Most cyclists love to get outdoors and bike through city streets or nature trails. Unfortunately, there are some days you just can’t go outside. Whether it’s raining or a winter chill is setting in, sometimes you’ll find yourself in need of an indoor bike trainer. There are a wide variety of bike trainers on the market today, and it can be quite difficult to pick just the right one for your fitness goals. If you’re looking for the perfect indoor bike for your needs, keep reading this article. We’ll go through all the major bike trainers out there and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each model.
Features & Functions of Bike Trainers
– Wind bike trainers have a fan that is powered by the bike’s back wheel. This fan provides a healthy dose of resistance, and as you push harder, you’ll also increase the resistance you experience. Many wind trainers are portable, inexpensive, and lightweight. Of course, since a fan is going off, this model louder than all the others.
– Fluid bike trainers usually have silicon inside the machine to offer resistance. Many cyclists who use fluid trainers say they feel just like biking down a road on one of these devices. This is considered one of the best indoor bike for trainers, but it also comes with a higher average price tag.
– Magnetic trainers use a magnetic flywheel at a set resistance level. As you pedal harder, the resistance will not increase on a magnetic trainer. Instead, you have to set your resistance level beforehand. Only if a magnetic trainer uses spring-loaded magnets will the device increase in resistance as you go faster.
– Rollers are extremely difficult to use, but they are very rewarding for serious cyclists. You have to take your bike and place it on three cylinders. Suffice it to say that you must be able to balance extremely well on rollers.
– Flywheels are the most expensive trainers on the market. These heavy machines will be able to tell you a great deal of data on your performance and track your progress from day to day. Many flywheels also have interactive features and the ability to adjust your riding experience.
Bike Trainer Pros and Cons
Bike Trainer Advantages
– The key advantage to having an indoor bike is convenience. Once you find the right bike trainer for you, you won’t have to worry about the weather disrupting your biking habits anymore. The key advantage to having a bike trainer is that you’ll be able to ride your bike any day of the week, either inside or outside.
– Of course, another nice feature of having an indoor bike is that you can train continuously without worrying about having to avoid pedestrians or stop at traffic lights. You don’t need to break at all using an indoor bike, which is great for building up stamina in preparation for big races. This is also great if you love to do high-intensity intervals in your training sessions.
– Another advantage to having an indoor bike is that you can track your progress. Many indoor bikes nowadays have databanks where you can figure out your average speed, how far you traveled, and other key data. Outside, unfortunately, you can only figure out these stats if you have an app or a wearable device.
– If you live in a hilly area, you might enjoy using an indoor bike. Since you’re on a flat surface inside, you won’t have to worry about contending with hills or mountains.
– Bike trainers often take up very little space in a household. Most indoor bikes are far smaller than treadmills, elliptical machines, or rowing machines, which makes them very convenient no matter where you are located. Indeed, bike trainers are perfect for city dwellers with only a small apartment space.
Bike Trainer Disadvantages
– One disadvantage with indoor bikes is that you won’t be able to coast or take breaks unless you break up your workout. This can lead to leg fatigue fairly quickly in your training session. Since you have to keep building up stamina and pushing forward, you’ll never have an opportunity to just give your legs a well-deserved break. This will make your legs feel extremely tired within only a short period of training.
– Certain bike riding techniques you simply can’t pick up from an indoor bike. For example, you can’t practice getting more aerodynamic while moving towards a headwind. You also won’t be able to increase your power as your speed decline and vice versa. These power and position techniques can only be learned outside on a real bike.
– Although we mentioned it might be an advantage for some that indoor bikers don’t have to contend with hills, there might be a few of you out there who consider this a disadvantage. Mountain bikers should definitely be aware that indoor bikes won’t provide them with any real practice going up hills.
– Some people complain that indoor bikes are just plain boring. Most people love to bike outside not necessarily to exercise, but also to experience the natural world and take in the scenery. The only things you can do to stave off boredom on a stationary bike are to listen to music or, if you have a fancier device, watch a movie or TV show.
There are tons of bike trainers on the market nowadays for a wide variety of prices. You can find some for as low as $50 all the way into the thousands of dollars. You have to choose the kind of indoor bike that will deliver you with the results you need. Some, like the wind trainer, are great for portability and price, but not so great due to its annoyingly loud fan. Others, like the flywheel, are tremendous in all aspects…except for the price. At the end of the day, it’s you who has to live with this indoor bike, so take your time and choose wisely.