Even for the most passionate cyclers, crappy weather is a turnoff. A perfectly good excuse to stay in bed all day. But, what if you can still do your normal morning rides regardless of the weather out there? or any other reason for that matter with a budget bike trainer?
A bike trainer allows you to still ride your bike indoors without having to cough extra bucks for an exercise bike or a stationary bike. They work pretty much just like stationary bikes only that you attach your bike to the trainer and pedal your bike just as you normally would.
Bike trainers come with a variety of amazing features, drive types as well as resistance levels. With the latest bike trainers you can sync your bike trainer with Bluetooth and connect to mobile and TV apps to keep you entertained as you ride. You can even do virtual rides.
Buying the best budget bike trainer isn’t the hardest thing on the planet of course but it can be challenging if you are a first-time buyer. Don’t fret though, we will take you through some of the best bike trainers the market currently has as we give you our thoughts on how each fairs. We will also include what we like about each trainer and take you through how to buy one.
Let’s start with a review of the best bike trainers before we head over to choosing one.
Review of the Best Budget Bike Trainers
If you are looking for a high-performance indoor bike trainer stand then this specific one by Alpcour might be your best bet. It comes highly recommended by cyclers already using it that it caught our attention.
The first thing we noticed is how easy it is to set it up and operate. Even better is that It comes with remote control for precise adjustments of resistance levels. And if you are a frequent traveler who loves to stay in shape even when away, you can easily fold it and fit it into the trunk of your car. It’s very lightweight so it won’t add any significant weight to your load.
Unlike most trainer stands that are quite noisy, this stand comes with a built-in super noise reduction feature that minimizes the whir. And with the reduced friction you can be sure of using your stand for quite a long time.
Both light and heavy weights can comfortably use this trainer. It is very stable thanks to the wide-set design.
Another amazing thing is that It’s built on a fluid technology that gives you a real outdoor riding experience in the comfort of your home only that the ride is smoother and shake-free. Which is a good thing anyway as you get to fully focus on breaking a sweat. Also, you can use any bike type on it, a mountain or road bike.
Is it safe to use? Very much indeed, it features anti-slip rubber pads to prevent slippage, a dual tension knob, and a high-quality lock ring. All these features ensure that your riding experience is safe and secure.
What we like
- It is made of high-quality steel
- Comes with a good storage bag that is easy to carry around
- It is easy to set up, operate and requires no adjustments
- Has a long handlebar chord
What we don’t like
- The installation instructions are a little hard to follow
- A little noisy
This bike trainer stand is the best if on the lookout for a high-quality reasonably priced stand. It will not only serve the intended purpose but also become your long-term training companion.
If you are particular about getting an easy to install bike trainer stand, look no more, the BalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand is your solution. It’s easy to install as well as release. Fast release in a trainer stand is essential in securing the bicycle’s rear wheel. This simplicity makes it super ideal for beginners and cyclers who don’t like to dwell so much on technicalities.
You can use this trainer stand on different surfaces and it will still be stable. It is designed with a broad base and a low stance that delivers steadfast balance.
What is more, is that BalanceFrom Bike Trainer offers eight levels of magnetic resistance and a resistance controller allowing you to set your desired resistance and speed.
As far as compatibility, this trainer stand comes with a wide fit to accommodate almost any given bicycle, be it road or mountain bike.
What we like:
- Has eight levels of resistance settings
- Compatible with most bike types
- Super easy to install and release
- Can be used on any surface
What we don’t like
- Maybe a little heavy to be moving around with
BalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand is perfect for beginners, it has a higher number of resistance levels that you can slowly transition to. It is also super easy to install and use.
HEALTH LINE bike trainer is perfect for highly skilled riders but also ideal for beginners. It comes with 8 resistance levels that you get to adjust to suit your riding skill. The first two levels are great for beginners and can be used for warm-ups and bike training.
The highest resistance level simulates steep hill climb which is great for someone who wants it hard and tough.
One of the biggest advantages of this trainer compared to the rest is the super-wide base structure which guarantees you of great stability. And to top it up the frame is made of pure steel which is super strong and durable.
Even though it is wider than most trainers as mentioned already, you can still fold it down to a compact size to easily carry around and store.
It’s also compatible with most bikes especially those with a quick release. If you have a mountain or road bike you can still use it on this trainer so long as the wheels are between 26 to 28 inches or 700c.
This bike stand can support a max weight of 300lbs. The adjustable footpad is made of rubber to prevent any unwanted shaking when riding. This is important in ensuring that you get a smooth ride.
Even though it has noise reduction features, you can still hear some slight noise made. Don’t worry though if you live in an apartment, your next-door neighbor wont hear it.
The noise is similar to a conversation being made in a room, loud but not loud enough to distract your next-door neighbor. If however you are particular about getting a totally silent bike stand, then this may not be for you.
What we like
- 8 resistance levels to choose from
- It’s super easy to install and use
- Durable and very stable
- Comes with a sweat guard to protect your bike and floor from the dripping sweat
- Compatible with most bike types
What we don’t like
- The knob tends to jam at times so you may be forced to get off the bike to turn the knob which can kill the momentum
- It is relatively noisy
A wide range of resistance levels can make a real difference in your workout and that is what the HEALTH LINE bike stand gives you. All these levels can be used by both beginners and pros so if you are a beginner you can be sure to use it all the way to your novice years.
Yaheetech has a variety of bike trainers and this specific one is an entry-level stand. It comes with 6-speed resistance levels that can be adjusted by twisting the knob at the handlebar. You can adjust to whatever difficulty level you want and no matter the speed, you still get to be in control and be very stable.
It works very smoothly and is very silent, no distracting others while working out or even yourself. Pedaling noise can be very irritating when trying to focus on your fitness goal of the day.
You can count on the trainer to last you for quite a while as it is made of high-quality materials. Also, you don’t have to worry about the wheel of your bike getting damaged as it is safely protected by the resistance wheel of the stand. This helps to extend the life of your bike.
Your floor is also safe from any damage as it is protected by the non-slip feet caps that help secure the stand firmly preventing it from moving. The constant moving and displacing is what damages floors.
What we like
- It is portable and easy to store and even travel with
- It is made of heavy-duty stainless steel, this guarantees its durability
- Regardless of how fast you pedal it still is stable
- Rides very silent and smoothly
What we don’t like
- Produces a very annoying sound when you pedal very fast
- It allows bike tires that are up to 28 inches only
If you’re looking for a bike trainer stand that’s convenient, long-lasting, and of course, durable then Yaheetech bike trainer stand should definitely be your first choice
This is similar to the Alpcour fluid bike stand in most ways save from the magnetic flywheel. It has 6 levels of resistance that you can choose from depending on your cycling skill level. Both beginners and pros can use it for their daily work out, conditioning or training.
Even though it is not as silent as the fluid one, it is still relatively quiet compared to most brands of the same technology.
It has an inbuilt noise reduction feature that reduces on the noise. You can comfortably use it even when living in an apartment.
Just like the rest, we have reviewed, you can use it on any mountain bike or road bike. You can also fold it down to a portable size and move around with it easily.
Folding it also makes it easy to store.
What we like
- You get to choose from 6 resistance levels
- Comes in an easy to carry storage bag
- Compatible with any mountain or road bike that is between 26 to 28 inches
What we don’t like
- Not as quiet as their fluid stand
The Alpcour bike trainer with the magnetic flywheel is a great cheaper option to the trainers with fluid technology, it is less noisy, sturdy, durable, and easy to use. Installation is also basic, no tool is needed.
Buying guide- Factors to consider when buying a bike trainer
No doubt outdoor riding is way more beneficial and enjoyable. But indoor riding isn’t so bad an option either especially when the weather out there is “moody”. Even though you get to miss the sun and the natural breeze, a bike trainer is a necessity to any cycling enthusiasts.
Let’s go over what you need to consider when buying a bike trainer.
No matter how appealing a bike trainer may seem to be, you need to purchase something that is priced within your budget. It is advisable that you window shop so as to compare the prices of different sellers.
This will not only enable you to settle on a product that is within your set budget but also one that suits your preferences.
Depending on how often and where you are planning to be using your bike trainer, the weight of it would matter. For example, are you going to move your bike trainer?
Carry it to races and events to use it for warming up? Some bike trainers are light enough to be folded up and carried around. They are also compact so no bulkiness.
Go for a bike trainer that is strong and made of reliable materials that can last for a longer period. A stronger trainer enables you to do intense workouts.
Look for products whose manufacturer offers a warranty. This builds customer confidence as far as the reliability and durability of the product is concerned. As can be said with some bike trainers, sometimes spending a little more on quality equals spending less in the long run.
- Potential resistance
This is the amount of power output the bike trainer is able to give out before it maxes out. If you are a beginner to biking, consider going for the entry-level bike trainer.
An advanced bike trainer with a power meter is a good investment if you are more athletic doing serious races and intense workouts.
- Noise factor
Bike trainers that are less noisy are priced higher in the market than those that have higher decibel readings, which are less expensive in comparison.
If your workout sessions are in an apartment with neighbors that might not entertain noise, then you may need to consider buying fluid trainers which are relatively less noisy albeit expensive.
Using smooth tires decreases noise. There are more trainer options available if you have a secluded training space and do not mind a bit of noise as you work out
- Stability and leveling
If your workout sessions are on a surface that is uneven, you may need to consider going for a bike trainer that comes with leveling screws to enable you adjust for stability.
You would not want to find yourself exercising on a trainer that is shaky and prone to cause you injury. Trainers with large footprints provide more stability for you as you enjoy your workout session.
Types of Bike Trainers
- Magnetic trainers
This type of trainer uses magnetic resistance to create drag against the bike wheel. The magnetic flywheel creates fixed resistance which means your pedaling does not get harder even as your tempo increases.
For you to change the amount of resistance that you are riding against, you must get off the bike and select the new level on the trainer or change it through a handlebar-mounted cable that is attached to the trainer.
Rollers use three drums, two under your rear wheel and one under your front wheel on which the wheels rest on and rotate while you ride.
While the wheels rotate, the centrifugal force created keeps you balanced. This type of trainer requires you to practice and focus in order to stay upright.
- Fluid trainers
This is one of the most popular trainers today. It has a flywheel with an inner chamber of fluid which further tunes the resistance options. The bike’s rear-wheel drives the mechanism.
When you pedal faster, the temperature of the fluid inside the flywheel increases. The fluid becomes thicker, raising the resistance and making pedaling more challenging. This offers you an intense workout and a more realistic road feel.
- Wind trainers
These trainers are the cheapest and most basic of the trainer options. This is because they rely on wind to create resistance. They use a fan designed to catch the wind as it turns to create resistance. The faster you pedal, the harder the resistance.
Because of the fan cutting through the air, you will find that these trainers are loud. They are simple to set up and the least expensive option in the market.
Benefits of using a Budget bike trainer
- There are minimal distractions
When riding outside, you tend to be interrupted by so many things such as stopping to allow for a person to cross the road, or stopping for a quick chat with a friend that you have bumped into. All these distractions reduce the time that actual cycling is done during the whole of your training session.
An indoor bike trainer removes these interruptions and uncontrollable variables so that you are able to solely focus on cycling and completing your workout with minimal or no interruptions at all.
- Allows focus on technique
Some bike trainers include a feature that gives you readings on your stroke efficiency, helping you make improvements to your cycling. With the help of a trainer, you are able to identify your dead zones-where you loose efficiency and are not producing any power.
With this feedback, you can plan for drills that will help you work on techniques such as pedal stroke, one-legged drills to build your strength and improve your overall cycling performance.
It’s much safer
As a cyclist, you are very vulnerable on the roads due to all the rush drivers, and low visibility at night. You do not need to have concerns such as carrying a spare tire or repair kit.
Outdoor cycling exposes you to rough terrain that may make riding difficult and dangerous. Sharp corners and stones on the roads are a major cause of injuries to cyclists. With a bike trainer, it is way safer with minimal chances of you falling.
- No bad weather to worry about
With an indoor bike trainer, you do not have to deal with the worst of weather elements such as rain, wind, snow, or ice. Riding outside in poor weather is just unpleasant.
You tend to cover low distances outside during bad weather. This is because it takes more effort to push yourself through rain, low temperatures, and strong winds. With a bike trainer whether it rains or not, you do not need to reschedule your training session.
- You can train anytime
Bike trainers allow for flexibility in terms of time. You can always find time for a workout session even with your busy daily schedule.
A night cycling session on your bike trainer after a busy day at the office can be refreshing. There is no limitation of time when it comes to bike trainers.
A bike trainer has customization options as per the terrain and workout sessions. It gives you the choice to select a specific mode depending on what you want to train your body as well as the length of the training.
Stationary Bikes Vs Bike Trainers
Not sure whether to go for a bike stand or a stationary bike? Here are a few differences between the two.
- Setup time
It will take you less time to set up stationary bikes than a bike trainer. This is because they come as a complete assembled structure. Minimal maintenance is equally required for them.
A bike trainer will require you to change your bike more so often. The regular installing and disassembling of the bike takes a significant amount of setup time.
Stationary bikes fit users of different heights since they come in a one-size-fits-all option that you can adjust accordingly. However, you may need to change a different bike on your trainer every time you need to switch a rider in order to enable them to cycle comfortably and effectively.
Stationary bikes give you more posture options. They come in the traditional bike postures of upright positions or even reclined positions.
Bike trainers prepare you for road-racing by giving you a body-forward, over-the-handlebars posture.
- Portability and ease of storage
Stationary bikes are heavy and occupy a larger workspace. They are made of strong metals making them harder to transport. Their large metals make storage difficult.
Due to their heavyweight, they offer good stability during intense workouts.
You can separate your bike from your trainer, making it easier for you to carry and take them on the road or store them in your house.
Bike trainers are a lifesaver, every cycling nerd should own one for those crappy weather days or when you are just don’t feel like stepping out of your house.
They are versatile in features and with the many resistance levels they come with, you can work out, warm-up, or train for a race all in the comfort of your home.
We loved that you can still use your regular bike on them, which makes it very affordable.
As long as you know what features to look out for, which we have talked about exhaustively in this post, buying one should be a breeze.
From our review section, you should be able to get the best budget bike trainer for you in just minutes.
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