Trainer Basics: The Difference Between Wind, Fluid and Magnetic Trainers

It’s important to know the difference between the types of bicycle trainers on the market in order to choose the right one to fit your needs. If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between Wind, Fluid and Magnetic trainers, continue reading and you’ll be able to make the right trainer purchase this winter. 

Wind Trainers

Rider Level: Beginner 

How they work:

  • As you pedal, your rear wheel turns a roller unit which is attached to a fan. Spinning this fan becomes increasingly difficult as you pedal faster because it is fighting against increasing air resistance.
PROS CONS
Resistance is realistic, progressive Very noisy
Inexpensive Advanced riders may require more resistance

Wind trainers to check out:

  • CycleOps Wind Trainer: Simple and affordable design that features a Vortex blade to generate realistic progressive resistance from wind.
Fluid Trainers

Rider Level: Intermediate to Advanced

How they work:

  • As you pedal, your rear wheel turns a roller unit which is attached to an impeller either directly or through the use of magnets. This impeller sits in a silicone (or other) fluid bath and as you exert more effort and pedal faster, it becomes more difficult for that impeller to move through the fluid. This gives you realistic exponential resistance.
PROS CONS
The quietest trainers available More expensive than wind
Most realistic trainers available History of leakage*
*High quality fluid trainers like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine feature a completely sealed fluid bath with an impeller turned by magnets. This design is entirely leakproof.
Fluid trainers to check out: 
  • Kurt Kinetic Road Machine 2.0: The consistent and realistic progressive power curve, silent operation, completely sealed fluid chamber and a lifetime guarantee make this one of the best trainers on the market, if not the very best.
  • CycleOps Jet Fluid Pro Trainer: Featuring the high quality construction of the CycleOps Pro Series, this trainer is stable, adjustable and uses a Power-Tuned resistance unit for an incredibly realistic road feel.
  • CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer: Also featuring the CycleOps Power-Tuned progressive resistance curve, the Fluid2 is simple to use, affordable and the realistic road feel that defines CycleOps trainers.

Magnetic Trainers

Rider Level: Beginner to Advanced depending on model 

How they work:

    • As you pedal, your rear wheel turns a roller unit which is attached to a set of magnets. These magnets spin past another set of magnets with similar poles, thereby creating a repulsive effect. As the magnets get close to each other again and again as you spin, the repulsion creates the resistance.
    • Simple magnetic trainers allow you to manually change the distance between these sets of magnets, thereby increasing or decreasing the resistance.
    • More advanced magnetic trainers, like the CycleOps Super Magneto Pro, automatically move the magnet as you spin faster. This increases the resistance exponentially and creates the progressive resistance, a feature that you don’t usually see in magnetic trainers.
Simple Magnetic Trainers
PROS CONS
Very quiet Resistance is linear and less realistic
 Inexpensive Advanced riders may require more resistance
You can manually adjust resistance to vary your workouts
Advanced Magnetic Trainers
PROS CONS
Very quiet Expensive
 Resistance is progressive Slightly less realistic road feel than fluid
You can manually adjust resistance to vary your workouts

Magnetic trainers to check out:

  • CycleOps Super Magneto Pro Trainer: Featuring the high quality construction of the CycleOps Pro Series, this trainer is stable, adjustable and uses CycleOps’s Flexible Power Curve Technology so you can vary your workouts and target specific goals.
  • CycleOps Mag+ Trainer with Remote Adjust: Offering 5 different levels of linear resistance at the flip of a remote switch, the Mag+ is an affordable and convenient way to get in that winter training.

 

2015-09-24T08:33:10-08:00