All bike trainers have one thing in common, they allow you to train on your own bike indoors.
Bike trainers are typically built very solid, are short with a triangular frame on a wide base. The rear tyre of the bike is inserted into the trainer lifting the tyre off the floor which allows the cyclist to pedal the bike as usual, the bike with its rear tyre off the ground stays in an upright position without moving forward.
So when the days get shorter, the weather turns colder, or when the riders are unable to get outside, the cyclist simply connects his own bike to the trainer and still gets to enjoy all the benefits of a training session.
There are a few different types of bike trainers such as, fluid treiner, magenetic trainer, as well as wind trainers.
The wind trainers are one of the cheapest bike trainers and they rely on cyclist pedaling to produce the resitance, the pedaling enables the fan which in turn creates the resistance and the faster you pedal the more resistance you get.
Trainers with a larger fan are able to produce more levels of resistance compared to trainers with smaller sized wheels, and with these trainers the level of resistance is similar to that of an outdoor ride. As you could imagine these trainers are the noisiest of all the trainers, they are also the most affordable.
The Magnetic Bicycle Trainer
Magnetic trainers are quieter and as the name suggests, uses magnets to create resistance. Typically these trainers are mid level in quality, performance, and price.
Depending on the brand of trainer, you can adjust the level of resistance manually or electronically. The level of power applied to the pedals determine the level of resistance.
Low quality magnetic trainers have low quality magnets which will lose their attraction at a faster rate, which in turn reduces the level of resistance and when that happens the training experience for the cyclist is quite poor.
The Fluid Bicycle Trainers
If you are looking for a much quieter and smoother experience than you can’t go past the fluid trainer which uses an impeller in fluid to create the resistance
In comparison to the wind and magnetic trainers, these more expensive trainers use a hydraulic fluid, as the fluid heats up it thickens, the fluid when heated increases in viscosity and consequently increases the level of resistance.
More pedal power, more resistance. No need to worry about leaking fluid on the better brands, however the cheaper brands have been known to leak.
Several Benefits of the Bike Trainer
If you like to be able to ride any time of day or night, regardless of the weather or unsafe conditions on the road, well you can.
You can have the road all to yourself, and no longer need to worry about unsafe drivers or wet and slippery roads.
Targeted and more focused training by eliminating conditions such as cold weather, rain, and wind allowing you to train in a controlled environment.
Removing variables such as wind and terrain differences allows you to focus on more specific aspects of your training.
Considerations for Choosing a Good Bike Trainer
Make sure the trainer can cater for different sized wheels, most avid cyclists own several types of bikes.
It needs to be compact, easy to store and built extremely solid.
I would suggest test driving all the different types of trainers as they all offer different levels of resistance, and as a rule of thumb the more expensive fluid trainers are the ones that offer the greatest range of resistance.