Bike trainers are the best equipment for getting the experience of working out on regular bikes. If you can’t or don’t want to ride regular bikes on the street, then we highly recommend trying out indoor bike trainers. Among different types of indoor bike trainers, stationary bike trainers have gained quite a lot of popularity in the last few years.
To help you pick the right type of stationary bike, we’ve decided to share our experience and knowledge on the different types of stationary bike trainers in this article.
What Is A Wheel On Bike Trainer
A wheel on a bike trainer is a piece of equipment to which you need to attach the rear wheel of the bike. These don’t offer as realistic experience as wheel-off bike trainers, but they are good enough for providing the basic experience, and they don’t cost much.
What Is A Wheel Off Bike Trainer
As the name suggests, wheel-off bike trainers are those that require you to take the rear wheel of the bike off to operate. You need to attach the chain to the machine itself. The wheel off bike trainers is popular for offering a more realistic experience, and these come in many varieties. Most of the wheel off bike trainers don’t come with the unit only, but with the complete package so you don’t even require a bike to use these.
Bike Trainer Resistance Types
There are different types of resistance mechanisms of wheel off-bike trainers, and each of these offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Before you pick a certain type for yourself, we highly recommend stacking the pros and cons of each of the types against each other so you can determine the best type for yourself.
If you’re looking for the least noisy, or more appropriately, noiseless bike trainers, then you should go for the fluid-type bike trainers. These are considerably more expensive than the other types. However, the premium is definitely worth paying for.
The fluid-type bike trainers come with a magnetic flywheel, and this flywheel comes with an internal fluid chamber. These bikes generate resistance by combining the magnetic flywheel and the internal fluid. The more you pedal, the hotter the internal fluid becomes, and the resistance increases proportionally.
Fluid bike trainers come with integrated advanced technology that can help you boost your workout sessions. The fluid bike trainers used to fail a lot when they first came out. However, this equipment has been perfected over time, and now the chances of fluid leakage have reduced to almost zero.
Wind trainers were pretty famous once upon a time, but there are better alternatives on the market right now. The main problem with wind bike trainers is that they create a lot of noise. If you’re sharing the home with someone else, it’ll surely end up annoying the other inhabitants.
In the case of wind-driven trainers, the resistance is created using a pedal-driven fan. The noise is created mainly because of the wind. Plus, the unit gets noisier the more it ages. Some of these units can get so squeaky that you won’t be able to enjoy music unless you’re using noise-canceling earphones.
Magnetic bike trainers are among the advanced bike trainers that you can get for yourself right now. This equipment creates the sensation of resistance using an electromagnetic flywheel. The magnetic resistance on these is adjustable, so you can fine-tune your experience according to your necessities.
However, the main reason why people love these is that they are much quieter than most other bike trainers, and they cost far less than fluid trainers. So, if you’re looking for something less expensive and noise-free, then magnetic bike trainers can be a great choice for you.
Then again, there are certain disadvantages to these as well. The limit up to which you can increase the resistance is very low, and if you use it heavily for a long time, you may end up damaging the unit even.
Roller trainers are the most basic form of bike trainers, and these are the one of the wheel on bike trainers that you can find out there. The basic structure of this equipment is just three rollers put perpendicularly. You need to mount the tire of your bike on these rollers and balance them so that you can ride them in one place.
The main problem with these is that you need to concentrate on the balance. The tires won’t be stuck to the rollers, and it’s very easy to veer to the side and fall off. It usually takes months to adjust to this process.
So, if you don’t want to increase the risks of injury and hardship just to save a few bucks, we highly recommend avoiding roller bike trainers.
Related reading: Best Bike Trainer Tire Reviews & Buying Guide
If you’re looking for a realistic training experience, then you should go with flywheel-style bike trainers. These are wheel-off bike trainers where you’ll need to take off the rear end of your bike and attach the chain to the flywheel. As the flywheel is based on flywheels of any regular bike, you can get the most realistic experience out of these.
If you don’t own a bike, you can get flywheel trainers that come in a complete package. The flywheels are designed to let you change the resistance as per your wish as well.
However, the flywheel trainers aren’t nearly as portable as the other types. So, if portability is something you require, you better avoid these.
These are the major types of stationary bike trainers that you can choose from right now. All of these individual types offer both advantages and disadvantages, so it’s hard to count any of them out, even the roller one!
The key to finding the best stationary bike type for yourself is assessing your needs and searching for them. If any type matches all of your expectations, then you shouldn’t hesitate to go for that!