Indoor bike trainers are an excellent way of ensuring you can get in your daily kilometres no matter what the weather's doing outside. For those who are unfamiliar with indoor trainers, selecting the right type can be a confusing process, so here’s an overview of the different varieties available and how to select the right one for your training needs.
An indoor trainer removes any excuses you can think of for not riding. You can set it up anywhere you like (even in front of the TV) allowing you to continue riding regardless of time of day, nasty weather etc. The less expensive magnetic trainers offer a cost effective option, and are great for riders that just want the occasional 'bail out' option without having to spend too much. Fluid trainers offer a more realistic riding feel due to the way resistance is applied, and are generally preferred by riders intending to use the trainers as a more integral part of their riding. Both Magnetic & Fluid trainers are quieter than wind trainers. Indoor trainers are known by many different names such as turbo trainers, wind trainers or simply bike trainers.
As their name suggests, fluid bike trainers employ the use of heat sensitive fluid contained within the flywheel to provide a riding experience which closely mimics that of riding outdoors. As your cadence increases, the fluid thickens due to the increase in temperature which creates resistance which becomes progressively stronger. Fluid trainers are preferred by riders who take their training a little more seriously and generally create less noise than their magnetic counterparts which is great for those who like to exercise before the rest of the household is awake.
Unlike trainers, rollers do not provide any resistance so you won’t be able to do sprint or interval training on them. However, rollers do provide a great full body workout as you’ll be using your core muscles to maintain your balance. Using rollers requires higher concentration and skill levels as your bike isn’t secured to the unit as it would be on a trainers. This will actually improve your balance and spinning technique out on the road as you’ll need to maintain a smooth, efficient cadence to keep yourself upright on rollers.