Best Bike Trainers

If you're an avid cycler, then you know that winter can be a bummer, as it takes you off the road as you have to wait for the snow to melt so you can get your bicycle back on the road. Well, I am here to tell you, there is a solution that will get you prepared for the summer bicycle weather when you can get back outdoors doing what you love, and that is bike trainers.

The bike trainers allow you to set up your bike in your home or garage in a stationary position and lets you continue to keep up your practice of riding your bicycle by turning your road bike into an exercise bike.

We have done the research and reviewed our top ten picks for bike trainers below, along with some criteria to keep in mind when shopping around for one.

Standout Picks

Cycleops Smart bike trainers
Bikers who are aiming to test their physical limits will appreciate the workmanship at play here. This trainer is capable of handling up to 2000 watts of resistance at 20 miles per hour, proving to be a challenge for the fittest of foes.
Amazon Link
$749.00
Kinetic Rock and Roll bike trainers
Up next is a very popular bike trainer that consistently pops up on everyone’s recommendations. There is a reason for that and even though it does not support ANT+ functionality, its fluid resistance and wide-range compatibility make it a fan favorite.
Amazon Link
Minoura Kagura Magnetic bike trainers
This trainer may slip under the radar a bit, but it definitely should not. What is most notable about this magnetic trainer is the ability to switch between either a gravity-based mode and a traditional system. This significantly enhances the reusability.
Amazon Link
$505.33
Tacx Vortex bike trainers
While certainly not the quietest bike trainer available to purchase, the Vortex Bike Trainer still provides you with all the bells and whistles from top-of-the-line models. Plus, the motor brake simulates the experience of riding your bike very accurately.
Amazon Link
$700.00
Stac Zero bike trainers
If you are seeking a bike trainer that is whispering quiet, the Powermeter Bike Trainer may be what you are looking for. Granted you do not have fully-carbon wheels (or have spare wheels you can use), the powerful magnets provide the resistance for this training machine.
Amazon Link
Elite Drivo bike trainers
The absolutely immense price tag aside, it is difficult to comprehend many reasons to why one would not want to invest in the Elite Drivo Trainer. Featuring wireless connectivity that allows you to access the best software on the market, an extremely quiet performance, and a high-quality construction, this is the pinnacle of bike trainers.
Amazon Link
$1,234.99
Conquer Magnetic bike trainers
Just as the previous bike trainer, this is not a smart trainer. Instead, it relies on its magnetic resistance system which allows you to adjust the resistance with the gears on your bike. The result is a diverse, albeit somewhat noisy, ride.
Amazon Link
$69.95
Cycleops Fluid 2 bike trainers
CycleOps returns on this list and this time, their Fluid 2 Bike Trainer steals the show. In addition to the high-quality of the machine itself, this bike trainer also comes complete with a trainer mat, sweat guard, and two climbing blocks for ascension.
Health Line Bike trainers
You simply may not be interested in a bike trainer with wireless technology, hence increasing the overall price. If you merely want to ride in the winter without the extra functionality provided by additional software, this bike trainer is an ideal choice.
Amazon Link
Elite Rampa bike trainers
Heavy-duty construction and high-quality are what you can expect here. So, why not a better rating? Notwithstanding its greatness, its assembly can be a hassle and it does not function that well on its own.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Style

Indeed, “the overall design” is comprehensive, and this could be used to describe everything you need to know about bike trainers. But, in this instance, the overall design of bike trainers is defined by the design of their resistance system, and there are four common types that you will find.

One is wind resistance bike trainers. It is not a coincidence that you did not see any wind training bikes on this list. While they are the cheapest and people may prefer them, who are on a budget, they are typically much noisier than any other type.

Then, you have magnetic bike trainers, and these feature a fixed resistance that is offered by a magnetic flywheel. If you prefer to adjust the strength constantly, these may not be suitable for you.

Next, there are fluid bike trainers. These will be what your high-end riders will be looking at; as they offer progressive resistance and tend to be as quiet as the congregation when the preacher is praying at church. But, the downside is they are typically quite expensive. Finally, you have rollers which are unique and require a lot of skill on your part.

Connectivity

Besides the type of resistance system you decide to get, the other aspect of bike trainers that can jack up the price real fast is if they have wireless connectivity.

Typically, for smart bike trainers, you will see either Bluetooth, ANT+, or a combination of both. Most people are probably familiar with Bluetooth, a technology that allows you to sync data across two enabled devices wirelessly, but may not be with ANT+. It is quite similar actually, but it is owned by Garmin. This is a wireless protocol that is utilized for monitoring sensor data (such as a heart rate of the tire pressure of a bike).

When we say the options are endless with these two technologies together, we practically mean it. This can allow you to sync with your favorite cyclist applications and software and ultimately enhance the experience, instead of merely riding your bike without any rhyme or reason.

Besides if the bike features the technology, you will also want to inquire if there are common syncing issues associated with it. If you notice several reviewers and users claim that it is a hassle to sync their devices, that could be a red flag.

Motion Control

This can be an essential design factor for some people; even to the extreme that they would steer away from a bike trainer because of the noise no matter the quality of the machine.

Again, depending on the type of bike trainer you buy, the sound may be more prominent. For example, a cheap wind machine will most likely be ridiculously noisy, while an expensive fluid trainer will produce virtually no noise at all. But, from model to model, the noise can vary as well, so it is not always guaranteed that sound will not be an issue.

But, maybe you could care less about the noise. Let’s say you live in your own home, store the machine in your work-out room, and listen to music while you ride. In this instance, the noise will not play a factor because it will never be loud enough to drown out your headphones (as long as you noise-canceling headphones).

But, it is safe to assume that not everyone has these luxuries. You may have roommates, family members, or apartment regulations that you need to abide by. They may not care to hear the excessive noise coming from your bike trainer, and that is a reality you may have to face.

Durability

Bike trainers are designed to allow you to ride your bike indoors by preventing the bike from moving (at least in terms of distance traveled).

Even though they are all designed for this, models with a broader base will possess more stability and may be easier for you to use. But, durability may be even more critical, and it is not only for the machine itself but also the tires on your bikes.

You do not want to invest your money in bike trainers that is only going to last you three months of use. Aim for a frame that is crafted from either aluminum or steel, two solid alloys.

However, manufacturers also have to be aware of the potential damage that could happen to your bike’s tires. If not designed properly, the trainer could start to grind on your tires and rid them of their tread. This is a big no-no, and you should prioritize models that account for this and ones that will prevent wear and tear as much as possible.

Top Ten Bike Trainers

1. Cycleops Smart

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$749.00
Cycleops Smart bike trainers
Amazon Link

Bikers who are aiming to test their physical limits will appreciate the workmanship at play here. This trainer is capable of handling up to 2000 watts of resistance at 20 miles per hour, proving to be a challenge for the fittest of foes.

Read more

Overall Design

The overall electromagnetic resistance system is very responsive and can handle up to 2000 watts of resistance. In addition to this, it can simulate a climbing grade of 20 percent.

Wireless Connectivity

Because it is compatible with both Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors, the choices are endless for wireless connectivity. You can utilize training applications such as TrainerRoad, Zwift, and Rouvy. Although some users have griped that Zwift has performance issues when synced.

Noise Factor

When you max out your bike to 20 miles per hour, the noise level is still kept to a minimal amount. You could probably get away with riding your bicycle in a library (at least, that is what CycleOps claims).

Compatibility

This device is quick-release compatible for frame fork widths of 130mm and 135mm. Meanwhile, it is thru-axle compatible for frame fork widths of 142mm and 148mm.

Durability and Stability

Due to the manner in which this trainer is designed, it connects your bike directly to the resistance unit. Thus, this will eliminate the amount of wear your tires endure. Plus, the integrated front wheel tray adds stability.

Overall

Despite claimed issues when syncing to Zwift, which is a highly-popular training application, the Direct Drive Smart Trainer is simply superior to 99 percent of the rest. Every single penny is worth it.

Amazon Link
$749.00

2. Kinetic Rock and Roll

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Kinetic Rock and Roll bike trainers
Amazon Link

Up next is a very popular bike trainer that consistently pops up on everyone’s recommendations. There is a reason for that and even though it does not support ANT+ functionality, its fluid resistance and wide-range compatibility make it a fan favorite.

Read more

Overall Design

This trainer works as a fluid resistance trainer and as such, delivers a very realistic experience and when in conjunction with the training app is unparalleled.

Wireless Connectivity

It can’t sync to ANT+ sensors but through the power of Bluetooth, it can sync with other devices that are Bluetooth enabled. This allows you to sync to your smartphone and in turn, utilize several training applications and software.

Noise Factor

Due to the fluid resistance system, the result is a ride that is not only incredibly smooth but also very quiet. You probably will not even notice the device is stabilizing your bike.

Compatibility

While bikes that feature a rear thru-axle will require an adapter, this will fit virtually all bikes. In specific, the frame will fit wheels between 22-inches and 29-inches.

Durability and Stability

Each component of this trainer is either crafted from aluminum and steel and as a whole, the frame is designed from power coated steel. In addition, all the pivot points are made up of the same material that is used for the suspension in high-performance vehicles.

Overall

Unfortunately, as amazing as this is, there are small caveats that hurt the overall grade. This includes a frame that will not collapse for storage and the lack of ANT+ functionality. But, despite this, everything else is as good as gold.

Amazon Link

3. Minoura Kagura Magnetic

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$505.33
Minoura Kagura Magnetic bike trainers
Amazon Link

This trainer may slip under the radar a bit, but it definitely should not. What is most notable about this magnetic trainer is the ability to switch between either a gravity-based mode and a traditional system. This significantly enhances the reusability.

Read more

Overall Design

There are two main methods of use. One is the gravity-based mode, which shifts your body weight to the rear wheel, which simulates the effect of floating a bit. The other is a traditional system where the frame is locked in place. Plus, you can also use the trainer without power for four levels of resistance.

Wireless Connectivity

It is incredibly simple to connect and pair multiple devices as this is both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible. As such, you have access to all the applications and software you can get your hands on.

Noise Factor

Noise is not going to play a role here as not only is the trainer smooth in motion; the Neodymium magnet assists in creating a very soothing sound.

Compatibility

Included with the trainer are a standard skewer and a 15mm thru-axle adapter. As far as compatibility, this will work with all 650b/700c/26-inch/27.5-inch tires.

Durability and Stability

Not too many users who have used this trainer have documented any issues with the overall stability and durability.

Overall

For a cheaper trainer, as compared to some of the rest, it is amazing that you can get up to 2000 watts of resistance here. In addition, the smooth operation and overall durable design makeup fantastic workmanship.

Amazon Link
$505.33

4. Tacx Vortex

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$700.00
Tacx Vortex bike trainers
Amazon Link

While certainly not the quietest bike trainer available to purchase, the Vortex Bike Trainer still provides you with all the bells and whistles from top-of-the-line models. Plus, the motor brake simulates the experience of riding your bike very accurately.

Read more

Overall Design

Because this is designed with a motor brake, as opposed to an electro brake, it is more accurate at simulating the experience of riding. As far as the resistance, it is increased or decreased from the rear wheel.

Wireless Connectivity

Being understanding of the correct protocols, including ANT+, the Vortex can indeed sync to your smartphones and tablets. Once again, this then provides you access to various software and training applications.

Noise Factor

This bike trainer creates resistance from the roll on the rear wheel. One of the components of the roll, the Elasto Gel, manages to absorb the vibrations and reduce the overall noise. But, when it gets going fast enough, the noise will still be present.

Compatibility

As long as you have a wheel that is 26-inches to 29-inches (700c) in diameter, you can utilize this with your bike. If not, you are held accountable if it does not fit properly.

Durability and Stability

The other material that is utilized in the roll, the hardened steel sleeve, is used to prevent the overall wear that the bike trainer endures over time.

Overall

For bicycle gurus looking for insane amounts of resistance and incline, may not find the Vortex feasible enough. But, it remains a fantastic model for intermediate users looking for a bike trainer with smartphone-syncing capabilities.

Amazon Link
$700.00

5. Stac Zero

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Stac Zero bike trainers
Amazon Link

If you are seeking a bike trainer that is whispering quiet, the Powermeter Bike Trainer may be what you are looking for. Granted you do not have fully-carbon wheels (or have spare wheels you can use), the powerful magnets provide the resistance for this training machine.

Read more

Overall Design

To break down how this functions, the powerful internal magnets induce the currents inside of your wheel rim as it passes through. Thus, the wheel will begin to slow down, and this is the resistance that is provided to you.

Wireless Connectivity

Full wireless capabilities are present here. This includes Bluetooth and ANT+, which means you can sync to any of your favorite devices, which are also compatible with one of the technologies.

Noise Factor

When you ride with this trainer attached to your wheel, the only portion of the bike trainer that contacts the bike is the clamp; which produces necessarily no noise at all.

Compatibility

This will work with the most road, mountain, and tri tires. But, it is only compatible with alloy wheels. If the tires have steel along the backtrack, they will not work.

Durability and Stability

Some bike trainers may grind on your outdoor tires but not this model from STAC Zero. Your tires will be safe from wear and tear.

Overall

The only aspect that may prevent you from investing in this bike trainer is the issue with carbon wheels. It is only compatible with alloy wheels with no steel on the brake track and that may prove problematic for some.

Amazon Link

6. Elite Drivo

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$1,234.99
Elite Drivo bike trainers
Amazon Link

The absolutely immense price tag aside, it is difficult to comprehend many reasons to why one would not want to invest in the Elite Drivo Trainer. Featuring wireless connectivity that allows you to access the best software on the market, an extremely quiet performance, and a high-quality construction, this is the pinnacle of bike trainers.

Read more

Overall Design

Due to the design of the 6-kg internal flywheel, this trainer is designed to mimic the exact experience of riding on the road. Plus, you determine the resistance level by the corresponding software program that you are running.

Wireless Connectivity

The choices are endless in terms of software and training applications that you can utilize in conjunction with this trainer. This is compatible with both Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols.

Noise Factor

This trainer is designed so quietly that the only piece of equipment you will hear is the bike itself. Thus, not detracting the experience in any way.

Compatibility

Granted the hubs on your bike are between 130-135 x 5mm, you should be able to use this device.

Durability and Stability

Overall, the Drivo is built to last, and the frame is very stable when you are riding. Also, it can be folded down quickly if you want to transport it or store it away.

Overall

The most challenging aspect of this trainer is understanding how it works. The included manual is very poor, and you may have to rely on online videos. Once you begin to wrap your head around the functionality, you will never look back.

Amazon Link
$1,234.99

7. Conquer Magnetic

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$69.95
Conquer Magnetic bike trainers
Amazon Link

Just as the previous bike trainer, this is not a smart trainer. Instead, it relies on its magnetic resistance system which allows you to adjust the resistance with the gears on your bike. The result is a diverse, albeit somewhat noisy, ride.

Read more

Overall Design

Much like other magnetic bike trainers, this is designed to create drag against the rear-wheel of your bike. As such, you can adjust the resistance by shifting the gears present on your bicycle.

Wireless Connectivity

Once again, no smart technology is integrated into this training machine. It is still fully functional; you miss out on external training programs.

Noise Factor

No doubt, this is the most significant caveat of this magnetic bike trainer. There have been several users and reviewers that have belly-ached about how powerful this machine is. Be prepared to plug in your headphones to drown out the noise.

Compatibility

A rear wheel skewer is included that can be swapped out with your quick release skewer. But, in general, this is compatible with tire sizes of 26-inches and 27-inches.

Durability and Stability

To keep the front wheel stable during use, this includes a riser block. In addition, the frame is designed from heavy-duty steel and is designed to last for years.

Overall

While certainly not the flashiest bike trainer out there, Conquer still provides you with a machine that is highly competent and one that should last you years upon years.

Amazon Link
$69.95

8. Cycleops Fluid 2

Where to buy
Cycleops Fluid 2 bike trainers
Amazon Link

CycleOps returns on this list and this time, their Fluid 2 Bike Trainer steals the show. In addition to the high-quality of the machine itself, this bike trainer also comes complete with a trainer mat, sweat guard, and two climbing blocks for ascension.

Read more

Overall Design

As the pedals spin faster and faster, the resistance is increased. Depending on how fast you pedal, the resistance can range anywhere from 20 watts up to 725 watts. Overall, the precision-balanced flywheel replicates the feel of riding outdoors.

Wireless Connectivity

For additional feedback, you can get speed and cadence sensors. But, you can use this trainer in coordination with Zwift.

Noise Factor

Despite the claim that the noise level is left to a minimum, reviewers have griped that they can hear a high whistling noise at certain times.

Compatibility

The 2-inch resistance unit makes this suitable for 650b, 700c, 26-inch, 27-inch, and 29-inch wheel sizes. Also, it is designed to fit standard bike frames and includes a steel quick release skewer.

Durability and Stability

Thanks to the overall artistry, the alloy roller manages to reduce the overall wear and tear on your bikes. Plus, it is geared to prevent slippage for increased stability.

Overall

CycleOps is undoubtedly a high-quality manufacturer, and you really can’t go wrong with their bike trainers. Sure, the whistling noise that can occur is not pleasant to the ears, but it is not a constant occurrence.

9. Health Line

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Health Line Bike trainers
Amazon Link

You simply may not be interested in a bike trainer with wireless technology, hence increasing the overall price. If you merely want to ride in the winter without the extra functionality provided by additional software, this bike trainer is an ideal choice.

Read more

Overall Design

There are eight levels of resistance that can be adjusted through your handlebar, in conjunction with your pedal speed. While perhaps not suitable for hardcore enthusiasts, it still provides a realistic riding experience.

Wireless Connectivity

The price tag should indicate that this is not a smart bike trainer. If you are looking for Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, look elsewhere.

Noise Factor

Thanks to the upgraded magnetic turbo technology, the noise as a whole are reduced to a tolerable level.

Compatibility

Before you do anything, you need to ensure your bike has a quick release skewer. If it does, then check to see if your wheel size will be compatible (this will fit 26-inches and 28-inches).

Durability and Stability

The cheap price tag is surely not indicative of poor quality, that is for sure. A terrific combination of the heavy-duty frame and its extra-wide nature guarantees both a durable and stable experience.

Overall

Do not be fooled, this is a great investment and is ideal for intermediate users looking to simply ride their bike in the winter. However, it simply does not sport all the bells and whistles that smart bike trainers possess.

Amazon Link

10. Elite Rampa

Where to buy
Elite Rampa bike trainers
Amazon Link

Heavy-duty construction and high-quality are what you can expect here. So, why not a better rating? Notwithstanding its greatness, its assembly can be a hassle and it does not function that well on its own.

Read more

Overall Design

The electronically managed resistance is solely based on the training program that you have selected. Without it, there is not much resistance at all. Plus, the automatic tension plate maintains the appropriate amount of pressure between the roller and tire.

Wireless Connectivity

It is compatible with both Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols and quite frankly, functions best when connected with some sort of training software (such as My E-Training).

Noise Factor

The Rampa Bike Trainer falls right in the middle in terms of noise. It will not destroy your eardrums but at the same time, it is not as if it is muted either.

Compatibility

For road and mountain bikes, it will fit tires sized from 24-inches to 29-inches. But, the cod adapter must be utilized with thru-axle bikes.

Durability and Stability

Elite ensured if nothing else, their Rampa Bike Trainer would be constructed with durability and stability in mind. Both the reinforced frame and wide footprint prove that.

Overall

Even though other bike trainers support the functionality, this trainer nearly depends solely on additional software. If you do not have a compatible smartphone or tablet that is capable of running such software, this may not be the best choice for you.

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