Bicycle Trainers

Cycling is a fun sport for competitive racers and casual riders alike. When you cannot ride outside, an indoor bike trainer may be just the solution you need. Whether the weather is bad or the traffic is crazy, you can keep to your riding routine with a bike trainer.

What is a bicycle trainer?

Indoor bicycle trainers are sports gear that let cyclists train indoors with their outdoor bikes. You can use them when the weather is bad but you still want to get in your ride. They are also useful for rehabilitation after an injury. You can ease back into your pre-injury routine in ways that may not be possible on your local terrain. Bike trainers are also great if you just want to burn some extra calories while you are watching TV.

How do bicycle trainers work?

In general, trainers work by having the back tire of the bicycle work against resistance while the front wheel does not spin. These are three major ways that trainers produce resistance for you to work against:

  • Wind: This style uses a fan. Although you cannot directly adjust the drag of the fan, the resistance does vary based on how fast you pedal and which gear you are using. Wind trainers are usually the simplest models and are quite durable.
  • Magnetic force: These bike trainers produce resistance with magnetic flywheels. The difficulty level can be adjusted on this style, and they are usually very quiet. More advanced options use an electromagnetic unit that can be controlled with a remote control or an app on your smartphone.
  • Fluid: Fluid trainers combine a magnetic trainer with the added resistance of a thick liquid. They have a flywheel, but they also have fluid-filled chambers. This fluid allows you to have a wider choice of resistance levels so you can more finely tune your workout. Fluid trainers are quiet and give a real-life feeling of being on the road.
What features should you consider on a bicycle trainer?

You can choose a bicycle trainer to suit the location you normally are training in and any other specifics you might have from among the following options:

  • Smart technology: Some bike trainers have the ability to download programs from an app. Depending on the program, you may be able to simulate the ride over competition cycling courses or picturesque terrain.
  • Articulating base: Bike trainers with this feature let the bicycle sway slightly left and right when you stand on the pedals during intense cycling intervals. This more closely simulates the way your bike really moves when you are riding outdoors.
  • Direct-to-frame attachment: On this type of bike trainer, you remove the back wheel of your bike and attach the axle directly to the trainer. This saves tire wear, but you need to make sure the trainer works with the axle of your particular bike.
  • Portability: Many indoor bike trainers fold for easy storage and transport. If you live in a small space, or if you plan to carry your trainer in your vehicle, you may want this feature.
  • Noise: There can be significant variation in how much noise different indoor bicycle trainers produce. If you live in an apartment or need to train while others are sleeping, you will want to take this factor into consideration.