Best Indoor Fluid Cycling Trainers

As road cyclists, it is our duty to maintain not only our hard-earned stamina but also our well-earned sensitivity to temperatures below 45 degrees.  Enter the indoor bike trainers.  A necessary evil in the fight against cycling sloth.

For the purposes of this article, we focused our efforts on finding the market’s best fluid trainers.  ”Best” in Road Bike Mike’s eyes can be found at the intersection of performance, durability, and cost.  The ultimate winner of our head-to-head comparison was the fluid bike trainer that best provided a dynamic, fluid resistance with low noise levels, and a proven longevity. All for a price that wouldn’t make your $1,000 entry-level road bike jealous. Enter the 3 indoor cycling fluid trainers:

 

CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Bicycle Trainer


This trainer features a new larger flywheel with twice the inertia for an improved, road-like feel. The power-band technology offers the widest resistance range–from easy spins to lung-burning climbs–without ever touching the unit. The infinite resistance curve ensures increased wattage as you increase speed for realistic statistical analysis at the end of your ride. The Fluid 2 is surprisingly quiet, and the self-cooling mechanisms–including a patented fan design–keep the unit performing better, longer.

 
Kinetic by Kurt Road Machine Indoor Bicycle Trainer

Kinetic Fluid Trainers are equipped with the heaviest flywheels available, ranging from a solid 4.4 pounds to a massive 18 pounds. The result is an ultra smooth, road-like ride without altering the force curve. So every acceleration and coast down delivers the experience of riding outdoors.  With the trapezoidal leg design and the largest footprint of any trainer, Kinetic Fluid Trainers keep power and motion focused on the flywheel. So even during hard, out-of-the-saddle pedaling, the ride remains rock steady.

 

Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer

Blackburn’s adjustable height frames set a new benchmark for stiffness and stability.  ”Power Band” Technology allows distinct resistance level changes without reaching to a lever on the unit. The resistance level varies automatically based on cadence and wheel speed directly by using bike’s own gears while the cooling mechanism increases life of resistance unit (patent pending). Power varies from less than 209 watts to over 725 watts (at 22.5 mph)

 

 

Conveniently, the Road Bike Mike office was split between devout CycleOps fans and diehard Kurt Road Machine fans.  With literally thousands of training miles logged amongst our staffers and their ‘beloved’ indoor bike trainers, we didn’t need to look far for opinions.  The Blackburn was a wildcard having no support or familiarity for the RBM crew.  We dug deep into the corporate coffers and put together a couple hundred bucks to buy the Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer and give it a go.

 

The recent spat of nice weather in our Denver offices afforded our staffers some real road time and our nominated trainer reviewers some quiet, intimate time with our 3 indoor bike trainers.  The results were none too surprising.

 

Impressions of the CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Bicycle Trainer included:

Like butter baby!  Whether revving to 100+rpms or cooling down at 70rpms the CycleOps is smooth and quiet.

Hard to believe this trainer has over 3,000 miles…that is until you look down at the roller wear and sweat stains.

 

Thoughts on the Kinetic by Kurt Road Machine Indoor Bicycle Trainer 

No risk of pulling a Christopher Reeves…this thing is solid when jumping out of the saddle.

SBD.  Silent but deadly.  Training on the Kinetic will leave you all along with your thoughts…which are usually focused on the screams coming from your quads.

 

Thoughts on the Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer included:

Ever ridden the 10,023 feet up the summit of Haleakala?  If not, get the Blackburn warmed up, crank up the heat and enjoy the climb…

F*#k the Beach Boys and f*#k the Blackburn…these vibrations are not good.

 

Conclusion:  Road Bike Mike Likes anything but the Blackburn.

Seriously.  You can’t go wrong with the Kinetic or the CycleOps.  Based on our experience, you can go severely wrong with the Blackburn.

 

After you pick up the CycleOps or the Kinetic, be sure you’ve got the 5 Must Haves for any indoor training session.