REI offers several types of indoor bike trainers. All can provide a good workout, but higher-priced models offer more precision and with more options. Many trainers are also compatible with 29-inch tires, so more mountain bikers can also get in on the benefits.
Each type of trainer has its pros and cons:
Trainers with interactive features offer the ultimate training experience. Imagine pedaling up the Alpe d’Huez while monitoring your heart-rate and pedaling power. These trainers—typically fluid, magnetic or flywheel models—feature Bluetooth and/or ANT+ compatibility so you capture and share workout data (power output, heart rate, cadence, etc.) to your mobile device or computer. You’ll pay more for this feature, but it could give you a motivation you need to train regularly.
Front tire block/ring: Lets you level your bike for a more natural riding position. Stackable models allow you use 2 blocks to simulate a hill climbing position.
Trainer mat: Placed under your bike, this catches sweat drips as you ride and can help reduce noise levels.
Sweat net or thong: Protects your bike frame and components from the corrosive effects of your sweat as you ride.
Tires: Trainers contribute to rear tire wear, so frequent users might consider switching out to dedicated a trainer tire (some are designed just for this purpose) or a regular road slick.
For most wind, magnetic and fluid models, all you need to do is replace your bike's rear axle skewer with the provided one. Lift the bike into place, turn the clamp tight against the skewer, then clamp the fly wheel against the tire. Once you’ve done it a few times, it takes less than a minute to set up.
As always, be sure to read the owner’s manual for specific instructions.
By Steve Tischler
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Last updated: 02/18/2014
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