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Although many people may argue that training indoors is not as beneficial for your triathlon training, we actually beg to differ. Throughout the lead up to your triathlon event, there’s no doubt you will experience less than ideal weather conditions that prohibit you from getting outside on your bike, and sometimes you might just want to train in the comfort of your own home. But what kind of indoor trainer will give you the right training experience? Let’s find out.
1. CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
CycleOps is one of the most reputable bike trainer manufacturers in the world, and the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer is one of their best sellers. It is pricier than the Conquer, but for good reason. It features an amazing fluid resistance mechanism which gives you a riding experience that is very close to riding a bike outdoors.
The high quality mechanism also makes this trainer really quiet, so there’s no disturbing family members, or even yourself. This bike trainer will work best with a road bike that has a slick or trainer rear tire, but it also works with tri bikes and mountain bikes too.
2. Conquer Bike Trainer
The Conquer Bike Trainer is a good option for beginners as well as more seasoned athletes because it is easy to assemble and, you don’t even need any tools for setup. It will suit you if you plan to do a lot of training, or train over a longer period of time because it is made from hi-ten steel which is really durable and long-lasting.
It will also be good for you if you don’t have a large amount of space to train or store your bike trainer. This is because it is easy to fold away and store, and it is pretty lightweight so it won’t be difficult to move around a lot if needed.
3. Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer
Similar to CycleOps, Kinetic is another big name in the bike trainer industry. They are highly reputable and make trainers that are super high quality. One particular trainer that we’ve chosen to focus on is the Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer, which has had their customers raving about it. Of course with high quality comes a higher price, and this one is certainly pricier than lesser brands, but here’s why.
It gives you a really real road-bike experience that allows you to train as though you were actually outside. Although it is of course stable, sturdy and stationary, it actually allows you to sway from side to side as if you were on a road bike on the road, and not on a trainer.
And here’s why it’s good for beginners: it has great fluid resistance and helps to slow you down or control your speed and adjusts the resistance to suit you. It’s a great trainer for helping you find the perfect speed and riding style to suit you best.
4. Bike Lane Pro Trainer
If you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete who is keen to get in a whole lot of training before your next triathlon, or are sure you will get a lot of use out of your new trainer, then the Bike Lane Pro Trainer will be a good choice for you. This is because it is made from durable materials that make it reliable for the long term.
Similar to the Kinetic and CycleOps trainers mentioned above, this one also does it’s best to mimic a road like experience, but at a much lower price tag. It does so by increasing the resistance as you start to pedal at a faster speed.
5. Kinetic Cyclone 2.0 Bike Trainer
Last but not least, we love the Cyclone 2.0 Bike Trainer by the reputable brand Kinetic. This trainer will be a good option for beginners because it’s affordable but is still a great piece of machinery. It has a stable frame that is both sturdy and reliable, and comes with a lifetime warranty for just in case something does go wrong.
Features include speed sensitive resistance, coast-down stimulation and a dual fan to provide smooth riding. It also is lightweight and easily folds down for your convenience.
An indoor bike trainer is constructed with four main elements which include – the frame, the clamp, the roller and the mechanism. Of course each brand has their own way of building their bike trainers, and it will be up to you to decide which one you favor.
When you go to search for your perfect bike trainer, you need to ask yourself a few questions to ensure that you are purchasing the right trainer for your unique needs. These include:
What level of intensity will your training include?
As an entry level beginner triathlete, or as a professional or more advanced triathlete, you are bound to be taking part in a good amount of training. Therefore a less advanced bike trainer will work just fine for you. As you move on to become a higher professional triathlete, then you will want to look into purchasing a higher level trainer, and one that perhaps features a power meter. However, at entry level, the added features found in a more advanced trainer are really not so necessary.
How long will you be using it for?
If you are going to be training on your indoor bike trainer several times a week, plan to ride very long distances, or even plan to train on the machine over an excessive period of time, then we would advise you to not go for the cheapest model you can find. Of course the more money you spend, the more durable the trainer should be.
Although this doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive trainer on the market, it does mean that you need to take all your requirements into consideration and purchase the trainer that fits your requirements the best.
What type of bike do you have?
Before you purchase your trainer, you need to make sure your bike fits! You shouldn’t really experience too much of an issue here as most road bikes, tri bikes and mountain bikes should fit the majority of trainers, however it is always important to double check.
If you have a carbon bike, you need to be extra careful with this as you can often totally void your bike’s warranty if it breaks whilst on an indoor bike trainer.
What level of technology do you want?
As with everything nowadays, trainers used to be pretty basic but over the years have thoroughly transformed. You can now purchase bike trainers that are ‘smart’ or have high levels of technology that are of course very useful, but more useful for more advanced triathletes.
These type of features include built in power meters, connection to online workouts and so much more. Of course such features are a great addition to your training, but keep in mind that they will also likely hugely increase their price tag.
How much space do you have for your trainer?
How big is the bike trainer you are looking at, do you have space for it in your home? Do you have an area to store it away if need be? If you are going to be using the trainer on a regular basis, then you’ll most likely want an area in your home where it can stay out rather than have to keep putting it away. Do you have this area? If not, does the trainer fold away so you can keep it somewhere smaller?
Does noise matter?
If you live with other people, are they going to get frustrated if your trainer makes quite a bit of noise? If you do need a trainer that makes less noise, then unfortunately you are going to be paying more. If you have an area in your home where noise doesn’t matter, then count yourself lucky as the options are going to be much more vast for you.
What’s your budget?
This one is a given really, you need to stick within your budget. Don’t feel tempted to splash out on a more expensive piece of equipment if you can’t afford to. As a beginner, you don’t need to fanciest trainer out there. Of course we’d recommend on purchasing the trainer that is the best within your budget, but your hard work and training effort is the most important factor, and not how much you spent on the machine.
And the winner is…..the Bike Lane Pro Trainer! Although we think that the Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer is the best in terms of technology and performance, it is highly expensive, which makes the Bike Lane Pro Trainer the best overall machine.
Why? It has some really great features which includes an 850 gram machined steel flywheel, which gives you a really smooth and natural feeling that mimics a road-like experience when you are cycling on the machine. It has 7 levels of resistance which are simple to change and easy to control. The wide base of the machine makes it strong, sturdy and stable whilst being robust and reliable.
Although some customers has mentioned that it has a noise, it is only a very slight whiring sound which isn’t too loud and is actually dependent on the type of bike tyres you have.
Overall this is a great trainer for anyone who is looking for a reliable machine that will be used often, and has a good amount of resistance to ensure that you are getting the quality training you are looking for.