10 Best Bike Trainers: Which Is Right for You? (2018)

You don’t have to be a serious cyclist to invest in an indoor bike trainer. This piece of equipment simply holds the bike in place while you generate resistance and power to meet your specific workout goals. While there are different variations of trainers, all are designed to accommodate a typical road bike. Many can also fit hybrids and mountain bikes. If you’re buying a bike trainer for the first time or you already own one and are considering upgrading, knowing the different types of bike trainers and how they function can help narrow down the options.

Resistance trainers are popular for their simplicity, affordability, and durability. Resistance levels increase the harder or faster you pedal. With this type of trainer, your own pedaling powers a fan for resistance. A magnetic trainer offers fixed resistance using magnetic force. Unlike a wind trainer, you can’t change the resistance level by pedaling harder or faster. This type of trainer is ideal for longer, steadier rides. A fluid trainer offers progressive resistance, and the levels will increase the harder and faster you pedal.

Roller bike trainers can be deceptive, as they look quite simple. Despite its basic design, this type of roller is challenging as it requires you to stay balanced and upright on your bike. Unlike a typical bike trainer, there is no stand to hold your bike in place. Regardless of which type of bike trainer you choose, you’ll want one that’s sturdy and durable enough to withstand the demands of your indoor training sessions.

Smart bike trainers are an increasingly popular option among cyclists who don’t mind spending a bit more for a more technology-filled training session. Whether you want continuous feedback during a ride or are just intrigued by the technology, this type of trainer typically keeps track of your speed, cadence, power, and more. Many of these trainers are either ANT+ compatible, meaning they need a separate dongle to work properly, or Bluetooth-ready. Once your smart trainer is properly set up you can start on a virtual ride to inject a bit more variety and excitement into a typical indoor training ride.

There are many tips to consider when shopping for the best bike trainer. For many cyclists, the method of attachment is a primary concern. Some trainers let you directly attach the rear axle and cassette, which replaces the rear wheel of the bike. This option can help save your bike’s tire while providing a smoother connection. However, not every axle or drivetrain is compatible with this type of trainer. Bike trainers with a traditional wheel drive operate by pressing against the rear tire. While this option is typically less expensive than direct mount trainers it can also produce more noise and wear out tires relatively quickly.

If you’re going to spend money on a new indoor bike trainer stand, you’ll probably also want to invest in some common bike trainer accessories. A front tire block allows you to keep your bike at a steady height to mimic a natural riding position. Some cyclists stack the blocks to mimic a hill climb. A trainer tire is another solid investment, as trainers can put a lot of stress on a rear tire. It’s important to find the right tire size for your bike. A sweat net can keep sweat from corroding crucial bike components, including the frame. A trainer mat can dampen noise and make cleanup easier after a workout. You can also consider a power meter to track your workouts.

Here are the 10 best bike trainer options available right now:

Source: Heavy Sports