You’ve heard it over and over: there’s no substitute for the road. But indoor training doesn’t need to be a substitute. It can be a valuable add-on to your outdoor training.
Usage Time/Distance: approx. 2 years, 1-4 times per week.
Purchased From: Amazon.com
- Sturdy, quality construction.
- Bike is very stable when mounted.
- Relatively low noise level (in comparison to wind and magnetic trainers).
- Large flywheel and progressive resistance provides excellent road-like feel and great resistance range.
- Heavy construction makes this unit less portable than lighter-weight units.
- Can take a bit to properly position the locking mechanism width to hold your bike in place.
- Requires a round hub skewer cap (provided with the trainer), but this means you’ll probably have to switch out your rear skewer.
A trainer can’t replace the road: the changes in terrain, road vibrations/textures, the wind, etc. But if you can’t get out on the road, a trainer can go a long way to helping you stay in shape. And even when you can get out on the road, a trainer can be an excellent supplement to your long miles, or a decent substitute when you can’t afford a lot of time in the saddle.
There are some pretty cheap trainers out there. But like most things, you tend to get what you pay for. The CycleOps Fluid 2 is on the expensive end, but the construction is excellent. Solid tubing that doesn’t bend under full pressure. The rolling is smooth, and the acceleration is good, if not truly road-like.
One nice thing about this trainer is that the resistance changes are controlled by your bikes gears and something CycleOps calls “Power Band” technology. Not sure exactly how that works (I’d assume it’s some kind of internal turbine in the fluid reservoir that would naturally increase resistance through the fluid as the speed increases) , but the concept is the faster you pedal, the more the resistance increases. Add to that the increase in gearing, and you get a good power range. Of course, the larger chain rings you have, the higher the possible resistance on the trainer. Using a compact double (50/34) in the front, with a 10-speed (11/25) in the rear, I’ve found it’s more than enough to tire me out.
In regards to heat wear on the tire, I haven’t found this to be too much of a problem with the Fluid 2. The interior of the flywheel is bladed like a turbine, forcing air across the roller and into the heatsink finks that are part of the fluid reservoir design. So the faster the tire spins, the more air is forced across the roller and the reservoir. In the winter – when I’ve used the trainer most – I keep it by an open window. This helps keep both myself and the trainer cool.
Lastly, though it’s no exactly portable considering it’s weight and heavy-duty construction, it is small enough to move around the house pretty easily. So when if you want to spin outside on your back porch, you can move it out there, unlike say, a stationary bike. A solid 45-60 minute interval session can give you a great burn without taking up too much time. And a nice, long rolling session on the trainer can be a great way to loosen up your muscles the day after a really hard ride. This trainer makes that all possible, with the comfort of knowing it’s not going to break after 10 uses.
A few things to remember about any trainer:
- Don’t use knobby tires. The knobs will quickly wear down (far more quickly than a slick tire).
- Clean your rear tire prior to using it on the trainer.
- Clean the roller on the trainer once in a while to prevent debris build-up.
- Don’t use brand-new tires (I found this out the hard way). New tires have a residue from the manufacturing process that’s both oily and rubbery. This will cling on the flywheel like superglue and is hell to clean off. Do some road rides first (say, 100 miles total) before putting that tire on the trainer.
- If you want to track your progress (speed/distance), use a wireless computer to mount to your rear tire.