Bike Trainer Newbie & Review

For Xmas Santa Sam decided to bring me a bike trainer.  No, not a personal trainer.  Rather, a metallic bike trainer that I place my rear wheel on and spin away to my heart’s dis-content.  For a SoCal cyclist, it’s certainly a luxury as the weather allows us to hit the road/trails for the majority of the winter months.  I feel bad for those full-time cyclists in the Midwest and East Coast (aka Least Coast for winter riding) who are essentially leashed to a trainer during their cold & wet winter months.

So here in SoCal when the weather report shows a 40% chance of rain and it actually DOES rain, I’ve been happy to adapt my riding schedule.  However, as I’m trying to make the step up to CAT 1 racing this coming spring, I need to get time on the saddle – rain or shine.  While I can manage in the cold and wet, it’s nice to have an alternative when I want to stay dry and warm or concentrate on a specific type of workout.  So enter the trainer.

Thanks to Jax Bicycle Center for helping Santa Sam select the unit and also lace up a training wheel and tire.  Santa Sam & the Jax staff ended up selecting the CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer and thus far, after a combined 5 training rides on it, Sam and I are impressed!  Not one for trying things in the best conditions, we decided to haul the trainer up to Big Bear so that we could get some time on the saddle over our New Years holiday.  Here’s the inaugural ride on our porch in sub-freezing weather with snow falling:

I have used it twice thus far with my rear wheel swapped out for the training wheel which has a Kenda-made CycleOps training tire on it.  The training tire definitely is a good idea as it is quieter than a normal tire and since it’s new the tread is even throughout which makes for good consistent spinning.  As a point of comparison, Sam has 3 rides on the trainer with her bike and old tire and it’s noisier and more uneven when she spins.

Compared to other trainers I’ve been around (friends and others seen/heard at races) the CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer is definitely on the upscale side as the larger flywheel mimics the road feel as best as a trainer can while keeping the noise down.  I don’t want to feel like I’m riding a Harley when indoors and thankfully this trainer doesn’t accost the eardrums.  Here’s some pics of the setup:


It’s a Trek-branded CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer.  Simple, sturdy, folds up for easy storage, and quiet!  The only actual installation required is affixing the flywheel/roller (silver object) onto the black metal frame.  It took 5 minutes after getting the angle right to get the through-bolt in and secured.  You can see Sam’s tire, being shown here, is old, flat, and uneven.  It produces a louder spin than my trainer-specific wheel and tire combo.


1st step to get the bike on using Sam’s old road bike as a demo:  screw the silver connecting rod out and orient such that it will go over the axle skewer.  Note: the trainer comes with a specific skewer that fits perfectly with the trainer but I put that on my training-specific wheel.  It’s good, however, that normal skewers will work too, albeit, with perhaps just a bit more “play.”


2nd step:  On the other side, slide the connecting rod into place and over the skewer end camp.  Note there are several positions on this rod for the handle to go into so that different widths can be accommodated.


3rd & Final step:  once the bike is secured in the connecting rods, adjust the contact point between the spinner/flywheel and the tire using the yellow handle which screws in/out.  Once a nice contact point is reached (firm but not to firm as to create too much resistance) push the yellow handle down to “lock” it into place.  All that’s left is to start spinning!

After two rides, I know I’ll always prefer actually riding on the road/trail, but who wouldn’t?  In a normal ride, there are frequent positional changes, pitches up/down in the road, and periods of coasting/spinning so your body position is always changing.  I’ve found that on a trainer it’s rather steady-state and the contact points (feet, butt, and hands) get stressed/tired sooner.  Perhaps some of this is mental too, just getting used to spinning in one spot.  But I’m glad I have this and just setup a spare TV to my old PS2 so I can watch some movies and sports and get my Natespin on!

UPDATE:  For the month of January, Jax Bicycle Center is offering 20% any CycleOps trainer or accessory if you pick up their store calendar (it’s free).

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