How to Choose a Bike Trainer


Whether you’re stuck inside due to poor weather conditions or in self-quarantine due to an unfortunate circumstance like COVID-19, being able to ride your bike indoors is essential to triathlon training. In order to take your road bike from outdoors to indoors, you’ll need a bike trainer. With countless bike trainer options available to purchase, choosing just one to fit your needs can be overwhelming.

Take a look at these helpful tips on how to choose a bike trainer:

1. Cost

The first thing to consider when searching for a bike trainer is what your budget is. Are you looking to spend the bare minimum to simply “get the job done” or do you want to splurge for a more expensive bike trainer that can offer you better quality and more features within the bike trainer itself.

2. Durability

Finding a bike trainer that is going to last for years to come is something you want to consider when deciding on a bike trainer. While you don’t necessarily don’t have to buy the best and most expensive bike trainer on the market, going above a base model might end up saving you money in the long run by lasting longer without repairs.

3. Noise Factors

Where do you plan on riding your bike indoors? If you’re planning on training somewhere more secluded like a basement or indoor gym you might not care so much about noise. However, if you bike trainer is going to be located in a common space of your home or if you’re planning on using it while children are sleeping, you want to take a look at bike trainers that won’t come with loud riding and a con of the product.

Types of Bike Trainers

Before determining which specific model of bike trainer to purchase, think about which type of trainer you’re looking for. A classic indoor trainer will give you the opportunity to ride indoors while keeping your ride simple and more affordable.

If you’d like your ride to feel more like an outdoor ride, look at your options for a smart bike trainer. A smart trainer will give you the opportunity to have more structured workouts as you would on the road. For example, a smart trainer being able to more precisely change your riding settings will allow you to track your wattage and more effectively be able to measure your ride. A smart trainer can also connect to apps that will give you a more immersive and fun indoor bike riding experience.

Wind Bike Trainer
A wind bike trainer is the most affordable bike trainer option.. This type of bike trainer is going to provide you resistance by powering a fan as you ride. Because of the fan, a wind bike trainer is going to be a noisier bike trainer option.

Magnetic Bike Trainer
A magnetic bike trainer is another affordable bike trainer option. This magnetic flywheel option is less noisy than a wind bike trainer. This type of trainer will only allow riders to ride with a fixed resistance which isn’t ideal for more advanced riders.

Fluid Bike Trainer
Fluid bike trainers are more expensive than wind and magnetic bike trainers, however they do offer a quieter ride and the ability to change resistance during the ride.

Rollers are unlike any other bike trainer option. In order to use rollers, a rider must maintain balance on three cylinders during the ride since the bike doesn’t physically attach to the trainer. Rollers help develop balance, core strength and bike handling skills.

So what steps should you take before investing in a bike trainer? First, determine how much you’d like to spend and if it’s worth it for you to stretch your budget a bit to buy a more durable product to last you longer. If you plan on using your bike trainer somewhere where you need to keep noise to a minimum, consider steering away from louder trainers like a wind bike trainer.

Think about what your goal of using a bike trainer is. Is it to simply fill-in those days where you can’t make it outside or is this a product you’re planning on using regularly to further your training? Choosing the right bike trainer to add to your cycling training regime will help with your indoor training whether you’re stuck inside for a few days or for an unknown amount of time like the Coronavirus quarantine we are currently experiencing.

Looking for more tips on improving your cycling training while stuck at home? Contact me today for coaching support through these tough times!

Train Right, Tri Right,
Coach MJ


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