Best Indoor Bike Trainer for Serious Cyclists
Cycle trainers aren’t for everyone, but they’re not just for the most serious of cyclists either. Of course, if cycling is your passion and you live somewhere where the climate forces everyone inside for a portion of the year, a cycle trainer is a must have. Because of their relatively small size. They also come in handy for people wo live in cramped living spaces but use cycling as their primary means of cardio exercise. If more people knew about the availability of cycle trainers exercise bikes would probably not be as popular as they are. Educate yourself on the benefits of these excellent cardio machines with our best indoor bicycle trainers in 2021 and the buyer’s guide listed below.
Wahoo Kickr Power Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Tacx Vortex Smart Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Cycle Ops Magneto Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Premium Trainer Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Compare The Best Indoor Bicycle Trainers Of 2021
Wahoo Kickr Power Indoor Bicycle Trainer - Best Indoor Bicycle Trainer Overall
The Kickr by Wahoo has been one of the best since it was first introduced with very little need for improvement since then. It starts with a solid base made out of heavy duty steel tubing covered in durable plastic and polymer casings. The base is wide with stabilizing feet which adds even more stability for those who really get into their ride. It relies on electromagnetic resistance which creates a smooth, road-like, nearly silent resistance which can be controlled using Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. The Kickr will take any wheel that you can throw at it, though mounting and dismounting on this particular device is a little more time consuming. With this pick it doesn't just let you drop your wheel in, you have to take your wheel off and mount the wheel hub to the trainer.
The Vortex is a solid trainer which has a solid steel base, but uses highly durable polymers for casings and the roller. The Vortex uses electromagnetic resistance which is as smooth as it comes and virtually silent. What is more important about this resistance is that it is programmable to mimic a road-like feel including hills and valleys. It can connect through any mobile device to control resistance and view your metrics, but when connected to a computer it can become a kind of a video game with real world maps and challenges. Having the visual portion does add a certain intangible effect to the authentic road feel. Mounting on the Vortex is super simple with a skewer lock system which allows you to drop your rear wheel in, tighten it, and go. It will also accommodate any tire size out there though it may need an adapter for irregular sizes.
Cycle Ops is easy to put on this list because their Magneto uses progressive magnetic resistance which stays nearly silent while offering the perfect amount of road-feel resistance. The base is made of alloy and has a nice width to it; when combined with the specialized stabilizing legs this trainer is not going anywhere no matter how hard you pedal. Mounting a tire of pretty much any size is as simple as can be with a bolt action lever that easily adjusts for each tire size and an impressive turn dial gives the roller just enough tension for a smooth road feel without wearing on your tire or catching during your ride. In true Cycle Ops fashion the Magneto comes with a lifetime warranty which keeps your mind on your workout and not on the welfare your device.
Indoor Bicycle Trainer Buyer's Guide
For the most part almost every indoor cycle trainer looks the same; there are a few exceptions like cycle rollers which work slightly different than a traditional cycle trainer. Though they are close in looks, there are some physical attributes which set them apart.
Most of the physical attributes of an indoor cycle trainer are tied into their resistance types however the other traits you want to always look for when choosing any type of trainer are the materials (such as steel, aluminum, iron, plastic) and the amount of noise they make as some can be unbearably loud.
Indoor cycles are fairly simple devices without much in the way of huge differences from one model to another, but there are a few extra features that come along with some trainers. Some top shelf models offer the ability to move, or lean during use which mimics the feeling of riding on the road.
Indoor cycle trainers are small, but intricate so you always want to make sure that your trainer comes with a detailed warranty that goes out at least three years.
This is where things get interesting when it comes to indoor cycle trainers. The most important trait an indoor cycle should have is the feeling like you’re actually riding on the road; if the option you’re looking at doesn’t provide that sensation, you might as well get an exercise bike.
There are four different types of resistance for cycle trainers and different cyclist will swear by different resistance types.
You won’t find wind resistance on many cycle trainers, but some avid cyclists love it. It works by using the natural resistance of wind to create pedal resistance which is as infinite as riding a normal bike. It may feel more natural since you are creating wind around you, but it is also the loudest resistance out of the bunch.
These cycle trainers are the most simple yet at the same time most challenging. They usually only come with one spinning bar in front and two in the back which support the wheels. The resistance isn’t the most challenging with these trainers, however they’re not locked like other trainers which force you to maintain balance, adding an extra element of difficulty and authenticating the feel of a road ride.
Magnetic resistance in a cycle trainer works like every other piece of cardio equipment; magnets on a fly wheel become more or less polarized as to increase or decrease the resistance. This type of resistance doesn’t offer the best road-like feel, but it does offer a smoother, quieter form of resistance.
Fluid resistance offers the smoothest, quietest, and most road-like feel you will find in a cycle trainer. The idea is quite simple though the follow through is actually fairly technical. What it boils down to is there is a tiny plastic fan that moves against fluid in the wheel shell. The harder you pedal, the more the resistance increases.