Last Updated on January 31, 2019 by Johannes Kristjansson
Are you a serious road cyclist and want to up your game? Maybe you just hate biking in the snow and sleet. Either way, an indoor bike trainer can be an excellent product in your cycling arsenal.
There are many benefits to getting an indoor bike trainer and very few drawbacks. It’s a great way to improve your endurance, posture, and cadence.
However, it also offers the opportunity to ride in side if you don’t want to go out in inclimate weather. Let’s face it, riding your road bike in the sleet and snow is not a good time.
Why do I need an indoor bike trainer?
There’s a lot of back and forth on if you need an indoor bike trainer or not.
I think if you view it as more of a tool than a replacement for riding outside, it is an excellent tool in your tool belt to become a better cyclist and improve your performance.
Here’s what an indoor bike trainer can help you with: posture, cadence, and interval training.
None of these attributes are going to hurt you, that’s for darn sure. Some bike trainer reviews will tell you you absolutely need a bike trainer.
Again, keep in mind this is not a replacement for training outside. If you look at it that way, I really can’t see where you can go wrong with an indoor bike trainer.
Best Bike Trainers
A good indoor bike trainer isn’t hard to come by but it can be overwhelming sifting through all the different brands and types.
I’ve found the best 3 indoor bike trainers and broken down the good and the bad of each.
1.CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer
The CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer is a dream bike trainer. If you had any doubts about using an indoor bike trainer, this one will put all of those to rest. It’s well made, very efficient, and even pretty quiet.
- 64-68 decibel noise level at 20 mph
Your breathing is probably going to be louder than that
- Built-in Fan
Keeps bike trainer and wheel cool and in control
- 2-inch Round 18 Gauge Steel
Tough and rugged to last forever
- Adjustable Foot Pads
So you always have a level, safe ride
- Doesn’t Rust
No wonder they have a lifetime warranty
- Works with Zwift
And other bike training apps
- One of the Best Selling Trainer on the Market
You can see why. There are so many positive reviews and ratings on this indoor trainer, it’s crazy.
- Works with your bike training app
Keep as much fluidity in your life as you can, really easy set up to use all of your favorite bike training apps.
- Lifetime Warranty
You don’t have to worry about it breaking down and if anything goes wrong, just get a new one with no money involved. The company seems great to work with, but I highly doubt you will need to call them.
Won’t disturb neighbors or family while you are riding. So quite, in fact, a baby may just sleep in the same room with you.
Adjustable to keep level and made of strong materials like steel to keep it safe. You won’t have to worry about flipping your bike, coming out of the stand, or wobbling.
$250+ (long whistle) Quite an expensive little device, but it all depends if you are willing to spend the money for the quality
- Have to Buy Skewer, Mat, and Riser Block Separately
More expense to buy these although they do offer package deals that I would definitely go for. I would highly suggest at least getting the indoor trainer and skewer combination.
If money isn’t an issue, then the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer is your top pick for indoor bike trainers.
It has all the amenities you could want while keeping the fundamentals superb. I really love everything about this bike trainer and you will too.
2.Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer
The Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer is another excellent choice for an indoor bike trainer.
It was close to making my number one slot, but the ratings for the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer were just too good.
The Kinetic is superior quality than most indoor bike trainers you can buy and for very transparent reasons.
- 100% Leak Proof
While it does use fluid, you don’t have to worry about it leaking. A few riders were skeptical of purchasing because of the fluid component, but there have been no complaints of leaking.
- Various Sizes Accepted
22 inch to 29 inch wheels
Mountain Bikes too!
- Lifetime Warranty
This is always a good sign of a quality product
- Will Work on Mountain Bikes
Versatility at its finest. A lot of indoor bike trainers only take a very small range of sizes and only road bikes.
- Kinetic Fluid Resistance
Your resistance is built by turning a blade inside the fluid container. What I really like about this is how natural of a progression it maintains when shifting gears.
- Made of Powder Coated Steel
Rough and tough as they come and built to last.
- Wide Frame
Creates a nice platform of stability. No twisting, shaking, or rocking here.
- Automatic Gear Shift
This is SO nice if you have ever used an indoor bike trainer. The automatic gear shift relies on you shifting your gears on your bike. You don’t have to hop off and increase resistance and get back on. While that is still an option with the Kinetic, it’s not necessary and I bet you never will use it.
- Kinetic Fluid Resistance
We went over this before, but fluid resistance really allows for a more natural progression. When you shift gears and pedal faster outside, you don’t immediately operate at that level. You have to work a little. This is the same feeling. The fluid resistance is superior technology for an indoor bike trainer.
- Wide and Sturdy Frame
Made of high quality materials and wide enough where you don’t have to worry about tipping over. That’s something that I have as a huge main concern with indoor bike trainers is how skinny they are. Safety first!
- Great Customer Service
So many rave reviewers are saying that the customer service is superior quality. Now, I hope you never have to call them, but if you do, they are stellar.
- Feels Like Outdoor Ride
This is partially because of the kinetic fluid resistance and partially because of the heavy duty frame not moving on you. The combination of them both has you wondering why you have ever practiced in the rain, sleet, snow, and other. Unless you live in San Diego where it’s always sunny and warm, the Kinetic is a great alternative in inclimate weather.
- A Little Loud
This is the main complaint on the Kinetic. It is louder. I do think buying a mat will help significantly but if you can’t get over the noise, you may want a different indoor bike trainer.
The price on this one is hefty. I do think it’s one of the best on the market and you aren’t going to have to ever buy a new one, but it still is a tough pill to swallow. Serious buyers only!
- Extra Parts Desired
The riser ring and mat are sold separately. At an already steep price, this can be frustrating. I personally would want both add-ons for your set up to be complete, but they aren’t 100% necessary. I do think you are probably going to want to add Kinetic’s inRide Watt Meter accessory as well if you are serious about training.
The Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer was almost a tie for first place. I think the sheer fact that there is a lifetime guarantee and the reviews were so amazing should have you sold.
However, all of the extras and the way the kinetic fluid works so naturally should seal the deal. You really can’t go wrong with this bad boy.
3.Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer
The Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer is a great third pick for indoor bike trainers. It is durable and really well made but it also has a lot of extra features I enjoy. Let’s take a look at why the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer was my #3 pick.
- Folds Up
Easy to store
- Works with Multiple Bike Sizes
- Wide Frame
Maximum stability and safety
- Made up of Hi-Ten Steel
Durable and safe; will last forever
- Front Wheel Riser Block Included
More stability and keeps your bike level
- Magnetic Trainers
Creates drag against your tire for optimal training
Whether you live in an apartment or just don’t own an exercise room, simply fold up the indoor bike trainer when you are done and put it away in a closet. You can eve easily bring this to your office if you so desire.
- No Tool Assembly
Comes with everything you need for a smooth set up
- Frame is Really Wide
No tipping or bouncing here
- Rear Wheel Skewer Included
Just switch out the quick release skewer on your bike
- Front Wheel Riser Block
Keeps your front wheel aligned and the rest of your bike evened out so you have an even ride.
- Magnetic Trainers
Handy little “mag trainers” to increase resistance on your rear wheel. You can engage them by shifting gears or manually turning knob by rear wheel.
- Quick Release Rear Wheel Needed
Won’t work with other bikes, which is kind of annoying, but we have more options.
Any indoor bike trainer is going to be noisy because you are riding your bike in an area with 4 walls instead of outside. However, this indoor bike trainer does seem to annoy a lot of bikers with the sound. Maybe just crank up your music?
- Sub-par Resistance
While the magnetic resistance trainers are great in theory, a lot of cyclists have claimed this trainer does not offer enough resistance for serious training. I think that you can crank it up a notch manually, but if you are in the groove of your workout, you aren’t going to want to stop, get off your bike, and crank a knob, are you?
The Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer was an easy third pick. It is a high quality bike trainer and won’t leave you disappointed.
The negatives I went over are a little bit nit picky, but then again so am I. I still think the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer is a solid choice and it is my number three recommendation.
Which bike trainer is the best for me?
This is the question isn’t it. We’ve gone through all the different bike trainers I would recommend, but maybe you are still on the fence which one you want. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you make a solid choice.
Are you using it for training for the next triathlon to improve your time, form, or other?
If so, I would say you are going to want to go with or the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer or the Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer.
They are more expensive but built more for training use.
If you are using it for recreational use like avoiding the snow and rain, I would grab the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer.
It’s not quite as high tech and will still leave you satisfied with your choice.
How much dough are you willing or able to spend? It’s a big question because it’s going to really affect your choice.
If you have more money to spend, I would pick the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer or the Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer.
However, those are really quite pricey, so you could always pick the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer which is a really low price for an indoor bike trainer, coming in at around $60.
Where You Live
Do you live in an apartment or your own home? If you live in an apartment building, you have to be considerate of your neighbors.
Noise level is something to worry about with an indoor bike trainer. The CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer is notoriously quiet.
It’s going to be the best bet for keeping your neighbors happy. I would even consider getting a mat to place underneath it to decrease the noise level anymore.
If you live in your own home, or noise isn’t an issue, than you could get away with the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer.
One of the biggest complaints on this bike trainer was the noise but I say just crank the music or your podcast and drown it out.
Are you an avid cyclist working on improvements? If you are serious about your cycling, you should get serious about your trainer.
The CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer or the the Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer are going to be what you are looking for.
However, if you are either new to the game or just a recreational road cyclist, you are probably going to want the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer.
It’s inexpensive and has all the fundamentals you need.
How to make an indoor bike trainer quieter?
If you are like me, the noise would really get to me using an indoor bike trainer. There are a couple of things you can do to help decrease the noise level.
First of all, and probably the most obvious, is to buy an indoor bike trainer that is made to be quiet. It will make a world of difference from the get go.
The CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer is one of the most quiet indoor bike trainers on the market.
Secondly, go ahead and buy a bike or exercise mat. It is going to really dampen any noise you have coming from the bike.
Most indoor bike trainers have the option to buy a mat as a package deal or at least have a recommendation on which mat to buy.
Third, where you place your indoor bike trainer will make a difference. Can you put it on carpet or in a smaller room?
If so, you are going to have better luck with echo and reducing noise.
Finally, this doesn’t really make the bike or trainer more quiet, but it does help with the annoyance factor. Turn on some music or a podcast.
You can even just download nature noises to feel like you are riding outside. It will help distract you from the noise coming from your bike and allow you to focus in on your ride.
There is some noise associated with an indoor bike trainer, but it shouldn’t hinder you from increasing your skill level or enjoying yourself.
Use these tips to decrease noise and increase your satisfaction.
An indoor bike trainer can really up the ante on your performance.
I like that you can really focus in on your cadence, your RPM’s, your endurance, your posture, and more just by adding in an indoor bike trainer to your training arsenal.
Choosing the right indoor bike trainer doesn’t have to be difficult. Using my top three guide, I bet you feel pretty comfortable about making a choice.
All three will leave you feeling satisfied and fulfilled in all of your indoor biking ventures. Now, go forth and get to work on that indoor bike trainer.
When you have piked a trainer check out a few indoor cycling workouts for the winter.