Bike Trainer Reviews
This bike trainer is a magnetic bike trainer with a fair amount of nice details built into its design all for a very low price tag as far as bike trainers go. This trainer comes in a sleek but stylish black painted design and comes with five built-in internal resistance settings. The trainer doesn’t make a lot of noise which is quite nice considering it is a magnetic trainer. This trainer is an easy to fold design which allows you to be able to transport the device as you need. The steel frame that this device is built out of is quite durable and therefore the device should be good for years to come. This unit is designed so that the magnet system provides increased resistance as your speed increases which helps to simulate hills and other difficult areas of track that you may encounter.
- Cheap price tag on the unit appeals to a broad audience
- Easy to transport thanks to fast and easy folding feature
- As speed increases, resistance also increases simulating difficult terrain
- Low noise for a magnetic bike trainer
- Five resistance settings built into the design that you can choose from
- Fits bikes with 26 or 27-inch wheels as well as a 700c wheel. Wheel size can be adjusted via a knob on the unit
- Doesn’t come with any accessories
- Could have a bit wider legs or extra legs for support
Don’t let the goofy Chinese name fool you! Yaheetech is an “off-brand” name that is put to many pretty decent products out of China and this one is no exception. Amazon buyers give it a fairly high rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 and it comes with one BIG advantage that Yaheetech likes to flog. It’s the sturdy, extra-strong construction. Yaheetech goes into some detail concerning the size of the aluminum and iron parts compared to competitors. Even those who had other issues (like noise) admitted it was very STURDY. Even some well-known brands for a higher price can’t boast the sturdiness level of this one.
It features a load capacity of 265 lbs and it offers protective and leveling (adjustable) feet caps. The way it does this is unique. Each cap has “teeth” on the edge and around the circumference, they vary in thickness. That means you can rotate the cap to raise or lower that side of the trainer for appropriate leveling.
It’s foldable and collapsible as other models are as well, so your worries of storage space should be limited. As expected, a rear-wheel skewer is included for mounting, but the tension level is a manual adjustment that you cannot adjust while riding. However, you can simply increase resistance levels by gearing up.
The trainer itself makes NO noise, and Yaheetech gives you the steps to complete a challenge to prove this. The noise you hear is simply a result of the bike itself or the tread on the tires.
- Fits wheels that are 26 inches, 27 inches, 28 inches and 700c
- Comes with a front wheel riser block
- Easy to fold mechanism makes transporting the device easy
- Changes gears and difficulty level along with your bike for a more natural feeling
- Can be kind of noisy based on the complaints from owners, but many can be attributed to the issues mentioned in our review.
The CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Trainer didn’t make it to #1 on our list only because you’ll have to sell your car to afford it! Well, maybe not, but it’s still priced nearly 3 times more than any others on our list! Why? Well, that’s a great question. Here we go!
In addition to being the #1 brand name is bike stand trainers, this model offers an advanced direct drive technology not seen in any other options available on Amazon and pretty much anywhere else. It’s made here in the U.S.A. (Madison, Wisconsin to be exact) and offers a lifetime warranty, but wait, there’s more!
Pretty much EVERY other trainer on planet earth makes noise due to either the trainer itself or the tread on the tires. As a result, you have to negotiate with your spouse or neighbors in order to get in a good workout, or head outside in the freezing temperatures! Well, here’s the thing; This smart trainer is actually quiet enough to use in a library (so says CycleOps) because all those noise-making factors have been eliminated. Your rear wheel is removed completely so there’s no wear and tear on it. Instead, the trainer itself becomes your rear wheel and with its 20-pound flywheel (using electromagnetic resistance) it delivers a very smooth and realistic riding experience.
The tech is substantial and it delivers power readings (using PowerTap technology) and even includes internal cooling mechanisms to minimize incorrect power readings! It gives you the ability to connect with any 3rd party training apps and it gives you a front wheel tray that stores nicely in the trainer. And yes, it’s compatible with ANY size wheel …. because you don’t even need that wheel! This trainer IS the wheel 🙂
- Totally noise-less
- Can be used with any training app for personal workout routine
- Mounting cups on the unit as well as a wide frame are used in the design to add durability
- Capable of fitting ANY wheels
- Ultimate adjustability
- Super high-tech
- Comes with a front wheel riser block
- Saves wear and tear on your tires/wheels
- VERY expensive
- Some users experienced frustration with setup, but we believe that is a temporary and very beatable problem.
If you want to get yourself a relatively cheap magnetic bike trainer but you want something a little personalized then this may be a good option for you. We would call the Sunlite F-2 trainer a no-nonsense, functional, adequate and AFFORDABLE option for an indoor bike trainer. Some options on our list approach $1000 while most are in the $250-$400 range. This one comes in closer to $175 (ish) and won’t kill your wallet!
One thing that you will notice right away when using this unit is just how quiet it is; this is extremely quiet as far as magnetic units go which is a nice addition for this low price range.
This unit can be folded down with ease in order to be transported and it is lighter than many other bike trainers on the market making this task a bit easier for you to handle. When riding this unit you will notice that you are quite stable and this is largely thanks to a sturdy frame and a design that was built to have wide legs. The legs are actually separated on this unit unlike many of the other bike trainers on the market; this unique feature allows the unit to absorb shocks more easily and will keep you more stable as a result.
It fits wheels 26″ and higher!
- Fits any wheels 26″ and larger
- Very portable design as it is extremely easy to fold and unfold the unit as you need
- Wide separated legs and a sturdy frame allow for great stability when riding at a fast pace
- Low price tag makes this unit affordable to most
- No accessories included with the unit
- Resistance is weaker than some expensive models
Falling squarely in the middle of our price and quality range is a very capable and cool-looking blue trainer stand from Tacx. The Blue Matic is a very popular stand amongst serious, novice cyclists. It offers handlebar resistance adjustments (manual) with 10 levels of resistance. 700 Watts of power is offered (maximum). It features a brake system with 2×8 permanent magnets and a 2.5 lb flywheel. The whole deal is easy to assemble with only 2 bolts.
It features a very good Amazon rating and it’s an excellent option for changing resistance options (thereby simulating different environmental conditions) on the fly without having to get off the bike!
- Roller is made of steel AND elastogel which prevents wear and reduces noise
- There are 10 resistance levels on the unit
- Large base on the unit offers pretty good stability
- Offers handlebar resistance control
- Some buyers found the control cord too short
This fluid bike trainer is definitely a more expensive unit. If you are willing to spend the extra money, then this does have some very nice options as well as a very nice design that might appeal to you. With the purchase of this unit, you have the option of adding a mat, a riser block or a skewer into your purchase so that you can have all of the equipment that you need in order to ride properly and securely. The trainer itself is actually built out of recycled materials and is built to be durable and rust-proof.
The unit is made of two-inch round 16 gauge steel which is much stronger than you need so that you don’t have to worry about the unit falling apart while you are riding on it. One nice thing about this unit is that rather than having a bar across the bottom that is unmovable, this unit has foot pads that are adjustable so that you can ride on virtually any surface of your choosing so long as you adjust the unit to be flat.
The best thing about this unit is that the manufacturer stands behind this product and provides a lifetime warranty on it which can really give you some peace of mind about spending the extra money in order to buy this unit.
- Made out of high-grade steel which makes for a very durable design
- Adjustable footpads on the bottom of this unit allow you to be able to ride wherever you want
- Lifetime warranty on the product to give you some peace of mind
- Option of coming with a skewer, a mat or a riser block in order to suit your needs
- Made out of 100 percent recycled materials and on top of that it is also a rustproof design
- Very quiet unit when riding, even at a high speed
- High price tag will definitely be out of reach for some people
This is another high-end bike trainer that incorporates a nice fluid design. This bike trainer is available in green and has the option of coming with a mat, a rear skewer as well as a riser ring in order to suit all of your riding needs. One nice thing about this unit is that it actually comes fully assembled when it arrives so that you don’t have to struggle following instructions trying to piece it together.
There are large grip pads on each of the legs of this unit in order to offer optimal stability, another thing you will notice is that the legs aren’t attached in order to offer the user better shock absorbance and a smoother ride overall. One very nice thing about this unit is that it is designed to be a universal trainer. This bike trainer can actually be used on bikes that have anything from a 22 inch to a 29-inch wheel and is actually capable of fitting most mountain bike wheels as well.
The technology in this unit exceeds most of the other bike trainers on the market and you can actually get an app and sync your training progress onto your phone in order to read your speeds at different resistance levels. To give you some peace of mind since this unit does have quite a high price tag, you will get a lifetime warranty on the unit with your purchase.
- This unit has the option of coming with a mat, a riser ring as well as a rear skewer to suit your riding needs/ wants
- Compatible with apps like Kinetic Fit, Swift, Trainer Road, and Fit on operating on Bluetooth Smart- or ANT+-connected phones, tablet, and computers
- Comes fully assembled so that you don’t have to mess around following instructions
- Can be paired with an app to track your training progress
- Very smooth and quiet ride
- The frame can fit bike wheels that are 22 inches to 29 inches
- Can fit most mountain bikes
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Powder-coated steel for durability and protection against the elements
- Rubber feet on the unit for added support and stability
- Price tag could definitely be too high for some
- Could definitely be a bit of a learning curve to figure out the progress tracking technology incorporated into the design
The Mag 9 is a higher-end trainer with 750 Watts of resistance at 40 mph. The included 9-position indexed remote is a very welcome feature and it allows you to change the resistance of the trainer while you’re actually riding your bike! No annoying stoppages. It’s easy to attach and really easy to use!
It features a fastcrank mounting system which give you extra leverage and allows for simple and fast installation. The whole unit folds flat but also has telescoping legs for convenient adjustment and easy storage. There’s also a quick-release, steel wheel skewer designed so that your original equipment does not get scratched.
The Mag 9 is part of a Collection from Blackburn that includes an original Mag 1, a Fluid trainer, the Tech Mag 5 and the Mag 9. Some great features of this collection are that they don’t require assembly or tools. Once you unpack it, you’re ready to ride! We mentioned the quick-release skewer, and then there’s the fact that you don’t need to adjust tension or resistance levels. The harder you ride, the harder it gets to ride! Any trainer in this series has multi-wheel compatibility with most road and mountain bikes. It fits 26″ to 29″ wheels with widths from 23c to 2.3″.
All the machines in the collection are quiet and well-built.
- 9 different positions (resistance) can be adjusted with included remote while you’re riding!
- Easy attachment and detachment of the bike
- Remote attaches to your handlebars so that you can change the resistance of the unit as you need
- Limited lifetime warranty to give you some peace of mind
- Price tag is high for a magnetic bike trainer
- Low Amazon ratings (2.7 out of 5.0). However, most issues were easily fixable like missing parts, incorrectly assembled or hard to read instructions. There were no major complaints regarding operation or effectiveness.
Here’s an excellent option that not only caught our attention but happens to be one of the more unique indoor bike trainer options. While most stands are quite decent and will do the trick, for a fraction of the price you can pick up the Omnium Zero-resistance trainer. The idea is that you won’t get ANY resistance on this trainer (like you will in all our other options) but instead, you’ll get a lightweight, high-cadence machine for those who want to “spin” without fiddling with resistance levels. You can increase resistance but gearing up and if you put it into a higher gear and keep a normal spinning cadence, you WILL get a good workout unless you’re a world-class racer …. and even then!
It’s only 13 lbs and includes a carry bag.
- Offers NO resistance – perfect for spinning
- Really lightweight compared to all others on our list
- Quiet unit as far as bike trainers go
- No brand name
- No resistance for those who might like to build muscle
Kinetic is really big on tech and making trainers with interactive apps, etc. The Rock and Roll trainer is unique (and challenging) because it offers side-to-side movement built right into its design. It’s Kinetic’s newest generation interactive, app-controlled trainers. It features ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS and a more accurate and responsive ride. The Kinetic Rock and Roll | Control is the only interactive, app-controlled electronic trainer that allows your bike to move with you for a more realistic road feel AND a stronger core workout. You heard that right – CORE! Who thinks of core workout while riding a bike??
It gives you a maximum slope of 10% and a maximum resistance of 1800 watts at 30 mph. The app-controlled resistance simulates terrain changes on virtual courses. The heavy flywheel provides the highest inertia in its category and the ride quality is noticeably superior to nearly any trainer on the market (thus the higher price!).
- The only one of its kind (side-to-side movement)
- VERY good compatibility range (bikes)
- The stable wide base even at high speeds
- Offers core workout (not just legs and lungs)
- Prohibitively expensive for some
- Unfortunately, 30% of buyers experience some tech issues regarding the apps, connectivity, accuracy, etc.
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
By no means is it easy to pick out a bike trainer with the many brands available on the market; always keep in mind how often you are going to be using the device as well as your financial situation when deciding which unit you should purchase. Hopefully after reading the buying guide as well as the list of our picks for the top ten bike trainers on the market you now have a better idea as to the options that are available to you and the benefits and features that are available for different types of bike trainers. Good luck in your search and hope you find yourself something that suits your needs! Happy biking!