If you are the first time to decide to buy a stationary bike stand, you may feel confused and don’t know which type of indoor bike trainers to choose from. I’ve been asked about the difference between different types for many times. Therefore, I decided to write this post to discuss the different types and hope this guide can help you find the right type for your first time purchase.
The most common and popular type of bike trainer stands is magnetic. The resistance of Magnetic trainers is generated by a magnetic flywheel. The obvious advantage is that they are pretty inexpensive. Most of them only cost you no more than $100. They can offer good resistance. They are also portable, allowing you easily move around. They are also easy to set up. However, compared with high-end models, continuals heavy use may cause problems and their resistance levels are also limited. Compared with fluid trainers, they are a little noisier. Therefore, if you live in an apartment, you should consider this problem. In this situation, a fluid trainer is better.
There are many magnetic trainers available on the market and you’ll find they are so cheap and popular. If you are a beginner, they are right for you. You can check our latest reviews of top 5 best stationary bike stands for under $80.
If you pursue the most authentic ride, you really need to try a Fluid Trainer, which can imitate a real bike ride. The resistance is generated by a magnetic flywheel that combines with a fluid chamber inside the flywheel. Resistance is easy to understand but very important to an indoor bike trainer. When you are feeling you are working out, you feel the resistance. The harder you pedal, the hotter the fluid in the chamber gets. This means the stand’s resistance becomes more challenge when you are working out hardly.
Generally, Fluid trainers are more expensive than other types because of its special design which can offer a much more realistic bike ride, making them perfect for the serious cyclist. If you have an enough budget, I also highly recommend you to purchase this type of stands, because I think they are worth buying. The only downside is their cost. I also used other types of stands. However, at last, I think a fluid stand is what I need. What’s more, I don’t need to worry about noise problems or leak problems.
One of my favorite fluid bike stands, is Kurt Kinetic Road Machine which I listed it in the first place in the comparison table. And now I also use a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and it works great for me. The Cycleops 2 Fluid Trainer is another fluid stand I highly recommend. It is similar to the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.
Rollers are another type of stationary bike stands. The use of rollers is different from other trainers above. You don’t need to attach your bike to the trainer but ride your bike on it. If you are the first time to ride on a roller, it is difficult to balance. However, after practice a few times, it is ok. They are not expensive, even for some good models. If you decide to buy one, Nashbar is a good choice.
Similar to fluid trainers, Pivot trainers are also expensive but also can offer a much more realistic ride. They allow you to rock your bike sideways, offering you a realistic road ride. They are unlike Rollers(we’ll discuss later). If you plan to choose a pivot trainer, The Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer is the best choice. Although it is expensive, it may be the ultimate indoor bike trainer you can rely on.
Generally, I don’t recommend wind trainers because the resistance is generated by the rear wheel using a pedal driven fan so that they are noisy. When you are working out, you even cannot hear the TV. If you can bear its noise, you can try it.
Virtual Reality Trainer
If you happen to be a serious cycling junkie, the models above may not attract you. And if you have an enough budget, you can try a virtual trainer which can turn into a living Xbox/PlayStation. They are so pricy but they are so competitive. There are some models on Amazon and most of them will cost you more than $1,000.