Canadian triathletes know all about indoor training – January usually means it’s time to get really serious about our indoor riding as we start to prepare in earnest for the upcoming tri season. These indoor workouts can truly make-or-break your race season by helping improve your power, endurance and pedal technique. If you don’t already have a bike trainer, you definitely need one if you’re going to prepare properly this winter. Here’s a look at some of the models available in Canada.
BTR-01 Trainer QR – $230
This Bikeparts for Bikers trainer features a magnetic brake unit, steel flywheel, elastomer roller and a stable, foldable oval frame with rubber feet. It has five adjustable remote control resistance settings for a wide power range, an easy to use quick-release clamp mechanism, includes the quick-release axle. It is available in matt black or glossy white.
Hands on: The BTR-O1 Trainer QR was by far the easiest of the models we did hands on reviews to set up. This unit worked practically right out of the box and provided an extremely stable platform for even the hardest of efforts.
BTR-02 Trainer ECO
For the budget conscious, this bare bones matt black model gets the job done, but lacks the Trainer QR’s adjustable resistance, remote control, and quick-release clamp mechanism (has a standard clamp instead).
Tech Fluid Trainer – $400
New for 2010, this trainer provides a realistic feel with its advanced fluid resistance with benchmarked and highly refined power curve. Its boxed and shaped steel frame, wide footprint and low height provide stiffness and stability. As with all Blackburn trainers, it has a lifetime warranty.
Hands on: The Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer was extremely quiet in use. Set up was a breeze and the adjustable legs make it very easy to get a stable position on any floor surface. The extremely smooth resistance and silent operation make this a great choice.
Tech Mag Trainer – $320
This trainer offers six-setting magnetic resistance with smooth realistic feel. There’s a bar-mounted remote, FastCrank mounting system, oversized tubular steel frame for stiffness and a wide base and low height for amazing stability. Accommodates 700c, 650c, and 26″ wheel sizes.
Trak Stand Mag Trainer – $230
Redesigned for 2010, the Trak Stand Mag Trainer has a new compact and lightweight boxed CrMo steel frame, magnetic resistance with three settings and dual adjuster cones for compatibility with 700c and 26″ wheels.
Fluid Alu – $399
The smooth, progressive fluid resistance found in the Fluid Alu simulates real road riding in relative silence. The folding “A” frame provides strong support for those tough intervals.
Mag Elastogel – $559
This model features five levels of resistance that is easily changed via the ergonomic handlebar mounted lever that varies the resistance applied by the Mag Elastogel unit. The classic “A” frame design provides ample stiffness and support.
Primo Fluid – $475
Elite’s smoothest, quietest and easiest to use trainer uses a fluid resistance unit with a 45 mm diameter Elastogel roller and a Crono frame. The adjustment of resistance is simply made by changing the gears on the bike. It’s also available as a wireless system with digital coded wireless communication between resistance unit and handlebar display (fifteen functions – from wattage to speed).
Rock and Roll – $700
This unit uniquely delivers a realistic ride due to its side-to-side motion capability. The lateral motion forces the engagement of core muscles to maintain proper balance and is especially useful for out of the saddle efforts. The Rock and Roll provides measurable and repeatable workloads, a clamp and lock quick release with lever lock to secure bikes easily, removable legs for easy storage and is available as frame or with Pro or Road Machine RU. As with all Kurt Kinetic trainers, it has an unconditional lifetime warranty, and lifetime crash replacement.
Cyclone – $289
A dual fan wind trainer that delivers road-like resistance with its five second coast-down simulation, speed-sensitive resistance and a precision machined roller to reduce tire wear. Possesses speed-sensitive resistance from 5 to 1000 plus watts. Accommodates 16″ to 29″ diameter wheels.
Road Machine – $457
The PowerTap calibrated resistance unit provides measurable and repeatable workloads, and its 6.25-pound flywheel gives 15-second coast-down from 20 mph. The sealed fluid chamber with a magnetically coupled drive shaft has thermodynamically neutral silicone resistance fluid and is guaranteed not to leak. It provides smooth, quiet resistance from 5 to 3000 plus watts, 80 cooling fins to make for a low operating temperature, and its 2 1/8″ roller reduces tire wear.
RDA80-D – $400
This model features the exclusive RDA (Rim Drive Action), where the magnetic resistance is transferred to rubber rollers that contact the rear wheel’s rim sidewall. There is no contact with the tire, which means no tire wear and makes this model useful for both road and mountain bikes. (No more swapping out the knobby tire for a slick.) Since there is no tire contact, the trainer can be used for warming up just before a race. It has an ergo type frame and a remote can be added.
Gyro V270-2 – $540
The new modified V270-2 is Minoura’s quietest trainer, offering whisper-quiet resistance that makes this a great choice for apartment living. Offering a natural pedal feel, thanks to the very heavy fly-wheel, and an extensive resistance range that’s double that of the VFS series, this a great choice for even the strongest of cyclists. The sturdy frame will keep you locked in no matter how hard you’re pushing. The seven resistance levels are all evenly matched, so you can really tune your workouts from easy to hard in consistent increments.
M80R – $340
This light-duty magnetic drive trainer offers a 0.8 kg machined steel flywheel and Eddy Current magnetic unit that provides smooth resistance and an impressive 440 watts maximum power at 40 km/h. There are seven levels of resistance that can be adjusted with the handlebar- or stem-mounted remote. The new U-shaped frame, with an easy quick-release type hub clamping system, is simple and lightweight, but still offers lots of support.
Fortius – $1,899
Tacx’s most advanced virtual reality trainer. It is equipped with a powerful engine brake that simulates outside climbs and descents . Realistic resistance is felt when climbing and when descending there is no need to pedal because the engine spins the wheel (650 or 700 c). The Fortius comes with the trainer base, steering frame, handlebar remote and software (the choice of terrain, opponents and training information). The Real life Video Cycling enables you to ride in a film across familiar courses like the Tour des Flanders. Adding the Multiplayer unit allows you to race against up to five opponents anywhere around the world.
Bushido – $1,899
Entirely wireless and without the need for electricity, you can set up and ride the Bushido anywhere you desire in less than one minute. The handlebar-mounted computer shows information like power, heart rate, cadence, speed and time on its graphic display, but it also has keys that will react to the energy from your fingers. You can start riding right away or call up personal user information and training programs. The powerful braking system with a flywheel is entirely integrated into the shell. It is equipped with LED lamps that will light up more brightly (in red) if you generate more power and in green if you are riding at a lower intensity. An upgrade includes a wireless connection from the handlebar-mounted computer to a PC, which provides access to a bigger display, more memory, the Tacx Trainer software and the ability to ride routes with Google Earth.
Satori – $599
The trainer of choice for eight pro tour teams, the Satori has a durable, ergonomic frame, a very powerful Neodynium magnet and an extra large steel flywheel. The position of the magnet to the flywheel can adjusted with the 10-position handlebar remote resistance lever. This creates a magnetic field that enables training at high power with low pedaling frequencies. It is possible to generate 400 watts at the speed of 27 km/h. It comes with the front wheel support that also serves as a carrying brace.
CompuTrainer Pro – $1,650
The CompuTrainer does not come cheap, but with a proven track record for over 20 years and RacerMate’s performance improvement guarantee (a speed increase by at least 2 mph over a five month period of regular use or return for a full refund), there is no risk in trying. It comes equipped with the accurate (+/- 2.5%) 1500 watt Electronic Load Generator plus other hardware and software such as the 3D Interactive Software with SpinScan Pedal Stroke Analysis, Coaching Software and an interface to adjust for Aerodynamic Drag Factors. In addition to being able to simulate real courses via the 3D software, you can purchase the Interactive real course videos that allow you to ride, see, and feel actual races that are filmed in high definition and then combined with interactive, GPS mapped software.-RH