How to Choose an Indoor Bike Trainer for Winter Workouts

Which kind of trainer is right for you?

As cyclists across the country say goodbye to summer and ideal riding weather, it’s time to start gearing up for cold weather cycling or planning to head inside. If you’re one of these cyclists, wondering what to do about your training when the temperatures drop and the snow starts piling up, you might want to look into getting a bike trainer.

Bike trainers are pieces of equipment that work with regular bikes to help cyclists keep up their training indoors. There are several different types of trainers and many different models within those categories. When you’re ready to find the right trainer for you, learn about the different kinds and then take a look at a few top models.

Main Types of Bike Trainers

Roller Trainers—Very different from the other kinds of trainers, a roller trainer does not fix rear wheel to a machine, but instead allows both wheels to move freely on rollers. This type of trainer brings a bit of a learning curve, but that can also be a bonus, as it’s the only trainer that tests your ability to balance. Roller trainers vary in price, but are typically more expensive than wind trainers and less expensive than fluid trainers.

Wind Trainers—Generally the least expensive option, wind trainers use a fan to create resistance. These types of trainers are considered good entry level options, but they tend to be loud and offer limited resistance, which are both downsides.

Magnetic Trainers—These trainers use a magnetic flywheel to create resistance for the rear tire. One benefit is that they aren’t as loud as wind trainers, but there’s also a limited scope of resistance on most mag trainers.

Fluid Trainers—Considered a top option, fluid trainers are usually the most expensive type of trainer. They use fluid, usually silicon, to create resistance and that means a quiet ride with the ability to scale up the resistance gradually.

See Our Picks: Top Trainers for Indoor Cycling

More Reading:
Essential Bike Gadgets for Every Cyclist
Road Rules for the Four-Season Bike Commuter
Your Winter-Ready Bike