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How do I pick a bicycle trainer?

Picking the right trainer depends a lot on you. What are your goals? How powerful of a rider are you? Where will you use it?

If you're training for a race, you'll likely choose a different trainer than if you're needing some light exercise to keep the pounds off.

For resistance units, there are three main types. They are magnetic, wind and fluid. Magnetic trainers are the most common, and have fixed levels of resistance and do not respond to how fast and hard you pedal. They usually have a maximum amount of resistance they can produce, and you'll want to ensure the one you select will have enough resistance for your workout. Wind trainers can be noisy, and are not a good choice if you plan to use them indoors without disturbing everyone. Fluid trainers feature progressive resistance, and the harder and faster you pedal, the more resistance they provide. They often try to simulate the outdoor riding feel, and are very popular for that reason.

What you need to know is that unless you're a strong rider or heavier rider, it's unlikey you'll be able to overpower most trainers if you only intend to use to it for light exercise. If this sounds like you, most likely a basic magnetic resistance trainer will provide enough resistance at an inexpensive price, and we'll point some of those trainers out to you below.

And if you are a stronger rider or interested in intense workouts like training for hills and intervals, this should help guide you as well.

Unless noted otherwise, most trainers are intended for bikes with smooth rear tires.

Virtual Reality / Interactive Trainers

Some trainers will provide virtual reality interfaces to interact with your home PC. These can be very powerful, and a lot of fun to use.

Fluid Trainers

Fluid resistance is progressive, which means that the harder and faster you pedal, the more resistance you will get. They are especially good at training for sprints. They are usually designed to mimic the resistance that riding outdoors will give, which helps to make them very popular.

Magnetic Trainers

Magnetic trainers are the most common. They provide a wide range of resistance settings, and it's important to know the type of rider you are to help ensure you pick one that you won't over power. Some include handlebar remotes so you can switch the resistance settings higher or lower while on the bike. If you plan to simulate climbs, a magnetic trainer with a powerful resistance capability may be your best choice.

Sunlite F-2 Mag Trainer

Sunlite F-2 Mag Trainer
  • Smooth and powerful magnetic resistance unit
  • Heavy duty frame construction

$59 offretail $230.99 your price $171.99 + ships free


Wind Trainers

Wind trainers generate their resistance from a fan, and generally produce a very good workout. They are not as popular as fluid trainers, mostly because of the noise they produce which can disturb others and make it difficult to hear your TV.