Bike Trainer Advice

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Anonymous's picture

I need some guidance on buying a new cycle trainer. My old Blackburn trainer (I believe it is a fluid type) has a “broken leg,” which is not worth trying to fix. I was generally satisfied with this trainer; however, I would like to know the difference between fluid and magnetic trainers. Something that goes beyond: “One has fluid inside it and the other has a magnet.” I would especially appreciate advice / comments from people who have experience using both types of trainers, remarking on what they feel are the pro and cons of each type.
Thanking you in advance,

Anonymous's picture
Lynn B (not verified)
Trainers- Wouldn't that be a great Club Meeting Topic

I have no wisdom on this- in fact, with days getting shorter and weather getting colder, I had pretty much the same questions.
It would be great to have a presentation on the different types, pros and cons and maybe various ways of using them.
Granted, a shop owner wouldn't be unbiased, but we could live with that, I hope.

Anonymous's picture
Tim Casey (not verified)
How about rollers?


Have you ruled out rollers? They require balance but give you a better workout when trying to get a smoother pedal stroke. Doesn't take much more space than a trainer and they usually fold up smaller than a trainer.

Performance, Kreitler, and Tacx make good rollers. Larger diameter = smoother ride, smaller diameter = more work. You can add resistance units, usually. And to start out you might use a stabilizer to replace your front wheel. But rollers will improve your balance and pedal stroke more than a trainer will.

The only moving part to be concerned with is the large rubber band that joins the front roller to the back roller. Get 1 spare.


Anonymous's picture
John Bundy (not verified)
Bike Trainer Advice

I have a set of rollers and use them if I want to do a ride that extends beyond 90 minutes - about the time my butt goes numb when riding a stationary trainer. Ideally, I will use the trainer to do intervals and power workouts. I find that the rollers, which are great for riding at a steady cadence for long periods of time, do not allow for the quick change of pace that one needs to make when doing 'jumps'. In addition, it’s hard to simulate climbing on rollovers.

Anonymous's picture
Tim Casey (not verified)
a good review


There's a good review in

Also, an Italian company called Elite has a new polymer that won't wear out wheels fast, they claim. I saw an ad for them in Cycle Sport USA magazine. If I find a link I'll forward it to you.


Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

There are many reviews of trainers and rollers on

Anonymous's picture
Robert Gray (not verified)
Fluid trainers

I have a Cycleops fluid trainer which I bought because all the kind of reviews you are being directed to here said that fluid was best. Fluid has a squishy dynamic feel to it that more resembles real riding and climbing. This does not mean that it is really anything like real riding but you can definitely do standing sprints on a fluid trainer and have them feel convincing, for example.
A few things I have learned about using a trainer:
Do not use a good light bike in the trainer, the rear parts of the frame are stressed in ways they never would be on the road, expecially if you do sprints.
Use an old tire, the trainer definitely wears the rear tire. You will have to maintain the tire pressure to keep the trainer adjusted correctly almost as if you were riding outdoors. Do timed sequences to help the time pass more quickly, it is really boring.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
The right bike for the trainer


I have noticed that my lightweight road bike feels somewhat unstable in the trainer (magnetic), has made it difficult for me to do sprints or anything intensive on the trainer--over and beyond my physical condition.

I have also worried about damaging the frame by stressing it. (I did replace the rear wheel with an old one, so as to not wear out the tire of the good one.)

So I resigned myself to just using the trainer for easier fitness miles when I couldn't otherwise get out, which seems preferable to not doing anything at all.

Do you think I would be better off putting my sturdy Specialized aluminum hybrid in the trainer?

(As for handling the boredom, I put a magazine rack on the handlebars and read the paper, watch TV, or stare blankly out the window--a postmodern form of meditation.)



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