Indoor Bike Trainer Buyer's Guide
What is a trainer for a bike?
In this guide, we break down some of the most important info about bike trainer stands so you can decide which kind you want to use to reach your cycling goals.
A bike trainer is a machine that can be attached to a bicycle so riders can pedal indoors. They are considerably more compact and often less expensive than the larger indoor stationary cycling machines you’d find at the gym. They’re easy to move around, fun to use, and they’re great for a wide variety of cyclists. Keep reading to learn more!
Why use a bike trainer stand?
Trainer stands are used by casual riders, motivated enthusiasts, and pro athletes alike. You don’t have to be an elite cyclist to enjoy the advantages of a trainer.
Bike trainer stands are perfect for:
What are the different types of bike trainers?
There are many different styles, and while there are exceptions, most usually attach to your rear axle. Many trainer stands work by letting your rear tire spin on a roller, and other trainers take the place of your rear wheel completely! Check out the different types of home bike trainers below and see which one will work best for your goals.
What are Smart Trainers?
Smart trainers, sometimes called virtual bike trainers, are any system that remotely connects to an app and can adjust resistance along with that app.
If you want to race against your friends on Zwift or experience an ultra-realistic ride quality that closely mimics real terrain, smart trainers are the way to go.
What are the best indoor bike trainers?
We think indoor trainers are perfect for tons of riders. There's plenty out there to choose from, but here are some of our favorites:
What are the most important accessories for indoor cycling?
If you want the best indoor cycling experience possible, there are a few must-have accessories and helpful tips that will keep you comfortable and having fun.
Get a fan: Since you wont have the breeze drying off some of your sweat as you ride, set up a fan or two pointed at your body to help simulate the natural air flow effects.
Grab a sweat guard: Even with a few fans going, indoor cycling is sweaty business, and you'll want to protect your frame and components from all that salt. Use a towel or a specially made sweat guard to keep your bike clean while you workout.
Use a floor mat: Aside from protecting against (you guessed it, sweat), putting a floor mat down will ensure your trainer doesn't slip or scratch your floor in any way.
Bike Trainer FAQs
How do bike trainers attach?
The vast majority of direct drive and friction trainers attach to your bike's rear axle. Direct drive trainers use their own cassettes and take the place of your rear wheel, while friction trainers add resistance directly to your rear tire. Roller trainers don't attach to your bike.
Can you turn a regular bike into an exercise bike?
With a bike trainer stand you can turn your own bicycle into an indoor exercise bike that's cheaper and more fun than a regular stationary bike.
Can you stand on a bike trainer?
Yes, as long as you attach your bike to the trainer correctly, it will hold up even when you're out of the saddle.
Is a bike trainer a good workout?
Absolutely. Because you have to pedal against the resistance of the trainer, riding indoors can even be more of a workout than riding outside. Trainers, just like the name suggests, are a huge part of many athletes' regimen.
How do I choose a bike trainer?
Read the section on trainer styles above that goes into more detail, but think about the features you want your trainer to have. For example, do you want something lightweight and simple like a regular trainer stand or roller, or do you want something a little heavier that offers more features? Are you serious about training to the point you want to replicate outdoor cycling as closely as possible, or do you just need something to help keep you moving in the offseason? Do you want to connect to virtual cycling apps? If you can answer some of these questions, you'll be able to find the right style for your goals in the Trainer Styles section above.
Are trainers bad for your bike?
No. Normal wear on your components is unavoidable as you ride your bike, but trainers are very low impact. If you have a friction trainer, you may want to use a trainer tire to prevent unnecessary wear on your regular road tire.
Do bike trainers fit all bikes?
Roller trainers will work with just about any bike as long as you can adjust the wheelbase accordingly, but for the other types of trainers you'll want to read the details of each specific model and cross reference that with your bike to ensure it will fit. Don't hesitate to give our team a call if you're not sure and we will gladly help you find a solution.
Can you put a mountain bike on a trainer?
Yes, many mountain bikes will work with the different types of bike trainers, but again, be sure to check out the specs of the specific model you're looking into before buying.