Look to a Fluid Bike Trainer for a quiet ride
Ron Fritzke explains why fluid bike trainers are far superior to magnetic trainers and wind trainers.
I cannot say that riding for two hours last night on my bike trainer was particularly pleasant. But it sure beat the alternative of riding outside when the temperature was close to freezing, on slippery roads that were lacking in the "‘street light" department.
Notwithstanding the scowl I directed toward the trainer after my sweaty ride, I am thankful to have been able to do my ride indoors. And I say that even after having suffered the additional pain of watching my favourite football team get trounced as I pedalled along.
But enough of the snivelling, let me pass on a little "bike trainer knowledge". I have written enough indoor bike trainer reviews to have become somewhat of a bike trainer geek. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that "fluid bike trainers" reign supreme.
Sound level is important
Fluid bike trainers are the quietest indoor trainers when compared to magnetic trainers or wind trainers. The sound level of a ride on a trainer can get to be a real problem, especially if the cyclist is riding in close quarters (like in an apartment complex).
One of the worst offenders in the "excessive noise" department is the wind trainer when ridden at high speeds. It can be such a problem that one of the manufacturers even advocates wearing earplugs when pedalling their wind trainer to its upper limits. I do not know if they are comedians, or if their legal departments overly active, but their warning is duly noted.
The quest for a realistic ride
Fluid trainers also shine in the area of providing a "realistic" ride. When companies speak of realistic rides on their trainers, they are referring to how closely it simulates what you would experience if you were to take your bike out onto the road.
After having done Kurt Kinetic Road Machine reviews and Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer reviews, I can confidently say that these two companies have done everything possible to make the resistance levels in their trainers match outdoor conditions.
I do not know if you are up on your aerodynamics enough to see that wind resistance does not increase linearly, but I am here to tell you that the faster you pedal your bike, the harder the wind resistance situation gets.
All things being the same, riding your bike at 20mph takes much more than twice the energy it takes to ride it at 10mph. And that is the type of exponential increase that fluid bike trainers provide.
The problem of leakage
Up until recently, a downside to fluid trainers was their tendency to leak. Kurt Kinetic revolutionized the fluid trainer world with their patented design, turning the trainer world on its head by sealing off the chamber containing the silicone fluid and the impellers. They then connected the impeller to the roller by magnetically coupling the two of them with powerful magnets.
This is not to be confused with a magnetic trainer that uses the repulsive forces of magnets. The magnets in the Kurt Kinetics are arranged to attract each other, thereby locking the two parts of the trainer together without them having to be in the same chamber.
Some excellent YouTube videos are demonstrating this innovative design, and if you are in the market for a bike trainer, you would be wise to check them out. If you do not want to do much sleuthing, I have embedded an excellent Kurt Kinetic video on the 'Kurt Kinetic Road Machine reviews' link above.
With no O-rings to fail under the intense heat that is created by the impeller going through the silicone, Kurt Kinetic trainers are about as foolproof as any out there on the market.
Fluid Trainers sit atop the bike trainer heap
Now that the problem of leakage is a thing of the past, the relative quiet of bike trainers, as well as their ability to provide enough resistance to strain even the strongest legs makes them the best-selling type of trainer on the market today.
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About the Author
Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for "all things cycling". A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike and looking for good cycling products.